The Barbados Pride have a massive 329-run lead going into the final day of their West Indies Championship game against the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force in Bridgetown.

After scoring a paltry 209 in their first innings, the Pride hit back by skittling out the Red Force for just 175 before returning to the crease to rack up 342 and put pressure on the visitors who are now struggling at 48-4.

When the Pride bat for a second time, Kraigg Brathwaite scored 58, Sheyne Moseley had a wonderful knock of 155, and Kevin Stoute chipped in with an important 55.

Jeremy Solozano, with an even 50, was the only person to lay down a significant mark on the scoreboard in the Red Force’s 175.

On Sunday morning, Joshua Da Silva, on 23, and Yannic Cariah, on 12, will resume batting for the Red Force with Solozano, 5, Yannick Ottley, 1, Jason Mohammed, 5, and Denesh Ramdin, 0, all back in the pavilion.

Kemar Roach, 2-25, and Chemar Holder, 2-13, have been the destroyers so far.

Roach and Holder had bagged two wickets when they bowled to the Red Force the first time out, providing good support to Keon Harding, who had ended with 5-57.

The Guyana Jaguars have a 62-run lead headed into the final day of their West Indies Championship game against the Windward Islands Hurricanes at St George’s.

The Jaguars, thanks to 189 from skipper Leon Johnson, and 107 from Christopher Barnwell had made light work of the Volcanoes’ 318 all-out in the first innings, scoring 426.

That 318 was made on the back of half-centuries from Kaveem Hodge, 53, Keron Cottoy, 56, and Shane Shillingford, 53.

Devendra Bishoo, 4-73, and Veerasammy Permaul, 4-59, were the best of the Jaguars bowling before their batsmen found it easy going to score 426.

Batting a second time, the Volcanoes made it to 46-1 at the close of play on the third day.

Devon Smith, 16, and Hodge, 17, are the not-out batsmen with Cato the only man back in the pavilion, falling leg-before off the bowling of Raymon Reifer.

The Jamaica Scorpions are in a race against time headed into the final day of their West Indies Championship game against the Leeward Islands Hurricanes on Sunday at the Trelawny Muli-Purpose Stadium.

Scores in the match so far, the Scorpions, 385, and the Hurricanes, 227 and 134-4.

The Scorpions, batting first, posted the competitive total thanks to Jermaine Blackwood’s 98 and Denis Smith’s 84.

In reply, only Montcin Hodge, 52, and Terance Ward, 65, made it to landmarks while Amir Jangoo scored 35 before he was run out.

Patrick Harty was the pick of the Scorpions bowling, bagging 4-43 on the way to restricting the Hurricanes to just 227.

Batting a second time and facing a deficit of 158, the Hurricanes made a fight of it but were pegged back by Nicholas Gordon’s 2-44.

That fight came mostly from the bat of Kieran Powell, who scored 54 before Gordon had him caught by Smith.

1-37 from Harty and 1-27 from Pete Salmon left the Hurricanes 24 runs short with just six second-innings wickets still intact.

The Hurricanes could bat for a long time tomorrow and end the match in a stalemate, as Jahmar Hamilton, 12, and Ward, 20, have hunkered down.

The Scorpions, on the other hand, will look to get rid of these six wickets as soon as possible and set to the task of overhauling what they hope will be a very small target. They currently lead by 24 runs.

India have been given a major boost ahead of the Test series against New Zealand after Ishant Sharma was passed fit to return from an ankle injury.

The paceman has been out of action since hurting his right ankle while appealing for an lbw decision in Delhi's Ranji Trophy victory over Vidarbha last month.

It was feared Ishant would miss a two-match series against Kane Williamson's side after an MRI scan showed he had suffered muscle damage.

However, Ishant on Saturday revealed he had passed a fitness test and expressed his gratitude to Ashish Kaushik, head physio at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore, six days before the first Test starts in Wellington.

The 31-year-old quick tweeted: "It was a roller coaster ride for me after the injury on my ankle on the 20th January but with the help of Ashish Kaushik I managed to pull it off! Scans were a little scary, but today I am happy that I am fit! Thanks Ashish Kaushik."

Ishant will be just two shy of the 100-Test landmark if he plays in both matches against the Black Caps.

Meanwhile, India were 59 without loss at stumps on day two of a three-day tour match in Hamilton, leading a New Zealand XI by 87 runs after bowling them out for 235.

Mohammed Shami took 3-17, while there were two apiece for Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav and Navdeep Saini.

Guyana Jaguars captain Leon Johnson found a slice of form to steady his side’s batting, after Keron Cottoy and Shane Shillingford hit half-centuries to beef up the Windward Islands Volcanoes first innings total at St. George's, Grenada.

