Lambert to lead Jamaica in Caribbean T20
Jamaica have named Tamar Lambert their captain ahead of Chris Gayle for the Caribbean T20 starting July 22. Lambert has been part of the Jamaica squad for seven years, averages 30.36 with the bat in 55 first-class matches and has led Jamaica to three consecutive regional four-day titles. Gayle is part of the squad of 15, which also includes internationals such as Marlon Samuels, Wavell Hinds, Nikita Miller, David Bernard and wicketkeeper Carlton Baugh.
"Everything has gone very well so far. We are getting everything in place. When we reach Barbados we mean business," Lambert said. "We have been working really hard. The 14 players have been selected now and our physical trainer has been putting us through our paces.
"We have a few games this weekend and we will try to get everything ready so when we get to Barbados we will be in good stead. We are focussed on doing very well and ultimately winning. We will take it step by step, game by game."
Lambert banked on his batsmen to deliver. "It is always good to have Marlon in the team. He has been training very hard to get back into the team and with his experience in the middle-order it will help to strengthen the batting.
"We have some very experienced players in the team and everyone will have a part to play if we are to do well in the Caribbean T20. We need a good contribution from everyone. I believed we have a balanced team and a good all-round team. Andre Russell did well with West Indies A team in England and we know what a player like Chris (Gayle) is capable of. He has done it at the international level many times and we will certainly benefit from his experience in our team unit."
The winner of the tournament qualifies for the Champions League to be held in South Africa in September. "It would be extremely nice to win and move on to the Champions League, but first the focus of everyone must be on the Caribbean T20. If we want to make it to South Africa we have to first take care of business in the region," Lambert said. "When we look at the teams in our zone, Trinidad and Tobago have done well in this version of the game. We will be planning well for all the teams. The focus will be on the Leewards in the first game and after that we will move on to the other opponents as the matches come up."
Soon after the squad was announced, Jamaica's chairman of selectors, former offspinner, Nehemiah Perry resigned. While there was speculation that the resignation was a result of Perry being upset over the captaincy handed to Lambert over Gayle, Courtney Francis, the Jamaica Cricket Association's cricket operations officer denied any controversy. "That is my understanding [that there is no controversy]," Francis said. "I went out to the practice session today and had a little chat with the coach (Junior Bennett) and he told me there was no animosity in the camp and I'm comfortable with that."
Jamaica squad: Tamar Lambert (capt), Nikita Miller, Danza Hyatt, Marlon Samuels, Xavier Marshall, Chris Gayle, Brenton Parchment, Wavell Hinds, David Bernard, Odean Brown, Krishmar Santokie, Andrew Richardson, Andre Russell, Carlton Baugh (wk), Junior Bennett (coach)