National middle-order batsman Leon Johnson is adamant that Guyana is one of the better teams in this year’s NAGICO Super50 tournament with the potential to win its 10th Regional 50-over title when the competition bowls off on January 30 in Trinidad and Tobago.
The confident West Indies ‘A’ batsman spoke to Stabroek Sports yesterday and was very optimistic about the team winning the title after a nine-year drought. “The team has good potential and it has been nine years since we last won the title, but you don’t just turn up and win,” he said.
The former West Indies Under-19 skipper noted that despite the potential possessed by the players and despite having one of the better teams in the tournament, Guyana still has to go out and play for its success and taking it “step by step” will be the remedy.
Speaking about the ongoing camp and its efforts to prime and polish the players, the 26-year-old noted that the camp was very important to the development of the cricketers who will seek to correct their techniques ahead of the tournament.
He credited the work done by National coach Esaun Crandon, Chairman of National Selectors Rayon Griffith and Berbice head coach Julian Moore, who have worked with him since the first day of encampment as well as the pair of army officers who have intensely drilled the players during the past few days.
Johnson further extolled on the virtues of the presence of former West Indies skipper Ramnaresh Sarwan and current West Indies Test batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul for their proactive approach shown towards the younger players during the camp.
“We have some youngsters in the squad who are getting along good with the senior players such as Shiv (Chanderpaul) and Sarwan who continue to give insight and share experience with the players,” he said.
The 2013 male cricketer of the year has had an outstanding past year scoring his maiden first-class century against Sri Lanka and then going on to have an excellent tour of India, narrowly missing out on two more tons at the first-class level.
He was also Guyana’s leading run-scorer in last year’s Regional Super50 with scoring 204 runs from 6 matches with one half-century, but still admitted that despite a near perfect year of form internationally and locally, fine-tuning is still required.
“I’ve been doing a lot of work with Cranny (Crandon) and Griffith working on a few things while having the army officials’ work with us for the first time is very good, they have helped the team to get fitter,” he explained.
Guyana is in Group A with defending champions Windward Islands, Jamaica and Ireland, commencing their campaign with their first match against the Irish. Guyana won the Regional 50-over titles in 1980, 1983, 1985, 1993, 1995, 1998, 2001, 2003 and 2005 being the last year when opener Sewnarine Chattergoon’s century stole the show from Barbados in the KFC Cup final played at Bourda.