FRONTRUNNERS Guyana Jaguars will aim to stretch their lead when they play the visiting Barbados Pride in round four of the West Indies Cricket Board’s Professional Cricket League (PCL) Regional Four-Day Competition from Friday at the Guyana National Stadium, Providence.The game is a day/night encounter and starts at 15:00hrs daily.
The Jaguars are leading the points table, despite a below par performance so far.
They currently sit on 33.6 points, .2 more than second-place Barbados Pride. Leeward Islands Hurricanes have emerged as a strong force and are in third place with 29.4 points after hugging the bottom of the table for many years. Still, it is a very close race, with six points separating first to fifth.
Jamaica Scorpions (28.6), Trinidad and Tobago Red Force (27), while Windward Islands Volcanoes are at the bottom with 17.6 points.
Meanwhile, head coach Esaun Crandon in an exclusive interview yesterday underlined the importance of home advantage, adding that the team will have to come out and play good cricket in order to be victorious.
The former Guyana fast bowler added, “We had the opportunity to play a day/night game in St Lucia, so we know what to expect during the day and what to expect during the night, but overall we need to play better cricket than Barbados.”
The 34-year-old Crandon, who took 90 wickets from 38 First-Class games, also highlighted the importance of the fourth round encounter, adding that a win will further strengthen the Jaguars’ position.
“Obviously the game is very important for us taking into consideration we are just .2 points ahead. So we need to play good cricket over those four days and once we execute well, we can comes out on top,” Crandon said.
Unlike the previous two years, the back-to-back champions have not clicked as a unit so far this season, and Crandon is well aware that there are some concerns, which need to be addressed ahead of Friday’s encounter.
“Our batting and fielding are the areas we need to improve on. We need our batsmen to start converting to three figures. Also our shot-selection is something we need to look at,” Crandon said.
On the other hand, Barbados Pride have been significantly strengthened, with five West Indies players returning to the 13-man squad.
Opener Kraigg Brathwaite, left-hander Jonathan Carter, wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich, batsman Shai Hope and off-spinning all-rounder Ashley Nurse, replaced the injured Kenroy Williams, wicketkeeper Mario Rampersaud, leg-spinner Nikolai Charles, batsman Aaron Jones and fast bowler Kevin McLean.
All five players were members of the West Indies side who last week returned from the Tri-Nations Series in Zimbabwe.
The Jaguars are yet to confirm their squad.