“We are ready to play anyone!”
Those are the kind of bold statement birthed out of confidence, knowing all fully well the capabilities of your charges.
National selector and assistant coach Rayon Griffith made those remarks to Stabroek Sport ahead of the three-time defending champion’s fifth-round clash against the Barbados Tridents in the Cricket West Indies (CWI) Regional four-day tournament beginning today at the Guyana National Stadium, Providence.
Griffith’s remarks come in light of the Jaguars’ roaring start to the 2017/18 Regional first-class season.
The South Americans have so far recorded wins against Jamaica Scorpions, Trinidad and Tobago Red Force and the Windward Islands Volcanoes while narrowly escaping defeat against the Leeward Islands Hurricanes to soar atop of the points standings.
The team has been playing incredibly well under the tutelage of skipper Leon Johnson and are favoured to get the better of the struggling Tridents.
“We are ready and prepared to play anyone. The guys are pumped and ready for any challenge at this moment,” Griffith remarked.
He expressed his contentment with the team’s showing this season, noting especially the impact of the bowlers who are expected to create further headaches for the Bajans.
“I’m very satisfied with the team’s performance,” Griffith said while adding, “So far, I think the bowling department has been doing a great job, getting their 20 wickets and it shows because we have had three outright wins.
“Veerasammy Permaul has been bowling excellently in this tournament, [Sherfane] Rutherford, Keemo Paul for the all-rounders have been putting up their hands and doing a tremendous job also,” he added.
Permaul continues to thrive on the Regional batsmen’s inability to play quality spin bowling and has since captured 26 scalps from four matches this season at a staggering average of 14 apiece with his best match-haul being 10-82.
The all-rounders, Paul and Rutherford, have been providing ideal holding and seaming options and have combined for 23 wickets between them, Paul, 11 and Rutherford, 12.
Touching on the batting unit which was steadily improving, the former fast bowler praised the consistent exploits of Vishaul Singh, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and skipper Johnson.
The trio along with Paul have all scored contrasting centuries in critical moments of the Jaguars’ 2017/18 season to underline the side’s ability to be competitive and to show fight when things were against them.
Jaguars meanwhile, have made one change to the squad from that which played in the last round with Akshaya Persaud replacing the out-of-form Rajendra Chandrika.
The Squad reads: Leon Johnson (Captain), Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Chanderpaul Hemraj, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Vishaul Singh, Anthony Bramble, Keemo Paul, Akshaya Persaud, Sherfane Rutherford, Romario Shepherd, Veerasammy Permaul, Gudakesh Motie and Keon Joseph.