In Barbados with the compliments of: Caribbean Airlines, Igloo Ice cream, GT&T, P&P Insurance, Oasis Water and Noble House Seafoods.
As an opening batsman for Barbados in the regional cricket competition Philo Wallace came face to face with some of the better bowlers from Guyana during his career.
And as a fielder, he would have seen some of the better batsmen this country has produced in regional cricket.
Therefore when Wallace says this year’s Guyana batting line-up was probably the worst he has ever seen his words ought not to be taken lightly.
“Looking at the Guyana versus Combined Campuses and Colleges (CCC) game which Guyana lost by 96 runs, I believe that it was a very disappointing game for Guyana,” he told Stabroek Sports.
“Being a former first-class cricketer, I have played a lot of cricket against the Guyanese and you always had the feeling that their batting was that of quality,” he added.
Wallace feels that simply put, the replacements for test players Shiv Chanderpaul, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Sewnarine Chattergoon are not good enough.
“The Guyana side of 2009, the batting is not as good as it used to be. It is sad to say that they have missed three of their batsmen in Ramnaresh Sarwan, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Sewnarine Chattergoon, but their replacements are not good enough and I think this will hurt them in the latter stages of this competition,” said the 38-year-old Wallace, a member of the Line and Length Incorporated commentary team for the game.
The still burly Wallace played 107 first-class matches where he amassed 6,670 runs at an average of 36.25.
Wallace who made his debut against Jamaica at Sabina Park in 1990, scored 12 centuries and 40 half centuries with a highest score of 142.
The Guyanese, who play their third round fixture this weekend against the Leeward Islands in St Kitts, have lost their first two games outright.
They lost to the Windward Islands by an innings and 147 runs inside three days while the CCC defeated them by 96 runs before tea on the final day.
“There were some bright sparks from Narsingh Deonarine, but that’s only one player,” said Wallace.
“Years ago, you would have two or three Guyanese knocking at the door and despite the presence of Chanderpaul and Sarwan and to a lesser extent Chattergoon in the team, it is very disappointing that from Guyana, only one name can be lingering in the minds of the selectors at the moment.
“Leon Johnson is young and is now starting his international career and there is not much anyone can say of him. Then there is the captain Travis Dowlin who to my mind, is immature to the captaincy role at this level,” Wallace added. “As a captain, you need to lead from the front in all areas, whether you are a batsman or a bowler and on the part of Dowlin, his batting is inconsistent in this tournament so far. And these are things that will weigh heavily not only against him, but also Guyana. They have a lot of work to do and I must say I am disappointed in the standard of cricket they have displayed so far.”
While the 21-year-old Johnson has stated that he is not under any pressure at all to shore up the middle order, Wallace begged to differ.
“I think he is under pressure not only for Guyana or himself, but West Indies cricket in the whole. He has to be mindful that he was on three tours with the West Indies team and even though he did not play a game on two of those three tours, people are going to be asking questions as to who is this Leon Johnson.
“Apart from hearing about him leading the West Indies Under-19 team, nobody has heard anything further from him, so every times he goes to play for Guyana, and everybody wants to see who this guy is, that, in itself, is pressure from day one of any match,” Wallace a former West Indies opener said.
“That is one point of view. Another is he is playing in a Guyanese team whose batting is very brittle and he is one for the future, even being earmarked as one of the senior batsmen in the middle order, so he has to show the maturity and responsibility every time he picks up the bat for Guyana and that too is pressure for any young batsman.
“It is not about walking to the crease and bombarding the bowling, for that will not work. He will get out nine out of 10 times. He needs to exercise more patience, work the ball around.
In a nutshell, he has to fight and let the public see those qualities in him.”
Wallace is hoping to see a turnaround not only in Johnson’s game, but the Guyana team as a whole, not only for their respective causes but the West Indies on the whole.