Slim pick­ings force J’cans back into Windies squad

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS - Len­nox Al­dred/Gleaner Writer

JA­MAICAN OPENER John Campbell was named among a squad of 15 play­ers for the two-Test tour of New Zealand next month. Lead se­lec­tor Roger Harper said Campbell, who scored just 84 runs in six in­nings in the re­cent tour of Eng­land, got the ap­proval af­ter lengthy con­sid­er­a­tions about other op­tions.

“There were a few other play­ers who were con­sid­ered, and there was a lot of de­bate about this in our meet­ings,” he said. “In the end, the panel de­cided they would give John Campbell an­other op­por­tu­nity to ce­ment his place in the team and show what he can re­ally do.”

Harper said that there has been some cause for con­cern about the open­ing po­si­tion for the West Indies in re­cent times, but for now, Campbell will con­tinue in the role with fel­low opener Kraigg Brath­waite of Barbados.

Campbell has not shone since his de­but in Jan­uary 2019, scor­ing a Test-best of 55 runs in nine matches. Harper says the crit­i­cal open­ing and num­ber three po­si­tion in the team must come good if the re­gional side is to pose any threat in New Zealand.

“It is an area that has been con­cern­ing us for a while,” he said. “The open­ing pair and the num­ber three spot is im­por­tant be­cause that is where you de­pend on those part­ner­ships, the first- and sec­ond-wicket part­ner­ships, to re­ally build a plat­form on which the team can build big to­tals.”

Ja­maican bat­ting all­rounder Rov­man Pow­ell and fast bowler Oshane Thomas were named in a 14-man squad for the three Twenty20 (T20) in­ter­na­tion­als against the Ki­wis.

Pow­ell, who cap­tained the Ja­maica Tallawahs to the semi­fi­nals of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), had modest num­bers in this year’s tour­na­ment, scor­ing just 106

runs in 11 in­nings.

Thomas also had a luke­warm CPL tour­na­ment, where he fea­tured in just three matches while tak­ing just one wicket.

When asked about the in­clu­sion of the un­der­per­form­ing duo, Harper said the se­lec­tors had lit­tle choice. “Per­sons who were com­pet­ing for these places didn’t do much bet­ter, and what we looked at was that those guys were in the squad from the pre­vi­ous tour,” Harper said. “I think the guys who were push­ing for their places would def­i­nitely have to out­per­form them, and I am afraid dur­ing the CPL, we didn’t have any real ter­rific per­for­mances, and the bat­ting left quite a bit to be de­sired.” Bats­man Jer­maine Black­wood is the only other Ja­maican in the Test squad that toured Eng­land in the sum­mer to re­turn, with Nkrumah Bon­ner set to travel with the team as part of a re­serve group.

The other Ja­maicans in the T20 squad are Shel­don Cot­trell, Bran­don King, and Fabian Allen. The three T20 In­ter­na­tion­als and two Test matches are ex­pected to run from Novem­ber 27 to De­cem­ber 15.

CAMPBELL

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