With just over a week to go to the start of the 12th edition of the global showpiece, Holder joined the nine other captains who assembled at The Film Shed on the lively east end of London for the official Captains Media Day.

Windies come into their first official ICC Men's World Cup warm-up on back of mixed fortunes. While they trounced hosts Ireland in each of their two games in the tri-series, they were outclassed on all three occasions by Bangladesh, including in the final. 

Windies star batsman Chris Gayle is well aware that he will be the target of young upcoming fast bowlers when the ICC World Cup gets under way later this month but has cautioned that he will be ready.

The 39-year-old batsman, who has long been a standard of attacking cricket, will take part in his swansong for the West Indies at a fifth tournament.  Despite being one of the game’s elder statesmen the self-styled Universe boss devastating attacking capability was on full display against England in March. 

The veteran batsman was named man of the series after amassing 429 runs in four matches at an average of 106.  Many pundits and fans have tipped Gayle to carry that good form into the tournament but not if the bowlers have a say in the matter and he has slowed down just a bit.

"Youngsters coming at my head - it's not as easy as it was like one time before," Gayle told cricket.com. "I was quicker then.

"But they'll be wary. They know what the Universe Boss is capable of. I'm sure they will have it in the back of their mind, 'Hey, this is the most dangerous batsman they've ever seen in cricket,” he added.

Two-time champions West Indies begin their campaign against 1992 winners Pakistan on May 31 at Trent Bridge.

 

Opening batsman Chadwick Walton has expressed delight at being back home with the Jamaica Tallahwahs for the 2019 Caribbean Premier League (CPL) season.

The 33-year-old batsman played four years for the Tallawahs before moving away to the Guyana Amazon Warriors after a lucrative contract offer in 2017.  Walton recently booked a return to the Jamaica-based franchise after being drafted third in the Hero CPL draft on Wednesday.

 “I'm elated to come home, I couldn't be happier. It's always a different joy to be able to play for your home franchise and it's a franchise I've won with before,” Walton said in an interview with the Jamaica Observer.

“I'm satisfied with the teammates that have been drafted. We should be able to go very far in the tournament with the quality that we have,” he added.

Walton made a solid impact in his first year with the Warriors, winning player of the tournament in 2017.  Despite making the final with the franchise who lost to Trinbago Knight Riders last season, the player saw his numbers dip overall after a difficult patch.

“I enjoyed my seasons with the Amazon Warriors. We did have some success, but it was a pity we didn't go on to win it (CPL). My career path has taken me back home and hopefully, we can win again.”

Walton was a part of two title-winning teams with the Tallawahs in 2013 and 2017.

Windies talisman Chris Gayle is known for setting records but the big left-hander could be heading for one he may not want when he makes his appearance later this month at the ICC World Cup.

The 39-year-old batsman is expected to earn his 290th ODI cap as a Windies opener, having scored 10,151 runs.  The appearance will also be the player’s fifth at a World Cup.

 If the Windies do not win the tournament and with the player already slated to retire immediately after it, Gayle would join a select group of players to have played the most World Cup without winning.  The big left-hander is in danger of being the ninth player to have accomplished this unwanted record.  Some of the most notable names include the likes of Mahela Jayawardene, Shahid Afridi and Jacques Kallis.  Regionally Gayle will join legends Brian Lara and Curtly Ambrose. 

Ambrose played in 17 World Cup games across three editions from 1992 to 1999 and had 24 wickets at just 20.79, conceding a miserly 3.03 runs per over.  Lara is the third highest run-scorer in World Cups with 1225 runs from 34 matches spread across 5 editions, starting from 1992.

Former West Indies coach Phil Simmons has announced his intention to step down as the coach of the Afghanistan team following this month’s ICC World Cup.

The 56-year-old took up the job as manager of the Asian team in 2017, one year after leaving the post of manager of the Caribbean team.  The former all-rounder is credited with playing a crucial role in guiding the team back to the ICC World Cup and was such was a prime candidate for a contract renewal.

Simmons has, however, revealed that he believes the time is right to try something new.

"I have thought about it and I have actually given the ACB my notice that I will not be renewing my contract," Simmons told ESPNcricinfo.

 "I will move on to something different once my contract expires on July 15.

 "I signed up originally for 18 months and I think I have done a lot in this period. It is time for me to move on to something else now. To want to get to the World Cup - that was ACB's goal at the time they appointed me. My goal is always to leave things better than when I joined: the way we practice, the way we think about the game, the way we assess other teams. I've tried to help the players in all those areas."

While speculation has been rife that the move coincides with leadership changes made by the Afghanistan Cricket Board’s (ACB), without the knowledge of the coach, it also lines up with recent changes made in the leadership of Cricket West Indies (CWI).

With Ricky Skerritt replacing Dave Cameron as CWI boss the administration made several changes, including the appointment of Floyd Reifer as interim coach.  It is believed the new administration could have Simmons in mind for the long term post, an idea to which he has not objected to.

Former Windies skipper Darren Sammy believes the regional team will be crowned ICC World Cup champions but has a particularly interesting reason for coming to that conclusion.

The 12th edition of the tournament will mark 40 years since the West Indies won the tournament in 1979.  However, far from those days and despite a strong showing against the world number one-ranked team England recently, the Caribbean unit, who struggled to make the tournament in the first place, will not be most experts pick to win it all.

Sammy, the former T20 World Cup champion believes different forces could be at play.  Despite the fact that team will be one of the lowest ranked heading into the tournament, Sammy believes the number 40 could hold a charm for the team, based on its religious and symbolic significance.

