-Believes Sarwan can still play a major role
MANAGER of the Guyana team for the past two years and former president of the Essequibo Cricket Board Alvin Johnson yesterday showered praise on the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB), for consenting to the Chairman of Selector’s Rayon Griffith’s request for an early encampment session for the 37 member squad.Johnson was at the time overlooking the squad’s indoor net session at the Chetram Singh Centre of Excellence, located at LBI East Coast Demerara, following another rigorous fitness session which was hosted at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall (CASH), earlier in the day.
“I think the initiative by the GCB to bring this squad together pretty early, is a welcome sign, since over the years we have been hurriedly preparing the teams for Regional competition which does not augurs well and the fact that we have gathered them together pretty early is great and I am encouraged” said Johnson.
He added, “So far, all the players who have been called are here with the exception of Veerasammy Permaul, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Narsingh Deonarine who are on West Indies duty in New Zealand and while the weather has not been kind to us, we are still trying to make do with whatever we can.
Yesterday (Saturday) was the first day of sessions after orientation the previous day and I think we had a good workout with our plans being achieved. However, there is a bug bear we have been encountering throughout encampment sessions whether long or short.”
The bean pole Johnson was relating to the fitness of the players, some of whom come to the preparatory camp with the aim of getting fit, instead of being fit prior to the encampment period, thus lightening the workload of the coaches and called on the GCB to stamp out this insularity.
“Time and time again, we have said to players when preparing for a tournament, you don’t come into a camp for us to get you fit, since you should be fit before the camp, but once again that has surfaced, with several players not being up to the entry level of fitness and I think the GCB needs to do something about this soon” posited Johnson.
He added, “As I said, we have to take things one day at a time, but I would want to say that the entry level as it relates to their fitness is not up to standard, but having said that I think the players have committed themselves to getting fit and we saw it on the first day when they got deeply into the action.”
He outlined part of the coaching staff’s plans for yesterday morning, wherein they had marked the track for a 4km run at the Guyana National Stadium, but the early morning showers prevented same from occurring, hence they turned to the CASH for added fitness training.
He said the tone was set and the players notified of management staff’s expectations, at such a critical time when West Indies cricket is at its lowest low.
He reiterated that the early start being given to the players should be an added impetus, while the coaches can identify flaws and work on it, unlike before.
“It is not to say that they would not have done it before, but having an extended preparation time such as this one should be a confidence booster for the players, who seem to be lacking confidence when they go out there.
He added, “One good sign is Leon Johnson, who had a good season for us this year in the CT20, Regional four day and Super50 tournaments respectively, but he did not get the hundreds we were looking for, while being consistent and he is one we are looking at.
In addition to that, I think that Ramnaresh Sarwan should come to the party. In fact, this tournament would be a decisive one for him for as I said, West Indies still needs him but he himself needs to be the Ramnaresh Sarwan we know of old.”
“Even though it is too early to call, his commitment has been great so far over the two days and I feel that they will all build a confidence that is needed, having been together for awhile, hence they will go out there next year and churn out a much better and improved performance not only for themselves, given the state of West Indies cricket, but their country as well” said Johnson.
Weather permitting, the squad will return to the Guyana National Stadium this morning to conduct the 4km run and should this not be possible, they will be at the CASH and later in the day back to the LBI facility for more indoor nets.
(By Calvin Roberts)