THE Jamaica Franchise enter today’s third-round West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) Professional League match against hosts Trinidad & Tobago Red Force with two changes to the squad which travelled to face Barbados Pride last weekend.
West Indies pacer Jerome Taylor and his batting teammate Jermaine Blackwood — both gearing up to depart for the regional team’s Test tour of South Africa — make way for left-arm quick Sheldon Cotterell and batsman Horace Miller.
The 30-year-old Taylor missed the opening game of the season against Windward Islands Volcanoes at Sabina Park two weeks ago due to personal reasons, but played in the severely rain-affected drawn encounter versus Barbados. Blackwood, 23, participated in both matches.
Cotterell, 25, is also a shoo-in for South Africa, but it was requested that he play for Jamaica to prove his full recovery after suffering a groin strain five weeks ago on the Sri Lanka ‘A’ team tour.
Jamaica Franchise head coach Junior Bennett welcomed the powerfully built player into the squad.
“Sheldon returned with a slight injury from Sri Lanka. But he’s injury-free now and recently started bowling from a longer run-up,” he said.
Miller, 25 years old, did not play against the Windwards, though he was included in that squad. He was then overlooked for the trip to Barbados, but has since regained favour.
In the meantime, some regional cricket followers have been surprised by the absence of wicketkeeper/batsman Chadwick Walton from the Jamaica four-day cricket set-up. Bennett said the aggressive 29-year-old batsman opted out of the player pool for retainer contracts because of academic commitments.
“Chadwick was in the pool, but because of his studies he wrote a letter to the JCA (Jamaica Cricket Association) to withdraw him from the pool. He did not want to be a contracted player because even after the first-class season he would have been retained and he’s based in Barbados because that’s where he studies,” the coach told the Jamaica Observer.
Marlon Samuels, the West Indies middle-order batsman, is also absent after being ruled ineligible to play for the Tamar Lambert-captained Jamaican outfit. The JCA said Samuels, 33, failed to meet its guidelines since he did not represent his club Melbourne CC in the local two-day competition, despite not being injured or away on West Indies duty.
The 21-year-old left-hander John Campbell, who missed the opening two rounds, has only just recovered from a suspected case of chikungunya. His place in the opener’s slot continues to be filled by 24-year-old Jon-Ross Campbell.
Seamer Brian Buchanan, 27, was also laid low by the mosquito-transmitted virus and remains on the sidelines.
Jamaica are third in the points standing with 19 points, while Trinidad & Tobago are second with 20. Leaders Guyana Jaguars have 34 points winning both games so far. Barbados are fourth with 12, Leeward Islands Franchise have six and the Windward Islands have four.
Ja squad — Tamar Lambert (capt), Carlton Baugh (wk), Jon-Ross Campbell, Shacaya Thomas, Nkrumah Bonner, Andre McCarthy, David Bernard, Nikita Miller, Damion Jacobs, Marquino Mindley, Sheldon Cotterell, Keno Wallace, Horace Miller.