Sunil Gavaskar has hit out at the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) selectors ahead of India's tour of West Indies, labelling the body "lame ducks" over Virat Kohli continuing as captain.

India exited the Cricket World Cup in the semi-finals, losing to New Zealand after topping the group stage table under Kohli.

He will continue to lead the team in the United States and the Caribbean, though, with Gavaskar questioning why there was no discussions about Kohli's position after India failed to reach the World Cup final.

In a column in Indian outlet Mid Day, Gavaskar said: "That they selected the team for West Indies without first having a meeting to select the captain brings up the question of whether Virat Kohli is the captain of the team at his or the selection committee's pleasure.

"To the best of our knowledge his [Kohli’s] appointment was till the World Cup. After that, it was incumbent on the selectors to meet, even if it was for five minutes for his reappointment."

The India great continued: "Speaking of lame ducks, the Indian selection committee appears to be one.

"After the reappointment, he [Kohli] gets invited to the meeting for his views on selecting the players for the team.

"By bypassing the procedure, the message that goes out is that while the players like Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik get dropped after below-expectations performance, the captain continues despite much below-par expectations, where the team did not even reach the final."

India play the first of three T20 internationals against West Indies on August 3, with three ODI games following before a two-match Test series.

Regardless of who lifts the urn at The Oval in September, one Australian who is plotting Ashes glory should forever be revered in England.

Just 16 months ago Trevor Bayliss was facing calls for him to be axed as England head coach after New Zealand rolled Joe Root's side for only 58 in an embarrassing first-Test defeat in Auckland.

That came on the back of a chastening 4-0 Ashes thumping in Australia, where Bayliss also fended off questions over his future – much more assertively than the tourists did with the Australia bowling attack.

Bayliss would be entitled to feel he had more than enough credit in the bank at that point, having masterminded a transformation of the ODI side from a Cricket World Cup shambles in 2015 to a major force.

There was no word from his critics when top-ranked England were crowned world champions for the first time this month, an ambitious mission that he was challenged to achieve when he took the reins four years ago.

The unassuming Bayliss started his tenure with a home Ashes win and could sign off with another before stepping aside at the end of the series.

An emphatic home Test series win over India and two series victories against South Africa have also been achieved with the former Sri Lanka coach at the helm, as well as a run to the final of the 2016 World T20.

Paul Farbrace, long-time assistant to the man from New South Wales both with England and Sri Lanka, knows as well as anybody why Bayliss has been so successful over the years.

He told Omnisport: "It's very easy when you are a coach to talk a lot, it's very hard not to say a lot and when you do speak, you speak at the right time and you say the right thing.

"That is where I think he is a genius, in that when he speaks, people listen and when he speaks, he genuinely says something that is very good and you think 'that is a great point'.

"There is a lot of things Trevor gets underestimated about. He appears to sit quietly and not say a lot, but he gets his point across and he knows what is going on all the time in the game, he never misses a ball.

"He is a genuine cricket lover and he's passionate about the game, with exceptional knowledge. He may forget the odd name, but he doesn't forget too much about the game.

"He has been the perfect fit for England over the last four years. The World Cup was the goal four years ago and that's what they have achieved."

Farbrace added: "It's a special summer for English cricket; a home World Cup and Ashes in the same six-month period, it's magnificent for the game in this country at all levels of the game.

"There's never been a better time to introduce people to get involved in the game of cricket. If England can win the Ashes it would be the perfect way to see things home and I see no reason why they can't do that."

Whether or not England regain the Ashes, Bayliss can leave the job with his head held high, although he may prefer to stay poker-faced wearing dark shades under his floppy sun hat to stay out of the limelight.

Lasith Malinga has played his final ODI, starring for Sri Lanka in Friday's victory against Bangladesh in Colombo.

The Lions seamer went out in style as he took three wickets for 38 runs - his dismissal of Mustafizur Rahman wrapping up the win - in a 91-run triumph.

Malinga will continue to play 20-over internationals until next year's T20 World Cup, but it was in the 50-over format that he first established himself as a worldwide bowling icon.

Marking the end of a brilliant career, we take a look at how he compares to the very best.

 

ONE OF SRI LANKA'S ELITE

Malinga ends his career at number three on Sri Lanka's list of ODI wicket-takers, having claimed 338 from 220 innings.

Only the great Muttiah Muralitharan (523) and Chaminda Vaas (399) can better that tally, both playing considerably more innings - 334 and 319 respectively.

That puts Malinga ahead of Sanath Jayasuriya, Nuwan Kulasekara, Dilhara Fernando and team-mate Thisara Perera, with his average of 28.87 better than each of those four players, too.

