– Practice game on at GCC today
DESPITE his rich vein of form for his home club Georgetown Cricket Club over the past four months, coupled with his performances for Demerara in the Guyana Cricket Board/Pepsi/Carib Inter-county 50 over tournament, Robin Bacchus was still surprised at his selection on the national team for this month-end’s WICB/NAGICO Super50 tournament in Trinidad and Tobago.
In an invited comment with Chronicle Sport, during the National team’s practice match against a Rest XI at the Everest Cricket Club ground last Friday, the soft spoken Bacchus said he plans to grab the opportunity given him with both hands, ensuring Guyana is successful.
“Honestly, I am very excited and at the same time startled at being selected for the national team in an official capacity, after having represented Guyana in two T20 practice matches against Trinidad and Tobago last year.
“I am eager to go out and give a good account of myself and the reason for my surprise is when you look at the players who were invited to the encampment, apart from Shiv Chanderpaul, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Leon Johnson and Christopher Barnwell, there have a good bunch of young and eager players who are raring to go,” said Bacchus.
He added, “It is not that I ever doubted that I would make the team, but it still came as a surprise, for which I am excited. I am feeling in good knick and at the moment I am eagerly looking forward to going out there and perform for my country.
“We have a very balanced and at the same time experienced lineup, with batsmen in the caliber of Shiv, Ronnie (Sarwan), Johnson and Barnwell in the lineup who arte al experienced players at this level. At the same time, I am looking to throw in my lot as the new kid on the block, as it is my aim to not just come and pass through or even be a passenger on the squad, but to come and remain a permanent fixture in the lineup.”
The Guyanese, who last won a tournament at this level eight years ago, is grouped alongside defending champions Windward Islands, former champions Jamaica and Ireland in Group A, and leaves for the Twin Island Republic on January 28.
The squad, along with 13 other players, have been encamped since December 27, 2013, working on a daily basis under the astute guidance of coach Esuan Crandon, Rayon Griffith and Julian Benn, while accredited Physical Fitness Officers within the Guyana Defence Force in Patrick King and Carl Stephenson joined the camp early last week.
Quizzed on their fitness level, a smiling Bacchus repeated the words of Sarwan, who in an earlier interview with this medium said “Quite honestly, I think the only time we have trained so hard as a unit is way back in youth cricket days….”
“ I was not privileged to be around to give a testament to what Ronnie (Sarwan) said as it relates to the intensity of the training, but when we look back at what we did in the sessions, everyone agrees that it was intense, but at the same time filled with fun.
“We are all feeling the energy and with the squad gelling together for the practice match today, the way we cheered on each other irrespective of which side you are playing on, speaks volumes and also highlights the camaraderie within the squad,” said Bacchus.
The National XI, who play their first game against the Irish on January 31 at the Queen’s Park Oval, followed by an intense encounter against Jamaica at the same venue four days later, will once again be in action today at the Georgetown Cricket Club ground, when they oppose a Rest XI in their second practice match from 09:30hrs.
The 27 year old Barnwell, who is known for his power hitting on the local and Regional T20 circuit, will lead the Guyanese in the WICB/NAGICO Super50 tournament, with the experienced Chanderpaul as his deputy, while Bacchus is expected to make his debut in the first fixture.
The 14-man squad reads: Robin Bacchus, Trevon Griffith, Leon Johnson, Shivnarine Chanderpaul (vice-captain), Narsingh Deonarine, Christopher Barnwell (captain), Ramnaresh Sarwan, Royston Crandon, Assad Fudadin, Anthony Bramble, Devendra Bishoo, Veerasammy Permaul, Ronsford Beaton and Paul Wintz.
(By Calvin Roberts)