Batsmen rediscover their touch

Tony Becca

January 28, 1998

CRICKET: Jamaican cricket fans were smiling over the weekend and with justification.

After a long drought during which Jamaica, the West Indies A, and the West Indies found runs difficult to come by, the fans were treated to some lovely batting by the West Indies A at Chedwin Park on Friday and Saturday, and while enjoying Saturday's demonstration they were thrilled by the news coming out of Dominica where Jamaica were batting well.

At Chedwin Park, the West Indies A, led by Roland Holder, Keith Semple and Laurie Williams, chalked up 434 in reply to the touring England cricketers' 400 for eight declared, and at Windsor Park, Jamaica, led by Carl Wright and Robert Samuels, eased to 176 to defeat the Windward Islands by 10 wickets.

According to the reports coming out of Dominica, Wright and Samuels who had been experiencing lean time really batted well, and although it was against the Windward Islands who were without two of their top bowlers, pacer Nixon McLean and right-arm legspinner Rawl Lewis, although the Windward Islands are making it a habit of winning first innings points and then losing the match, it augurs well for Jamaica's batting.

Samuels' performance, for example, should be good for his confidence and in turn for Jamaica. As the most experienced batsman in the team, after James Adams, and as one of the opening batsmen, good performances from him should set the pace for the others. The more important of the two performances however, was probably that by young Wright.

After demonstrating his fighting spirit against Barbados in the opening round of the President's Cup competition, Wright's performance not only suggests he has the capacity to perform, but it could also inspire the other young batsmen on the fringe of the Jamaica team and in so doing improve the general standard of Jamaica's batting.

The reason? If the young batsmen perform, those around who have survived despite average performances will themselves have to perform in order to stay in the team.

Apart from the satisfaction of the runs scored by the West Indies A at Chedwin Park, the fans were delighted with the manner in which they were scored. The pitch was ideal for batting and although there were times when they had to respect the England bowling, Holder, Semple and Williams played some lovely strokes.

They were so good that the fans are eagerly awaiting the first Test which opens at Sabina Park tomorrow.

``Man, if these guys can treat these bowlers so, what will happen when Lara, Hooper and Chanderpaul catch them,'' said one fan.

It won't be the same pitch and the atmosphere will be different. Based on the evidence of Chedwin Park however, the fans believe that at last West Indian batsmen have started to bat.

Source: The Jamaica Gleaner

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Date-stamped : 25 Feb1998 - 19:03