Jermaine Lannaman, Sunday Gleaner Writer
Jamaica captain Tamar Lambert could open the batting when Jamaica oppose Trinidad and Tobago today in the opening match of the lucrative 2013 Caribbean Twenty20 tournament in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
The match, which will be played at the Queen's Park Oval, starting at 7 p.m. (Ja time) and aired on ESPN Caribbean, will follow an opening ceremony, which is set to start three hours earlier.
Lambert, who boasts a regional first-class average of 31.24, including two centuries and 27 half-centuries, is primarily known to be a middle-order batsman.
However, according to the 31 year-old, given the game's attacking format, and his typically calm and calculated approach to batting, it may best suit him and the team for him to open the innings.
"The last Caribbean T20 I represented Jamaica I did not do myself justice by batting down the order," said Lambert shortly before he and the team left last Friday.
"I think therefore that batting up the order will definitely boost my play, and contribute to the team's overall objective of us going one better than we did last year and win the title."
Lambert, who could open the innings with West Indies Twenty20 batsman, Nkrumah Bonner, or, recent West Indies Under-19 opener, John Campbell, also said having tried opening in practice matches, he knows that strategy can work.
"I tried it (opening) in the practice games we played against Trinidad and here as well, and I have been scoring some useful runs," said Lambert, who in making his point pointed to Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene, who is also a middle order batsman but opens in Twenty20 Internationals.
"The hope therefore is that I can lead from the front and stamp my class, and demonstrate that I can play all formats of the game."
Lambert, who has a below-par Twenty20 average of 4.6 from eight matches at a strike rate of 50, was overlooked for the Caribbean Twenty20 last year after a series of low scores in the 2010 edition.
He was replaced as captain last year by all-rounder David Bernard Jr, who has this year been named vice-captain.
Jamaica, who will be without Chris Gayle, and Marlon Samuels, due to commitments in the Australia Big Bash League, have never won the Caribbean Twenty20.
The tournament is the most lucrative of regional tournaments with an overall prize money of US$125,000 (J$11,547,344), and a winner's prize tag of $62,500 (J$5,773,672).
The event is also a qualifier for the cash-rich Champions League Twenty20 tournament, which offers US$200,000 (J$18,410,000) for participating.
The Champions League Twenty20 winners take home US$2.5m (J$230,125,000), runners-up US$1.3 million (J$119,665,000), and losing semi-finalist US$500,000 (J$46,025,000).
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,