Windies all-rounder Andre Russell is confident he will be fit and ready to face Australia, in the team’s second match of the ICC Cricket World Cup, on Thursday.

The 31-year-old Russell had an impressive cameo in the opening match for the Windies, who registered a convincing 7-wicket win over Pakistan.  The player, who was brought into the team mainly for his batting, was deadly with the ball in the opener as a barrage of short-pitched deliveries earned him figures of 2 for 4 in three overs.

The player who has, however, been plagued by knee injuries throughout his career, left hearts in mouths after seeming to develop a problem in the closing stages of the Pakistan innings.  The player seemed to have sustained the damage while stooping for the ball in the deep and toppled over the boundary to receive treatment.  Russell though remains confident his medical team can handle the issues ahead of the early blockbuster match-up.

"I've been playing for years with these knee injuries," Russell said after the match. "And sometimes it feels worse than some days but, at the end of the day, I'm a professional. I know what to do to get back. I think I have five days before the next game so that is more than enough time to get my knee back to normal and get it settled.

"Let's just see what happens. I have a good physio team, massage team, here so they're going to be working with me closely for the next couple of days."

 

Australia pace bowler Nathan Coulter-Nile has warned the Windies that the team is prepared to fight fire with fire when they square off in their next fixture of the ICC Cricket World Cup on Thursday.

Short-pitched deliveries by fast bowlers of both teams played a critical role in convincing opening fixture wins.  The speed team of Coulter-Nile, Mitchell Starc and Patrick Cummings proved much too strong for Afghanistan, who they went on to dismiss for 207, before claiming a comfortable 7-wicket win. 

Pakistan found short-pitched deliveries from Jason Holder, O’shane Thomas and Andre Russell impossible to deal with, as they were dismissed for 105 before the Windies also cruised to a 7-wicket win.

Neither side will change the approach headed into their second encounter and Coulter-Nile is already cautioning the Windies to be ready to face the chin music.

“You’ve got to give it (bouncers) to the Windies, otherwise they just get on the front foot and pogo you everywhere,” the 31-year-old told reporters.

“We’ll definitely give it to them, we give it to every team. You’ve got to use your two (permitted bouncers per over).

“The grounds are so small and the wickets are generally pretty flat, so you’ve got to use bouncers when you can.”

Another concern for the Australians, ahead of the match, is the form Windies opener Chris  Gayle, who cracked a 34 ball 50 in the first match.  Coulter-Nile believes aggression and pace will also be key in neutralising the Windies’ main threat up top.

“Oh, Starcy (Mitchell Starc) will knock his off pole out. It will be easy,” he said jokingly about the 39-year-old Gayle.

“You know he’s going to hit your good balls for four and hit your bad balls for six. Just keep as bowling as many good balls as you can we’ll stick a few up him.

“I think you just need to be aggressive at him. He’s still smacking them but he is getting older. I don’t know if he’s faced too much of Starcy and Paddy (Pat Cummins) recently but they’re bowling quick. So we’ll see how he handles that early,” Coulter-Nile added.

Ian Bell believes England have their biggest chance in years to win the Cricket World Cup, though they may need a bit of luck to secure the trophy.

England started the tournament on home soil as favourites and lived up to that billing with a 104-run thrashing of South Africa at The Oval in the opening game on Thursday.

Batsman Bell, who played 161 ODIs for England and is still hungry for a Test recall, thinks Eoin Morgan's entertainers will take some stopping.

He told Omnisport: "I have England as favourites and it's the best chance we've had for a long time with the squad we've got.

"There are other teams who are obviously very dangerous but it could be the best summer of all time for England.

"They will need a bit of luck and to play some really good cricket as they have for the last few years, but there is no doubt there is a great opportunity to win a first World Cup."

Bell believes India may be the biggest threat to England's bid for glory, while Australia's resources in the bowling department makes them a team to watch.

"You can't go far away from India, their squad of players seems to be so strong and I think they enjoy playing white-ball cricket in England." he added.

"A lof of the teams will enjoy the conditions, it's not like they are having to deal with a swinging, seaming ball. Pitches will turn as the tournament goes on and that can help India, I expect them to be there and thereabouts.

"Australia with their bowling and attack and [Steve] Smith and [David] Warner back in the ranks are obviously even more dangerous. You could make a strong case for a lot of sides, there is so much talent on show."

After more than a year away from international cricket, David Warner enjoyed a dream return as he ushered Australia to a routine seven-wicket win over Afghanistan in their Cricket World Cup opener. 

Australia's Usman Khawaja has been sent for scans on his jaw after being struck on the helmet by a bouncer during a Cricket World Cup warm-up against West Indies.

The top-order batsman had just five runs to his name when he was forced to retire hurt.

Khawaja was struck by a delivery from Andre Russell during the second over of Australia's run chase in Southampton.

He is not expected to play any further part in the match.

Australia begin their World Cup campaign against Afghanistan on June 1 at Bristol.

They have further warm-ups with hosts England and Sri Lanka prior to beginning the defence of the title they won when co-hosting in 2015.

Brian Lara made 375 to break the record for most runs in a Test innings 25 years ago - and his unbeaten 400 a decade on remains the highest score today. 

Windies star batsman Chris Gayle has appealed against what has been deemed inadequate compensation, in a case against Australia Media entity Fairfax Media that was decided in his favour a little over a year ago.

