Jamaica, West Indies and Guyana Amazon Warrior batsman Brandon King is doing his part in supporting the Black Lives Matter and assisting communities by the COVID19 pandemic.

A country blessed with elegant batsmen, picking an all-time best Guyana line-up has been the most difficult of all the countries to date.

While many of the other territories in our all-time West Indies Championship have been blessed with talent throughout, no other country, it seems, has as many talented batsmen on equal footing at the First-Class level.

That is a good problem for a coach to have and if you were coaching this Guyana outfit, it is hardly likely that you come up against a team who could manage a total your line-up could not overhaul.

As usual, we welcome your feedback on whether or not we got this Best XI right. Tell us who we should have kept or who we should not have included, leave a comment under the story on Facebook and we can have a good old-fashioned debate.

 

Guyana’s Best XI

 

 

Roy Fredericks

Roy Fredericks significant ability made him a mainstay in the West Indies side, batting first with another Guyanese opener in Steve Camacho before joining forces with Gordon Greenidge. At the First-Class level, Fredericks was a powerful batsman, relishing the challenge of attacking the most fearsome of pace bowlers of which the West Indies had many. Fredericks, a master of the cut and hook shots, was known at the international level for scoring quick 50s but not converting them to centuries. At the First-Class level, this wasn’t true as Fredericks slammed 40 centuries to his 80 half-centuries on his way to 16,384 career runs at a more-than-respectable average of 45.89. Fredericks would play two more innings after announcing his retirement in 1983, slamming 103 against Trinidad and 217 against Jamaica.

 

First-class career: 1963-1983

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs    HS     Ave       100s    50s    6s      Ct   

223     391      34     16384   250    45.89       40      80      177     0

 

 

Rohan Kanhai (wicketkeeping opener)

With such a dearth of batting in an all-time Guyana line-up, it is interesting that Rohan Kanhai, a lifelong number-three batsman, would be asked to open and wicketkeep, but a stacked middle-order which could take the batting down to eight or nine without much of a shift in quality means Kanhai gets to face the new ball with Fredericks. At the first-class level, Khanai was absolutely brilliant, scoring 86 centuries and 120 half-centuries in a 23-year-long career. Kanhai’s average of 45.89 after 421 games is no small feat, but more than the runs he accumulated, was the way he did it and when he did it. Kanhai was elegance personified but there was real power too. An ESPN Cricinfo article by noted poet, novelist and columnist in Georgetown, Guyana, Ian McDonald, summed it up best.

“You could feel it charge the air around him as he walked to the wicket. I do not know quite how to describe it. It was something that kept the heart beating hard with a special sort of excited fear all through a Kanhai innings, as if something marvellous or terrible or even sacred was about to happen.”

 

First-class career: 1954-1977

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs     HS     Ave    100s    50s      Ct       St

421      675     83     29250    256    49.40    86     120       325      7

 

 

Shivnarine Chanderpaul

The raw emotion of Fredericks’ batting along with the unequalled grace of Kanhai’s may best be tempered with the obdurate efforts of Shivnarine Chanderpaul. Unorthodox technique and all, Chanderpaul could bat for days without bothering himself too much about scoring and this patience made him into a legend of West Indies cricket. But he could get aggressive too when it called for it. On other days, when he was in the mood like the day he faced 478 deliveries against Jamaica in a Red Stripe Cup game at Sabina Park to score an unbeaten 303, he was impossible to remove from the wicket. That determination and those powers of concentration are a big reason behind his 53.17 average after 385 First-Class games. In all, Chanderpaul would notch a whopping 77 centuries and 144 half-centuries during a career lasting 27 years.

 

First-class career: 1991-2018

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs      HS      Ave    100s    50s         

385      626    108    27545     303*   53.17     77     144               

 

Basil Butcher

Very ‘wristy’ was one way to describe Basil Butcher, a batsman who was extremely reliable for both the West Indies and Guyana. His ability to turn deliveries around the ground belied his name, he certainly was no butcher, but rather thrived on the art of batsmanship. He was also notoriously good at blocking out his circumstances and there is a famous story about him opening a letter that told him of his wife’s miscarriage during a match against England at Lord’s. Butcher would go onto the field after reading the letter and while visibly upset, score a match-saving 133. For British Guiana in the first instance, and for Guyana in the second, innings like that became quite a bit of a staple for Butcher. In 169 matches he would score 31 centuries and 54 half-centuries. Australian commentator, without seeing his exploits at the First-Class level, described Butcher as the most difficult of all West Indians to get out. Butcher was also a competent leg spinner, taking 40 wickets in his career at an average of 30.42 and with a strike rate of 54.8.

