Guyana Jaguars will have three changes for their fourth-round Cricket West Indies four-day clash against the Windward Islands Volcanoes at the Providence Stadium starting today.
The defending champions have already won all three matches and will be looking for a fourth straight win against the Volcanoes.
Their chances of doing so have been boosted with the return of West Indies duo, Shimron Hetmyer and Keemo Paul as well as top order batsman, Trevon Griffith.
However, they will be without the services of Vishaul Singh, Raymon Reifer and Chandrapaul Hemraj who will be going to represent the West Indies Cricket Board XI against England.
When Stabroek News visited the Jaguars during their training session yesterday, Head Coach, Esaun Crandon acknowledged the “fantastic start” the team has gotten in the tournament.
“Three games on the road is a fantastic start for us, leading the table coming home with two games, definitely we want to extend that lead at the top of the table.”
Jaguars are currently on 58.4 points with the next best being Leeward Islands Hurricanes with 43.6 points followed by Volcanoes (38.2 points), Barbados Pride (29.8 points), Trinidad and Tobago Red Force (10.2 points) and Jamaica Scorpions (9.8 points).
Crandon added that the home advantage is always crucial to a team and while the side may know the conditions, they also have to play like that in order to win.
The West Indies-bound coach foresees a good contest against their opponents, He said that the Windwards have improved since Guyana defeated them but remains confident in his players.
“It is just about going out there and executing the plans well,” he said.
The Windward Islands most successful bowler, Shane Shillingford, will not be playing this round and Crandon said the side is happy they don’t have to play against him given his success against the Jaguars and especially on a track like Providence. Nevertheless, Crandon reminded that “Jaguars play the game and not names.”
Assistant coach and manager of the four-time consecutive champions, Rayon Griffith, expounded on Crandon’s position.
According to Griffith a lot of cricket is being played
and players, he said, will be in and out of the side adding that it was good to get back Hetmyer, Paul and Griffith back in the side.
Hetymer, said Griffith, is in form and Paul, he said, has done well with both bat and ball.
He also said he was confident in Trevon Griffith’s batting as well as his value in the slip cordon.
The assistant coach, explained that Griffith has looked better that previous years and has found himself with good starts in the two rounds but was unlucky having been run out twice while Paul has recovered from a minor finger injury.
“I had a good couple of days rest coming off of injury, all I’m focusing on is going back into the four day game and hopefully get a good game and make an impact,” Paul told this newspaper.
Griffith commenting on his return to the side, explained that for him, he is “just focused on scoring runs, opening the batting setting good starts and looking forward to making runs.”
Rayon Griffith was also adamant on the importance of the Jaguars’ skipper, Leon Johnson who has been the linchpin to a few important partnerships and backs him to score heavily having scored a century on the ground prior to the beginning of the competition.
Heading into the showdown, the team manager stated the team is always in a good mindset but is especially happy having walked away with maximum points in all three of their games so far.
Though Shillingford will be absent, Griffith said he was wary of the up-and-coming youngsters, whom he believes are hungry and can come in to make an immediate impact.