By Sanjay Myers,
FORMER cricketer Nikita Miller, looking to enter another season as Jamaica Scorpions’ assistant coach, says preparation for the Super50 tournament is progressing, despite coronavirus-forced restrictions limiting some aspects of the team’s readiness.
Due to health guidelines set by the Government to reduce exposure to the novel coronavirus, there has been no cricket tournament in Jamaica since last March. And no competition means players lack match sharpness heading into the regional 50-over tournament which is set to be staged in Antigua next month.
Even training is different since adhering to protocols has meant the Scorpions have had to practise in small batches instead of preparing as a full unit.
“We’ve had to work diligently under the circumstances…when I look at all the restrictions and protocols we’ve had to observe, and there’s no clearance from the Government in terms of competition,” Miller told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.
“It’s been a challenge in terms of not getting in games — practice games and there are no competitions going on in Jamaica.
“But in terms of working on the skills, getting in training sessions and getting the guys fit and up to scratch we’ve been able to get that done effectively while working in small groups. So in terms of that the preparation has gone on well,” the retired Jamaican left-arm finger spinner explained.
He was assistant to Head Coach Andre Coley throughout the last regional cricket season. And when Coley was drafted into the West Indies coaching ranks for the recent tour of New Zealand the opportunity was presented for Miller to run the Scorpions’ practice sessions.
Miller, who claimed a record-setting 538 wickets in 100 first-class matches, reiterated he is encouraged by what he has seen in training, and noted that at least a number of potential squad members have been exposed to international competition.
“There is concern about match sharpness in terms of some of the local players who may be selected. On the flip side of it, there are some players who we expect to be involved who recently played [in a Twenty20 competition] in the United States. There are players who toured New Zealand with the West Indies and are travelling to Bangladesh for the [upcoming] 50-over series,” he said.
“All those guys would have match practice and hopefully they can play leading roles in the [Super50] tournament. For those who are here we try to have game sense practice and try to simulate game situations as much as possible just to get the guys up to the speed,” Miller told the Observer.
The Scorpions squad is expected to be named within days.
Main Photo: Jamaica Scorpions players celebrate winning a match against Barbados Pride at Kensington Oval during a previous edition of the Super50 tournament (Photo: CWI Media)