Veteran opener, Christopher Henry Gayle, now has 24 centuries under his belt after smashing 135 off 128 deliveries to lead the Windies to 360 for 8 in the first One Day International of series against England at the Kensington Oval in Barbados. 

Windies skipper Jason Holder claims the unit is pleased to once again don the underdogs' tag ahead of the One Day International (ODI) series against England, which bowls off on Wednesday.

Heading into the series as the world’s number-one ranked team, England will once again be heavy favourites, with the regional side ranked some eight places below them. 

With the situation very similar to the one they faced in the Test series, where the Windies dominated to win 2-1.  Holder, who was suspended for the only the third and only Test the team lost, is hoping to return and make an immediate impact.

“We're pretty confident, we have momentum from the Test series and good experience in the dressing room,” Holder said.

“We pack a pretty heavy punch when we're stacking up our team. 'Underdogs' is not a bad tag to have - it's more pressure on them and less pressure on us,” he added.

“It was tough watching the Test in St Lucia but I'm very hungry to get back on the park and looking forward to the challenge of carrying the team forward.”

The Windies will face an even tougher test than the Test series with both pacers Shannon Gabriel and Kemar Roach out of action.  Keemo Paul, Evin Lewis and Rovman Powell are also ruled out.

Colonial Group International Ltd. (CGI) has announced a major global partnership with Cricket West Indies (CWI) that “will benefit cricket across the region from communities and young families to professional cricketers”.

Centuries from Jason Roy and Joe Root led England to a dominant 171-run win over a University of the West Indies (UWI) Vice Chancellor’s XI at the Cave Hill Campus in Barbados. 

Windies wicket-keeper batsman Shai Hope has hailed the addition of star left-hander Chris Gayle to the squad as the team prepares to face England in the upcoming One Day International series.

The 39-year-old will return to the ODI team for the first time since 2018 when the Windies faced off against Bangladesh.  Gayle will play the opening two matches of the five-match series against England.

With the experienced batsman just short of 10,000 ODI runs at an average of 36.98 and 15 centuries, Hope is confident Gayle’s addition will be a major boost to the team.

"It’s great, just to see him (Gayle) at nets. Good laugh, good shots as well, and he’s going to strengthen the team a lot," ICC quoted Hope as saying. 

 "We know the importance that Gayle brings to the team. He has a lot of experience and we need to make sure we use that experience and strengthen the entire team," he added.

Hope, who was part of the team's recent Test series win against England also believes that victory will give the team added confidence ahead of the series.

"It’s a lot to look forward to. It's a very exciting time, especially leading up to the World Cup so I’m sure the guys are ready and raring to go. We are just coming off a Test series win and that was fantastic for everyone involved and the fans, so it is important for us to continue in that vein and try to get the series win as well.”

The Windies will face England in the first ODI on Wednesday at the Kensington Oval.

West Indies have called Carlos Brathwaite, Sheldon Cottrell and John Campbell into their squad for the first two one-day internationals against England, in response to a succession of injury problems.

All-rounders Rovman Powell and Keemo Paul have both been ruled out, while opener Evin Lewis has withdrawn from the squad due to a groin injury.

Former Windies T20 skipper Brathwaite and Cottrell have therefore earned recalls, while Campbell is in line to win a first ODI cap after impressing in the recent Test series victory over England.

"With our squad suffering from a few players with injuries even before a ball is bowled, an opportunity presents itself for other players to make a claim for ICC Cricket World Cup spots," said chairman of selectors Courtney Browne.

"The [selection] panel take this opportunity to wish the injured players a speedy recovery and to wish the team success in the upcoming ODIs."

Kensington Oval in Barbados will host the first two games in a five-match series on Wednesday and Friday, before contests in Grenada and St Lucia.

 

Revised West Indies squad for first two ODIs:

Jason Holder (captain), Fabian Allen, Devendra Bishoo, Carlos Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, John Campbell, Sheldon Cottrell, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Ashley Nurse, Nicholas Pooran, Kemar Roach, Oshane Thomas.

Mark Wood said he felt like a "superhero" as he tore through West Indies in a ferocious spell to set up a consolation Test victory for England in St Lucia.

The paceman's career has been blighted by injuries, but he made up for lost time by claiming a maiden five-wicket haul with first-innings figures of 5-41 last weekend.

Playing his first Test since last May, Wood provided the hostility the tourists had been lacking and the quick even surprised himself with the pace he generated in England's 232-run win.

He told The Guardian: "You almost feel like a superhero. I've been playing Mario Kart recently and yeah, it's like when you get a magic mushroom and you're just absolutely flying."

Wood added: "I'll never forget the feeling of that spell. If I'm ever down about my bowling I'll re-watch the highlights. 

