Coach of the Guyana Jaguars cricket team, Esuan Crandon, says that he is pleased with his side’s showing in the ongoing Cricket West Indies (CWI) Regional Super50 festival.
The Guyanese, who are hunting the elusive limited overs title which they have not won in over a decade, have qualified for the semifinal leg of the tournament for the first time since 2015.
They will come up against a peaking Windward Islands Hurricane side in the second semifinal on Thursday, in a day/night encounter which begins from 14:00hrs.
“Yes, I’m very happy that we’re in the semis,” Crandon told Stabroek Sport in a recent interview.
“We have played good enough cricket to be in the knockout stage [of the tournament], and the onus is on us now to play our best cricket and win this championship.”
Jaguars began the tournament with four dominant wins over Kent, the USA, Leeward Islands Hurricanes and the Jamaica Scorpions. They later surrendered their next two matches to the Jamaica Scorpions and Kent and were in danger of not qualifying for the playoffs.
The team, however, showed spirit and returned to its winning ways by humbling Leeward Islands Hurricanes and the Jamaica Scorpions to book their place in the semis.
“We have had a situation where different players had to step up and do the job for us, but I must say that I’m happy with the way [Chandrapaul} Hemraj and [Christopher] Barnwell played the last game. They were very positive and watchful throughout that partnership which enabled us to score at a decent rate.”
Thursday’s semifinals, nonetheless, will present a new challenge for the Leon Johnson-led unit for which Crandon indicated that his charges are confident of winning.
“We are very confident of winning [semi] at the moment, and that’s important heading into this game. We had a couple of days to prepare in the nets and get ourselves ready mentally, physically and technically,” the Coach noted, while assuring that his side is prepared to continue playing the exciting brand of cricket which has brought the team success.
The team has a slight advantage heading into the encounter, having played five of their eight matches at the semifinal venue, Coolidge.
Asked if the team’s chances of winning the festival has been slightly diminished after losing the services of Shimron Hetmyer, Devendra Bishoo, Raymon Reifer and Keemo Paul; all on West Indies duties, Crandon expressed confidence in the current crop, noting that the absence of the senior guys, opens opportunities for the others to deliver.
“I don’t believe that losing players have hurt our chances of winning.
“What I know is that it has given other players the opportunity to perform and it also gives us the opportunity to see what our reserves can do and where they’re at the moment compare to where they need to be regarding skills and readiness.”
One such player, who has grabbed his opportunity as a replacement is Barnwell, who, after five games, has so far recorded 215 runs at an average of 54. He has scored two half-centuries, one of which is his highest List A score – 89.
He has also been useful with the ball, grabbing 4-35 against the USA in a Man-of-the-Match performance.