WISER HEAD
Fraser boasts all-round improvement ahead of 4-day season with Scorpions
FRASER...I’m wiser, I feel like I have better plans and I’m better able to adapt to the different situations (Photo: Karl Mclarty)

Jamaica Scorpions spinner Akim Fraser is eager for action after a lengthy spell on the sidelines mostly due to a shoulder injury he sustained over three years ago.

Fraser, 27, is named in a 13-man squad for the Scorpions' opening two matches of the regional four-day cricket season next month.

"It feels good to be back in the squad; I've worked really hard to be back. It has taught me to be patient more than anything," the off-spinner told the Jamaica Observer on Tuesday.

After delivering eye-catching performances in regional four-day cricket in early 2019, Fraser, who generally gets appreciable bounce and turn from his off-spinning deliveries, sustained a torn tendon in his right shoulder late that summer.

He missed the 2019-20 season, and just when he was getting into the groove competing in local club cricket, the outbreak of the novel coronavirus halted that tournament.

Jamaica Scorpions spinner Akim Fraser bowls during a regional four-day match at Sabina Park in 2019. (Photo: Observer file)

But after being overlooked last season, Fraser told the Observer he is back with a bang.

"I've developed my game a lot more, I feel like I'm a much more skilful bowler than I was when I just started playing. I'm wiser; I feel like I have better plans and I'm better able to adapt to the different situations. I'm at a good place with my bowling right now," he explained.

"I'm just hoping to help the team in whatever way I can, whether it be with the bat, with the ball — definitely with the ball — and in the field and to offer logical thinking and a sound head," the spinner added.

During intra-squad matches he has been impressive, catching the attention of Jamaica's selectors.

"The standout performance for me was the five-wicket haul at Kensington Park. I also took a three-for at Sabina Park in a two-day game that was a very good performance for me because it was a very difficult wicket for spinners — there wasn't much on offer," Fraser said. Fraser's journey in senior level cricket has been a bumpy one.

He emerged at the back end of the 2018-19 regional season after proving a handful in Jamaican club cricket.

On his first-class debut against the then Guyana Jaguars, he grabbed match figures of 8-134 to help the Scorpions to victory at Sabina Park.

Later in 2019, regional selectors gave Fraser an opportunity for hosts West Indies A against their Indian counterparts in an unofficial Test. He captured 3-53 and 1-104.

Over a week after that, he featured in a warm-up game against the touring India senior team, claiming 1-63 and 2-43.

Then injury struck.

But on Tuesday he insisted he is currently in top form.

"The shoulder, it feels good, it feels strong, I've been consistent with the exercises I was given since 2019 when it got hurt. I feel good in training, [my deliveries] have a lot of fizz on them, a lot of energy and I'm bowling in consistent areas," he said.

The Andrew Richardson-coached Jamaica squad is set to depart for Antigua on the weekend for the opener against Leeward Islands Hurricanes which is to start February 1. The second match is scheduled against Barbados Pride, starting 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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