"I've watched them about 20 times already – probably more. This will sound bad but seeing it back I just thought: 'Wow, that's me.' I couldn't believe how well I bowled and how fast it looked on TV. I was so happy."

Wood's Man-of-the-Match left him feeling emotional after spending so much time in the treatment room over the years.

"I held the ball up and felt so proud, then I got into the pavilion, had a hug with the physio Craig de Weymarn – he's touched me in places my wife never has! – and it all sunk in," said the 29-year-old. 

"It was everything I'd wanted after all I'd been through with injury. I know it's only one five-for and there's Jimmy [James Anderson] and Broady [Stuart Broad] with tons of them, but it was so special.

"I felt I finally belonged in the England Test team. I put the ball in my England cap, sat them next to me and just looked at them. All the emotions came out. I was a bit teary."

Former Manchester United midfielder Ravel Morrison has joined Swedish club Ostersunds after his departure from Lazio was confirmed.

Morrison was considered an exciting prospect at Old Trafford early in his career but has since struggled to realise his potential at clubs including West Ham.

Lazio signed Morrison in 2015 but he never started a Serie A game for the club, spending time on loan at QPR and in Mexico with Atlas.

The 26-year-old will now embark on the next chapter of an increasingly nomadic career after agreeing a deal with Ostersunds that runs to the end of June.

"It's a fantastic signing for us. David Webb, our technical director, has done a fantastic job," Ostersunds coach Ian Burchnall told the club's website. 

"He has trained with us for a while and we have talked to him about his career and what he wants. It feels great that he is now our player.

"He lacks match training now, he has not played matches since last summer, but I am convinced that he is 100 per cent ready for the start of the Allsvenskan [in March].

"He's definitely a matchwinner. Now we will help him become a really good football player here at Ostersunds."

Shannon Gabriel has given his account of his third-Test exchange with Joe Root, with the West Indies bowler offering an "unreserved apology" to the England team and their captain as well as his own team-mates. 

Windies star batsman Chris Gayle has appealed against what has been deemed inadequate compensation, in a case against Australia Media entity Fairfax Media that was decided in his favour a little over a year ago.

In the much-publicized case, the 39-year-old batsman took the media house to court following its publication of sexual misconduct allegations levelled against him by former West Indies massage therapist Leanne Russell. 

Russell had claimed Gayle intentionally exposed his penis to her, while on a visit to the team locker room while making an indecent proposition.  Her version of events was printed by multiple tabloids.

The court, however, ruled that the publishers failed to establish a defence of truth regarding the allegations at the heart of the case.  In a judgment made in December last year, Justice Lucy McCallum awarded Gayle a total of $325,112 for the stories, including interest. The amount did not include Aggravated damages and fell at the lower end of the statutory cap on such rulings.

Fairfax, who has since launched an appeal, has since sought to delay the payment.  In filing a counter-appeal late last month, however, Gayle’s legal team has argued that the damages awarded were "manifestly inadequate" and Justice McCallum "erred in failing to award aggravated damages".

 In the original ruling, the jury had found that the publisher acted with malice, meaning the articles were published for an improper purpose.

West Indies paceman Shannon Gabriel will miss the first four games of the one-day international series against England for comments made to Joe Root during the third Test in St Lucia.

Gabriel was charged by the ICC after an altercation with the England captain on the third day of a match the tourists won by 232 runs on Tuesday.

Root was picked up on the stump microphone saying to the Windies quick: "Don't use it as an insult. There's nothing wrong with being gay".

The skipper said after the close of play on Monday that Gabriel "might regret" his comments, but refused to state what the 30-year said to him.

Gabriel admitted breaching article 2.13 of the ICC Code of Conduct, which relates to "personal abuse of a player, player support personnel, umpire or match referee during an international match".

He will be unavailable for all but one of the ODIs against England after being hit with three demerit points, taking his total to eight in the space of two years.

Gabriel, who was banned one Test last year after reaching the threshold of four demerit points, was also fined 75 per cent of his match fee.

 

Winning the third Test and avoiding a whitewash against West Indies represented a "step forward" for England, according to captain Joe Root.

England were comfortably beaten by 381 runs in the first match of the series before a hapless display in Antigua saw the tourists go down by 10 wickets.

In St Lucia, a 125-run first-innings stand from Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes was followed by a stunning five-for from Mark Wood, before Root's century set the Windies a hefty target of 485 for a whitewash.

Roston Chase made a gritty hundred to keep their hopes alive, but he received minimal support as the hosts went down by 232 runs on Tuesday.

"It was important we played well this week. It should be a real confidence-booster going into an exciting summer for us," said Root.

"West Indies deserved to win the series, they outplayed us in the first two games, but it's a real step forward for this team to perform like we did this week.

