Hands on

Coach Samuels says 'inconsistency' a worry for Jamaica Scorpions

Senior staff reporter

Friday, December 07, 2018

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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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