 

HIS PLACE AMONG THE GREATS

Those figures unsurprisingly put Malinga high on the all-time worldwide list, too.

The 35-year-old is ninth in a table that again sees compatriot Muralitharan on top, also trailing Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Vaas, Shahid Afridi, Shaun Pollock, Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee.

Counting only seamers in ODIs, Malinga is seventh, with Javagal Srinath (315 wickets) the next after him.

He also collected three hat-tricks, which is more than any other bowler in ODI history, while he had eight five-wicket hauls.

 

A GENUINE WORLD CUP STAR

A rare bowling list that Muralitharan does not lead is that of Cricket World Cup wickets, where he is second behind McGrath. Malinga, with 56, 15 behind the leader, is third.

That total came from just 28 innings as Malinga produced his best on the big stage, playing in four World Cups (2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019) and taking 12 or more wickets in each of them. No other bowler has taken at least 10 wickets in more than three tournaments.

Sri Lanka were runners-up in 2007 and 2011, and big-game player Malinga took a hat-trick in each tournament. He took four wickets from four balls for the first of those against South Africa.

Ben Stokes is "flattered" to be nominated for the New Zealander of the Year award but England's Cricket World Cup hero says Kane Williamson should receive the accolade.

Votes were cast for the New Zealand-born all-rounder to claim the prize last week after he was named man of the match following a decisive innings in a World Cup final defeat of the Black Caps at Lord's.

However, Stokes believes New Zealand captain Williamson is the man who should be given the honour.

"I am flattered to be nominated for New Zealander of the Year. I am proud of my New Zealand and Maori heritage but it would not sit right with me to be nominated for this prestigious award," said the 28-year-old.

"There are people who deserve this recognition more and have done a lot more for the country of New Zealand.

"I have helped England lift a World Cup and my life is firmly established in the UK – it has been since I was 12 years old.

"I feel the whole country should align their support to New Zealand captain Kane Williamson. He should be revered as a Kiwi legend. He led his team in this World Cup with distinction and honour. 

"He was the player of the tournament and an inspirational leader of men. He shows humility and empathy to every situation and is an all-round good bloke.

"He typifies what it is to be a New Zealander. He would be a worthy recipient of this accolade. New Zealand, fully support him. He deserves it and gets my vote."

Lasith Malinga has told Dimuth Karunaratne he will retire from ODIs following the first match against Bangladesh, according to the Sri Lanka captain.

The 35-year-old had already announced plans to quit cricket following next year's T20 World Cup, yet his final ODI appearance is set to come this week.

Sri Lanka face Bangladesh in a three-match ODI series, starting on Friday, but Karunaratne is expecting to be without Malinga following the opener in Colombo.

"We need to find a wicket-taking bowler because Malinga is not available after this series," the skipper told a news conference.

"He is going to play the first match. After that, he is retiring. That's what he said to me. I don't know what he said for the selectors but, for me, he said he is playing only one match."

Malinga has taken 335 wickets in 225 ODIs, sitting third on his country's all-time list, with 13 dismissals at the recent Cricket World Cup.

Karunaratne added ahead of taking on Bangladesh: "As the captain of Sri Lanka, after the World Cup, we need to build a good team.

"We are trying to find some new talent, so we are giving some chances to the youngsters in this series. We want to play a good cricket series."

Rory Burns is confident Surrey team-mate Jason Roy will adapt to Test cricket as he looks set to make his England bow in the longest format.

Roy was a star of England's Cricket World Cup triumph as an opening batsman and his form has earned him a place in the squad to face Ireland ahead of the Ashes.

Burns is also set to feature at the top of the order and he believes Roy will have little difficulty taking his white-ball form into Tests.

"In recent times, he's come further up the order - he batted three at the end of last year and he's been top four outside that," Burns said. "I think it'll translate.

"For Jason, it's going to be a mindset thing. He's been playing a lot of white-ball cricket recently, and that's see-ball, hit-ball.

"Now he gets the chance to leave a couple and assess things. He's a fine player and I'm sure he'll adapt."

Burns was not a member of England's victorious ODI side, yet he suggests the Test team have a good mixture of players who were involved and were watching on.

"If you look down the squad, eight were in the World Cup squad and eight weren't," he said. "There's guys there where this is the start of their summer in terms of Test matches.

"Then there's guys who are riding that high, so hopefully the guys riding that high can reset and push on. And hopefully the other guys can get amongst it."

England captain Eoin Morgan insisted he was yet to make a decision on his future, saying he needed more time to consider what is ahead.

