Jermaine Lannaman, Gleaner Writer
PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad:Jamaica Tallawahs captain Chris Gayle says the addition of Sri Lankan batsman Kumar Sangakkara will strengthen the team's batting ahead of their Limacol Caribbean Premier League (LCPL) semi-final clash against Barbados Tridents here at Queen's Park Oval on Friday.
Regarded as one of the best batsmen of the modern era, Sangakkara is set to join the team following the recent departure of young Pakistan opener, Ahmed Shehzad, because of international duties.
Shehzad, who had been opening with Gayle, was recently called up by his country for their upcoming tour of Zimbabwe.
"Having a player like Sangakkara join the team is a welcome boost," said Gayle.
"Everyone knows what he is capable of, the damage he can do if you allow him to play his game.
"So, yes, we are extremely happy to have him joining us and we look forward to him settling in, helping us reach the final and hopefully winning the tournament."
Sangakkara, who has impressive Test and one-day international averages of 56.98 and 39.99, respectively, and averages 31.83 in T20 internationals, is expected to add substance to the Tallawahs' battling line-up, which has in the past two matches struggled following the dismissal of Gayle.
Sangakkara is expected to bat at his preferred number three position ahead of the in-form Danza Hyatt, young Jermaine Blackwood, all-rounders André Russell, Vernon Philander and wicketkeeper Carlton Baugh Jr.
Chadwick Walton, who put on 66 with Gayle against Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel at Sabina Park last weekend, is expected to again open the innings.
The 35-year-old Sangakkara is coming off a recent tour of South Africa with Sri Lanka.
The Tallawahs will get an opportunity tomorrow to look at their opponents for the final when T&T Red Steel take on Guyana Amazon Warriors, also at Queen's Park Oval in the first semi-final.