The St Kitts & Nevis Patriots were happy enough with their Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) outfit from last time out but made two interesting additions during the draft held earlier today.

Joshua De Silva, the only man to score a century during the West Indies intra-match practice games over the last two weeks, has been drafted into the Patriots line-up, while Australian, Chris Lynn has come over from the Guyana Jaguars.

De Silva showed he can bat, but the 22-year-old Trinidad and Tobago wicketkeeper-batsman has never played a T20 match and averages 32.88 from his 16 First-Class games. He averages 41 in List A cricket but that is just from 10 games.

While De Silva is an unknown quantity, Lynn’s quality with the bat is world-renowned and he could form a dangerous partnership with Evin Lewis at the top of the Patriots order.

Lewis has been retained along with Jamaican pacer Sheldon Cottrell, and allrounder Rayad Emrit.

The Patriots also chose to retain Fabian Allen, West Indies pacer Alzarri Joseph, and Dominic Drakes.

As for signings, the Patriots will have South Africa’s Rassie van der Dussen, Former Pakistan medium pacer, Sohail Tanvir, and returning New Zealander, Ish Sodhi.

The Patriots also have the experience of Denesh Ramdin along with Colin Archibald, John Russ Jaggesar, Sunny Sohal, and Dennis Bulli.

The Trinbago Knight Riders have not made too many changes to the team that are perennial challengers for the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) title.

The Knight Riders have retained all of 11 players for this season’s CPL, set to run from August 18 to September 10 after a remote draft held earlier today.

The Knight Riders will return this season with Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine, Darren Bravo, Lendl Simmons, Khary Pierre, Amir Jangoo, Tion Webster, Akeal Hosein and Muhammad Ali Khan.

They have also signed 18-year-old West Indies under-19 medium-pacer Jayden Seales, as well as carrying back Australian Fawad Ahmed and New Zealand’s Colin Munro after they had stints away last season.

New Zealand wicketkeeper-batsman Tim Seifert is the new name in the line-up after Denesh Ramdin was transferred to the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots.

Seifert comes to the team with 83 T20s under his belt, scoring a century and eight half-centuries at an average of 25.26. He has had 65 dismissals behind the stumps, inclusive of 13 stumpings.

The Knight Riders have drafted four players though, picking up 48-year-old Indian leg-spinner Pravin Tambe, Anderson Phillip, who played with them las season, showing good pace, as well as Zimbabwe all-rounder, Sikandar Raza.

 

Trinbago Knight Riders: Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine, Colin Munro, Australia’s Fawad Ahmed, Darren Bravo, Lendl Simmons, Khary Pierre, Tim Seifert, Sikandar Raza, Anderson Phillip, Pravin Tambe, Jayden Seales, Amir Jangoo, Tion Webster, Akeal Hosein, and Muhammad Ali Khan.

Former South African top-order batsman Rilee Rossouw is the man expected to replace the hole in the St Lucia Zouks batting left by the absence of Chris Gayle.

Gayle, who had made the move from the Jamaica Tallawahs to the St Lucia Zouks, announced that, for personal reasons, he would be sitting out the Hero Caribbean Premier League.

The decision, meant the Daren Sammy-led unit, would be hard pressed to find another big hitter this season.

Roussouw’s signing could be just the Philip they are looking for.

The South African is a seasoned campaigner, having played 199 T20s throughout his career. He averages 29.72 and though he only has two centuries, he scored 27 half centuries in the format at a strike rate of 135.

Along with Rossouw, Sammy has Afghanistan’s Mohammad Nabi, Chemar Holder, Mark Deyal, Leniko Boucher, Javelle Glen and Canadian, Saad Bin Zafar at his disposal.

The team has retained South African Colin Ingram, Andre Fletcher, Kesrick Williams, Rahkeem Cornwall, Obed McCoy, and Kavem Hodge.

They have also signed West Indies under-19 captain Kimani Melius, as well as Afghanistan left-arm spinner Noor Ahmad and South African fast bowler Anrich Nortje.

 

St Lucia Zouks: Rilee Rossouw, Mohammad Nabi, Daren Sammy, Colin Ingram, Andre Fletcher, Kesrick Williams, Anrich Nortje, Chemar Holder, Obed McCoy, Rahkeem Cornwall, Mark Deyal, Noor Ahmad, Kimani Melius, Leniko Boucher, Kavem Hodge, Javelle Glen, and Saad Bin Zafar.

