Guyana confident for Jamaica

Stabroek News
January 14, 2000

KINGSTON, Jamaica, (CANA) - Hosts Jamaica and Guyana are confident-- even while facing problems to deal with injury and illness --ahead of their second round Busta Cup cricket encounter starting at Sabina Park here today.

Ace Jamaican fastbowler Dwight Mais has a sore heel and will have to undergo a fitness test early today before it is decided whether he is fit enough to play.

Mais, who represented West Indies "A" impressively against India "A" late last year developed the heel problem in the drawn first round game against the Windward Islands in St Vincent.

He bowled only one over in the Windward Islands' second innings as Jamaica, having taken first innings points were frustrated in their bid for full points.

Should Mais be ruled out, 20-year-old fastbowler Wade Allen, who has impressed cricket followers with his pace and movement off the seam this season could make his debut.

Guyanese middle order batsman Andre Percival was unable to attend the team's final practice session yesterday afternoon because of what coach Clyde Butts said was a "flu bug" picked up in Barbados last week.

Butts said "one or two others were also shaking off the flu but it shouldn't affect the final team selection."

Both Butts and Jamaica's coach Robert Haynes voiced optimism about their team's chances.

Butts recalled that last year for the first time ever, Guyana defeated Jamaica here.

"You couldn't say that was the strongest Guyana team, yet we played as a team and did very well. The guys are fairly confident that they can do it again," said Butts.

Haynes was equally confident his charges would avenge last year's loss.

"We are confident that even if we don't have Mais we will be able to play consistently good cricket for four days to beat Guyana. We were let down in St Vincent because we started well but our standards fell as the game progressed, this time we intend to correct that," Haynes said.

On paper at least, the Jamaicans appear to have the edge in batting.

They will be looking to the young openers Carl Wright and Chris Gayle, who made half centuries against the Windwards and the experienced trio of captain Robert Samuels, Delroy Morgan and Tony Powell as well as the 23-year-old Gareth Breese for big scores.

But as was shown against the Windwards, they also have bowlers who are genuine batsmen. Medium paced allrounder Laurie Williams hit a brilliant 135 -- described by Haynes "as one of the best innings I have seen from a Jamaican in recent years" -- to give Jamaica a respectable first innings score. Leg-spinning allrounder Brian Murphy and the wicket-keeper Matthew Sinclair will now be anxious to get among the runs.

Former West Indies limited overs batsman Keith Semple will lead the Guyana batting which includes the youthful and talented Ramnaresh Sarwan, Azeemul Haniff, Nicholas deGroot, Travis Dowlin and Percival.

If the Guyana batting appears slightly weaker on paper, their bowling attack seems to more than match the Jamaicans.

West Indies "A" fastbowler Colin Stuart, considered on his day to be as fast as any Caribbean bowler, will share the new ball with the steady Kevin Darlington.

Leg-spinner Mahendra Nagamootoo and off-spinner Garvin Nedd, both of whom combined to destroy Jamaica last year are expected to follow-up with killer punches.

Much will be expected from Murphy, who together with off-spinning allrounders Breese and Gayle will support the pace of Audley Sanson and Williams and either Mais or Allen.

Teams: Jamaica (from) - Robert Samuels (captain), Chris Gayle, Carl Wright, Gareth Breese, Tony Powell, Delroy Morgan, Matthew Sinclair, Laurie Williams, Brian Murphy, Audley Sanson, Dwight Mais, Ray Stewart, Ryan Cunningham, Wade Allen.

Guyana - Neil McGarrell (captain), Nicholas de Groot, Azeemul Haniff, Keith Semple, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Travis Dowlin, Mahendra Nagamootoo, Andre Percival, Vishal Nagamootoo, Colin Stuart, Kevin Darlington, Garvin Nedd, Zaheer Haniff.

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Guyana: Land of Six Peoples