Cricket

Local players welcome 'elite' Super League

Friday, September 15, 2017

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Players have welcomed the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) new Super League, which will provide the platform for them to impress national selectors and help to hone their skills for the regional cricket season.

The Super League, slated to begin tomorrow, comprises six franchise teams playing each other on a home-and-away basis over 10 rounds of two-day matches. The team which finishes with the highest number of points will be declared champions.

There are plans to also stage a 50-over tournament at the end of the two-day format.

According to the JCA, cricket selectors will choose players based on performances in the Super League and, as a result, make seasonal trial matches redundant.

The reasoning is that the Super League will offer players higher quality competition to showcase their talent. The organisers say they have taken steps to have parity in the competition by spreading the “elite players” across all six franchises.

All-rounder Fabian Allen, 22, had a stint with St Kitts and Nevis Patriots during the just concluded 2017 Caribbean Premier League. He is eyeing more valuable experience with Southern Seals in the JCA Super League.

“It's better for us, as cricketers, to develop our skills and talent. I'm looking forward to playing this franchise competition. Hopefully it can better the guys' cricket. The regional four-day [competition] is coming up, so it can get us prepared,” Allen, the former Vere Technical student, told the Jamaica Observer at the tournament's launch on Tuesday.

Thirty-two-year-old wrist spinner Damion Jacobs will suit up for Eastern Tigers. In the West Indies 'A' squad to face visiting Sri Lanka 'A' in the upcoming series, Jacobs is eager for every chance for fine-tuning.

“[Playing] more cricket is always good for every cricketer, especially going into a hectic first-class season. It's good for us, and we will be good going into the first-class season. I'm just looking forward to a good tournament heading into the first-class season [with] guys getting the opportunity so that selectors and coaches can see them,” he said.

Off-spinning all-rounder Damani Sewell, 23, made his debut in four-day cricket last season. He will represent Northern Panthers and believes the timing of the Super League and the competiveness it is expected to offer are ideal.

“I think it's a good opportunity for a lot of players to get [competitive action] knowing that these teams make up the best set of players in the country. I think this tournament has come around at just the right time. It will bring a lot of competition, and I'm built for that because I'm a hard worker and I'm willing to take up the challenge,” Sewell told the Observer.

Western Warriors fast bowler Reynard Leveridge, also part of the West Indies 'A' squad, said the Super League will offer more to players than the national trials.

“The Super League will give players a whole heap more [opportunity] to express themselves... than in the trials. I only have one match [before leaving for the West Indies training camp] and I'm looking forward to see where I'm at before the Sri Lanka 'A' team tour,” Leveridge, 27, said.

This weekend, the Seals face Central Titans at Treasure Beach Sports Park in St Elizabeth; the Warriors host the Tigers at Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium; and the Panthers entertain Combined Universities and Colleges at Noranda Bauxite in St Ann.

—Sanjay Myers

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