Morgan, 32, led England to their first Cricket World Cup title earlier this month after a dramatic win over New Zealand in the final.

With some uncertainty over his future, Morgan said he would take a break before making a decision.

"After every major tournament or challenge, I'll always sit down and say 'how does the future look? How does the next six months, year, four years look?'" he told Sky Sports.

"I actually haven't had a chance to come down off the high of the World Cup yet, so it's been incredibly difficult to make a logical decision and that's when I make my best decisions.

"Next week, I'm going away with my wife to get away from the game, in a really nice way. I'm absolutely knackered – physically and mentally knackered. I need a little bit of time away to consider everything."

The 2020 ICC T20 World Cup is just 15 months away, while England will defend their 50-over crown in 2023.

Morgan said he needed to decide whether he was the man to continue leading England through the period.

"It's a big commitment – not only to go to the T20 World Cup next year, but to commit to the next 50-over World Cup," he said.

"This last five weeks has taken so much out of me mentally and physically. My levels of fitness with my back have always been in question and it's not a nice place to be in as a leader.

"At the forefront of it will be 'can I take the team forward?'"

England's dramatic Cricket World Cup final victory over New Zealand does not feel like a fair result, according to Eoin Morgan.

The showpiece at Lord's went down to a super over, after Ben Stokes had inadvertently deflected Martin Guptill's throw out for a boundary to keep England's chances of victory alive.

Stokes and Jos Buttler then amassed 15 runs in the additional over, a total which was matched by New Zealand, but an incredible contest was settled in England's favour courtesy of Morgan's side hitting more boundaries throughout their innings.

And Morgan conceded he has still not quite been able to make sense of the triumph, and is slightly troubled by winning in such a manner.

"I don't think it's fair to have a result like that when there's very little between the sides," Morgan told the Times.

"I don't think there was one moment that you could say, 'That actually cost the game there'. It was quite balanced.

"I'm black and white. I'm normally going, 'I know. I was there, that happened'. [But] I can't stick my finger on where the game was won and lost.

"I'm not sure winning it makes it any easier. A little bit [troubled], because there's no defining moment that you'd say: 'Yes, we thoroughly deserved it.' It's just been crazy."

Morgan added he has been in contact with his Black Caps counterpart Kane Williamson, who shares his disbelief at how the final panned out.

"I spoke to Kane [Williamson] over the last couple of days on numerous occasions and none of us has come up with a rational explanation as to the various times we gave them the game and they gave it back to us," Morgan added.

"Like me, he can't get his head around everything."

Former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum, meanwhile, has no doubt the Black Caps - also runners up in the 2015 World Cup - will bounce back from the result, despite being "broken" at the moment.

"That's the thing and it's going to be so difficult for those guys," McCullum told stuff.co.nz. "I was lucky enough to have a beer with them in the changing room and they were pretty broken, that's for sure.

"They were also really proud of what they did and how well they played. Over the coming months and years, whilst it's still raw now, they'll understand just how magnificent that spectacle was.

"And for it to happen on the biggest of stages, to have played the hand that they played in that match is absolutely amazing."

England's triumphant squad have received plenty of praise since lifting the Cricket World Cup - and now they have been honoured with a one-of-a-kind championship belt from an unlikely fan.

As a 14-time champion, WWE superstar Triple H knows a thing or two about winning in big situations. And the man with a finishing move called the 'Pedigree' was certainly impressed with the standards shown by Eoin Morgan's side against New Zealand on Sunday, when the tournament hosts prevailed following a dramatic Super Over at the home of cricket.

The wrestler, whose real name is Paul Levesque, tweeted out a message of congratulations to the new ODI champions, along with a picture of a customised world heavyweight championship belt made to mark their success.

"An incredible tournament, an awe-inspiring final, and a team of worthy champions. Congratulations to England Cricket for winning the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019! This custom WWE Championship is YOURS!" Triple H wrote.

The unique strap includes the words "World Cup champions", with the England and Wales Cricket Board's official logo appearing twice, placed either side of the central WWE badge.

However, the generous gift to mark England's achievement does create a problem - who gets to keep it?

Jos Buttler, who was in partnership with Ben Stokes in the middle during England's Super Over, had an on-topic suggestion to decide the owner, tweeting: "Royal rumble lads last man standing keeps the belt?" 

If Buttler's idea comes to fruition, Morgan and his team-mates would have to forget about boundary ropes and focus on the top rope instead. Perhaps Triple H could make an appearance during the upcoming Ashes series against Australia to crown England's new wrestling champion, too.

The Game at a game of cricket? We can only hope...

