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Haynes-coached Scorpions face Volcanoes in day/night match

Senior staff reporter

Friday, January 04, 2019

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Newly-appointed interim coach Robert Haynes will have his first test when Jamaica Scorpions take on Windward Islands Volcanoes in the West Indies four-day match at Sabina Park in Kingston.

The day/night clash is slated to begin 2:00 pm today.

The 54-year-old Haynes replaces Robert Samuels, who parted ways with the Scorpions after the team crumbled in a disappointing loss to hosts Barbados Pride in its season opener last month.

The new coach says while winning is vital, he hopes to see a better performance from the Scorpions.

“I am very keen, it's always a challenge when you have a national team to coach and I'm really looking forward to this. A lot of people might say Jamaica need to win, but I want to see some improvement and then we can move from there,” a pumped-up Haynes told the Jamaica Observer.

The Paul Palmer-captained Scorpions are buoyed by the return of three players who were on West Indies duty. All-rounders Rovman Powell and Fabian Allen and fast bowler Oshane Thomas will add much-needed firepower to the Scorpions.

When the teams met at Sabina Park last season, the Scorpions survived a first-innings hundred from veteran left-hander Devon Smith to win by 10 wickets. The Scorpions left-arm finger spinner Nikita Miller claimed 13 wickets in the match. Both are again expected to feature prominently for their respective teams.

Haynes is expecting another competitive contest — made extra intriguing by the fact that the Volcanoes are coached by Jamaican-born Andre Coley.

“I honestly believe it will be a good four days of cricket. When you look at the Windward Islands, it's a team that has done well in regional cricket. They have put in a lot of work, and a lot of investment has gone into their young players.

“When you look at the calibre coach that they have in Andre Coley — somebody that has done a stint with the West Indies and has been at the HPC (West Indies High Performance Centre). He's very capable of motivating these guys and getting them to do the right stuff.”

There is always a fascination with how the pink ball will behave, especially in late evening conditions under lights. Yesterday, the pitch had a fair covering of live grass, but it is hard to predict how much, if any, will be shaved off by opening ball this afternoon.

The Scorpions coach said his team's concentration and commitment to execute plans will have to be at optimum levels.

“The players are very motivated. They lost the first game, they realise they basically threw it away… they really want to get things right. Our players have to assess the conditions early and to go out there and apply themselves in every department. I'm looking to them to build innings and to get starts and carry on and make big hundreds and for the bowlers to apply pressure, bowling in the right areas and not get carried away by a wicket that might have grass,” Haynes said.

The Volcanoes, led by Barbadian-born Kirk Edwards, welcome back their West Indies pair of batsman Sunil Ambris and fast bowler Shermon Lewis.

But they are without ace off-spinner Shane Shillingford who has been suspended from bowling due to a suspect action. Left-arm orthodox spinners Larry Edward and Kavem Hodge and off-spinner Alick Athanaze are included.

Coley, the former West Indies assistant coach who considers Haynes a mentor, said his team is eager to turn the tables on the Scorpions.

“I'm very excited and we're very positive going into this game. Windward Islands have always had keen tussles with Jamaica. Last year we were on the losing end but we are very positive this year — coming off a win in our last match — since we have some momentum going in,” Coley, 44, said.

The Volcanoes coach said his players will need to analyse the game situation to be ready to capitalise when they are in winning positions.

“We want to make sure that by the end of the first innings we put ourselves in position where we can push for a win. We have to identify key moments in the game and recognise when we're ahead and know what we need to do to stay ahead. And if we are behind, just being patient and try to slowly claw our way back,” Cole told the Observer.

Squads: Scorpions — Paul Palmer (Captain), John Campbell, Assad Fudadin, Jermaine Blackwood, Fabian Allen, Rovman Powell, Chadwick Walton, Aldaine Thomas, Nikita Miller, Oshane Thomas, Reynard Leveridge, Dennis Bulli, Jermaine Levy.

Volcanoes — Kirk Edwards (Captain), Devon Smith, Sunil Ambris, Taryck Gabriel, Kavem Hodge, Alick Athanaze, Obed McCoy, Denis Smith, Josh Thomas, Shermon Lewis, Roland Cato, Ray Jordan, Larry Edward.

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