 The tournament will also be the last for the arguably the region’s biggest star, Chris Gayle, who is expected to retire following the tournament and the motivation could be high to give him a proper send off.

“West Indies will win the World Cup. With Chris Gayle retiring, the ‘Universe Boss’ will want to leave with a bang. I just have a strong feeling. It’s been 40 years since we last won the World Cup. I’m a biblical man and the number 40 comes up a lot in the bible… I think it’s our time to rise up,” Sammy was quoted as saying by metro.co.uk.

Windies legend Curtly Ambrose has admitted to being concerned by the form of top-order batsman Darren Bravo, heading into the ICC World Cup later this month.

The 30-year-old Bravo, who only recently rejoined the team following a two-year break, showed plenty of grit in a surprise Test series win for the Windies against England two months ago.  The batsman also made a decent contribution in the preceding ODI series averaging 31.5, including one half-century in two games.

The Trinidad and Tobago national has, however, struggled to continue that traction in the current tri-nation series.  In four matches so far the batsman’s highest score has been 17.  It is those statistics that have Ambrose concerned.

“We must really be concerned about his form because we need him to really come to the party and produce the runs that we know he is capable of doing,” Ambrose said.

“Because as we go deep into this World Cup and in order to get out of the group stages, we can’t rely on one, two or three players. We need a whole team to click or most of the team to click, for us to get out of the group stages,” he added.

“So I am concerned about Darren Bravo’s form but I feel that he’s good enough to get out of that slump and produce the runs for us.”

Windies veteran batsman Chris Gayle has admitted to focusing on his mental preparation, ahead of even the physical aspects as his final World Cup appearance looms on the horizon.

Despite being one of the oldest players heading to the tournament, the 39-year-old has been in solid form in recent months.  In this season’s IPL Gayle has scored 490 runs in 13 matches but really stood out for the recent England series in the Caribbean.  The veteran batsman was named man of the series after amassing 429 runs in four matches at an average of 106.  The player believes keeping fresh has been key.

"I am just taking a lot of rest, getting a lot of massages, lots of stretching, just trying to stay fresh for games. I know what is required to keep me going on the field," Chris Gayle told PTI.

"Age catches up as you ain't getting any younger. But most important thing for me is the mental part of the game. It is not so much about the physical side of the game anymore. I have not done much fitness in the last couple of months," said the Windies veteran.

"I use my experience and mental aspect. I have not done gym for some time," said Chris Gayle.

Legendary West Indies fast bowler Curtly Ambrose has picked the team to make a deep run at the ICC World Cup, which gets under way in England later this month.

The regional team won the first edition of the tournament in 1975 and 1979 and were only narrowly beaten by India in the following edition.  Since then it has been a major barren stretch of sorts having failed to advance to the semi-final stage in seven of the next eight tournaments.  The only exception came in 1996 when the team did manage to make the final four before being narrowly beaten by Australia.  Ambrose, who was a part of that squad, believes the current iteration could at the very least equal that feat.

“Our chances are as good as anybody’s because when you look at cricket in general and like I’ve said to the guys when I was with the team [as a coach], ICC ratings or rankings don’t really count on the field,” Ambrose told the Antigua Observer.

 “In the rankings, you could be one, two or three but it simply means you’re more consistent and you’re winning more games so you get the points to move to the top of the table but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re the better team,” he added.

“We have a decent team but of course, people are going to argue about one or two players which will happen from now until eternity, but I feel we have a good enough team to go deeper into the World Cup.

Our problem is the consistency factor where we would win one game handsomely then maybe lose two or three and then win another one and if you’re so inconsistent then you’re never going to go far. As long as we are consistent in this World Cup, we can spring some surprises and go deep but we have to be consistent,” he said.

Recently deceased West Indies cricketer, Seymour Nurse will receive an official funeral from his birth nation Barbados on Friday, at the Kensington Oval.

Nurse, who passed away at the age of 85 last week, represented the regional team between 1960 and 1969.  The Barbadian played 29 Tests for the West Indies, scoring 2,523 runs at an average of 47.60 with six centuries and 10 half-centuries and formed part of a strong West Indies middle order for the Caribbean side.

The batsman’s contributions continued long after he left the pitch as he went on to serve as a mentor and coach to many great West Indies players and was also an administrator and selector.  Nurse’s body will lie in repose at Empire Club, Pavilion Road, St Michael, on Wednesday, May 15, from 4 to 6 p.m. and at Cricket Legends of Barbados, Fontabelle, St Michael, on Thursday, May 16, from 4 to 6 p.m.

 

 

Mustafizur Rahman and Mashrafe Mortaza have continued to pose problems for the Windies, restricting the visitors playing in the Walton Tri-Series to just 247-9 in their 50 overs earlier on Monday in Dublin Ireland. 

Windies middle-order batsman turned opener, Sunil Ambris, is filled with pride at becoming the first man from St Vincent and the Grenadines to score an international century after his heroics for the Windies saw the Caribbean side romping to a five-wicket victory against Ireland in the Walton Tri-Series in Malahide Cricket Ground in Dublin on Saturday. 

St Vincent and the Grenadines batsman Sunil Ambris has scored his maiden One Day International century for the Windies, getting to three figures in a Walton Tri-Series ODI game against Ireland.

A century from Ireland batsman Andy Balbirnie has put the visiting Windies behind the eight-ball during the fourth match of the Walton Tri-Series in Dublin. 

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