England all-rounder Ben Stokes has been nominated for the New Zealander of the Year award, less than a week after dashing the Black Caps' Cricket World Cup dreams.

Stokes was instrumental in England's thrilling triumph at Lord's on Sunday, scoring an unbeaten 84 to force a Super Over and then making eight off three balls in the additional six deliveries as Eoin Morgan's side won an all-time classic on boundary count.

In an incident-packed innings, Stokes was caught by Trent Boult in the deep during the penultimate over only for the fielder to step on the rope with the ball in hand, and in the final over England's number five dived and accidentally diverted Martin Guptill's throw to the boundary with his bat, resulting in another crucial six runs.

However, despite playing a pivotal role in beating the Black Caps, Stokes, who was born in Christchurch and moved to England at the age of 12, has still received votes for the New Zealander of the Year award.

"We also received nominations for England's hero Ben Stokes," chief judge Cameron Bennett said in quotes published on the New Zealand Herald's website.

"He might not have been playing for the Black Caps but, having been born in Christchurch, where his parents now live, and with Maori ancestry, there's clearly a few Kiwis about who think we can still claim him."

Black Caps captain Kane Williamson - voted player of the tournament at the World Cup - is also up for the award, along with Abdul Aziz, who chased away a gunman after 51 people were killed in a terror attack on two Christchurch mosques.

Former England captain David Gower does not wholly subscribe to the belief the Cricket World Cup triumph will drastically alter the state of the game in the country as some are anticipating.

Eoin Morgan's side captured the attention of the nation with a dramatic victory over New Zealand at Lord's on Sunday – the hosts prevailing due to their superior boundary count after the scores were level at the end of both regulation play and a Super Over.

The success was England's first triumph in the men's 50-over World Cup, while the final being shown on free-to-air television in the UK ensured the thrilling contest was available to a wider audience with millions of viewers tuning in.

In the aftermath, several members of the cricketing fraternity suggested the win would have a positive impact on the game up and down the country but Gower – who played a combined 231 Tests and ODIs across a 14-year international career – is not so sure.

"A lot of people will be jumping up and down saying this will change the whole face of English cricket. I think that's a bit over optimistic," he told Omnisport.

"I think it is brilliant for cricket to have the team on the front pages, it is brilliant for [captain] Eoin Morgan, who deserves every bit of kudos coming his way. It is brilliant for all the players involved, likewise, and for a week or so we will have cricket on the front pages.

"The honest truth underneath it all is for the next generation of potential cricketers to be inspired and given the chance to learn the game and be part of the game, there are a lot of things that need fixing at the lower levels of the game. And schools that don't play cricket are not going to give kids a chance to play cricket.

"Put it this way, from my very special, privileged outlook, I had a father and mother who both bowled to me in the garden, I had schools – admittedly, private schools – where the game was important, therefore without having to bust a gut I had everything there for me to learn and get better at the game.

"If your school literally does not play cricket, then you have to get dad to take you to a club, the club has to have facilities and volunteers. There are two sides to this. There's a lot of very good stuff happening out there and a lot of very passionate people trying to promote the game of cricket amongst younger people.

"There's Chance to Shine, but Chance to Shine is in very little danger of producing a Test cricketer in the next two years. There's a lot of effort going in but there are a lot of things that need fixing too."

Asked if the expected pressure for change in light of England's win would pay dividends, Gower replied: "Pressure is one thing, but results are another.

"There are schools who used to play cricket that have given up on it. I'd love to bang the drum for the sport that has given me my life, really, and I'm happy to say very hopeful things, but it cannot change a lot of other things, like funding for schools, land.

"You know, if you've sold off your land, the land that might be a cricket pitch, then that's rather it, isn't it?"


David Gower is touring theatres in October and November with his sell-out show 'On The Front Foot'. Buy your tickets from www.david-gower.com.

West Indies fast bowling great Andy Roberts has hailed star batsman Chris Gayle as one of the game’s ‘great players’ but is convinced the time is right to walk away.

The 39-year-old Gayle had initially revealed plans to retire from international cricket following the ICC World Cup but seemed to have a change of heart just ahead of the tournament.  The batsman instead targeted the regional team’s home series against India as possibly his final matches for the West Indies.

The batsman did not, however, have an outstanding World Cup, scoring a total of 242 runs in nine matches as the team limped to a ninth-place finish.  Roberts, however, does not believe the player’s form merits immediate selection to the squad for the series.

