Sport

Scorpions veterans hope for positive start to four-day tourney

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

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CHADWICK Walton and Nikita Miller, two of the more senior members of the Jamaica Scorpions squad, say the team is well equipped to get off to a positive start to the regional four-day tournament against hosts Barbados Pride.

The match begins tomorrow at Three Ws Oval.

The 33-year-old Walton, a wicketkeeper/batsman with West Indies Test and limited-overs experience, is eager for Jamaica to lift the four-day title for the first time since the 2011-12 season.

“We are all geed up to see if we can go out there and bring home the bacon this time around,” he told the Jamaica Observer last Thursday.

“We haven't won it in six to seven years, so it would be good if we could break that trend. I think we have a good chance; we have some young members, [and] some senior members. There is a little bit of youthful experience, so let's see if we can blend that and come up with the right formula.”

Walton, who played the first of his 80 first-class matches in 2008, acknowledges that his role will be crucial if the Scorpions are to have a successful campaign.

“My experience should be crucial this season. We have a fairly decent set of guys, and they've been playing first-class cricket for a while now, so I'm expecting a lot from the fellows and from myself also,” he said.

Miller, 36, only recently relinquished captaincy duties, paving the way for Paul Palmer to lead the Scorpions.

But Miller, who has played Test, one-day and Twenty20 cricket for the regional side, believes he still has a big role to play for the Jamaica franchise.

“One of the reasons I've continued as a player after stepping away as captain is that I believe these guys are very talented and they haven't fulfilled their potential. I want to help, I want to be a person they can look to, and a person they can ask for advice. As a player looking for advice you want somebody who is actually active, so… I can be that person for this group,” Miller told the Observer ahead of the team's departure to Barbados on Monday.

The left-arm finger spinner, who remains one of the region's finest, has claimed 497 wickets in 95 first-class matches at an average of 16.36 since debuting at that level in the 2005.

He says the hunger for success is intense as ever.

“Whatever cricket I'm playing, my mentality is always to do it to the best of my ability. Once I start to play a game I'm switched on, and I only think about what's in front of me at that time. Obviously, this is part of the reason I've been a successful bowler, and I see no reason I would change it at this point. I'll continue to maintain high standards, and whenever I step on the park for Jamaica I play honourably, I play hard and [I play] to give my best,” he insisted.

Miller said he and Walton — both natives of northern St Elizabeth — have thrown their support behind the new captain.

“When Palmer started his [senior] career for Jamaica he was captain. I was involved as a player and I was always there to give him that support that he needed, and that encouragement. I'm sure in his second go as the official captain he will be looking to myself and to Chadwick, and we'll be more than willing [to help],” said the veteran spin bowler.

Palmer was named captain of the Scorpions three seasons ago, but lost his place in the squad in the middle of his debut campaign with the Jamaica franchise, after dismal individual and team results.

However, given the chance again last season when regular skipper Miller was absent at times, Palmer, who made his first-class debut for Combined Campuses and Colleges in 2014, was more assertive and displayed improved leadership qualities.

— Sanjay Myers


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