Confident Jamaica fly out
Jermaine Lannaman, Gleaner Writer
Steadfast on preserving their lead, and retaining the Worrell and Weekes trophy, Jamaica's cricketers left the island yesterday for the eastern Caribbean where they will play their final three matches of the WICB Regional Four-day Championship.
The team, which currently leads the points table with maximum 36 points, will first be in Guyana where they will face third-place team, the Combined Campuses and Colleges (CCC) starting tomorrow before moving on to Trinidad and Tobago where they will play Barbados.
They will then round off the championship with a game against Trinidad in Grenada.
Barbados, the CCC, and Trinidad, who have played four games compared to Jamaica's three, are on 33, 24 and 21 points respectively, while the Windward Islands (16), the Leewards (10), and Guyana (10) round off the standings.
"The mindset of the players has been very good as we have had some good training sessions for the past week," said captain Tamar Lambert, prior to the team's departure at the Norman Manley Airport.
"We are expecting some tough encounters on this the final leg of the tournament, as everybody will be coming to knock us from the number one position. But we will have to fight, and maintain our focus," he added.
Jamaica, after dominating the Windwards, Leewards and Guyana, in their opening games, will have to do without the services of the team's top batsman Wavell Hinds, Brendan Nash, and strike spinner, Nikita Miller, as well as fast bowler Daren Powell, in their remaining fixtures.
Hinds, Nash and Miller were all summoned to West Indies duties recently, while Powell called an end to the season due to personal reasons.
Their spots in the 13-man squad have been filled by uncapped 21 year-old batsman Nkruma Bonner, off-spinner Bevon Brown, and fast bowlers Andre Russell and Jason Dawes.
But according to Lambert, he is not perturbed by the changes and expects the team to perform equally as well as they did at the start of the championship.
"I don't expect it to be too difficult as we have played cricket without them (the missing players) before and have come out on top. So we will just have to do it again," he said.