John's the man!

John's the man!

John Campbell set to lead Scorpions in regional 4-day cricket championship

Senior staff reporter

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

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WEST Indies Test opener John Campbell is expected to lead Jamaica Scorpions for their regional four-day cricket championship opening match away to Trinidad and Tobago Red Force.

Campbell, who has played six Tests and 62 first-class matches, is part of a 13-member Scorpions squad selected for the scheduled January 9-12 encounter.

The coaching staff, led by Head Coach Andre Coley, and the selection panel, chaired by Junior Bennett, have recommended the 26-year-old left-hand batsman for the captain's role, pending the franchise board's ratification.

Campbell is to take over from Paul Palmer, who was team captain last season. Palmer, a left-hand batsman who has endured prolonged rough spells for the Scorpions, is not named in the squad.

Out-of-favour West Indies batsmen Jermaine Blackwood and Guyanese-born left-hander Assad Fudadin, as well as all-rounder Rovman Powell, who skippered the regional side on a One-Day International tour of Bangladesh in late 2018, are other prominent inclusions.

Nkrumah Bonner and left-hander Alwyn Williams, who are both handy bowlers, are the other frontline batsmen.

Aldaine Thomas and Grenadian-born Denis Smith are the wicketkeepers included, while pace bowling duties are to fall on the shoulders of Marquino Mindley, Derval Green and Nicholson Gordon.

Left-arm wrist spinner Dennis Bulli and left-arm finger spinner Patrick Harty are the specialist slow-bowling options.

Notably absent are stylish batsman Brandon King and tearaway fast bowler Oshane Thomas — both due to West Indies duty against touring Ireland.

All-action all-rounder Fabian Allen, recuperating from injury, is yet to be cleared by the West Indies medical panel, while tall fast bowler Reynard Leveridge effectively ruled himself out of the selectors' minds after he requested and was granted a six-week leave that coincided with the preparation phase for the tournament opener.

Off-spinner Akim Fraser, who emerged on the first-class scene with eye-catching performances last season, is out due to a partially torn tendon in his right shoulder.

The regional four-day tournament, comprising 10 rounds of matches in a home-and-away league format, is set to run until April.

The Jamaica franchise has endured a lean spell in four-day cricket in recent years. Since capturing five-straight titles between 2007-08 and 2011-12, Jamaica's supporters have had little to cheer about, and last year the Scorpions were a disappointing fifth in the six-team competition.

Guyana Jaguars are presently the dominant force in regional four-day cricket, winning five titles in a row.

Coley, the former Jamaica wicketkeeper and West Indies senior team assistant coach, took over as Scorpions head coach before the start of the season.

Though the Scorpions failed to advance from the preliminary stage of the Regional Super50 a few weeks ago, there were positive signs, particularly in the batting department.

The coaching staff has also garnered optimism from displays during practice matches and throughout the ongoing local franchise competition.

Scorpions squad — John Campbell, Alwyn Williams, Jermaine Blackwood, Assad Fudadin, Nkrumah Bonner, Rovman Powell, Denis Smith, Aldaine Thomas, Dennis Bulli, Nicholson Gordon, Derval Green, Patrick Harty, Marquino Mindley.

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