Despite the promise he has shown, Windies batsman Sunil Ambris has not been given a new central contract even as Cricket West Indies (CWI) have increased the number offered in the new contract period. 

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.”

The Cricket World Cup group stage is over and the build-up to the semi-finals is under way.

Group winners India will take on New Zealand at Old Trafford on Tuesday, with hosts England facing rivals Australia at Edgbaston two days later.

With the feast of cricket coming towards its conclusion, we take a look back at some of the stats from the first round with the help of Opta.

 

BATSMEN

Most runs

1. Rohit Sharma (India) 647
2. David Warner (Australia) 638
3. Shakib Al Hasan (Bangladesh) 606
4. Aaron Finch (Australia) 507
5. Joe Root (England) 500

Batting averages

1. Kane Williamson (New Zealand) 96.20
2. Rohit Sharma (India) 92.42
3. Shakib Al Hasan (Bangladesh) 86.57
4. David Warner (Australia) 79.75
5. Samiullah Shinwari (Afghanistan) 74.00

Fours

1. Rohit Sharma (India) 67
2. David Warner (Australia) 64
3. Shakib Al Hasan (Bangladesh) 60
4. Jonny Bairstow (England) 55
5. Babar Azam (Pakistan) 50

Sixes

1. Eoin Morgan (England) 22
2. Aaron Finch (Australia) 18
3. Rohit Sharma (India) 14
4. Chris Gayle (West Indies) 12
5. Jonny Bairstow (England) 11

Fastest hundreds (by deliveries)

1. Eoin Morgan (England) 57 v Afghanistan
2. Jos Buttler (England) 75 v Pakistan
3. Carlos Brathwaite (West Indies) 80 v New Zealand
4. Shakib Al Hasan (Bangladesh) 83 v West Indies
5. Rohit Sharma (India) 95 v Pakistan

BOWLERS

Most wickets

1. Mitchell Starc (Australia) 26
2. Mustafizur Rahman (Bangladesh) 20
=3. Lockie Ferguson (New Zealand) 17
=3. Jaspirt Bumrah (India) 17
=3. Mohammad Amir (Pakistan) 17
=3. Jofra Archer (England) 17

Economy rate (from seven or more innings)

1. Colin de Grandhomme (New Zealand) 4.46
2. Mujeeb Ur Rahman (Afghanistan) 4.47
3. Jasprit Bumrah (India) 4.48
4. Mohammad Nabi (Afghanistan) 4.61
5. Ben Stokes (England) 4.65

Dot balls

1. Jofra Archer (England) 300
2. Pat Cummins (Australia) 295
3. Mitchell Starc (Australia) 288
4. Trent Boult (New Zealand) 284
5. Kagiso Rabada (South Africa) 273

Sixes conceded

1. Rashid Khan (Afghanistan) 14
2. Yuzvendra Chahal (India) 13
=3. Mohammad Nabi (Afghanistan) 10
=3. Adil Rashid (England) 10
=5. Shakib Al Hasan (Bangladesh) 9
=5. Dawlat Zadran (Afghanistan) 9
=5. Glenn Maxwell (Australia) 9

Runs conceded

1. Mustafizur Rahman (Bangladesh) 483
2. Adil Rashid (England) 433
3. Mitchell Starc (Australia) 432
4. Gulbadin Naib (Afghanistan) 419
5. Mohammad Saifuddin (Bangladesh) 417

The Cricket World Cup semi-final spots have been decided, with India, Australia, England and New Zealand into the final four.

But what of the half a dozen teams not to make it through?

Some arguably performed better than expected, while some – we're looking at you, West Indies and South Africa – were hugely disappointing.

For fans of those two sides, our World Cup report card may not make for pretty reading…

 

PAKISTAN (5th, W5 L3 N/R1)
RATING: C+

Ahead of the tournament, all the talk focused on their inconsistency and Sarfraz Ahmed's side lived up to their billing, summed up by their opening thrashing by the West Indies followed by a superb victory over favourites England. They were outclassed by Australia and India but finished strongly, winning four straight matches and only missed out on the semis due to their inferior net run rate, irreparably damaged by that Windies hammering. Mohammad Amir was excellent with the ball, picking up 17 wickets, while Babar Azam showed his class with the bat and Haris Sohail's form made a mockery of Pakistan's earlier faith in spent force Shoaib Malik.

