Stage set for Regional Super 50 start
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – A new format will herald the start of the West Indies Cricket Board’s regional season which bowls off across the region on Thursday.
In a departure from what has obtained in recent years, the season will now combine the Regional Four-Day Championship and the Super50 tournament, which will see 48 matches being played in a three-month campaign.
Teams will battle for the Clive Lloyd Trophy in the limited overs format and chase the Headley/Weekes Trophy in the longer version.
Jamaica are defending champions in both competitions, having won the four-day title for an unprecedented fifth time last year and the limited overs title when it was last played in 2011.
The Super50 will raise the curtain on the new season, with Barbados hosting the Jamaicans at Kensington Oval in Barbados, Leeward Islands meeting Guyana at the Vivian Richards Cricket Ground in Antigua, and Windward Islands squaring off with Combined Campuses and Colleges at the Beausejour Cricket Ground in St. Lucia.
All encounters will be day/night encounters which bowl off at 2 pm.
Perhaps the feature match of the round will be when Jamaica do battle against Barbados, who shared the title with Leeward Islands three years ago.
Coach Junior Bennett said while the format would call for some adjustment, he believed Jamaica could successfully defend both their titles in the upcoming season.
“We believe we have the resources to win both titles again. But it all depends on the players and the way they play on any given day,” said the experienced coach.
“I believe we can be very competitive. We have done very well in these versions of the game traditionally, so we want to make it six straight in the Four-Day and achieve something no other team has been able to do, but our players also relish the Super50.”
He added: “We are not really used to it, but I believe we can cope with it. We knew from last year that the format was going to change, so we will have to do all we can to help them make the adjustments as quickly as possible.”
Barbados, meanwhile, who have struggled in regional competitions in recent years, will be hoping to make a strong start.
Coach Henderson Springer, a former national off-spinner, said the players approach to the new format would be crucial to their success.
“This season, we will have to schedule our preparation to suit both forms of the game and the approach of the players will be very important,” he pointed out.
“It was different when I played because most of the players were capable of playing both forms, now you can change up to three players.”
The Leewards, meanwhile, will be seeking to regain their balance after a rocky time in all versions of the game over the last few years.
Once a powerhouse in regional cricket, the side have now found themselves languishing badly but new manager/assistant coach Ridley Jacobs predicted a turn around this year.
“You will see a different Leewards team this season,” said the former Leewards captain and Test wicketkeeper/batsman said.
“We will be showing a different attitude, a different mindset, a difference in terms of how we carry ourselves and how we approach the game.
“Leewards have been competitive in regional cricket, and we have won titles and been in finals, so it’s sad to see some of what has happened in recent years but now we are going to raise our standards.”
Guyana, whose cricket has been embroiled in controversy domestically, will be hoping to improve their fortunes and build on their success in last month’s Caribbean Twenty20 where they finished as losing finalists.
Esaun Crandon backed his team’s chances, especially in the limited overs competition.
“In the Super50, we stand a much better chance as some of the players enjoy that format of the game,” said Crandon, a former player.
“We also have a well-balanced team. All we have to do is go out there, work to our game plan, adapt to the conditions as quickly as possible, then I don’t see why we cannot come out victorious in the end.”
BARBADOS: Kirk Edwards (captain), Rashidi Boucher, Carlos Brathwaite, Kraigg Brathwaite, Jonathan Carter, Shane Dowrich, Kyle Hope, Christopher Jordan, Kyle Mayers, Ashley Nurse, Javon Searles, Kevin Stoute, Kenroy Williams
JAMAICA: Tamar Lambert (captain), Carlton Baugh Jr, Dave Bernard Jr, Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner, Odean Brown, Sheldon Cotterrell, Yannick Elliott, Zeniffe Fowler, Simon Jackson, Andre McCarthy, Nikita Miller, Andrew Richardson
LEEWARD ISLANDS: Sylvester Joseph (captain), Justin Athanaze, Lionel Baker, Quinton Boatswain, Rahkeem Cornwall, Jahmar Hamilton, Montcin Hodge, Steve Liburd, Anthony Martin, Austin Richards Jr, Lindell Richardson, Gavin Tonge, Tonito Willett
GUYANA: Veerasammy Permaul (captain), Ricardo Adams, Christopher Barnwell, Ronsford Beaton, Devendra Bishoo, Rajendra Chandrika, Derwin Christian, Assad Fudadin, Trevon Griffith, Rajiv Ivan, Steven Jacobs, Leon Johnson, Paul Wintz
WINDWARD ISLANDS: Liam Sebastien (captain), Miles Bascombe, Andre Fletcher, Lindon James, Delorn Johnson, Keddy Lesporis, Garey Mathurin, Nelon Pascal, Kenroy Peters, Dalton Polius, Shane Shillingford, Devon Smith, Tyronne Theophile
COMBINED CAMPUSES & COLLEGES: Kyle Corbin (captain), Ryan Austin, Nicholas Alexis, Marques Clarke, Derone Davis, Jason Dawes, Akeem Dewar, Kevin McClean, Nekoli Parris, Shacaya Thomas, Floyd Reifer, Raymon Reifer, Chadwick Walton.