Carlos Brathwaite will turn out for the Jamaica Tallawahs this season after the all-rounder was drafted by the Franchise ahead of the August 18-September 10 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL).

The CPL held it’s online draft earlier on Monday, with the Tallawahs also drafting Nepaleese leg-spinner, Sandeep Lamichhane.

The Tallawahs team threatens to look very different from it has in previous years, though they have retained the services of Andre Russell, Rovman Powell, Glenn Phillips, Chadwick Walton, and Oshane Thomas.

Brathwaite and Lamichhane will team up with fellow draftees Fidel Edwards, Asif Ali, Preston McSween, Nicholas Kirton, Jeavor Royal, Veerasammy Permaul, and Ryan Persaud.

The Tallawahs will also welcome the services of South Africa’s Tabraiz Shamsi, who was a hit with the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots in a previous iteration of the CPL.

 

Jamaica Tallawahs: Andre Russell, Sandeep Lamichhane, Carlos Brathwaite, Rovman Powell, Tabraiz Shamsi, Glenn Phillips, Chadwick Walton, Oshane Thomas, Asif Ali, Fidel Edwards, Preston McSween, Andre McCarthy, Nicholas Kirton, Jeavor Royal, Nkrumah Bonner, Veerasammy Permaul, Ryan Persaud

Ben Stokes will lead by example when he captains England against West Indies, says Dom Sibley.

With Joe Root absent from England's squad for the first Test in Southampton due to the birth of his second child, Stokes is to take charge for the opening game of the three-match series.

Sibley looks set to open the batting alongside Rory Burns as England return to action after a lengthy coronavirus-enforced absence.

"The boys are all raring to go. We've had the three-day warm-up which was good practice, we're all looking forward to getting out in the middle," said Sibley.

"[Stokes] is just going to do what he does, lead from the front, lead by example.

"His quality and energy on the pitch is a unique skill and presence. He'll just use that.

"He's someone the young guys look up to and will continue to do that regardless of whether he's captain or not."

Sibley scored his maiden Test 100 against South Africa in Cape Town in January and impressed on the tour, though he did not get chance to build on those displays prior to lockdown.

However, the 24-year-old – who revealed he has lost 12 kilograms over the course of the break – acknowledged the rest has been helpful.

"At the time I was raring to go and it's new for me to be playing for England, so I was buzzing to play every game," he added.

"But you've got to try and take it as a positive and to have a break after such a long winter was nice. To sit back and work out what I needed to improve on to keep doing well at this level, further my game.

"I'm trying to build on what I did in South Africa and hopefully contribute to a few wins. A few of us did quite well in South Africa, it feels like a lifetime ago but it's a case of trying to build on that and trying to score a few big scores in the series.

"I've been working hard during lockdown, it was probably needed to be fair. Over the winter I was carrying too much weight. I'm glad I'm feeling a bit fitter."

All of the upcoming matches will be played behind closed doors, though Sibley does not feel his game will be affected too drastically.

"If I could have had a choice, it's always a dream to play a Test at Lord's or at your home ground in front of a packed house," he said.

"Circumstances haven't allowed that to happen. I'd always choose to have a crowd in but maybe it might work to my advantage. It's not going to change how I play, I'm just going to do my thing."

International cricket returns when England and West Indies begin their three-Test series on Wednesday, albeit in unprecedented circumstances.  

Bio-secure venues minus spectators, home umpires, potential coronavirus substitutes and no saliva on the ball are just some of the consequences of attempting to play during a global health pandemic. It will be Test cricket, just not quite as we have come to know it.  

There will also be a noticeable change to England’s team, too. With Joe Root out due to the birth of his second child, Ben Stokes will captain the team for the first time.  

The opportunity to lead in a Test perhaps completes the circle for the all-rounder. An incident outside a Bristol nightclub in 2017 cost him the vice-captaincy, but he has rehabilitated his reputation through his actions, both on and off the field, to reclaim the position as Root's deputy. 

Now, at 29, Stokes is preparing to become the 81st Test captain for England. It is a one-off on this occasion, yet also a potential dress rehearsal for the future. Root is the same age as his team-mate but has been in charge since February 2017; the grind eventually takes a toll on all who fill the role – and the numbers suggest performances suffer with the added burden.  

Sitting fourth in the official Test rankings, England will be wary of asking their talismanic all-rounder to do too much. For now, though, this is an opportunity for Stokes to step in and demonstrate his capabilities as a captain (a role he has not filled in first-class cricket previously). 

He has been second in command, now it is time to take on the top job, albeit temporarily. 