SRI LANKA (6th, W3 L4 N/R2)
RATING: C

The Lions looked massively under-strength coming in, but they could argue that successive washouts against Pakistan and Bangladesh cost them a fairer shot at a top-four finish. The undoubted highlight was their stunning win over England, where veteran seamer Lasith Malinga rolled back the years. At the other end of the scale, 21-year-old Avishka Fernando hinted at a bright future with a marvellous hundred against the Windies in a dead rubber.

SOUTH AFRICA (7th, W3 L5 N/R1)
RATING: E

Even for a country with a long history of Cricket World Cup calamity, South Africa will look back on this campaign as a particularly miserable one. From AB de Villiers' attempted retirement U-turn just before the squad was announced to losing premier quick Dale Steyn to injury, the Proteas were in disarray before game one. A solitary point from their first four matches left them with too much to do as the likes of Hashim Amla, Quinton de Kock and Faf du Plessis failed to fill the void left by De Villiers in the top order.

BANGLADESH (8th, W3 L5 N/R1)
RATING: B+

A superb campaign – belied by their final position in the table – spearheaded by the remarkable performances of all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan, who racked up 606 runs and took 11 wickets with his wily left-arm spin – the first player to score 500+ runs and claim 10+ dismissals at a World Cup. There were impressive wins against South Africa and West Indies while they ran New Zealand and India mighty close. On this evidence, the Tigers will be genuine contenders in India in 2023.

WEST INDIES (9th, W2 L6 N/R1)
RATING: F

Not bottom of the table, but certainly bottom of the class. A squad filled with giants capable of smashing 100-metre sixes and bowling 90+ mph, the Windies let themselves down badly at this tournament. An opening annihilation of Pakistan promised much, but – scintillating centuries from Carlos Brathwaite and Nicholas Pooran aside – they failed to show the required application. Andre Russell's fitness issues caught up with him midway through the tournament, while 39-year-old Chris Gayle's intention to reverse his retirement looked a mistake. It is time to blood some fresh talent.

AFGHANISTAN (10th, W0 L9)
RATING: D

They may have finished as the only side without a point, but it is not all doom and gloom for Afghanistan. The tournament's lowest-ranked team improved as the campaign progressed, giving India and Pakistan almighty scares in agonisingly narrow defeats. A change of captaincy shortly before the finals, as well as knee-injury victim Mohammad Shahzad arguing against the decision to send him home and Aftab Alam's banishment for a disciplinary violation, will certainly have proved unwelcome distractions. The next World Cup in sub-continental conditions will surely suit a side with four years' more experience.

After five arduous weeks, the Cricket World Cup group stage has reached its climax and four teams are left standing.

Hosts and pre-tournament favourites England briefly flirted with a disappointing early exit before rallying to beat India and New Zealand and reach the last four.

Lying in wait are old rivals Australia at Edgbaston on Thursday, while India and New Zealand will do battle first in Manchester in two days' time.

But before we sit back and take in the final acts of a hugely enjoyable tournament, let's review the thrills and spills (and a couple of comedy moments) of an enthralling group stage.

 

Rihanna delights in Durham

Over a decade ago, Rihanna's smash hit 'Umbrella' enjoyed an extended stay at the top of the UK album charts but there was no need for the brollies at Durham as West Indies faced off with Sri Lanka.

Unfortunately, the Barbados-born popstar saw the Windies beaten by 23 runs, but there was a tearful reunion with assistant coach Roddy Eastwick – a former school teacher of Rihanna's. 


Bees create buzz at The Riverside

An unbroken 175-run stand between Hashim Amla and Faf du Plessis stung Sri Lanka at The Riverside.

But it was a swarm of bees that created quite the buzz on social media. The honey-loving insects caused a sudden delay, with players having to hit the deck to take evasive action.