 

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs     HS     Ave    100s     50s    

169      262    29      11628    209*  49.90     31       54   

 

 

Carl Hooper

Carl Hooper was a cool customer, rarely ever looking troubled at the crease. At the international level, this proved problematic because he would get out and it was rarely understandable how it happened. At the First-Class level though, those lapses of concentration that led to him ending with a 36.46 average were absent. Hooper scored 69 centuries at the First-Class level and was one of the most prolific West Indies batsmen of all time, more than 23,000 runs at an average of 47.68. He had 104 half-centuries to boot in a career that spanned 21 years. In those 21 years, Hooper also turned his arm over a few times, ending his career with 555 wickets at an average of 35.30.

 

First-class career (batting): 1984-2004

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs      HS      Ave      100s    50s         

339      535     52     23034     236*   47.68       69     104                     

 

First-class career (bowling): 1984-2004

Mat    Inns    Balls      Runs      Wkts    BBI     Ave      Econ   SR      5w     10w

339                46464    19595     555      7/93    35.30    2.53    83.7    18        0

 

 

Clive Lloyd

Standing at 6ft 5in, Clive Lloyd was a dominant figure in World Cricket, but as a First-Class cricketer, those 6 feet plus grew to at least 10. Averaging just south of 50, the hard-hitting former West Indies captain was a man for the moment. If you wanted to see Lloyd at his best, put his team in trouble and that would be an almost eventuality. Seventy-nine times Lloyd would pass the three-figure mark including a career-best 242 not out, and he would get to a half-century or more on 172 other occasions.

 

First-class career: 1963-1986

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs     HS      Ave    100s    50s         

490     730      96     31232    242*   49.26     79     172      

 

      

 

Alvin Kallicharran

Alvin Kallicharran could play all the shots in the book, but not only that, he could do it with a certain poise and grace almost unparalleled even today. Usually, with the kind of genius Kallicharran displayed, there comes episodes that may hinder that genius. There was none of that for Kallicharran who averaged 43.64 over the course of 505 first-class games. That average had been coming down as well, because Kallicharran, played long past the point where he was still at his best. He holds the record for the highest number of centuries from a Guyanese bat, the figure standing at 87, and 160 half-centuries to boot, with only Clive Lloyd having scored more. He would end his career with 32,650 first-class runs under his belt, again, another record for a Guyanese batsman.

 

First-class career: 1966-1990

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs      HS      Ave     100s    50s        

505      834     86     32650     243*   43.64      87     160           

 

Colin Croft

Colin Croft’s modus operandi was aggression and you couldn’t tell if he really meant to kill you after a vicious bouncer whizzed by your ear. With his very noticeable lean to the left side of the wicket, Croft would get the ball to angle towards a right-hander quite sharply before it would straighten off the pitch. That movement with pace and bounce was difficult to navigate for even the most proper of batsmen and only the very talented would survive for too long. In just 121 first-class matches, Croft would claim 428 scalps and some of those wickets were literally scalps, at the incredibly low average of 24.59. His strike rate of 49.3 makes him the most dangerous bowler Guyana has ever produced.

 

First-class career: 1971-1982

Mat    Inns     Balls      Wkts   BBI     Ave     Econ   SR       5w     10w

121     21101   10527    428     8/29    24.59   2.99    49.3     17        1

 

        

Roger Harper (allrounder)

With 567 wickets under his belt, Roger Harper is most decidedly a bowling allrounder. His average of 25.97 at a strike rate of 66.7 bares this truth out but he could also bat, having scored 10 centuries and 36 half-centuries in the 200 first-class matches he has played. Harper, like many allrounders, never wanted to be left out of the game and would make his presence felt in the field as well, picking up and throwing down the stumps all in one motion or cutting off a certain boundary. You couldn’t hit it in the air to him either because his buckets for hands would make no mistake. A tall offspinner, Harper turned the ball depending on the pitch he was bowling on but depended more on deception in flight to get him wickets. His height meant he could make a ball look like it was in the air for a long time when it really wasn’t, as well as he could spare in quick yorkers that would leave a batsman strangled for time to get his feet out of the way.