Johnson was 65 not out and shared two successive, significant stands to prop up his side’s batting as the Jaguars closed on 145 for 3 after they had stumbled to 25 for two.

He added 74 for the third wicket with West Indies batsman Shimron Hetmyer, who got 32, and has added 46 – unbroken – with Christopher Barnwell, not out on 28.

Earlier, Cottoy made 56 and Shillingford hit 53 to give proof that there was a sting in the Volcanoes’ tail after they resumed from their overnight total of 212 for six.

Cottoy and Shillingford became the second and third batsmen to score half-centuries in the Volcanoes’ innings after their captain Kavem Hodge scored 53 on an opening day.

After Cottoy fell to left-arm pacer Raymon Reifer, Shillingford added 57 for the eighth wicket with Shermon Lewis to further frustrate the Jaguars.

But Shillingford was one of three wickets – two to Test left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul – that fell for 23 in 42 balls to bring the innings to a close at 318.

Permaul ended with 4-59 from 33.5 overs and West Indies leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo finished with 3-73 from 20 overs for the Jaguars.

Test batsman Jermaine Blackwood narrowly missed out on a hundred but anchored Jamaica Scorpions to 33-run,first-innings lead so far against the Leeward Islands in Trelawny on Friday.

Blackwood hit the top score of 98 and the Scorpions batted consistently down the order to finish the day with a tidy advantage as the Scorpions closed on 260 for 6.

Blackwood shared stands of 52 with Paul Palmer for the third wicket and 58 with Oraine Williams for the fifth wicket to power the Scorpions’ innings.

Several others got starts, but they failed to carry on – Grenadian wicketkeeper/batsman Denis Smith, one of the Scorpions draft imports, was not out on 36; West Indies left-handed opener John Campbell, the Scorpions captain, made 35; Williams got 30 and Palmer added 21.

 West Indies off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall was the pick of the Hurricanes bowlers, taking 3-72 from 28 overs, and pacer Sheno Berridge captured 2-47 from 10 overs.

 Earlier, Hurricanes resumed from their overnight total of 215 for nine and were bowled out inside the first hour.

 Pacer Nicholson Gordon took the last wicket of Berridge for one and finished with 2-54 from 20.4 overs.

Their bowlers, led by a destructive spell of fast bowling from Keon Harding, set things up and their batting, lifted by a half-century from their captain and West Indies opener Kraigg Brathwaite, extended Barbados Pride’s lead over Trinidad & Tobago in the West Indies Championship in Bridgetown on Friday.

Harding, the leading bowler in the Colonial Medical Insurance Super50 Cup this past November, continued his fine form when he snared 5-57 from 17.3 overs and the Red Force were dismissed about an hour after lunch for 209 to give the Pride a first-innings lead of 34 on the second day of fifth-round matches in the Championship.

Brathwaite, the Pride captain, hit 58 and left-handed opener Shayne Moseley, his club-mate, was not out on 49.

The Pride opening pair gave the innings a firm foundation before the wickets of Brathwaite, lbw to pacer Terance Hinds, and West Indies teammate Shamarh Brooks, lbw to left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein, fell inside the final half-hour to upset the Pride’s momentum.

When bad light stopped play 10 overs early, the Pride were ahead by 161 at 127 for 2 and looking to put themselves in an impregnable position on the third day, on Saturday.

Earlier, five wickets, three to Harding and two to West Indies pacer Kemar Roach, had Red Force rocking on 88 for six.

Resuming from their overnight total of 52 for one, Red Force were 71 for two, when their captain Yannick Ottley was caught behind off Harding for 12.

The real damage to the reply of the Red Force unfolded when they lost left-handed opener Jeremy Solozano for the top score of 50, Jason Mohammed for 11, as well as Denesh Ramdin and Yannic Cariah for ducks without addition to the total in the space of 19 balls.

The visitors got a few small stands from the lower order, led by 28 from Hosein and 27 from Uthman Muhammad, to fashion a respectable total before Harding brought the innings to a close when he claimed his fifth scalp of Muhammad.

Tom Curran held his nerve at the death as England levelled the Twenty20 series against South Africa in dramatic fashion at Kingsmead.

A high-scoring contest went down to the wire as the Proteas, chasing 205 to move into an unassailable 2-0 lead, needed three from the last ball - the same task England had failed to achieve in the opening game.

Once again, the bowling side managed to escape with the victory, Bjorn Fortuin only able to paddle a slower delivery from Curran to the hands of the back-pedalling Adil Rashid at short fine leg.

Having started the final over needing 15, Dwaine Pretorius followed up a six with a cover-driven four to reduce the equation to five off three.

