Sarwan pulls out with injured back; Chandrika in
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Big blow for Guyana in WICB competition …
… Chattergoon is new captain; Fudadin his deputy
FIRST it was dependable middle-order batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul (finger), now Guyana has suffered another big blow prior to departure for their first WICB regional four-day game against Trinidad and Tobago in Antigua, when skipper Ramnaresh Sarwan was forced to withdraw from the team, due to a back injury.

According to president of the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) Chetram Singh, Sarwan, who will be replaced by the in-form Rajendra Chandrika, the West Indies batsman’s absence is certainly a dent to Guyana’s chances.

“First we lost Shiv and now with Ronnie being advised to rest for four to six weeks with a niggling back injury that is a terrible blow to Guyana’s cricket, as two of our senior players are out, but more so, he may be forced to miss the one-day international series against Australia,” said Singh.

“Their presence on the team would have been vital, as they would have been a strong influence to the younger players, when one looks at their international experience. However, their withdrawal gives two younger players a chance to establish themselves.”

Singh, who is also the longest serving director on the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), is optimistic of Guyana’s chances in this year’s tournament and expressed his pleasure at the preparation the squad had leading up to the competition.

“First of all, we were blessed with good weather, which enabled the management team to execute their preparation plans. They had lots of practice, even though none was held under the lights with the pink ball, which was no fault of ours.

“We were expecting the balls from the WICB, but they only got their shipment recently. I am disappointed, as I needed the players to have at least one practice match under the lights prior to their departure.

“However, the WICB has promised that they will have the opportunity of practising with the balls in Antigua, even though it will be a few days before the first match.

“Having said that, I am pleased with the compilation of the team and the preparation they had leading up to the tournament. I don’t think any of our national team has had such adequate preparation in excellent weather conditions before a tournament,” Singh stated.

“Apart from that, I am looking forward for an improved and much better performance from the guys, compared to what we got over the last two seasons, especially last year, when one of our batsmen made history by becoming the first batsman to score over 1 000 runs in a WICB first class season, but we still finished in the cellar position.”

Chandrika’s call-up to the side is a belated one, taking into consideration his form in the Georgetown Cricket Association (GCA)/Cellink Plus-sponsored two-day first division competition, which was complemented by an authoritative and unbeaten 150 in the rain-ruined three-day final.

His inclusion in the squad can serve as a plus to coach Ravindranauth Seeram and newly appointed skipper Sewnarine Chattergoon, as he can execute the duties of opener with Chattergoon, leaving Travis Dowlin who was to be used in that position to bat in an already depleted middle-order.

Being faced with the unavailability of both Sarwan and Chanderpaul, Seeram would be hoping Dowlin, the in-form Narsingh Deonarine, newly appointed vice-captain Assad Fudadin, Royston Crandon and wicketkeeper/batsman Derwin Christian accept their responsibility to shore up the batting in the middle and lower order.

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