KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica Scorpions skipper, Nikita Miller, believes the presence of veteran former West Indies batsman Shiv Chanderpaul coupled with an effective seam attack, made the difference for newly crowned Regional four-day champions Guyana Jaguars.
Scorpions’ two-wicket defeat to Jaguars at Sabina Park inside three days last Saturday saw the three-time reigning champions march to an unassailable lead, with Barbados Pride only managing a draw against Windward Islands Volcanoes in Bridgetown.
”The experience of a batsman like Chanderpaul in their team is a huge advantage for them,” the Gleaner newspaper quoted Miller as saying.
“He has been a batting leader for them, be it in setting huge totals, or chasing difficult targets, which has served as an inspiration and motivation for many of their batsmen, some of whom have gone on to represent the West Indies.”
The 43-year-old Chanderpaul gathered 333 runs from six matches this season, with a hundred and three half-centuries.
To Miller’s point, the left-hander’s century – 109 against Leeward Islands Hurricanes at Warner Park – came under pressure with Jaguars being forced to follow on and helped them avoid defeat.
Last season, Chanderpaul was Jaguars’ leading batsman and was among seven players with over 600 runs, averaging 62 and hitting two hundreds and five half-centuries.
In the 2015/16 campaign, he played only half of Jaguars’ 10 matches but still managed 299 runs an average of nearly 50.
Jaguars were also carried this season by their fast bowling attack led by 19-year-old Keemo Paul who has so far picked up 32 wickets in first full first class campaign.
New-ball partner, West Indies A star Keon Joseph, has also managed 15 scalps from six outings while in past seasons, senior team all-rounder Raymon Reifer has been among the wickets with his left-arm seam.
“I believe that over the past four seasons that they have been winning, there has been major improvement in their fast bowling, which has contributed to their success,” Miller noted.
“If you looked at a Guyana team in former years, you would not think fast bowlers, but they now have medium fast bowlers and fast bowlers who are picking up wickets each game.
“This was also a feature of the Barbados team and the Jamaica team that did well, in terms of record titles, with their fast bowlers being pretty good.”
Jaguars, still unbeaten through eight rounds of the championship, sit on 135 points with Pride lying second on 85.8 points and Hurricanes third on 79.4.
They face Pride at Kesington Oval in the penultimate round starting Thursday. – CMC