Stanford 20/20? Or 'A' Team Tour?
Sun, Jun 18, '06
Five of Jamaica's top cricketers are in a quandary.
They are wondering whether to accept invitations to join a West Indies 'A' team tour of England in July and August or to stick with the Jamaica Twenty20 team in the hope of winning or at least reaching the final of the cash-rich Stanford Twenty/20 tournament which is in direct date clash with the 'A' team tour.
Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) president Jackie Hendriks confirmed on Thursday that batsman Marlon Samuels, wicketkeeper/batsman Carlton Baugh, and fastbowlers Jerome Taylor, Daren Powell and Andrew Richardson had received letters of invitation from the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) to join the 'A' team tour of England. The 'A' team leaves for England on July 17.
(Editor's Note: CaribbeanCricket.com has confirmed Sylvester Joseph, Runako Morton and Sewnarine Chattergoon are also among those offered invitations. Chattergoon has opted to go on the 'A' team tour)
All five are seen as important members of Jamaica's squad for the Stanford Twenty20 tournament funded by the Antigua-based Texan investor Allen Stanford. The latter has pledged US$1 million for the winning team in the regional tournament and US$500,000 to the runner-up. The tournament takes place in Antigua in July/August.
The players are to make up their minds by Monday.
Hendriks, who met with the players to discuss the issue said that the players would "have to decide for themselves" on the best course of action.
He said he had "no idea" whether there would be "consequences" should the players decide "to take a chance" and compete in the Twenty20 tournament, which he noted had received the "blessing" of the WICB, rather than take the trip to England.
Hendriks, a highy-rated West Indies wicketkeeper of the 1960s, said he understood and sympathised with the players' predicament and "wouldn't pretend to advise them on something like this. It is an entirely personal decision".
He suggested that the players would have to make a decision as to whether they wanted to strengthen their hand in terms of securing places in the West Indies team by accepting the invitation to the 'A' team tour or whether they "wanted to take the risk and stay at home and decide to go for the pot of gold".
While the strokeplay of Samuels and Baugh would be sorely missed, the Jamaica Twenty20 squad would be hit especially hard in the fastbowling department should Powell, Richardson and Taylor accept the 'A' team tour invitations.
The departure of those three would leave only three specialist pacers in the current training squad. They are West Indies pacer Jermaine Lawson, the Melbourne left-armer Leon Bent and the newly-drafted Kingston CC seamer Fabian Forbes.
The tall Clarendon fast bowler Dwight Stewart, who was originally selected, has dropped out with back problems.
* Garfield Myers is editor-at-large at the Jamaica Observer.