West Indies Test captain, Jason Holder, believes the time is ripe for him to make his mark in the shortest form of the game he has risen to the top of in its more traditional form.

Legendary West Indies batsman Sir Viv Richards believes newly appointed skipper Kieron Pollard was kept out of leadership roles because of politics.

The 32-year-old Pollard was recently appointed both captain of the One Day International and T20 squads, replacing Jason Holder and Carlos Brathwaite respectively.  While heartily agreeing with the move, Richards believes it was a long time in coming.

“I’ve always felt he should have been [appointed] a bit earlier,” Richards said in an interview with the Line And Length cricket podcast.

“I guess the politics with the last regime and the things that obviously went down in India, and some of these guys, in my opinion, were blacklisted from playing the role that they should and helping to move the team forward, and I think because of those political issues, it didn’t quite help the progress,” he added.

Pollard was part of a one-day squad that infamously walked out of the team’s tour of India in 2014.  A new Cricket West Indies governance body, led by Ricky Skerritt, deposed the Cameron-led administration earlier this year.  The change in the administration led to a number of adjustments, which included a new selection panel in addition to Pollard’s elevation to the leadership posts.

Veteran Windies batsman Marlon Samuels will make a return to competitive cricket alongside a host of compatriots in the Abu Dhabi T10 league, which is set to bowl off in December.

The 38-year-old batsman has been out of the game for several months after taking time off to rehabilitate a troublesome knee injury.  Samuels is now slated to make a return for the Karnataka Tuskers, where he will line up alongside Kesrick Williams, Evin Lewis, Johnson Charles, and Fabian Allen.

Fresh from the disappointment of being overlooked for The Hundred draft experienced T20 campaigner Dwayne Bravo is expected to turn out for Martha Arabians alongside Jamaican Chadwick Walton.

Newly appointed Windies T20 captain Kieron Pollard   Kieron Pollard will suit up for the Deccan Gladiators, with Sherfane Rutherford expected to turn out for the Delhi Bulls.  The Northern Warriors, led by Darren Sammy, has the most West Indians in their set-up, with the likes of André Russell, Nicholas Pooran, Lendl Simmons, Rayad Emrit, and Mark Deyal set to lead their charge.

Newly appointed Windies skipper Kieron Pollard has promised to reject the idea of insularity, an accusation traditionally leveled at numerous regional team selection panels.

As captain of the One Day International and T20 teams, Pollard will assist a panel that has often been accused of favouring players from different regions of the Caribbean, based on its composition at the time.  Despite being an allegation that has never quite been proven, it has clearly caught the attention of the new skipper.

“One of the major things we (selectors) talked about is the insularity that has been going on in the Caribbean and it is something we want to [stamp out],” Pollard said in a recent interview.

“At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter where you’re from, which part of the islands you’re from, once your performance is there, once you fit into the dynamics of the team, [once] you fit into what we’re looking for, you’re going to be selected.

“[The fact] that sometimes you veer to where you’re from is unfortunate, maybe as a home captain or coach, but at the end of the day we will try to pick the best team.

“Me, knowing myself and how I go about things – and this is something I’ve been preaching since the franchise system started in the Caribbean T20 before the CPL – the bigger picture is the cricket and whichever persons are doing well, they’re going to be selected.”

Pollard replaced Jason Holder as ODI captain and Carlos Brathwaite as T20 captain.

Windies all-rounder Rahkeem Cornwall hopes to make full use of the upcoming series against Afghanistan to deliver his best as he looks to cement a place in the regional squad.

The 26-year-old Antiguan made his debut for the regional team in August against India, where he claimed three wickets and made 15 runs.  Having been selected as a part of the 16-man ODI squad for the upcoming series against Afghanistan, the player is hoping for a much bigger impact this time around.

“After coming off the CPL, I am just trying to get in some work with the Antigua national team and do my fitness work outside of that and see how much I can prepare leading up to the India series. I think I already have a taste of what Test cricket is about so I just have to go and start to perform. I can’t wait any longer to start to deliver the goods at that level so I have to put myself in a position to perform and not really setting any goals, but performance is the key,” Cornwall told the Antigua Observer.

The all-rounder is coming off a productive season for Caribbean Premier League (CPL) team St Lucia Zouks.  His 254 runs in 10 matches was the highest runs scored for the team.  The player, however, believes things could have better.

