Skipper Lambert says his players mean business

"Everything has gone very well so far … We are getting everything in place. When we reach Barbados we mean business." 

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These are the words from a confident Tamar Lambert, captain of the Jamaica team, as they get ready for the West Indies Cricket Board’s Caribbean T20 Tournament, to be played in Barbados and Trinidad from July 22 to 31.

"We have been working really hard. The 14 players have been selected now and our physical trainer has been putting us through our paces," added Lambert, who turns 29 on Thursday. "We have a few games this weekend and we will try to get everything ready so when we get to Barbados we will be in good stead. We are focussed on doing very well and ultimately winning. We will take it step by step, game by game."

Jamaica will play in Zone A alongside Trinidad and Tobago, Leeward Islands and Canada. They open against the Leewards on July 22 at 8 pm followed by another match at the same venue on July 24 at 4 pm. Their final preliminary match will be against Trinidad and Tobago at Queen’s Park Oval on July 28 at 8 pm. The semi-finals will be played at Queen’s Park Oval on July 30 with the final and third-placed play-off on July 31 at the same venue.

The Jamaicans have a powerful batting line-up led by Chris Gayle and including Marlon Samuels, Wavell Hinds, Brenton Parchment, Xavier Marshall and Carlton Baugh. The bowling is also strong led by Nikita Miller, the tight left-arm spinner, and also allrounders David Bernard Jr, Andre Russell and spinner Odean Brown, who were members of the West Indies A team on the recent tour of England and Ireland.

"It is always good to have Marlon in the team. He has been training very hard to get back into the team and with his experience in the middle-order it will help to strengthen the batting. We have some very experienced players in the team and everyone will have a part to play if we are to do well in the Caribbean T20. We need a good contribution from everyone. I believed we have a balanced team and a good allround team. Andre Russell did well with West Indies ‘A’ Team in England and we know what a player like Chris (Gayle) is capable of. He has done it at the international level many times and we will certainly benefit from his experience in our team unit."

There is a huge incentive to win the Caribbean T20, with the leading Caribbean team going on to represent the region at the Airtel Champions League in South Africa in September.

"It would be extremely nice to win and move on to the Champions League, but first the focus of everyone must be on the Caribbean T20. If we want to make it to South Africa we have to first take care of business in the region," Lambert said. "When we look at the teams in our zone, Trinidad and Tobago have done well in this version of the game. We will be planning well for all the teams. The focus will be on the Leewards in the first game and after that we will move on to the other opponents as the matches come up.

Squad: Tamar Lambert (Captain), Nikita Miller, Danza Hyatt, Marlon Samuels, Xavier Marshall, Chris Gayle, Brenton Parchment, Wavell Hinds, David Bernard, Odean Brown, Krishmar Santokie, Andrew Richardson, Andre Russell, Carlton Baugh (wicket-keeper); Junior Bennett (Coach)

Match schedule for Caribbean T20

Thursday, July 22 at Kensington Oval

Trinidad and Tobago v Canada – 4 pm

Jamaica v Leeward Islands – 8 pm

Friday, July 23 at Kensington Oval

Guyana v Windward Islands – 4 pm

Barbados v CCC – 8 pm

Saturday, July 24 at Kensington Oval

Jamaica v Canada – 4pm

Trinidad and Tobago v Leeward Islands – 8 pm

Sunday, July 25 at Kensington Oval

Guyana v CCC – 2 pm

Barbados v Windward Islands – 6 pm

Wednesday, July 28 at Queen’s Park Oval

Leeward Islands v Canada – 4 pm

Trinidad and Tobago v Jamaica – 8 pm

Thursday, July 29 at Queen’s Park Oval

Guyana v Barbados – 4 pm

Windward Islands v CCC – 8pm

Friday, July 30 at Queen’s Park Oval

Semi-Final 1: Winner of Zone A v Second of Zone B – 4 pm

Semi-Final 2: Winner of Zone B v Second of Zone A – 8 pm

Saturday, July 31 at Queen’s Park Oval

Third place play-off – 4 pm

FINAL – 8 pm