By Brandon Corlette
The Guyana Amazon Warriors (GAW) squad was officially announced on Wednesday last at the Gfinity eSports Arena in London. Shadab Khan, the 20-year old Pakistan leg-spinner, headlined the draft for the Guyanese franchise when he was snapped up in the opening round of the draft. Among the 17 players drafted to GAW, eight of the players from Guyana were selected.
Nicholas Pooran, the marquee player was among the second round draft picks while Pakistan’s senior statesman, Shoaib Malik, was the third round draft pick. Guyana’s Shimron Hetmyer was the fourth round draft while Australia’s Ben Laughlin and Chris Green completed the first six round of drafts.
Laughlin has only played five One Day Internationals (ODIs) and three T20 Internationals (T20I) for Australia. The 36-year old Laughlin, has represented Australia since January 2013 but has since dominated T20 leagues globally, including the IPL and Big Bash. The right-arm medium pacer has played 137 T20 matches and has 167 victims with a bowling average of 22.47. His experience at this level, has earned him selection and his best bowling figure his 6-28.
Green who was a utility player in 2018 has been recalled for GAW duties; in 2018 he had 10 wickets in 11 matches at a stellar economy rate of 6.27. The 25-year old Green is yet to make his international debut for Australia but his exploits in the Big Bash has exposed him to T20 leagues around the World. Green has 57 T20 matches to his name and 44 wickets and his off-spin bowling in the power-play overs have proved valuable for any T20 franchise.
Keemo Paul, who was picked up in the seventh round, is expected to be an important member of the team. His IPL teammate, Sherfane Rutherford who was picked up in the eighth round will add the x-factor in the GAW unit. Along with Shimron Hetmyer who scored 440 runs in 2018, the Guyanese trio will be certain picks in the starting XI.
Jamaican batsman, Brandon King was also snapped up; the classy right-hander, King has shown great promise in the Regional arena. The 24-year old has played for St Kitts and Nevis Patriot in 2018 where he played only seven matches and scored a career best 60. Romario Shepherd, Guyana’s impact player in the Regional tournaments, has been drafted in the tenth round.
Shepherd, one of five Berbicians in the GAW team, has played three matches in 2018 for the GAW and had a best bowling figure of 3-29. Odean Smith, the eleventh round pick, is an extreme fast bowler who hails from Jamaica but plays for Trinidad and Tobago in the Cricket West Indies (CWI) Regional tournaments.
The 22-year old Smith has played two T20Is for West Indies in 2018 against Pakistan but has shown promise in both aspects of his game at the Regional level. Keagan Simmons, one of two Trinidadians in the set-up is a 20-year old left-handed opening batsman who represent West Indies U-19 and had a fruitful season scoring the second highest score (166) for a Windies U-19 player. Chandrapaul Hemraj, who played for St Lucia Stars last season has earned selection for the GAW after some promising innings in Regional cricket and ODIs. Hemraj played two matches in 2018 and had a high score of 37.
Seasoned campaigner, Veerasammy Permaul was picked up in round 14 after Raymon Reifer was a right to match by Barbados Tridents. Permaul, the left-arm spinner has featured in only three matches in 2018 for GAW but over the years he has proved a capable bowler. Anthony Bramble made his return to the GAW team after playing his last match in August 2016.
Bramble has made strides graduating the CWI Regional tournaments as the most successful wicket-keeper in successive years. The 28-year old Bramble has also featured in the Global T20 league in Canada where he was captain of the Windies B team.
Clinton Pestano has earned his maiden call-up after a great start to his Regional career. Pestano has achieved a rear feat; picking up a hat-trick in the Regional Super50 against a star-studded Trinidad and Tobago team. The final round draft saw the ICC American player, Saurabh Netravalkar who is a left-arm seamer from the United States of America. He has featured in the 2018 squad but has never played a match.
GAW draft was conducted by Team’s operation manager, Omar Khan, Head Coach Johan Botha and team owner, Dr. Ranjisinghi Ramroop. The full 17-member squad reads: Shadab Khan, Nicholas Pooran, Shoaib Malik, Shimron Hetmyer, Ben Lauglin, Chris Green, Keemo Paul, Sherfane Rutherford, Brandon King, Romario Shepherd, Odean Smith, Keagan Simmons, Chanderpaul Hemraj, Veerasammy, Permaul, Anthony Bramble, Clinton Pestano, and Saurab Netravalkar.