Despite defeating Windward Islands Volcanoes in their opening round encounter of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) Professional League last weekend, the Jamaica Franchise head coach Junior Bennett said improvement is needed for the clash with hosts Barbados Pride at Windward Park.
The game begins today at 10:00 am (Jamaica time).
“We have to address the grey area of our cricket and at the moment that is our batting,” Bennett told the Jamaica Observer.
Jamaica could only muster scores of 208 and 162 in the 13-run win over the Windwards in the scheduled four-day encounter, which ended inside three days.
The heroic five-wicket haul by debutante teenage pacer Marquino Mindley in the first innings and a devastating seven-wicket performance by leg-spinner Damion Jacobs were the cornerstones of the narrow win.
On the other hand, Barbados were impressive with the bat against home team Trinidad & Tobago Red Force in Port of Spain, rattling up 360 in the first innings of that drawn, rain-affected encounter. West Indies opener Kraigg Brathwaite starred with 182, while wicketkeeper/batsman Shane Dowrich hit 76.
While urging the batsmen, particularly those at the top of the order, to be more patient in their approach, the experienced coach was significantly more satisfied with the bowling department as well as the all-round quality of the fielding.
“We have been bowling extremely well and our out-cricket is fairly decent, but we have not been getting a good start from our batters. We need to lay a solid foundation on which to build.”
The teams met twice last season in the previous four-day format and shared a win each. Barbados overpowered Jamaica at Sabina Park in the league competition to romp to the President’s Trophy.
Jamaica avenged that loss by beating the Barbadians at Kensington Oval in the semi-final stage and went on to win the Headley/ Weekes Trophy.
Meanwhile, for today’s match, the Jamaica Franchise have been boosted by the inclusion of 30-year-old West Indies fastbowler Jerome Taylor, who missed the Windwards clash due to “personal reasons”.
Jamaica squad — Tamar Lambert (captain), Jon-Ross Campbell, Shacaya Thomas, Nkrumah Bonner, Jermaine Blackwood, David Bernard, Carlton Baugh (wk), Nikita Miller, Jerome Taylor, Damion Jacobs, Marquino Mindley, Keno Wallace, Andre McCarthy.