Sun | Jun 20, 2021

Tallawahs selections puzzle former player

Published:Sunday | June 6, 2021 | 12:13 AMLennox Aldred - Sunday Gleaner Writer
Phillips
Phillips

He is known to be one of the best Twenty20 bowlers in the world, having taken his talents from the senior West Indies team, to as far as the Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League.

Krishmar Santokie, who to this day possesses some of the best bowling numbers in the Caribbean Premier League, is livid and believes that his homeland franchise, the Jamaica Tallawahs, have shifted their focus from pure cricket to friendship, intertwined with favouritism and business.

The Jamaican franchise, which won the inaugural tournament back in 2013 and then again in 2016, were beaten semi-finalists last season, after winning just three games and losing six, to gain promotion into the semis as the fourth-ranked team.

Santokie, who played for the Tallawahs during 2015, 2017 and 2018 seasons, says the make-up of this year’s squad leaves a lot to be desired as he believes the lack of notable batsmen and proven bowlers could see the side faltering this season.

GAYLE BACK WITH PATRIOTS

The Tallawahs have lost big-hitting batsman Chris Gayle, who has gone back to St Kitts and Nevis Patriots along with their leading run-scorer for the last three seasons, Glenn Phillips, who opted to focus on his New Zealand career.

They will also be without fast bowler Oshane Thomas, who has joined the Barbados Tridents, while Nepalese spinner Sandeep Lamichhane, who took 12 wickets last season, has been selected by the defending champions, the Trinbago Knight Riders.

“I don’t think it is really about cricket anymore, it is more like a business. People pick some players and they have benefits behind it too,” said Santokie.

Santokie, who also had stints with the Guyana Amazon Warriors, The Patriots and the St Lucia Zouks, says too many unfamiliar players are drafted into the set-up and not enough opportunities are being given to home-grown talent.

“We have players like Andre McCarthy that has done well for the franchise, yet he is not picked, and sometimes when the home-grown talent don’t perform in a couple of games, they crucify them, but when the overseas players have numerous bad games, they are still selected and played,” added Santokie.With that said, the Tallawahs will be banking on their old soldiers Andre Russell along with Rovman Powell and Chadwick Walton to do the bulk of the scoring this season.

They also welcome back Bangladesh veteran Shakib Al Hasan, who played for the Tallawahs in 2016-2017, while drafting Pakistan batsman Haider Ali and Afghanistan batsman Ibrahim Zadran.

Another former Tallawahs player, David Bernar Jr, believes this year’s squad will have no room for error and that everyone within the set-up will have to pull their weight since the team has lost their leading run-scorer in Phillips and their leading wicket-taker last season, Mujeeb Ur Rahman.

“The squad contains experienced all-rounders and some seasoned regional batsmen and bowlers. The Tallawahs will need to fill the void that has been left with the absence of Glen Phillips, so they will need great contributions from the regional batters within the squad as well as the overseas batters,” said Bernard.

Bernard Jr is optimistic that the experience of Shakib and Russell and the rediscovery of form by Chadwick Walton can give the team the lift they need to go all the way.

Jamaica Tallawahs squad for CPL 2021:

Andre Russell, Carlos Brathwaite, Rovman Powell, Chadwick Walton, Fidel Edwards, Veerasammy Permaul, Shakib Al Hasan, Haider Ali, Qais Ahmad, Jason Mohammed, Migael Pretorious, Abhijai Mansingh, Ibrahim Zadran, Kennar Lewis, Joshua James, Kirk McKenzie and Ryan Persaud.