The Windies cricket team selected for the upcoming tri-series against Ireland and Bangladesh next month met with the new coaching staff led by Floyd Reifer on Monday.

West Indies batting legend Brian Lara has not ruled out a strong performance for the regional team at the upcoming ICC World Cup in England but believes the unit must find a modicum of consistency to be successful.

The regional team earned plenty of plaudits for a strong performance in the Caribbean against England.  At times, it was the inexperienced Windies that outplayed an England ODI ranked number one in the world and seven places above them.

The series featured standout performances from opening batsman Chris Gayle, captain Jason Holder and the team’s pace bowlers.  If they are to mount a serious challenge in England, Lara believes they must find a way to replicate such outstanding performance on a routine basis.

“I am happy that we have made that little progress since we came here (in India) last October,” Lara said in a recent interview.

“The West Indies have match winners, but that’s not enough to play in English conditions and win the World Cup. We need a team that is consistent,” he added.

The West Indies will begin the tournament with a match against Pakistan on June 31st.

Windies skipper Jason Holder sees no reason the team should not be capable of emulating the exploits of the legendary Clive Lloyd-led 70s squad, which claimed back-to-back World Cup titles.

Despite showing admirable qualities in recent months, the Holder-led Windies squad will not be among the favourites to lift the title when the tournament gets under way next month.

With the likes of talismanic batsman Chris Gayle in good form and several improving younger players, Holder believes the team could yet lift the title.  

“Our boys are probably not the finished product but we're definitely on the right path to becoming pretty good West Indian players. If we stick together for the next two or three years, the sky's the limit,” Holder told the Daily Mail.

 “And, being in England, this was the last place we lifted the World Cup. Who knows, maybe there's a script to be written there,” he added.

The regional team’s chances will not have been hurt by a strong showing against England in the Caribbean where they played to a 2-2 draw in the One Day International series, which came on the back of a surprise 2-1 Test series win.

Windies T20 skipper Carlos Brathwaite has tipped the team to be a competitive force at the upcoming ICC World Cup if they are able to replicate the form shown in the recent England tour of the Caribbean.

After stunning the English to win the Test series 2-1, the Windies put in another solid shift to tie the One Day International (ODI) series 2-2.  The result was somewhat of a surprise against an England team, who are the world’s top-ranked team.

Brathwaite believes the performance will give the team a boost of confidence ahead of the tournament, which gets under way in May but has rejected any talk of the team being among the favourites.

"I think the chances are good but I don't think we will be favourites. And I don't think we will be underdogs," Brathwaite said.

"We know what we can do, especially after the series we just had against England. So, it's a balanced expectation in my opinion,” he added.

"The brand of cricket we played in the Caribbean if we can replicate that in England, we will go somewhere close to challenging for the title. We have been traditionally a good tournament team. So, hopefully, we can win the third World Cup."

Jofra Archer admits he never expected to be in England contention so quickly after making his decision to leave Barbados for Sussex.

Archer signed a professional contract with the county in 2016, opting to turn his back on a potential international future with West Indies in order to further his career.

Since his debut three years ago Archer has become one of the most exciting prospects in limited-overs cricket, starring for Hobart Hurricanes and Rajasthan Royals as well as Sussex.

Changes to the eligibility rules for England selection means Archer is now available for Trevor Bayliss' side, and he is expected to be in contention for a World Cup place later this year.

The speed at which the 23-year-old has developed has surprised many, including Archer – who has a British passport through his English father – himself.

"I never knew things would have turned out the way they have so quickly," Archer told Wisden Cricket Monthly.

"When I started my residency process the [Sussex] director said, 'You do know it's going to be seven years [before he could play for England]?'

"I said, 'I know, that's fine'.

"I only did it so I could play for Sussex as a local. I was a young boy. I knew I'd stand more of a chance playing county cricket as a local than an overseas."

He added: "It's really hard to get a chance in Barbados. It's either the first team or no team. There's no second XI, there's no academy really. From under 19 you've just got to try and break into the senior team. It's just a long list.

"I was injured at the time so I put myself pretty much to the bottom of that list. No one showed much interest so I just thought I’d try and come to England and give it a couple of years. If it didn’t happen I could always go back and try again."