 

First-class career (batting): 1979-1997

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs     HS      Ave    100s    50s         

200      263     43     7480      234    34.00     10      36                      

 

First-class career (bowling): 1979-1997

Mat    Balls      Runs      Wkts    BBI     Ave     Econ    SR      5w     10w

200     37825    14726      567     6/24    25.97   2.33     66.7     28       3

 

 

Reon King

Reon King is quite possibly the most underrated bowler in the history of West Indies cricket, especially after fast-bowling royalty, Michael Holding, said he could neither bat, bowl nor field. King only played in 19 Tests for the West Indies but lost a yard of pace largely because of a niggling heel injury. Before that though, King generated good pace through an effortless run-up that some ironically likened to Holding’s. Before his career came to an end though, King managed 95 first-class games and 293 wickets at an average of 27.48. His figures, had he been able to remain fit may have surprised Holding. His 11 five-wicket hauls and one 10-wicket haul suggests he could turn a match.

 

First-class career: 1995-2007

Mat    Balls    Runs     wkts   BBI     Ave     Econ   SR     5w     10w

95      16120   8053      293    7/82    27.48   2.99    55.0    11       1

 

Lance Gibbs

Lance Gibbs is the most successful spinner in West Indies history, once holding the world record for most number of wickets in Test cricket history. He was no less of a standout in regional cricket. Generating immense spin with his long fingers, Gibbs was also accurate to a fault. More than a thousand batsmen at the first-class level found him impossible to deal with and his strike rate of 27.22 is proof positive of the danger he posed to them. But Gibbs’ ability to single-handedly turn a match was the real gift the spinner possessed, having taken five wickets in an innings on an unbelievable 50 occasions, and laying claim to ten 10-wicket hauls.

 

First-class career: 1953-1975

Mat    Balls    Runs      Wkts   BBI     Ave    Econ   SR      5w    10w

330     78430  27878     1024   8/37    27.22   2.13   76.5     50     10

CPL stars Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer, Keemo Paul and Brandon King have all been included among the 10 Caribbean players retained by the Guyana Amazon Warriors for the 2020 CPL season scheduled to get underway in August.

Paul and Hetmyer are two of seven Guyanese players retained by the Warriors. Big-hitting Sherfane Rutherford, Romario Shepherd, Chanderpaul Hemraj and Anthony Bramble were also retained as has been the emerging player Kevin Sinclair.

Odean Smith from Jamaica will also be back for the coming season.

“The Guyana Amazon Warriors Franchise has and will always be committed to the continued development of our local and regional players. From the inception of the CPL, we included young Guyanese players in our squad as part of the franchise’s mandate to provide opportunities to young aspiring Guyanese cricketers to assist in their overall development as professional cricketers,” said Omar Khan, Guyana Amazon Warriors Team Operations Manager.

“Shimron Hetmyer, Keemo Paul and Sherfane Rutherford have all benefitted from these opportunities prior to them becoming full-fledged members of our team. 

“We are extremely delighted that we were able to retain the majority of our local and regional players, including Nicholas Pooran and Brandon King, both of whom have been hailed by the cricket pundits as potential future stars of West Indies cricket and who were members of our team last year. The Guyana Amazon Warriors wish all of the retained players great success in the CPL 2020."

Retentions and signings of international players will be announced at a later date.

 This year teams can retain as many players from their 2019 squads as they wish. They could also transfer players to other teams and sign emerging players. 

 The CPL is scheduled to take place between August 19 and September 26, but the tournament organisers are currently watching the current situation with COVID-19 closely and are liaising with medical advisors and governments.

 A decision on whether the tournament can proceed as planned, or at a different time, will be made as soon as possible.

 

 Former West Indies batting coach  Toby Radford has urged Caribbean batsman to emulate Shivnarine Chanderpaul if they want to find the kind of consistency that leads to a successful career.

West Indies cricket’s greatest spinner Lance Gibbs is under fire in Antigua and Barbuda this week because of comments he made on Tuesday’s Mason & Guest radio programme on Voice of Barbados.

Fans in Antigua & Barbuda and the Leeward Islands are infuriated by sharp views Gibbs proffered about off-spinning allrounder Rahkeem Cornwall while evaluating the quality of spinners in Caribbean cricket.

With 309 wickets in a 79-match career, Gibbs has almost twice the number of wickets in Test cricket as the next most successful spinner in West Indies history, Sonny Ramadhin at 158. Alf Valentine (139), Devendra Bishoo (117) and part-time spinner Carl Hooper (114) are the only other spin bowlers surpassing the 100-mark in our Test cricket history. Ramadhin and Valentine preceded Gibbs – with a few years of overlap – but Hooper and Bishoo came after, long after.

So Gibbs speaks from a position of strength and achievement when he bemoans the dearth of spin-bowling success coming out of the West Indies for decades since his departure in the mid-1970s.

Social media is now flooded with comments lashing out at the 85-year-old icon because Cornwall did not escape his criticism in the few minutes he used in the radio interview to submit his views on the quality of West Indies spin bowlers.

