Coach Sa­muels says ‘in­con­sis­tency’ a worry for Ja­maica Scor­pi­ons

Daily Observer (Jamaica) - - SPORT - BY SAN­JAY MY­ERS

While ex­press­ing sat­is­fac­tion with the over­all prepa­ra­tion of the team, Ja­maica Scor­pi­ons head Coach Robert Sa­muels says in­con­sis­ten­cies in the bat­ting and pace bowl­ing de­part­ments of­fer food for thought head­ing into their open­ing game of the West In­dies four-day cricket tour­na­ment away to Bar­ba­dos Pride next week.

“I’d like to see my fast-bowl­ing depart­ment come back. Ja­maica, since we lost an An­drew Richard­son, a David Bernard we haven’t had a good-qual­ity fast-bowl­ing depart­ment. We have been los­ing out on po­si­tions in re­gional tour­na­ments due to [lack of] fast-bowl­ing points,” Sa­muels told the Ja­maica Ob­server in ref­er­ence to the com­pe­ti­tion’s con­cept of award­ing bonus points for wick­ets claimed by pace bowlers.

Last sea­son, the Scor­pi­ons fin­ished fourth be­hind Guyana Jaguars, who have cap­tured four con­sec­u­tive four-day ti­tles.

Der­val Green, who is not ex­press fast, spear­headed the Scor­pi­ons pace bowl­ing depart­ment with 27 wick­ets. No other pacer reached dou­ble fig­ures.

“I’m look­ing to get our fast bowl­ing up and ready where they can be getting 20, 30 or 40 wick­ets each per sea­son, and not just one man getting 27 and the next best is eight wick­ets,” Sa­muels said near the end of yes­ter­day’s train­ing ses­sion at Sabina Park.

How­ever, while Green was a reg­u­lar in the Scor­pi­ons’ set-up last sea­son, other pac­ers were in and out of the start­ing team.

Sa­muels ar­gued that they still had am­ple op­por­tu­nity to im­press.

“Most of the fast bowlers got four matches, and I think four matches and eight in­nings to bowl is a good run. Yes, every­body wants to play all the matches, but if it is that you look the part — if you’re bowl­ing up to scratch even if you’re not getting wick­ets — then I think the se­lec­tors [and] the cap­tain would have faith in you.

“But if you’re not do­ing the job then you are go­ing to find your­self out. It’s a young depart­ment… I can un­der­stand that they feel as if they are not getting op­por­tu­ni­ties, but how much in­nings do you have to bowl in to make your mark?” asked the Scor­pi­ons head coach.

In the 13-man squad named for the opener against the Pride, Green is joined by the tall, pacey pair of Rey­nard Lev­eridge and Jer­maine Levy.

The spe­cial­ist slow-bowl­ing depart­ment, led by ace left-arm fin­ger spin­ner Nikita Miller and com­pleted by left-arm wrist spin­ner Den­nis Bulli, ap­pears in good hands.

Sa­muels, the for­mer Ja­maica and West In­dies left-han­der, called for im­prove­ment from the bats­men.

“We have ca­pa­ble bats­men, but they seem to per­form and after that there are three, four fail­ures be­fore they per­form again. That is not what pro­fes­sional cricket is all about. You have to pre­pare your­self men­tally and phys­i­cally to go out there ev­ery day to get the job done.

“I’ve been stress­ing on it and try­ing to fig­ure out how to keep play­ers mo­ti­vated on a daily ba­sis and get rid of the in­con­sis­tency,” he told the Ob­server.

For the sec­ond-straight year na­tional se­lec­tors have been choos­ing play­ers based on per­for­mances dur­ing the fran­chise-based Su­per League — a com­pe­ti­tion that runs vir­tu­ally par­al­lel with the re­gional cricket sea­son.

Sa­muels said the new move is an im­prove­ment on the pre­vi­ous pol­icy of pick­ing play­ers based on per­for­mances in prac­tice and trial matches.

“I think it’s a good idea. Be­fore this we used to use prac­tice to se­lect peo­ple be­cause no other cricket was be­ing played. There have been five rounds of Su­per League cricket and the play­ers are ba­si­cally match ready. Phys­i­cally, they are also where I would like them to be at this point, so look­ing at the prepa­ra­tion I’m happy with where we are now,” he said.

The Scor­pi­ons are sched­uled to leave the is­land on Mon­day for Thurs­day’s start of the game against the Pride.

Squad: Paul Palmer, John Camp­bell, Chad­wick Wal­ton, Rey­nard Lev­eridge, Ken­roy Wil­liams, Jer­maine Black­wood, An­dre Mccarthy, Steven Tay­lor, Jer­maine Levy, Al­daine Thomas, Den­nis Bulli, Nikita Miller, Der­val Green.

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