National team to be selected next week
By Sean Devers
Stabroek News
January 9, 2003

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The three-man national cricket selection panel headed by Chairman Joe Solomon is expected to name this year’s 13-man Guyana cricket squad early next week.

Guyana, the defending Busta International Shield four-day champions, will play their first match in the 2003 regional first class cricket competition against Trinidad and Tobago in South Trinidad from January 31.

Guyana play their second game in St. Kitts against the Leeward Islands from February 7 before opposing the West Indies ‘B’ team in the British Virgin Islands from February 14.

The South Americans then return home for their final four matches.

Two at Albion (vs Barbados from Feb. 21-24 and vs Windwards from March 14-17) and two in Georgetown (vs Jamaica at Bourda from Feb. 28-March 3 and vs India ‘A’ at Bourda from March 7-10).

National selector Claude Raphael told Stabroek Sports yesterday that the 18-man squad is expected to resume its encampment at the Guyana Cricket Board’s Hostel in Georgetown on Sunday after a break for the Christmas holidays.

Raphael said that the team would be selected when Solomon returns from the United States of America where he is on holiday. Raphael, who along with Alfred Maycock form the rest of the selection panel, added that the players were given an exercise program to follow during the Christmas period and stressed that fitness would be a key factor in naming the final 13-man touring squad.

A re-evaluation fitness test will be conducted on the players on Sunday before the selectors pick the touring squad and Raphael disclosed that this test will play a big part in coming up with the 13 players who will represent Guyana in the competition.

West Indies leg-spinner Mahendra Nagamootoo has not been selected for the World Cup that starts on February 9 in South Africa and will join the other players preparing to represent Guyana in the 2003 regional competition.

Nagamootoo, who recently returned home from the USA where he was on holiday after the completion of the West Indies tour of Bangladesh is expected to play a key role with the ball for Guyana this year after his record breaking season last year.

Left-arm spinner Neil McGarrell, also overlooked for the World Cup, has already been appointed captain and should also play a key role with the ball for Guyana hunting their seventh regional first-class tittle since the competition began in 1966.

McGarrell is a part of a very strong bowling attack and should be one of four test players in the starting eleven for the first game.

Reon King, Colin Stuart and Nagamootoo are the other test players in the squad which will miss the services of West Indies batsmen Carl Hooper, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan for at least the preliminary rounds of the eight team competition.

Left arm spinner Hemnarine Harrinarine was a bit of a surprise selection in the 18-man squad. The omission of promising fast bowler Eusan Crandon who was a part of the Shell cricket Academy in Grenada last year was also surprising. However, the squad is a good one and the selectors’ job of picking the final 13 should not be too hard.

Openers Azeemul Haniff and Sewnarine Chattergoon should retain their places at the top of the order even though Haniff, who scored heavily last year has been badly short of form in the inter-county games and the trials.

Krishna Arjune has been very consistent recently and should be the third opener in the touring squad after posting his maiden first-class century for the West Indies ‘B’ team in last year’s competition.

Lennox Cush has been named most improved player for the year and his place is certain, as is Vishal Nagamootoo, arguably the best wicket keeper in the West Indies.

Pacer Reon Griffith should also be a certainty in the squad and could even challenge Stuart for a chance to share the new ball with King as the competition progresses.

With the test batsmen unavailable, Andre Percival’s experience should work in his advantage as he aims to reclaim his spot in the team while Hoomchand Pooran’s good run of form with the bat recently should earn him his ticket for the first three overseas games.

The final middle order spot could go to either Travis Dowlin or Narsingh Deonarine. Dowlin had a miserable season last year when just on the verge of breaking into the West Indies team while Deonarine’s batting has declined over the last year or so.

Since Deonarine is still under 23 years old and should be selected on the West Indies ‘B’ team, if not included in his country’s national side, the final middle order place could go to Dowlin, who is a brilliant fielder, useful off- spin bowler and great team man.

The West Indies youth selectors, under the chairmanship of Guyanese Clyde Butts, will select the Windies ‘B’ team after the other countries name their squads by the middle of this month. The West Indies selectors can pick the ‘B team from any player in the Caribbean under the age of 23 who is not in their country’s 13-man squad.

My Guyana 13-man squad will be:

Neil McGarrell (Captain), Andre Percival (V/Capt.), Azeemul Haniff, Sewnarine Chattergoon, Lennox Cush, Travis Dowlin, Hoomchand Pooran, Krishna Arjune, Vishal Nagamootoo, Mahendra Nagamootoo, Reon King, Colin Stuart, Reon Griffith.

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