Reifer wants McKenzie to complement Tallawahs big hittersThursday, August 26, 2021
BY SANJAY MYERS
Floyd Reifer, the Jamaica Tallawahs head coach, says he expects new recruit Kirk McKenzie to provide balance to their batting line-up which is filled with big hitters for this season's Caribbean Premier League (CPL).
“We have a lot of power hitters in our side and we'll need some batsmanship in terms of guys rotating the strike [and] giving the strike back to the power hitters,” he said from the team's base in St Kitts and Nevis on Monday in response to a question raised about the top-order batsman's likely role.
The Tallawahs squad, on paper, possesses adequate batting power, highlighted by Andre Russell, Rovman Powell, Chadwick Walton and Carlos Brathwaite, who all have West Indies senior team experience.
“He [McKenzie] understands his role already [without] me even telling it to him. That's good for us that the young man is reading the situation,” the Barbadian Reifer said during the videoconference.
The Tallawahs coach added: “I think Kirk is a good player. I've only seen him on video in terms of watching him play ICC [International Cricket Council] Under-19 games. I've never seen him play in an actual cricket game, so I'm looking forward to seeing him play.”
McKenzie, the former West Indies and Jamaica youth standout who turns 21 in November, is highly regarded around the region.
At the 2020 Under-19 Cricket World Cup he made a defiant 99 in West Indies' two-wicket quarter-final loss to New Zealand. His rearguard knock was highlighted by brilliant shot-making, as well as crippling cramps which forced him to retire hurt on 99. He returned when the regional side lost its ninth wicket, but was the last man dismissed without adding a run.
In June this year the former St George's College and Excelsior High student told the Jamaica Observer he is willing to adjust to the needs of the Tallawahs.
“I know it's going to be a big learning experience for me. So I'm going in to learn as much as I can from players such as Rovman and Russell, who have done it before.
“I'm just going there to soak up as much as possible so that when it's my time it's easier for me to transition and just play whatever role the team wants me to play,” said the Kingston Cricket Club player.
He added: “…it's just really knowing when to go [after the bowling] and when to take it simple and take the singles. I've been working on just knowing when I can explode and when to just take a step back.”
The 2021 CPL Twenty20 (T20) competition is slated to begin today at Warner Park in St Kitts and is to culminate with the final on September 15. The Tallawahs, two-time title winners and considered one of the main challengers to reigning champions Trinbago Knight Riders, are to start their campaign tomorrow against St Lucia Kings.