The Windies are scheduled to face off against Afghanistan in a full series set for India in November.

With the country granted Test status in 2017, one of the matches will include a Test, which is expected to begin on November 27.  The series will also include three One Day Internationals and three T20s.  The venue for the matches is, however, yet to be decided.

Afghanistan and the West Indies have played only 10 internationals between them, eight of those were held in the Caribbean. The West Indies lead Afghanistan 5-4 in the head-to-head, their most recent victory coming in the ICC World Cup 2019.

"As per the Future Tours Program (FTP), Afghanistan national team is scheduled to host West Indies for a tour from 5th November till 1st December in India. The series will include three T20Is, three ODIs and a one-off Test match," the Afghanistan Cricket Board said in a statement.

"Ahead of the series against West Indies, the national team is also scheduled to play a one-off test against Bangladesh in September followed by a triangular T20I series that will feature Bangladesh and Zimbabwe," it added.

Windies interim coach Floyd Reifer has hopes of retaining the post full time, despite somewhat of a disappointing ICC World Cup for the regional team.

The 46-year-old former batsman landed the position just ahead of the tournament, after a newly appointed Cricket West Indies (CWI) board removed another interim coach, Richard Pybus, from the position.

Although they were listed as darkhorses of sorts by some fans and a few pundits, they failed to deliver, leaving the tournament with just two wins and sitting second to last on the points table.

 The team started positively with a big win over Pakistan but went on to lose to Australia, England, Bangladesh, New Zealand, India and Sri Lanka, before securing a win against Afghanistan.  Despite the results, however, Reifer believes there were plenty of positives to take from the event.

 “I've learned a lot as a coach working with the guys. This is my first World Cup as well. I've interacted with some of the coaches from the other teams, and I've written down a lot of stuff,” Reifer said.

“I have to do a lot of reflection as well, and [I have to] keep planning and keep building on the positives. I just want to thank the coaching staff for giving me the full support, the players for giving me the full support as well,” he added.

“It's disappointing for us not getting into the final four and pushing towards the World Cup final. The positive is that we played decent cricket and got ourselves in position to win a lot of games and found a way to lose. We got to improve on the small areas, and on the small things that we need to get over the line.”

Soon to be retired Windies star Chris Gayle is confident the future of the region’s cricket is in safe hands having made his final appearance at an ICC World Cup on Thursday.

It was not the perfect swansong the veteran batsman might have envisioned heading into the tournament.  The Windies earmarked by few as dark horses won a mere two games and finished second to last.

The typically prolific batsman also showed signs that perhaps time was finally catching up, as he struggled to get going at the crease.  In nine matches the Windies talisman could only manage 242 runs.  In the final match against Afghanistan, Gayle was dismissed for seven, his third single-figure score of the tournament.  The result means the batsman remained second on West Indies' all-time list of ODI run-scorers, 10 behind Brian Lara.

“The future looks bright, with (Shimron) Hetmyer, (Shai) Hope, (Nicholas) Pooran… Those guys will carry the flag and make sure West Indies cricket is back to where it belongs,” Gayle said following the match.

“They have a young captain in Jason Holder as well. They have to rally around,” he added.

“We also have Andre Russell who is around. I like Pooran and Hetmyer, as those guys can be devastating as batsmen. They need to get a bit more mature quickly. We know what they’re all capable of.”

 

West Indies bowling legend Curtly Ambrose believes a new generation of cricketers must lose the label of ‘power hitting team’ if they are to take another major step in a positive direction.

Heading into the ongoing ICC World Cup, the Windies were picked as a dark horse by pundits and fans alike, in part due to a powerful batting line.  Several disappointing performances at the crease later, however, the regional team failed to live up to the promise of a truly powerful batting display.  

Despite boasting a few inexperienced players, however, Ambrose believes the team’s issues are down to the ‘boundary first’ mentality of several players.

“It’s not the experience and it’s not technique.  I don’t think there is anything wrong with their skills.  I have said before and I will continue to say that they need to put some more thought into their cricket,” Ambrose told BBC Sound.

If they can think situations through a little bit better they can get over that last hurdle,” he added.

“You have to respect good bowling at times…they have this notion that they are power hitters and they can hit boundaries.  Even if the bowling is really good they sill believe they can blast their way out.  That’s not how cricket is played, you have to respect good bowling.  You wait and you keep the ones and twos going, which they don’t do often.

