Cricket West Indies today saluted the heroes of the famous Cricket World Cup triumphs of 1975 and 1979.

Today, June 21 marks 45 years since the West Indies won the inaugural World Cup at Lords.

In that famous match, they defeated Australia by 17 runs and Sir Clive Lloyd had the honour of being the first man to lift the coveted trophy.

On June 23, 1979, Lloyd again hoisted the treasured prize as West Indies beat England by 92 runs at the historic venue.

“This particular World Cup victory by Sir Clive Lloyd and his legendary teammates brought a great deal of pride and esteem to thousands of West Indians everywhere. That is why such proud memories of our past glory on the cricket field will never die. I join in celebration of this special anniversary with all those who truly love West Indies cricket,” said CWI Ricky Skerritt.

In the 1975 final, Lloyd made a glorious century to earn the Man-of-the-Match award.

He shared a century stand with Rohan Kanhai, who made an invaluable 55. The West Indies were outstanding with the ball and in the outfield. Keith Boyce took four wickets and there were five run-outs – three by Sir Vivian Richards – as they played unbeaten throughout the tournament and lifted the inaugural Cricket World Cup.

Four years later Sir Viv put on a batting masterclass with a majestic 138 not out – one of the finest innings in ODI history. He was joined by Collis King, who scored 86 off just 66 balls in a memorable display of batting. Joel Garner then took five wickets to bring more glory to the all-conquering West Indies and to win at Lord’s, the home of cricket, was another remarkable achievement.

 “Today is a memorable day for me and the members of the team which won that first World Cup back in 1975. It was one of the greatest days of my life. To see the way we performed – we played unbeaten throughout the entire tournament – and win at Lords was something remarkable," said Sir Clive Lloyd. "Our victories in those two World Cup finals were a celebration of West Indies cricket and the many people who turned up to see us lift the cup.

“We were the best sports team in the world, no one could beat us. We were admired everywhere we went. The Caribbean has produced some truly great people in several fields of endeavour and we formed part of that, we were the symbol of sporting success. Our victories were for the many supporters who we represented. It wasn’t just for us as players, our victories touched many people all across the world.”

Winning World Cup squad from 1975 and 1979 below:

1975: Sir Clive Lloyd (captain), Keith Boyce, Roy Fredericks; Maurice Foster, Lance Gibbs, Sir Gordon Greenidge, Vanburn Holder, Bernard Julien, Alvin Kallicharran, Rohan Kanhai, Collis King, Deryck Murray, Sir Andy Roberts, Sir Viv Richards; Sir Clyde Walcott (manager)

1979: Sir Clive Lloyd (captain), Faoud Bacchus, Colin Croft, Joel Garner, Larry Gomes, Sir Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Michael Holding, Alvin Kallicharran, Collis King, Malcolm Marshall, Deryck Murray, Sir Viv Richards, Sir Andy Roberts; Sir Clyde Walcott (manager)

 List of West Indies global cricket titles

June 21, 1975: Cricket World Cup – beat Australia at Lord’s, London

June 23, 1979: Cricket World Cup – beat England at Lord’s, London

September 25, 2004: ICC Champions Trophy – beat England at the Oval, London

October 7, 2012: ICC T20 World Cup – beat Sri Lanka at Premadasa Stadium, Colombo

February 14, 2016: ICC Under-19 World Cup – beat India at Sher-e-Bangla Stadium, Dhaka

April 3, 2016: ICC Women’s T20 World Cup – beat Australia at Eden Gardens, Kolkata

April 3, 2016: ICC T20 World Cup – beat England at Eden Gardens, Kolkata

 

Iconic West Indies umpire Steve Bucknor believes the game’s recent embrace of technology must make it easier for umpires to sleep well at night, as bad decisions can be corrected quickly.

Bucknor, whose career behind the stumps lasted for 20-years, officiated in 128 Test matches and 181 One Day Internationals.  In addition, he stood in 5 World Cups.

 With the Jamaica-born official having retired in 2009 and the Umpire Digital Review System (DRS) being trialed in 2008, he never had the advantage of appeals and instant replays but is certain it has made the game better for all involved.