A scampered two tipped the balance even further in favour of South Africa, yet Curran dismissed Pretorius lbw before deceiving new man Fortuin with a clever change of pace.

The finish was in keeping with an eventful game that ebbed and flowed throughout. England were indebted to a fast start and a devastating finish as they made 204-7, only for Quinton de Kock to produce a one-man onslaught during the powerplay.

South Africa's limited-overs captain had smashed eight sixes to make 65 from just 22 balls, the last of which saw him swing a high full toss from Mark Wood out to Ben Stokes on the deep midwicket boundary.

Temba Bavuma (31), David Miller (21) and Pretorius (25) made contributions and Rassie van der Dussen finished up unbeaten on 43, but the Proteas came up narrowly short.

England, meanwhile, live to fight another day, with the result setting up a winner-takes-all showdown at SuperSport Park on Sunday.

They had posted their sixth highest T20 total after being put into bat, despite losing the dangerous Jos Buttler for just two. Jason Roy followed up his knock of 70 on Wednesday with 40 at the top of the order, while Jonny Bairstow belted 35 from just 17 deliveries.

Yet it was Moeen Ali who played the crucial hand. Having arrived at the crease with the innings wobbling slightly at 125-5, he was the catalyst for a late blitz of boundaries that yielded 79 runs from the final five overs.

The all-rounder hit four sixes, including one extraordinary sliced drive over point from a Lungi Ngidi full toss, in an 11-ball knock of 39, while Stokes made his highest T20 score at international level as he finished on 47 not out.

West Indies Under-19 paceman Jayden Seales is not resting on his laurels after brilliant performances in the just-concluded youth World Cup but is eyeing improvement with a view to breaking into the senior ranks.

Seales was one of the U19 World Cup’s best pacers with 10 wickets on the way to helping the West Indies to a fifth-place finish.

Now Seales wants to see what he can achieve in first-class cricket and from their break into the West Indies Test team.

“I always told my father I want to play Test cricket. I want to open the bowling in Test cricket,” said Seales.

The pacer, who grabbed 4-49 to help the young West Indies to a three-wicket win over pre-tournament favourites Australia in its opener, understands that there is work to be done to make the transition, but is more than willing to put in the hard yards.

“For me right now it is about staying fit, training harder, getting myself ready to play four-day cricket, and hopefully get into West Indies A team or the senior team soon enough to play for the senior team in Test cricket,” he said.

Seales went wicketless against England but his 0-21 from 10 overs was impressive nonetheless. His 4-19 against Nigeria in the final game of the first round meant the West Indies were unbeaten and looked dangerous ahead of a quarterfinal encounter against New Zealand.

He also went wicketless against New Zealand but his figures of 0-21 were again a testament to his fine bowling.

Seales’ exploits did not go unnoticed by the ICC, who picked him in the team of the tournament as one of two West Indians, the other being allrounder Nyeem Young.

“For me personally, it was a good performance. Coming off the tri-series (against Sri Lanka and England) I did not have the best performance,” he said.

“I wanted to do better for the team so I trained very hard when I came back home and in the World Cup itself [in] the training sessions I worked hard.”

South Africa have cancelled plans to tour Pakistan next month.

Three Twenty20 internationals were proposed but have been scratched because of South Africa's concerns over their players' workload.

The short series is set to be rescheduled and may take place before the end of the year.

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said it had received assurances from Cricket South Africa that "they will honour the commitment of sending their side as soon as it is reasonably possible".

South Africa are already due to visit Pakistan for two Tests and three T20 matches in January and February next year.

PCB chief executive Wasim Khan said: "While we were keenly looking forward to hosting South Africa next month, we respect Cricket South Africa's reason for not sending their side next month.

"Managing player workload is a top priority for any cricket board, and from that perspective, their decision is understandable.

"We are pleased that the CSA remains committed to rescheduling this short series as soon as practically possible.

"As there is a strong willingness and commitment, both the boards are now exploring their FTPs [future tour programmes] to find gaps so that we can agree on the dates."

The GCB/Dave West Indian Imports 2020 U-15 Inter-county tournament is set to bowl off on Sunday, February 16, at the Lusignan and GCC grounds.

The opening round will feature Demerara battling Essequibo at Lusignan, with the President’s XI facing the Berbice team over at GCC, beginning 9:30 am.

In round two, Essequibo takes on with the President’s XI at Everest, while Demerara faces off against the Berbicians at Lusignan on Tuesday, February 18.

Round three of the tournament begins on Thursday, February 20, when Demerara clashes with the President’s XI at GCC, and Essequibo simultaneously engages Demerara at Lusignan as each team vies for a position in the finals, where the two teams with the highest aggregate points, battle for the title at GCC.

