By Ravi Madholall
Former Guyana and West Indies middle-order batsman Keith Semple is backing the Guyana Amazon Warriors to do well in the 2018 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) T20 championship.
According to the right-handed player who is currently residing in Canada, the Warriors have shown great consistency in every department of their game so far.
Adding to that, Semple, who appeared in seven one-day internationals for the West Indies, thinks that seeing them leading the points table has given him the confidence that the Guyana-Franchised team can go all the way on this occasion.
He continued: “It’s very commendable that Guyana has gotten to the finals on three occasions although they just can’t seem to get over the line. I don’t think they’ve quite gotten the balance of the players in the squad right so far and always seem to the lacking in one or two areas each year.”
Guyana have featured in three finals out of the six annual tournaments and never made it as the winner but he said they will have to fire on all cylinders on a consistent basis in order to overcome some of the stronger teams on paper. “Having seen the team play in the first three games I’m very hopeful that, with the many young and very talented players they have in the squad, they can go on to do well in the tournament. I think the squad lacks a bit of fire power in terms of big hitting at the end of the innings – an area that most of the other teams have covered,” Semple related.
Quizzed on the captaincy of Pakistani veteran batsman Shoaib Malik, Semple believes he is experienced enough to lead this talented side to glory in 2018. “I think he will be very impactful. He’s someone who has a wealth of experience playing for Pakistan and in T20 tournaments around the world and hopefully some of that will rub off on young players like Shemron Hetmyer, Sherfane Rutherford and Kemo Paul. I also think he’s an excellent professional who knows how to assess game situations and adapt accordingly,” Semple rated.
Guyana Amazon Warriors won two out of their three matches on home soil at the Guyana National Stadium, Providence, beating Jamaica Tallawahs by 71 runs then St. Lucia Stars by three runs before loss to Barbados Tridents by 30 runs. They however, bounced back to defeat St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots by six wickets in Florida.
Guyana will clash with the Stars in their next assignment on Friday at the Darren Sammy Cricket Stadium, St. Lucia.
West Indies, who are the world T20 champions, will be heading to next year’s ICC 50-over world cup to be staged in England. Asked how the CPL tournament can help boost the region’s cricket, Semple responded.
“I think the CPL T20 tournament can potentially be a big help to West Indies cricket but I’m not sure if we’ve seen any signs of this so far. If you take India, for example, you can see how the IPL has significantly helped the development of their young players and this has shown in India’s very high ranking in all three formats of the game. I hope that the CPL will have a similar positive effect on West Indies cricket,” Semple, who still plays cricket occasionally in Canada, mentioned.
The CPL final is fixed for September 16 at the Brian Lara Stadium in Trinidad and Tobago.