Rohit Sharma set a new record for the most sixes in Twenty20 internationals as India beat West Indies by 22 runs on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern (DLS) method to seal a series win in Florida.

Opener Rohit went into the match one behind Chris Gayle's 105 maximums, but his trio of sixes put him out in front and set India on their way to a decisive win – the 32-year-old posting 67 as his side registered 167-5.

India won the first contest of the series on Saturday by four wickets with 16 balls remaining after the Windies were restricted to 95-9.

Having made 98-4 in their reply in the second encounter, a storm brought a premature end to the contest, with West Indies well short of their adjusted target of 121.

India made a solid start after winning the toss, as Rohit took control with four boundaries in the first four overs.

Shikhar Dhawan had made 23 when he was bowled by Keemo Paul in the eighth over.

Rohit continued to be the driving force, his second six of the day seeing him surpass Gayle to set a new record of 106 T20I sixes - and he later added another.

He was removed in the 14th over, though, slicing a delivery from Oshane Thomas (2-27) to Shimron Hetmyer.

India were well on top when the Windies lost Evin Lewis and Sunil Narine inside the opening three overs of their reply with only eight on the board.

Rovman Powell did his best to lead a resistance with six boundaries and three sixes, reaching 54 before he was lbw to Krunal Pandya (2-23)

Lightning forced the players off in the 16th over with the Windies needing 73 off 30 to win, and India ultimately claimed the victory on DLS by 22 runs, giving them an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

A 100 per cent fit Sunil Narine is happy to be back bowling for the West Indies and had an immediate impact on the first T20 against India in Fort Lauderdale despite his team’s four-wicket loss.

Defending a paltry 95, the West Indies were in trouble but Narine with figures of 2-14, from his four overs, showed great control and the ability to still take wickets.

“Sunil's four overs very important, he showed his experience, brought us back into the game. Great bowling effort,” said Narine's skipper, Carlos Brathwaite.

"Always good to be back in maroon. Being able to perform for the country is a proud moment,” said Narine after his efforts.

The mystery spinner has been troubled with a finger injury and the workout in Lauderhill was a good way to test where he was.

“Fitness is there, finger is now 100%,” said Narine.

Now, the spinner says his goal is to find consistency.

“T20 I'm trying to stay on for as long as I can. Let's see how it goes. We still have to play positively, start well in the Powerplay, whether we're batting or bowling,” explained Narine.

That positive intent, Narine believes, is the key to winning games again for the West Indies.

“We've to start winning matches. No new thing at the moment, just enjoying my cricket. Hopefully you can see good performances in the near future."

Windies skipper, Carlos Brathwaite believes his unit could have made a fight of the first T20 international against India in Lauderhill on Saturday had there been but a few better decisions with the bat.

According to the skipper, the T20 side, stacked with new-ish faces, not for the first time, did not adapt to the conditions they were faced with after early-morning showers made batting a little tougher.

“Once again don't think we assessed conditions,” said Brathwaite after the game the West Indies lost by four wickets.

Batting first, the ‘home’ side amassed a paltry 95-9 from their 20 overs, thanks in large part to Kieron Pollard’s run-a-ball 49.

Sent to bat at number four, Pollard showed experience in waiting for the right moments to get the scoring going, but fell in the 20th over.

Brathwaite paid attention.

“Kudos to Kieron coming back into the team. He showed his experience,” he said.

“Had we made 130, it would've been a different game. We batted ourselves out of the game,” said a disappointed Brathwaite.

The skipper admits that the West Indies style of being aggressive up front would not change, but that there were still better decisions to be made when doing so.

“We have to play positively. The message will continue to be to keep intent, but we need to have better shot selection and awareness,” said the skipper.

India skipper Virat Kohli was not too perturbed by his side’s difficulty in overhauling a small total against the West Indies in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday.

Playing in the first T20 of an Indian tour of the Caribbean, Kohli’s side ran through the West Indies top order, leaving veteran all-rounder, Kieron Pollard, the only man to offer any resistance with his run-a-ball 49, that took the home team to 95-9.