So when they are not getting the boundaries they are not getting the ones and twos.  So they try even harder to get the boundaries and keep getting out.”

Poor performances at the ICC World Cup from outsiders, the West Indies, who were eliminated as contenders for a semi-final position earlier this week, have reverted to their pre-competition position at number nine on the latest ICC rankings. 

West Indies interim coach Floyd Reifer has called on the team to play for pride as it closes out its remaining ICC World Cup fixtures against Sri Lanka and Afghanistan.

The Windies were officially eliminated from the tournament following an embarrassing 125 runs loss to India on Thursday.  It was, however, far from the team’s only disappointing result.

After a solid start against Pakistan, the Windies went on to suffer losses to Australia, England, Bangladesh, New Zealand and India.  The contest against England and Bangladesh also proved to be lopsided with 7 and 8 wicket losses.

With two fixtures remaining in an ultimately disappointing tournament, Reifer hopes the team will finish strong.

"We had some frank discussions about the World Cup that we've had and we'll try to finish the tournament as a strong unit now," he said. "We are still playing for pride, we know that ... people back home in the Caribbean are backing us and we are representing them here. "This is about our journey, there is cricket after this World Cup and we need to find that winning formula and culture again,” he added.

“The guys bowled well against India and the fielding was much improved but it's about getting all three departments working together to win cricket games.”

 

 

West Indies cricket great Brian Lara has been admitted to hospital suffering from chest pains, according to reports emerging from India.

Windies all-rounder Carlos Brathwaite admitted he was grateful for a maiden One Day International (ODI) century, despite a gut-wrenching loss against New Zealand on Saturday.

A controversial selection ahead of the ICC World Cup, Brathwaite had struggled to make any real impression at the tournament.  In three prior matches, his best scores were 16 against Australia and 14 against England.  He was dropped for Bangladesh and possibly only selected for New Zealand because of the injury to Andre Russell.

His sensational knock against New Zealand, however, resembled the player who promised so much after taking the West Indies over the line against England at the 2016 T20 World Cup.  With the Windies on the ropes, Brathwaite finally showed up and earned plenty of plaudits despite his efforts falling just short.

"It is a cliché to say that it doesn't matter if you don't win, but for me personally, for my confidence, it is a result of all the hard work that I put in," Brathwaite told Espncricinfo.

"It is finally good that it has come to fruition. I continue to work hard. Obviously heartbreaking to not get over the line but I give thanks for the performance and being able to get the team in the position that I was able to,” he added.

Former Windies all-rounder Phil Simmons has had his ups and downs as a coach, with his latest struggles coming at the ICC World Cup in England. 

Windies captain Jason Holder admits the form of middle order batsman Nicholas Pooran has a bit of fresh air, despite a few underwhelming performances by the team at the ICC World Cup so far.

The 23-year-old was one of the few bright sparks for the regional team in a crushing defeat against England last week.  In fact, Pooran scored his maiden half-century, with an impressive 63 from 78 balls, in an eight-wicket defeat.  His responsible partnership with Shimron Hetmyer, who scored 39 from 48, was a steadying factor for the Caribbean team who at one point seemed destined to make less than the 212 they eventually managed.

“Pooran has been really good.  I am pleased with his progress so far.  He has shown a lot of maturity, which is really good for a young player,” Holder said.

“He has got quite a few shots in his locker as well and that is really got to see from a young talent.  I just want him to continue the way that he has been going,” he added.

“If he were marking himself extremely hard, I am sure he would like a 100.  So, let’s hope tomorrow he steps up and carries it deeper.”

In three matches so far Pooran has scored 137 runs.  The West Indies will take on Bangladesh on Monday at Taunton County Ground. 

 

 

 West Indies bowling coach Cory Collymore is confident the team’s star batsman Chris Gayle will relish the challenge of facing Barbadian-born pace bowler Jofra Archer.

The Windies are booked to face England in what is expected to be a thrilling contest at the Rose Bowl Cricket Ground on Friday.  Despite being in the twilight of his career, Gayle remains a formidable force at the top of the Caribbean team’s batting order and his match-up against the up and coming pace bowler Archer is expected to be one of the highlights of the match.  Having claimed six-wickets so far and regularly reaching speeds in excess of 90mph, Archer is having a splendid tournament to date.  Collymore is, however, confident that Gayle will rise to the challenge.

"Chris thrives on that.  I have known him since he was 16 and he has always loved a challenge," said Collymore said.

