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.

West Indies vice-captain Chris Gayle said his only focus is trying to win the World Cup, as he has nothing to prove.

West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell has declared that he is fit and ready to give his all for the West Indies at the ICC World Cup in England that bowls off in just over a week.

He has also urged fans of the team to pay scant regard to the recent results from the tri-series in Ireland where the West Indies lost all three matches to Bangladesh.

Russell, who left Jamaica for England on Monday, played for his club St. Catherine CC who were up against St Elizabeth CA in the JCA JamT20 Bashment on Sunday at Sir P's Oval in Treadlight, Clarendon.

Asked to bat St. Catherine posted 167 for seven from their overs with Russell scoring 88 runs. Bowling, Russell picked up two for 12 but St. Elizabeth won by seven.

Speaking between innings on Sunday, Russell said those who are concerned that the West Indies lost all three matches against Bangladesh in Ireland, need not worry. A full-strength West Indies will be dangerous.

“This is England, so anything can happen. Once you bowl in good areas, stick to the plan we can hurt teams,” he said.

“We are a good unit at the moment. Apart from what happened against Bangladesh in Ireland, fans don’t need to pay that any mind because a few of us who will be in the eleven were not there so I am not even studying that series, to be honest.”

Russell, regarded as one of the best T20 players in the world, said he is in great shape and ready to battle for the West Indies as the Caribbean side goes hunting for their third hold of the ICC World Cup trophy. The West Indies last won the trophy in 1979.

“I am in good shape. My knees are feeling a lot better. I can move around a lot easier. I would be ungrateful if I said I am not where I want to be because a few months ago I could not even run properly so I am giving thanks and I appreciate the hard work the physios and others have been putting in behind the scenes and I am just looking forward to the World Cup,” Russell said.

 "I am hitting the ball well and the ball is also coming out of my hand well so I hope I can contribute with the ball as well. I am looking forward to contributing with the bat or the ball, or if I need to take a brilliant catch I will do that as well.”

The star player said the West Indies’ job is simple – just get the job done.

“We have a good team. The selectors have done well select a balanced team. Once the batters score runs we have the opportunity to defend it with the bowlers that we have,” he said.

“I am just focused on getting there, getting acclimatized, getting my body right and making sure that I leave everything on the field for the West Indies."

West Indies skipper Jason Holder is anxious to do well at the ICC Cricket World Cup at the end of this month, but he is also looking back to previous One Day Internationals for what you could term, inspiration. 

Windies talisman Chris Gayle is known for setting records but the big left-hander could be heading for one he may not want when he makes his appearance later this month at the ICC World Cup.

The 39-year-old batsman is expected to earn his 290th ODI cap as a Windies opener, having scored 10,151 runs.  The appearance will also be the player’s fifth at a World Cup.

 If the Windies do not win the tournament and with the player already slated to retire immediately after it, Gayle would join a select group of players to have played the most World Cup without winning.  The big left-hander is in danger of being the ninth player to have accomplished this unwanted record.  Some of the most notable names include the likes of Mahela Jayawardene, Shahid Afridi and Jacques Kallis.  Regionally Gayle will join legends Brian Lara and Curtly Ambrose. 

Ambrose played in 17 World Cup games across three editions from 1992 to 1999 and had 24 wickets at just 20.79, conceding a miserly 3.03 runs per over.  Lara is the third highest run-scorer in World Cups with 1225 runs from 34 matches spread across 5 editions, starting from 1992.

Former West Indies coach Phil Simmons has announced his intention to step down as the coach of the Afghanistan team following this month’s ICC World Cup.

The 56-year-old took up the job as manager of the Asian team in 2017, one year after leaving the post of manager of the Caribbean team.  The former all-rounder is credited with playing a crucial role in guiding the team back to the ICC World Cup and was such was a prime candidate for a contract renewal.

Simmons has, however, revealed that he believes the time is right to try something new.

"I have thought about it and I have actually given the ACB my notice that I will not be renewing my contract," Simmons told ESPNcricinfo.

 "I will move on to something different once my contract expires on July 15.

 "I signed up originally for 18 months and I think I have done a lot in this period. It is time for me to move on to something else now. To want to get to the World Cup - that was ACB's goal at the time they appointed me. My goal is always to leave things better than when I joined: the way we practice, the way we think about the game, the way we assess other teams. I've tried to help the players in all those areas."