The teams are as follows: Essequibo: Benny Persaud (capt.), Shazif Mohamed, Ragindra Ramblin, Bruce Vincent, Ijihad Kadir, Gladwin Henry, Mohandas Ali, Akeem John, Gulcharran Chulai, Tekeshwar Nankoo, Adesh Dass, Ramesh Seeram, Davendra Lall, Kehav Deonarine.

Berbice Under 15 team: Rampertab Ramnauth -Cpt, Avishkar Persaud, Zadeem Larose, Sanjay Algoo, Rashaad Gafur, Nyron Hicks, Damion Cecil, Kevin Kisten, Salim Khan, Matthew Pottaya- Vice Cpt, Kumar Deopersaud, Lyndon Simon, Aaron Craig, Shiv Harripersaud, Ameer Rahaman. Manager, Leslie Solomon- Coach

Demerara Under 15 Team: Romeo Deonarine, Riyad Latif, Josh Alves (Capt), Sachin Balgobin, Joshua Alves, Nityanand Matura (Vice-Capt), Reziekel Renee, Reyad latif, Dhanesh Persaud, Wayvell Allen, Bramanand Rabindranauth, Alex Datterdeen, Nicholas Sheopersaud, Hemraj Harriprashad, Coach Latchman Yadram, Manager Omar Hussain.

President’s XL: Stephon Sankar (Capt), Tulsiram Ramkarran (Vice- Capt), Arun Gainda, Sohail Gangaram, Tularam Chitamani, Yodesh Sumitra, Deonarine Dindyal, Andrew De Santos, Afazul Kadir, Aftrz Ali Budhoo, Jeremiah Singh, Tariq Walters, John Persaud, Manager Yeuraj Khemraj, Coach Ryan Hercules.

 

He may have been discarded by West Indies’ selectors but fast bowler Jerome Taylor continues to shine in English conditions.

The 35-year-old Jamaican, who at one time spearheaded the attack for the West Indies, has been signed by English County side Gloucestershire to a three-year contract. He will represent the club in all forms of the game.

Having fallen out of favour with regional selectors in recent years, Taylor has made England his stomping ground. He previously had spells with Leicestershire and Sussex and most recently T20 contracts for the last two seasons with Somerset.

Taylor was a member of the Windies' 2016 World T20-winning squad. He last played for his country in 2018.

"Jerome will add pace and international experience to the attack,” said Gloucestershire head coach Richard Dawson.

"He can contribute in all formats so he'll be a valuable addition," Dawson added.

Taylor is the second West Indies fast bowler to play for Gloucestershire in successive seasons following Shannon Gabriel, who played in two first-class matches in 2019.

"I am very excited to be joining Gloucestershire," the Jamaican said. "I am grateful for the opportunity as I really enjoy playing county cricket and I am hopeful that my experience can help on and off the field."

Promoted Gloucestershire will start the County Championship Division One season against Yorkshire at Headingley on April 12

Taylor’s home debut should be against Lancashire at Nevil Road in Bristol a week later.

Rapid on his day, Taylor, in 2009, famously grabbed 5 for 11 to demolish England, leaving the visitors all out for 51 during an unforgettable spell of fast-bowling at a Sabina Park Test. His returns in 46 Tests totalled 130 wickets at 34.46. He was also capped more than 100 times in limited-overs internationals.

The Trelawny Multipurpose Stadium will host the next two home matches for the Jamaica Scorpions in the CWI 4-day PCL (Windies Championship).

Rounds five and six will take regional cricket action to fans in western Jamaica February 13 – 16 and February 27 – March 1 as Jamaica host the Leeward Islands and Guyana Jaguars, respectively.

This will be the first time that the venue is being used to host matches in this competition. Sabina Park is listed as the official home ground of the Scorpions but CWI granted permission to play games there as all the standard requirements were met.

Previously, the venue hosted international cricket and West Indies Fist-Class matches.

This season Sabina Park has not been a space with many happy memories for the Scorpions who eked out a draw against the Windward Islands Volcanoes and lost to the Barbados Pride in rounds two and three respectively.

Captain John Campbell, however, is not focusing on the venue.

“It’s all about the quality of the cricket that we play. The location of the ground is of little significance, there are more important factors to consider,” he said.

“The condition of the pitch and outfield, the existing weather conditions, the available players and their health, their form among other things. We focus on the best way to deliver the game plan designed by the coaching staff.”

Scorpions Head Coach Andre Coley complimented his team’s approach to the game which earned them a victory against five-time champion Guyana Jaguars on their home patch.

