KINGSTON, Jamaica, CMC – Tamar Lambert has been named to lead Jamaica in the upcoming Caribbean Twenty20 tournament, sparking speculation over West Indies skipper Chris Gayle’s future as captain of the national squad.
Gayle, who had been expected to lead the 14-man squad for the July 22-31 tournament, has been included for his premier role as a batsman only in the 14-man squad, which sees the return of batsman Marlon Samuels after a year-long ban.
The 28-year-old Lambert has previously led Jamaica in Gayle’s absence, guiding them to the regional four-day title for the last three seasons.
However, he was expected to give way to Gayle who recently captained West Indies in two Twenty20s, five One-Day Internationals and three Tests against South Africa in the Caribbean.
The 30-year-old Gayle has led West Indies in 20 of his 88 Tests since taking up the position in late 2007 and has also skippered the side in 53 of his 220 ODIs.
Lambert’s appointment as captain comes almost in tandem with the resignation of chairman of selectors Nehemiah Perry who quit his position suddenly late Tuesday.
Perry, a former Jamaica and West Indies off-spinner, gave no reason for his decision.
Gayle’s position has come under scrutiny recently, especially against the backdrop of the regional side’s wretched international performance.
The big-hitting left-hander will take his spot next to Samuels who is returning to regional competition after serving a one-year ban for breaching International Cricket Council rules relating to “receiving money, benefit or other reward which could bring him or the game of cricket into disrepute.”
Samuels, still only age 29, toured with Jamaica earlier this year when the national squad participated in the Pearl’s Cup in Florida, United States.
He is one of two returning players with temperamental opener Xavier Marshall also being recalled after a short stint out of favour.
The 24-year-old Marshall was dropped after just two matches in the four-day tournament earlier this year where he managed just 25 runs from four innings.
He was subsequently overlooked in the Twenty20 squad for the Florida trip.
SQUAD – Tamar Lambert (captain), Chris Gayle, Nikita Miller, Danza Hyatt, Marlon Samuels, Xavier Marshall, Odean Brown, Brenton Parchment, Krishmar Santokie, Wavell Hinds, David Bernard, Andrew Richardson, Andre Russell, Chris Gayle, Carlton Baugh.