Johnson to lead Guyana in Regional 4-Day tournament


… Warm-up match at Stadium from today
GEORGETOWN Cricket Club (GCC) skipper Leon Johnson has been tasked with the responsibility of leading Guyana in the first round of their West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) Regional four-day match against defending champions Jamaica at Sabina Park.

Leon-JohnsonThe Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) senior selection panel, led by Chairman Rayon Griffith, yesterday afternoon released the names of the 14 players for the first round contest, with Johnson having as his deputy, veteran West Indies Test player Shivnarine Chanderpaul.
Also included in the 13-man squad for the first game are former Guyana and West Indies skipper Ramnaresh Sarwan, Narsingh Deonarine and Vishal Singh, while Keon Joseph, who narrowly missed out on being selected for the WICB NAGICO Super50 tournament, finds himself in the 13-man lineup to share the new ball along with Ronsford Beaton.
Johnson was named as deputy to Veerasammy Permaul for last year’s tournament, while in the absence of Chanderpaul for Guyana’s semi-final contest against Barbados in the WICB NAGICO Super50 tournament he also performed the duties of vice-captain to Christopher Barnwell.
Notable absentees from the squad are Rajendra Chandrika and Chandrapaul Hemraj, along with Paul Wintz and Rajiv Ivan, while Wintz, Royston Crandon, Trevon Griffith and Robin Bacchus who were all part of the WICB NAGICO Super50 squad, failed to find favour with the selectors for the Regional four-day tournament.
The 25-year-old Singh, who made his debut for Guyana against Barbados at the Guyana National Stadium, Providence, five years ago, was the leading runscorer in last year’s GCB/Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company/Hand-in-Hand four-day tournament that was won by Berbice.
He accumulated 250 runs in four innings at an average of 62.50, with a topscore of 100 against newly crowned champions Berbice in the first innings, followed by a resilient 55 in the second, while he scored 83 against Essequibo in the second round.
He last played for Guyana in the 2011 WICB Regional four-day tournament when the team performed miserably, while he averages 17.58 from the nine matches he has played where he aggregated 299 runs with a top score of 66 against Barbados at the Guyana National Stadium in 2011.
In an invited comment with Chronicle Sport yesterday afternoon after he heard of his selection, Singh, who like Johnson plies his trade for GCC said he is looking to transfer his form from last year into the Regional tournament.
“I have been out of the national team for the past three years and was looking to get back there. Now that I have done that, my aim is to produce some good performances in the middle order which is a very big one.
Nevertheless, the selectors have invested their trust in me and whenever I do get the chance to go out there for my country, it is my aim to put my best foot forward and continue in the same way that I during the Inter-county tournament last year,” said Singh.
Meanwhile, the Johnson-led 13-man squad will engage a Reserve XI in a four-day warm-up fixture commencing from today at 10:00hrs and continuing over the next three days from the same time, at the Guyana National Stadium, Providence.
The Guyana squad for the first round reads: Sewnarine Chattergoon, Assad Fudadin, Leon Johnson (captain), Ramnaresh Sarwan, Narsingh Deonarine, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Anthony Bramble, Christopher Barnwell, Veerasammy Permaul, Devendra Bishoo, Ronsford Beaton, Keon Joseph and Vishal Singh. The manager is Alvin Johnson and the coach is Easan Crandon.
The Reserve team reads: Rajendra Chandrika, Trevon Griffith, Robin Bacchus, Chanderpaul Hemraj, Royston Crandon, Rajiv Ivan, Jonathan Foo, Zaheer Mohamed, Anthony Adams, Jason Sinclair, Paul Wintz, Raun Johnson, Rayon Fredericks, Collis Butts, Andre Stoll and Ricardo Adams
The Guyana squad will depart for Jamaica one week from today and will take on the defending champions in the first round, three days later at Sabina Park.
Prior to this warm-up match, the players on the squad who were not a part of the Super50 squad in Trinidad, were in an Encampment from February 5 to 7 which gave the selectors an opportunity to look at their fitness level.
Chairman of GCB Senior Selection Panel, Rayon Griffith, advised that players not selected for the first round must continue to practise and stay fit for likely selection in future rounds of this year’s competition.
After playing Jamaica in the first round, the Guyanese will return home and engage Barbados in the first Day/Night four-day fixture using the pink balls at the Guyana National Stadium from March 7 to 10.
Their next engagement will be against Windward Islands at the same venue from March 14 to 17, before they travel to Barbados and face Combined Campuses and Colleges (CCC) under the lights at the University of West Indies, Cave Hill Campus ground.
They drew a bye for the fourth round before taking on the Leeward Islands in the fifth round in another day/night encounter at a venue to be confirmed while they host Trinidad and Tobago at the Guyana National Stadium in their final preliminary round match.
Should they finish within the top four, something they were unable to do since 2011, the Guyanese will earn a place in the semi-finals which will be played from April 19 to 22, while victory there, whether by first innings or outright will guarantee them a place in the final, set to bowl off from April 25 to 28.
Written By Calvin Roberts