Uphill battle for champs Windwards
NAGICO Super50 team Previews
Jamaica, Windward Islands, Guyana, Ireland
The reigning champions Windward Islands should have been the team to beat in this year’s Super50 tournament but injury to all-rounder Darren Sammy and the ban on prolific off-spinner Shane Shillingford could prove too much for them to overcome.
Shillingford was the best bowler in last year’s tournament with 17 wickets from six matches and his absence will leave a big hole in the Windwards’ bowling department. Sammy’s last minute pull-out was also a big blow but they still retain most of the players who defeated Combined Campuses and Colleges (CCC) in last year’s final at Kensington Oval, Barbados to clinch their first limited overs title in over a decade.
Key to their chances of a repeat are Andre Fletcher and Devon Smith, who topped the tournament averages last year scoring over 300 runs each, and as always their never say die attitude.
WINDWARD ISLANDS: Liam Sebastien (captain), Andre Fletcher (vice-captain), Johnson Charles (wicket-keeper), Tyron Theophille, Mervin Matthew, Craig Emmanuel, Garey Mathurin, Keddy Lesporis, Devon Smith, Dalton Polius, Delorn Johnson, Kenroy Peters, Romel Currency, Alston Bobb
Even without Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels, Jamaica are still among the top teams in the tournament and one of the favourites to come out of Zone A.
A varied attack including the highly anticipated return of Jerome Taylor, and the always consistent left-arm spinner Nikita Miller along with some other international talent in Andre Russell and Sheldon Cottrell makes this Jamaican side a force to be reckoned with in terms of their bowling.
Jamaica will no doubt be banking on the strength of their bowling department to get them through but they still have to get runs on the board and their batting could be their Achilles’ heel.
Nkrumah Bonner and Andre McCarthy were their best batsmen in the previous tournament but no one else in the side, except for Tamar Lambert, was even in the top 20.
The others will have to step up if Jamaica are to be real title contenders for the Clive Lloyd Trophy.
JAMAICA: David Bernard Jr (captain), Nikita Miller (vice-captain), Andre Russell, Carlton Baugh Jr (wicket-keeper), Tamar Lambert, Andrew Richardson, Horace Miller, John-Ross Campbell, Jermaine Blackwood, Andre McCarthy, Sheldon Cottrell, Jerome Taylor, Nkrumah Bonner, Kenar Lewis; Junior Bennett (coach)
The Christopher Barnwell-led side will probably turn a few heads this year with veteran Shivnarine Chanderpaul, leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo and Ramnaresh Sarwan all trying to prove themselves worthy of a West Indies ODI recall.
They are the best rounded team in the competition with a capable batting line-up led by vice-captain Chanderpaul, who is a proven match-winner, and a bowling department which includes spinner Veerasammy Permaul, and pacers Ronsford Beaton and Paul Wintz.
They will also be determined to do better than last year when they were second from last on the six-team standings with two wins and four losses when the tournament was played alongside the Regional Four-day competition.
Though many of the players have returned from last year’s campaign, the experience gained by Permaul, Leon Johnson, Assad Fudadin and Narsingh Deonarine on West Indies A tours could see the Guyanese side pull off something special.
GUYANA: Christopher Barnwell (captain), Shiv Chanderpaul (vice-captain), Anthony Bramble (wicket-keeper), Robin Bacchus, Trevon Griffith, Leon Johnson, Narsingh Deonarine, Royston Crandon, Assad Fudadin, Devendra Bishoo, Veerasammy Permaul, Ronsford Beaton, Paul Wintz, Ramnaresh Sarwan; Esuan Crandon (coach)
Ireland’s participation in the NAGICO Super50 is not just to make up numbers.
With their ongoing quest to join the top tier of international cricket, they will be looking to upstage some of the best teams in the Caribbean under the guidance of former West Indies player Phil Simmons.
The Super50 will provide the Irish with quality opposition ahead of the ICC World T20 to be held in Bangladesh later this year.
They have competed in the Caribbean before in the Twenty20 format with limited success but they could prove much more dangerous in the 50-over game, having upset England at the 2011 World Cup thanks to a Kevin O’Brien century.
IRELAND: William Porterfield (captain), Alex Cusack, George Dockrell, John Mooney, Tim Murtagh, Andrew McBrine, Kevin O’Brien, Niall O’Brien, Andrew Poynter, Max Sorensen, Paul Stirling, Stuart Thompson, Gary Wilson, Craig Young; Phil Simmons (coach)