Antigua and Barbuda’s cricket fraternity has understandably been prickly whenever the name Rahkeem Cornwall is mentioned in the context of West Indies selection. They had become bitter and resentful because his several years of steady, at times compelling performances, went unrewarded until his Test debut against touring India last summer.

To be fair to Gibbs, he did not deliberately target Cornwall in his criticism of spinners but merely reacted to prompting from Andrew Mason and co-host Dr Andrew Forde.

Responding to questions probing whether any new-generation off-break bowlers had impressed him, his response was a sharp “No! … They’re not spinning the ball, like who? call a name (laughs),” Gibbs said.

Asked explicitly to comment on Cornwall’s ability, Gibbs knocked the player’s technique. “How could you take two steps and bowl? Where is your rhythm, where is that rhythm?” he asked.

So Gibbs obviously has an issue with Cornwall’s bowling technique and while I disagree with some of his assessment, his overarching view on the issue, I concluded, was that “they” are not spinning the ball. He grouped a cluster of this generation of bowlers and proceeded to address Cornwall because it was the name put to him by his interviewers.

So blasting Guyanese Gibbs over these Cornwall comments, accusing him of regional insularity and the other venomous outbursts, gets us nowhere. Gibbs has an opinion on the state of West Indies spin bowling that existed before Cornwall started playing cricket.

Before I tackle the spin icon’s “two steps and bowl” observation, I must say an evaluation that Cornwall does not spin the ball is grossly incorrect. The big man consistently produces significant turn with his deliveries, the reason why he has been the leading off-spinner in recent years in the Regional 4-day tournament and why he was man-of-the-match for the West Indies in their one-off Test against Bangladesh last November with a 10-wicket haul. He posted magnificent figures of 7-57 and 3-46 in that Lucknow Test.

Because the vast majority of Cornwall’s cricket has been played domestically, I am not sure how much of him the Florida-based Gibbs has seen.

The burly Cornwall had been cited by the previous Courtney Browne-led selection panel as a player with talent but at 300+ pounds needed to work on his body conditioning. He underwent work with a specialist and there has been some improvement in his weight management.

In his delivery, Cornwall uses approximately five steps before he releases, not two as Gibbs says, but at his weight and size he really is an unorthodox and unique specimen in international cricket.

Gibbs is also on record in the post-1995 years -- when the mighty West Indies were unseated as the world’s best – urging regional selectors, coaches and captains to give spinners opportunities to develop when it was evident the fast-bowling prowess had tapered.

Spinners have had a tough time flourishing in a West Indies cricket culture, propelled in the 1970s to world dominance by a battery of bullet-quick pacers. With that legacy, the selection approach has, for decades, persisted with a fast-bowling bias even when the material did not support it and unfortunately for the spinners, non-performance on their part often swiftly resulted in the axe.

Recent history is replete with some substandard fast bowlers getting more opportunities at the highest level than slow bowlers, who, I think, were often better spin bowlers than they were fast bowlers.

Year after year, spinners have dominated the bowling statistics in West Indies first-class cricket. In the last three domestic seasons, Cornwall and left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul (twice) have led the bowling statistics. Only once in the past decade -- dominated by Nikita Miller -- did a non-spinner top the bowling statistics, that was 2013-14 through medium pacer Kenroy Peters. Before that, try 13 years ago in 2007 for another pacer topping the Regional first-class bowling statistics, Jermaine Lawson.

If spinners have been so poor, how do you explain this stark supremacy in regional cricket?

Guyana Jaguars spinner Veerasammy Permaul is hopeful that his success with the ball this past season of the West Indies Championships, will get him recalled to the West Indies team for the first time in almost five years.

West Indies legend Shivnarine Chanderpaul has been talking to the media in India sharing his thoughts on who he believes is the best batsman in the world.

The GCB/Dave West Indian Imports 2020 U-15 Inter-county tournament is set to bowl off on Sunday, February 16, at the Lusignan and GCC grounds.

The opening round will feature Demerara battling Essequibo at Lusignan, with the President’s XI facing the Berbice team over at GCC, beginning 9:30 am.

In round two, Essequibo takes on with the President’s XI at Everest, while Demerara faces off against the Berbicians at Lusignan on Tuesday, February 18.

Round three of the tournament begins on Thursday, February 20, when Demerara clashes with the President’s XI at GCC, and Essequibo simultaneously engages Demerara at Lusignan as each team vies for a position in the finals, where the two teams with the highest aggregate points, battle for the title at GCC.

