Jermaine Lannaman, Gleaner Writer
Captain Tamar Lambert says he is looking forward to Jamaica going one better than they did last year when the Caribbean Twenty20 Tournament bowls off in Trinidad and Tobago next month.
Jamaica, who have never won the tournament which is entering its fourth season, placed second to Trinidad last year following a 63-run loss in the final.
"One of the problems we have had in previous years was a lack of exposure to Twenty20 (T20) cricket and adequate preparation," said Lambert.
"Things, however, have changed in recent years, with us participating in the first three Caribbean T20 and more local T20 competitions being played, including the just-concluded Jamaica Premier League T20.
"This has meant that the players are now getting used to the format and how to adapt, and with us having a fairly balanced team in terms of youth and experience I believe our chances are as good as any going into the tournament."
Jamaica, who will be without marquee players Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels, who will be in Australia participating in the Big Bash T20 League, will for the first time in years enter the Caribbean T20 as one of the less-fancied teams.
This is as a result of the inclusion of a number of young and inexperienced players in their 14-man squad, including 18-year-old wicketkeeper Aldane Thomas, 19-year-old opener John Campbell and 23-year-old off-spinner Jamie Merchant.
Lambert, Nikita Miller, André Russell, David Bernard Jr, Danza Hyatt and Krishmar Santokie are some of the experienced players in the squad.
"The squad has a number of up-and-coming players, but it also has some experienced players, which means that if we can get things together we can really be a force to reckon with," said Lambert.
"We will therefore, over the next couple of weeks, be preparing ourselves mentally and physically as we would love to put our first claim on the title."
The tournament will be held between January 6 and 22.
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.