 “I wouldn’t say I am happy. I think I had a few good starts and gave it away and I think I could have carried on, and had I carried on then, maybe, I would have been in the [West Indies] T20 squad, but it wasn’t one of the best CPL squads I’ve had,” Cornwall said.

“I think the role that I was given I did it well and it’s just up to me to carry on and make bigger things but it didn’t happen so next time around I have to make sure I do those things and see how far that performance can take me.”

 

 

Windies chairman of selectors Roger Harper believes newly drafted spinner Hayden Walsh Jr’s ability to take wickets could be a missing component for the regional team.

The Windies ineffectiveness with the ball during the middle overs of One Day Internationals has been an issue that has come to the fore in recent years.  The problem was recently laid bare at the ICC World Cup. 

Making good use of pace bowlers to open the innings, the team often managed to prise out openers with quick deliveries and variable bounce.  The Windies would often lose any early momentum, however, with an inability to keep taking wickets. 

On the back of a successful CPL campaign, where he claimed 22 wickets with crafty spin bowling, Harper believes the bowler could eventually make a big difference.  

“During CPL he excited everyone with his performances and given the direction white-ball cricket has gone, we realize the need for bowlers capable of taking wickets,” Harper said.

“Walsh has proven he is a wicket-taker and I think he will have a great impact on the team, especially in middle overs so that we won’t be drifting through but can keep control of games.”

The Antiguan-American Walsh previously represented the United States but is now clear to represent the West Indies.

There was no room for veteran Windies opener Chris Gayle as the new Cricket West Indies selection panel named squads for all three formats for the team’s series against Afghanistan.

The 40-year-old batsman was expected to retire from the sport following this year’s World Cup but had a change of heart.  The player had also targeted the India home tour as possibly his final appearance for the regional team but insisted following the series that he had not retired.

Despite the absence of the talismanic player, however, there are several noted returnees.  As expected, having been appointed captain of the ODI and T20 teams Kieron Pollard returns to the white ball team for the first time in three years.  Pollard replaced Holder as captain of the ODI team and Carlos Brathwaite as leader of the T20 team.  While Holder has been included in all three formats, Brathwaite has been dropped from the squad. 

Fresh off successful campaigns in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) Guyana Amazon Warriors opening batsman Brandon King and Barbados Tridents spinner Hayden Walsh Jr have been included in the T20 and ODI formats.  Lendl Simmons, who also put together a solid campaign for Trinbago Knightriders, has also been included in the T20 squad. 

Promising young pace bowler Alzarri Josephs, who missed the World Cup due to injury, will also return to the team for all three formats.

 

Test squad: Jason Holder (Captain), Shai Hope, John Campbell, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shimron Hetmyer, Shamrah Brooks, Roston Chase, Shane Dowrich, Sunil Ambris, Jomel Warrican, Rahkeem Cornwall, Kemar Roach, Keemo Paul, Alzarri Joseph

ODI squad: Kieron Pollard (Captain), Shai Hope, Evin Lewis, Shimron Hetmyer, Sunil Ambris, Nicholas Pooran, Brandon King, Roston Chase, Jason Holder, Hayden Walsh Jr., Khary Pierre, Sheldon Cottrell, Keemo Paul, Alzarri Joseph, Romario Shepherd.

T20I squad: Kieron Pollard (Captain), Nicholas Pooran, Evin Lewis, Shimron Hetmyer, Sherfane Rutherford, Brandon King, Fabian Allen, Jason Holder, Hayden Walsh Jr., Lendl Simmons, Khary Pierre, Sheldon Cottrell, Denesh Ramdin, Kesrick Williams, Alzarri Joseph.

News is emerging that Phil Simmons will be the new head coach of the West Indies Senior Men’s team.

Windies star Chris Gayle has sought to distance himself from rumours linking him with being a supporter of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) party in Guyana.

The 40-year-old Jamaican was recently in the country for the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) fixture between the Tallawahs and unbeaten Guyana Amazon Warriors.  The player had, however, also hosted his 40th birthday party ’40 Shades of Gayle’ at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre.

The left-handed opener was, however, also pictured with representatives of the PNCR on a tour of Mining Town.  The photos prompted widescale speculation regarding the cricketer’s affiliation with the party.  The batsman was quick to insist that he was invited for a community outreach initiative and that he remained unattached to any political party.