"I thought we played some good cricket. In that first innings we managed to find a way to ride out some difficult moments in bowler-friendly conditions and then we got up to a good score. Then the bowlers got us on top and we went from there.

"We played better, that's important, we've got a fantastic squad, but over the next couple of years you'll see a huge amount of improvement."

Windies captain Jason Holder was suspended for the final match and had no doubt that, despite claiming a 2-1 series victory, the team can get better.

"It was disappointing the way we played in the last Test but there are still a few positives to write home about. Credit to the boys - although we lost this match we played a pretty good series. We still have a lot of improvements to make but lots of positive coming out of the series," said Holder.

"We have to keep improving in all three facets of the game - we've got to be clinical and be a lot more consistent than we have been in the past.

"Credit to our bowling unit, I think our bowlers have been outstanding and we just need our batters to come to the party more often than not.

"[The win is] important in a few contexts. It counts in the ICC rankings, counts for the morale of the side as well.

"We need to continue to build and improve as a side, not just rest on our laurels and think we've achieved something. We're still pretty low in the rankings and our goal is to be number one in the world, so there's definitely a lot to improve on and put right and a lot of positives we need to keep within in the team."

Roston Chase's gutsy century was not enough to stop West Indies falling to a 232-run defeat to England on day four of the third Test in St Lucia.

England added 36 runs to their overnight total to set the Windies a hefty target of 485, which the hosts never looked like reaching despite Chase making a brilliant unbeaten 102 off 191 deliveries.

Keemo Paul sustained a thigh injury on day three but hobbled out to the middle with Chase two short of a fifth Test century, but the match was over seven balls after he made it to three figures.

Paul was caught and bowled by Ben Stokes (2-30) as England picked up a consolation win - their first in Tests in the Caribbean since 2004 - for a 2-1 series defeat, the Windies bowled out for 252.

Shannon Gabriel, who was charged by the ICC with a breach of article 2.13 of its code of conduct after a sledging incident involving Joe Root on day three, was booed when he took the ball in the first session and Root sent the seamer's full toss straight to Shimron Hetmyer at midwicket in the sixth over of the day and immediately declared on 361-5.

James Anderson (3-27) got England off to a great start when he had John Campbell for a golden duck from just the third ball of the innings, but he owed a lot to Moeen Ali for a phenomenal one-handed catch in the gully.

Stokes managed to hold onto an outside edge from stand-in skipper Kraigg Brathwaite (8) off Anderson but Jos Buttler inexplicably put down Shai Hope in the slips to leave Stuart Broad (0-22) in disbelief.

A fine delivery from Anderson drew a nick from Darren Bravo (0) that flew straight to Root at first slip and, after appearing to gain confidence, Hope went for 14 by holing out to point off Mark Wood (1-52) as the Windies went to lunch at 35-4.

A 45-run partnership between Chase and Hetmyer stemmed the tide but the latter was run out when Jonny Bairstow sent the stumps flying from a brilliant Joe Denly throw.

Buttler nearly produced a sensational, one-handed diving catch at midwicket to remove Shane Dowrich (19), but Moeen (3-99) got the job done with a full delivery that Stokes snaffled at slip.

Denly let a powerful Kemar Roach drive burst through his fingers before tea and the all-rounder was put down on 19 and 20 by Rory Burns and Bairstow as England made hard work of moving towards victory.

Wood snaffled Roach (29) off Moeen before Chase overturned the on-field umpire's lbw decision with a successful review on 78, keeping the Windies' hopes alive.

Alzarri Joseph slammed a pair off sixes off Moeen en route to 34 off 30 balls but he picked out Anderson at mid-on in the same over, and it looked like Chase would be left stranded when Gabriel's (3) wild swing at Stokes ended in the gloves of Bairstow.

Paul put his thigh injury aside to enable Chase to seal his ton by sending Denly to the boundary, but Stokes ensured play did not enter the final day.

West Indies seamer Shannon Gabriel has been charged by the ICC with a breach of its code of conduct following a sledging incident involving England captain Joe Root.

Gabriel was involved in an on-field exchange with Root and Joe Denly on day three of the third Test in St Lucia, as the tourists built a mammoth lead.

The England captain refused to disclose the details of what was said after play on Monday but stated the Windies paceman, who was booed when he took the ball on day four, "might regret" his comments.

An ICC statement issued during play on day four read: "Shannon Gabriel has been charged with a breach article 2.13 of the ICC code of conduct.

"The charge, which was laid by match umpires, will now be dealt with by match referee Jeff Crowe. Until the proceedings have concluded, the ICC will not comment further."

Article 2.13 relates to "personal abuse of a player, player support personnel, umpire or match referee during an international match".

Root said on Monday: "It's Test cricket, he's an emotional guy trying to do everything he can to win a Test match.

"Sometimes people say things on the field that they might regret, but they should stay on the field.