The total seemed too low to be a problem for the powerfully stacked Indian batting line-up but at 69-5 when Kohli picked out Pollard at mid-wicket, the game was very much on.

India would eventually make their way to 98-6, a comfortable enough victory with 16 balls to spare, but it was tougher than it should have been.

“We would've liked to chase it four down, but we wanted to take risks and take the scoreboard moving. As the ball got older, strike rotation became key. It's just about putting in solid performance, ensure the guys who play contribute in some way or the other,” said Kohli.

The Indian skipper had lots to say about his side’s bowling and fielding, pointing out that they did well under the conditions.

“Bowlers were on top throughout, variations were superb,” he said.

The Indian skipper gave special praise to theDelhi Daredevil’s paceman Navdeep Saini, who ended with figures of 3-17. Saini was responsible for the important wickets of Nicholas Pooran, Pollard, and Shimron Hetmyer.

“Navdeep is from Delhi, he's come a long way. Plays the IPL as well, had a great season. Raw talent, hardly any bowlers who can bowl 150 clicks, hopefully he builds on from here,” he said.

Navdeep Saini enjoyed a wonderful international debut as India edged out West Indies by four wickets in a low-scoring Twenty20 contest in Lauderhill, Florida.

Saini (3-17) struck with successive deliveries in his first over and the seamer finished off the Windies' innings with a wicket-maiden that included the scalp of Kieron Pollard, whose 49 represented more than half of his side's paltry total of 95-9.

On a sluggish pitch, India then lost wickets at regular intervals, but they nevertheless reached their target with 16 balls to spare, Rohit Sharma's 24 the most substantial contribution to the chase.

Victory represents a welcome boost for India after their painful semi-final defeat to New Zealand in the Cricket World Cup. 

Uncertainty surrounds the future of the team's coaching staff in the wake of that loss, while skipper Virat Kohli rubbished rumours of a feud between himself and Rohit earlier this week.

After Kohli had won the toss on Saturday, the Windies lost openers John Campbell and Evin Lewis for ducks, setting the tone for a dismal batting display in the first contest of a three-match series.

Nicholas Pooran briefly sparkled, with two sixes in his 20, but he and Shimron Hetmyer then fell to consecutive Saini deliveries, leaving the debutant on a hat-trick.

Saini could not manage that feat, but he finished his day's work in style by trapping Pollard lbw in a run-less 20th over. The experienced all-rounder had been the only man to offer any prolonged resistance for the Windies, striking four maximums in his run-a-ball innings.

Shikhar Dhawan fell cheaply in reply on his return from the thumb injury that prematurely ended his World Cup campaign and India were in trouble at 32-3 when Rohit and Rishabh Pant (0) holed out to successive balls from Sunil Narine.

Kohli and Manish Pandey contributed 19 apiece to edge India closer, though, and their victory was sealed by a Washington Sundar six.

Windies paceman, Shannon Gabriel will be playing in the final three games if the English Division Two Championship for Gloucestershire.

Gabriel joins a team that was expected to struggle this season but found a way to do well, sitting third on the table with three teams set for promotion to Division One.

Glamorgan, who are second, have the same number of points as Gloucester, making for an interesting final few games.

But there have been problems for Gloucestershire, who lost the services, of Australian seamer, Daniel Worrall through injury.

That setback was assuaged with part-time replacements as another Australian, swing bowler, Chadd Sayers stood in for four games. Other recruits Andrew Tye and Michael Clinger will be playing in the T20 Blast, leaving a window for Gabriel to make an impact.

Gabriel. Like Gloucestershire, has been having some problems. The fast bowler, who will be hoping to ensure his new side finishes strongly and earns promotion, has not been bowling well.

Gabriel was dangerous against England in Tests just before the World Cup, but since then, has a dreadful time.

The speedster had a tough time at the recently-concluded ICC World Cup, his express pace counting for very little, as he averaged 86.50 for his two wickets and had the unenviable economy rate of 8.43.

Fortunately, Gabriel has always been a much better red ball bowler and the hope is, he will get back to his best in very short order.

