JAMAICA Franchise’s outgoing captain Tamar Lambert said the confidence of the team was shattered after the series of losses in the concluded 2014-15 West Indies Cricket Board professional four-day league.
The side lost five in a row, while placing fourth in the six-team standing with 75 points behind winners Guyana Jaguars (148). Ousted champions Barbados Pride were second with 117 points, while Windward Islands Volcanoes (109) were third.
Lambert, arguably Jamaica’s most successful four-day captain, told the Jamaica Observer that the season’s end could not arrive soon enough.
“When you start to lose and you lose five, then the confidence of the team gets a big knock there. When you are used to winning and then you start to lose, it becomes difficult to motivate the team. The players tried really hard to get out of it, but after a while everybody just wanted the season to come to a close,” he said after the drawn home encounter versus Barbados Pride.
The team’s poor batting has borne the brunt of the blame.
Jamaica’s top runscorer was 23-year-old Jermaine Blackwood, who mustered 405 runs in eight matches at a modest average of 28.92. Lambert was also sub-par with 404 runs in 10 matches at 23.76, while left-handed opener John Campbell, 21, was next, compiling 358 runs at 27.53.
Wicketkeeper/batsman Chadwick Walton made 212 runs at an average of 42.40 after playing only three matches. Walton was brought in after the experiment with stand-in wicketkeeper Horace Miller, who replaced struggling veteran Carlton Baugh, failed.
Lambert, 34, said the two-fold issue of less experienced players still finding their way at the first-class level and the failure of senior batsmen to lead by example was telling.
The absence of left-arm spinner Nikita Miller for several games, due to West Indies duty, also left the team short of its most consistent bowler.
The slow bowler took 17 wickets at 14.05 in the four matches he played in.
To compound matters, Miller, who usually bats at number eight in the order, ended with the team’s highest average. He tallied 178 runs at 44.50.
Experienced pacer Andrew Richardson missed the entire campaign due to injury problems.
However, Lambert praised leg-spinner Damion Jacobs and rookie fast bowler Marquino Mindley for showing their mettle on the first-class stage.
“Damion Jacobs continued from where he left off last year. Marquino Mindley really put a good foot forward in first-class cricket. But if you look at the bowling, it’s still inexperienced and things will take some time. Still, the bowlers have adopted to first-class cricket more quickly than the batsmen have,” he said.
The 30-year-old Jacobs, in his second season of first-class cricket, took 48 wickets at an average of 17.81. Mindley, 20, took 19 wickets at 25.10 in his debut four-day season.
Another pacer, the 26-year-old Jason Dawes, was also good, taking 18 wickets in six matches at 23.66.