“I am not certain if it affects the confidence of umpires, but I know it has improved umpiring,” Bucknor told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“It has improved umpiring because there was a time when we were saying the batsman was so-called playing down the line, therefore he is not going to be given out leg before, but if the technology is saying the ball is hitting, then you have to give him out.  So, we learn from the technology,” he added.

"The umpires who do not enjoy having technology around, I hope that they have a rethink.  What it does if you make a mistake it can be corrected on the field,” Bucknor said.  “Now thinking about when I was umpiring and I gave a batsman out who was not out, realizing I made a mistake it took a long time to fall asleep that night.  Now you can fall asleep quickly because the correct decision is eventually given.”

Bucknor infamously and incorrectly gave legendary India batsman Sachin Tendulkar out on two occasions.   The first of the mistakes came in Australia (at the Gabba in Brisbane off Jason Gillespie in 2003) where he declared Tendulkar lbw, when the ball was clearly flying over the stumps.  Another decision was a caught behind (at the Eden in Kolkata off Abdul Razzaq in 2005) when he thought the batsman had nicked the ball. 

“It is human to err.  These were mistakes.  I don’t think any umpire wants to do the wrong thing, it lives with him and his future could be jeopardised.  I was unhappy but human beings make mistakes.  Accepting your mistakes and moving on is a part of life.”

 

West Indies all-rounder Roston Chase insists he is ready to assume whatever role it takes to help the regional team secure a rare success for the upcoming tour of England.

The 28-year-old batting rounder has emerged as a valuable utility player for the Windies in recent years.  That ability was on full display the last time the teams met, in the Caribbean, where Chase scored a half-century and took eight wickets in the first Test, a win for the West Indies, and scored 102 in the dead rubber loss.

As it stands, heading into the upcoming series with no clear direction on the match-day team composition, Chase, in terms of his bowling, could be used from anywhere between the first spin option to back-up spin option.  For batting options, he could be moved further up the order with the absence of Shimron Hetmyer and Darren Bravo or be tasked with providing crucial lower middle-order runs.  According to Chase, however, whatever configuration he is picked in will suit him just fine.

“I’m ready to do whatever it takes for us to be victorious, to be successful.  Last time we came to England its something I had to do quite a bit of, so it’s not new to me,” Chase told members of the media.

“I am looking forward to that challenge if we go with the four-pronged attack, if not I’ll just try to contribute to my team in any way possible,” he added.

 As a part of the last tour in 2017 Chase struggled with the bat but managed to claim seven wickets.

Former West Indies batsman Philo Wallace believes the inclusion of spinner Rahkeem Cornwall could yet be a masterstroke if the player manages to break into the final matchday squad.

Cornwall was named as part of a 14-man squad for the tour of England, as the regional team returns to international cricket next month, for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic struck.  With the series still some weeks away there is yet to be any indication of an official starting line-up, but Wallace believes any picked should include Cornwall.

 “I think that Cornwall is going to be our match-winner because he is the man that is going to apply the pressure.  I like him, he is skillful.  He is a skillful bowler and he is smart.  I think he can be the trump in England,” Wallace told the Mason and Guest radio program.

Wallace believes Cornwall should be used as part of a six-man bowling line-up that would also include four fast bowlers.  The combination, he believes, would also have the benefit of adding a deep batting line-up.  The off-spinner has played two Test matches for the West Indies so far, claiming three wickets against India on debut before claiming a five-wicket haul in a one-off Test against Afghanistan.

“I would play four fast bowlers Jason Holder, Kemar Roach, Alzzari Joseph, Chemar Holder and those two spinners Cornwall and Chase.  When you look at those six bowlers, four of those six bowlers can bat…so you are still playing with long batting," Wallace said.

“It’s time that Cornwall recognizes his ability as a batsman, he has only played a few matches but you have to give him the confidence that he can go out there and bat."

 

 

Former West Indies opening batsman Suruj Ragoonath foresees the West Indies having a difficult time competing against  England, with weather conditions having a significant impact on the outcome of the series.