While speculation has been rife that the move coincides with leadership changes made by the Afghanistan Cricket Board’s (ACB), without the knowledge of the coach, it also lines up with recent changes made in the leadership of Cricket West Indies (CWI).

With Ricky Skerritt replacing Dave Cameron as CWI boss the administration made several changes, including the appointment of Floyd Reifer as interim coach.  It is believed the new administration could have Simmons in mind for the long term post, an idea to which he has not objected to.

Former Windies skipper Darren Sammy believes the regional team will be crowned ICC World Cup champions but has a particularly interesting reason for coming to that conclusion.

The 12th edition of the tournament will mark 40 years since the West Indies won the tournament in 1979.  However, far from those days and despite a strong showing against the world number one-ranked team England recently, the Caribbean unit, who struggled to make the tournament in the first place, will not be most experts pick to win it all.

Sammy, the former T20 World Cup champion believes different forces could be at play.  Despite the fact that team will be one of the lowest ranked heading into the tournament, Sammy believes the number 40 could hold a charm for the team, based on its religious and symbolic significance.

 The tournament will also be the last for the arguably the region’s biggest star, Chris Gayle, who is expected to retire following the tournament and the motivation could be high to give him a proper send off.

“West Indies will win the World Cup. With Chris Gayle retiring, the ‘Universe Boss’ will want to leave with a bang. I just have a strong feeling. It’s been 40 years since we last won the World Cup. I’m a biblical man and the number 40 comes up a lot in the bible… I think it’s our time to rise up,” Sammy was quoted as saying by metro.co.uk.

Bangladesh won their first one-day tournament final as they put in a clinical batting display to beat West Indies in the tri-nation series at Malahide.

With West Indies' promising innings disrupted by rain, the match was cut to 24 overs per-side when play eventually resumed at 17:30 local time.

Shai Hope (74) and Sunil Ambris (69 not out) had been in the middle of an impressive partnership, but the break seemed to serve Bangladesh – without the injured Shakib Al Hasan – well, as they came out with renewed vigour.

Set a revised target of 210, Bangladesh stepped up the tempo with the bat – Soumya Sarkar (66) and Mosaddek Hossain (52no) both hitting half-centuries - as they reached their target with seven balls and five wickets remaining.

Put into bat, West Indies looked set to be heading for a high total before rain stopped play 20 overs into proceedings, Hope and Ambris having shared a century opening stand.

The Windies came back after a lengthy delay at 131-0, but lost Hope when he picked out Mosaddek off Mehidy Hasan’s bowling.

West Indies finished up on 152-1, but Bangladesh's target was upped based on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method.

Sarkar cruised to a half-century in 27 balls before succumbing to Raymon Reifer on 66, having hit nine fours and three sixes during his stint at the crease.

Sabbir Rahman's two-ball duck put the Windies in the ascendancy, but a measured 36 from Mushfiqur Rahim put Bangladesh back in contention.

Mosaddek took full advantage, smashing five sixes as he raced to 52 from just 24 balls before Mahmudullah hit a precise cover drive for four to secure a historic victory ahead of the Cricket World Cup.

Windies legend Curtly Ambrose has admitted to being concerned by the form of top-order batsman Darren Bravo, heading into the ICC World Cup later this month.

The 30-year-old Bravo, who only recently rejoined the team following a two-year break, showed plenty of grit in a surprise Test series win for the Windies against England two months ago.  The batsman also made a decent contribution in the preceding ODI series averaging 31.5, including one half-century in two games.

The Trinidad and Tobago national has, however, struggled to continue that traction in the current tri-nation series.  In four matches so far the batsman’s highest score has been 17.  It is those statistics that have Ambrose concerned.

“We must really be concerned about his form because we need him to really come to the party and produce the runs that we know he is capable of doing,” Ambrose said.

“Because as we go deep into this World Cup and in order to get out of the group stages, we can’t rely on one, two or three players. We need a whole team to click or most of the team to click, for us to get out of the group stages,” he added.

“So I am concerned about Darren Bravo’s form but I feel that he’s good enough to get out of that slump and produce the runs for us.”

Windies veteran batsman Chris Gayle has admitted to focusing on his mental preparation, ahead of even the physical aspects as his final World Cup appearance looms on the horizon.

Despite being one of the oldest players heading to the tournament, the 39-year-old has been in solid form in recent months.  In this season’s IPL Gayle has scored 490 runs in 13 matches but really stood out for the recent England series in the Caribbean.  The veteran batsman was named man of the series after amassing 429 runs in four matches at an average of 106.  The player believes keeping fresh has been key.

