‘I am prepared for whatever opportunity’ – newcomer Persaud
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Flashback! Akshaya Persaud receiving his CCC cap in 2019
Flashback! Akshaya Persaud receiving his CCC cap in 2019

By Rajiv Bisnauth

FROM all indications, the Guyana Jaguars’ core concern, heading into this year CG Insurance Super50 Cup, seems to be their top-order batting.

It was evident during the three practice games recently where a number of their front-line batsmen were negative in their approach, hence their poor showing. Assad Fudadin, Leon Johnson, Shimron Hetmyer, Anthony Bramble, Tevin Imlach and Christopher Barnwell failed to contribute significantly with the bat during those practice games.

Of the three games, Chandrapaul Hemraj struck the only hundred, while Akshaya Persaud hit 51 – the only batsmen with any real, stern performances.

The collective failure of most of the top-order batsmen during the three practice games recently needs introspection for it will impact not only the composition of the Jaguars squad, but the balance of the playing XI.

This means one of three newcomers in the Guyana Jaguars 15-man squad – Persaud – could find himself in the middle-order, an opportunity he says he is prepared for.

“Whatever opportunity I get I just want to put my best foot forward and hopefully we can go ahead this year and win the tournament,” he said.

The left-handed Persaud, who progressed through the Youth levels, and was a standby player on the West Indies Under-19 team for the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) 2016 Youth World Cup, has already played List A cricket. In 2019, he was part of the Combined Campuses and Colleges squad.

He scored 137 runs in five innings at an average of 34.25 with two fifties and also took four wickets with this left-arm spin.

Both half-centuries – an unbeaten 51 and 55 – came against a Barbados Pride bowling attack featuring West Indies players Ashley Nurse, Miguel Cummins and Chemar Holder.

However, with a number of top regional players available this year, the 23-year-old feels that it’s an extra motivation for him. “Definitely it provides an opportunity to play amongst the best, so I am just looking forward to the challenge,” he related.

The tournament bowls off today in Antigua. With strict quarantine restrictions currently in place, Cricket West Indies (CWI) was forced to reduce the number of teams for this year’s tournament.

The 47th edition of the tournament will revert to only the six regional franchises, which would mean that defending champions, West Indies Emerging Players, along with Canada, USA and Combined Campuses and Colleges would miss out.

This means the six leading franchises – Jamaica Scorpions, Trinidad and Tobago Red Force, Guyana Jaguars, Barbados Pride, Leeward Island Hurricanes and the Windward Islands Volcanoes – are the only teams participating this year for the Clive Lloyd Trophy.

The six franchises will play 19 matches in a round-robin format at Coolidge and the Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium, with the top four teams qualifying for the semi-finals.

Last year, CWI was unable to host the tournament after being forced to abort the last two rounds of the first-class championship then to scrap all of its scheduled international home series due to COVID-19.

The squad reads: Chandrapaul Hemraj, Kemol Savory, Christopher Barnwell, Leon Johnson (captain), Shimron Hetmyer (Vice-captain), Assad Fudadin, Keon Joseph, Romario Shepherd, Kevin Sinclair, Ramaal Lewis, Nial Smith, Gudakesh Motie, Anthony Bramble, Akshaya Persaud and Tevin Imlach.

Esaun Crandon is the head coach, Shivnarine Chanderpaul the Manager/Assistant coach and Ernesto Campo Gonzalez the physiotherapist.

 

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