Scorpions batsman Palmer takes aim at consistency


Scorpions batsman Palmer takes aim at consistency

Friday, March 27, 2020

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JAMAICA Scorpions batsman Paul Palmer, coming off a productive run in the just-ended regional four-day tournament, says he is acutely aware that consistency remains the best avenue for climbing to the higher levels.

The 28-year-old left-hander scored two centuries and as many half-centuries for an average of 43.2, easily his best return in first-class cricket since making his debut six years ago.

Those performances have thrown him into contention for a West Indies A selection, and could even provide an outside chance for call-up to the senior Test team.

“I would love to stay on this path, in terms of consistently scoring centuries and half-centuries,” Palmer told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

“With regards to the senior team I think I just have to be more consistent. I have to score big runs consistently and to keep knocking on the door. For the A team I'm hopeful [of selection] and I'll see how that goes if and when that time ever comes around,” said the Jamaican cricketer.

Palmer failed to score a century last season, but notched a career-best 136 against Trinidad and Tobago Red Force during the 2017-18 campaign.

He said his performances this season have put him back on track.

“I'm satisfied with the performance compared to last season. I think it's a step in the right direction for me in terms of understanding my game more and being able to execute game plans more consistently,” he explained.

Interestingly, he was not even included in the initial 13-member squad for this season's first-round match against the Red Force. Palmer only made the cut after batsman Nkrumah Bonner was ruled out with illness on the eve of the team's departure to the twin island republic.

As fate would have it, he went on to score a match-saving 116 not out, and aside from a hand injury which saw him miss one of the Scorpions' eight matches this season, he was a mainstay in the middle order. His second hundred of the season came in the loss away to Windward Islands Volcanoes in Round Seven.

“It was very important [to finish this season well] because I got a century in the first game and a half-century in the second game. I missed the third game and then three games on the trot I didn't really get among the runs until the seventh round. So, it was pretty pleasing.

“It's just important for me to remember the things I've done well this season and try to repeat them as much as possible in seasons to come. Whichever competition I play in — whether it be the [local] Senior Cup, Super League, or West indies A team or the senior level — I just have to try to remember the basic things that have been working,” he told the Observer.

The Westmoreland native made his first-class debut for Combined Campuses and Colleges in April 2014. A season later, his first-ever match for Jamaica's senior team came with the captain's role — a wretched experience for him.

He struggled with the bat, and matters were compounded by the team's atrocious performance.

He no longer has the skipper's role, and things are looking up.

“I just think the hard work paid off — the preseason training that I put in. In terms of not being captain, that was a big load off my shoulder, so I got the opportunity to just really focus more on my game,” he explained.

The Scorpions finished the four-day tournament tied in third place alongside dethroned champions Guyana Jaguars after Cricket West Indies was forced to bring the curtain down on the season prematurely due to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The final two matches of the 10-round season were not played.

Palmer said the cancellation was inevitable.

“It's disappointing but we understand the magnitude of the situation. We just have to work with it and live with it. With regards to the team goals and the personal goals, I don't think that for most of us those were met. But it's an unavoidable situation because this virus is very detrimental. Italy, Spain, and other places are struggling, so the shutdown of the competition was necessary,” he reasoned.

Leaders Barbados Pride were named champions of the six-team competition, while Trinidad and Tobago Red Force took second place. Windward Islands Volcanoes and Leeward Islands Hurricanes were fifth and sixth, respectively.

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