“We weren’t daunted by the strength of the opponent or their form in this season. The team dug deep and delivered an inspired performance. At times the game was in the balance and we did what was necessary to swing it in our favour,” he said.

“How we want to play won’t change. We must maintain discipline and focus; we have to do the basics perfectly. We observed carefully what inputs and execution made us win so we’ll be repeating those things. There are areas for improvement; we have to post higher first innings totals and the batsmen have to build solid, long-lasting partnerships.

“The big lesson from the victory in our last game is that we are good enough. The team has talent – technically and tactically. Our application must be consistently good if we are going to  secure winning results.”

After four rounds of play, Jamaica currently sits in fifth place with 36.8 points, just a place above the Leeward Islands who anchor the table on 29.2 points.

Scorpions squad: John Campbell – Captain, Assad Fudadin, Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner, Paul Palmer, Pete Salmon, Denis Smith, Jamie Merchant, Derval Smith, Marquino Mindley, Nicholson Gordon, Patrick Harty and Oraine Williams

LEEWARD ISLANDS HURRICANES: Jahmar Hamilton (captain), Colin Archibald, Sheno Berridge, Rahkeem Cornwall, Nino Henry, Montcin Hodge, Damion Jacobs, Amir Jangoo, Jaison Peters, Kieran Powell, Ross Powell, Devon Thomas, Terance Warde.

 

West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell has expressed regret with not paying more attention to the health of his knees after experiencing serious issues with the joint in recent years.

The 31-year-old T20 star was forced to have surgery on his left knee after being out of the ICC World Cup with the injury.  Despite having a successful T20 career the issue has kept the player out of the longer formats of the game.

In retrospect, the big hitter believes things could have been dealt with differently by taking better care of the issue and has warned developing players not to follow his example.

  Russell is expected to undergo an injury assessment to determine his level of fitness as the team steps up its plans for this year’s T20 World Cup.

“Those who want to be another Russell should never do what happened to me.  When I was 23 or 24 I began to get knee pain,” Russell told Gulf News.

“If I had someone tell me: ‘Look Russ, you should get your knee stronger by keep doing these simple exercises, I would have been pain-free from my knees and hopefully I wouldn’t have to have had surgery. Unfortunately, at 23 you are fearless, and I used to ignore that pain and I always gave it a quick fix by taking pain killers and kept running,” he added.

“By the time I reached my late twenties I started feeling the pain like I never felt before. The wear and tear began to show up. If I was doing those strengthening exercises like training of the legs and doing the right things, I would have been fitter.”

“I want the youngsters to know that guys should not just think about the upper body alone,” he explained.

“I used to go to gym and just work only on my abs and my shoulders because I wanted to look sexy for the girls. At the end of the day being sexy and then your legs being weak, don’t work. So it is very important to have a complete work out of the body. I could have done more wonders had I worked on my legs too.”

West Indies star allrounder Andre Russell is set to undergo a fitness test with a view to making him part of the region’s bid for a third lien on the Twenty20 World Cup set for Australia this year.

It has been more than a year and a half since Russell last represented the West Indies in a T20 International with the 2019 World Cup marking the last time he suited up for the side.

During that World Cup Russell was unable to finish a game without treatment and seemed in real pain. He had to do knee surgery after limping out of one game, but seems on the comeback trail, having played in a number of domestic T20 games around the world.

“Hopefully, in the next few weeks he will undergo what is described by the medical team as a return-to-play protocol,” said Cricket West Indies CEO Johnny Grave.

“So he will go through a fitness test to see how his knees have recovered from the injuries that he suffered and allowing us to see if he would be passed fit medically – which is the first stage – and injury free in terms of his ability to both bat and bowl.

“He would then build up his fitness levels and hopefully through performances in the Indian Premier League (IPL) make himself available for selection for the West Indies.”

Russell is expected to turn out for the Kolkata Knight Riders when the IPL season bowls off on March 29 later this year.

Russell’s partner at KKR, mystery spinner Sunil Narine is also somebody the West Indies are keeping a close watch on.

Narine played through a finger injury during last year’s Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL), and has also, for a number of years, struggled with his action.

“He’s obviously been a player that has been a fantastic servant and player for West Indies, particularly in white ball cricket, but at this stage, Sunil is still working on his action,” said Grave.

“He obviously had the finger injury which took him out and made him struggle to bowl, and we’re hoping that he’s going to be fully fit … and be able to bowl his full portfolio of deliveries for the IPL and then fingers crossed, from the West Indies point of view, all goes well and he can follow that through into the CPL and hopefully be in form and be available for the World Cup.”

The T20 World Cup in Australia takes place in October.

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