April 18, 2014

Johnson, Fudadin aiming for consistency on WI A team tour

Leon Johnson has high expectations

Leon Johnson has high expectations

By Avenash Ramzan

Consistency is the watchword for West Indies A team middle-order batsmen Leon Johnson and Assad Fudadin as they prepare to head to India for a one-month series against the hosts, starting next week.

While Johnson features in the “Test”, One-Day and T20 squads, fellow left-hander Fudadin has been selected solely for the three “Test” matches, the first of which starts on September 26.

The 26-year-old Johnson said he is looking forward to the tour and is keen on achieving the goals he has set himself.

“I have high expectations of myself for the upcoming tour to India. I’ve had a good year playing First-Class and one-day cricket and for me it’s just about adapting as quickly as possible to the conditions [in India],” Johnson, who played three ODIs for the West Indies, pointed out.

In June, the former West Indies Under-19 captain notched up his maiden First-Class hundred, a brilliant 144 for West Indies A against Sri Lanka A in St Kitts, but followed up with scores of 12 in the next “Test”; he had scores of four and five in the List A games.

Despite a string of low scores after the hundred, Johnson said he worked diligently on his game over the past months and is confident that he is in prime condition for the upcoming series.

Assad Fudadin batting during his career-best 145 for West Indies A against Sri Lanka A in St Kitts earlier this year

Assad Fudadin batting during his career-best 145 for West Indies A against Sri Lanka A in St Kitts earlier this year

“Yes I did fall away in the one-day series with two single digit scores in the two games I played, but that was three months ago and I’ve put in a lot of work since then and I’m happy with my form at the moment,” he reckoned.

Johnson added, “Due to constant rainfall over the last couple of months in Guyana it was almost impossible to have practice out in the middle, so I have been using the artificial surface at the Gandhi Youth Organisation (GYO) cricket ground for the last three weeks on a daily basis.”

The Georgetown Cricket Club batsman was Guyana’s leading runscorer in the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) Regional Four-Day competition earlier this year, posting 430 runs from six games. He also topped Guyana’s aggregate in the Super50 tournament, notching up 204 runs from six matches.

In shape

Like Johnson, the 28-year-old Fudadin, has been making maximum use of the artificial turf at GYO, spending the last few weeks getting in condition for the tour.

With the experience of three Test matches for the West Indies under his belt, Fudadin is looking to draw on all the knowledge gained from playing almost a decade of First-Class cricket when he gets into action in India.

“Putting up a consistent performance every time is key for me,” he told this publication on Sunday. “My aim on this tour is to put runs on the board and try as much as possible to contribute to the success of the team.”

A staunch Muslim, Fudadin only recently resumed training after observing the fast during the month of Ramadan, and he is positive his body is ready for the rigours on an international tour.

“I had three matches since then, but apart from that I’ve been putting in the hours at the GYO facility and I can tell you that I’m feeling well physically, and I’m hitting the ball pretty well,” he reasoned.

Fudadin also had a good series against Sri Lanka A, hitting a career-best 145 in the first “Test” in St Kitts, his third First-Class century.

“I want to carry that same sort of momentum in India, and hopefully I can get the same results and help the team to win,” Fudadin, who was second to Johnson with 289 runs in the WICB Regional Four-Day tournament, concluded.

Johnson and Fudadin are among five Guyanese selected for the tour. The others are left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul, middle-order batsman Narsingh Deonarine and the fiery fast bowler, Ronsford Beaton.

Fixture and squads

During the upcoming series, West Indies A and India A will clash in three One-Day games on September 16, 18 and 20 in Shimoga, while the lone T20 match will be played on September 22, also in Shimoga.

The first four-day “Test” will take place on September 26-29 in Mysore, while the second and third “Test” will take place on October 3-6 and October 9-12 in Hubli and Bengaluru respectively.

The “Test” squad reads: Kirk Edwards (captain), Kieran Powell (vice-captain), Kraigg Brathwaite, Jonathon Carter, Sheldon Cotterell, Miguel Cummins, Narsingh Deonarine, Assad Fudadin, Jahmar Hamilton, Delorn Johnson, Leon Johnson, Nikita Miller, Ashley Nurse, Veerasammy Permaul and Chadwick Walton.

One-Day and T20 squad reads: Kieran Powell (captain), Veerasammy Permaul (vice-captain), Ronsford Beaton, Nkrumah Bonner, Jonathon Carter, Sheldon Cotterell, Miguel Cummins, Narsingh Deonarine, Kirk Edwards, Andre Fletcher, Leon Johnson, Nikita Miller, Ashley Nurse, Andre Russell and Devon Thomas.

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