Pakistan and the Guyana XI who square off in a 50 overs-a-side warm up match today at the Georgetown Cricket Club ground, were involved in some intense practice sessions yesterday at the Demerara Cricket Club (DCC) ground and the Guyana National Stadium, Providence respectively.
The warm up was organised by the Guyana Cricket Board’s (GCB) selection panel to give the touring Pakistanis some practice ahead of the first of two ODIs against the West Indies planned for Guyana on Sunday July 14 and Tuesday July 16.
At the DCC ground Coach Esuan Crandon and GCB Chairman of National Selectors and former national fast bowler, Rayon Griffith were involved in many aspects of training. The warm up team skipper, Veerasammy Permaul, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Christopher Barnwell, Narsingh Deonarine, Leon Johnson, Assad Fudadin, Trevon Griffith, Keon Joseph, Devendra Bishoo, Anthony Bramble, Paul Wintz, Steven Jacobs and other players were also at the ground. Batsmen were paired off in the nets and bowlers of different disciplines applied their trade, while other players were drilled in ground and aerial fielding.
Coach of the squad, Crandon, in an invited comment told Stabroek Sport that the team is prepared to go out and do their best by keeping things simple. While acknowledging that the Pakistanis are world class players, Crandon said his side currently had no strategy in place. However, he noted that players such as Sarwan, who has vast cricketing experience and has experience playing Pakistan, and a few other players, are expected to support each other. Crandon also said that his approach to the tourists’ potent pace attack will be straightforward and the openers will need to play smartly.
Guyana’s batting department will rely heavily on contributions from left handers Johnson, Deonarine and Fudadin who are fresh off centuries against Sri Lanka ‘A’ last month during their series. Other batsmen include the young opener Griffith who will look to entertain and play his shots at the top of the order; wicketkeeper Bramble who can play the big shots, along with their experienced pair of all-rounders, Jacobs and Barnwell.
The seam bowling unit of Wintz, Joseph and Barnwell will spearhead the local attack, while the pair of ex-West Indian spinners, Permaul and Bishoo will play crucial parts in the middle of the innings. Other players such as all-rounders Zaheer Mohamed and Rajiv Ivan will be essential for the team’s middle/lower order position and might be called upon to provide inroads with the ball.
Over at the Guyana National Stadium, the Pakistani players had their net session under the watchful eye of Coach Dav Whatmore. The players including, skipper, Misbah ul-Haq, batsmen Nasir Jamshed, Mohammad Hafeez, Asad Shafiq, Ahmed Shehzad and all rounder Shahid Afridi got in some valuable batting sessions in the nets, along with sound fielding and wicket-keeping drills.
Their bowling department which will be spearheaded by left arm fast bowler, Junaid Khan who will be backed up by the 7 footer Mohammad Irfan and the strapping left hand quick Wahab Riaz, will be the key with the new ball as they will seek to extract bounce and seam movement both ways.
The team’s slow bowling unit includes ICC world ranked number two ODI bowler, Saeed Ajmal, who will be supported heavily by Hafeez who is also on the ICC ODI list for number two ranked all rounders. Slow left arm orthodox bowler, Abdur Rehman and the multitalented Afridi who boasts 348 ODI scalps under his belt, form a formidable spin quartet.
Both teams will seek to make good impressions. Local players will also want to find their rhythm as well as the tourists who will need to get on track for Sunday’s important match.
The warm up match starts at 9.30am. Admission is free.