Amazon Warriors Head Coach Roger Harper said that the work ethic and attitude shown by players last year made it easier for the team to fortify and further build the already cohesive team ahead of this year’s Caribbean Premier League (CPL) T20 tournament which starts in July.
“The structure of the draft was set where franchises can only retain six players and due
to the attitude and ethics of some of the players made it easier for them to be retained,” said Harper who spoke to Stabroek Sports yesterday.
Harper also indicated that the absence of last year’s skipper Ramnaresh Sarwan was due to the batsman making himself unavailable after not being included in the allotted six players to be retained.
“Sarwan is a local favorite who attracts crowds, but he opted to not place himself into the draft after not being featured as one of the six players to be retained,” said Harper, who went on to wish the batsman the best with his English County stint adding that he hopes that the batsman will get back to the form of old.
Turning his attention to the new blood of the Amazon Warriors team namely; Leon Johnson, Robin Bacchus and Trinidadian Navin Stewart, Harper said. “Robin (Bacchus) is seen as a young talent in the T20 format.
He’s an attacking batsman and can bowl seam well too which lends support to the other departments, while Johnson (Leon) who missed out last year, is an outstanding performer for Guyana and the West Indies ‘A’ and since last year he has been the leading run-scorer for his country.”
Harper then pointed out that since the team was unable to reacquire Kiwi all-rounder James Franklin due to his price being a bit high,
Stewart was drafted into the team after he was one of the more qualified players who remained eligible for purchase at that stage of the auction which was feasible for acquisition, while his ability to provide fire-power down the order as well as bowl was a plus.
Speaking about the balance of the team the former West Indies all-rounder said that he believes that his team sits on a line of symmetry and was happy that the team was able to obtain more seam bowlers which he admitted they lacked last year without affecting their potent spin department.
“We have managed to retain our spinners in; Mohamed Hafeez, Sunil Narine, Veerasammy Permaul and Steven Jacobs, while we have Krishmar Santokie who was the last year’s MVP, Corey Anderson from New Zealand who is an exciting player who does well in limited overs cricket and our own Ronsford Beaton, Chris Barnwell and Bacchus who add depth to the seam department,” Harper said.
“Last year the guys (the international players) came into the team and fitted in very well and due to their professionalism it made it easy to work with them, for Navin (Stewart) he knows the Guyanese players from playing against them and from the Guyanese playing in Trinidad he also has countrymen Sunil (Narine), Denesh Ramdin and Lendl Simmons to make him feel at home,” said Harper who said that he was also elated over the fact that due to most members of the team being retained from the first season the team can operate in a more “family-like” environment.
The inaugural leg of the CPL received massive support from cricketers and fans alike across the regional territory but Harper foresees more success in this year’s version. “2013 was a big hit and I’m hoping that 2014 will build on the foundation to make this year bigger and more exciting,” expounded the Coach.
The ex-West Indies Coach also said he was especially happy for the young draftees who will get an opportunity to “mix with quality international players” where they can better their work principles and learn from the professionals of international cricket.
The tournament is set to bowl off in July but prior to the official starts preparatory camps for each of the franchises will be initiated with Guyana’s proposed date set for June 30. According to the coach the plan will is to get the local players upbeat ahead of the competition.
While the West Indians players will be fresh off of a home series against New Zealand after which the respect players will slot into the remainder of the camp.