On many a Sunday, I realize that people have looked at the stories they've seen throughout the week with different lenses. I have my own personal take on some of these trending issues and I will share them with you. Welcome to #INCASEYOUMISSEDIT the 2021 edition with Mariah.

  1. Windies men- Nothing to lose so much to gain!

It is no secret that as the West Indies get set to face Bangladesh on January 20, in their first One-Day International, the home side is the overwhelming favourite, especially because of their track record of winning at home. The Windies enter against a backdrop comprising of several senior players opting out, Hayden Walsh Jr getting Covid-19 mere days before the first ODI, eight players making their ODI debut and the captain, Jason Mohammed, who last played for the Windies in 2018. Despite all these factors, they walk into this series with nothing to lose and so much to gain.

It is easy to point out the lack of experience in the Windies team. Simply put, as I mentioned before, eight of the players suiting up will be making their debuts. In the ODI setup, Rovman Powell is the most experienced having played 34 matches with the skipper Jason Mohammed ranked second with 28. While this is enough to say the Windies team is inexperienced we must also note that Bangladesh also has three uncapped players - off-spinner Mahadi Hasan and pacers Shorful Islam and Hasan Mahmud.

Similarly, it is natural to feel uneasy that ODI skipper Jason Mohammed has been out of Windies cricket since 2018. However, we cannot forget that Mohammed previously captained the Windies in an ODI against England in 2017 and in three T20Is during their 2018 Pakistan tour.

It was during a similar situation when key players refused to play and CWI thrust Mohammed to the helm.

All things considered, it is not always a disadvantage to be the underdogs if the team is physically and mentally ready. In World-Cup-winning captain Clive Lloyd’s open letter to the team, he highlighted that he made his debut on short notice against India 1966. He got his call up just hours before the game and went on to score 82 and 78. 

And, in that is the bigger picture. A ticket to the World Cup awaits any player who seizes this moment. Wicketkeeper/batsman Joshua Da Silva impressed on his Test debut in New Zealand where he scored an impressive half-century.

Batsman Kjorn Ottley is another player who could force his way into the first team. In 2019, he played for Barbados in the 50-over competition and scored 325 runs in the nine innings at an average of 54.16.  All-rounder Akeal Hosein will be eager to transfer his CPL form into this format of the game.

The 27-year-old was the leading wicket-taker in T&T’s 2020 first-class season with a total of 36 wickets at an average of 20.61. 

 

  1. Brooklyn Nets Success: One Word- Sacrifice.

News of James Harden leaving the Houston Rockets and joining the Brooklyn Nets did not sit very well with me as a Rockets supporter. It took me a few days to process his exit. However, as Harden’s biggest supporter and critic I understand the reason for the move. The three-time NBA scoring champion is desperate to win a Championship and he is not getting younger. However, if the Nets are to be successful it comes down to a key factor - sacrifice.

 The “Big Three” of James Harden, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant can only work well if they share the ball. Over the last 10 seasons, all three players have ranked in the top 10 in the highest usage rate in clutch time. Harden described it best while addressing the media. 

“When it comes to facilitating it depends on the flow of the game. Some nights I’ll be a facilitator. Some nights I might get it going and score the ball at a high clip. That is the beauty of being versatile and being able to do more than one thing. Same with Kevin and same with Kyrie. Every night is going to be different.”

 Each of the three players will be required to sacrifice whatever is going on behind the scenes of their lives if they are to win a championship. Irving was fined USD$50,000 for breaching the NBA Covid-19 protocols after a video surfaced on social media that showed him at a birthday party with no mask.

He also made an appearance at a Zoom fundraiser for a progressive political candidate half-hour before the tipoff of a Nets game.  He needs to show up mentally and physically.  Harden is out of shape and will have to avoid getting into Covid-19 trouble again. Additionally, it will be in the team’s best interest if KD stays injury free and avoids getting the virus again.

 In order for the Nets to get the best of the Harden trade all egos have to be put aside and the players need to allow rookie head coach Steve Nash and assistant coach Michael  D'Antoni to do their jobs without interference.

A positive to draw from this is Harden has worked well with D’Antoni at the Rockets and even cited his move had a lot to do with the influence of the assistant coach.

Kevin Durant, without a doubt, is a selfless player. He sacrificed his Achilles when he returned to the 2019 NBA finals too soon.  His value to the team goes without saying, however, a key element of the Nets success this season will be his acceptance of the leadership role. 

