Back-to-back fifties a confidence booster says Johnson

Leon Johnson is brimming with confidence after scoring back-to-back fifties.

After leading his side to a seven-wicket win over Jamaica Scorpions with half centuries in both innings, Guyana Jaguars’ captain, Leon Johnson said the performances were a confidence booster.

Speaking exclusively to Stabroek Sport, Johnson, who had just one half-century in the tournament prior to the match said: “Scoring back-to-back half centuries is obviously good for my confidence, I have been working hard and training with Shiv [Shivnarine Chanderpaul] and Griff [Rayon Griffith], I felt good in the first innings and in the second innings it was just to get a start and carry on seeing the team home.”

The 32-year-old added, “Hopefully I could continue it in the next three rounds and finish the tournament strong.”

He acknowledged that he has not set himself any personal goals for the remainder of the tournament but confessed that his confidence is high and that he would love to have three centuries. Johnson spoke highly of his friendship with Vishaul Singh whom he shared a 101-run stand in the first innings as well as an unbroken 78-run partnership in the second innings.

“Vishaul is somebody I’ve had a lot of partnerships with going back to Under-15 club cricket, school cricket, first-division cricket, all levels of cricket. I played with him and you know I understand his game pretty well and he understands mine pretty well, so when we meet up at the crease it is very easy for us to communicate and I think we run well between the wickets. Obviously I know his strengths, he knows mine and it is easy to bat with him,” Johnson stated.

He pointed out that the lower order also showed their strength with the bat over the previous tournaments.

“The lower order has produced with the bat as well and it has shown. They put good scores and when they come it really helps and the guys work hard on their skill. I don’t consider them tail-enders but lower order batsman.”

The seamers have also stepped up and despite Veerasammy Permaul being the leading wicket-taker for Guyana over the years, a bulk of the wickets have gone to the seamers.

“Over the years the seamers have developed.  Traditionally we are very spin-based and I think sometimes with them bowling a lot it can hamper them…I think the seamers’ skills have improved tremendously and I think it helps having two coaches that were fast bowlers and would help the seamers along the way.”

Johnson said at the beginning of the tournament the team just wanted to play good cricket and continue playing good cricket. He, however said that it would be nice to have the record of five consecutive titles by one captain in the history of the competition.

Jamaica is the only side to win five consecutive titles under two captains in Cricket West Indies Regional Four-Day cricket but should table-toppers, Guyana win this season, they would equal that record and Johnson would be the first captain to have done so.

“We won four games in a row and we had a little hiccup where we lost two games and now we are back on track. We still have to go out and play good cricket. We would have seen if you don’t play good cricket consistently what could happen and the teams that are left, we not there as yet, I still think we are a long way. We still need to win two more games. We just need to take each game at a time and not worry about the championship as yet,” Johnson said.

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