The return of a number of West Indies cricket stars, headed by fit-again Test and One-day International captain Jason Holder, will be the key feature of the third round of matches in the West Indies Championship, starting on Friday January 04, 2019.
Holder was side-lined from the recent West Indies tour of Bangladesh, due to a shoulder injury which he sustained during the preceding tour of India.
His return, along with four other West Indies players, will be a major boost for traditional powerhouses Barbados Pride, when they host front-runners and four-time defending champions Guyana Jaguars, in a high-profile contest at Kensington Oval in Barbados.
The other two matches also bear some intrigue, as they feature two home teams looking to bounce back against two visiting teams.
The addition of Holder, Roston Chase, Shane Dowrich, Kemar Roach and Ashley Nurse to the Pride’s line-up, and opening batsman Chandrapaul Hemraj, as well as all-rounder Raymon Reifer and Sherfane Rutherford to the Jaguars’ squad, should make for an intriguing contest in the renewal of the regional game’s longest-running rivalry.
Sadly, Shai Hope of the Barbados Pride, and Shimron Hetmyer (of the Guyana Jaguars, two of the West Indies’ brightest batting prospects, will miss the contest for varying reasons.
The two teams currently occupy the top two positions in the standings, following contrasting wins in the previous round before the holidays, and will be looking to make headway in a rivalry that produced some fascinating games during the Professional Cricket League era over the last four seasons.
While the Jaguars comfortably dispatched of the Hurricanes in the second round to formalise their top billing, a depleted Pride side climbed into second spot, after they came from behind to log a stunning victory over the Jamaica Scorpions in a low-scoring affair.
Holder will not lead the Pride however, leaving Shamarh Brooks in the role that he has played from the start of the season and in the preceding West Indies Super50 Cup. But how well the West Indies captain has recovered from his injury, ahead of the England tour of the West Indies, starting later this month, will be closely monitored.
Recent history favours the Jaguars in this contest. They have won three of the eight matches between the two sides in the PCL era, including two in the Pride’s backyard.
Half of the matches in this period have also ended in draws – and this is the likely outcome, unless there is a dramatic occurrence.
Barbados Pride squad -: Shamarh Brooks (captain), Kraigg Brathwaite, Jonathan Carter, Roston Chase, Miguel Cummins, Shane Dowrich, Keon Harding, Jason Holder, Aaron Jones, Shayne Moseley, Ashley Nurse, Kemar Roach, and Jomel Warrican.
In is Chase, Dowrich, Holder, Nurse, and Roach; and out is Justin Greaves, Chemar Holder, Shamar Springer, Tevyn Walcott, and Hayden Walsh Jr.
Guyana Jaguars squad -: Leon Johnson (captain), Christopher Barnwell, Anthony Bramble, Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Chandrapaul Hemraj, Keon Joseph, Gudakesh Motie, Raymon Reifer, Sherfane Rutherford, Romario Shepherd, Vishaul Singh, Veerasammy Permaul, and Clinton Pestano.
In is Hemraj, Reifer, and Rutherford; and out is Trevon Griffith, Tevin Imlach, and Akshaya Persaud.
Umpires are Gregory Brathwaite, and Carl Tuckett, with the reserve umpire is Kevin Sisnett. The match referee is Stephen Proverbs.
The Trinidad and Tobago Red Force, under the leadership of regular captain Denesh Ramdin, takes on the Leeward Islands Hurricanes at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Trinidad and Tobago.
Both teams have been juiced up for the match with the return of the West Indies pair of Denesh Ramdin and Kieran Powell to the helm of the respective units.
The two West Indies players will have their work cut out trying to inject confidence back into their sides, as both teams enter the contest having suffered losses in the previous round.
Red Force let it slip against the Windward Islands Volcanoes at this same venue, and the Hurricanes were outplayed by the all-conquering Jaguars.
Bowling will be the key for both sides with Red Force strengthened with the inclusion of West Indies tearaway Shannon Gabriel, but batting will be decider.
The Red Force have won five of the eight matches the two sides have contested in the PCL era, but the Hurricanes will recall their tense, one-wicket victory in the second half of last season in their opponents’ backyard.
Trinidad and Tobago Red Force squad -: Denesh Ramdin (captain), Yannic Cariah, Bryan Charles, Joshua Da Silva, Shannon Gabriel, Kyle Hope, Imran Khan, Amir Jangoo, Jason Mohammed, Anderson Phillip, Khary Pierre, Jeremy Solozano, and Daniel St. Clair.
In is Gabriel, Pierre, and Ramdin; out is Ricky Jaipaul, Odean Smith, and Tion Webster.
The Leeward Islands Hurricanes’ squad -: Kieran Powell (captain), Sheno Berridge, Nelson Bolan, Keacy Carty, Rahkeem Cornwall, Jahmar Hamilton, Montcin Hodge, Damion Jacobs, Alzarri Joseph, Jeremiah Louis, Devon Thomas, Akeem Saunders, and Terance Warde.
In is Hamilton, and Powell; and out is Rajendra Chandrika, and Orlando Peters.
Umpires for the match are Danesh Ramdhanie, and Patrick Gustard, with Kashif Sandy as the reserve umpire. Match referee is Michael Ragoonath.
The Jamaica Scorpions, under the guidance of under interim head coach Robert Haynes, meet the Windward Islands Volcanoes at Sabina Park in Jamaica, in a pink ball, day/night affair.Judging by results in the PCL era, this match is likely to have a winner, as all of the previous eight contests between the two sides have ended in outright results.
The Scorpions have won five of the matches played to date between the two sides, and this will be good news, along with the return to the line-up of West Indies trio of Fabian Allen, Rovman Powell, and fast bowler Oshane Thomas.
After suffering a devastating loss in the previous round, the home team will be looking to kick-start their season with a victory in a match that will be played under the lights with a pink-ball.
They face a Volcanoes side that came from behind to oust Red Force in the previous round, whose batting will be fortified by the return of West Indies batsman Sunil Ambris.
The Jamaica Scorpions squad -: Paul Palmer (captain), Fabian Allen, Jermaine Blackwood, Dennis Bulli, John Campbell, Assad Fudadin, Reynard Leveridge, Jermaine Levy, Nikita Miller, Rovman Powell, Aldaine Thomas, Oshane Thomas, ad Chadwick Walton.
In is Allen, Fudadin, Powell, and Thomas; and out is Derval Green, Andre McCarthy, Steven Taylor, and Kenroy Williams.
The Windward Islands Volcanoes squad -: Kirk Edwards (captain), Sunil Ambris, Alick Athanaze, Roland Cato, Larry Edward, Tarryck Gabriel, Kaveem Hodge, Ray Jordan, Shermon Lewis, Obed McCoy, Denis Smith, Devon Smith, and Josh Thomas.
In is Ambris, Edward, and McCoy; and out is Delorn Johnson, Shane Shillingford, and Tyron Theophile.
Christopher Taylor and Leslie Reifer, Jr are the standimg umpires for that game, while Jacqueline Williams is the reserve umpire, and Denovan Hayles the match referee.