Is the future of Windies cricket being clouded by politics?

By March 04, 2019
Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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  • Rahane and Bumrah torment West Indies as India seal first Test in clinical fashion Rahane and Bumrah torment West Indies as India seal first Test in clinical fashion

    Ajinkya Rahane's century was followed by Jasprit Bumrah's sensational five-for as India crushed West Indies by 318 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the two-Test series.

    Middle-order batsman Rahane turned an overnight 53 into 102 for a 10th Test century and a first three-figure score in five-day cricket since August 2017.

    Hanuma Vihari fell seven runs shy of a first Test century as India declared on 343-7 in their second innings to set the Windies a daunting 419 target on day four at North Sound, Antigua.

    It was a score they would never get close to threatening, the excellent Bumrah finishing with eye-watering figures of 5-7 from eight overs, while Ishant Sharma (3-31) also ripped through the order as West Indies were skittled for 100.

    After slipping to 15-5 by tea, limited resistance arrived in the form of Kemar Roach (38) but the Windies were only delaying the inevitable.

    The fourth day did not start particularly brightly for India as captain Virat Kohli failed to build on his overnight 51, an edge off Roston Chase taken by John Campbell at extra cover.

    Rahane, who made 81 in the first innings, was rewarded for showing poise and patience, as his 102 came from 242 balls with five boundaries before a toe-ender off Shannon Gabriel to mid-off yielded an easy catch for Jason Holder.

    Vihari was the aggressor in his century stand with Rahane, making 80 of their 135 runs, and India held off on the declaration until he gloved Holder behind.

    The Windies had an arduous 40 minutes before tea, with Bumrah and Sharma wreaking havoc with the new ball.

    Kraigg Brathwaite had already prodded Bumrah behind by the time the bowler emphatically knocked Campbell's stumps over when the opener attempted to drive him through the covers.

    Sharma had Shamarh Brooks pinged leg before and also accounted for Shimron Hetmyer before Bumrah smashed Darren Bravo's off stump.

    There was little reprieve in the final session as Bumrah completed his haul by adding the wickets of Shai Hope and Holder and, despite a last-wicket stand of 50 between Roach and Miguel Cummins (19no), India saw off the hosts with relative ease.

  • Ashes 2019: Stokes innings fuelled by 'knock-off' Nando's and chocolate bars Ashes 2019: Stokes innings fuelled by 'knock-off' Nando's and chocolate bars

    Ben Stokes said his heroic Ashes knock was fuelled by a "knock-off Nando's" and two chocolate bars.

    The all-rounder played one of the great Test innings as England levelled the five-match series against Australia with a highly unlikely one-wicket victory at Headingley on day four on Sunday.

    Stokes was the catalyst for success with a mesmeric 135 not out as England won despite having made just 67 in the first innings and slipped to 286-9 in the second.

    On Saturday, Stokes was required to bowl for extended spells due to cramp for Jofra Archer before making two off 50 balls to close out a difficult final session alongside Joe Root – whose own century partnership with Joe Denly was also crucial to victory.

    Prior to that day's play Stokes was refuelling by tucking into some pasta, but ahead of one of the greatest innings of his life he went for a different tack to increase the energy levels by indulging in some piri-piri chicken.

    "My wife and kids came down [on Friday]. They got to their hotel about 10 o'clock. My wife walked in to me eating pasta in my boxer shorts!" Stokes said.

    "Last night...I think I had like a knock-off Nando's and two bars of Yorkie Biscuit and Raisin."

    A determined Stokes did not celebrate making his fifty or century in Leeds as is the traditional custom in cricket.

    Stokes explained that in the context of the match those achievements meant nothing, such was the perilous position England faced.

    "I looked at the bigger picture. There was still a lot of runs to get. Personal milestones, especially in that situation, mean absolutely nothing," he added. 

    "There was still a lot more runs to get. I was not bothered about how many runs I was on, it was all about making sure we got over the line. I did not really care to be honest."

  • Ashes 2019: Specsavers answer Stokes' plea to provide England's Leach 'free glasses for life' Ashes 2019: Specsavers answer Stokes' plea to provide England's Leach 'free glasses for life'

    It was hard for anyone to believe what they were seeing from Ben Stokes in the third Ashes Test between England and Australia on Sunday, but supporting batsman Jack Leach shouldn't have any issues with his vision in future following the promise of free glasses for life from Specsavers.

    The scenario was bleak at Headingley when Leach entered at number 11 with England 286-9 in pursuit of 359 to save the Test and prevent Australia from taking an unassailable 2-0 lead that would have seen them retain the urn.

    Stokes was England's inspiration as his unbeaten 135 led the hosts to a one-wicket triumph and kept the series alive with two matches to play.

    While the all-rounder, a hero of England's Cricket World Cup success last month, stole the headlines, the bespectacled Leach's gritty resistance – where he made one run off 17 balls – did not go unnoticed.

    Indeed, Stokes was so appreciative of his partner's efforts he reached out to opticians Specsavers on Twitter, writing: "Jack Leach........@Specsavers do your self [sic] a favour and give him free glasses for life @jackleach1991." 

    And the plea prompted a positive response, with Specsavers' official account replying: "We can confirm we will offer Jack Leach free glasses for life."

    Throughout the match-winning 76-run stand with Stokes, Leach was regularly seen cleaning his glasses to help keep his concentration.

    "I had to make sure my glasses were clean," he said.

    "I know I look stupid when I am out there but it got the job done."

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