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In a move which came as a virtual shocker, the dependable middle-order batsman was the preferred choice of the Guyana Cricket Board selection panel ahead of chief rival and West Indies vice-captain Ramnaresh Sarwan, who was heavily tipped to land the prestigious job.
The dependable Chanderpaul, who led Guyana in four matches in the 2000 regional first class season, beat out not only Sarwan but two other capable contenders in former West Indies players Neil Mc Garrell and Mahendra Nagamootoo both with previous experience leading the Guyana senior side.
Chanderpaul’s appointment was surprising because many felt that Sarwan needed the position to help prepare him for the demanding task of leading the senior West Indies side. Also having been named Demerara captain for the Inter-County one-day series ahead of Chanderpaul many expected the trend to continue at the national level.
Sarwan, the 22 year-old who is looked at as a future West Indies captain, was named vice-captain while Mahendra Nagamooto, who led Guyana last year and Neil McGarrell, who captained the side in 2000 were both bypassed by the GCB selection panel of Joe Solomon, chairman, Lennox Hunte and Alfred Maycock.
Chanderpaul has played 66 test matches since 1994 and also has 132 one-day internationals and 147 first class matches under his belt but was overlooked for the job of West Indies vice-captain even though he is the most experienced player in the side after skipper Brian Lara.
It is felt that Sarwan’s non-appointment as Guyana captain could send the wrong message to the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) who appear to be grooming Sarwan for the job of future West Indies captain.
Sources close to the GCB indicated yesterday that the national selectors recommended Sarwan as captain but the GCB executive did not ratify the decision.
Apart from the captaincy issue, the 14-man squad named by the selection panel is a very good one with opener Ryan Ramdas, who scored two half-centuries in the inter-county competition, first-class opener Krishna Arjune and first-class fast bowler Reon Thomas, being the only players in the squad without regional one-day experience.
Sewnarine Chattergoon, Ramdas and Arjune are the three openers selected while the middle order is very powerful although Carl Hooper, whom GCB officials said they have not heard from concerning his availability, is not included in the squad.
Chanderpaul and Sarwan are the test batsmen in the squad while out-of-form leg-spinner Nagamootoo, who looked a shadow of himself in the inter-county competition, and left-arm spinner McGarrell, are the bowlers with test experience among the 14 players named to travel to Antigua on September 28.
Reon King is unavailable due to overseas commitments while Colin Stuart has taken a self-imposed exile from cricket leaving Reon Griffth, Eusan Crandon and Thomas as the pacers selected.
While his commitment to West Indies cricket has been questioned by some recently, exciting left-hander Narsingh Deonarine is arguably among the best six batsmen in the Caribbean and his place in the middle order should give him an ideal chance to stake a claim for West Indies selection in the near future.
Talented right-hander Travis Dowlin has another opportunity to revive his flagging career while Lennox Cush, who will fill the role as all-rounder, make up the rest of the middle order.
Vishal Nagamootoo retains his place as wicket keeper in a strong side which should be favoured to advance to the `final four’ stage of the competition in Jamaica.
Carl Moore gets his first chance as manager of the senior side while Coach Albert retains his position following Guyana’s demise at the semi-final stage last year.
Seven stand-by players have been selected and the inclusion of Prashad Mahadeo ahead of Derwin Christian as the wicket-keeper in the stand-by list comes as a shock. Christian was adjudged the best wicket-keeper and best batsman during the last Shell West Indies cricket Academy in Grenada.
Batsmen Troy Cornelius and Damodar Daesrath, left-arm spinner Hemnarine Harrinarine and off-spinner Imran Jafferally, who both bowled impressively for Berbice in the inter-county competition, are in the stand-by list which also includes Demerara off-spinner Lalchand Persaud and medium-fast bowler Eion Katchay who returned home in time to play in the inter-county final.
Guyana is scheduled to play four matches in the first stage of the 10-team competition and come up against the West Indies under-19 team in their first match.
Guyana play in zone `B’ of the competition and Barbados, UWU, West Indies under-19 and the Leewards champions are the other teams in that zone.
The Guyana 14-man squad is- S. Chanderpaul (captain), R.Sarwan (v/captain), S. Chattergoon, K. Arjune, R. Ramdas, N. Deonarine, L. Cush, T. Dowlin, M. Nagamootoo, V. Nagamootoo, N. McGarrell, R. Griffith, E. Crandon, R. Thomas. Manager Carl Moore, coach Albert Smith.