Guyana Jaguars all-rounder Keemo Paul is eager to get down to business when they face Jamaica Scorpions and their marque batsman Christopher Gayle in the upcoming Regional Super50. While many bowlers may quietly shiver over the thought of running into the big-hitting opening batsman, the 19 year-old Paul is quite the opposite.
“I am looking forward to playing against these guys; I have been telling the guys [teammates] I want to bowl to Chris Gayle and hopefully get him out. We have our team plans and we will go out there and look to execute; we have been looking at them for many years now and I just have avoid bowling to their strengths.”
Jaguars face the 2017 runners-up and fellow Group ‘B’ opponents on February 8 and 16 in day/night matches at the Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua in what could be the clash of the zone.
Interestingly, during the 2017 Hero Caribbean Premier League, the Guyana Amazon Warriors right-arm medium-pacer played two matches against Gayle and his St Kitts and Nevis Patriots and did not concede a boundary which is not what a lot of other bowlers can boast about.
“I just want to give my best; I have been training hard and I got a good practice game where I found some form so I just want to carry it into the matches.”
During their practice match prior to departure on Sunday, the batsman smoked an unbeaten 20-ball 48 against the ‘Rest XI’. It comes on the heel of a remarkable four-day season where he took 42 wickets (most by any seamer) at an average of 18.69. He surpassed 50 First-Class wickets in just 13 matches and notched his maiden ton in belligerent manner against the Scorpions.
Though having 11 List A matches under his belt, none has been for Jaguars, with all exposure coming via the Windies Under-19, Paul is cognisant the shorter version will call for a greater degree of skills.
“It’s a different version, a shorter version so I got to make fewer mistakes with the no-ball and other stuff I’m working on. I want to be consistent. More so being aggressive is my game but whatever situation calls for I will play that role,” the Saxacalli-born explained.
He is a part of six youthful changes the selectors made from their 2017 squad, changes the players believes can help in delivering the ‘double’ for the four-time First-Class champions.
“I won’t say we are new players since we train together for the past year and the mood in the camp is great, expectations are very high so we want to go out and deliver and win the tournament for Guyana.”
To break the title jinx which started after 2005, Paul outlined, “Team unity and just wanting it this year and fighting it through and putting up 110% every time we play.”
Jaguars are also aligned with English County side Kent, Unites States and the Leeward Islands Hurricanes. They begin their campaign on Wednesday against Kent at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground from 09:00h.