Smith satisfied with team’s preparation By Sean Devers
Stabroek News
January 22, 2003

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Albert Smith, the coach of the national cricket team preparing for the 2003 regional first class cricket competition told Stabroek Sports that he is pleased with the way preparation for the tournament is progressing.

Smith, Guyana’s most successful cricket coach, disclosed that the focus is on fitness and fielding. Smith said he feels the level of fitness is far higher than it was among the players last year.

Smith and manager Patrick Legall formed the management team when Guyana won six consecutive regional under-19 titles from 1992-1997.

The pair also formed the management team last year when Guyana won the Busta International Shield title after taking first innings points from Jamaica in the final at Sabina Park in Jamaica.

This year Guyana will oppose Trinidad and Tobago in their first match from January 31 before moving on to St. Kitts and St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands for their second and third away matches.

They then return home for their last four preliminary games. Two will be played at Albion in Berbice and two in Georgetown.

Smith said that last year Guyana started badly losing their first two games but still managed to rebound to win the Shield when the test players returned.

“This year we will again start without our three best batsmen. Carl Hooper, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan will be in South Africa with the West Indies World Cup team and a lot will depend on the young batsmen to give Guyana a good start in the competition.

“I hope we can start well so as not to put too much pressure on the lads to win games outright towards the end of the competition” Smith stated.

The Berbician explained that at the start of a season most players tend to be a little below the required fitness level after the Christmas holidays and said the focus at present is on fitness.

“We all know about the talent of the players selected but talent without fitness does not guarantee success. At present we are working on the physical aspect of our game and also doing a lot of fielding practice,” Smith informed.

Smith said that the 13-man squad and the six reserve players are all working together and are encamped at the Guyana Cricket Board’s Hostel in Alberttown.

The players will have a ‘nets’ practice session today from 9:am at the Everest ground before being involved in their first practice match tomorrow at Everest.

The players were involved in their simulated match situation game yesterday from 10:AM -2:30PM. The coach is now hoping to work on the mental aspect of the game during the final week of preparations.

The players will be involved in a light fielding session on Sunday morning before returning to their respective homes on Sunday afternoon. The 13 players along with the manager and coach are scheduled to depart Guyana on January 29 for their first match in Trinidad.

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