CPL2018: Warriors not taking St Lucia Stars lightly- Head Coach

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Guyana Amazon Warriors all-rounder Keemo Paul and Head Coach Johan Botha said the team were focused on this weekend’s upcoming double-headers, but were looking to take it one match at a time as they prepared to tackle the St Lucia Stars at Providence, today, Saturday, August 11.

Guyana Amazon Warriors all-rounder Keemo Paul and Head Coach Johan Botha at a press conference on Friday

During the Warriors’ pre-match press conference on Friday afternoon at the Marriott Hotel, the right-arm seamer, who was the pick of the Guyana franchise’s bowling in Thursday night’s opener versus the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots, said it was good to have kicked off the campaign on a high note.

“I just backed myself and bowled well and bowled my best ball when I thought it was the right time, so it’s all about having a clear mind. I see everything as a challenge, so I just want to overcome it and make strides,” said Paul.

The West Indies fast-bowler starred with 2-16, standing out among a good bowling performance from the other world-class Warriors bowlers. The Essequibian said that he was happy to be called upon by his captain to be a key part of the pace attack, adding that he was looking forward to maintaining his form.

“I’m looking forward to bowling in the death overs; to do it for the Warriors is an honour. I’m embracing the opportunity that has been given to me, so I just want to continue to do well in my death overs or whenever I’m given the ball.”

From a bowling perspective, the ex-Windies U-19 Vice Captain said that overall it was good to have a first-hand look at the surface at Providence, especially with two more home games left over the weekend. He also maintained that the experienced as well as upcoming bowlers would need to work as a unit in order to keep teams at bay throughout the competition.

“I mean we have a lot of senior bowlers in our team with international experience, they know how they want to go about doing their stuff; they played a few practice games on the wicket so they know what it’s like. I think everyone has knowledge of how the wicket plays, so it’s about backing yourself when you get out there,” Paul added.

Head Coach Botha was also in good spirits as he said the team had ideal preparation ahead of the Patriots encounter. The ex-South African all-rounder also added that he was delighted with how the team handled their first assignment, adding that it was necessary to keep the momentum at a high going forward.

Regarding the woes, Botha said while he was thus far happy with the batting and bowling returns following game one, he was focused on improving in the area of fielding as well as helping bowlers reduce the number of extra deliveries, something which he said needed to be rectified immediately.

It was also highlighted by the Coach that they were not about to take the Stars lightly as he knew they would be seeking to rebound, given their opening round loss to the defending champs Trinbago Knight Riders.

“Any team would want to start three from three, but we are going to focus on tomorrow (Saturday, get the result we want, then focus on Sunday. Personally I think we can win games on the road and if someone outplays us, we will have to go on the road and win games,” Botha declared.

Meanwhile, the St Lucia team underwent their training session on Friday, with a rebound win definitely on the cards. Despite a star-studded top order, the Stars failed to shine in Wednesday’s game as the likes of Andre Fletcher, David Warner, Lendl Simmons, Captain Kieron Pollard, and Darren Sammy all failed.

With a powerhouse line-up including T20 specialist bowlers – pacers Mitchell McCleneghan and Kesrick Williams, the Stars will be gunning for a win to get themselves going this season. The Warriors will, however, fancy their chances as they beat the Stars twice last season in two low-scoring games.

The first ball is expected to bowl off at 16:00h Guyana time. (Clifton Ross)

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