KINGSTON, Jamaica (CMC) – Jamaica’s coach Junior Bennett believes his charges possess the quality to defend their WICB regional four-day title and complete a hat-trick of wins.
Selectors on Thursday named a strong 13-man squad to defend the title they captured with ease last season, in the extended competition which saw 14 rounds of action.
The line-up comprises nine players with international experience, including current West Indies middle order batsman Brendan Nash who recently returned from the Test tour of Australia.
“I think our preparation have gone well and almost everything is in place for that first game,” said Bennett.
“I think the 13-man squad is a fairly balanced one, and it’s one that will give the captain options also.”
He added: “We will have changes. As you know some players are on suspension right now that will be available for the next game.”
Out-of-favour West Indies fast bowler Daren Powell, along with off-spinner Bevon Brown and 21-year-old pacer Andre Russell have all been handed suspensions for breaching team rules.
The squad, which will be led by Tamar Lambert, has been boosted by Brenton Parchment, Xavier Marshall, Donovan Pagon, Wavell Hinds, Carlton Baugh, David Bernard, Shawn Findlay and Nikita Miller all of whom have represented the West Indies.
Fast bowler Andrew Richardson, who toured England with the West Indies team last year but failed to get a Test or one-dayer, will be joined by Jason Dawes, in the fast bowling department.
Bennett said Jamaica were confident and would be focused on collecting a hat-trick of wins.
“We are back-to-back champions and we are definitely seeking a third hold on the Championships,” he said.
“We are just hoping to go out there and play some good cricket, and once we are competitive, we should retain our title.”
Jamaica will be also without Windies captain Chris Gayle who is currently playing in Australia’s Twenty20 Big Bash, and fast bowler Jerome Taylor who has been sidelined with injury.
Jamaica, who will play host to the first round of matches from January 8-11, face Windward Islands in their first game.
SQUAD: Tamar Lambert (captain), Brenton Parchment, Xavier Marshall, Donovan Pagon, Wavell Hinds, Brendan Nash, Carlton Baugh, David Bernard, Shawn Findlay, Odean Brown, Nikita Miller, Andrew Richardson, Jason Dawes.