The Brooklyn Nets are championship contenders for 2021. The big question is then “Who is selfless enough to step back?” 

  

  1. Widespread vaccination and speedy rollout can ensure the Tokyo Olympics proceed.

Japanese government officials say they are committed to hosting the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo despite a recent rise in Covid-19 cases.  Reports indicate that the international Olympic Committee is working on ways to ensure that athletes are vaccinated so the event can proceed safely in July.

As of Friday, 15 January, Tokyo confirmed 2001 new infections. The number of new infections and the shortage of hospital beds are making it difficult to hospitalize coronavirus patients.  Deputy head of the Tokyo Medical Association Masataka Inakuchi has warned that the number of hospitalized coronavirus patients could rise to approximately 4600 in a week and 7000 in two weeks.

One can only hope that there will be widespread vaccination rollouts and speedy distribution in Tokyo so the Olympic Games can proceed without any further delay. 

 

 

West Indies vice-captain for the One Day International (ODI) team Sunil Ambris is hoping to stake his claim for a regular place in the first-team squad, by scoring at least one 100 in the upcoming tour of Bangladesh.

The 27-year-old Ambris was among several players unexpectedly named to the West Indies squad for the tour after 12 first-team players made themselves unavailable for the tour.  Prior to that Ambris had last played for the team in February of last year, on the team’s tour of Sri Lanka.  On that occasion, the player averaged 26 in three matches.  He was not selected to the team for either of the team’s previous tours to England or New Zealand.

Ambris, in addition to providing support for less experienced players on the tour, hopes to push himself back in the conversation for regular selection.

“This is the first tour that I’m actually confident that I will be starting.  So, I would like to use this tour to cement myself in the starting 11 for other tours,” Ambris told members of the media via an online press conference on Friday.

“I’d love to get at least one hundred out of these three games, I think that would do me a lot of good,” he added.

  

Former West Indies fast bowler, Tony Gray, believes it is a mistake for selectors to get caught up with selecting teams based on conditions.

Recently, Cricket West Indies (CWI) chief of selectors Roger Harper set off a firestorm with an explanation that promising fast bowler Chemar Holder had been left out of the Test squad for the Bangladesh tour, in order to include an extra spinner to exploit conditions.

For some, the decision was all the more vexing considering the absence of Jason Holder, who was typically part and parcel of a four-prong pace bowling attack, and Chemar Holder’s promising debut in New Zealand where he took two wickets in trying circumstances.

For his part, in addition to pointing out that Bangladesh were exceptional at handling spin, Gray pointed to the fact that a multitude of pace bowlers had done well on Asian pitches for several decades.

“I think that they (selectors) are fixated on the conditions, you cannot be fixated on the conditions,” Gray told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“I played my first Test series in Pakistan and I got 14 wickets in three games.  You want the mindset to be there.  If you are telling a young fast bowler, for example, who can bowl some 90 miles an hour deliveries, that you are not going to perform well because of bowling conditions that are not really suited to your pace and your style of bowling, then you are doing the wrong thing,” he added.

“So, I think they have been fixated on conditions and there are other things to take note of for example the strengths of the opposition, the Bangladeshis are very adept at playing spin bowling.”

Following PCR tests administered on Wednesday, January 13, Cricket West Indies (CWI) can confirm that Hayden Walsh Jr has tested positive for COVID-19 and will now undergo a period of self-isolation.

The Leeward Islands and West Indies leg-spinner, who is asymptomatic, first returned a negative test result on arrival into Bangladesh on the weekend, and then had a positive return on his test in Dhaka yesterday. This result was verified by a second positive test today.

The West Indies touring squad has been in individual isolation since arriving in Bangladesh and so there has been no contact between squad members since arrival. In accordance with the established medical protocols, Walsh remained isolated from the West Indies squad and is now under the care and supervision of the Team Physician, Dr Praimanand  Singh.

Walsh will remain in isolation until he returns two negative PCR test results and therefore is unavailable to play in the upcoming three-match ODI series against Bangladesh.

All other members of the West Indies touring squad returned second negative COVID-19 tests, after undergoing four tests within the last 11 days.

The three-match ODI Series starts on Wednesday, January 20.

