Jamaica Scorpions Head Coach Andre Coley says Leroy Lugg’s aggression at the top of the innings can be a huge plus for the team once the young batsman can “temper” his game to suit the longer format.
Lugg, 25, averages 24.71 in four first-class matches after making his regional four-day cricket debut in February. The rookie opener has one half-century to his name, and has been responsible for giving the Scorpions quick starts at the top of the innings, playing ambitious shots, which, at times, have led to his downfall.
The former youth batsman’s best knock so far came in last week’s fourth-round drawn match against Guyana Harpy Eagles at Diego Martin Sporting Complex in Trinidad and Tobago. He scored a typically shot-filled 67 — which included six sixes and five fours — as the Scorpions made 271-6 in their second innings.
In the first innings he made five as the Scorpions tallied 393 all out, to which the Harpy Eagles had replied with 584-7.
“He plays with natural intent, which is what you want. He didn’t start the tournament thinking this is four-day [cricket] and I need to change my game and style of play,” Coley said ahead of the Scorpions third-round match against Windward Islands Volcanoes over a week ago.
“He was brought into the team for a couple of reasons — obviously, he scored runs at the top of the order in the trial matches and his attacking nature is good at the top.
“But how quickly he learns is going to be important. His style of play is actually useful because he can help to shift pressure on [opposing] bowlers [and] take advantage of loose deliveries. But he’ll need to learn to temper that and bat deeper. It [selecting Lugg] was really about continuing to invest in that position,” the Scorpions coach explained.
Jamaica cricket’s lead selector Junior Bennett said Lugg is a “good prospect”, but cautioned that he has to balance his attacking intent.
“He’s an aggressive player… I know some people will have a problem with him playing a whole heap of shots and so on. But I like aggressive openers, but he just has to be selective,” he told the Jamaica Observer.
“Players like him can win a game for you at any time. He just has to be selective, look at the field placement, and play accordingly. But I believe he’s a good prospect and I don’t want people to look at him and just think he’s a white-ball cricketer. With a little adjustment here and there, he can be good at red-ball cricket,” Bennett reiterated.
The Scorpions, who are fifth in the league table on 37.8 points, are scheduled to close out their season with the fifth-round match against second-placed Leeward Islands Hurricanes (65.4) at Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba, starting Wednesday.
At Queen’s Park Oval, fourth-placed Trinidad and Tobago Red Force (47.2 points) are set to take on the third-placed Harpy Eagles (51.2), while cellar team Windward Islands Volcanoes (21) are slated to face title holders and leaders Barbados Pride (67) in Diego Martin.