The teams are as follows: Essequibo: Benny Persaud (capt.), Shazif Mohamed, Ragindra Ramblin, Bruce Vincent, Ijihad Kadir, Gladwin Henry, Mohandas Ali, Akeem John, Gulcharran Chulai, Tekeshwar Nankoo, Adesh Dass, Ramesh Seeram, Davendra Lall, Kehav Deonarine.

Berbice Under 15 team: Rampertab Ramnauth -Cpt, Avishkar Persaud, Zadeem Larose, Sanjay Algoo, Rashaad Gafur, Nyron Hicks, Damion Cecil, Kevin Kisten, Salim Khan, Matthew Pottaya- Vice Cpt, Kumar Deopersaud, Lyndon Simon, Aaron Craig, Shiv Harripersaud, Ameer Rahaman. Manager, Leslie Solomon- Coach

Demerara Under 15 Team: Romeo Deonarine, Riyad Latif, Josh Alves (Capt), Sachin Balgobin, Joshua Alves, Nityanand Matura (Vice-Capt), Reziekel Renee, Reyad latif, Dhanesh Persaud, Wayvell Allen, Bramanand Rabindranauth, Alex Datterdeen, Nicholas Sheopersaud, Hemraj Harriprashad, Coach Latchman Yadram, Manager Omar Hussain.

President’s XL: Stephon Sankar (Capt), Tulsiram Ramkarran (Vice- Capt), Arun Gainda, Sohail Gangaram, Tularam Chitamani, Yodesh Sumitra, Deonarine Dindyal, Andrew De Santos, Afazul Kadir, Aftrz Ali Budhoo, Jeremiah Singh, Tariq Walters, John Persaud, Manager Yeuraj Khemraj, Coach Ryan Hercules.

 

West Indies batting star Chris Gayle has, through his attorney, directed a Guyanese political official to withdraw statements made about him during a political meeting.

The politician in question Charles Ramson Jr, a member of the Peoples Progressive Party (PPP), reportedly endorsed and shared a claim made during a meeting in Albertown, Georgetown in January.  The claim stated Gayle had been promised US$50,000 by the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR)  for a visit to Linden late last year and was still trying to get the money, which was owed to him.

The West Indian star was spotted in Linden last year with officials of the PNCR.  The opening batsman who was in the country for a cricket match and to celebrate his 40th birthday was quick to dismiss any political motive or links to the appearance.  Gayle pointed out that the visit had simply been part of a community outreach program.

In a letter dated February 4 Gayle’s attorney Roysdale Forde gave the politician 24 hours to retract the statements, which were referred to as “defamatory” and totally “false.”  The letter went on to state that the claims also seem calculated to subject [Gayle] to ridicule and portray him as being paid by a political party in Guyana to engage in work on its behalf.”

“As you are aware my client is an internationally recognized personality and cricketer and has carefully protected his brand and reputation especially by refusing to engage in public relations activities at the request of political parties,” the letter states, before adding that Gayle has engaged in a number of business ventures in Guyana, such as the promotion of a number of entertainment events, branded on his personality and persons in Guyana,” the letter read.

“Your statements are injurious to the financial success of these events and by extension necessarily to the said business undertaking of my client in Guyana and worldwide,” the letter concluded.

In response to a request from Upper Demerara Cricket Association (UCDA) for help in developing the sport in Linden, the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) on Wednesday donated a large quantity of cricket gear to the association’s president Jermaine Figueira.

Cricket West Indies chief executive Johnny Grave has insisted the board will look to continue its objective of spreading the sport across regional venues.

Insularity and some amount of bias have often been charges leveled at those who select which grounds will be picked to host international cricket on various West Indies tours.  International grounds in bigger countries have often been given the nod but Graves insists it might not be the case in the future.

“The highest crowds we experienced in this series was in Grenada.  Grenada didn’t have cricket between 2015 and 2019 and I think it is important we spread cricket around our international grounds,” Graves said.

“I think we need to do far more as an organization to promote and market to make sure all the cricket fans and even the non-cricket fans know that the West Indies team is coming to their country to play,” he added.

“I hope everyone understands that policy and we do our best to spread cricket around the region.”

With the exception of Barbados the West Indies' first tour of the new year, against Ireland, was played in Grenada and St Kitts.  The New Zealand New Zealand tour in July will be hosted in Antigua, Dominica, and Guyana, with Trinidad and Tobago, St Lucia and Jamaica.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) and the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) have delivered messages of condolence at the passing of West Indies cricketer Basil Butcher.

The management team of the Reggae Boyz have expressed disappointment at the performance against Guyana at the Montego Bay Sports Complex on Monday night.

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