United, we’ll win

... Sa­muels lists team unity as pri­or­ity as he looks to re­turn Ja­maica Scor­pi­ons to win­ning ways

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS - Jer­maine Lan­na­man Gleaner Writer

RE­CENTLY AP­POINTED Ja­maica Scor­pi­ons coach Robert Sa­muels has listed build­ing team unity and chem­istry, as well as emerg­ing from the bot­tom of the stand­ings as his pri­mary fo­cus head­ing into the new re­gional first-class sea­son, which gets un­der way next month.

Once a lead­ing pow­er­house in re­gional first-class cricket, Ja­maica has, for the past two sea­sons, lan­guished to­wards the bot­tom end of the stand­ings.

They fin­ished fourth in the 2014 to 2015 sea­son, and last year, in one of their worstever plac­ings, ended fifth in the six-team cham­pi­onship.

This has ush­ered in a change at the man­age­ment level of the team, with the pre­vi­ously Wavell Hinds-led na­tional se­lec­tion panel and long­stand­ing head coach Ju­nior Ben­nett be­ing re­placed.

NEW CHAIR­MAN

Ben­nett, in­stead, is now the new chair­man of se­lec­tors, with re­turn­ing se­lec­tor Ephraim McLeod, Sa­muels, and a yet-to-be-named cap­tain com­plet­ing the panel.

“The squad has ex­pe­ri­enced sev­eral changes in play­ers and lead­er­ship over the years, so one of the things that I want to do is get a team out there play­ing to­gether as one unit,” stated Sa­muels.

“The next goal after that is to then move from our cur­rent fifth po­si­tion and take our time and re­gain the num­ber-one spot.

“We had the po­si­tion up un­til re­cently, but as in ev­ery­thing else, life is a cy­cle, so we will have to work hard to get to the top,” added the for West Indies opener.

Ja­maica last won the re­gional four-day first-class ti­tle four sea­sons ago.

This was after cop­ping five straight ti­tles un­der the lead­er­ship of Ta­mar Lam­bert; how­ever, after three sea­sons of no ti­tles, Lam­bert was re­placed as cap­tain by young bats­man Paul Palmer Jr last sea­son.

Ja­maica are set to open their 2016-2017 sea­son away to de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Guyana.

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