Nixon praises Tallawahs' effort after loss of big stars
Jamaica Tallawahs head coach Paul Nixon has said that the team has "good momentum" heading into the home leg of their Caribbean Premier League fixtures.
The Tallawahs, who are the defending champions, have won four of their six games and sit third in the six-team table, needing just one more win to secure a spot in the playoff round.
They next meet the St Lucia Stars at 7 o'clock this evening at Sabina Park, and Nixon said that confidence is where it needs to be in the team right now.
"We're happy, we're very happy," Nixon smiled. "We're in a good space, the guys are confident and really, it's been that the least names win matches."
Nixon was referring to the team losing marquee players Chris Gayle, Andre Russell, Imad Wasim, Dale Steyn, Chadwick Walton and Lasith Malinga this season, but still managing to get desired results with this season's core of players.
"Andre McCarthy's been outstanding at number three (in the batting order)," Nixon said. "The way he came back, his attitude and his determination, his fitness in preseason has impressed everybody to give him the opportunity to take a number three spot and he's been world class."
Public opinion in recent seasons had been that the team was too reliant on certain players but Nixon denied that, adding that it is especially not the case this season as his players are making a collective effort.
"When stars go, it gives other people opportunity," he said.
"We all need opportunity, and the guys have taken responsibility and opportunity. It's been a real collective effort so far and it's been tough as we've lost two world class all-rounders, but we've got to make sure we try and fill those gaps as much as we can."
Meanwhile, wicketkeeper captain Kumar Sangakkara commended his team for the passion it has been showing.
"It's impossible to replace guys like Chris Gayle, Andre Russell and Chadwick Walton," he said. "They've been unbelievable not just as cricketers but as leaders. This year, we've had to play things slightly differently, but everyone's taken leadership. Everyone's taken responsibility, we've shown a lot of passion, and I'm really, really proud of these players."