Recovering Miller misses Scorpions squad for season opener

...Paul Palmer re-enters the fray to skipper side

Senior staff reporter

Saturday, October 21, 2017

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In the absence of last season's Captain Nikita Miller, Jamaica Scorpions selectors have called on Paul Palmer to lead an inexperienced squad against hosts Guyana Jaguars in next week's four-day cricket season opener.

The 35-year-old left-arm finger spinner remains sidelined after undergoing “successful” haemorrhoid surgery in mid-September.

Palmer, the former national youth skipper, was captain of the Scorpions two seasons ago. However, a horrible run of form with the bat and poor team results saw the left-hander losing his place in the squad in the middle of the campaign.

With Miller out of action and a number of other senior players unavailable, Palmer, 25, has been given another chance.

The squad, with some new faces, includes left-arm finger spinner Paul Harrison, wicketkeeper Romaine Morris and hard-hitting batsman Garth Garvey. The promising batsman Brandon King and the Guyanese-born left-hand pair of Trevon Griffith and Assad Fudadin were also called up.

The selectors found places for all-rounders Derval Green, Fabian Allen and Damani Sewell, left-arm wrist spinner Dennis Bulli, and fast bowlers Jason Dawes and Keno Wallace.

The Jamaica Observer was unsuccessful in attempts to contact either chairman of selectors Junior Bennett or Head Coach Robert Samuels for an interview yesterday afternoon.

Miller was forced to skip the tail end of the four-day campaign two seasons ago due to a haemorrhoid problem.

He now rues that he will be missing the start of a first class season due to, fitness concern for the first time since he debuted against Leeward Islands in 2005.

“It's a strange place; I've never [missed the start] before unless it was West Indies duty. I'm a cricketer and I've spent so much time at home... I've never been out of any cricket this long, but I'm close to returning so I have to pick myself up. I have to make sure that I'm back on my game when I'm ready to play,” the spinner told the Observer yesterday.

“I would have loved to be a part of the team starting this season, as there are a lot of newcomers and they need experienced heads in the squad to guide those who are inexperienced at that level. I'm kind of disappointed but I'm confident in players who have played for a number of years, and hopefully they can help the other players,” he added.

Last season, Miller led the Scorpions to a fourth-place finish in the four-day Professional Cricket League and second in the Super50 competition.

The run in the four-day competition was particularly painful for him since the Scorpions led the league standing at the halfway stage before faltering calamitously in the second part of the campaign.

“Last season we lost the opening game to the Jaguars then we won some games going into the season break. But we didn't finish well, so hopefully this season we can improve there. I would really like if this young team can really come away with something positive in Guyana even if we don't win,” Miller said.

He projects he may be fit enough to play for the Scorpions in either the second or third game of the season. But first, he must prove his fitness for Southern Seals in the local Super League cricket competition next weekend.

Scorpions squad Paul Palmer (captain), Garth Garvey, Trevon Griffith, Assad Fudadin, Brandon King, Fabian Allen, Romaine Morris (wicketkeeper), Derval Green, Damani Sewell, Dennis Bulli, Paul Harrison, Keno Wallace, Jason Dawes.




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