Despite breaking an 11-year title-less spell when they captured the Super50 Cup recently, Jamaica Scorpions Head Coach Andrew Richardson has tempered celebrations as work for their regional four-day campain began in earnest.
Though the shift from limited-overs cricket to the longer four-day format will require the right mental approach, Richardson says it is imperative that players make the necessary adjustments ahead of the January tournament, if they intend to build on the Super50 success.
The Scorpions fended off a late challenge from dethroned champions Trinidad and Tobago Red Force to win the recently-concluded one-day tournament by three wickets in Antigua.
"No massive celebration because we have work to do for four-day cricket," Richardson declared.
"It's a different version of the game but we have put together a plan in terms of how we want to approach this season. As we speak there are assessments going on, physical and otherwise for some of the players who didn't travel with the Super50 squad.
"So the preparation has already began and throughout the month of December heading into January, we are going to fine tune more of the technical and tactical side of things," he told the Jamaica Observer.
For Richardson, the mandate going forward is for every player within the senior national setup to improve aspects of their respective games — batting in particular — with the ultimate goal being to have more Jamaicans represent the West Indies.
The former Jamaica and West Indies seamer recently took the reins as head coach following Andre Coley's resignation.
"We are trying to make players better, because even though the aim and goal is to always play to win, we are realistic in knowing that we won't be able to go in and win every tournament," said Richardson.
"We are trying to create a system so when players come in, they understand what the mentality and team culture is and follow suit. So basically the aim is to see how much we can help players to graduate into the international [West Indies] set up as well, so that is our plan," he added.
Richardson's sentiments came as he reflected on the Scorpions success which at one point appeared unlikely after poor execution with the bat saw them slumped to two defeats in their opening three Zone B matches.
The second came at the hands of West Indies Academy — which has Coley as part of its staff — when they failed to chase down a paltry 182.
"It was one of the lessons on our journey as a team. The current structure that we are trying to put in place, we know there will be bumps along the way, but how we come back is more important and I thought that we were fairly good in making the comeback," Richardson shared.
Led by captain Rovman Powell as their anchor, the Scorpions bounced back to top their zone and then produced two emphatic batting performances to clinch the title.
In the semi-finals against Guyana Harpy Eagles, they chased down a tournament-high 318 to win with 11 balls to spare and then easily overhauled Red Force's meagre 217 on Saturday, though they suffered a mini collapse late in the run chase.
"The semi-final game stood out for me the most because we had a huge total to chase down and it showed our true character when we have confidence and don't panic in a run chase," Richardson reasoned.
"We know that [our batting] would have made a major difference in terms of how the games would turn out for us because the bowling has been consistent for years. So as you can see, on the days that our batting clicked, we won those games," he said.
Richardson also had high praise for Powell, who he used as a prime example of what it is that he and assistant Nikita Miller, are trying to achieve.
"He [Powell] was outstanding in all departments, he led from the front and his decision making was very good, especially on the field. He certainly was our standout of the tournament, batted like a real champion.
"When you watch how Rovman applied himself for the past few months, it's someone that has invested in their own game and now he is reaping some of the rewards of that investment, which is what we want to see from players," the tactician explained.
Meanwhile, all-rounder Andre McCarthy, who had his best score of 55 in the final, also lauded his captain for leading the way.
"After losing to the Academy, each player started to look into themselves but the skipper [Powell] has come a very far way. He has grown where he understands the game a bit more and was the driving force in us winning the championship," McCarthy told the Observer.