Bennett hoping JA youngsters produce
Jamaica Gleaner article.
KIngston, Jamaica - Jamaica's senior cricket coach, Junior Bennett, is optimistic about the team's chances despite not having a number of key players at his disposal heading into the WICB NAGICO Super50 Tournament in Trinidad and Tobago.
Bennett, who departed with the team yesterday for the twin-island republic, says this confidence is steeped in the fact that there remain good players who are capable of delivering.
Jamaica, to be captained for the first time at the one-day level by David Bernard Jr, will enter the tournament without marquee batsmen Chris Gayle and Marlon Samuels, in-form fast bowler Krishmar Santokie and front-line spinner Odean Brown. The four are all carrying injuries.
"Those guys will be missed and there are no two ways about that," said Bennett. "They are top-notch players, especially Gayle and Samuels, and losing them all at once is somewhat of a drawback.
"However, it is not the end of the world for us as a team, as we have more than capable players, and once they go out there and do their best, I am confident that we will do well."
Jamaica, who made it to the semi-finals last season, are set to bank on their players with West Indies experience - Nikita Miller, André Russell, Carlton Baugh Jr, Bernard Jr and Jerome Taylor - along with former captain Tamar Lambert.
The squad also contains six emerging batsmen who are yet to prove themselves at the regional level. They are Nkrumah Bonner, Jermaine Blackwood, Horace Miller, André McCarthy, Kennar Lewis and John Campbell.
"They are a talented bunch and have been showing a lot of improvements with each trial and practice match, as well as in training sessions," explained Bennett. "It is now a matter for them to continue this trend and go out there and play to their potential."
The Jamaicans have been drawn in Zone A of the eight-team tournament along with reigning champions Windward Islands, guest team Ireland and Guyana. The team will launch its campaign against defending champions Windward Islands at Queen's Park Oval tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the Jamaica team will be outfitted during the tournament and for the next two years by Pakistan sporting goods company, Stonehill Sports.
Details of the sponsorship deal were announced yesterday at the Jamaica Cricket Association's offices at Sabina Park.
The value of the deal is US$100,000 and will cover the provision of gear and equipment to all national teams, including women, and select clubs and parish associations over the period.
Stonehill Sports, which has its regional office in Trinidad, is being represented locally by Locker Room Sports, whose managing director, David Shirley, presented the team with its first set of gear.