A (RECENT) HISTORY LESSON

Stokes will be the 11th different player to lead England in the 21st century. The last three to take on the job – Root, Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen – all started out with victories. 

Indeed, Michael Vaughan was the last skipper to suffer disappointment on his captaincy debut in the format, losing to South Africa at Lord's in July 2003. He was not aided by Nasser Hussain, the man who had stepped down prior to the match, dropping Graeme Smith when he had eight to his name. The left-hander went on to make 259 as the Proteas triumphed by an innings.

Mark Butcher stood in for a solitary game in August 1999, taking over with Hussain sidelined during the home series against New Zealand at Old Trafford. 

England drew that game but Butcher contributed just 14 runs in his two knocks during a weather-hit contest. He was dropped for the next game as England lost at The Oval to go down 2-1 in the series.

Cook was captain for 59 Tests – a record for England – while Michael Atherton (54), Vaughan (51) and Andrew Strauss (50) also made the half-century mark. Root's tally is at 39 and with a hectic itinerary mapped out over the next 18 months or so, dependent on any further complications caused by COVID-19, he will not have to wait too long to reach the milestone.

STOKES BY THE STATS 

To say Stokes is a key contributor for England is an understatement. His match-winning abilities with both bat and ball are hugely important as they bring balance to the XI. His presence means the attack can include five frontline bowlers without having to weaken the middle order. 

His overall statistics for Test cricket do not do justice to his talent. Stokes averages 36.5 with the bat in 63 Test appearances, yet he's recorded a mark of just over 47 across his 26 knocks since the start of 2019. 

Included is that unforgettable innings against Australia at Headingley last year, as he kept his side alive in the Ashes with an unbeaten 135. England chased down 359 on a fourth day that will live long in the memory for those who watched it, Stokes adding 73 with last-man Jack Leach – who contributed only a single to the cause – for company. 

The left-hander had already made a century in the previous Test of that series at Lord's, while earlier this year he hit 120 against South Africa in Port Elizabeth. 

Stokes passed 4,000 Test runs for his career during the series with the Proteas but now stands on the brink of another notable personal landmark.

He is just three shy of bringing up 150 wickets in the format. He posted career-best figures of 6-22 against West Indies in 2017, with his overall average against the men from the Caribbean a touch better than his career mark (31.09 compared to 32.68). 

THE NUMBERS GAME

So, is captaincy a hindrance or a help? Considering his importance to the team, England will be loathed to overburden Stokes, a factor that would be considered when deciding if he is the right candidate to replace Root for more than just the odd Test. 

Ian Botham - another great all-rounder - did not prosper during his stint as captain. His 12-Test reign saw him average a meagre 13.14 with the bat (his career number finished at 33.54) and ended with a pair during the 1981 Ashes. Freed of the responsibility as Mike Brearley took over, Botham produced a series of blistering performances to make sure England retained the urn, including an innings at Headingley comparable to Stokes' knock.

Kevin Pietersen, meanwhile, also found it a difficult role during his three matches in charge. The best player is not necessarily the ideal candidate. 

"The entertainers and the guys that have to carry that mantle in the team sometimes aren't the best captains, and sometimes struggle with the extra added pressure," Pietersen told talkSPORT.

"You get looked at completely differently. Responsibilities change, communication changes, the way in which you carry yourself in the dressing room changes. It's a difficult place to be. I struggled with it: I absolutely hated it, and I was rubbish."

Root has seen his batting output slip considerably since taking on the added responsibility. Having averaged 52.8 in his first 53 Tests, the right-hander has since made 3,005 runs at 42.9 in his games as captain. Good, but not great.

Vaughan too suffered a drop, averaging 36 in his 51 Tests in charge, compared to 51 for the rest of his career. Cook, however, improved during his tenure, going up from 44.6 to 46.6, as did fellow opener Atherton (35.3 to 40.6).

England will have to work out if the risk is worth the reward in terms of Stokes becoming captain, considering what he means to the side. At least the series opener against West Indies will offer a potential glimpse into the future. 

West Indies fast bowler Kemar Roach believes the absence of England captain Joe Root and changed batting line-up, ahead of the upcoming series, could serve as a double edge sword for the Caribbean team.

Root will miss the first Test of the series to be at the birth of his second child and the pacer could face only two of the top six in a batting line-up he dominated in the Caribbean last year.  Newcomers Dom Sibley, Zak Crawley, and Ollie Pope are set to join the line-up in Southampton along with Joe Denly, who played the second and third Tests of England's Caribbean tour last year.

