Head coach of the newly formed West Indies Emerging Players squad Floyd Reifer insists the primary focus of taking part in the upcoming Colonial Medical Insurance Super50 Cup is primarily about developing talent and not winning.

The former Windies interim coach has been given the task of honing the talent of players who might miss out on a spot in the various franchises due to heated competition for places.  Reifer is confident that there is plenty of talent to work with.  He also previously served as head coach of the Combined Campuses & Colleges Marooners.

“I expect to see some good performances from the players. It’s a very young side that we have put together. There is a lot of talent in the squad, so I am eager and looking forward to working with the players. I want to see them put their energies into the tournament and winning a few games, but for me, it’s about developing the talent that is there and making sure that at the end of the tournament there is some form of improvement, individually and as a team,” Reifer said.

“I think it is a balanced squad. We also have a few players in the squad that will be preparing for the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup 2020 South Africa, so they will be looking to have a good outing in the tournament,” he added.

“We have some young players in the squad in the fast bowling department, so the bowling attack looks promising. In terms of the batting, I have not seen many of the players previously, but I am ready and willing to work with them and see what they have to offer.”

The Emerging Players squad have been pooled with last year’s losing finalists Guyana Jaguars, as well as hosts and 11-time champions Trinidad & Tobago Red Force, recent winners Windward Islands Volcanoes and the United States for Group “B” matches which will be played at the Queen’s Park Oval and Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Trinidad for this year’s Super50 Cup.

 

Afghanistan team manager Nazeem Jaar Abdurahimzai insists the team will be ready for the challenge posed by the visiting Windies when the teams meet in the upcoming series.

The Afghans will host the regional team for three One Day Internationals (ODIs), three T20s and a one-off Test, in India’s Lucknow, a venue that will serve as a home away from home. 

The Asian team has undergone several big changes since a disappointing World Cup campaign.  In addition to Rashid Khan being appointed as the captain for all formats, the squad will replace five players in addition to the suspension of Mohammad Shahzad and Aftab Alam.

Despite the period of upheaval, however, Abdurahimzai is confident the team can be competitive.

“There has been a lot of change in the mentality of the team since the World Cup in July and we are hoping for a good series here, Abdurahimzai said.

 “West Indies has been a good side, but we are ready to challenge them on home turf,” he added.

The series will kick off with a three-match T20I series, with the first game taking place on November 5.  Three ODIs, will follow before the tour concludes with a one-off Test.  All the matches will take place at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium in Dehradun in India.

A truly professional approach from all stakeholders will be required to make the West Indies a force in world cricket once more, says newly head coach Phil Simmons.

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.

President of Cricket West Indies (CWI) Mr Ricky Skerritt has been appointed a member of the newly formed International Cricket Council (ICC) Governance Working Group, set out to consider the future governance structure of the ICC.

The appointment was made by ICC Chairman Mr Shashank Manohar during the recent ICC Annual Conference in Dubai. The working group will be chaired by Earl Eddings from Cricket

 Australia, and will comprise Greg Barclay (New Zealand Cricket), Tony Brian (Cricket Scotland), Ehsan Mani (Pakistan Cricket Board), Chris Nenzani (Cricket South Africa) and Ricky Skerritt (Cricket West Indies).

Skerritt is also a member of the ICC Human Resource and Development Committees.

Following the successful completion of the CWI selection system review, which was a key election campaign of the “Cricket First” 10-point initiative, the other two major reviews promised by the Skerritt-Shallow administration are, like the ICC, a review of the CWI governance structure and system, and an upgrade of the professional franchise system.

“Commissioning the CWI governance review task force, led by Jamaican senator and Grace Kennedy CEO, Don Wehby was as one of the first actions we took after being elected,” said Skerritt.

“Mr Wehby and his team have been hard at work ever since and I expect to begin hearing from them over the next few weeks.”

Skerritt said serving as a member of this ICC group also gives him the opportunity to learn and share ideas at the highest level of world cricket administration and bring back to the Caribbean some best practices in our governance reform quest.

 

Cricket West Indies (CWI) today announced a brand new three-year home fixtures cycle, featuring the West Indies teams in all formats with matches in all the main venues across the Caribbean.

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.

West Indies fast bowling legend and outspoken pundit Michael Holding has pleaded for the inclusion of former opener Desmond Haynes in the regional team’s plans going forward.

Haynes, also a member of the legendary West Indies teams of the 70s, 80s and early 90s, has continually expressed interest in occupying the position of head coach and has often received the endorsement of several prominent former players.

