Johnson says Chanderpaul chat helped turn around form

Leon Johnson

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, CMC – Guyana Jaguars captain Leon Johnson has hailed veteran former West Indies batsman Shiv Chanderpaul for helping him break out of a poor run of recent form in the Regional Four-Day Championship.

The left-handed Johnson opened the season with a half-century against Jamaica Scorpions at Providence here but managed only 13 runs in his next three innings.

He gathered 41 in the second innings against Leeward Islands Hurri-canes in Basseterre before unfurling a career-best 165 against Trinidad and Tobago Red Force last weekend to return to form.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul

“I would rate this as my best innings not only because it’s my highest first-class score but because of the way I applied myself for over eight hours at the crease,” the 30-year-old told Kaiteur News.

“After the first innings in St Kitts I had a 10-minute chat with Shiv and he simplified a few things for me. My next two innings have produced 206 runs, so hopefully I will continue that form.”

Johnson’s knock, along with exactly 100 from West Indies A left-hander Vishaul Singh, helped Jaguars pile up 484 for eight declared, paving the way for an innings and 217-run victory over Red Force.

He said the surface at the Brian Lara Stadium had been a slow one and his innings, which comprised 360 deliveries, required patience.

“The pitch was pretty flat, but slow, which made stroke-play a bit difficult at times during the day, but at night the ball came on much better when the dew took effect,” said Johnson, who has played nine Tests.

With their latest victory, Jaguars stretched their lead at the top of the standings to 20 points, moving to 64.8 points following the fourth round of matches.

And as the tournament heads towards the half-way stage, the three-time reigning champions have installed themselves as favourites to retain the four-day title.

Johnson said one of the keys to their success was that players were fully apprised of their roles in the squad.

“The players know and understand their roles. We don’t get it right every session or every day but we understand the game and how it goes so players worry less and that helps them to perform better.”

Jaguars host bitter rivals Barbados Pride when the tournament resumes from a near two-week break on November 30.

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