Lack of commitment haunted Guyana in Carib Beer, KFC cricket By Vemen Walter
Guyana Chronicle
February 26, 2007

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IF ever there was a Guyana senior team that lacked commitment in a Regional season, certainly it was the 2007 team.

Failing to reach the Carib Beer Challenge semi-finals after finishing fourth in the Carib Beer Cricket Series league series on 24 points, obtaining from stalemates against the Windward Islands and Trinidad & Tobago respectively, gaining a solitary outright triumph over the Leeward Islands and first innings honours from Barbados before surrendering to defeat, Guyana were fortunate to advance into the final four of the KFC Cup with just wins at the expense of Jamaica and the Leeward Islands.

Fortunately for the Guyanese they barely clinched the fourth slot ahead of Jamaica, with whom they were tied on eight points, but it was their third round victory over the Jamaicans that gave them the nod.

Guyana, one of the traditional powerhouses in West Indies’ cricket, had performances in the four-day first-class tournament which could be described as scruffy, with the lack of commitment and discipline being clearly exhibited in all facets of their game while the same scenario also presented itself for the KFC Cup 50 Overs tournament.

Disappointingly, no Guyana batsman registered a century in the five Carib Beer matches played. Narsingh Deonarine with 251 runs at an average of 50.20 was the only batsman to pass 200 runs while in the bowling department, teenage left-arm-spinner Veerasammy Permaul’s 14 wickets was the best performance.

In the KFC Cup, although opener Royston Crandon scored a debut 101 versus the Windwards, Deonarine again topped the batting aggregates, scoring 217 runs, at an average of 43.40 with Permaul and veteran leg-spinner Mahendra Nagamootoo capturing eight scalps each.

This clearly reflects the abysmal Guyanese effort in both tournaments with bat and ball thus their dismal showing was inevitable.

It was obviously visible that this Guyana team was not up to the task. There was no shortage of talent and experience but from their body language throughout the season, it was a clear indication that something was drastically wrong.

There was absolutely very little dedication from some of the senior cogs, no pride even for themselves, much less their country and it all summoned up in their performances.

However, starting just as even as anyone else in the KFC final four series held in St Vincent and the Grenadines, many would have expected Guyana to lift their game, being the defending KFC Cup and the reigning Stanford Twenty20 champions, especially with the presence of the Mr ‘Dependable’ Shivnarine Chanderpaul in their line-up.

Greeted with a pitch, which in the opinion of many was “difficult”, the Guyana batsmen, not helped by the demise of Chanderpaul via run-out, succumbed meekly for a meagre 114 against Trinidad and Tobago as only skipper Deonarine and Sewnarine Chattergoon were able to briefly make the necessary adjustment from the normally slow and low tracks in Guyana.

Guyana batted as though they were at sea. Apart from Deonarine and Chattergoon, none of the other batsmen applied himself. Eventually, not being able to post a substantial total was the main ingredient in Guyana having to check in at the ET Joshua Airport the next day.

The other semi-final along with the final were also played on similar pitches at the same venue but in contrast to the other teams, eventual champions Trinidad & Tobago, easily the most disciplined and committed team this year, simply proved that with a bit of grit and determination, the work can be done.

One would recall vividly that the Trinidadians were with their backs against the wall while batting in both the semi-final and the final -- similar positions like Guyana in their semifinal encounter, where their top order were destroyed early -- but the batting capabilities of Rayad Emrit and Richard Kelly stepped up to the plate admirably when it really mattered to ensure success, unlike a more experienced and talented Nagamootoo or even an Esaun Crandon for Guyana.

Generally, Guyana’s overall cricket, in what could be deemed a sub-standard season, leaves many to ponder which direction it’s heading.

Guyana batsmen’s inability to cope with Tino Best on a fourth-day flat Bourda track, being totally bombarded by the paceman, was awful.

It was the talking point in several quarters that a local batsman, who had possessed signs of promise at the youth level, simply ran from pace in a one-day game played also at Bourda.

Several players that have served Guyana with distinction over the years seemed to have arrived at the twilight of their careers and the time has come for the Guyana selectors to stop picking players on sentiments.

A player selected must justify his selection and this could produce runs or wickets consistently.

No one is indispensable. In Guyana there are a number of talented young cricketers but the cricketing authorities and in particular our coaches must first have to get their act together.