Sport

Bernard to lead Jamaica

JCA defend decision to install injured Gayle as skipper

BY SANJAY MYERS Observer staff reporter myerss@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, January 25, 2014    

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THE Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) has defended the decision to appoint Christopher Gayle as the national 50-over captain, while announcing that David Bernard Jnr will now lead the team instead of the injured left-handed batsman.

The 34-year-old West Indies opener, who injured his hamstring on the tour of India late last year, was recently named Jamaica captain for the upcoming NAGICO Super50 regional tournament in Trinidad & Tobago, though an official medical assessment was not yet done.

But the JCA was forced to fall back on Bernard, the sidelined regional all-rounder, to lead the team after West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) chief medical officer Dr Akshai Mansingh deemed Gayle unfit.

The powerful Kenar Lewis will replace Gayle in the 14-man squad.

"I don't think an error was made. Chris Gayle was in Australia and he came back. We mandated him to see Dr Mansingh to ascertain his level of fitness. Upon result of testing Chris came out to be unfit medically," JCA's chief executive officer Courtney Francis told the Jamaica Observer at Sabina Park yesterday.

"Chris wasn't in the island and he gave a commitment from his position. He is a senior person who has played almost 100 Test matches [and] he knows his body well. However, he is not a doctor and the result from the expert [Dr Mansingh] said he is not [fit] so we made an informed decision to leave him out," he further explained.

Gayle, a veteran of 99 Test matches and 255 One-Day Internationals, was installed as captain ahead of Tamar Lambert following a recommendation by the national selection panel, chaired by former batsman Wavell Hinds, that was ratified by the JCA.

Gayle led Jamaica to the Super50 title two years ago.

Lambert, the extra-ordinarily successful Four-day captain, was 50-over skipper when the team lost to eventual champions Windward Islands in last season's semi-final.

The NAGICO Super50 tournament is set for January 30 to February 15. The Jamaicans, who have a practice match today at Sabina Park, are set to depart the island on Tuesday.

Matches in the tournament are scheduled to be broadcast live on cable network ESPN.

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