Guyana’s cricketers led by Ramnaresh Sarwan are anxious to underline their claim for back-to-back titles in the regional T20 Championships with victory over Trinidad and Tobago in a four-team warm-up competition which gets underway today at Guaracara Park in Pointe-a-Pierre.
The strong Guyana line-up which includes veteran West Indies batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul, pugnacious batsman Travis Dowlin and exciting youngster Jonathan Foo arrived in Trinidad yesterday confident of winning the TT$20,000 first prize in the three-day series which also involves a Trinidad and Tobago “B’’ team and the Cricket Academy’s Under-23s.
The competition was organised by the T&T Cricket Board to afford the national team under the captaincy of Daren Ganga an opportunity for much needed competitive action after rain severely ruined their preparation for the Caribbean T20 tournament which gets underway in January in Antigua/Barbuda.
Carl Moore, the experienced manager of the Guyana team said yesterday that the T20 Cricket Festival starting today from 4 pm and ending on Thursday is the ideal platform for his team to emphasise their credentials as defending regional champions.
“Ít is a testing ground for our defence of the Caribbean T20 crown. We aim to get into the winning habit leading up to the regional championship,” said Moore on arrival yesterday morning at the Piarco International Airport.
In contrast to the T&T preparations leading up to the Caribbean T20 which was ruined by persistent rain, Moore said the Guyanese had no such challenges and have managed to successfully complete a two-week camp which ended just before Christmas.
“The weather has been kind to us and we have got the work done involving fielding, batting and general fitness in sessions at the National Stadium in Providence,” said Moore.
He said it was important that Guyana play confidently and emerge victorious in the T20 Cricket Festival and prevent the home team from taking an upper hand and averaging their defeat in the semi-final of the inaugural regional championship last August at the Queen’s Park Oval in Port-of-Spain.
The visitors went on to win the title with victory over Barbados in the final which gained them automatic qualification for the Airtel Championships League Twenty20 in South Africa.
Moore said yesterday he expected captain Sarwan, who was recently overlooked by the West Indies selectors for the weather-ravaged tour of Sri Lanka to play an important part in the team’s 2011 campaign and press his claim for a Test recall.
And once again middle-order batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul will be counted on to impart his wide experience and add some stability to the middle-order especially important in the shortest form of the game.
But the Guyana manager said that although all eyes will be on Sarwan, Chanderpaul and to a lesser extent Travis Dowlin, who plays club cricket in Trinidad and Tobago, there are several young players eager to make their presence felt.
Moore said he expects Foo to continue his excellent string of performances in T20 cricket along with Esuan Crandon, Chris Barnwell and Sewnarine Chattergoon who has come in for the injured Narsingh Deonarine.
“We are also hoping that the young spinners in the team including Devendra Bishoo, Steven Jacobs and Verasammy Permaul step up and contribute to the team’s success in the T20 Cricket Festival,” said Moore.
T20 Cricket Festival Fixtures:
December 28—- (3.30 pm)- T&T vs Academy XI; (7.15 pm) T&T “B” vs Guyana
December 29—- (3.30 pm) Guyana vs Academy XI; (7.15 pm) T&T vs T&T “B”
December 30—- (2.25 pm) T&T “B’’ vs Academy XI; (6 pm) T&T vs Guyana