Roy clatters Wilson

We are very, very, very sorry Joel Wilson…but this was undoubtedly hilarious.

Jason Roy brought up a century in England's beating of Bangladesh but, while tracking the progress of the ball, did not see the poor, unaware umpire who was completely clattered by the opener in comical scenes.

Once back to his feet, a slightly sheepish Wilson saw the funny side.


Bairstow answers critics head on

England's defeats to Sri Lanka and Australia drew plenty of criticism at home, not least from Michael Vaughan, which led to an unsavoury back-and-forth with Jonny Bairstow.

But Bairstow responded in impressive fashion, making centuries against India and New Zealand to help England progress to the last four.

Celebrating that latter century, Bairstow rubbed his hair in a seemingly light-hearted jibe at Vaughan's previous treatment to bolster his hairline.


Stokes or Woakes?

Two stunning catches, but who did it better – Ben Stokes or Chris Woakes?

All-rounder Stokes plucked a stunning one-hander in the deep off Andile Phehlukwayo in the tournament's opening match between England and South Africa at The Oval.

Not to be outdone, Woakes took a brilliant full-length dive on the boundary to send Rishabh Pant packing in England's much-needed win over India. Superman, eat your heart out.


Hat-trick heroes

Afghanistan had the chance for a famous upset against India at the Rose Bowl. Twelve runs were needed off four deliveries…enter Mohammed Shami.

The paceman took the vital wicket of dangerman Mohammad Nabi and followed up with the scalps of Aftab Alam and Mujeeb Ur Rahman to end Afghanistan's hopes. Three wickets in three balls.

New Zealand lost out to trans-Tasman rivals Australia at Lord's, but Trent Boult had individual reason to celebrate with a hat-trick of his own.

A stunning finish in the final over of Australia's innings saw Usman Khawaja, Mitchell Starc and Jason Behrendorff fall to full, in-swinging deliveries.

Boult, who has donated the ball to the MCC Museum, had to endure a nervy wait after a Behrendorff review.


Starc brilliance takes down Stokes

England made a dismal start in their pursuit of 286 against Australia at Lord's, slumping to 53-4.

Ben Stokes' courageous 89 threatened a fightback at the Home of Cricket. That was until Mitchell Starc's unplayable yorker swung in late to rattle the base of the stumps to end Stokes' resilience and England's chances of victory.


Pakistan deny Afghanistan

Afghanistan finished without a point after the group games but will rue a couple of missed opportunities – not least versus Pakistan, who slumped to 156-6 chasing 228 at Headingley. 

But captain Gulbadin Naib gave up 18 costly runs in the 46th over and Pakistan edged home with a couple of balls to spare against the underdogs in a dramatic finale.


Farewell Chris

Chris Gayle's final World Cup did not exactly go to plan. The explosive batsman made 242 runs from nine innings as West Indies – fancied by many to challenge – crashed out.

His final knock against Afghanistan yielded just seven runs, but there was time for some typical flamboyance when the charismatic Gayle celebrated a low catch with some press-ups.

A tidy turn with his occasional off-spin also yielded 1-28 and the 39-year-old lapped up the acclaim at stumps.

 West Indies batsman Shai Hope said the team’s underwhelming performance at the ICC World Cup will be a learning experience for him and the other young members of the team that ended their campaign on Thursday with a 23-run over Afghanistan.

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 finished on a high with a win over Afghanistan, but Jason Holder acknowledged they must be more consistent after a poor Cricket World Cup.

The Windies had not tasted victory since their first match of the tournament against Pakistan, back on May 31, ending their long wait for further success with a 23-run triumph.

But it was not just the failure to pick up the required results that frustrated captain Holder, who felt performances as a whole were not consistently up to scratch.

"I think inconsistency let us down, we were just inconsistent in the three departments," he said in the post-match presentation.

"Our fielding has a lot to improve. Our bowlers had a really good outing - credit to each and every bowler who put up their hand whenever called up - but the batting was very inconsistent as well.

