Orville Higgins | Get your act together, Tallawahs!
Mathematically, there is still a chance of qualifying for the semi-finals, but realistically, the Jamaica Tallawahs appear to be out of the 2019 Caribbean Premier League (CPL) season.
A combination of poor cricket, bad luck with injuries, and questionable selections have left the two-time champions floundering at the bottom of the table. They need a complete turnaround in fortunes not to suffer the ignominy of finishing dead last. I have been at all five home games at Sabina Park, and the kind of vitriol being poured out by fans is unprecedented in CPL history.
The cricket on the field has been poor, but if we are objective we have to see the role that injuries have played. Andre Russell and Rovman Powell are two of the marquee players on the team. Both had to miss games due to injuries and that was bound to affect the results on the field. If both had played all five home games I’m positive they would have won more than one of the five games at Sabina Park, and by extension wouldn’t have lost six of the seven games played overall.
That said, a lot of things just did not look right. Chadwick Walton spinning the toss and doing the pre-match interviews, and yet it’s Chris Gayle calling the shots on the field, looked untidy, whatever the reasons for it. It gave the impression of a team that did not quite get their ducks in a row. Kennar Lewis in and then out of the squad without playing a game, also contributed to the feeling that the planning for this year’s tournament was not the best it could be.
On the field, the batting and bowling appeared haphazard and disjointed. The catching was the worst I have seen by any team in an organised competition. Indeed not even in “‘curry goat’ cricket have I seen so many catches put down. Jerome Taylor was brought back to lead the bowling, but did not quite hit his straps. Oshane Thomas was hot and cold.
Derval Green was another fast bowling option but he, too, wasn’t as consistent as he could be. All three fast bowlers were in and out of the side and the bowling attack changed from game to game. In fact the entire team never appeared to be settled. The only thing we could be sure of was that Chris Gayle and Glenn Phillips would open and that Chadwick Walton would bat three. After that it appeared to be a case of ‘eeni meenie mini mo.’
The plans were all over the place and it appeared the team management was making decisions as the game went along. Javell Glenn, for example, was batting at four one match and way down the order the next. Imran Khan is more a bowler than a batsman but in the game against the Patriots he bowled one over and batted at four. Dwayne Smith, Shamar Springer and Ramaal Lewis are all allrounders, and it never appeared that the think tank was sure when to bowl them or where best they were suited in the batting order. The Tallawahs appeared to be a team with no clear idea as to what the plans were from game to game.
Fabian Allen, Brandon King, and Sheldon Cotterell are Jamaicans playing for other franchises. They all did well against the Tallawahs. It does make you wonder if we are getting our selections right in the draft. Still all is not lost. There are still three games left. A win in all three may just make them limp into the semi-finals. Things, however, are not looking good. The word ‘Tallawah’ generally means efficient and resourceful. The team is looking very ‘Untallawahish’ at the moment!