Richardson planning ahead with possible new look Scorpions
The first round of matches in this season’s West Indies Cricket Championship comes up in a couple of weeks and head coach of the Jamaica Scorpions Andrew Richardson and his assistant Nikita Miller are plotting a course to see whether the limited overs champions can add the four-day title to their honours list.
Last year, the Scorpions under then coach Andre Coley finished a disappointing fifth in the championship standings with 43 points following just one win, two draws and two defeats.
Richardson will have his work cut out as he is expected to be without a number of senior players including Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner, Brandon King and Rovman Powell who are expected to be absent due to senior West Indies duties and T20 franchise league cricket.
The batting department has always been a cause for concern for the Jamaican team, and that problem is expected to be escalated with the unavailability of their former captain and leading run-scorer last season, John Campbell, who is serving a ban from the sport.
“The batting is always a cause for attention and we always look to set different standards, because possibly we will have new personnel in some of these positions simply due to unavailability of senior players.”
For Richardson, the aim is to prepare the current players as best as possible and hope they deliver when the time comes.
“We have been working extensively with all the batters and hopefully when the competition is ready, we will see some sort of fruit in terms of all the work we have been putting in from the end of the Super 50,” he said.
Already some of those players are showing some early-season form with opener Leroy Lugg and Jeavor Royal scoring centuries.
With Campbell out of the mix, Richardson said the form in upcoming practice matches would decide who will fill the opening slots.
“Lugg scored some runs last weekend and we also have young Kirk McKenzie who has been a part of the High-Performance Centre. We also have Romaine Morris and Tevin Gilzene, and those guys are the four who are pushing to seal the opening spot. A few of them have had good innings and I have personally explained to them what we are looking for. The next couple of practice games will be crucial for them.”
The bowling unit which has been the strength of the team for many seasons should be spearheaded once again by the team’s leading wicket- takers last season, Nicholson Gordon and Marquino Mindley, who picked up 13 wickets each.
The Scorpions will play their opening matches in Antigua, and Richardson is confident the team will perform well having recently won the limited overs title in that country.
“The good thing is that coming out of the Super 50, we played at those stadiums recently and in terms of reading the conditions, we should be able to do that better and that knowledge will give us some sort of advantage,” the Scorpions head coach said.