Reigning Caribbean Twenty-20 champions Guyana begin a three-match campaign in Trinidad’s Cricket Festival T20 series today at Guaracara Park, Pointe-a-Pierre, and, according to team coach, Ravindranauth Seeram, the team is “about fully fit and ready to go.”
Led by Ramnaresh Sarwan and including former number one ranked test batsman in the world Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Guyana will open against the Trinidad and Tobago ‘B’ team tonight.
They will follow with a match against Trinidad’s national under-23 side tomorrow afternoon and round out the three day tournament which ends Thursday night with the key fixture against the Trinidad senior national team.
The series will serve as preparation for both the Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago national teams, ahead of their participation in the Caribbean Twenty20 Cham-pionship, which bowls off from January 10-23 in Antigua and Barbados.
Guyana won this year’s West Indies Cricket Board sponsored inaugural Twenty20 tournament by defeating Trinidad and Tobago in the semi-finals and Barbados in the final.
The win enabled the Guyana team to participate in this year’s Champions League tournament.
However the Guyana team faced some amount of criticism from several Trinidad and Tobago players as the issue of which was the best team in the region arose.
The Guyana team subsequently lost all their matches of the Airtel Champions League tournament in South Africa but there was noticeable improvement of the team as the tournament progressed.
Speaking to Stabroek Sport from Trinidad yesterday, Seeram said that his only concern was that the team did not get in any training on the pitch. For the past two weeks the team had been training at the Guyana National Stadium.
However, according to Seeram, due to the weather and other factors the team had been unable to train on the pitch.
“I think they [the players] are about fully fit and ready to go, but we didn’t get much practice in the middle [on the pitch].
“We usually have to get a lot of match practice in the middle [on the pitch] but we weren’t able to do that because of the weather.
“But we did some training outside, at the back on the practice pitch and hopefully that helps us.” Seeram said. Should Guyana win the tournament they would be the recipient of the tournament’s first prize.
And while he said nothing definitive of the team’s expected performance, Seeram did mention that straight wins for the team would be a great boost to the team’s morale entering the Twenty20 Championships.
“I think matches like these they give us practice that we need. It would be good if we win this because it would give us the winning momentum that we need to carry us into the Twenty20,” he noted.
Played in a round robin format, the tournament features a total of eight matches with a schedule of two matches a day.
Following their return from Trinidad early on Friday morning, Seeram said the team will resume practice on January 3 before departing on January 8 for Antigua and the Twenty20 tournament.
During this period, Seeram said, the team will be planning some more match practice and working on games simulation.