Annual Independence Festival match Guyana XI face tough challenge
(From Frederick Halley in Toronto)
Guyana Chronicle
June 19, 2004

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A YOUTHFUL Guyana XI, led by opener Sewnarine Chattergoon, are expected to face a tough challenge when they oppose a Canadian side in the annual Western Union Celebrity Independence Fesitval limited overs cricket match, set for the L'Amoreaux Community Centre ground, Scarborough, Toronto tomorrow (Sunday).

Missing several current national players for varying reasons, the Guyana selectors were forced to select a squad based on availabilty, placing the responsibilties of captaincy on the "slim" shoulders of the left-handed Chattergoon who is leading his country for the first time.

Apart from Chattergoon, only five other players, including this year's Under-19 selectees in middle-order batsman Leon Johnson and off-spinner Zaheer Mohamed, represented Guyana in this year's Carib Beer regional four-day tournament.

The others are opener Krishna Arjune, all-rounder Damodar Daesrath and experienced wicket-keeper Vishal Nagamootoo.

Arjune and Daesrath are in their first season of Canadian cricket, the former playing for Toronto Cricket Club and the latter for Tranzac in the Toronto & District Cricket Association (T&DCA) Premiere League.

Joining Johnson and Mohamed from the Under-19 squad, currently encamped for this year's regional competition, to be staged in Jamaica in August, is exciting all-rounder and captain, Zamal Khan.

The hard-hitting left-hander, who also bowls off-spin, was a member of the West Indies Under-19 team that lost to Pakistan in this year's World Cup youth final in Bangladesh.

The Guyana batting hinges around openers Chattergoon and Arjune, Daesrath, newcomer Troy Cornelius, a former National Under-19 skipper, robust wicket-keeper batsman Derwin Christian, Nagamootoo and Khan who topped West Indies Under-19 avearges in Bangladesh.

Chrstian, who has just completed another successful season in Trinidad and Tobago, could prove a key player in the Guyana lineup with his fearsome attacking style.

Mohamed and fellow off-spinner Lalchand Persaud are also useful middle-order batsmen.

Daesrath, who took 10 wickets with his medium pacers in the Carib Beer tourney will most likely share the new ball with teenager Quacy Maltay, the only fast bowler included in the spin-oriented attack. There are four off-spinners in Mohamed, Persaud, Khan and Imran Jafferally with skipper Chattergoon bowling leg-spin and Johnson orthodox left-arm spin.

Among those turning out for the Canadian side are solid dependable middle-order batsman Sunil Dhaniram, who was part of the Canadian team which defeated the USA in their Intercontinental Cup three-day match, played in Fort Lauderdale, Florida last month and former national Under-19 players Rovindra Mandolall and Arjune Nandu.

Dhaniram, who is also a capable lef-arm spinner, slammed an even hundred for Vikings in last weekend's T&DC Premiere League to follow on his unbeaten second innings knock of 65 against the USA and will be one of the key players in the opposition armoury.

Left-arm medium pacer Naresh Roopnarine, who represented Guyana against India A at Bourda last year in his lone first class game and who has since migrated to Canada, and former Under-19 fast bowler Eion Katchay have been included in the North American side being led by former Canadian middle-order batsman Paul Prashad.

The Celebrity match, being held as part of the Guyana Festival Committee's annual three-day outdoor celebrations to commemorate Guyana's 38th Independence anniversary celebrations, has been switched from May to June to capitalise on better weather conditions.

However, in contrast to when it was first played in 1998 when several highly successful stars of Guyana and West Indies cricket were brought to Toronto for the special occasion, the organizers have turned almost exclusively for the second straight year to available members of the Guyana side that participated in this year's regional tournaments.

Fine weather is forecast this year after last year's contest was washed out by rain. Among those expected to be in attendance in what is expected to be a bumper Sunday crowd are Guyana'sPresident Bharrat Jagdeo and members of the Guyana delegation who particpated in the BWIA sponsored Trade Exposition, held yesterday and today in Toronto

Teams: Guyana - Sewnarine Chattergoon (captain), Vishal Nagamootoo, Zamal Khan, Leon Johnson, Derwin Christian, Zaheer Mohammed, Damodar Daesrath, Troy Cornelius, Lalchand Persaud, Quacy Maltay, Imran Jafferally and Krishna Arjune.

The manager is former Guyana and West Indies off-spinner Clyde Butts while while Albert Smith is the coach.

Canadian XI - Paul Prashad (captain), Arjune Nandu, Sunil Dhaniram, Rovindra Mandolall, Bhawan Singh, Abdool Samad, Aftab Shamsudeen, Rick Hunte, Francis Waithe, Kevin Murray, Eon Katchay and Naresh Roopnarine.