Tallawahs in better shape this year, insists Richardson

Saturday, August 04, 2018

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After a less-than-impressive attempt at defending their title last year, general manager of the Jamaica Tallawahs, Andrew Richardson, believes his team is in much better shape to go after the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) Twenty20 (T20) title this time around.

The loss of former captain Chris Gayle, who moved on to St Kitts & Nevis Patriots, and the experienced all-rounder Andre Russell to a suspension for a whereabouts violation, hurt the Tallawahs batting significantly last year. But Richardson says that the team is much more balanced this season and added there is enough power at the top of the batting order.

“This year we have a more experienced unit. Andre Russell is back and we have a few additions as well. Johnson Charles gives us a little more power at the top order and that will just give the middle order a little more time to execute their game plan. Hopefully we have struck a better balance this year to give us better performances and higher scores,” Richardson told reporters at the Tallawahs breakfast hosted by platinum sponsors Chas E Ramson, distributors of the Foska Oats brand, at Melbourne Cricket Club on Thursday.

The New Zealand batting star Ross Taylor is expected to a play a very big role and he will join the squad in camp today.

“Ross Taylor comes in on Saturday (today) and so does Kemar Roach. This year we have a more experienced batting lineup…we have more power at the top and Kennar Lewis has been doing very well in local cricket.”

The Tallawahs struggled for runs in 2017, so there is likely to be a huge emphasis on getting runs on the tins this year.

“T20 is about power, sixes and boundaries, but as well we have players that can pick up singles in the middle and still hit runs at the same time. Our aim this year is to score bigger totals.”

Richardson is also mindful of the bowling which he believes will be able to get the job done this year.

“We have experienced bowlers as well, as I mentioned we brought in Kemar Roach, Russell comes back, Samuel Badree and some others that are both one-day and T20 number one in the world at some time for the last two years. So we do have quality as well that we have brought in. Hopefully, the team can gel together and give us more victories.”

The Tallawahs are the only team to have won the CPL twice and while he wants his team to go after the trophy again this year, Richardson is taking it one day at a time.

“We are always a contender, never a pretender. The ultimate goal is always to win the trophy but at the moment we are just focusing on the process, taking it day by day, game by game, building a team and building a bond to compete on the park,” he stated.

In previous years, the Tallawahs' fans have been able to view most of the home games at Sabina Park, but this season only two of the five team's designated home games will be played there. The other three will be played in Florida.

Richardson objected to the suggestion that the franchise is virtually being moved to North America.

“What move? It's not a move, it's two home venues, we are exercising the option of two home venues. It's not a move.

“We have played in Florida before, for the last two years we have been playing in Florida. We played two games in Florida last year, we actually started the tournament there so it's not a move it's just that we played two games last year, this year we are playing three games in Florida, that's all it is, so it's not a move,” he insisted.

This year, CPL T20 tournament will run from August 8 to September 16 with the two matches slated for Sabina Park to be played on Tuesday, August 14 and Wednesday, August 15.

—Dwayne Richards

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