EXCEPT for the now infamous final morning episode that resulted in the shocking two-run defeat to Barbados Pride, Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) Chairman of Selectors Rayon Griffith is pleased with the performances of the Guyana Jaguars, prior to the festive season break in the West Indies Cricket Board/Professional Cricket League (PCL) Regional four-day tournament.The table-topping Jaguars took the break with three wins from their four matches which they totally dominated to finish with 57 points, seven clear of the second-placed Jamaica franchise, but with the WICB/NAGICO Super50 tournament set to bowl off shortly, Griffith is not resting on his laurels.
When Guyana competed in the limited overs version this year, they lost to eventual champions Barbados in their semi-final encounter at the Queen’s Park Oval and according to Griffith, who is also the assistant coach/manager of the Jaguars, he doesn’t wish his charges to be ‘cricket sleeping’.
“Looking back at our performance in the first four matches, with the exception of that final morning episode in the third round against Barbados, I think we have been playing excellent cricket and the players are beginning to think more and study the opposition as well.
That in itself is a plus for the management team, who totally agrees that the performances from the players before the break were excellent, as we played some good cricket, got things in our favour and the results flowed to further underlined such,” said Griffith.
He added, “We are looking to focus on the Super50 early as we did last year, as we don’t wish for them to be ‘cricket-sleeping’, so we will be taking things one step further as it relates to our training, with the aim of first repeating the feats of making the final four and then going one step further, which is to bring home the bacon.
“I think the present form the players are showing is impeccable and while there is room for improvement, they all believe in themselves, gelling together and bringing the chemistry we were looking for and that is another plus for us.”
Griffith opined that several players were lacking self-confidence prior to the commencement of the Regional four-day tournament, but sessions done with those players renewed their hopes and confidence.
“When you look at these guys, you see a bunch of players who were good enough to represent the West Indies at various levels, so why were they not bringing such attitude to the table? Self-confidence was lacking, but we worked on it and now they are producing and producing healthily too” said Griffith.
Leading up to the break, Jaguars’ Narsingh Deonarine who got back-to-back centuries against the Leeward Islands Hurricanes and Windward Islands Volcanoes in the first two rounds, trails Volcanoes’ Devon Smith by 25 runs (309 to 334) in the batsman column for most runs.
Former skipper and left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul is the leading wicket-taker, having lured back 32 victims to the Jaguars’ den for dinner at an average of 10:00, inclusive of back-to-back 10-wicket hauls in the second and third rounds.
With spinners again dominating the competition, Permaul’s teammate leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo has taken 21 wickets while Trinidad and Tobago Red Force’s Imran Khan, also a leg-spinner, has 21 scalps to his name.
The Jaguars will commence their preparation for the NAGICO Super50 tournament today at the Georgetown Cricket Club ground from 10:00hrs. They take on the Windward Islands Volcanoes in the first match on January 15, 2015, at the Queen’s Park Oval.
This will be followed by clashes against defending champions Barbados Pride on January 17 and their final clash with Combined Campuses and Colleges on January 19, also at the Queen’s Park Oval.
(By Calvin Roberts)