 

 

Trevor Bayliss is impressed with how England's bowlers were able to "raise the bar" against West Indies knowing they will be vying with Jofra Archer for a Cricket World Cup spot.

Barbados-born all-rounder Archer qualifies to play for England on Sunday and is expected to make his one-day international debut against Ireland or Pakistan in May.

England whitewashed the Windies 3-0 in the Twenty20 International series, with the likes of David Willey, Chris Jordan and Tom Curran making their mark.

Bayliss believes the imminent availability of Archer prompted the current crop of pacemen to step it up.

"It's great to see those guys raise the bar and put in the performances they did over the T20s," said the England head coach.

"With that chat about Jofra the guys we've got here have really stood up and bowled extremely well.

"What I will say is with the chat that has been around about him in the last month or two it's been good to see the response we've had from the bowlers.

"Some of the performances on this trip have been fantastic, sometimes the best pressure is from within and there hasn't been a lot of pressure on the group from a bowling point of view for a while."

 

England fast bowler David Willey has expressed concerns regarding the potential selection of Barbadian-born fast bowler Jofra Archer for the upcoming World Cup.

The 23-year-old Archer was the recent beneficiary of a shift in regulations by residency qualification period, which moved from seven years to three.  Archer will be eligible to play for his adopted country from March 17.  If reports are to be believed the player will be called for ODIs against Ireland and Pakistan that precede the final deadline for the World Cup squad.

The 29-year-old Willey, however, one of those who could face competition with Archer to be part of the final squad, does not seem to believe the player has necessarily proven his value in the 50-over game.

Archer has a List A bowling average of 30.71 and concedes, on average, 5.29 runs per over; Willey averages 31.64 and has an economy rate of 5.65.  Willey has played 42 ODIs and 121 List A matches while Archer has played 14 List A games.

"It's an interesting dilemma for the captain, coaches and selectors," Willey said. "It's a group of players that have been together for three or four years now that have got us to No.1.

"And there's a reason for that. Whether someone should just walk in at the drop of a hat because they're available, whether that's the right thing, I don't know."

Fast bowling all-rounder Jofra Archer will likely get a pre-Cricket World Cup audition in England's upcoming one-day internationals against Ireland and Pakistan, coach Trevor Bayliss has confirmed.

Barbados-born Archer is eligible to be selected for Bayliss' team from later this month following changes to the England and Wales Cricket Board's eligibility restrictions in November, which now state anyone wishing to play for England needs only three years' residence for those moving after their 18th birthday.

With Archer having starred in limited-overs cricket across the world, he could now spearhead England's bid to win a first World Cup on home soil later this year.

England, who suffered a heavy loss in Saturday's fifth and final ODI against West Indies to draw the series 2-2, face Ireland in a one-off 50-over contest in May before meeting Pakistan in a five-match series prior to the World Cup beginning.

"Jofra Archer's name keeps cropping up and I think, at some stage, we will give him an opportunity," Bayliss said.

"Those matches against Pakistan and Ireland, I think he will get an opportunity to show us what he can do. He's said publicly that he's keen.

"He's a bowler you don't get many of - someone who is able to bowl in all three phases of the game. He can take the new ball, he can bowl through the middle and he can bowl at the end, which is a good skillset to have.

"There was a little bit of contact made during the Australian summer and there was talk a month or two ago about when the date was that he qualified. At the time, it was around 31 days that he needed to be back in the UK.

"Are the players he's competing with aware of the situation? I don't know, you'd have to ask them. There is plenty of speculation all the time in the papers and I'm sure they read that.

"The guys in the team, they've got hold of those positions and in a way it's theirs to lose. If they keep performing and doing well it's difficult to bring people in."

Retired Windies star Dwayne Bravo has tipped team to be a handful at upcoming ICC World Cup, following several positive performances against a highly ranked England.

The Jason Holder-led Windies squad stunned the visiting England 2-1 in a three-Test series and came from behind to tie the ODI series between the teams at 2-2.  Both series featured dominant performances from the regional team, which surprised their opponents, pundits and fans alike.

Bravo believes the team is a perfect mix of youth and experience and is confident they could play the role of spoilers in an open tournament.