  Full Tour Schedule:

  • January 18: One-day warm-up match, BKSP, Savar
  • January 20 1st ODI, SBNCS, Dhaka
  • January 22: 2nd ODI, SBNCS, Dhaka
  • January 25: 3rd ODI, ZACS, Chattogram
  • January 28-31: Four-day warm-up, M.A. Aziz Stadium, Chattogram
  • February 3-7: 1st Test Match, ZACS, Chattogram
  • February 11-15: 2nd Test Match, SBNCS, Dhaka

West Indies captain for the upcoming series against Bangladesh, Jason Mohammed, insists there is little pressure on fringe players selected for the tour, having been unexpectedly thrust into the spotlight.

The Caribbean team will take on Bangladesh with somewhat of an unfamiliar line-up, having seen several players pull out of the tour due to concerns regarding the coronavirus.  Among the replacements will be four Test players who are still looking for their first cap and 7 One Day International (ODI) players who could be playing for the first time.

An unexpected and surprise selection for the West Indies squad could, however, gift some players with a platform to make their case for regular inclusion in the first team squad.  Mohammed, however, does not expect that fact to put added pressure on himself or the other batsmen to perform well during the series.

“I wouldn’t say it more pressure there are young guys who are obviously looking to play international cricket.  I don’t think it’s more pressure, I think it’s an ideal opportunity for all of us,” Mohammed told members of the media on Thursday.

“We can put our hands up and say we are ready for international cricket.  I do not think it is more pressure for us, I would say we are just looking forward to the opportunity.”

 

West Indies captain for the Bangladesh tour, Jason Mohammed, has taken to heart words of encouragement from former WI captain Clive Lloyd, in light of what he believes have been some negative perspectives.

In all honesty, few are likely to favour the team’s chances against a full-strength Bangladesh when the tour bowls off later this month.  The West Indies were left short-handed in the experience department after 12 of their first-string players opted out of the tour after listing health and safety concerns.

As a result of the regulars opting out, the selectors were forced to hastily assembly a squad that consisted of majority fringe players and a few others with limited experience.  Bangladesh outplayed the full-strength team during a 2018 tour, and have generally had the better of the results in recent encounters.

Still, Mohammed refuses to completely write off the team’s chances before a ball is bowled and was grateful to receive encouragement from the well-respected former West Indies captain, Lloyd, who reportedly penned letters to several players.

“It meant a lot coming from one of our greats.  Those are the things you want to hear because there has been a lot of negative talk going around,” Mohammed told members of the media on Thursday, via an online press conference from Bangladesh.

“When you hear from someone like Clive Lloyd it puts great belief within you. With the World Cup coming up it’s an opportunity for all of us to put our hands up and try and get into the original team, when the full squad is back and have a chance of going to the World Cup.  I think it inspired the guys a lot and hopefully, we can back his words up.”  

 

 

 

West Indies coach, Phil Simmons, has encouraged players who will get an unexpected opportunity to represent the regional team to make full use of it.

Following the withdrawal of 12 first-team players from the Bangladesh tour, the regional team will be made up of a majority of fringe players.  In fact, for the Test squad, four players could be in line for a debut with five having less than 10 caps.  The One Day International (ODI) squad contains 7 players who could be picked for the first time.

Despite being massive underdogs, however, Simmons believes the situation presents a unique opportunity for the inexperienced players that have been selected.

“My role and my message to all the players here: you’re not here to fill in, you’re here to give yourself a chance,” Simmons told members of the media via a Zoom press conference on Tuesday.

 “You have a chance now to seal your place in this team. If you do well here, that augurs well for you going forward.  You come here, you do well in the three games in the ODI series and the two-Test matches then you’re putting yourself in a place where nobody can move you, so you have that opportunity and only you have that opportunity,” he added.

 

West Indies coach, Phil Simmons, believes the team has travelled with a balanced bowling line-up for the Bangladesh tour, despite recent discussions surrounding too many spinners being selected for the squad.

The issue was brought to the fore after up and coming fast bowler Chemar Holder was left out of the Test team for the tour.  Holder, who made his debut in New Zealand, showed plenty of promise in tough conditions.  Chief of selectors Roger Harper went on to explain that the player had been left out to accommodate more spinners, in order to take advantage of Bangladesh’s slow pitches.

