KINGSTON, Jamaica, CMC – Jamaica’s plans to overcome the England Lions in the final round of the WICB Regional first-class championship, starting today at Sabina Park, have hit a snag.
The national selection panel has had to reconstruct the entire bowling attack, following a spate of injuries that hit the squad during and after last weekend’s match against Trinidad & Tobago.
Jerome Taylor, as well as fellow fast bowler Andrew Richardson, all-rounder Dave Bernard Jr, and leg-spinner Odean Brown have all broken down.
The absence of all but Brown hurt Jamaica’s push for a victory over Daren Ganga’s side, restricting the Jamaicans to using a number of part-time bowlers like Wavell Hinds and Brendan Nash to fill the gap.
“The bowlers have worked hard, and we have had some niggles,” said Jamaica coach Gus Logie. “We just hope [players] remain fit going forward.”
Off-spinner Bevon, left-arm fast bowler Sheldon Cotterrell, fellow fast bowler Jason Dawes, and left-arm spinner Andre Dwyer will replace the missing four.
The Lions lead the eight-team ladder with 48 points ahead of Combined Campuses & Colleges and Jamaica on 45 apiece.
Jamaica gained first innings points in a draw against T&T, and the Lions are supremely confident, following a 258-run victory over Windward Islands.
The Lions are only taking part in the league phase of the competition before returning to Britain on Monday.
This means the top four Caribbean teams will progress to the semi-finals, and Jamaica will be looking to cement their place in this group. With the two higher place teams hosting the semi-finals, the Jamaicans will be keen to gain as many points as they can from the fixture to ensure they hold onto home advantage.
But Lions captain James Hildreth is confident his team can defeat Jamaica and finish as preliminary champions.
“Coming into the tournament, our main aim was to top the preliminary round standings, and we are right where we want to be,” he told the Jamaica Gleaner.
“Jamaica has been consistent over the years, and this season as well, they seem to be a really strong team, so we are really looking forward to the match-up. In fact, given our positions in the standings, to us it is like a final.”
A previous incarnation of the England Lions thumped the Jamaicans by seven wickets in a low-scorer the last time the two teams faced each other in the regional first-class competition about a decade ago at the same venue.
Squads: JAMAICA (from): Tamar Lambert (captain), Simon Jackson, Danza Hyatt, Marlon Samuels, Brendan Nash, Wavell Hinds, Andre Dwyer, Chadwick Walton, Jason Dawes, Sheldon Cotterell, Bevon Brown; Reserves: Jermaine Blackwood, Brenton Parchment,
ENGLAND LIONS (from): James Hildreth (captain), Jimmy Adams, Johnny Bairstow, Danny Briggs, Nathan Buck, Andy Carter, Jade Dernbach, Andrew Gale, James Harris, Craig Kieswetter, Adam Lyth, Adil Rashid, Ben Stokes, James Taylor, Chris Woakes
UMPIRES: Vincent Bullen, Norman Malcolm
MATCH REFEREE: Denovan Hyles
RESERVE UMPIRE: Verdayne Smith