“I watched Chris in the One Day series in the Caribbean [against England], I watched Chris in the World Cup and I am yet to see Chris Gayle play a cover drive on the ground in any of the innings he has played off the front foot. He takes his time early and I don’t know the reason because I’ve seen in the early that he gets a lot of balls to hit but he’s just playing himself in and then after that he just tries to hit everything out the ground and I don’t think youngsters can learn from that,” Roberts told the Antigua Observer.

“Chris has been one of our great players and I make no bones in saying that, but the time has come that we have to let the greatness speak for itself instead of trying to go on to achieve what he didn’t do because most West Indians were hoping that he would do.”

Former director of cricket Andrew Strauss wants England to succeed where they failed in the wake of 2005 Ashes glory and build a dynasty off the back of their Cricket World Cup triumph.

Strauss was part of the side that defeated Australia 2-1 in a thrilling home series 14 years ago and was then a key figure behind the scenes as England ripped up their white-ball strategy following a humiliating group-stage exit at the World Cup in 2015.

Having been forced to step down from his director role last year to support his wife Ruth, who was being treated for terminal cancer, Strauss witnessed the culmination of his planning as Eoin Morgan's men edged New Zealand in an epic final at Lord's on Sunday.

But Strauss issued a warning to the side ahead of the Ashes starting next month on the back of his own experiences as a player, when the Test side failed to win any of the three series following that famous 2005 win, before being whitewashed 5-0 in Australia when the battle for the urn was renewed in 2006-07.

"I think there are a lot of similarities there," Strauss told Omnisport at the world premiere of 'The Edge'. "I think the lesson from 2005 is that was a high watermark and then we retreated back again.

"We need to make this a sort of stepping stone to even bigger and better things. You can't beat winning a World Cup but you can create a dynasty for yourself in terms of performance.

"But not just performance, how you are. We want our players to be people that people want to aspire to be. I think we've got a great group of players that are able to do that."

Two of England's World Cup heroes, Jason Roy and Jofra Archer, are set to make the transition to the Test format – although the latter will only do so once he has recovered from a side strain.

And Strauss sees no reason why the pair, full of confidence after Sunday's dramatic victory, cannot transfer their skills to the longer form.

"I'm not sure either of them are actually white-ball specialists," Strauss added. "I think they've played white-ball cricket up until now, I think both of them are really well-seasoned to play Test cricket.

"It's not going to be easy, Test cricket is a different game and it challenges you in different ways as well, but I think they'll be incredibly confident.

"They've done it on the biggest stage of all which is a great hurdle to overcome, and we've got a great opportunity to beat the Aussies again, so let's take it."

Jason Roy's "bravado" will help transfer his form from 50-over cricket to the Test format, according to England fielding coach Paul Collingwood.

Roy was one of the heroes of England's triumphant Cricket World Cup campaign, contributing to the key run out of Martin Guptill from the final ball of the Super Over as the hosts defeated New Zealand courtesy of a superior boundary count at the end of an epic final at Lord's on Sunday.

And the opener's batting was a major factor throughout the tournament, scoring his 443 runs from just seven innings at a strike rate of more than 115, setting the tone for England with a typically belligerent approach alongside Jonny Bairstow.

Roy's form has earned a maiden Test call-up as England prepare to face Ireland over four days next week before the start of the Ashes against Australia on August 1, and Collingwood has no doubts the Surrey batsman's coursing confidence will aid his adaptation to the longer form.

"White-ball cricket and red-ball cricket are completely different ends of the spectrum," Collingwood told Omnisport, speaking at the world premiere of 'The Edge'.

"But if he can bring that kind of that form, and that confidence and bravado that he brings to that white-ball game, I'm sure he'll be able to go out there and succeed.

"He can quickly take a game away from the opposition if he gets on a roll, so it's exciting times to see people like that come into the side."

Ian Bell, a former Ashes winner alongside Collingwood, echoed his old team-mate's sentiments.

"I was really impressed actually at times with Jason Roy because even though he hasn't batted at the top of the order for Surrey, I thought there were times at the World Cup when the ball did move around and technically he played as well as anyone," Bell told Omnisport.

"He has an opportunity… when you face Australia in the Ashes it's high pressure and they've got one of the best bowling attacks in world cricket right now. It will be a challenge but there's no doubt he's got the ability to do something very special."

Indian Premier League team Sunrisers Hyderabad have appointed a new head coach in Trevor Bayliss, who will leave his role with England after the Ashes.

The Sunrisers have parted ways with former incumbent Tom Moody and will replace him with Bayliss, who led England to Cricket World Cup glory, culminating in Sunday's dramatic final against New Zealand at Lord's.

Bayliss joined England in 2015 but it has long been known that he will step down when his contract expires in September, following the five-Test series against the country of his birth, Australia.

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