GEORGETOWN, Guyana – Long-serving head coach Esuan Crandon said the Guyana Jaguars are looking to regain their groove when the Colonial Medical Insurance Super50 Cup opens on November 6.
Crandon has presided over the Jaguars winning the West Indies Championship (first-class matches) for the last five seasons, but he has watched his side come close and fail to cross the finish line in the Super50 Cup during the same period, culminating in last year’s final, when the Combined Campuses & Colleges Marooners topped them to lift a regional title for the first time in the composite side’s history.
A team from Guyana has not won the Super50 since Shivnarine Chanderpaul’s side bested Courtney Browne’s Barbados by seven runs under the Duckworth/Lewis Method 14 years ago at the now decommissioned Bourda Oval. In the 13 tournaments staged since then, they failed to reach the semi-finals four times, lost at the semi-final stage six times and in the final, thrice.
The Jaguars have been pooled with hosts Trinidad & Tobago Red Force, recent winners Windward Islands Volcanoes, a composite West Indies Emerging Players squad and the United States for Group “B” matches which will be played at the Queen’s Park Oval and Brian Lara Cricket Academy for this year’s tournament.
Crandon spoke to CWI Media ahead of the competition and said his side wants to end the title drought and give Guyanese fans something to cheer following the disappointing loss of the Guyana Amazon Warriors in the Final of the Caribbean Premier League, after they played the preliminary stage unbeaten. . .
On expectations as the countdown to the start of the Colonial Medical Insurance Super50 Cup continues:
I expect us to play really exciting and competitively. We have been a really competitive side over the years in the Super50 Cup and we have been in the final and the semi-finals consistently, so I expect us to continue to play the way we have in the past and when it is all over to win the tournament.
On breaking the title drought in the Super50 Cup:
We have not managed to win it for a long time. We would have played really well up to the final match and to cross that last hurdle has been a struggle for us over the years. We have highlighted a few things. For me, I think it is just being able to manage that final game and the expectations around us and winning and going through the same processes which we had done during the group matches and the semi-finals. It’s more a mental hurdle for us, I think, and it’s just for us to be ready and mentally prepared, switched on and able to control our emotions, so we are focussing on some of these things during our preparations and we expect to do much better when we get to the final stages of the tournament.
On how he will prepare the squad, considering the short time available before the tournament:
Preparations have been going well so far. We were affected a bit by the weather a few months ago, but we were able to step things up about six or seven weeks ago and start doing some white-ball preparations which has gone well for us and the weather has been good. We have been able to get in some quality work. We have focussed on game scenarios and getting the players to understand their roles, rotation of the strike and getting the players to take more responsibility from a batting perspective. We have started our franchise league last Thursday. It’s been very competitive, and we have seen some outstanding performances throughout the tournament, and we have used it to help select our team. We also have a couple of practice games to finalise our preparations before we travel to Trinidad.
On where the strength in the squad lies:
I think we have a good blend of players. We have some very experienced players in this team. We have two necomers – Niall Smith, a fast bowler, and Kemol Savoury, a wicketkeeper/batsman – so we have managed to blend the resources nicely. It’s a good balance. Nice mix of experienced players and young players. Our batting is our strength, I would have to say at this moment because of the experience and number of players than can win matches for us. Not saying our bowling is not good. We also have good experience there and they will do a good job for us, but I think the batting has the edge.
On his side’s opponents in Group “B”:
Obviously, there good teams in our group. We will not take any side for grant. We will take each opponent seriously and one game at a time. The good thing is that every team gets to play the other twice, so after the first encounter, the players have time to prepare for the return match and try to do better. With the two top teams from the group advancing to the semi-finals, every other team will come to play hard and win matches. Fans will view the Jaguars as one of the top teams in the group, along the Red Force and the Volcanoes, but we cannot rule out the Emerging Players squad and the United States, so we have to play every opponent hard and strong.
On how he would define success other than winning the tournament:
Our ultimate goal is to win the tournament. Success for me would also be to see our players perform well and to produce players that can represent the West Indies team. I want to see our players put out some consistent, solid performances that can push the selectors and get their names out there.
Source: CWI Media