Dowlin ready for business as Guyana prepare for Champions League

Guyana's cricketers are getting ready for their trip to the Airtel Champions League and opener Travis Dowlin, a veteran with 15 years in the national side, spoke of the honour it is to represent his country and the people of the region on the international stage. He also looked at mood in the camp and the vibe on the streets of Guyana.

The 33-year-old said the players are full of enthusiasm and belief as they prepare for what he believes will be “a wonderful journey into the unknown” alongside some of the world’s best players in South Africa next month. The Guyanese earned the right to represent the region when they defeated Barbados by one wicket with just a ball to spare in the final of the West Indies Cricket Board’s Caribbean T20 last month.

The Guyana players, under coach Ravidranauth Seeram and skipper Ramnaresh Sarwan, have been doing nets sessions, fitness drills and gym workouts this week. Next week they will have friendly matches. Dowlin spoke after Wednesday’s sessions as he looked forward to the event.

“There are very high levels of enthusiasm in the squad. Everyone is really excited now we have this great opportunity to play in the Champions League and represent our beloved country on the international stage,” said Dowlin. “Everyone is full of enthusiasm. There is real expectation among the people of Guyana. Everywhere you turn, people including the taxi drives, bus drivers … just about everyone, has been congratulating us for our performance in winning the Caribbean T20 and also wishing us all the best as we prepare for South Africa. It feels really good to see that people here paid so much attention to our performances in the CT20. We hope to maintain that same level of intensity and commitment to the cause. We know quite clearly the entire nation is behind us when we go to South Africa.”

For the September 10 to 26 event Guyana will be in Group B. They will play against Royal Challengers Bangalore on September 12 at SuperSport Park in Centurion, against Mumbai Indians on September 16 at Kingsmead in Durban; against Highveld Lions on September 19 at the Wanderers in Johannesburg; and return to the same venue two days later to face South Australia Redbacks.

Dowlin added: “As a Guyana team we want to bring our own brand of cricket. We want to create our own legacy. Trinidad and Tobago had a great legacy. Last year they did really well for the region, reaching the final, and everyone is expecting us to play a similar sort of game. In many ways we are similar to the Trinidadians in terms of the make-up of our squad, but what we want to do is to have people see us as the Guyana team playing the game in our way –workmanlike and efficient and enjoying what we do. We have our own style and our own way of playing and that’s what we plan to do in South Africa.

“We have the element of surprise. We have a number of new players – several players who have never yet played at the international level – so this can very well work in our favour. We have some players who can hit the ball powerfully including Jonathan Foo, Christopher Barnwell, and the Crandon brothers (Royston and Esaun) and we also have myself, Sarwan and Narsingh Deonarine, who are ‘workers’ of the ball. The one major area we have been working hard on is our bowling at the ‘death’. We have to sharpen up in that department as that is one area that can hurt any team in this version of the game.”
The Guyana selectors have kept faith with the players who won the CT20. The full team lists were unveiled on Tuesday by the tournament organizers and the Guyana squad featured the same 14 players who won the regional tournament. The one player added is Richard Ramdeem, a right-handed opening batsman.

Squad: Ramnaresh Sarwan (captain), Royston Crandon, Lennox Cush, Travis Dowlin, Sewnarine Chattergoon, Narsingh Deonarine, Jonothan Foo, Derwin Christian, Christopher Barnwell, Esaun Crandon, Devendra Bishoo, Assad Fudadin, Paul Wintz, Steven Jacobs, Richard Ramdeen