The Guyana Cricket Board (GCB), yesterday, released the names of a squad mixed with an ideal balance of youth and experience as the two-time defending champions hunt for a third successive Regional 4-day championship, on the back of a number of strong performances throughout the season.
The squad had to field five changes after Shimron Hetmyer, Vishaul Singh, Keon Joseph and Raymon Reifer were selected to represent the WICB President’s XI side to face Pakistan in a three-day game in Jamaica, while Shivnarine Chanderpaul is unavailable due to his county cricket commitment with Lancashire. With those players unavailable, exciting teenage all-rounders Bhaskar Yadram and Sherfane Rutherford were presented with their maiden first-class call-ups, while Chandrapaul Hemraj, Steven Jacobs, and Veerasammy Permaul make their way back into the squad.
Rutherford speaking with Stabroek Sports said that he was quite surprised with the call-up but is now focused on making the opportunity count.
“I was quite surprised,” he noted, “because I wasn’t expecting it. But I’ve got it now so I really need to make the best of this opportunity,” he added.
The dashing left-hander who scored a solitary century in GCB three-day league, sang praises to his out of favor teammate Christopher Barnwell in what appears to be a passing of the baton, Demerara Cricket Club – his home club, his parents and God for his success, thus far.
Meanwhile, National selector Rayon Griffith believes that the newly selected youngsters will add ‘energy’ to the team as they seek to close out the season on a high.
“I believe these youngsters who’ll come in will bring energy to the team, looking at them play, they play more free and fearless, so that a plus,” he added.
Commenting on the team’s success, Griffith credited Coach Esau Crandon, the Board, the presence of the Academy which provides a pool of players and the players themselves for their hard work over the years.
Griffith, however, was far from complacent about the prospects of winning a third successive title, and said, “I want us to win it first and then I’ll be very proud.”
Jaguars who are currently top of the charts on 109.8 points, have two home games against the Leeward Islands on April 21-24, and the Windward Islands in the final round, the following weekend, are firm favorites to complete the hat-trick of titles in the Regional four-day championship.
With Guyana almost assured of their third successive four-day championship, it presents a wonderful opportunity to blood some of the younger talents in the country.
The full squad reads: Leon Johnson (captain), Veerasammy Permaul, Bhaskar Yadram, Chandrapaul Hemraj, Sherfane Rutherford, Steven Jacobs, Rajendra Chandrika, Assad Fudadin, Anthony Bramble, Gudakesh Motie-Kanhai, Keemo Paul, Clinton Pestano, Romario Shepherd.