Jamaica bank on bowlers
Hosts face experienced Guyana batting in 4-day clash
A MOSTLY inexperienced Jamaica batting line-up will be thrown in at the deep end when a strong Guyana team comes knocking in the first-round Regional Four-Day clash at Sabina Park, starting at 10:00 am today.
The Jamaicans are without household names Christopher Gayle, Marlon Samuels, Brenton Parchment and Donovan Pagon and instead are looking to the likes of left-handed opener John Campbell and attacking middle-order batsman Jermaine Blackwood to carry the batting torch of hope.
Captain Tamar Lambert, the man who has been at the core of Jamaica’s dominant run in first-class cricket over the last decade, acknowledged the threat of the Guyanese, while suggesting that his young players should be ready for the chance to perform.
“Guyana is always a tough opponent, but having said that, we try to concentrate on ourselves and doing the basic things right. Once we play some good cricket it is always going to be a close game against Guyana.
“We have a lot of youngsters in our team but they have been around for a number of years so it’s an opportunity for them. We have to have some patience with them (though), I know the Jamaican people are used to winning,” the 32-year-old Lambert told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.
Gayle, the powerful lefthander, after recently returning to the West Indies set-up following injury, is nursing stiffness in his back and hamstring.
Samuels, the usually smooth-looking middle-order batsman is in the West Indies squad to face the visitors England in the opening One-Day International of the series in North Sound, Antigua.
Parchment played in practice matches late last year, but was not seen for the recent trial game ahead of the naming of the squad, while Pagon has seemingly fallen off the local cricket radar.
The Jamaicans are also without left-arm finger spinner Nikita Miller — another player on regional team duties, but the pace bowling department is studded with the quality of Jerome Taylor, Andrew Richardson, David Bernard and left-armer Sheldon Cotterell.
Guyana’s captain and top batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul, a veteran of 153 Test matches, conceded that his current squad is a formidable one.
“We know that playing Jamaica at Sabina Park will be a tough assignment, but we have one of the strongest squads in the tournament on paper and we are hoping to transfer that unto the field come Friday,” Chanderpaul, 39, said upon the team’s arrival earlier this week.
Aside from Chanderpaul, Guyana’s batting can rely on sidelined West Indies batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan, Narsingh Deonarine, Assad Fudadin and Christopher Barnwell.
The bowling will be led by lanky fast bowler Ronsford Beaton, leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo and left-arm orthodox slow bowler Veerasammy Permaul.
Given the sluggish nature of the Sabina Park batting square during the limitedovers series between West Indies and Ireland, it is expected that slow bowlers and seamers, who can effectively vary their pace, will be a handful.
Also in this first round, Windward Islands host champions Barbados in Gros Islet, St Lucia, starting today, while in a game to commence tomorrow, Leeward Islands welcome Combined Campuses and Colleges to Basseterre, St Kitts. Trinidad & Tobago have a bye.
Jamaica — Tamar Lambert (capt), John Campbell, Nkrumah Bonner, Andre McCarthy, Jermaine Blackwood, David Bernard, Carlton Baugh, Andre Russell, Jerome Taylor, Sheldon Cotterell, Andrew Richardson, Jamie Merchant, Horace Miller.
Guyana — Shivnarine Chanderpaul (capt), Ramnaresh Sarwan, Narsingh Deonarine, Christopher Barnwell, Anthony Bramble, Assad Fudadin, Amir Khan, Sewnarine Chattergoon, Veerasammy Permaul, Devendra Bishoo, Ronsford Beaton, Keon Joseph, Vishaul Singh.