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.

West Indies director of cricket Jimmy Adams does not believe the Windies talent matched-up to their 9th-place finish at the ICC World Cup but was quick to admit that ‘potential’ has never been enough to win tournaments.

After being picked by some pundits and fans as potential darkhorses, with the talent to shock the bigger teams at the tournament, the Windies had a dismal campaign. 

Things began brightly enough with a big win over Pakistan but went quickly downhill after losses to Australia, England, Bangladesh, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and India, before a win over Afghanistan.

“I don’t think ninth was a reflection of our potential, but potential does not win tournaments,” Adams said in an exclusive interview with SportsMax Zone.

The Windies had, however, missed out on automatic qualification to the tournament by not being seeded in the top eight teams in 2017.  The team was only able to secure its spot at the tournament via qualification in the 2018 ICC Cricket World Cup qualifiers.

With the regional team experiencing yet another disappointing campaign, however, Adams believes the governing body must find a way to enable talented players to become consistent.

“I think consistency is learned behavior, not just in sports but in life.  We need to turn the spotlight on how we develop our players.  Is there a chink in how we develop players that affects them in the future?" Adams asked.

“This is not the first cycle that we are having this issue, which is consistency, it has dogged our cricket for quite some time,” he added.

“I think the answer lies partly in how we develop our players…and until we crack that particular issue the cricket will continue to frustrate us.”

 

 

 

 

 

West Indies director of cricket Jimmy Adams does not believe the Windies talent matched-up to their 9th-place finish at the ICC World Cup but was quick to admit that ‘potential’ has never been enough to win tournaments.

After being picked by some pundits and fans as potential darkhorses, with the talent to shock the bigger teams at the tournament, the Windies had a dismal campaign. 

Things began brightly enough with a big win over Pakistan but went quickly downhill after losses to Australia, England, Bangladesh, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and India, before a win over Afghanistan.

“I don’t think ninth was a reflection of our potential, but potential does not win tournaments,” Adams said in an exclusive interview with SportsMax Zone.

The Windies had, however, missed out on automatic qualification to the tournament by not being seeded in the top eight teams in 2017.  The team was only able to secure its spot at the tournament via qualification in the 2018 ICC Cricket World Cup qualifiers.

With the regional team experiencing yet another disappointing campaign, however,

“I think consistency is learned behaviour, not just in sports but in life.  We need to turn the spotlight on how we develop our players.  Is there a chink in how we develop players that affects them in the future?

“This is not the first cycle that we are having this issue, which is consistency, it has dogged our cricket for quite some time,” he added.

“I think the answer lies partly in how we develop our players…and until we crack that particular issue the cricket will continue to frustrate us.”

 

 

 

 

 

West Indies director of cricket Jimmy Adams claims team's performance still under review.

Legendary Windies captain Clive Lloyd has strongly cautioned against any effort to replace Jason Holder as leader of the current regional team.

The 27-year-old Barbadian native has been among those coming in for heavy criticism after a dismal showing from the Windies at the ICC World Cup. 

Holder, who was appointed to the post four years ago, has largely presided over a disappointing period for the team results-wise.  During that time the all-rounder, as captain, has won some 24 out of 83 matches and as the Windies slipped out of the world’s top 8 teams.  The scenario forced the team to qualify for the 2019 World Cup.  Despite the results, however, Lloyd who was a part of a team that appointed Holder does not believe he is entirely to blame.

“It’s not just Jason. The team has let him down. These young players must have more pride in whom they represent, not just blaming a captain who we were raving about two months ago when he led West Indies to a series victory against England,” Lloyd told the Barbados Nation News.

 

Windies top order batsman Shai Hope has rejected claims a coaching change just ahead of the start of the ICC World Cup was a major contributing factor to the team’s dismal display.

Despite being considered as one of the teams capable of causing problems at the tournament, the Windies went on to register just two wins, which left them second to last in the overall standings. 

A part of the optimism heading into the tournament was fueled by the team’s performance against England during its tour of the Caribbean.  Richard Pybus was the interim coach in charge of the team’s exceptional performance for the series of matches against the English but was replaced with Floyd Reifer only weeks ahead of the World Cup by a newly appointed Cricket West Indies (CWI) administration.

The move has led to criticism in some quarters, with many accusing the administration of unsettling the team.  Hope was, however, quick to insist that the players take full responsibility for the poor results.

“Regardless of what happened behind the scenes, we have to go out there and play cricket,” Hope said.

“It doesn’t matter what happened the week before, the day before, two years before. It’s about crossing that line and playing the hardest you can for the region.”

The Windies started brightly with a big win over Pakistan but slumped to defeats at the hands of Australia, England, Bangladesh, New Zealand, India and Sri Lanka before winning a game against Afghanistan.  Hope admitted it was difficult to pinpoint what went wrong.

“If I knew the answer to that, I reckon we’d be in the semis. It’s just one of those things. As I said, we didn’t play the better cricket on the day, and in a tournament like this, you have to basically play your best game each game.”

 

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.

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