Miller: Shiv's Jaguars' difference maker
Jamaica Scorpions captain Nikita Miller believes having the services of sidelined West Indies batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul, as well as better-quality fast bowlers, are two of the main reasons why Guyana Jaguars were at the weekend able to claim a fourth successive hold on the 2017-2018 Cricket West Indies-Digicel Four-day title.
''The experience of a batsman like Chanderpaul in their team is a huge advantage for them,'' expressed Miller, shortly after seeing the veteran left-hander steer the Jaguars to a close two-wicket win over the Scorpions at Sabina Park.
''He has been a batting leader for them, be it in setting huge totals, or chasing difficult targets, which has served as an inspiration and motivation for many of their batsmen, some of whom have gone on to represent the West Indies.''
Guyana, who are coached by former Guyanese fast bowling all-rounder Esuan Crandon, scored 183 and 136 for eight in response to 106 and 212 made by Jamaica.
Chanderpaul, who last represented the West Indies in 2015, but has since been one of the leading batsmen at the regional four-day level, made 16 off 83 balls, a knock that kept his team positive after they were at one stage 84 for six.
Captain Leon Johnson, opener Ravendra Chandrika and Vishaul Singh are Guyanese batsmen, who have, in recent times, represented the West Indies.
The experienced Miller, who was losing as captain for the first time this season, after leading the Scorpions to back-to-back wins before he departed for recent West Indies one-day duties midway the season, said the Jaguars fast bowlers are much faster and were of better quality than in former years
''I believe that over the past four seasons that they have been winning, there has been major improvement in their fast bowling, which has contributed to their success,'' he said.
''If you looked at a Guyana team in former years, you would not think fast bowlers, but they now have medium fast bowlers and fast bowlers who are picking up wickets each game.
''This was also a feature of the Barbados team and the Jamaica team that did well, in terms of record titles, with their fast bowlers being pretty good.''
Guyana Jaguars' fast-bowling unit has been led by recent West Indies recruits, fast bowler Ronsford Beaton and fast bowling all-rounder, Raymon Reifer, while fast bowler Keon Joseph is a member of the West Indies 'A' team.
West Indies Under-19 World Cup - winning fast bowler Keemo Paul has also been a standout bowler for them this season along with left-arm spinners Veerasammy Permaul and 22-year-old Gudakesh Motie.