By Ravendra Madholall in Toronto
Canada-based Guyanese Hemnarine Chattergoon has thrown his support behind the Guyana Harpy Eagles to come out successful at this year’s regional four-day tournament which gets cracking Wednesday.
Eagles will take on arch-rivals Barbados Pride at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua and Barbuda.
On the same day, Leeward Islands Hurricanes will match their skills with Jamaica Scorpions. On Tuesday, Trinidad and Tobago Red Force started off with Windward Islands Volcanoes in Grenada.
Guyana Harpy Eagles again will be led by West Indies batsman Leon Johnson and he will have another discarded test player as his deputy Veerasammy Permaul.
Chatttergoon, who represented Canada at the international level, stated that the team looked balance and having an experienced captain should give Guyana Harpy Eagles tremendous confidence to reclaim the prestigious trophy.
“I [am] confident they will do well; the team looked balanced and that is important when competing at this level; you have Leon as a senior captain as well; he led them to five titles and that also positive,” Chattergoon mentioned from his home in Toronto.
Guyana Harpy Eagles will be without regular opening batsman Tagenarine Chanderpaul and left-arm orthodox spinner Gudakesh Motie.
They both in Zimbabwe with the West Indies team for a two-match test series which is slated to commence on Saturday.
“Not too much to worry because we still have some senior guys around; yes, Tage and Motie would have been very vital but the other players have got a golden opportunity to make an impression,” the right-handed Chattergoon commented.
Chattergoon, the elder brother of former West Indies opening batsman Sewnarine Chattergoon, feels Guyana Harpy Eagles are also strong favorites for this clash against the Pride given the fact a large number of their seasoned campaigners are also in Zimbabwe.
Among them are West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite, versatile all-rounder Jason Holder, off-spinner Roston Chase, and another dynamic all-rounder Kyle Mayers.
“Well, Guyana Harpy Eagles can dominate with the absence of these big players; you want to start the tournament on a positive note as well and they should really capitalise on the opportunity,” the 45-year-old Chattergoon revealed.
Guyana Harpy Eagles will be without Shimron Hetmyer who is currently in Dubai representing Gulf Giants at the inaugural International League T20.
Hetmyer, one of Guyana’s ace batsmen, did appear for Guyana Harpy Eagles last year, but he is set to miss the first two matches for this year’s edition. Adding to Hetmyer, genuine all-rounders Romario Shepherd and Keemo Paul were selected due to their availabilities.
The tournament will take a break after the first two rounds and return mid March.
Guyana Harpy Eagles will move across to Grenada to oppose Windward Islands Volcanoes before returning home.
The Guyana Harpy Eagles squad reads: Leon Johnson (Captain), Veerasammy Permaul (Vice-captain), Chandrapaul Hemraj, Matthew Nandu, Kemol Savory, Tevin Imlach, Anthony Bramble, Kevin Sinclair, Nial Smith, Ronsford Beaton, Akshaya Persaud, Ashmead Nedd and Shamar Joseph.