Guyana & WIsld look to end drought
GEORGETOWN, Guyana, CMC – Without a title for several years, both Guyana and Windward Islands will hope to change that worrying trend when they face each other on the opening day of the Regional Super50 Series here Wednesday.
Both teams will square off at the Guyana National Stadium at 9 am, in one of two matches scheduled in the newly branded West Indies Cricket Board competition.
The hosts, who have struggled regionally in recent times especially, have not won a limited overs title in six years while the Windwards have to go back to 2000 to find their last success.
Guyana will have fond memories of their last title triumph when star batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan scored a record 462 runs including three centuries and former Test batsman Sewnarine Chattergoon got a hundred in the final at Bourda.
The Windwards are the least successful of the six traditional sides involved in the competition with just two titles. They beat Guyana in 1989 in the final in Grenada and won again 11 years later when they got past the Leewards in the final in Jamaica.
They begin their campaign against the Guyanese without regular skipper Daren Sammy who is leading West Indies in Bangladesh, and off-spinner Shane Shillingford who is also involved in the Test series on the Asian subcontinent.
In Sammy’s absence, West Indies batsman Devon Smith will lead the side which includes talented off-spinner Dalton Polius, who could make his Windwards one-day debut in Shillingford's absence.
All-rounder Liam Sebastian, who took five for 38 with his off-spin when these two teams last met at this level in 2008 at Blairmount, should also relish the Guyanese pitches along with left-arm spinner Denis George.
Kenroy Peters and Nelon Pascal should share the new balls for the Windwards while Smith, Andre Fletcher, Charles, Keddy Lesporis, Hyron Shallow, Craig Emmanuel and Sebastian will want to contribute with the bat at a venue where eight of the 16 totals over 250 in List A games have been in Regional limited overs matches.
The Guyanese have three seamers in lively West Indies Under-19 pacer Ronsford Beaton, Paul Wintz and Chris Barnwell while captain Assad Fudadin can also bowl medium pace.
But it would not be surprising if Steven Jacobs opens the bowling to exploit Smith’s discomfort against off-spin.
In a team in which batsmen Royston Crandon, Leon Johnson and Sewnarine Chattergoon can bowl decent spin, West Indies under-19 leg-spinner Amir Khan and off-spinner Steven Latcha could have to wait a bit longer for debuts at this level.
On the spin-friendly pitches, Guyana will miss the services of West Indies leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo who is in Bangladesh and left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul, who like Test pacer Brandon Bess and exciting opener Rajendra Chandrika, are representing the HPC combination.
Even without the injured Sarwan, the Guyana batting looks good on paper with vice-captain Johnson looking back to top form and former West Indies Under-19 opener Trevon Griffith coming into his own.
Griffith could open with either Chattergoon or Fudadin while Crandon, Jacobs the experienced Travis Dowlin, Jonathon Foo, Chris Barnwell and wicketkeeper Derwin Christian are all aggressive batsmen who will bolster the middle order.
The last time Guyana faced the Windwards at this level they lost by three wickets despite half-centuries from Dowlin and Crandon.
WINDWARDS – Devon Smith (captain), Johnson Charles, Craig Emmanuel, Andre Fletcher, Xavier Gabriel, Denis George, Kevin James, Keddy Lesporis, Garey Mathurin, Nelon Pascal, Kenroy Peters, Dalton Polius, Liam Sebastien, Hyron Shallow.
GUYANA – Assad Fudadin (captain), Leon Johnson, Christopher Barnwell, Ronsford Beaton, Sewnarine Chattergoon, Derwin Christian, Royston Crandon, Travis Dowlin, Jonathan Foo, Trevon Griffith, Steven Jacobs, Amir Khan, Steven Latcha, Paul Wintz.