Gibson: Local festival the ideal warm-up for ICC 20/20
Jermaine Lannaman, Gleaner Writer
West Indies coach Ottis Gibson says he is looking forward to his team bowing into action in the inaugural Supreme Ventures Sports Betting Jamaica Cricket Festival, which is scheduled to move to the Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium this weekend with a series of Twenty20 matches.
Speaking on arrival at the Norman Manley Airport yesterday, Gibson, who was accompanied by several members of the team, said the festival offered an opportunity to assess the team ahead of this month's ICC World Twenty20 championship which will be staged in the eastern Caribbean.
The players who arrived yesterday, along with substitutes Darren Bravo and Lionel Baker, were Ramnaresh Sarwan, Shiv Chanderpaul, Sulieman Benn, Narsingh Deonarine, Ravi Rampaul and Darren Sammy.
Jamaicans Nikita Miller, Wavell Hinds and Jerome Taylor, and Grenadian Andre Fletcher were already in the island, and wicketkeeper Denesh Ramdin is scheduled to arrive on the weekend.
"It is an ideal opportunity to work on some of our weaknesses and get used to the intensity needed for the Twenty20 championship," said Gibson, who was recently appointed to the post.
"We also want to use the opportunity to build team chemistry and having the team believing and playing for each other," he added.
The team, which is currently without captain Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard and Kemar Roach, who are participating in the Indian Premier League, is scheduled to open its account in the festival tomorrow against Canada at 2 p.m.
The game will be the feature match of a double-header, with Jamaica facing Ireland in the opener at 10 a.m.
West Indies will then turn their attention to Ireland on Sunday before heading into Kingston, where they will play Canada and Ireland in two one-day matches at Sabina Park next Tuesday and Thursday.
The regional team will then close out the festival with back-to-back Twenty20 matches against the Canada and Ireland at Sabina Park next week Saturday and Sunday.
Squad: Chris Gayle (captain), Ramnaresh Sarwan, Shivnarine Chanderpual, Narsingh Deonarine, Andre Fletcher, Wavell Hinds, Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Darren Sammy, Denesh Ramdin, Jerome Taylor, Nikita Miller, Sulieman Benn, Kemar Roach, Ravi Rampaul.