With the talented middle-order batsmen Shimron Hetmyer and Darren Bravo opting out of taking part in series, Ragoonath believes the regional team could struggle to put runs on the board, particularly in humid conditions.

“It going to be tough if you look at the players on the tour, from a batting standpoint. Shamarh Brooks averages just under 35 in his very short tenure, next to him is Jason Holder and Kraigg Brathwaite, each around 33," Ragoonath pointed out to the Mason and Guest radio program.

If you add up our batsmen’s averages, whatever combination you play, you will have an average score that is less than 250, which is not going to complete against England.  Especially if the atmosphere is such that the ball is moving around, you re going to be in real trouble,” he added.

"The fast bowling aspect is exciting and I think that’s where our one element of surprise is, but a lot will depend on the weather conditions."

Ragoonath believes the Windies may still be able to do well if the conditions are hot and dry, but once typical English weather conditions prevail, a battery of quality England swing bowler could make runs scoring an impossible task.  

West Indies batsman, Shai Hope, believes it will be crucial for the top order to meet the challenge of carrying on from starts to post ample totals, if the team is to have success on the upcoming tour of England.

The inconsistency of the batting unit has been a sore point for the Caribbean team for the past several years, particularly the top order, who are often accused of not spending enough time at the crease.

As expected, the performance of the top order has been crucial to the outcome of matches against England in recent outings.  In the last two series, the top order has averaged somewhere around 158, in wins for the West Indies, and around 66 in losses.

“We’re missing some key players right now, so it’s very important for us as top-order batters to get those runs on the board, see off the new ball and make it easier for batters coming down the line,” Hope told members of the media.

“As soon as we get those starts, we have to capitalise and go big for the side,” he added.

“It’s the first series back for us, it’s the perfect opportunity for us to showcase our skills and win the series.”

Hope and Kraigg Brathwaite were two of the standout performers for the regional team on their last tour of England.  In the only Test match that the team won, Hope, scored 147 and 118 while opening batsman Brathwaite made 134 and 95.

An Atlanta United player has tested positive for coronavirus, the MLS club confirmed on Thursday.

The unnamed player was asymptomatic and returned the result following mandatory club testing.

Clubs are preparing for a return to action via the MLS is Back Tournament, which is scheduled to begin in Florida on July 8.

"In response to the positive test, Atlanta United medical staff have continued to work directly with local infectious disease specialists to treat the player, who was asymptomatic and has been observing isolation protocols since receiving the result," a club statement read.

Atlanta United won their opening two games before the season was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

They are alongside Cincinnati, New York Red Bulls and Columbus Crew in Group E for the MLS is Back Tournament.

Legendary West Indian umpire has admitted watching iconic batsman Brian Lara was always somewhat of a guilty pleasure and that behind the stumps was the best place to be when the batsman was on the go.

The 74-year-old official stood in 128 Test matches and 181 One Day Internationals (ODI) in a career that spanned 20 years.  While admitting an affinity for the destructive power of Viv Richards, the Jamaican-born umpire admits there was something otherworldly about Lara.

“Viv Richards, the Master Blaster, I rate him very highly on my list because he destroyed every type of bowling…then there is Brian Lara who I think is the best thing the eyes can behold when he is on the go.  He was poetry in motion.  He did things that others couldn’t do,” Bucknor told the Mason and Guest Radio program.

"Once he was on the go then Lara is the batsman that I enjoyed umpiring.  In other words, I didn’t want to be a spectator when Lara is batting, I wanted to be in the middle to enjoy the cricket there.  As someone who has played the game you must enjoy the game out there,” he added.

“Umpires enjoy the game. In your heart, you cheer. You clap in your heart to see a good shot.  You clap in your heart to see a good delivery.  You enjoy that but you cannot show it on your face, in your eyes or anywhere.”  

 

West Indies pace bowler Shannon Gabriel insists there is no malice between himself and England captain Joe Root, after a heated exchange between the duo led to a four-match suspension when the teams met in the Caribbean last year.

