By Akeem Greene
(NEWS ROOM GUYANA) — The Hero Caribbean Premier League enters its eighth season and St. Lucia Zouks have once again produced a solid squad on paper, a very similar occurrence of the past but with little success on the park.
They have finished in the cellar position twice, four times in fifth and just once in the top four, ending third in 2016.
The charismatic Daren Sammy once again takes up the leadership role and indicated that his first order of business with the new management of the franchise was ensuring there was a “strong leadership” group so he can focus more on the field of play.
The Head Coach is the experienced Andy Flower, the former Zimbabwe wicketkeeper/batsman.
“One thing I was very clear about with the new owners [Kings XI Punjab], I wanted strong leadership. Over the years I have had too much of a role to play in management,” Sammy said.
“I really wanted to focus on just the cricket aspect and not having to delve into the management aspect of the franchise and so far I have seen a difference. This year there is a sense of calm, responsible and eager cricketers that want to go out…I can’t wait to lead them out on the park.”
Sammy had voiced his displeasure with Trinbago Knight Riders players training outside of the outside of the ‘bubble’ and reiterated that “everyone” should have been part of the bubble from the first day to “guarantee” that the health and safety of all stakeholders is not “compromised.”
The 36-year-old, who has captained West Indies to two Twenty20 World Cup titles, last represented the maroons in 2017. However, with two World Cups in the space of two years on the horizon, Sammy said the door is not closed on seeking to play international cricket.
“I am going into this tournament just looking to enjoy it and do better for Zouks; the fans deserve it and that it something I have stressed to our players; our fans deserve to cheer for us.”
“I have not retired [from international cricket] and if I take care of what I have to do for Zouks and get us to the play-offs first, then it means I am putting in some good performances that get me in shape for selection but I have not closed that door.”
The Zouks first match is on Wednesday (August 19) against Jamaica Tallawahs from 10:00h.
St. Lucia Zouks Squad: Daren Sammy (cpt) Roston Chase, Mohammad Nabi, Andre Fletcher, Najibullah Zadran, Kesrick Williams, Scott Kuggeleijn, Chemar Holder, Obed McCoy, Rahkeem Cornwall, Mark Deyal, Zahir Khan, Kimani Melius, Leniko Boucher, Kavem Hodge, Javelle Glen, Saad Bin Zafar.