The 63-year-old had been in the running for the position, which was recently up for grabs, but Cricket West Indies (CWI) choose to appoint his former opening partner Phil Simmons instead.  Despite not getting the position, Holding is confident that Haynes and others who applied for the post still have plenty to offer to the region and should be included in some way or the other.

 “ I would hope that they (CWI) wouldn’t just turn their backs and say ‘Phil Simmons is the coach; that’s it – the rest of you can just sit down and wait until something else comes up,” Holding told the Line & Length cricket podcast.

“I would hope that Phil Simmons would look at the people who also applied and think to himself ‘ok, I can use some of these people in my set­up. Let me try and get these people under my wing and help this West Indies team’.”

 

Former West Indies captain and legendary batsman, Sir Vivian Richards, believes Hayden Walsh Jr, can reap more success than did the world’s foremost T20 bowler at one time,Samuel Badree.

Badree, once known as the number-one leg spinner in T20 cricket, came into the West Indies line-up in similar fashion to Walsh Jr.

Walsh claimed 22 wickets in the recently concluded Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL), to lead all wickettakers and earn a debut callup to the West Indies.

Sir Viv, just like Walsh Jr is from Antigua and believes the achievement, especially coming from one of the smaller islands, is remarkable, saying he wished the Leeward Islands had picked him more often.

“I think at that particular point, that particular achievement of him getting the most wickets as a spinner and to be coming from these parts, I am wondering what would have happened earlier for him not to have been utilized by the Leewards a little bit more,” Sir Viv pondered.

Walsh Jr’s limited selection in the Leeward Islands side is something Sir Viv believes begs bigger questions about the way the team is selected and their ability to spot talent.

“And so, all these questions need to be asked but I think that certainly, he has thrown his hands in the ring for the next T20 World Cup. I personally believe that he has done well enough to be considered and to be part of that particular unit,” Sir Viv had said before Walsh Jr’s selection to te West Indies’ white ball squads.

Making the comparison to Badree, Sir Viv said:

“And especially with this last performance in terms of being on the winning team with the most wickets, this is how I think Samuel Badree came into contention for the West Indies … I think he came in and he had some success … I don’t think he was as successful as what Hayden Walsh would have [been].”

According to Sir Viv, Walsh Jr can offer more to the West Indies than did Badree because he has other attributes.

To be fair as well, too, he brings so much as well, especially as a spinner; his athleticism in the field. Everything is so brilliant about him, you need some sort of an individual like that for those sort of tournaments,” he said.

Few would have heard of the 27-year-old Antiguan-American before the start of this season but it's safe to say his whirlwind leg break bowling took the competition by storm.  His 22 wickets in 9 matches representing a tournament-high that earned him the Hero Player of the Tournament award.

Twice this season the spinner proved completely unplayable for the opposition, claiming five wickets against the Trinbago Knight Riders and four against the St Lucia Zouks to help catapult the then-struggling team into the playoffs. 

Eventually, it set the stage for one of the biggest upsets in the competition's history with a win over the previously unbeaten Guyana Amazon Warriors in the final.  

Perhaps even fewer would remember the bowler’s forgettable CPL debut season for St Kitts and Nevis Patriots in 2018 where his two overs in just two matches went for a costly 54, with no wickets to show. 

For Walsh, the gentle placing of the CPL crown on a head once plagued with uneasiness, surely once again proved the old adage, the price of success is hard work.

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.

Newly appointed Windies chairman of selectors Roger Harper confirmed veteran batsman Chris Gayle was unavailable for the upcoming series against Afghanistan but suggested the panel would focus on younger talent going forward.

Speculation has continued to surround the future of the star batsman after he announced plans to retire, following the ICC World Cup earlier this year.  The 40-year-old, however, appeared to have a change of heart and went on to claim that the team's series again India, following the cricketing showpiece, would instead be his final. 

Controversy, however, erupted with many suggesting the batsman should hang up his tips and allow for the development of younger players.  Following the series against India, Gayle was again quick to insist that he was in no hurry to retire.  With young openers like Evin Lewis and Brandon King included in the squad, Harper suggested it was time to give younger players an opportunity to showcase their skills.

“Gayle told us he is unavailable for Afghanistan Series, but we all know Chris, he is a world-class player with a tremendous record and of course it’s difficult to replace Chris Gayle,” Harper explained.

"But I think going forward it is in a way an opportunity for young players to showcase their skills and make a name for themselves as we look ahead to the next two T20 World Cups in 2020 and 2021 and the future.”

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