High hopes

Tall pacers Leveridge, Levy provide encouragement for Scorpions coach

Senior staff reporter

Saturday, December 08, 2018

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Robert Samuels, the head coach of Jamaica Scorpions, says he has “great hopes” for the fast bowling unit entering their opening game of the West Indies four-day cricket tournament away to Barbados Pride, starting next Thursday.

Medium pacer Derval Green took over 20 wickets last season as the Scorpions finished fourth behind four-time defending champions Guyana Jaguars and runners-up Barbados Pride. No other pacer got double figures for the Scorpions.

“I have great hopes for the fast-bowling department... I think that [fast bowling] is where we have been weakest and that is what has been letting us down for the most part,” Samuels said, noting the bonus points earned for wickets taken by pace bowlers during the competition.

In the Scorpions' 13-man squad named for the Pride encounter, Green is joined by the pair of tall speedsters Jermaine Levy and Reynard Leveridge.

Levy, a newcomer to the Scorpions set-up, attended school at Lacovia High and then St Elizabeth Technical, before studying at The University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus.

The 25-year-old Levy, who represented Jamaica at the Under-19 level, played for Combined Campuses and Colleges (CCC) Marooners during the recent regional Super50 tournament, and starred with four wickets in the final as his team lifted the title. His lone first-class cap came for the CCC in 2014.

“Jermaine left here about four and a half years ago and went to Cave Hill in Barbados to study. Every time I saw him he got better and better and was growing stronger and stronger,” Samuels told the Jamaica Observer during training at Sabina Park on Thursday.

“He came into the Super League (local franchise competition) bowling very well; he's bowling with pace, he's bowling with energy. The selectors were very impressed with him and now he's in [the squad].

“He's a young fast bowler, but he has the experience of coming through youth cricket as a fast bowler, going to Barbados, and they usually produce good fast bowlers because they have good fast bowling people around them. I'm looking to see what he has to offer,” added Samuels.

Leveridge, 28, has endured injury challenges since making a late introduction to competitive cricket, and only making his first-class debut in 2016.

“[His] fitness and conditioning have got better, his skill set has also got better, and I see where he is bowling with more control.

“Leveridge came in and he was raw. He was running in fast and bowling fast and he thought that was what fast bowling was about, [but] over time he has learnt that fast bowling is about the skill set – when you use your effort ball, when you use change-up ball, and what you do to get batsmen out and not wait on batsmen to make mistakes. I've seen improvement in those areas and because of that, selectors have found favour in him again. All he has to do is relax, take what he has learnt and I'm sure he will do well,” Samuels told the Observer.

The Scorpions are scheduled to depart for Barbados on Monday.

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