In the much-publicized case, the 39-year-old batsman took the media house to court following its publication of sexual misconduct allegations levelled against him by former West Indies massage therapist Leanne Russell. 

Russell had claimed Gayle intentionally exposed his penis to her, while on a visit to the team locker room while making an indecent proposition.  Her version of events was printed by multiple tabloids.

The court, however, ruled that the publishers failed to establish a defence of truth regarding the allegations at the heart of the case.  In a judgment made in December last year, Justice Lucy McCallum awarded Gayle a total of $325,112 for the stories, including interest. The amount did not include Aggravated damages and fell at the lower end of the statutory cap on such rulings.

Fairfax, who has since launched an appeal, has since sought to delay the payment.  In filing a counter-appeal late last month, however, Gayle’s legal team has argued that the damages awarded were "manifestly inadequate" and Justice McCallum "erred in failing to award aggravated damages".

 In the original ruling, the jury had found that the publisher acted with malice, meaning the articles were published for an improper purpose.

Joe Root has told England's players to view the third Test with West Indies as an opportunity to stake their claims for inclusion in the upcoming home Ashes series against Australia.

England have already lost the three-match series after falling to heavy defeats in Barbados and Antigua, with Root's men looking to avoid a whitewash when the third and final Test begins on Saturday.

Ben Foakes has been dropped from the 12-man squad for the game in St Lucia and opener Keaton Jennings could earn a recall having been left out in Antigua after scoring just 17 and 14 in the opening game of the series.

All-rounder Sam Curran, another who has had a poor series, and seamer Mark Wood could also get chances to impress and Root is keen for his men to look at the bigger picture.

"There is plenty to play for in this game especially off the back of our two previous performances," Root told The Guardian.

"There is an Ashes around the corner and it is an opportunity for those guys to show how good they are and put their hand up and put in some proper performances."

It is nearly a year since Wood appeared in a five-day game for England but Ben Stokes' heel problem could pave the way for a recall.

Injuries have plagued Wood throughout his career yet Root is hopeful he can seize his opportunity should he be given one.

"He looks in great rhythm," the England captain added.

"He is bowling with good pace and he has developed his game as well. That is exactly what you want from guys when they have been left out in the past, to come back better players.

"I certainly feel that is the case with Mark. He has not taken the wickets he would have liked when he has had previous opportunities.

"But looking at him now, he couldn't be in a better place to go on and do something really good."

Defending champions West Indies will face Pakistan and Australia in the group stage of the 2020 ICC T20 World Cup.

The world's top-ranked Twenty20 team, Pakistan open the Super 12s stage against the hosts Australia in Sydney on October 24 next year.

Australia will then face defending champions West Indies in Perth four days later, it was revealed on Tuesday.

Joining that trio in Group 1 are New Zealand and two teams coming through the first round.

India, ranked second, lead Group 2, which also includes England, South Africa and Afghanistan, with two more teams to qualify.

Melbourne will host the final on November 15, with the semis played in Sydney and Adelaide.

A host nation has never won the ICC T20 World Cup and only Sri Lanka have made the final at home, finishing as runners-up in 2012.

The women's tournament is also being held in Australia, with the final to be played on March 8.

David Warner said his ball-tampering ban has allowed him to grow and spend more time with family as the exiled Australian eyes a return to the national team.

Former Australia vice-captain and opener Warner is serving a one-year suspension for his role in the ball-tampering scandal against South Africa in March.

Warner was found to have devised the plan to alter the condition of the ball with sandpaper after Cameron Bancroft – who was banned for nine months while Steve Smith was hit with a year-long suspension – was caught on camera using yellow tape on day three of the third Test.

March will mark the end of Warner's ban, with an international return in Australia's proposed one-day series against Pakistan a possibility ahead of the Cricket World Cup in England, starting in May.

Speaking after being named captain of Bangladesh Premier League side Sylhet Sixers, Warner said: "Life has been good for me.

"I have been spending time with the family. I wouldn't be able to do that if I wasn't sitting in the sidelines.

"It is about getting the best out of myself and growing as a human being. My most important thing was being a father and husband at home.

"Now it is down to playing cricket again and making sure I get Sylhet Sixers on top of the table."

"It is up to the selectors whether or not they want to pick me," Warner continued. "At the end of the day, all I can do is score runs in this tournament and the IPL, keep putting my hand up and making sure that I am the best person I can be."

Warner will come up against former Australia captain Smith's Comilla Victorians in the BPL amid claims of a fractured relationship between the pair following the Cape Town fiasco.

However, Warner played down a rivalry with Smith by telling reporters: "I will just treat it as another game.

"It is not just taking on one player but taking on a team of eleven players. It is about making sure that our bowlers know how to get Smith out, and then tackle the rest of the guys."

Jasprit Bumrah said India were "a little surprised" with Virat Kohli's contentious dismissal on day three but is confident they can chase down any target to beat Australia at Perth Stadium.

Australia still believe they have a "massive sniff" of winning the first Test against India despite a difficult fourth day in Adelaide, according to Nathan Lyon.

Cheteshwar Pujara took it upon himself to step up after his India team-mates crumbled in the first Test against Australia on Thursday.

Cheteshwar Pujara claimed his first century on Australian soil to rescue India from a top-order collapse and leave honours even on day one of the opening Test.

Windies batsman Chris Gayle was awarded US$220,000 in damages by an Australian court on Monday, just over a year after he won a defamation case against Fairfax media.

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