"He has always enjoyed the challenge of fast bowling so I expect him to relish that. I have known Archer for a while and I saw (Mark) Wood in the Caribbean last year,” he added.

"They are both very impressive, as we have seen throughout this tournament."

Wood faces a late fitness test ahead of the encounter.

Windies fast bowling legend Michael Holding has hit out at what he terms attempts at ‘censorship’ from the ICC, after formal requests made by the cricket body to cut down on criticism of umpires on air.

The former West Indies paceman was heavily critical of the umpiring during the West Indies vs Australia last week.  He was, however, far from the only one as the game featured several high-profile errors.

West Indies opener Chris Gayle was given out twice, while facing an over from Mitchell Starc, with both calls later overturned via the decisions review system.  The batsman was dismissed lbw in the next over from Starc but replays showed the previous delivery had been a huge no-ball. The ball that dismissed the West Indian should, therefore, have been free hit.

Later, two more on-field decisions were overturned. The first was reviewed by Jason Holder after he was initially sent back to the pavilion lbw, sweeping to Glenn Maxwell, the ball just pitching outside leg.

Holder then successfully reviewed once more, attempting to sweep Adam Zampa, with ball-tracker showing the ball would have comfortably missed leg stump. 

Holding, who called the umpiring ‘atrocious’, expressed the belief that the officials were being pressured by strong appeals from the players.

In response, the ICC in an email to Holding and other commentators pointed out “the importance of maintaining the highest standards and uphold the game’s best values and spirit while covering the tournament”.

Never one to hold back on his opinions, the player turned pundit claimed commentators were being increasingly “compromised by controlling organisations to the point of censorship”.

“If those umpires were FIFA officials, they would have been told to pack their bags and head home. They would not have been given another World Cup game to officiate. As a former cricketer, I think cricket should be held to a higher standard. Is the objective to protect the umpires even when they do a bad job?” Holding said in a reply accessed and published by The Times of India newspaper.

 “I am sorry, but I am not going to be part of that. Please let me know if I should be heading back to my home in Newmarket instead of heading to Cardiff because I don’t agree with what is being suggested here and happy not being part of it.”

England pace bowler Mark Wood believes the best way to tackle West Indies talisman Chris Gayle is with the raw pace of Barbadian-born speedster Jofra Archer.

The match-up between Archer and Gayle is likely to be one of the key ones when the Windies face the hosts at the Rose Bowl Cricket Ground on Friday. 

A belligerent Gayle dominated the bowling the last time the teams met in the One Day International (ODI) format, which ended in a 2-2 draw in the Caribbean.  It was Gayle who was named man-of-the-series after finishing it with 424 runs at an average of 106, with 39 sixes.

Archer was, however, not a part of the squad on that occasion and has since had a splendid World Cup.  In addition to his express pace rattling batsmen, the bowler has claimed figures of 6 for 135.  Wood is confident his bowling partner can slow the big West Indian down.

“Get Jofra to bowl at him!” was Wood ‘solution to the Gayle conundrum.

“He is destructive and on his day he is hard to stop. In the West Indies, he was in great form, but you didn’t know how he was going to play. Some days he would get himself in and take his time and other days he would go ballistic from ball one,” he added.

Windies interim coach Floyd Reifer insists the team will not be rattled by facing Barbadian-born England pacer Jofra Archer, despite the bowler consistently thundering down speeds of 90mph throughout the World Cup so far.

Despite several claims to the contrary, there will be an added layer of intrigue when the Barbadian takes the pitch against the Windies, a team he represented on three occasions as a junior, before deciding to switch allegiances to England.  

Archer has been in impressive for England and recently bowled the quickest ever ODI spell by an England player, against Bangladesh, since records began 13 years ago. Reifer was quick to insist the Barbadian will offer very little the team hasn’t come across before.

“Our batsmen led by Chris Gayle —will not shy away from Archer’s speed,” Reifer said on Monday.

“It will be entertaining, we are all here to entertain. I am sure Jofra will be chomping at the bit to come at us but we will be ready for him,” he added.

“We have known Jofra for a long time, he is from Barbados. We knew him from under15, under-17 and under-19 so he is not new to us,” Reifer said.

“He is bowling quickly but that is nothing we are not accustomed to. We are looking forward to the challenge. I actually played club crick­et against him as a young guy. Jofra is a tremendous talent, we all know that.”

The teams will face off at the Rose Bowl Cricket Ground on Friday.

 

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