Guyanese players vying strongly for WI selection

By Donald Duff
Stabroek News
November 11, 1999

Although Guyana failed to defend their Red Stripe Bowl title losing in the semi-finals some members of the team could still be in contention for places on teams for the upcoming tour of New Zealand by the West Indies senior team and India's `A' team tour of the Caribbean which kicks off Saturday.

The merits and demerits of batsmen Keith Semple, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Narsingh Deonarine and bowlers Colin Stuart, Mahendra Nagamootoo, Neil Mc Garrell and Kevin Darlington should engage the attention of chairman of selectors Mike Findlay and his panel as they sit to choose the composition of the two squads.

With some four matches of the India `A' team tour scheduled for Guyana a number of Guyanese could find themselves included in teams to oppose the Indians.

The tour of New Zealand is more difficult and the contenders many.

With the poor performances of the regional team the selectors could either go for established players, look to blood youngsters or go for a balance.

Already Brian Lara has been retained as captain for the short New Zealand tour which runs from December 3 to January 11, 2000 when the fifth one day international will be played.

Buoyed by their successful tour of England where they won the four Test series 2-1 with one drawn the New Zealanders should be difficult opponents.

It will be interesting to note the composition of the squad which will oppose the Kiwis. Seamers tend to do very well and the West Indies have a bushel of fast and medium fast bowlers to choose from.

And though they have been repeatedly ignored by the West Indies selectors in direct contrast to the policy of the selectors of the other Test playing countries, a number of spinners could well feature in the reckoning.

They include off-spinner, Nehemiah Perry, who should be a certainty and leg spinners Nagamootoo, Rawle Lewis and Dinanath Ramnarine.

While the latter two have had an opportunity to play at the highest level, Nagamootoo is deserving of a chance.

The 24-year-old has had two `A' team tours to Sri Lanka and India, as a replacement for Lewis. He has always been a consistent performer with the ball in regional competitions.

And now, based on his performance this year in the Busta Cup where he captured 22 wickets and scored 247 runs including two half centuries he seems to have replaced Lewis and Ramnarine as the region's number one leg-spinner.

Ramnarine himself might be required to prove his return to fitness and might probably be included in the `A' team.

The left-arm orthodox spinner Mc Garrell is another worthwhile contender if not for New Zealand at least for India's tour. He was second in the bowling averages last year, is a capable lower order batsman and a fine fielder.

Keith Semple, is a player of tremendous potential but one who has not cashed in that talent for runs.

He, like Mc Garrell, had a moderate tour of South Africa with the West Indies team. He also had a decent tour of India with the West Indies `A' team.

Colin Stuart remains one of the fastest bowlers that has never played for the `A' team and his chances of being selected for the tour of New Zealand are extremely difficult with the number of talented fast bowlers around.

Darlington enhanced his chances with an excellent display against the Leewards in the Red Stripe Bowl semi-finals where his eight overs cost only seven runs. He is a much improved bowler and is obviously looking for the chance to play at a higher level.

But with bowlers like Nixon Mc Lean, Reon King, Corey Collymore, Franklyn Rose, Mervyn Dillon, Hendy Bryan, Pedro Collins, Marlon Black and Dwight Mais, in addition to the venerable Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh the West Indies fast bowling cupboard is chockfull.

According to reports unlike in the past the weather in New Zealand should be reasonably warm. The pitch for the first Test at Hamilton should be solid and reasonably bouncy while the second Test pitch at the Basin Reserve in Wellington should be steady, with a bit of green.

For the India `A' team tour the locals will have the opportunity of playing at home on pitches that are familiar to them. It is an opportunity that should not be wasted.

The ball, however, is now in the selector's court.

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Guyana: Land of Six Peoples