PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC- A Guyanese cricketer who helped his country capture the inaugural Caribbean T20 tournament is determined to use his experience to exalt influence over his team seeking to repeat that feat when the competition begins this weekend.
Vice captain and main all-rounder, Christopher Barnwell, a former West Indies Twenty/20 player, says he has a major role to play when the new edition of the tournament opens in Port of Spain this weekend.
Barnwell can bat at the top of the order and also bowl the new ball and is expected to be called upon from Monday when Guyana begin their campaign against Combined Campuses & Colleges at Queen’s Park Oval.
“I have been in the team for a while now and I will look to step it up in this tournament” said Barnwell, who celebrates his 26th birthday on the opening day on Sunday.
“I am one of the senior players in the team, having also played for the West Indies, and so I have my role in the team – and part of that is being a leader”.
In 2010, the heroics of leg spinner Devendra Bishoo and the batting exploits of little known Jonathan Foo blitz Barbados in the final at the Queen’s Park Oval.
Since then, Guyana have struggled in the tournament failing to reach the Final Four in 2011 and eliminated at the preliminary stage last year after just two wins out of four matches.
However, Barnwell noted that the mood in the camp is upbeat as they look to bring the same fire and desire they had three years ago.
“We have some very good T20 players in both the batting and bowling departments. We have faith we can win again”, said Barnwell.
“We have faced challenges before, but that has only helped to make us stronger as a team in the end.”
Last year Guyana defeated the Leeward Islands and Canada before suffering defeats to defending champions Trinidad & Tobago and the Windward Islands.
“When we won the first tournament, we had Travis Dowlin as the batsman batting through the innings” said Barnwell, who has represented West Indies in four T20 Internationals.
“(Since then) we were looking forward to someone to step-up and emulate him. We were having some great starts, but no one was carrying on for us and I think that’s one of the areas we need to improve in”.