Guyana Jaguars roared to a five-wicket victory over the Leeward Islands Hurricanes, thanks to a brilliant century from the bat of captain Leon Johnson, in the CG Insurance Super50 Cup, at the Coolidge Cricket Ground on Friday night.

The Hurricanes openers posted the highest first-wicket partnership of the tournament so far, after Kieran Powell and Ross Powell had a slow but steady start of 152 in 31 overs.

Ross Powell made 61, which included eight fours, but became the first victim of left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie, who took 4-45 and won the CG Insurance Man-of-the-Match award.

Kieran Powell looked well set to reach triple figures, but on 94 he smacked a drive to Johnson, at extra cover, to give Motie his second wicket. The knock came off just 97 deliveries, with four fours and four sixes.

There was little resistance left as the Leewards Hurricanes finished their 50 overs on 244-9. Motie was the pick of the Jaguars bowlers, while seamer Nial Smith had 3-47 also from 9 overs.

Assad Fudadin and Chanderpaul Hemraj started a cautious run-chase, as they posted 45 before Hemraj was dismissed for 24 off 22 balls. Shimron Hetmyer was run out for nine from a brilliant diving throw-in from Hayden Walsh Jr at point.

But it was the partnership of the most experienced players, captain Johnson and Chris Barnwell that took the game away from the Hurricanes. Barnwell was the aggressor, striking three sixes and a boundary on his way to a valiant 49 before Sheeno Berridge caught him slashing behind.

Johnson soldiered on despite battling cramps. He eventually brought up his second List A century in style with a drive to mid-off for a boundary. With Romario Shepherd at the other end, the pair rotated the strike to lead the Jaguars to the second victory of the tournament with 2.1 overs remaining.

Shimron Hetmyer top-scored with 80 off 52 balls, while all-rounder Romario Shepherd made 58 not out from identical deliveries, as Guyana Jaguars recorded a comfortable win over Barbados Pride in the CG Insurance Super50 Cup on Monday night.

Shepherd also took a wicket and bowled with pace on a good surface at the Coolidge Cricket Ground. He won the CG Insurance Man-of-the-Match award. Guyana batted first and made 235. After a rain break, the target was revised to 232 off 47 overs. Barbados Pride reached 91-5 in the 30th over when the rain returned and brought an end to the match.

Off-spinner Kevin Sinclair, a member of the victorious West Indies Emerging Players team back in 2019, took 2-17 from 7.3 overs as Guyana Jaguars bowled well. His first wicket was opener Justin Greaves, caught at mid-wicket by Hetmyer and the second was Roston Chase, beaten and bowled.

“I’m really pleased with my performance. I have been working really hard on my batting and I was happy with the way I played and the contribution I made to help the team win,” Shepherd said.

“I’m in good shape and the ball is also coming out really well. This was a good victory for us … you always want to start with a win.”

 

 

Former West Indies Under-19 captain, Emmanuel Stewart, hopes to insert himself in the debate for selection in what he believes could be a big year for regional cricket.

The 21-year-old Windwards Islands Volcanoes batsman was part of the squad that contested the 2018 Under-19 World Cup.  Since making his First-Class debut in 2019, for the Volcanoes, he had made three half-centuries in 9 matches.

For the upcoming season, the middle-order batsman will once again form part of the Windward Islands squad looking to claim a 5th Regional Super50 crown.  With plenty of international cricket on the horizon this year, including Caribbean tours for Sri Lanka, Australia, and Pakistan, Stewart knows a solid season could place him squarely in the thoughts of the Cricket West Indies (CWI) selectors.

“I think it’s an important year for cricket in the Caribbean, a lot of teams are touring the Caribbean,” Stewart told Grenada’s Talksport.

“So, I think what I have control over is my performance and once I continue putting the numbers up, then that is the most I can do,” he added.

“As long as I continue playing, I will continue putting my focus on those numbers and keep progressing for the Windwards and hopefully eventually the West Indies too.”

 

 

Former West Indies pace bowler Kenny Benjamin believes the development of regional and by extension West Indies cricket is stifled by the tendency of franchises to prefer players from their home countries.

A franchise system was introduced to the regional cricket set-up approximately six years ago. It has led to teams taking part in the regional One Day and Four Day tournaments as clubs, as opposed to just countries.

For the most part, however, with a few exceptions, the franchises have remained mostly composed of players from the countries in which they are based.  Benjamin believes some of that is due to a bit of nationalism, which he has pointed out is harmful to the professional set-up and the development of the game overall.

“One of the things in the Caribbean is that I think, patriotism is killing us.  Sir Viv would know that when we go to England to play and when he played for Somerset and Glamorgan that’s where you play for and that’s where you represent because that’s where you are at that time.  But I think in the Caribbean everybody wants to play for their country rather than play cricket and that is one of the problems we are facing,” Benjamin said in a recent interview with the Good Morning Jojo Sports Show.

“We need to be exposing our best players, it doesn’t matter where they come from and it would only make other players raise their standard.  If we are playing mediocre players just because of where they come from then the standard isn’t going to rise,” he added.

In previous seasons, players like Guyana’s Assad Fudadin, Keron Cottoy and several others have represented teams outside of their country of birth, but they remain in the minority.  Benjamin pointed to the case of Nicholas Pooran and Joshua Silver who both play for the Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel.

“You have Pooran and you have Da Silva but when you look at Da Silva and the type of cricketer he is, he is not a bad wicketkeeper either, so he could be pushing for one of the wicketkeeper spots as well.  But what if you have the number one and number two wicketkeepers in Trinidad.”

 

 

 

Cricket West Indies president Ricky Skerritt wants to involve more former West Indies players in the process of recreating world-beating teams but believes there is a part of that process they are neglecting.

According to Skerritt, the gap between first-class cricket in the region and international cricket is too great and that may be where past players would best be served.

Speaking on the ‘Good Morning Jojo Sports Show recently, Skerritt said “the legends in their own home islands, it would be great if they could do more. Some of them would tell you that well, I have been living here for so many years and the cricket association president or whoever has never asked me to do anything, so people tend to sit back and wait to be asked because of bad experiences in the past or whatever.”

It is the opinion of many who have an interest in seeing West Indies cricket develop that those who have contributed to the sport as players are being sidelined and their various experiences are going to waste.

Skerritt says his administration has actively been trying to change that.

“I can tell you that more of our former players have been engaged since I have been president and maybe some of them feel like they haven’t been engaged enough and I have no doubt they could be engaged more,” he said.

 “[ … ] but the people who really operate across the region and for whatever reasons that gap is just too huge,” said the CWI president.

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