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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.

Chris Gayle has been called up to West Indies squad for their ODI series against India, having changed his mind on retirement.

Gayle announced in February he would retire after the World Cup, though he later altered his decision during the tournament in England.

The 39-year-old is two short of 300 ODI appearances, and stated he would definitely take part in the series against India.

And Gayle, who is close to becoming the Windies leading runscorer in ODIs, has indeed been named as part of the 14-man squad for the games in Guyana and Trinidad.

Gayle is not joined in the squad by Andre Russell - with the all-rounder, whose World Cup was ended early by a knee injury - not included. Darren Bravo is another big-name absentee.

The Windies take on India in three T20Is and three ODIs before a two-match Test series in Antigua.

West Indies ODI squad in full: Jason Holder (captain), Fabian Allen, Carlos Braithwaite, John Campbell, Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Evin Lewis, Keemo Paul, Nicholas Pooran, Kemar Roach, Oshane Thomas.

England batsman Tom Kohler-Cadmore has tipped Windies batsman Nicholas Pooran for big things after making a huge impression in the ongoing Vitality Blast T20 League.

Fresh off a successful ICC World Cup, Pooran has only been signed for five games for Yorkshire but has already been a massive hit.  On Tuesday, the 23-year-old smashed 67 off 28 balls in a win over Leicestershire.  The left-hander shared 121 in only 8.1 overs for the second wicket with Kohler-Cadmore, who top-scored with an unbeaten 96.

“If we had him for a full season, the crowds would come in just to watch him,” said Kohler-Cadmore of the 21-time limited-overs international. “That’s how good he is.

“From what I’ve seen, he’s one of the most talented cricketers I’ve ever played with.

 “The ability he has to strike the ball, but it’s not just clean hitting, it’s the different areas he hits. We saw (against Leicestershire) how powerful he is, and I was lucky to watch it from the other end. He is a very, very special talent,” he added.

“His bat swing is so quick that even when he doesn’t middle it, it still goes. He has such power for a little guy. His hand speed is so good.”

By all accounts, the Windies selection panel got things right in their T20 squad selection ahead of the India tour.

The uncapped Anthony Bramble has been named in West Indies' squad for the first two Twenty20 games against India along with recalled duo Sunil Narine and Kieron Pollard.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Bramble could make his debut in a three-match series that will be staged in Florida and Guyana next month.

Spinner Narine and all-rounder Pollard come back into the fold, but opener Chris Gayle made himself unavailable as he is playing in the GT20 in Canada. 

John Campbell should get his chance at the top of the order, while spinner Khary Pierre is also in the 14-man squad.

Andre Russell will have to pass a fitness test after a left knee injury cut short his participation in the Cricket World Cup.

"This squad is an excellent balance of experience and youth," said interim chairman of selectors Robert Haynes.

"It's not just about the present – the India tour of the West Indies – but we are also looking at the T20 World Cup coming up next year and it is important that we find the right combination of players and the right formula for defending our title.

"We have to make sure that we put certain things in place now, so that when it comes to picking the squad for the T20 World Cup, it becomes easier, so we are giving more players the opportunity to play and get the exposure."

 

West Indies squad:

Carlos Brathwaite (captain), Anthony Bramble, John Campbell, Sheldon Cottrell, Shimron Hetmyer, Evin Lewis, Sunil Narine, Keemo Paul, Khary Pierre, Kieron Pollard, Nicholas Pooran, Rovman Powell, Andre Russell, Oshane Thomas.

West Indies cricket selectors have recalled Sunil Narine and Kieron Pollard to the squad to play the first two T20 internationals against India early next month.

MS Dhoni and Jasprit Bumrah have not been included in India's limited-overs squads for the tour of the West Indies, but the uncapped Navdeep Saini has been given the nod while Wriddhiman Saha has earned a Test recall.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Dhoni will not travel to the Caribbean for three Twenty20 clashes and as many ODIs, as he will reportedly serve time with his army regiment.

Dhoni is to take a break from cricket after featuring in the World Cup on the back of the Indian Premier League. 

Paceman Bumrah also misses the white-ball encounters with the Windies, but was among the 16 names in the Test squad.

Quick Saini, 26, will be hoping to make his international debut after being named in the ODI and T20 squads.

All-rounder Hardik Pandya will not play any part against Jason Holder's men, but Shikhar Dhawan has recovered from a broken thumb to take his place in the limited-overs squads.

Left-arm seamer Khaleel Ahmed comes back into an ODI squad that does not include Dinesh Karthik or the injured Vijay Shankar.

 

India Test squad: Virat Kohli (captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Wriddhiman Saha, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav.

India ODI squad: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kedar Jadhav, Mohammed Shami, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed, Navdeep Saini.

India Twenty20 squad: Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant, Krunal Pandya, Ravindra Jadeja, Washington Sundar, Rahul Chahar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed, Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini.

MS Dhoni will not be involved when India face West Indies on their tour of the Caribbean as he will instead serve time with his army regiment.

There were suggestions the former India captain - who called time on his Test career in 2014 - would be retiring from ODIs following the Cricket World Cup.

But while those reports have proven premature, Dhoni will be taking a break from the sport for the next two months.

The 38-year-old is an honorary lieutenant colonel in India's Territorial Army, and will now spend the majority of his time away from cricket with his regiment.

"MS Dhoni is not retiring from cricket right now," a senior official from the Board of Control for Cricket in India told PTI.

"He has made himself unavailable for the tour of the West Indies as he will be spending two months with his paramilitary regiment."

India's squad will be confirmed on July 21, with the tour to begin on August 3.

West Indies fast bowling legend Andy Roberts has blasted the captaincy of Jason Holder following a disappointing showing at the recently concluded ICC World Cup in England.

The regional team was tipped by a few pundits and fans to be capable of causing issues for the more fancied teams at the tournament but failed to live up to expectations. 

The same could be said for the 27-year-old Holder who headed into the tournament in a rich vein of form but failed to deliver a telling performance.  In his opinion, Roberts believes one of the biggest issues the team faced during the tournament was a lack of organisation and leadership.

“I don’t think too much of Jason Holder’s captaincy. He speaks well, but in terms of tactics on the field, I think he is found wanting and I don’t think he has the backroom staff. They weren’t experienced enough to help him so you have to look at a number of reasons why we did not go further in the tournament,” Roberts said in a radio interview.

“They had no plans because you had to have plan A, B, and then plan C; but their only plan was to bowl short and it showed throughout the entire tournament that they felt they could win based on the amount of – I can’t say fast bowlers – the amount of people they had with long run-ups and no head,” he added.

 

An Australia court has thrown out an appeal by media group Fairfax, which would have annulled damages owed to Windies star Chris Gayle who won a defamation suit against the entity last year.

Gayle took the publishers to court after allegations that he exposed himself to a female masseuse during the 2015 World Cup came out in several of its publications.  More specifically, it was alleged that the batsman exposed his penis and indecently propositioned the woman in a dressing room during the tournament.

The jury sided with the player, who strongly denied the allegations, in finding that the publishers acted with malice and accorded the cricketer damages amounting to US$211,000.  In its appeal, however, Fairfax argued that the jury should have been discharged after Gayle’s attorney attacked the credibility of the masseuse.  In response, the player’s legal team had appealed to increase the size of the payout to the West Indian star. Both appeals were dismissed.

 Fairfax newspapers are now owned by commercial broadcaster Nine Entertainment, which purchased the media company last year.

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