ST JOHN’S, Antigua, CMC – The West Indies Cricket Board yesterday urged top regional players to make themselves available for upcoming domestic tournaments, even as several of them prepared to turn out in Australia’s Big Bash League which runs alongside next month’s NAGICO Super50.Chief executive Michael Muirhead said the Super50 – the region’s premier one-day tournament – had been scheduled during a period to allow for maximum participation for the Caribbean’s leading players, and said their presence would be a fillip especially for West Indian fans.”There is an opportunity to have the best players compete for regional supremacy in the upcoming events,” Muirhead said.”The Board has looked at its tournament schedule and has placed each tournament at a time that allows our international players to participate in other competitions overseas.”We, however, value our competitions and we think the fans would want to see our best players compete against each other.”The Super50 bowls off from January 7-24 in Trinidad and Tobago and St Kitts, and features eight teams spread across two groups doing battle in a preliminary phase before climaxing with semi-finals and a grand Final.However, the Big Bash which started on Thursday, runs through to the New Year and is set to also wind up on January 24.Several West Indies players will be campaigning in the Big Bash with the likes of marquee opener Chris Gayle, Andre Russell, Darren Sammy, Dwayne Bravo, Samuel Badree and Lendl Simmons all signed to various franchises.Players who fail to make themselves available for the Super50, will be ineligible for the Tri-Nations Series involving Australia and South Africa from June 6-26.Muirhead said with the packed schedule ahead next year, all players would also have the opportunity to develop further.”In the upcoming year, there are a number of tours in and out of the region and with that amount of cricket added, along with the phased roll out of the high performance program, the players will have a chance at better preparing themselves for producing at the highest level.”Following the Super50, the Regional First Class Championship will resume with the remaining five rounds on February 11.
Jamaica Scorpions coach Junior Bennett, has said that while he is concerned about the fortunes of the team in recent years, he is not too perturbed at the notion of losing his job. The former regional four-day and one-day championship-winning coach has for the past three years been prevailing over squads that have produced substandard outcomes. This lack of results has been evident in the regional first-class championship, where two years ago, the team finished fourth, and last year, fifth. The one-day team has not been firing on all cylinders either, with the team over the past three seasons having a record of two semi-final appearances, and a first-round exit. “If you are the coach of the side and they are not playing well, then you have to take responsibility for it,” Bennett told The Gleaner following the team’s eight-wicket defeat to Trinidad and Tobago Red Force in the WICB First-Class Championship at Sabina Park earlier this week. “But, in life, just you just have to do what you have to do. That’s the way I see it. That’s the way I work. You are going to have good times and bad times.” The defeat by Jamaica was their fourth of the season in seven outings, with the others being victories. It followed a surprising 82-run defeat away to Leewards Hurricanes the previous week. This has placed them in third position on 60 points and with only a mathematical chance of surpassing leaders and defending champions Guyana Jaguars, who has 107. B’DOS IN SECOND PLACE The Barbados Pride, 90, are in second position with Red Force fourth on 56, Windwards Volcanoes fifth on 41 and the Leewards rounding off the standings with 36. “No, I am not worried,” Bennett said when asked if he was worried that the team’s lack of results could cost him his job. “Anytime you play cricket and dominate for a period of time, you are going to have a time when you just have to rebuild,” Bennett added. The Scorpions, who changed captain from Paul Palmer Jr to John Campbell last weekend in a bid to try and arrest their flagging fortunes, are scheduled to face the Pride at Sabina Park this weekend in the eighth round of the 10-round championship.