“I, Christopher Gayle, would like to make it very clear that I in no way, manner or form endorse or support any individual or political party in Guyana. I have noted the many Social Media comments in relation to my recent presence in Linden and I wish to set the record,” Gayle posted via social media platform Instagram.

 “I was invited to Linden to participate in community outreach. As a sports personality, I relish the opportunity to meet with my fans and also to reach out to any community under the neutral banner of sports. I am apolitical of any political commitment and strongly condemn attempts to tarnish my brand and personality.”

 

Former West Indies coach Roger Harper has been named as a member of a new four-man panel of selectors expected to begin duties next month.

According to the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian, the 56-year-old former spinner will be joined by former Windwards batsmen Mile Bascome and Lockhart Sebastien alongside Barbadian Hendy Wallace.  Sebastien will serve a second consecutive stint, having been part of a four-man body that served under the leadership of Courtney Browne.  Browne’s panel was sacked soon after a change of administration, which saw Ricky Skerritt replace Dave Cameron as CWI boss.

Sebastien, however, reapplied for the post and was chosen as part of the new panel.  The first job for the newly appointed panel will be to choose a team for the Caribbean team’s tour of India, which will be a tri-series that also includes Afghanistan.

 Harper managed the West Indies team between 2000 and 2003 and later became the manager of the West Indies Youth team in 2005.

 

 Former West Indies fast bowler Winston Benjamin believes young paceman Alazarri Joseph has been hampered by being drafted into the regional team as an undercooked product.

Joseph was called into the Windies squad three years ago as a talented 19-year-old and has for far played 9 Test matches and claimed 25 wickets.  In one day international’s (ODI) the bowler has made 16 appearances and claimed 24 wickets.  During the period, the player has struggled with both injuries and inconsistency.  Benjamin does not believe the shortcomings are a surprise.

“Let us face facts; when Alzarri got into the West Indies team we were in dire need of fast bowlers and he basically got in on his potential. I worked with him from since he was 15 years old and I said I would like to have another two years with him and then by that time, you would have seen the difference,” Benjamin told Antigua radio show Good Morning Jojo Sports Show.

“He’s here and he’s there, [and] our work was not completed, so he learns from the top [when] everybody else learns from the bottom up. Rabada and all those guys, their thing is structured where you have coaches for every meal of the day and every direction you turn,” he added.

The former fast bowler has admitted to being impressed with the progress the young bowler has made in recent months and believes he could be on the way to fulfilling his potential.

 

Veteran Windies batsman Chris Gayle has voiced his annoyance regarding constant speculation surrounding his future, particularly as it relates to expected retirement plans.

Gayle, who turns 40 tomorrow, announced that he planned to retire from the sport following the ICC World Cup a few months ago.  The player, however, seemed to have a change of heart later, insisting that he could play longer.  Following his appearance at the World Cup, Gayle participated in the Windies One Day International series against India.

 At the end of that series, it appeared several players and members of the media thought Gayle’s international career was at an end as he received a standing ovation.  The Windies talisman was, however, quick to announce that he had said nothing about retirement.  With the question continuing to linger, Gayle has made it clear he has grown weary of the speculation.

“The older you get is the wiser you get and it’s the more you feel a different sort of energy,” Gayle said in an interview posted by Jamaica Tallawahs.

"You get older you might feel a bit jaded here and there.  I’m turning 40 soon and I’m feeling pretty good.  I am going to rest aside this discussion about retirement,” Gayle added.

“It’s something I learned a couple of months ago.  When you make an actual statement about retiring while you are still playing it can be a bit complicated and it can get irritating and annoying.  I get annoyed when people say this and that so from now on, I won’t be answering anyone’s questions about retirement.”

 

 

Defending Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) champions Trinbago Knight Riders made it three wins from three in their season-opening home stint after cruising past St Lucia Zouks’ 167 for 5 with seven wickets and 13 balls to spare.

Very different yet equally impressive half-centuries from the explosive Lendl Simmons and ice-cool Denesh Ramdin ensured a mid-range target never really posed much of a threat. Simmons set the tone with a six straight back over Thisara Perera’s head from just the second ball of the innings, with Sunil Narine adding another Hero Maximum as 14 came from the opening over.