"Going forward, we need to be a lot more consistent."

Chris Gayle was playing in his final World Cup match and his captain paid tribute to the opening batsman.

"It's hard to see him playing his last World Cup game, but I just personally want to say congratulations to Chris," Holder said.

"He's been an outstanding stalwart of the game for West Indies cricket and he's done leaps and bounds for our cricket. I want to wish him all the best in all his endeavours."

While the Windies said goodbye to a great, Afghanistan captain Gulbadin Naib saw positives in the younger members of his squad, with 18-year-old Ikram Ali Khil making 86 in their unsuccessful run chase.

Gulbadin said: "Ali is a youngster, an under-19 boy, but he showed his class today - and we have a lot of talented youngsters back at home."

And Afghanistan's skipper hoped the team would be able to learn from the experience of a World Cup campaign in which they failed to collect a point.

"We want to come prepared in every department," he said. "Hopefully I can take a lot from this tournament, how you work on your team. I have learned a lot here."

West Indies signed off from the Cricket World Cup with a 23-run win over Afghanistan at Headingley - but Chris Gayle missed out on a place in the history books.

Victory meant the Caribbean side bookended their campaign in England with successes, having beaten Pakistan in their opener.

The rest of their campaign was better forgotten, however, and this could have provided another low moment until a mid-innings collapse from Afghanistan handed over the initiative.

Despite posting 311 for six, West Indies lost opener Gayle for seven. It was a third single-figure score of a disappointing World Cup for the veteran batsman and he finished the tournament as his team's fourth highest scorer.

And it meant he remains second on West Indies' all-time list of ODI run-scorers, stranded perhaps forever now 10 runs behind Brian Lara.

Gayle said before the World Cup this would be his goodbye to ODI cricket but the 39-year-old has since suggested he intends to play on. But in this sort of form, West Indies might do well to consider other options. 

This was surely a farewell to the World Cup for the showman and, after he was bogged down by Afghanistan's attack and looked to clout Dawlat Zadran over the off-side field, he nicked behind to Ikram Alikhil.

Evin Lewis showed better patience to make 58, Shai Hope plundered 77 and Nicholas Pooran scored 58 - with Gayle the only West Indies batsman to lose his wicket for a score below 30.

Afghanistan were then bowled out for 288, their chief contribution coming from 18-year-old Alikhil who reached 86 until he was defeated by Gayle's off spin.

 

Chris Gayle will be eyeing another record when West Indies and Afghanistan get the chance to exit the Cricket World Cup on a high note at Headingley on Thursday.

The Windies are guaranteed to finish second-bottom of the group above winless Afghanistan regardless of the result in Leeds.

Jason Holder's side started the tournament by hammering Pakistan but have not won since that seven-wicket success at Trent Bridge at the end of May.

Afghanistan have lost all eight matches and will be looking for only their second World Cup victory at the venue where they ran Pakistan close on Saturday.

Chris Gayle needs 18 runs to break Brian Lara's record for the most ODI runs scored by a West Indies player in what will be his final World Cup match - and possibly his last ODI. 

The Windies have lost six consecutive matches and will be desperate to bring that run to an end in their first World Cup clash with Afghanistan.

 

TOURNAMENT SO FAR

The men from the Caribbean looked the real deal when they thumped Pakistan in Nottingham, but their slight semi-final hopes were ended with a big defeat to India at Old Trafford last Thursday. Sri Lanka then consigned them to a 23-run loss on Monday despite a Nicholas Pooran century.

A lack of runs has cost Afghanistan, who were agonisingly close to defeating India at the Rose Bowl and threatened to upset Pakistan but were unable to finish off the job.

 

WHAT THEY SAID

West Indies Assistant coach Roddy Estwick: "Obviously we're not happy losing games. But we started to build something, and once we can remain patient, we can keep building. Young players are coming through, and once that keeps happening then things will get a lot better."

Afghanistan Captain Gulbadin Naib: "We played last four, five games quite well. I'm happy with the performance of the team. It's all depending on our batting strength: if you've not batted well, maybe it's difficult for bowlers to defend a small total."

