The 2017/2018 West Indies domestic first-class season recently culminated with the playing of the Super 50 competition in Barbados and Antigua. Prior, the regional players competed over ten rounds in the Digicel Regional 4-day competition.
The Guyana Jaguars wrapped up their sixth consecutive four-day title after amassing 166.8 points. The Leon Johnson lead team went unbeaten whilst chalking up seven wins.
One player who contributed significantly to the Jaguars title success, is left arm leg spinner Veerasammy Permaul, who lead the tournament with fifty wickets at an average of 18.90. The diminutive spinner had best bowling figures of 6 for 29 in the first innings of the opening match of the season against Jamaica Scorpions. He would end up with ten wickets in the match.
In fact, it was another year of dominance for regional spinners, as Trinidad & Tobago’s right arm leg spinner Imran Khan finished second on the wicket takers list. His forty-eight wickets came at an average of 25.54 with best bowling figures of 6 for 59 against Jamaica. In six matches in the limited overs Super 50 tournament, Khan picked up eight wickets at an average of 25.38. Ironically, the right-handed Khan made his debut back in 2005 against Guyana at Albion as an opening batsman, however, he converted to an all-rounder in the 2009 season. Thirteen successive seasons on, Khan credits his hard work and dedication to his continued success, “I am very pleased with my season; I have been putting in all the hard work in training and to pick up forty-eight wickets is testament to all that hard work.”
Another spinner who lead from the front in the regional competition was Dominica’s Shane Shillingford, who lead the Windward Islands Volcanoes to the 2018 Super 50 Cup. After losing the first three games of the tournament, the Volcanoes, captained by Shillingford, came back to win all their remaining games including beating tournament favorites and defending champions Barbados Pride in the final. The right arm off spinner Shillingford lead the tournament in the bowling department, claiming twenty-three wickets at an average of 13.83 in ten matches. According to the eighteen-year veteran of the regional game, the team motivated themselves and played better as the tournament went on, “we had a rough start to the tournament, losing our first three games, but we dug deep and found the resilience to pick ourselves up and we started to improve as we went along.”
Notably, the Volcanoes had little or no preparation before the Super 50 tournament as Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Dominica. Owing to that, Shillingford noted that the players were extra focused to go out and do well for the island and the Windwards as a whole. “We wanted this badly for the people of Dominica and the Windward Islands and the players responded admirably, even the younger ones who were making their first-class debut played out of their skins, and I am proud of the overall effort.” The 35-year-old also made mention of the new thrust that exists in regional cricket, which has motivated the players to a higher level. “The professional set up in the region now has gotten our players to believe in cricket once again, players are being compensated more and even the younger players have started to practice harder and work harder on their game”, Shillingford highlighted.
Veteran left handed batsman Devon Smith shares the sentiments of Shillingford. Smith who scored a record 1095 runs in this season’s Regional 4-Day competition, says players are more focused on their careers as the incentives increase. “The new professional franchise system has encouraged the players to go out on the field and play 110 percent, everyone seems to be enjoying the cricket more and more because there is added incentive in the modern game.” Smith, who had set his sights on getting 800 runs this season, says his off the field regimen has helped him personally to prolong his illustrious career. “Since we are contracted to the franchises, we have to maintain our fitness level, so personally I run a lot and do a lot of gym work to keep fit. I want to continue playing as long as I can and once I can make a meaningful contribution to the youngsters in the team, I will soldier on.”
Another player that has been steadily making his mark both regionally and internationally is Jamaica’s Chadwick Walton, who lead the Jamaican Scorpions in the Super 50 tournament. Walton had the second most runs in the limited overs tournament racking up 398 in eight innings at an average of 49.75. Walton’s rich vain of form saw him hammering two centuries.
2017/2018 REGIONAL 4-DAY TOP 3 BATSMEN
- DEVON SMITH (WINDWARDS VOLCANOES) 1095 RUNS
- DENESH RAMDIN (T&T RED FORCE) 797 RUNS
- SHAYNE MOSELEY (BARBADOS PRIDE) 643 RUNS
2017/2018 REGIONAL 4-DAY TOP 3 BOWLERS
- VEERASAMMY PERMAUL (GUYANA JAGUARS) 50 WKTS
- IMRAN KHAN (T&T RED FORCE) 48 WKTS
- KEEMO PAUL (GUYANA JAGUARS) 42 WKTS
2018 SUPER 50 TOP 3 BATSMEN
- ROSTON CHASE (BARBADOS PRIDE) 558 RUNS
- CHADWICK WALTON (JAMAICA SCORPIONS) 398 RUNS
- DEVON SMITH (WINDWARDS VOLCANOES) 317 RUNS
2018 SUPER 50 TOP 3 BOWLERS
- SHANE SHILLINGFORD (WINDWARDS VOLCANOES) 23 WKTS
- SUNIL NARINE (T&T RED FORCE) 20 WKTS
- FIDEL EDWARDS (HAMPSHIRE CC) 16 WKTS
2018 SUPER 50 TOP 2 TEAMS
- Windward Islands Volcanoes
- Barbados Pride
2017-18 DIGICEL 4-DAY CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS TABLE
|1. Guyana Jaguars||166.8||10||7||0||2||1||0||0||0||22||28||20.8|
|2. Barbados Pride||114.4||10||3||2||5||0||0||0||0||21||29||13.4|
|3. Leewards Hurricanes||94.8||10||2||4||4||0||0||0||0||11||29||18.8|
|4. Jamaica Scorpions||93.6||10||3||4||3||0||0||0||0||15||25||8.6|
|5. Windwards Volcanoes||85.6||10||2||4||3||1||0||0||0||8||23||15.6|
|6. T&T Red Force||82.4||10||2||5||3||0||0||0||0||18||21||10.4|