(Jamaica Observer) After what can be considered a pretty ordinary season last year in which they failed in the attempt to defend their title, their Jamaica Tallawahs got off to the perfect start to the 2018 edition of the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) Twenty20 competition.
Three wins on the trot, two of which have come at home at Sabina Park, have seen the two-time CPL champions push clear of Guyana Amazon Warriors (four points) to sit atop the standings on six points.
Captain Andre Russell praised the efforts of the players whom he had hailed as professionals.
“We are all professional, we are all from different islands, from different countries, but at the end of the day each player was selected in the draft to do different roles and they all know what they have to do. It’s not like school cricket where you have to be telling them what to do, so it makes my job a lot easier,” Russell told journalists after the game.
The Tallawahs showed consistency with the bat at Sabina Park, scoring 176-4 to chase down the 175 set by the St Lucia Stars, then set a total of 178-4 before restricting the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots, who are led by former Tallawahs winning captain Chris Gayle, to 131-9.
Russell is hoping that his team can maintain the momentum that they have developed over the first three games of the season.
“The goal is to win; we don’t really want to end up losing any games and then have a losing momentum. Winning is always key and it is good to keep winning games because the body depends on muscle memory, so once you keep winning you are on track.
“Then again, you don’t want to keep winning now and then lose at the wrong time, so I would appreciate keep winning and win all the way to the finals. I don’t want to say I want to lose any games, because you never know what can happen.”
The Tallawahs successfully chased down targets in their first two wins before they defended 178 on Wednesday to show their versatility as a team.
“I was happy that we actually lost the toss because it’s good to show what we can do batting first and bowling first. We chased down a total last night (Tuesday) and we bat first tonight (Wednesday) and we defended it.
Kennar Lewis has been at the forefront of two of the three Tallawahs wins, and his captain could not be happier for the burly right-handed batsman.
Lewis played the sheet-anchor role, while Russell blasted away during the first win in Trinidad, before the former helped to set the pace on Wednesday with a solid 49 at the top of the order.
“I am happy for him; he always wanted the opportunity and to get comfortable. As professional players you don’t want to be playing a game and wondering if you are going to play the next game, and that’s the situation he has been in throughout his CPL career. Now we are going to give him the opportunity this year. He gave us the start we needed and Ross Taylor, we know how important he is, he smashed it at the end.”
Admitting that he had failed to put on a show for the home fans like many had come to see, Russell saw the positives in the situation as it relates to the overall team.
“Two nights in a row I didn’t give the crowd what they want — I didn’t play an innings like in Trinidad. But it just goes to show that it’s not a one man army; it’s a team and we are going to win this tournament with everyone playing their part.”
Russell has vowed not to get caught up in the early-season success, something he has told his teammates not to do either.
“I hardly watch the news because so many different things get said and you don’t want to get your mind crowded.
“I don’t read the paper, I don’t read stuff about myself, what people comment about me, and I try to let the guys know that if you have a good game tonight go back down to earth, come out the sky.
“The game goes on and it’s a very ungrateful game. You can score a hundred tonight and come and get a one-ball duck tomorrow night, so we all just have to be humble and continue to work hard,” he said.