"I am just taking a lot of rest, getting a lot of massages, lots of stretching, just trying to stay fresh for games. I know what is required to keep me going on the field," Chris Gayle told PTI.

"Age catches up as you ain't getting any younger. But most important thing for me is the mental part of the game. It is not so much about the physical side of the game anymore. I have not done much fitness in the last couple of months," said the Windies veteran.

"I use my experience and mental aspect. I have not done gym for some time," said Chris Gayle.

Legendary West Indies fast bowler Curtly Ambrose has picked the team to make a deep run at the ICC World Cup, which gets under way in England later this month.

The regional team won the first edition of the tournament in 1975 and 1979 and were only narrowly beaten by India in the following edition.  Since then it has been a major barren stretch of sorts having failed to advance to the semi-final stage in seven of the next eight tournaments.  The only exception came in 1996 when the team did manage to make the final four before being narrowly beaten by Australia.  Ambrose, who was a part of that squad, believes the current iteration could at the very least equal that feat.

“Our chances are as good as anybody’s because when you look at cricket in general and like I’ve said to the guys when I was with the team [as a coach], ICC ratings or rankings don’t really count on the field,” Ambrose told the Antigua Observer.

 “In the rankings, you could be one, two or three but it simply means you’re more consistent and you’re winning more games so you get the points to move to the top of the table but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re the better team,” he added.

“We have a decent team but of course, people are going to argue about one or two players which will happen from now until eternity, but I feel we have a good enough team to go deeper into the World Cup.

Our problem is the consistency factor where we would win one game handsomely then maybe lose two or three and then win another one and if you’re so inconsistent then you’re never going to go far. As long as we are consistent in this World Cup, we can spring some surprises and go deep but we have to be consistent,” he said.

Recently deceased West Indies cricketer, Seymour Nurse will receive an official funeral from his birth nation Barbados on Friday, at the Kensington Oval.

Nurse, who passed away at the age of 85 last week, represented the regional team between 1960 and 1969.  The Barbadian played 29 Tests for the West Indies, scoring 2,523 runs at an average of 47.60 with six centuries and 10 half-centuries and formed part of a strong West Indies middle order for the Caribbean side.

The batsman’s contributions continued long after he left the pitch as he went on to serve as a mentor and coach to many great West Indies players and was also an administrator and selector.  Nurse’s body will lie in repose at Empire Club, Pavilion Road, St Michael, on Wednesday, May 15, from 4 to 6 p.m. and at Cricket Legends of Barbados, Fontabelle, St Michael, on Thursday, May 16, from 4 to 6 p.m.

 

 

Mustafizur Rahman led a disciplined bowling display from Bangladesh in a five-wicket win over West Indies that ensured they will meet again in the Tri-Nation Series final.

Hosts Ireland were eliminated after the Tigers beat the Windies for the second time in the tournament in Malahide on Monday.

The in-form Shai Hope made 87 and captain Jason Holder 62, but West Indies could only post 247-9 after winning the toss.

Mustafizur was the pick of the bowlers, taking 4-43 with support from Mashrafe Mortaza (3-60), Shakib Al Hasan (1-27) and Mehidy Hasan (1-41).

Half-centuries from Mushfiqur Rahim (63) and Soumya Sarkar (54) set Bangladesh well on their way and Mahmudullah was unbeaten on 30 when they got home with 16 balls to spare.

Darren Bravo fell cheaply again and the Windies were 99-4 in the 24th over when captain Holder joined Hope at the crease.

The pair put on 100 for the fifth wicket to give West Indies a chance of posting a challenging total, Hope in great touch again before falling 13 short of a third century of the series. 

Holder soon followed after hitting a six and three fours, then Mustafizur snared Ashley Nurse and Raymon Reifer as West Indies failed to produce late fireworks.

Nurse (3-53) ended a 54-run opening stand by bowling Tamim Iqbal and struck for a third time to dismiss Sarkar, who cleared the ropes twice in an assured knock.

Mustafizur and Mohammad Mithun (43) put on 83 for the fourth wicket and Mahmudullah played with confidence before a wide from Sheldon Cottrell consigned the Windies to defeat.

Windies middle-order batsman turned opener, Sunil Ambris, is filled with pride at becoming the first man from St Vincent and the Grenadines to score an international century after his heroics for the Windies saw the Caribbean side romping to a five-wicket victory against Ireland in the Walton Tri-Series in Malahide Cricket Ground in Dublin on Saturday. 

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