After a near perfect Super50 tournament and good performances by their players, Guyana will now switch gears and engage in the more testing four-day format of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) 2014 Regional fixtures when they take on the Jamaicans at Sabina Park.
The Guyanese ended the 50-over leg of the tournament with 9 points compared to the Jamaicans who topped the table with 13 points. Both teams played like champions during group stages of the 50-over competition but lost some momentum in the semi-finals with
Guyana losing to Barbados and Jamaica beaten by Trinidad and Tobago.
Despite not ending the ODI tournament as they would have liked, Guyana’s team will feel more comfortable in the longer format, thanks to most if not all of the batsmen possessing outstanding Test statistics and the desire to graft huge innings.
The local side is led by West Indies left-hander Shivnarine Chanderpaul who took over from the originally appointed skipper Leon Johnson who is currently nursing a knee injury he sustained during the team’s practice match played at the Guyana National Stadium last Saturday.
Johnson will only miss the first-round encounter and is expected to return for the other matches both home and away. If the West Indies’ ‘A’ batman returns to top form and confidence ahead of his team’s other challenges it will be a huge positive for Guyana since the 26 year-old has been in tremendous batting form over the past 13 months.
The opening pair features two gritty and classy stroke-makers in Assad Fudadin and Sewnarine Chattergoon who both represented the West Indies.
Fudadin has been making good scores across three respective formats, scoring a few half-centuries and a century for the West Indies ‘A’ team against Sri Lanka and India. He recently cracked an unbeaten 117 in the team’s four-day practice game prior to their departure for Jamaica, while Chattergoon who played 4 Tests and 18 ODI’s has been in good batting form scoring runs across the local scene in competitions and the inter-county tournaments.
Other batsmen with experience internationally in the Test arena are former West Indies Captain Ramnaresh Sarwan who returned to batting form during the Super50 competition where he was the leading run-scorer for his team and overall top run-getter for the tournament until he was overtaken by the bullish Bajan Dwayne Smith.
Middle-order West Indies left-hander Narsingh Deonarine is another class-act to look out for. He is one of the country’s most successful batsmen across all formats, while Chanderpaul’s incomparable batting stats especially in the longer version of the game needs no introduction.
Other players such as Vice-Captain Chris Barnwell and wicket-keeper Anthony Bramble are also expected to contribute with runs after showing good form with the bat during the 50 over tournament. Apart from batsmen with outstanding 4-day records, the Guyana team will also be riding on their pair of spinners who also have been destructive in the longer version.
Ex-West Indies spinner Devendra Bishoo and current Test left-arm bowler Veerasammy Permaul will be key with the ball for the local side after the pair dominated last year’s Regional-four day taking 30 wickets.
Pace operators with the leather include former West Indies Under-19 bowler Keon Joseph who has been in good bowling form locally and the highly rated Ronsford Beaton who has been turning heads with his fast-bowling.
Amir Khan, the right arm-spinner named as Johnson’s replacement, was the country’s leading wicket-taker in the 4-day Inter-County tournament, and will be hoping to have a knock before the skipper returns to the team.
The Jamaicans who were undefeated in the Super50 tournament until their semi-final mauling will be keen on kicking off their campaign with a home win. Led by all-rounder Tamar Lambert the team is without the services of Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels but will still possess enough fire in the batting line.
Openers Horace Miller and John Campbell have made positive starts recently in the Super50 while the middle order batsmen such as Nkrumah Bonner who scored a century against Guyana, Andre McCarthy, Jermaine Blackwood, the big-hitting Andre Russell and wicket-keeper Carlton Baugh Jr, headline a talented and experienced batting line.
The bowling will be led by former West Indies pacer Jerome Taylor who will be supported by Andrew Richardson, Sheldon Coterell and Dave Bernard Jr who have been effective with the ball recently.
The first round match is expected to bowl off at 10.00am.