With the boundaries coming so regularly, even the loss of Narine and Tion Webster in the space of nine balls, the latter caught at point from Fawad Ahmed’s first ball of the day, did nothing to stem the flow.

Ramdin had been understandably content to play second fiddle to Simmons for the most part but he cut loose once the partnership reached 50, taking Fawad Ahmed for 10 in two balls as 17 runs came from the 11th over of the innings.

Simmons continued the boundary spree with his fifth Hero Maximum, powered down the ground off Kavem Hodge, but the bowler had instant revenge as Simmons ran past a wide to be comprehensively stumped by Andre Fletcher.

The target was by now down to 62 from 52, though, and with Kieron Pollard striding to the middle to join Ramdin there was little reason for optimism from the Zouks.

All that remained to be determined was whether Ramdin could complete his 50 before Pollard finished the game, and back-to-back fours through midwicket and point took him to 47 and the victory target down to seven at the start of the 18th over.

He duly got to the landmark with a clip for two that brought the scores level, and the Zouks’ day to forget ended with a wide outside off to hand TKR the winning run.

The Zouks innings, just as in their opening match against Guyana Amazon Warriors, was given a stunning start by Rahkeem Cornwall. He followed up a 14-ball 36 in that game with 33 from 12.

His departure, trapped plumb in front on the sweep by Narine, brought an inevitable slowing of the rate.

Fletcher struggled to cut loose in a frustrating 32-ball stay that brought him 26 runs while Najibullah Zadran’s promising cameo was ended at 26 from 17 balls when he picked out Javon Searles on the long-off boundary from a Mohammad Hasnain slower ball.

Daren Sammy smashed back-to-back sixes in his 16 from 13, while John Campbell did start to find the boundary towards the back end of the innings but once again it felt like the Zouks had failed to take full advantage of the early momentum the innings had been given by their big opener.

 

 

Trinbago Knight Riders captain expressed delight with the contribution of multiple players as the team maintained a perfect start to the new CPL season with a 7-wickets win over St Lucia Zouks on Sunday.

The win added to victories over the Jamaica Tallawahs and St Kitts and Nevis Patriots, marked a third in a row for TKR who bowled off the season at the Queens Park Oval.  Powered by 50s from Denesh Ramdin (50) and Lendl Simmons (63), TKR comfortably hunted down St Lucia’s first innings total of 167 for 5.  Simmons hits five boundaries and five sixes for his total, while Ramdin reached the boundary five times only once clearing the ropes.

Against the Tallawahs the team had outstanding contributions from Sunil Narine and Tion Webster.  Jimmy Neesham and Pollard himself were the ones to deliver for the home team in the opening match.  Pollard, who took over captain duties from Dwayne Bravo at the start of the tournament believes the varied contributions so far is a good sign for the defending champions.

“That’s what cricket is about, it’s a team sport.  We know in T20 cricket in each and every game the same person is going to do it.  We spoke about it in the dressing room and every game can be someone else.  Last game was Tion Webster the youngster and Lendl has been searching for runs,” Pollard said following the match.

The TKR captain also expressed satisfaction with the team’s position in the early standings.

“I think it was crucial for us…playing three games in six days and the intensity of T20 cricket and playing at 12.  I thought the heat the better of us at the start and we were flat but we spoke about it and just asked for one big push.”

Windies batsman Kieron Pollard is poised to become the new captain of the regional team in both the T20 and ODI formats, numerous reports have claimed.

The 32-year-old Pollard, long thought of as a viable alternative for the post, is set to replace Jason Holder as head of the ODI team and Carlos Brathwaite as skipper of the T20 squad.  Holder was appointed the head of the regional team in 2014, with Brathwaite appointed as leader in the shorter format in 2016 after an outstanding performance at the World Cup.

 Neither captain has performed particularly well, however, with Holder losing 24 of 54 matches played and Brathwaite managing just a 33 percent win ratio.

Pollard has, however, not been a regular participant for the Windies squad in recent years, particularly in the ODI format where he last appeared for the team in 2016.  The player had, however, been named as a reserve for the 2019 World Cup but failed to make an appearance, as the regional team managed just one win and an eighth-place finish. 

Pollard made his T20 debut on June 2008 against Australia but was overlooked for several years after disputes with the regional board. He was, however, re­called to the West Indies team for the T20 internationals against Indian last month.

 

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