Guyana Jaguars Assistant Coach/Manager Rayon Griffith said that it was very important to keep his winning team together following the third annual West Indies Cricket Board (WICB)/Professional Cricket league (PCL) draft as the Four-Day champs prepare for yet another title defence next season.
While most teams kept a large nucleus of their players during the draft held Thursday at the Coppin/Cozier/Short Media Centre at Kensington Oval, Barbados, it was more important for Guyana who are the current two-time PCL four-day champs to remain as closely knit as possible, said Griffith during an interview with Stabroek Sport yesterday.
“We really want to keep the team together because we won two years in a row and more important the guys understand each other and they know their roles well know roles and I’d like for it continue down that journey,” said Griffith.
Guyana’s newest and only addition to the side is batting off-spinner Vikash Mohan. The Trinidad-born, right-hand batsman has featured in only six List A games for the Combined Campuses and Colleges (CCC), picking up some five wickets. He also has a top score of 79 from the 132 runs he has scored so far.
When quizzed on the selection of the inexperienced all-rounder, Griffith said that he has seen the 21-year-old in action and thinks he will add great support to both departments, especially with his ability as an off-spinner.
“We have a strong Guyana line up and I hope he (Mohan) can come in the team as a batting all-rounder who can bring the off-spin because he bowled fairly decent when we saw him before during the Super 50”.
Speaking on the nucleus of the team which consists of most of the senior players for the past three seasons, the ex-National pacer said that he was happy to have his big guns in the batting department for yet another season and backed them to better their recent best.
“We have a good batting unit with the likes of Hety (Shimron Hetmyer), Fudas, (Assad Fudadin), Brandon (Tagenarine Chanderpaul),” he said.
In the case of Fudadin, who was the second leading run-scorer overall in the Super 50, Griffith said that he was confident that the out-of-favor West Indies Test batsman would flourish this this year.
“He (Fudadin) didn’t have a great Four-Day (season) but in the Super 50 he played fairly well because he was second highest run-scorer in the competition but in Four-Day things didn’t go how he wanted, but I know he will bounce back this season.”
The Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) Chairman of National Selectors also said that he would have liked to have someone like West Indies Under-19 vice-captain Keemo Paul in the side but due to him still being a West Indian player his name was not in the draft.
“Keemo is good but it’s not that he can’t play in the Guyana team, once he or any other of our players perform well when we have our trials and practice matches they could play.”
Lastly, Griffith explained why it was important for Guyana to keep veteran batsman 42-year-old Shivnarine Chanderpaul close to the team for yet another year, after the former West Indies player called it a day on his international career earlier in the year but remains dedicated to the Jaguars.
“I think it’s very important to have Shiv around the team, I know age is catching up with him but it’s like in England when you want your county team to still be strong. Look at Graeme Hick who played into his 40’s or even Misbah from Pakistan at age 42 and the way in which the Pakistan Board kept him to help guide the young players while they transition.
“This year he averaged 49 close to 50, just like last season and you know there will be competition when he’s around. I also think Shiv could be batting consultant around the team because you want the competition to be strong and players should know that they need to play well to keep their places and they should work for their selection,” he ended.
GUYANA JAGUARS: Christopher Barnwell, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Assad Fudadin, Shimron Hetmyer, Keon Joseph, Gudakesh Motie, Raymon Reifer (Barbados), Vishaul Singh, Veerasammy Permaul; Anthony Bramble, Steven Jacobs, Vikash Mohan (Trinidad & Tobago), Romario Shepherd and Paul Wintz.