Sun | Aug 19, 2018

Merchant wants Jamaica recall

Published:Monday | February 12, 2018 | 12:00 AMJermaine Lannaman/ Gleaner Writer
Manchester’s off-spinner Jamie Merchant.

Sidelined Jamaica off-spinner Jamie Merchant is hopeful that his recent five-wicket haul performance against England Lions will encourage the national selectors to re-invite him to the national programme.

Merchant, who was dropped from the national team in 2014 for what he described as unknown reasons, claimed five for 35 off a mere 10.5 overs to help Jamaica XI bowl out touring England Lions for 230 in their second innings.

This gave Jamaica a near-glimmer of a chance of recording a come-from-behind win in the three-day contest, however, with limited time and 258 to get off 52 overs, the match-up petered into a draw.

Merchant, who has been one of the leading bowlers in the national two-day Senior Cup and Super League tournaments, also captured figures of two for 67 in the first innings.

''I believe my performance was an okay one, having been out of the national set-up for so long,'' said the 28-year-old Merchant.

Boost in confidence

''To take five wickets against England Lions, which have a number of Test players, can only boost my confidence, as my aim is to start playing again for Jamaica at the regional level.''

A lanky spinner who relies on variations of pace and bounce as well as a deceptive straight ball to trouble batsmen, Merchant has represented Jamaica in five first-class matches and one Twenty20.

The former national Under-19 representative made his first-class debut in 2013 and has since gone on to claim 16 wickets at an average of 26.81, an economy rate of 2.75, with a best bowling effort of five for 41.

''It wasn't really that much of a challenge bowling to the England team as I am kind of used to cricket at the first-class level. But the ball was coming out nicely, and I just picked my areas,'' noted Merchant, who outshone West Indies A leg-spinner, Damion Jacobs, and fast bowler Reynard Leveridge in the contest.

''I am looking to go back to our national Senior Cup now and get in some performances so that selectors can see that the level of consistency is there heading into the regional season next year,'' he proclaimed.

Jamaica, who are currently contesting the regional Super50 one-day tournament, are slated to resume training for the 2018-2019 regional first-class championship in July.