Windies coach Simmons mulls top order shake-up

By Sports Desk July 21, 2020

West Indies coach Phil Simmons has admitted there are some long conversations to be had about the composition of the team’s top order, ahead of the third and final Test against England.

Heading into the series, concerns had been raised about how the team’s top order would fare against an experienced England bowling attack.  So far, they have not proven to be unfounded.  With the exception of Brathwaite, the top team’s top three has failed to fire so far. 

John Campbell and Shai Hope have only managed to muster high scores of 28 and 25, respectively, so far this series, and failed to make it to double digits in two of four innings.  Though offering no confirmation, Simmons admitted it could be time for some changes.

“It’s something that we have to look at over the next couple days and decide which direction we go then,” Simmons told members of the media, via a Zoom press conference.

“They haven’t fired so we have to consider it (changes) over the next couple days,” he added.

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  • 'He has struggled for three years' - former WI opener Wallace adamant selectors right to drop Hope 'He has struggled for three years' - former WI opener Wallace adamant selectors right to drop Hope

    Former West Indies opening batsman, Philo Wallace, is confident the selection panel has made the right decision to omit struggling batsman Shai Hope from the WI squad for the upcoming tour of New Zealand.

    The 26-year-old has long been touted as one of the region’s brightest prospects but has struggled mightily at the crease in recent years.  A quick look at the player’s statistics makes for jarring reading.  Hope has averaged 19.48 since December 2017 and just 14.45 since February 2019.  In the 2-1 defeat against England, he averaged below 18.  Such dismal form has seen his 34 Test average slip to 26.27.

    Even so, the debate has raged on over the player’s continued inclusion in the team, with plenty of ferocity on either side.  His proponents will point to performances like Headingley when he steered West Indies to a famous win over England in August 2017.

    “He’s a great talent but Shai Hope needs to go back to the drawing board.  What the selection panel has done is correct,” Wallace told the Mason and Guest radio program.

    “He has struggled for three years in Test match cricket.  He looked out of sorts in England and he deserves to be in Barbados working on his game,” he added.

    “The lead selector said that the coach has identified a program for Shai Hope.  We don’t know who will be working with him, but in Barbados, they have lots of good coaches…when we see Shai Hope again playing red-ball cricket, his physique should be different, his mentality should be different and obviously, his ability to bat and bat long should be back above even where he left off.”

  • Romario Shepherd to replace Dwayne Bravo in Windies T20 squad for New Zealand tour Romario Shepherd to replace Dwayne Bravo in Windies T20 squad for New Zealand tour

    Romario Shepherd, the Guyanese allrounder, has been selected to replace Dwayne Bravo in the West Indies T20 team to tour New Zealand next month.

    This comes as all-rounder Dwayne Bravo has been ruled out of the upcoming tour due to a groin injury. The experienced 37-year-old sustained the injury on Saturday, October 17, while playing for the Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

    Bravo, the two-time T20 World Cup winner, will now return to Trinidad to continue his rehabilitation.

    The 25-year-old Romario Shepherd made his international debut last year against Afghanistan and has so far played five One-Day Internationals and two T20 Internationals (T20Is). Shepherd said he intends to make the most of the opportunity.

    “This is a great opportunity for me, and I want to take it with both hands. I was in the team before, last year and earlier this year, so I have a good feel of the game at this level. I’ve been training hard and working at all areas of my game so I’m ready,” he said.

    Bravo, meanwhile, said he is disappointed that he will not be able to travel to New Zealand with the team.

    “I was really looking forward to the tour of New Zealand as it has been so many months since I last wore maroon in Sri Lanka back in March and we are all so excited about building towards defending our T20 World Cup next year,” he said.

    “Unfortunately, the injury I sustained on Saturday playing for CSK has not only ruled me out of the IPL but also the tour.  I’m making arrangements to return to Trinidad over the next few days where I will continue my rehab and treatment. I’m fully committed to representing the West Indies and I just need to get myself stronger again.”

    The defending ICC T20 World Cup champions will visit New Zealand from November 27 to December 15.  They will start the tour with three T20Is, followed by two Test matches as part of the ICC World Test Championship.

     

    FULL SQUAD:

    Kieron Pollard (captain), Fabian Allen, Sheldon Cottrell, Andre Fletcher, Shimron Hetmyer, Brandon King,

    Kyle Mayers, Rovman Powell, Keemo Paul, Nicholas Pooran, Romario Shepherd, Oshane Thomas, Hayden Walsh Jr and Kesrick Williams.

     

    MATCH SCHEDULE

    November 27: 1st T20I at Eden Park, Auckland

    November 29: 2nd T20I at Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui

    November 30: 3rd T20I at Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui

    December 3-7: 1st Test at Seddon Park, Hamilton

    December 11-15: 2nd Test at Basin Reserve, Wellington

     

     

     

  • Pooran to be given Test cricket audition on New Zealand tour claims CWI chief selector Harper Pooran to be given Test cricket audition on New Zealand tour claims CWI chief selector Harper

    West Indies batsman Nicholas Pooran will have the chance to show off his Test cricket credentials in upcoming First-Class matches during the tour of New Zealand.

    Recently, calls have grown louder for the 25-year-old batsman to be included in the team for the game’s longest format.  Pooran has put together a string of impressive performances in both the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and Indian Premier League (IPL) convincing some, including legendary West Indian batsman Viv Richards, that some of that success can be translated to the four-day format.

    The batsman was not picked on the Test squad for next month’s tour but was named as part of the team’s T20 squad.  Despite that, Cricket West Indies (CWI) chief of selectors Roger Harper recently revealed that the matter was being given some serious thought.

    “There was a lot of consideration given to Nicholas Pooran; we are still looking at it and I am sure as we move forward, Pooran will have an opportunity as well,” Harper said.

    The pair of First-Class matches are expected to take place at the same time as the Test match.  The first Test is scheduled for Hamilton, between December 3-7, with the second booked for Wellington from December 11-15.  Harper indicated that the team will consist of some of the T20 players and Test reserves.

    "He is in the T20 squad and he has expressed willingness to play in four-day games that will be available during the tour," Harper said.

    So far, Pooran has only played three First-Class matches and he has a top score of 55.  In One Day Internationals (ODIs) he is considered as one of the most talented young batsmen. In 25 matches Pooran has scored 932 runs at an average of 49 with one century and seven fifties. In T20 cricket, he has 14 fifties and one hundred in 146 global matches.

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