Predicted Playing XI: Brandon King, Chandrapaul Hemraj, Shimron Hetmyer, Ross Taylor*, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Sherfane Rutherford, Keemo Paul, Romario Shepherd, Chris Green*, Naveen-ul-Haq*, Imran Tahir*
Nicholas Pooran and Sherfane Rutherford’s batting positions: Pooran and Rutherford, two of Guyana’s most destructive batsmen, faced only a total of 212 deliveries in the last edition of the Caribbean Premier League. To understand how badly underused they were, all you need is to compare it with the rest of the batting unit.
With the exception of an out-of-form Shimron Hetmyer (181), Brandon King (333), Chanderpaul Hemraj (241) and Shoaib Malik (255) all faced more deliveries individually than the duo did combined and, barring King, struck at a lower rate.
Guyana can be proactive in their usage of Pooran this year, thereby making him appealing. Rutherford at No.6, however, could turn out to be as bad a fantasy option as he was in 2019.
Substitutes (by order of playing XI chances): Ashmeade Nedd (E), Kevin Sinclair (E), Odean Smith, Anthony Bramble, Jasdeep Singh, Kissoondath Magram
The tournament rules this year mandate franchises to give a total of 5 games for the emerging players. In Guyana’s case, the options are Ashmeade Nedd and Kevin Sinclair. Sinclair is an off-spinner who can bat, while Nedd is a specialist slow left-arm spinner.
Sinclair could get a game against sides such as Barbados Tridents, St Kitts and Nevis Patriots, and Trinbago Knight Riders who have a couple of left-handers in the middle order. Nedd, on the other hand, is a better option against teams such as Jamaica Tallawahs and St Lucia Zouks, who have a largely right hand dominated batting unit.
When one of the two comes in, Naveen-ul-Haq and Romario Shepherd are the bowlers who will be in the firing line. Shepherd, by virtue of being the pacer who can add value with the bat, will hold on to his spot unless the Afghanistan international does something sensational in his first few opportunities.
The Chris Green Concern: Chris Green has had an exceptional T20 career, picking up 65 wickets at an economy rate of just 6.8 runs per over and strike rate of 24.6. But with him being reported for suspect bowling action in the Big Bash League earlier this year, doubts linger over how effective he can be, especially in his first major tournament since being cleared for bowling again.
Pre-season Fantasy Ranking Order:
1. Imran Tahir – The South African leg-spinner is the most reliable fantasy option in the team. Tahir, in addition to being a proven performer in CPL (32 wickets in 21 matches at a strike rate of 13.13 and economy rate of 5.8), has been getting better with age as his T20 numbers show below:
2. Nicholas Pooran – Pooran has finally started showing signs of becoming the player he promised with this knock against Australia in the 2014 U19 World Cup. While his potential has always been obvious, only in the last 3 years has it reflected in his batting returns. Add his wicket-keeping points to it, the only reason the 24-year-old isn’t at the number one spot in this ranking order is because of his batting position.
3. Brandon King – Last edition’s breakout star, King hasn’t quite replicated his 2019 CPL performance (496 runs at an average of 55 and strike rate of 149) at the international level. However, he has shown enough to keep faith in him, like the T20I series in Sri Lanka earlier this year, where he ended up as the second leading run-scorer at a strike rate of 165.
4. Keemo Paul – In addition to being one of Guyana’s first-choice death bowling options, Paul can also contribute with the bat. The medium pace all-rounder’s 98 runs last year came at an average of 33 and strike rate of 142.
5. Shimron Hetmyer – If T20 career record is the only yardstick, Hetmyer would be further down in the ranking order. But, 23 is too early an age to judge a player just on numbers, especially if the player has five 100+ scores in ODIs at a strike rate above 125. This could very well be the season that defines Hetmyer the T20 batsman.
6. Chanderpaul Hemraj – Besides scoring 299 runs in the last season, Hemraj also sent down 14 overs with the ball to pick up 5 wickets. If the 27-year-old isn’t demoted for Rutherford, he would be one of the season’s best budget picks.
7. Romario Shepherd – Bowls fast, hits the deck hard, and gets some shape with his yorkers at the death. Having such an option to complement the spin-bowling unit is what separates Guyana from Trinbago Knight Riders and Barbados Tridents, 2 of the 3 other title contenders.
8. Chris Green – Refer to the “Chris Green concern” part of the article.
9. Ross Taylor – Taylor might be a big name, but neither his T20I record nor his CPL record gives you the confidence to back him: not only is his runs per wicket lower than ideal, but those runs have come at a mediocre strike rate too.
10. Naveen-ul-Haq - This is based on the presumption that the Afghanistan pacer could be sacrificed in some matches for meeting the emerging player criteria; if the 20-year-old doesn’t become the victim of the switch, he would move up the order.
11. Sherfane Rutherford – A specialist batting option at No.6 is a no-go territory from a fantasy point of view. But it could all turn upside down if Johan Botha, who is known for taking tough decisions, decides to push the 21-year-old up to opening.
Overload value with GAW: Positive
Overload value explained: While making your fantasy teams, be it daily or seasonal, you will, from time to time, encounter situations where you have to take a call on getting in more than a certain number of players from a team into your squad. With Guyana Amazon Warriors, one of the tournament’s pre-season favourites, you could go ahead with, say, even a 7-4 split in daily fantasy, as they are expected to dominate the season.
Budget pick: Naveen-ul-Haq
Differential: Romario Shepherd
Bankers: Keemo Paul, Chanderpaul Hemraj
Potential steals: Ashmeade Nedd, Kevin Sinclair