"We have some good young players who have been improving and developing well and it’s good to see the way the team is doing against England, which is the number one side,” Bravo told Times of India.

“I have talked to captain Jason Holder and others and I believe this team will be a threat to all teams in the World Cup, which is going to be a very open tournament this time,” he added.

“Anyone can do well on a given day but I feel confident about West Indies as we see a good mix of experience and youth.”

The 35-year-old Bravo retired from international cricket last year.

 

 

 

England are close to concluding their plans for the Cricket World Cup with the decision over Jofra Archer set to be "the final piece of the jigsaw" for head coach Trevor Bayliss.

West Indies-born Archer will qualify to play for his adopted nation in March, two months before Eoin Morgan's side kick off their bid for a first world 50-over crown against South Africa.

England, the number-one team in the ICC ODI rankings, are likely to start the tournament on home soil as favourites, while 23-year-old quick Archer could offer an extra dimension to their seam attack with his added pace.

However, that could mean disrupting what has become a largely settled squad, with the likes of David Willey, Mark Wood and Liam Plunkett perhaps most vulnerable to being left out should Archer be included in the 15-man party.

And Bayliss says he and the rest of the management team are not far away from being able to lock in their selections.

"I'd say very close. We've pretty much had the same 15, 16 or 17 players over the last three or four years," he told Sky Sports.

"We could probably name a 15, there's a Jofra Archer decision to be made at a later date. I think it's getting down to that being the final piece of the jigsaw."

England's third ODI against West Indies was washed out due to persistent showers in Grenada on Monday, leaving the five-match series poised at 1-1.

And with just eight more ODIs before World Cup warm-ups against Australia and Afghanistan, Bayliss is keen to give all of his players a fair chance of making the final squad.

"It's been a bit of a juggling act," he added. "We want to have a look at one or two of the fringe guys as well. More than anything, just to give them a bit of a run out.

"I think the team that wins the World Cup will play a squad of players and whoever has got the strongest squad will go close to winning it.

"So we want to make sure some of our fringe players have played matches as well."

Chris Gayle is to retire from ODIs following the Cricket World Cup, West Indies have confirmed. 

The explosive batsman is second only to the legendary Brian Lara in the list of most ODI runs scored by a West Indies player, having scored 9,672 to date.

Gayle has played 281 50-over matches in his career, scoring 23 hundreds – the most by a West Indian in the format.

The 39-year-old's involvement in one-day cricket has dwindled in recent years due to his stints in various lucrative Twenty20 tournaments. 

Cricket West Indies announced the news via a short statement that read: "Talismanic WINDIES batsman, Chris Gayle, has announced he will retire from One-Day Internationals following the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 England & Wales."

Gayle was included for the Windies' first two ODIs of the five-match series with England, the first of which takes place in Bridgetown on Wednesday.

South Africa and New Zealand will give the Windies their final look at what they can expect ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2019 when the Caribbean side battles them in International Cricket Council (ICC)-sanctioned warm-up games. 

Talented Windies players Andre Russell and Sunil Narine could be major doubts for the 2019 World Cup after pulling out of the upcoming One Day Internationals (ODI’s) against England.

The 30-year-old Narine, once considered one of the best spinners in the world, has reportedly informed Cricket West Indies (CWI) that he is not eligible for selection.  The player cited a lack of confidence in a remodelled action, an issue that has plagued him in recent years, as the primary reason for his decision.

Russell, who is the same age as Narine, is considered one of the best all-rounders in T20 cricket and has often spoken of taking his talent to the ODI arena for the region.  The player has, however, cited recent issues with his knee as the cause of his unavailability for the series.  The all-rounder is currently taking part in T20 cricket but does not believe the damaged ligament will hold up to the scrutiny of the longer format. 

With the tournament just four months away, both players are running out of time to impress the selectors ahead of a possible pick.  For similar reasons, the duo also missed out on taking part in last year’s ICC World Cup qualifiers.

Windies star Chris Gayle insists his focus remains firmly on taking part in the ICC World Cup in England, despite missing out on the current tour of India.

The West Indies will host India in at least two T20 internationals in Florida next summer, immediately after the 2019 World Cup.

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