JAMAICA Scorpions Head Coach Andrew Richardson says his players are more than up for the task heading into Wednesday's regional four-day cricket clash against hosts Leeward Islands Hurricanes.
Start time is scheduled for 9:00 am (Jamaica time) at Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua.
"The guys are eager to get started, we are just ready to go," Richardson told the Jamaica Observer in the build-up to their season opener.
"The [way we] start is going to be very crucial and we are just working on how we are going to put it all together," he explained.
The Scorpions are regional 50-over champions after claiming the Super50 Cup late last year.
But Richardson noted that the make-up of the squad for the four-day tournament is noticeably different because some of the more experienced players are either on West Indies duty or are playing in global franchise competitions.
Pace bowler Nicholson Gordon, who has been a key figure for the team in recent seasons, is out of the reckoning for the first two matches of the season due to a thigh injury.
"The squad is different from the one at the Super50 because a number of the batters are currently engaged in Twenty20 leagues around the world. But, that gives opportunities to younger players like Leroy Lugg who made his debut last year and scored most runs — a total of 344 including two centuries — in the trial matches. Kirk McKenzie got a century and a couple of half-centuries in those matches.
"The bowling side was dominated by spinners Patrick Harty and Akim Fraser and also pacer Gordon Bryan. The guys selected have certainly shown good form over the last two months of preparation. It's just a matter of taking this level of form and confidence into the four-day competition," he said. "The players we have are very capable of doing the job, and we do have senior players who have performed creditably over the past few years," Richardson added.
Former skipper Paul Palmer will lead the team in the absence of appointed Captain Jermaine Blackwood who is with the West Indies team on the tour of Southern Africa.
Following the clash against the Hurricanes, the Scorpions will turn their attention to the contest versus back-to-back reigning champions Barbados Pride, which is set to start February 8.
Squad –Paul Palmer (captain), Leroy Lugg, Kirk McKenzie, Alwyn Williams, Aldaine Thomas, Romaine Morris, Jamie Merchant, Akim Fraser, Abhijai Mansingh, Patrick Harty, Marquino Mindley, Gordon Bryan, Ojay Shields
— Sanjay Myers
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