Guyana Jaguars skipper Leon Johnson has registered quite a fitting farewell tribute to coach Esuan Crandon who has elevated the ranks of coaching and is now the Assistant Head Coach of the West Windies.
Crandon, who will begin his international stint against the touring England cricket team later this month, had oversight of the four-time defending champions for the very last time Sunday during Jaguars’ eight-wicket win over the Windward Islands Volcanoes at the Guyana National Stadium, Providence.
It was in that moment where the handshakes and hugs were exchanged that Stabroek Sport sat down with Johnson as he shared a little insight into Crandon’s mystique and effective approach.
“He started with us in 2012… I think myself, [Veersammy] Permaul, and [Christopher] Barnwell were probably the only players in this current team, who were playing when `Cranny’ started to coach us,” Johnson said.
Reflecting on the character of the man, Johnson spoke of Crandon’s growth as a coach and his authentic influence in forming what is now a tightly-knitted bunch.
“Obviously he’s grown with the team where we were basically in doldrums of Regional four-day cricket and…it’s good that today [Sunday] he’s able to leave on a winning note, having coached us for seven years and won four titles and is here for half of the season and we are well on our way to winning a fifth.” Johnson told Stabroek Sport that he was pleased to see the Guyanese taking a step up in the realms of West Indies cricket coaching.
“Yeah, it’s sad to see him go but I’m happy to see him moving on to greater things. [During his time] he has influenced a lot of players and their careers and he has been a great motivator to us… he has grown, he has learnt and never been afraid to ask questions,”
When asked about the fondest moment he shared with Crandon, Johnson chucked, nostalgic almost, as he took a few moments to dissect seven years of memories.
It was therefore no surprise as he spoke of the joys when Jaguars collected the first of their four titles.
“I think it has to be when we won the first title in 2015… that was in Dominica. Yeah, he celebrated like he was one of the players and just had a good time. He is one of those coaches who played with a lot of the guys.
“He is pretty easy going and never really pressures anyone about their position and he’s just made the environment conducive for us to perform well. But yeah, like I said, one of my fondest memories is winning that first championship.”
Johnson, who is as pure as they come with regards to his leadership, formed part of the nucleolus with Crandon along with Rayon Griffith – Assistant Coach – in creating one of the modern-day Regional dynasties.