The Test squad selected included four spinners but also has the usual pace bowling trio of Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel, and Alzarri Joseph and Simmons insists the balance of the first team is yet to be settled.

“I think we are here with a balanced squad, we have three spinners, we have three fast bowlers and a seeming all-rounder, it’s a case where we have balance all round,” Simmons told members of the media via a Zoom conference on Tuesday.

“So, it’s a case where we have balance all around.  The decision has to be made whether we go with three fast bowlers, two spinners, two fast bowlers, three spinners, a decision hasn’t been made yet.  We just have a balanced lineup and that’s what we came here with.  We will make decisions closer to the game.”

 

 

West Indies stand-in vice-captain, Sunil Ambris, has joined those expressing optimism ahead of the team’s upcoming tour of Bangladesh, despite admitting the unit is likely to be impacted by inexperience.

The 27-year-old Vincentian native was appointed second in command of the One Day International (ODI) squad, with Jason Mohammed named as captain, after several regular players pulled out of the tour.

With regulars like captain Jason Holder, Shai Hope, Shimron Hetmyer, Darren Bravo, and Nicholas Pooran missing, Ambris, who has so far played 13 ODIs, will rank among the senior members of the squad.  In fact, eight players will be first-time call-ups for the format.

“It is obvious that we have a very inexperienced team travelling to Bangladesh, but having said that, I think it is a talented bunch of guys,” Ambris told Searchlight.

 “Once we stay positive and do what we know we can do, we should be okay … Once we play some good cricket, we can win the series,” he added.  Ambris, who made his debut in 2017, has scored 448 runs at an average of 44.7. He has two fifties and one hundred to his name.

 

West Indies spinner, Sunil Narine, believes that cricket’s T10 format could be the best choice for inclusion at the Olympic Games as it is even more exciting than the T20 version.

Cricket has not been played at the Olympic Games since 1900, where Britain and France were the only two teams that participated.  There have, however, been numerous discussions geared towards reviving the sport at the Games in recent years, with T20 cricket identified as the best format.  Narine, however, believes that T10 could also be a consideration.

“The T10 format is more exciting than the T20 format. In T20s, the batters take a few overs before starting their attacking skills, however, in T10 the batters probably look for only one or two balls,” Narine told the Daily Times.

“There’s always a possibility to attract new fans through a shorter format of cricket and more exciting cricket. It will be an exciting thing if cricket is included in the Olympics as well and hopefully, maybe T10 could be a part of the Olympics,” he added.

The 10 over-format of the sport was introduced in the United Arab Emirates in 2017, it is, however, yet to be widely adopted.

Narine will be among a number of West Indies players taking part in this season’s edition.  The spinner will represent the Deccan Gladiators, alongside West Indies T20 captain Kieron Pollard.

West Indies captain for the Bangladesh series, Kraigg Brathwaite, is confident the second-string team will give a good account of itself, despite facing a difficult task.

The regional team, who are off to the third overseas tour since the sport was impacted by the pandemic, will be missing 12 first-team players.  Team captains Jason Holder, Kieron Pollard, and Test vice-captain Roston Chase are among the players that opted out of the tour for health and safety concerns.

Brathwaite will be joined by in-form batsman Jermaine Blackwood and bowlers, Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel, and Alzarri Joseph as some of the available first-team players on the tour, but for the most part, the team will consist of fringe players and a few debutants.  The stand-in captain, however, insists the Windies are up for the challenge.

“We are all up for the challenge… it will be a tough series in Bangladesh but we have confidence and we have belief that we will do very well,” Brathwaite said.

“We have some members of the squad who will be playing there for the first time so it will be something new to them, but they know they have the talent and are capable of performing at this level.”

The tour will comprise of two Test matches, as part of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) World Test Championship, and three One-Day Internationals (ODI) as part of the ICC’s Cricket World Cup Super League. The ODIs present the first opportunity for the West Indies to earn Super League points which count towards the pre-qualification for the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2023.

 

Former West Indies batting coach, Toby Radford, has questioned the conventional wisdom of selecting so many spinners for the team's upcoming tour of Bangladesh.

The omission of promising pace bowler Chemar Holder raised more than a few eyebrows when the squad was named last week, especially on the back of a promising debut in New Zealand.  The Test squad at current features four spinners in Rahkeem Cornwall, Kavem Hodge, Veerasammy Permaul, and Jomel Warrican along with the regular fast bowling trio of Shannon Gabriel, Kemar Roach and Alzarri Joseph.