Gabriel does have an opportunity to regain some confidence heading into the stint, as his West Indies takes on India in a Test series just before.

"I'm really looking forward to joining up with Gloucestershire in September and I will be trying my best to help the team push for promotion to Division One," said Gabriel.

"Hopefully I'll be carrying some good form off the back of the Test series against India."

West Indies coach Floyd Reifer believes the return of experienced players to the regional squad has provided a major boost ahead of the start of the T20 series against India.

The Windies will face India in three T20 matches, the first beginning at the Central Broward Regional Park on Saturday.  Ahead of the tournament, the Windies announced the return of top T20 players Sunil Narine and Kieron Pollard. 

Despite being one of the world’s best bowler Narine has not played for the regional team since 2017, with Pollard last appearing for the regional team in the shortest format last year.  

“We have players like (Kieron) Pollard and (Sunil) Narine making a return to the team as well as the captain Carlos Brathwaite and they have a lot of experience at this level and in this format,” Reifer said.

“The team is young, and we like to mix the experienced players with the youth. We have a very good blend. We are looking forward to the matches here in Florida. It should be a very exciting weekend, with lots of entertainment for the fans,” he added.

The team will also include the likes of spinner Khary Pierre who made his debut with the team in India last year.  Wicket-keeper Anthony Bramble is also in the squad for the three-match series.

 

 

  

 

Carlos Brathwaite has come to Andre Russell's defence after the West Indies all-rounder appeared in the Global T20 (GT20) in Canada hours after pulling out of an international match injured.

Russell saw his Cricket World Cup cut short with a left knee injury and then aggravated the issue in the GT20.

The 31-year-old had been named in the Windies' squad for their first two Twenty20 internationals against India pending a fitness test, yet he informed selectors of his inability to feature.

However, hours after Jason Mohammed was called up in his place, Russell turned out again for Vancouver Knights in the GT20.

Brathwaite believes Russell receives too much criticism for his patchy fitness record, however, suggesting he instead deserves credit for trying to play when possible.

The Windies skipper suggested Russell was playing for Vancouver without being "100 per cent" but did not wish to risk producing below-par performances for his country.

"I think he's been knocked in the press a bit because of his injury woes," Brathwaite told a news conference. "And I think it's easy for us to see him hobbling around the field and just take for granted that he's injured.

"But we can also look at it on the other side and say he could be home, he could be elsewhere and not trying to play for the West Indies.

"Speaking for myself as captain of the T20 team, and speaking for myself as Andre's friend, whenever we speak about playing for West Indies, that's always his main goal.

"And we've seen in the World Cup, whether he was 100 per cent or not – it's debatable – the fact that he wanted to be at the World Cup, wanted to pull on the shirt and wanted to perform for the people in the West Indies and his mates in the dressing room, I think, is testament to the person he is.

"I think we need to start commending the fact that he actually tries to get on the park and stop lambasting the fact that he probably doesn't stay on it till the end of the 50 overs or the 20 overs.

"Even against my better judgment, I told him to sit out this series. But he really wanted to play, he really wanted to come and show off his skills and show off what he does in franchise cricket for the West Indies.

"Unfortunately, he took another knock and he doesn't think that, if he comes here, he'd be doing justice to other people who could be here and are 100 per cent.

"Obviously, he's a big loss, not only on the field but off the field. In the dressing room, in and around the team, he's a big character, very jovial and, in my eyes, a leader in the dressing room as well.

"But obviously, if we need to get him ready for the Twenty20 World Cup, we have to do without him for a couple of series.

"I prefer that than pushing him in this series and making a long-term injury."

West Indies T20 captain Carlos Brathwaite has come to the defence of injured teammate Andre Russell, who he believes has come in for some harsh press after a number of injuries have impacted his international output.

After feeling discomfort during the Global T20 Canada, Andre Russell asked to be excused from duty for the West Indies in the first T20 internationals against India in the Caribbean.

During a pre-match press conference, Brathwaite, made it clear where he stood on the issue.