"He's a good guy who plays hard cricket and is proud to be in the position he is. The battle was a good contest, he's had a wonderful series and he should be proud."

Windies interim head coach Richard Pybus said the incident would be looked into.

"Nothing has been reported to me," he said. "But if a comment was made, we'll review it. And, if it was untoward, we'll be addressing it."

Gordon Banks, who has died at the age of 81, was not just one of the few Englishmen to have won a World Cup, he was also one of the few to leave Pele dumbfounded.

Having won the FIFA Goalkeeper of the Year award for six straight years between 1966 and 1971, Banks was a model of consistency, but he was also a shot-stopper who saved his best for the biggest moments.

A League Cup winner with both Leicester City and Stoke City, Banks recorded four clean sheets at the World Cup in 1966 when Alf Ramsey's team won the tournament on home soil, and it was in Mexico four years later when he somehow denied Pele with the 'Save of the Century'.

Despite losing sight in his right eye in a car crash in 1972, Banks returned to the sport in 1977 with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, playing in the North American Soccer League alongside greats such as Pele and George Best.

Here we take a look at Banks' career following the news of his passing.

 

THE EARLY YEARS

A young Banks was left devastated when dropped from his Sheffield schoolboys side as a teenager, and he took up work with a coal merchants and as an apprentice bricklayer in order to earn his keep.

It was Chesterfield who gave a 15-year-old Banks his break by offering him youth terms and by 1958 he was making his first-team debut, in a Third Division fixture against Colchester United.

Sold to Leicester City the following year, Banks' early Wembley memories were not pleasant - he and the Foxes lost the 1961 and 1963 FA Cup finals to Tottenham and Manchester United.

His performances for Leicester did see Banks gain international recognition, however, and he made his England bow in 1963, losing 2-1 to the old enemy Scotland at Wembley.

The first trophy of Banks' career arrived in 1964, as Leicester defeated his future club Stoke City over two legs to lift the League Cup. But the greatest prize of all was soon to follow...

 

WEMBLEY WOE BECOMES WORLD CUP GLORY

England's 1966 World Cup story might have been very different had manager Alf Ramsey taken a dimmer view of Banks and a number of other senior players, including Bobby Moore and Charlton, breaking a curfew ahead of the tournament.

Having escaped serious punishment, the side eased through the group phase, drawing against Uruguay before beating Mexico and France - all without Banks having to pick the ball out of his net.

Another clean sheet followed in the quarter-final win over Argentina - an ill-tempered affair which saw Ramsey describe the visitors as "animals" - before a 2-1 semi-final success over Portugal, which saw Banks' goal finally breached by Eusebio's penalty.

And so to the final against West Germany, where Wolfgang Weber's late equaliser forced extra-time before Geoff Hurst completed his hat-trick, accompanied by the immortal words of commentator Kenneth Wolstenholme.

"As I descended the steps from the royal box, I couldn't believe the journey I had made," Banks said later. "The road from Tinsley Rec to a World Cup final had been long and winding, but the difficulties encountered along the way suddenly evaporated as my whole being was engulfed in euphoria."

 

ANOTHER WEMBLEY TRIUMPH

Amid competition from Peter Shilton, Banks was sold to Stoke in 1967 and five years later lifted his second League Cup, this time in a one-off affair against Chelsea at a Wembley Stadium that was starting to represent the stage for fonder memories.

"I'd played in two FA Cup finals with Leicester and two League Cup finals, but this was my greatest and proudest moment in club football," Banks said. "Not only because we won that final, but because Stoke City had been playing football for over 100 years and had never won anything before.

"To walk out with the team and listen to the roar of our supporters was great. Then to come back home next day and have 100,000 people welcome us was simply fantastic. I don't think the city had ever had that many people out before. I've always appreciated how the club and the fans appreciated me."

 

SAVE OF THE CENTURY

England's World Cup defence in 1970 ended at the quarter-final stage as West Germany gained a measure of revenge.

Banks missed the game through illness and, watching back at the hotel on a feed delayed by almost an hour, did not believe his team-mates when they returned with the score reading 2-0 only to inform him they had gone on to lose 3-2.

A week earlier, Banks had produced the moment that will define his career and perhaps his life. 

In the 1-0 group-stage defeat to Brazil, Banks pulled off what became known as the "Save of the Century", somehow getting low to his right to tip Pele's powerful downward header up and over the crossbar.

"I landed crumpled against the inner side netting of the goal and my first reaction was to look out at Pele. I hadn't a clue where the ball was," Banks said. "He'd grounded to a halt, head clasped between his hands and I knew then all that I needed to know.

"As I got to my feet Pele came up to me and patted me on the back. 'I thought that was a goal,' he said. 'You and me both,' I replied."

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