first_imgIt has been 12 years since Guyana last won a West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) Regional 50-over title and this year will make it the 13th time the country has failed to snatch a tournament victory. The last time being under the leadership of Shivnarine Chanderpaul, against a strong Barbadian side at the historical Georgetown Cricket Club (GCC) Ground, Bourda, in the 2005/06 season.That team consisted of several West Indies players and other emerging players that elevated to the international arena. Assad Fudadin was the youngest player of that team at age 20, while the average age of that winning team was in the mid-20s.At that time, Guyana was a force to be reckon with at the Regional level, especially in limited overs cricket. In the 2004/05 season they lost to Trinidad and Tobago in the final.Ever since their last triumph, the standard of our cricket has deteriorated and not only have we failed to win titles, but there has been a drop in the provision of players to play in the shorter formats of the game for the West Indies team, which is in total contrast to a dozen years ago.Therefore, we could argue that we had an effective plan then, but recently, our team has taken similar paths looking for different results. What we did then in comparison to what we are doing now must be examined so we could return to our winning ways.Prior to the Jaguars departure, there were mixed views among local cricket pundits. Nevertheless, the selectors had the advantage of selecting two foreign players to make our team stronger. That is, an opportunity the winning 2005 team did not have at their disposal.The Leon Johnson-led side was touted as a strong team and it was expected that they would have returned with the title. Unfortunately, that is not the case and instead they were knocked out at the group stage after they were comprehensively beaten in four matches, two each against Barbados Pride and Jamaica Scorpions, a team that was not considered to be nearly as strong as the Jaguars on paper.However, cricket does not play on paper, but on the field where 22 men are involved in fierce battle. It usually ends in favour of the team that better executes their game plan. An area that was lacking for the Jaguars.Before they started their final match on Thursday, six of the top seven bowlers of the tournament were fast bowlers, two of whom are Jaguars bowlers; Ronsford Beaton and Raymond Reifer. The only spinner in that top seven is Ashley Nurse, who is probably there due to his familiarity with the home pitches.Although the pacers were dominant at this stage and it remained the same up to the Jaguars’ last match, they (Jaguars) opted for three spinners in most of their matches.Secondly, their batting was a catastrophe. It was a see-saw batting line-up that saw batsmen being changed around to bat in situations they were not prepared for. Their strike rates were also a horrible factor, as they failed to rotate the strike often as the modern game requires.The Jaguars have continued to dominate First Class cricket over the past two years, but have failed against major teams in the 50-over competition, mainly because of lack of preparation and the choice to select players who are more suited for the longer version.Subsequent to the 2016 Regional Super50 tournament, there was no local 50-over tournament hosted by the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) and there were a few limited over tournaments hosted at the club level. As a result, players were picked on their past and four-day performances, with little or no preparation.Hence, the selectors could not have fairly selected a strong team because they did not get to see those players who would have worked to improve their game, and also new players who could have probably emerged during the competition.For the last three years we have reached the semi-finals, progressing to the final in 2015. However, the Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Barbados franchises are deemed the strong-four of Regional cricket, therefore advancing to the semi-finals should not be an issue. Nonetheless, two matches against powerhouses is a different scenario than playing against minnows and one strong opponent in the group stage.The difference between the victorious Guyana team in 2005 and the teams selected since then narrows down to: 1) Suitable horses for courses in the 2005 final were played here, Guyana used four spinners and two pacers. Rayon Griffith, Jaguars Assistant Coach/Manager, was a part of that team. As Chairman of Selectors, he must select players who are suited for one-day cricket and that could only happen if there is a good structure locally to identify these players.2) Improved Preparation- an under-prepared team cannot win titles. The team must train hard, but also play sufficient cricket of the said format they will compete in.3) A plan must be implemented- judging on how the Jaguars executed their game plan during their matches, it may seem as though they lacked initiative. Therefore, if they want to win they must be creative.The next tournament is a year away; hopefully, the authorities approach it differently so the results could be similar to 2005.last_img read more