Brathwaite tackled those who thought Russell did a disservice to the West Indies’ World Cup hopes, saying:

"And speaking for myself as captain of the T20 team and speaking for myself as Andre's friend, whenever we speak about playing for West Indies, that's always his main goal. And we've seen in the World Cup -whether he was 100% or not, it's debatable - but the fact that he wanted to be at the World Cup, wanted to pull on the shirt and wanted to perform for the people in the West Indies and his mates in the dressing room, I think, is testament to the person he is. And I think we need to start commending the fact that he actually tries to get on the park and stop lambasting the fact that he probably doesn't stay on it till the end of the 50 overs or the 20 overs,” said Brathwaite.

According to the skipper, the more important part of the equation, is Russell’s willingness to play for the West Indies.

"I think he's been knocked in the press a bit because of his injury woes. And I think it's easy for us to see him hobbling around the field and just take for granted that he's injured but we can also look at it on the other side and say he can be home, he could be elsewhere and not trying to play for the West Indies.

Russell, Brathwaite revealed, would have played in these T20s if prodded to do so, despite his less-than-100 per cent fitness status.

"Even against my better judgment, I told him to sit out this series, but he really wanted to play, he really wanted to come and show off his skills and show off what he does in franchise cricket for the West Indies. Unfortunately, he took another knock and he doesn't think that if he comes here that he'd be doing justice to other people who could be here and are 100%. Obviously, he's a big loss, not only on the field but off the field. In the dressing room, in and around the team, he's a big character, very jovial and in my eyes, a leader in the dressing room as well,” said Brathwaite.

The skipper then asked that the press look at the bigger picture, because there were other tournaments the West Indies have an eye on doing well at, tournaments Russell will be important to.

“ … Obviously, if we need to get him ready for the Twenty20 World Cup, we have to do without him for a couple of series, I prefer that than pushing him in this series and making a long term injury.”

Andre Russell has been replaced by Jason Mohammed in the West Indies squad for their first two Twenty20 internationals against India.

Russell was named in the party for the Florida leg of the series subject to a fitness test after a left knee injury cut short his Cricket World Cup.

However, the star all-rounder informed the Windies selectors he had been suffering with discomfort during the Global T20 tournament in Canada and was forced to withdraw.

Interim head coach Floyd Reifer said of Mohammed: "He is a player with lots of experience in all three formats and [has] done well for Trinidad and Tobago as well as Guyana Amazon Warriors.

"It is not easy to the fill the shoes of someone like Andre Russell, who has dominated T20 cricket all over the world and helped West Indies win the ICC T20 World Cup on two occasions.

"We believe Jason is capable of good performances and we back him to perform at this level and win games as well."

The Windies start against India on Saturday, then play the second T20 in Florida, too, before heading to Guyana to continue the series.

After three T20s, the sides will play a trio of ODIs and two Tests.

The newly implemented  ICC Test Championship is supposed to bring fans back to Test cricket but will it succeed?

Windies bowling legend Curtly Ambrose admits he has an issue with a lack of aggression from current captain Jason Holder but believes the Barbadian remains the best man for the job.

The 27-year-old all-rounder has been in the post since 2015 but has come under heavy pressure in recent weeks, following a dismal performance for the team at ICC World Cup.  Managing just a single win, which came against Pakistan, the regional team finished ninth out of 10 teams.

While the outspoken Ambrose insisted that Holder needed to be more assertive in the post, the pace bowler pointed out that there was a lack of suitable replacements available.

“When you look at the resources it is a very short list so what are your options? You have Jason Holder, you got Craig Brathwaite who is his deputy and who are the others who lead or have led before? Hetmyer led the under-19s so maybe he is one to look at in the future once he can cement himself and get going but there is nobody really. The list is very short so we can’t just give a guy captaincy … because we need to be very careful. I think Jason should just continue for now and then we see what happens,” Ambrose told Antiguan radio show Good Morning Jojo.

“I think he has improved from when he started, so let’s be real, but my thing with Jason Holder is that I think is he may not be aggressive enough as a leader. I think he is a little too laid back because when you’re captain you’re a leader and people should recognize right away that he’s the leader. When you look at the West Indies team you’re not sure who the leader is, so Jason needs to, maybe, be more authoritative or just have some kind of presence so you know that he is the man in charge,” he said.

