In a bid to address the poor batting fortunes of the Jamaica Scorpions, the national selectors have made two changes heading into the team’s fourth-round clash with Trinidad and Tobago Red Force at Sabina Park, starting today.In comes recent West Indies one-day international recruit, all-rounder Rovman Powell, and former captain and batsman Paul Palmer Jr, while out goes opener Trevon Griffith and wicketkeeper Chadwick Walton.The 23-year-old Powell and Palmer Jr are yet to see any action this season, with Powell recently returning from Zimbabwe with the West Indies team, having toured Sri Lanka with West Indies ‘A’ a month earlier.Palmer Jr, in the meantime, who was entrusted with the leadership position last season, but who was overlooked at the start of this year’s campaign, has been named in various Scorpions 13-member squads since the start of the tournament three rounds ago but is yet to make his seasonal debut.The Robert Samuels-led Scorpions will enter the contest one place above the Red Force in the six-team championship.Jamaica are fourth on 28.6 points, 1.6 points ahead of Trinidad, who are fifth. The table, which sees a mere 6.6 points separating the top five teams, is being led by two-time defending champions Guyana Jaguars on 33.6 points.They are followed by early-season pace setters Barbados Pride on 33.4 points and surprise package thus far, the Leewards Hurricanes, on 29.4.CRUCIAL GAME”Based on the position of the teams in the standings, it will be a very crucial game,” said Jamaica batsman AndrÈ McCarthy.”Trinidad is always a tough team and has rivalry with us, so it is always our intention to beat them. This match is no different, and it is for us as a team to get our game together, including our batting, which has been struggling a bit.”The Scorpions, who are hoping to better their third-place finish last season, has so far registered a win, a loss, and a no-result, the same as the Red Force.They are, however, slightly ahead of their opponents based on points awarded to fast bowlers as per a new West Indies Cricket Board regulation.Jamaica will look to in-form opener John Campbell, who is third in the batting charts, Jermaine Blackwood and Andre McCarthy to lead their batting, which, with the absence of Walton, could see young Brandon King, who has been part of the squad, making his seasonal debut.As for their bowling, it is again likely that it will be spearheaded by captain and spinner Nikita Miller, along with fast bowler Raynard Leveridge and Powell.Trinidad, in the meanwhile, will welcome the return of new West Indies batsman Jason Mohammed, who also played in Zimbabwe, with the diminutive right-hander set to lead their batting, while bowling-wise, much will be expected of Jamaica-born fast bowler Sheldon Cottrell, who was drafted in the off-season.SCORPIONS (from): Nikita Miller (captain), Fabian Allen, Jermaine Blackwood, John Campbell, Derval Green, Damion Jacobs, Brandon King, Reynard Leveridge, Andre McCarthy, Paul Palmer Jr, Rovman Powell, Devon Thomas, ShacayaThomas.RED FORCE (from): YannickOttley (captain), YannicCariah, Sheldon Cottrell, JydGoolie, Kyle Hope, Jon-Russ Jagessar, Steven Katwaroo, Imran Khan, Jason Mohammed, Khary Pierre, Roshon Primus, Isaiah Rajah, Marlon Richards.
0Shares0000Tusker FC assistant coach Francis Baraza shares a word with head coach George ‘Best’ Nsimbe. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluNAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 26- Despite drifting 11 points off leaders Gor Mahia, Tusker FC head coach George Nsimbe has refused to let go of his ambition to retain the Kenyan Premier League title with 14 rounds of matches remaining.The brewers are placed fifth in the standings and with only one win in their last five assignments, hope of winning a 12th league crown continues fizzling away. “I think there is still a chance because this is a marathon and there is still a long way to go. I believe we can still catch up with the leaders and we will not give up hope. We just have to continue working hard because you never know what might happen,” the Ugandan tactician said.Tusker have already lost one of their two titles from last season, having been eliminated from the GOtv Shield by National Super League leaders Vihiga United thus piling pressure on Nsimbe to ensure they do not finish the season without a trophy.The brewers have however been far from convincing this season but Nsimbe retains hope they can resuscitate their faintest of hopes.Three days after their 1-0 loss to AFC Leopards, Tusker travel to Western Kenya to take on a tricky Kakamega Homeboyz side, hopeful of a bounce back up.“In the last match against AFC we were better. We played more like a unit and the changes we made brought results. Our only problem is that we are not scoring. I am confident that we can address that issue and get three points in our next match,” the Ugandan further noted.Posta Rangers head coach Sammy ‘Pamzo’ Omollo gestures in a past Kenyan Premier League match. PHOTO/Raymond MakhayaMeanwhile, third placed Posta Rangers are more realistic with head coach Sammy ‘Pamzo’ Omollo saying the league title is now out of their hands.Posta lost by a solitary goal to Gor Mahia in midweek, a result that dragged them nine points off the leaders.“Before that game, the league was in our hands but now, we can only sit and wait for other teams to lose so that we can have a chance. But it is still not over. We will fight till the end and see what comes off the campaign,” Omollo, winner of the league title in 2012 with Tusker FC noted.The mailmen will travel to Narok on Saturday where they take on high flying Sofapaka who have won four straight games. Batoto ba Mungu are second on the log with 37 points, three ahead of Posta and six behind leaders Gor.Head coach Sam Ssimbwa is confident his team can continue with their positive run and win a fifth game on the trot, but he has refused to be drawn into discussion about the title.“No, we are not after the title. For us we just want to win our games then whatever comes out of it is okay. It is tough but we have to work on. Right now we are playing very well and if we can maintain the consistency, then you never know,” the tactician offered.KPL Weekend Fixtures: Saturday: Muhoroni v Chemelil Sugar (Muhoroni), Nakumatt v Nzoia Sugar (Ruaraka), Sofapaka v Posta Rangers (Narok Stadium).Sunday: Gor Mahia v AFC Leopards (Nyayo Stadium), Bandari v Mathare United (Mbaraki Complex, Mombasa), Kakamega Homeboyz v Tusker FC (Mumias Complex), Sony Sugar v Kariobangi Sharks (Awendo), Zoo Kericho v Western Stima (Kericho Green Stadium).0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)