By Royston Alkins
—- Paul, Reifer other Jaguars selected for ODI leg of Lions tour
Four Guyana Jaguars players have been selected for the West Indies ‘A’ One Day side to face the touring England Lions in the ODI leg of the Lions tour of the Caribbean.
Among the quartet selected is fast bowling all-rounder Romario Shepherd and opening batsman Chandrapaul Hemraj, who earned their maiden call-ups while all-rounders Keemo Paul and Raymon Reifer make up the foursome.
In an exclusive comment to Stabroek Sport, Shepherd and Hemraj indicated that their selections felt greatly rewarding.
“Ever since I got the news, I felt really excited,” Hemraj enthusiastically revealed.
“This [selection on the A team] was my main goal when the season started,” he added.
Hemraj, who topped the Guyana Jaguars batting chart in the 2017/18 Regional four-day tournament after compiling 623 runs from 10 matches, followed that up by scoring 227 runs in this year’s Regional super50 tournament.
While those numbers in the shorter format don’t exactly jump out at you, he received credit for the manner in which he batted against the Jamaica Scorpions when he smashed an eye-catching 80 which perhaps prompted his selection.
“I think I’m in some pretty good form right now and I love being aggressive; it’s something that comes naturally… Hopefully, I can transfer it into these games,” Hemraj told Stabroek Sport.
Shepherd, on the other hand, who captured 15 wickets in the Regional four-day tournament and further boosted his credentials in the just concluded Super50 tournament by taking 11 wickets from seven matches, said that he is heartened at being in the selector’s reckoning.
“I’m really satisfied knowing that they [West Indies Selectors] have eyes on me and have given me this call-up to the ‘A’ team.
“Obviously I have my goals but going up to ‘WI’ level is always a challenge. I just have to adapt and learn as fast as possible and take it as a learning experience.”
The 23-year–old, who, along with Paul, copped praises from former West Indies fast bowler, Ian Bishop for their impressive death bowling ability, said that he is encouraged by Bishop’s comments.
“It was a nice feeling, receiving praises from someone like Mr. Bishop who knows how hard it is being a fast bowler on these flat tracks,” he said while expressing gratitude to the efforts of coaches Esuan Crandon, Rayon Griffith and Julian Moore.
West Indies ‘A’ will play the Lions in three unofficial ODI’s beginning March 6th at the Coolidge Cricket Ground, Antigua.
The full squad reads: Kieran Powell (Captain), Jahmar Hamilton (Vice Captain), Jermaine Blackwood, Roston Chase, Rahkeem Cornwall, Chandrapaul Hemraj, Kavem Hodge, Andre McCarthy, Keemo Paul, Raymon Reifer, Romario Shepherd, Odean Smith, Jomel Warrican (Stabroek News)