‘Tallawhat’ are their chances? - Former Tallawahs players have mixed feelings about 2020 squad
Former Jamaica Tallawahs players Nikita Miller and David Bernard Jr believe the 2020 edition of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) will be a tough one for the local franchise following the naming of the squads for the tournament, which is slated to take place from August 18 to September 10 in Trinidad.
Having finished in last place in last year’s tournament, the Jamaica Tallawahs will be looking to rebuild and have recruited Carlos Brathwaite, who was released by the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots. They have also signed Nepalese leg spinner Sandeep Lamichhane and South African left-arm wrist spinner Tabraiz Shamsi.
The Tallawahs have also brought in exciting Pakistani batsman Asif Ali and retained their leading run-scorer from last season, Glenn Phillips. These overseas players will combine with a strong local contingent, which includes Andre Russell, Rovman Powell, Chadwick Walton, Jeavor Royal and Oshane Thomas.
The rest of the squad reads: Fidel Edwards, Preston McSween, Andre McCarthy, Nicholas Kirton, Nkrumah Bonner, Veerasammy Permaul and Ryan Persaud.
Nikita Miller, who played the first three CPL seasons for the Jamaica Tallawahs before moving to the Trinbago Knight Riders, says there are question marks surrounding the balance of the squad.
“When I look at this squad, I am not too optimistic about their chances. Yes, there are players there that can perform at the highest level and produce magical moments, but the entire make-up and balance of the squad is cause for concern,” Miller told The Gleaner.
The former left-arm spinner, who snared 13 wickets for the Tallawahs in 25 games during his three-year spell, says he is more comfortable with the bowling unit, but feels the batting set-up leaves a lot to be desired.
“When you look at the Tallawahs batting, I am crying out for real quality. There is not a lot of explosive batsmen who are top performers in the world, and they are going to need that rock in the middle who can come in and take the game away from the opposition, and I am not seeing that,” added Miller.
All-rounder Bernard Jnr, who also represented the Tallawahs for the first three seasons of the CPL, has a more positive outlook.
He believes there is enough talent in both departments to do the job and believes the batting can click, once they execute on the day.
“Is not necessarily what’s on paper, but it’s about executing on the day. The batting has players in the line-up who have performed well in the CPL, so it’s a matter of them doing the job on the day,” said Bernard Jr.
Bernard, who was part of the Tallawahs franchise which won the first of two titles back in 2013, believes the gelling of the new players will be critical to the team’s success this season.
“I think the squad has a good variety. There are several experienced players mixed with some younger, talented players. The squad has a large number of new players, so it will be interesting to see how well they come together and, hopefully, put together a much better campaign in challenging for the CPL trophy,” he added.
The Tallawahs’ second title was won in 2016.