Team not bothered by captain controversy
- National coach Albert Smith
By Sean Devers
Stabroek News
September 27, 2003

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While national cricket coach Albert Smith feels that preparations for the 2003 Red Stripe bowl regional one-day cricket competition could have been better he informed that team spirit is high and everyone wants to play cricket.

“Because of the limited time after the inter county competition which ended on Sunday we can only get in two practice matches before we go into action next week in Antigua,” Smith told Stabroek Sport yesterday.

Smith who coached Guyana to the semi-final stage of this competition last year, said that the players have been playing cricket and looked reasonably fit in the inter county competition ...”so I don’t see a big problem adjusting when we get to Antigua”

The 14-man Guyanese team, along with Smith and Manager Carl Moore, is expected to arrive in Antigua on Monday morning ahead of their first round game on Wednesday.

The coach said he was hoping to use today’s final practice game to iron out any flaws that might be noticeable and disclosed that he feels the Guyana batting, spearheaded by test players captain Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan, is the team’s strength.

Smith lamented that he would have liked a much stronger opposition for yesterday’s game but added that most of the players selected had to represent their clubs in the Georgetown Cricket Association (GCA) Carib Beer three-day, first-division semi-finals which commenced yesterday.

There has been much said on the captaincy but Smith disclosed that his players are not too concerned with what happens off the field and informed that his players have been told to try and concentrate on the job of playing cricket and not be sucked into the off-the-field aspects of the game.

“Shiv is really batting well and we hope he takes that form into the competition. He is expected to get the full support of the team as we look to re-capture the Red Stripe Bowl and all of the players are eager to go into action and perform well enough to enhance their careers,” Smith said.

“The Guyana (cricket) Board appointed Shiv as captain and Sarwan as his deputy. Whether it was the right decision or not is debatable and we can all come up with so much to say for or against the appointment. Right now the guys seem not too bothered by all that is happening off the field in local cricket and are focused on the task of keeping the Golden Arrowhead flying proudly,” Smith said.

The Berbician coach also asked for the support of the public as his team wings out for Antigua on Monday.