Jermaine Lannaman, Gleaner Writer
Teenage opener John Campbell says he was not surprised when he got the call that he was a part of Jamaica 14-man squad for the upcoming Caribbean Twenty20 cricket tournament.
The 19-year-old left-hander, who has represented West Indies at the Under-15 and Under-19 levels, was one of several new faces that were announced by the national selectors as the country seeks to win the regional title for the first time.
Some of the others include former national youth representatives Yannick Elliott, Andre McCarthy, Jamie Merchant and Aldane Thomas.
"I was not really surprised. During the trial matches I made runs and was one of the leading players," said Campbell, who earlier this year slammed an impressive 105 against England at the ICC Youth World Cup in Australia.
"One of those innings came in the first trial match in which I opened and made 66 not out to help my team win the match."
Campbell, who hails from Jackson, which is located on the outskirts of Port Maria, St Mary, and plays for the parish in national club competitions, also pointed to hard work as another reason for his making the cut.
"I look at my selection as hard work paying off. I really worked hard throughout the year with various coaches and squads, which has improved the game," said Campbell, who was invited to the CT20 trials last year, but was only good enough to make the reserves.
"One of these coaches is my coach at St Mary, Cleon Smith. From a young age he kept on saying to me that I could play for Jamaica senior team at an early age if I stay focused."
Campbell, who is an attacking player by nature, and fashions his game off Chris Gayle, also explained that his selection has made his family and community proud.
happy with selection
He added: "Everybody is really happy with my selection, especially my grandfather, Clive Campbell, who along with my father, John Campbell Sr, played cricket, but not at a high level.
"I just hope that now that I am in I continue to work hard, as it would not make any sense to reach this far and fall away.
"My aim is to play Test cricket for the West Indies and this call-up is just one step in that direction."
The Caribbean T20 will be held jointly by Trinidad and Tobago and St Lucia between January 6 and 30.
JA SQUAD: Tamar Lambert (captain), David Bernard Jr (vice-captain), Nkrumah Bonner, André Russell, Danza Hyatt, André McCarthy, Jamie Merchant, Nikita Miller, Odean Brown, Krishmar Santokie, Yannick Elliott, Sheldon Cotterell, Aldane Thomas, John Campbell.