Janeiro ‘fit and ready to go’
Somerset coach Jeff Richardson has dismissed concerns over the fitness of Cup Match star Janeiro Tucker.
Doubts concerning Tucker’s health surfaced after the player left the field early in the second innings of Somerset’s final trial match at the weekend and never returned.
But according to Richardson, the veteran all-rounder left the field to allow others a chance to play.
“There is nothing wrong with Janeiro,” he insisted. “It was just a matter of bringing Christian Gibbons on the field to let him have a little run-up. It was just an exercise to give someone else a chance to go out there and enjoy themselves because what else does Janeiro have to prove?”
In recent years Tucker has undergone knee surgery to cure a severe case of patella tendonitus and experienced calf and hamstring injuries.
The middle order bat stroked an unbeaten 74 for the President’s XI during Saturday’s final Cup Match trial before leaving the field early in the Vice-President’s XI’s reply.
“Janeiro looked very good, composed and compact and the quality player we all know he is,” said Richardson. “He picked his shots and played some very good shots in that innings.”
Tucker, son of former Somerset Cup Match skipper John Tucker, holds several distinctions in Cup Match.
He currently holds the record for the highest individual score (186) and tops the classic’s batting averages at 57.73.
He was the first Somerset player to score a century in Cup Match at Wellington Oval and achieved 1,000 runs in the classic, and is one of only two players to score three centuries in the annual event.
Tucker (1,270) is 87 runs shy of the all-time record for the most runs in Cup Match presently held by St George’s selection committee chairman Charlie Marshall (1,357).
He is also the first player to win the Safe Hands Award and is among a trio of players to have won the award twice.
This year will see the Southampton Rangers stalwart return to the venue where he became the first Somerset player to score a Cup Match century in 1999 and blasted his way into the record books with the classic’s highest individual innings in 2001.
“Janeiro, as we all know, is full of surprises and on the day he can blast the ball to all corners of the pitch,” Richardson said. “But there are other players in our team that St George’s need to worry about other than Janeiro.”