“Batting has failed us over the years”

– says Jaguars captain Leon Johnson

The Guyana Jaguars last won the Regional Super50 tournament in 2005, and the Jaguars captain Leon Johnson has said it is the batting that has failed the Guyana team over the years, and poor batting has contributed to the team’s title drought in this format of the game.
“A lot of the times (when) we lost in the semi-finals and final, I think the batting let us down in those games. The bowling has held its own. The last time we won, in 2005, (Sarwan) scored a lot of runs and Chattergoon scored a 100; and that (batting) has been letting us down in those crucial games for the better part of the last decade,” Johnson explained in a recent Sean Devers Sports Watch radio programme.
Johnson has described the batting in the first two practice games as “a bit rusty”. He is hoping that when the tournament commences in Antigua, the batting would click and the bowlers would feel supported.
He is of the opinion that this tournament would be one of great difference, since it’s the period of the global pandemic. Johnson has said the situation would be different from what the guys had become accustomed to over the years because some amount of freedom would be lost to life in the ‘bubble’, and this might take a toll on the players, even if after a lengthy period of time.
Ramnaresh Sarwan, who had scored 462 runs in six innings, including three centuries and two fifties, was the leading run-scorer for the Guyana team in a Super50 Cup in 2005. Chattergoon, the man who landed Guyana the title in 2005, had scored 325 runs in that season.

Leon Johnson walks off the field during the first semi-final match of the Super50 Cup between Guyana Jaguars and Jamaica Scorpions on Thursday, October 25, 2018 at Kensington Oval.
© CWI Media/Randy Brooks of Brooks LaTouche Photography

The closest a batsman had come to Sarwan’s impressive 2005 tally was in 2019, when “Mr Consistent”, Christopher Barnwell, had scored 351 runs, after having scored 282 runs in 2018. Barnwell is in the Jaguars squad this season, and will be aiming to extend that form, while the mercurial Shimron Hetmyer is available for the entire season.
If these batsmen click, and the Jaguars bowlers continue their usual reliable performance, that title dream may become a reality for the Jaguars.
Jaguars 2021 squad reads: Leon Johnson (Captain), Shimron Hetmyer (Vice Captain), Assad Fudadin (who returns to Guyana colours), Chandrapaul Hemraj, Trevon Griffith, Christopher Barnwell, Keon Joseph, Romario Shepherd, Kevin Sinclair, Ramaal Lewis, Nial Smith, Gudakesh Motie, Anthony Bramble, Akshaya Persaud and Tevin Imlach. (Brandon Corlette)