 

OPTA FACTS

- Afghanistan have won three of their previous four completed ODIs against West Indies, including two World Cup qualifiers in Harare last year.

- West Indies have played five ODIs at Headingley, losing three and winning two of those matches.

- Gayle is set to play his 295th ODI, equalling Brian Lara for joint-most caps in the history of the format for the Windies.

Mushtaq Ahmed believes England spinners Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali are ready to be match winners for the Cricket World Cup hosts.

Neither man has been at his most effective in the tournament to date, Rashid claiming seven wickets and Ali five.

But former Pakistan spinner Mushtaq, who worked with the pair as part of England's backroom staff in the past and now enjoys a role with West Indies, admires their qualities.

"They're good cricketers. They're match winners, Moeen and Adil," Mushtaq told Omnisport.

"Since they've been playing for England in one-day cricket and also Test cricket, Moeen Ali has gotten lots of wickets, and Adil also.

"Since they've been playing together, I can see England become a number one team, because in the middle overs they get lots of wickets, and they control the game in the middle overs, so I think they're both playing a huge role for England."

Mushtaq, who had spells in county cricket with Somerset, Surrey and Sussex, played 144 ODIs and 52 Tests for Pakistan in an international career that ran from 1990 to 2003.

He was frustrated by West Indies failing to produce at the World Cup, where they have won just once in eight matches and finish off against Afghanistan on Thursday at Headingley.

"I think we just didn't catch that moment where you close the game," said Mushtaq, speaking at the Pakistan Cricket Legends Tour in association with Penny Appeal.

"You know, we could actually win a few of the games like against New Zealand and against Australia. The things that were actually supposed to be winning situations we actually lost that period, lost those key points.

"So I think with the West Indies, obviously there were a few new guys in, there's plenty of things we have to discuss about that. When they played that first game against Pakistan, they seemed like they could be one of the four teams who are going to qualify for the semi-final.

"But obviously there's plenty of things to improve. They've got plenty of talent, but you've got to close that moment where you are actually nearly winning the game. So, we missed that opportunity."

Mushtaq also dismissed suggestions, raised by former fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar this week, that Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed is "fat" and "unfit".

"We should respect our players," said Mushtaq, on being presented with those claims. "They're giving everything for our country, they're trying to win cricket matches for Pakistan, so sometimes they lose, sometimes they win.

"I say that as an ex-cricketer, also part of Pakistan. Please respect your cricketers, they're trying to entertain you, they're trying to win games for Pakistan. If they don't, keep supporting your Pakistani heroes. They're the people who actually go and express themselves and they sacrifice a lot for Pakistan."

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.”

Windies bowling legend Curtly Ambrose has dismissed the idea of veteran batsman Chris Gayle playing what would amount to a farewell Test series against India next month.

The 39-year-old Windies talisman was expected to announce his retirement from international cricket following the ICC World Cup.  The big left-hander, however, seemed to have a change of heart during the tournament and targeted India’s tour of the West Indies as his final appearance.

Never one to shy away from speaking his mind, Ambrose has flatly rejected any type of sentimental appearance for the opener.

“Let me tell you something, one word; nonsense,” Ambrose said of Gayle’s plans for going beyond the World Cup.

Despite scoring 7,214 Test runs, which puts him eighth on the all-time list, and notching two triple centuries, Gayle has not made a Test appearance for the West Indies since 2014.

“He hasn’t played Test cricket for five years and he can barely make it in a One Day International, with long periods in the field.  A Test match is five days, six hours every day and he hasn’t does it for five years,” Ambrose told BBC Sounds.

“What kind of message would it send to one of the opening batsmen? ‘It’s a farewell game for Chris Gayle so sit this one out’ - that is utter nonsense,” he added.

“He should bow out of this World Cup gracefully. He’s done extremely well for West Indies in world cricket, but you bow out. Move forward.”

 

 

 

It was like West Indies skipper Jason Holder was discovering a surprise gift, hearing the news Chris Gayle planned to play on after the World Cup. 

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.