 

 

Windies legend turned commentator Ian Bishop has warned that the India unit is a much-improved team on the road and will be formidable foes despite playing in the Caribbean.

Despite being the world’s top-ranked Test team India has been known to struggle away from home on occasion.  The Asian team has won eight of its last 10 Test matches, with both losses coming away to England and South Africa.  India did, however, defeat the West Indies 2-0 in the last Test series in the Caribbean in 2016.

"India know their home conditions so well. India have become the powerhouse that has played better overseas in recent years. They were very competitive in England last summer, defeated Australia in Australia last year for the first time. No doubt Australia were without their two key players, but that just says India were traveling better," Ian Bishop was quoted as saying by IANS.

The former fast bowler believes that the only way for the regional team to have a chance is for the team’s top batsmen to come to the party.

"West Indies will hope that Roston Chase, who is integral as a batsman to their course, and Shai Hope and all these guys put their foot down and say ok, the pitches at home have been challenging to bat on for everyone, but we have played two seasons now on this. So, we need to start and set down marks on scoring hundreds," Bishop said.

West Indies bowling legend Curtly Ambrose has maintained the belief that the regional team should have looked past star batsman Chris Gayle for the regional team’s tour against India.

The 39-year-old opening batsman had initially announced plans to retire from international cricket, following the recently concluded ICC World Cup.

 Gayle, however, changed his stance just ahead of the tournament and indicated he would stay on for the upcoming tour of India as a potential farewell.  Ambrose and a few others, however, believe the World Cup was the perfect time for the veteran to step aside.  The left-hander was, however, included in an ODI squad to face India. 

Despite struggling to make an impact at the World Cup, Gayle was the player of the series in an impressive performance again England in the Caribbean earlier this year.  While lauding Gayle for his contribution to regional cricket, Ambrose insisted it was time for fresh blood.

 “You need them to get better in terms of the Hetmyer and the Pooran and so forth, and Evin Lewis; so, what are you going to do? Let Chris Gayle play for a next four years and then four years later you bring them in, and are they going to get better then? Of course not,” Ambrose told the Antigua Observer.

“If any of the selectors walk around thinking they owe Chris Gayle or anybody anything then something is wrong because that’s not what West Indies cricket is all about; it is about picking your best possible players to take the team forward,” he added.

“Chris Gayle has played for many years and has done extremely well and I have a lot of respect for him but what I am saying is that it is time to move on. People talking about give him a farewell Test match; he hasn’t played Test for five years so what you are telling me is that one of your opening batsmen, whoever he may be, you’re going to tell him to sit this game out and let’s give Chris Gayle a farewell, but that doesn’t make sense.”

 

Sunil Gavaskar has hit out at the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) selectors ahead of India's tour of West Indies, labelling the body "lame ducks" over Virat Kohli continuing as captain.

India exited the Cricket World Cup in the semi-finals, losing to New Zealand after topping the group stage table under Kohli.

He will continue to lead the team in the United States and the Caribbean, though, with Gavaskar questioning why there was no discussions about Kohli's position after India failed to reach the World Cup final.

In a column in Indian outlet Mid Day, Gavaskar said: "That they selected the team for West Indies without first having a meeting to select the captain brings up the question of whether Virat Kohli is the captain of the team at his or the selection committee's pleasure.

"To the best of our knowledge his [Kohli’s] appointment was till the World Cup. After that, it was incumbent on the selectors to meet, even if it was for five minutes for his reappointment."

The India great continued: "Speaking of lame ducks, the Indian selection committee appears to be one.

"After the reappointment, he [Kohli] gets invited to the meeting for his views on selecting the players for the team.

"By bypassing the procedure, the message that goes out is that while the players like Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik get dropped after below-expectations performance, the captain continues despite much below-par expectations, where the team did not even reach the final."

India play the first of three T20 internationals against West Indies on August 3, with three ODI games following before a two-match Test series.

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