  Cricket West Indies (CWI) chief of selectors, Roger Harper, went on to explain that Holder’s exclusion for additional spin bowling was based on the fact that the team was eager to take advantage of Bangladesh’s spin-friendly pitches.

Radford, who was part of a successful tour of the region in 2012, is unsure if that was the best approach.

“I’ve been listening to what people have been saying.  We have gone heavy with a lot of spin.  You expect the pitches to be slow and turn out there.  Whether they need as many spinners as they are taking, I’m not too sure,” Radford told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“In fact, when we won in 2012 it was done with good batting, posting big scores and having pace, actually, guys who could get it down in the high 80s, 90 miles and hour, not just assuming that because it’s slow pitches spinners are going to do the work.  I’m actually working for Bangladesh at the moment, I spent 6 weeks out there, they play spin very well, they’re brought up playing that kind of bowling.”

Legendary Windies fast bowler Curtly Ambrose is hopeful a few of the players selected for the upcoming tour of Bangladesh will be able to take full use of the opportunity to represent the team, despite being surprise selections.

Twelve players, including West Indies captain Jason Holder, vice-captain Roston Chase and T20 captain Kieron Pollard opted not make themselves available for the upcoming tour of Bangladesh this month.  The players cited health and safety reasons in their decision to reject the tour.

The absence of the team’s first-string players will see Kraigg Brathwaite, lead the Test squad with Jermaine Blackwood as vice-captain. Former West Indies A team captain, Jason Mohammed, will lead the ODI team with Sunil Ambris as vice-captain.

There will be first-time call-ups for Kavem Hodge to the Test squad and left-handed opener Shayne Moseley and all-rounder Kyle Mayers touring in the Test squad for the first time, after being part of the reserve team to England and New Zealand.

Two players earned first call-ups to the ODI squad - Akeal Hosein, a left-arm spinner allrounder, and Kjorn Ottley, a left-handed top-order batsman.  Despite expecting difficult conditions for the tour, Ambrose hopes some of the players will use the opportunity to challenge for regular places.

“I think it’s the perfect opportunity for some of these youngsters who have been knocking on the door for some time now to show the selectors and the rest of the cricket people that they are ready for this kind of cricket,” Ambrose told the Good Morning Jojo radio show.

“I am hoping these guys do very well with Bangladesh.  Whether we win the series, draw the series, or even lose the series, I hope they do extremely well so that when they get back home lead selector Roger Harper and company will have some headaches to decide who to select.”

Barbadian fast bowler Keon Harding has been selected to join the West Indies tour to Bangladesh later this month.

West Indies One Day International (ODI) captain for the upcoming tour of Bangladesh, Jason Mohammed, hopes to bring a sense of calm to the team ahead of what is expected to be a difficult match-up next month.

A quick glance at the record books will tell you that the hastily selected second-string unit is expected to have a difficult trip to Asia. The West Indies has won just one of the last seven ODIs against Bangladesh.  The most recent loss saw Bangladesh stroll to a comfortable 7-wicket win at the 2019 World Cup.  With several first-team players, including West Indies captain Jason Holder, in-form batsman Shai Hope, in the 50-over version anyway, and the explosive Shimron Hetmeyer are just a few of the players missing from the squad.  Their replacements will be short on experience.

While admitting that results will not be easy to come by for the series, Mohammed hopes to at least lead the team to consistent and calm performances.

“What I can bring to the table is being calm.  That’s one of the things that get us in trouble.  Speaking for myself, as an experienced player, sometimes when we overthink the situation, we just don’t stay calm in certain situations like bowling in the right areas, shot selections,” Mohammed told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“A lot has been said about the team going but I don’t think there will be a lot of pressure on us as players because at the end of the day we are going to represent the West Indies.  We still have a job to do.”

 

West Indies ODI Squad

Jason Mohammed (captain)

Sunil Ambris (vice-captain)

Nkrumah Bonner

Joshua Da Silva

Jahmar Hamilton

Chemar Holder

Akeal Hosein

Alzarri Joseph

Kyle Mayers

Andre McCarthy

Kjorn Ottley

Rovman Powell

Raymon Reifer

Romario Shepherd

Hayden Walsh jr

 

 

 

 

Page 4 of 5
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.