Tallawahs to make draft for CPL T20
Jermaine Lannaman, Gleaner Writer
After relinquishing their title last season, Jamaica Tallawahs will today be hoping to make good on their selections in the 2015 Caribbean Premier League (CPL) Twenty20 player draft, set for the Terra Nova hotel in Kingston.
The draft, in its third year, will see the Mickey Arthur-coached Jamaicans looking to add to their already four retained players, including captain Chris Gayle.
The others are fast-rising big-hitting all-rounder, Andre Russell, experienced fast bowler Jerome Taylor and wicketkeeper Chadwick Walton.
The retained players are set to form the core of the Tallawahs squad, which last year numbered 15 players.
Jamaica, who bowed out at the semi-final stage last season, after beating Guyana Amazon Warriors in the final in the inaugural year, will be hoping to equal or improve on their overseas signings from last season, as well as picking up the best regional players on offer.
Last season, after drafting Sri Lankan spin maestro Muttiah Muralitharan and Pakistan batsman Ahmed Shehzad - as two of four mandatory international player selections - the Tallawahs had to do without both for varying reasons.
It was understood that Shehzad, who was part of the Tallawahs' championship unit in 2013, encountered disciplinary problems with the Pakistan Cricket Board and was not granted a mandatory No Objection Certificate.
Muralitharan, also a member of the winning 2013 team, became unavailable.
The pair was replaced by England batsman Owais Shah and New Zealand spinner Daniel Vettori.
Australian batsman Adam Voges and South African fast bowler Rusty Theron were the other overseas players in the Tallawahs line-up.
The squad, which unlike the first season did not feature a non-Jamaican regional player, was completed by Nikita Miller, Carlton Baugh Jr, David Bernard Jr, Andrew Richardson, Odean Brown, Jermaine Blackwood and Nkrumah Bonner.
With Andrew Richardson out due to surgery on his knee, the Tallawahs are expected to make at least one change from their cadre of local players, with the axe likely to fall on experienced wicketkeeper Carlton Baugh Jr and leg-spinner Odean Brown.
Baugh Jr, who was part of Jamaica Franchise's four-day unit, did not feature in the team's recent regional Super50 campaign, while Brown is returning from knee surgery.
Another interesting twist in the Jamaican selection could be that of batsman Marlon Samuels.
The stylish right-hander, who captained Antigua Hawksbills in the first two editions, will for the first time enter the draft after his team was replaced by a franchise from St Kitts and Nevis for this year's instalment.
Defending champions Barbados Tridents and Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel are the tournament's other teams.