During the series, Root was picked up on the stump mics responding to an unheard comment from Gabriel. "Don't use it as an insult," he said. "There's nothing wrong with being gay."

Gabriel was charged the next day for an alleged homophobic remark and did not contest the charges.  The footage received widespread attention.  The player was charged with a Level Two offence under article 2.13 of the ICC's Code of Conduct, covering "personal abuse".

Having recently recovered from injury, Gabriel could be in line to face up with Root again when the teams compete in a three-Test series next month.  The bowler has downplayed the incident and has insisted he has long moved past it.

"To be honest that was in the past," Gabriel said. "I don't really think about it too much. Whatever happened or whatever was said, I don't really want to harp on about that, I'm just looking to the future now. I've just come here to play good cricket if selected, and do my best for West Indies cricket,” he added.

"I just think the way they dealt with it was blown way out of proportion," he added. "The story that was told was not entirely true, but I just want to move on and forget that."  

Two-time World Cup-winning captain Darren Sammy, Johnson Charles and West Indies U19 Captain Kimani Melius have all been confirmed for the Dream11 St Lucia Blast, a T10 tournament set to bowl off at the Darren Sammy Cricket Grounds in St Lucia next week Tuesday, June 23.

West Indies opening batsman Kraigg Brathwaite insists he is focused on the task at hand and not recent criticism or past successes as the team prepares for its upcoming tour of England.

The 27-year-old Brathwaite was a standout player when the regional team played in England three years ago.  The opener scored 40 in the first Test, before scoring 134 and 95 in the second, forming part of a crucial partnership with Shai Hopes as the West Indies leveled the series.

The player has not been in the best of form since then.  The top batsman averaged just 16 from his last six Tests, to see his overall average drop to 33.  During the recent first-class championship, he was averaging a mere 25 after the seventh round of matches before knocks of 48 and 84 not out against Guyana Jaguars in the eighth round, boosted his numbers.  It has led some to question his inclusion in the squad.  The player, however, insisted he would not focus on either those negatives or dwell on his strong showing in England the last time around.

“I look forward to any series against England but what I’m really focusing on is obviously doing my job on the team and built that foundation, that’s all I’m focusing on,” Brathwaite told members of the media on Wednesday.

“There’s no pressure.  You can’t always do well.  I know my role and it just about going out there and focus on each ball.  The batting hasn’t been going well the last few innings but I’m up for challenge,” he added

“Looking back, you obviously see things that you did well (2017) but that is history.  I have an important job to do here and now and I’m raring to go.”

 

 

Kraigg Brathwaite has not had a good time at the crease lately. In 2019, a score of 49 against the visiting English team in Antigua was his highest score for the year in what was a disastrous run as the West Indies Test opener.

Most people would jump at the chance of getting a second crack at getting something they initially get wrong, right. Veronica Campbell-Brown, one of the most successful female sprinters in history, is no different.

West Indies middle-order batsman Shai Hope insists players must be willing to put up their hands and be counted in order to be successful on the upcoming tour of England.

With the team missing two of its most explosive batsmen in Shimron Hetmyer and Darren Bravo, runs could be hard to come by against a dangerous England bowling attack.  On his last visit to England, Hope certainly did stand up for the Windies team.  In the second Test, his two centuries proved crucial in a five-wicket win that saw the regional team level the series before going on to lose 2-1.

Although admitting the team will be missing the duo, Hope insisted the big match-winning performances needed were simply about the players' available accepting the challenge on any given day.

“It just happened to be my day at Headingley but it can be anyone else’s day on any given day.  The key is just to make sure that whenever you get an opportunity in the middle you grasp it and do whatever you can to put in those performances for the team," Hope told members of the media.

“It’s a case where the performances will matter.  Yes, we are going to miss those guys, they play a big role on the team.  But it’s more performances that we miss rather than players, they could be here and it just doesn’t go their way, that’s how cricket goes sometimes.  You always just need someone to put their hands up, I always stress that.  It’s just key for us that we as batters put those runs on the board.”

The West Indies will defend the Wisden Trophy against England in three Test matches, beginning next month at the Rose Bowl Cricket Ground.

 

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