Five-time runners-up, Guyana Amazon Warriors have the opportunity to finally script a victorious campaign for themselves during the upcoming edition of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL). The Warriors have had to settle for the second-best team’s tag for too long and will be desperate to change that this summer.
Led by the bright young Nicholas Pooran, the Guyana Amazon Warriors will begin their campaign in CPL 2021 with an opening day encounter against defending champions Trinbago Knight Riders on Thursday (August 26) in St Kitts.
Given that the entire tournament will be played in St Kitts only, the Warriors, who couldn’t get past the semi-finals last year, will have to produce their ‘A’ game playing none of their matches at their home base in Guyana.
While the squad has a nice mix of experience and youth, making up a final playing XI from the same will be a cause of headache for Pooran and the team management.
1. Brandon King
King, the right-hand opening batsman, could be persisted with despite a poor season with the bat last season. He managed only 116 runs from his 11 innings in the CPL 2020 and will have to do so much better if the Warriors are to get regular good starts to their innings and have the foundation laid for the rest of the batting unit.
2. Chandrapaul Hemraj
Left-hand batter Hemraj also had a poor CPL 2020, with only 140 runs from his eight innings at a strike-rate of 100. But the 27-year-old might still retain his spot at the top of the order, which shall inspire him to regain form and produce better performances.
3. Shimron Hetmyer
Often facing question marks on his form and fitness, Hetmyer is one of the most dangerous power-hitters when on song. He was the highest run-getter of the CPL 2020 among Guyana Amazon Warriors batsmen, making 267 runs at an average of 33.37 and strike-rate of 125.94. The left-hander will be eyeing another fruitful season with the bat.
4. Nicholas Pooran
Pooran may not have been at his best in recent times, but we all know what he is capable of. The aggressive middle-order left-hander and skipper is extremely important to the Warriors’ chances. Last season, where the Warriors won 6 of their 10 league games, Pooran was their second-best run-maker with 245 runs at a strike-rate of 123.73 in trying circumstances.
5. Shoaib Malik
Pakistan’s veteran cricketer Malik is another vital cog in the Warriors’ wheels. The experienced right-hand batsman will have the responsibility to guide the lower middle-order and help his team play through different situations. The 39-year-old, whose hunger and desire hasn’t diminished, will be aiming for a bumper season and strengthen his bid for a return to the Pakistan T20I side in the World Cup year.
6. Mohammad Hafeez
Hafeez, the experienced all-rounder, showed encouraging signs of a return to form during his stint in the Kashmir Premier League (KPL) recently and will be hoping to take that forward to the CPL 2021. If he gets going, Hafeez provides Guyana Amazon Warriors a strong balance with his batting capabilities and miserly off-spin bowling.
7. Nial Smith
Young Nial Smith from Guyana is Warriors’ latest recruit. The promising 25-year-old all-rounder can be backed to play at No.7. While he hasn’t got going with the bat in his early days at the domestic level, Smith has encouraging numbers as a right-arm paceman: 20 wickets from 7 first-class games and 9 wickets from 7 List A outings.
8. Romario Shepherd
With his ability to use the left-arm angle and deliver slower balls which are tough to decipher, Shepherd could play an important role in the bowling unit for the Warriors. He picked up six wickets from his eight games in the CPL 2020 with an economy rate of 7.31.
Afghanistan pacer Naveen-ul-Haq was a shining light with the ball for Guyana Amazon Warriors in CPL 2020. The right-arm quick picked up 11 wickets from his 10 games with an economy rate of just 6.42. The 21-year-old has been fantastic in his early days at the top level, with 13 wickets from 8 T20Is for Afghanistan at just 6.96 runs per over.
10. Imran Tahir
South Africa’s seemingly ageless wristspinner Imran Tahir continues to take wickets and sprint in celebration across the outfield. Tahir was outstanding in the last year’s edition of the CPL and took 15 wickets from his 11 innings while going for only 5.82 runs per over. He has also been in strong recent form through The Hundred and will be hoping to continue with that through the CPL 2021.
11. Ashmead Nedd
Left-arm spinner Nedd only featured in 4 games of the CPL 2020 for Guyana Amazon Warriors last summer. But even in those limited outings, the 20-year-old showed his mettle, taking three wickets and giving away runs at just 4.86 runs per over.
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