“It’s different conditions now, we are in England this time around.  I see England has also made some changes to their batting line-up so it’s all about assessing each batsman and following-up their weaknesses and exploiting them,” Roach told members of the media via a Zoom press conference on Sunday.

“Of course, I would love to have the same batting line because it’s what we got used to for the last few series but there are a few changes so it’s all about sticking to the game plan,” he added.

“A Test match without Root, the fantastic stats he has, is going to be a bit of an advantage for us.  He's one that keeps the England batting together, he's done fantastically for them for the last couple of years,” he added.

"Without him, it is a bit of an advantage for us, but also a little bit of a disadvantage because there are some new guys coming in that we obviously have to work out and see what their weaknesses are and try to exploit them. So it goes 50-50, but once we get stuck in and hit our straps and put the balls in the right area I think we stand a very good chance of going out there and performing well."

Key Windies strike bowler Kemar Roach believes young pace bowler Alzarri Joseph can have a decisive impact against England in the upcoming Test series.

Roach and Joseph are expected to form part of a four-pronged bowling attack that also includes the returning Shannon Gabriel and West Indies captain Jason Holder.  The quartet did well on home soil last year when the team secured a 2-1 win over England and the Wisden trophy.

On that occasion, it was Roach that played a starring role with the ball, but Joseph provided plenty of support with a 10-wicket haul for the series and gave the England batsman plenty to think about.  Ahead of the upcoming series, Roach believes his young teammate is even better this time around.

“Once he sticks to his game plan and has confidence in himself, I don’t see why he can’t do very well in this series,” Roach told members of the media.

“He’s a fantastic talent and we all know what he is capable of,” he added.

“At a young age, he is enthusiastic, very good, and always willing to learn.  He has improved significantly in my eyes and I think he has a great future for the West Indies.”

The 23-year-old Joseph made his debut for the West Indies as a 19-year-old against India in 2016.  He has since then, however, been plagued by injury issues but heads into the England Test in good shape.

“I’m looking forward to playing with him and in years to come, i’ll probably be at home and watching him lead the West Indies bowling attack.  So, I think he has a great future and I’m looking forward to seeing what he can produce.”

West Indies batsman Shamarh Brooks has hailed the telling impact on a new generation of regional cricketers by the late, great Sir Everton Weekes, insisting his legacy would be proudly carried on.

Weekes, who was the only living member of the legendary three Ws, which had also included Sir Frank Worrell and Sir Clyde Walcott, passed away earlier this week at the age of 95.  The on-pitch records written by the iconic cricketer are many and fabled, but tellingly, his impact on the sport did not stop when he retired from it in 1958.

Despite the gulf in years and many generations in-between them, Weekes served as a mentor to 31-year-old Brooks and many others along the way.  Freely dishing out needed advice at cricket grounds he once dominated.

“When I scored my first Test 100 in India, against Afghanistan, I spoke to sir Everton.  And even in first-class cricket if there is a game played at Kensington, he would always be in the president’s suite watching,” Brooks told members of the media.

“We would also be able to go up there either during the game or after the game to have a word with him about what he had seen or what we could do differently or that kind of stuff,” he added. 

According to the player, who pointed out invaluable tips he learned about playing spin, Weekes’ contribution did end when he reached the end of his life on July 1st. 

“It’s sad that a great man is gone but he has left a legacy and hopefully the guys in the team now can carry on that legacy.”

 

 

I use my Sundays to look back at what has been happening in the world of sport. On many a Sunday, I realise that people have looked at the stories they have seen throughout the week through different lenses. I have my own personal take on some of these issues and I will share them with you. Welcome to #INCASEYOUMISSEDIT.

May his legacy live forever!

The last of the three Ws, Sir Everton Weekes, died this week at his Christ Church home, aged 95, after battling with an ailment for some time.  He was a man who impacted the lives of many on and off the field. His legacy will live on through his work and records.

Condolences poured in, the majority shedding light on the calibre of Sir Everton. Barbados Cricket Association President Conde Riley expressed sadness at the news.

“Sir Everton was one of our greats. He has made a massive contribution to Barbados and West Indies cricket. This is a sad time for cricket. We have lost a legend.”

Cricket West Indies had this to say:

“Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the loss of an icon. A legend, our hero, Sir Everton Weekes. Our condolences go out to his family, friends, and many fans around the world. May he rest in peace.”

What is clear is Sir Everton had a full career and the statistics speak for themselves. He began his international career against England on January 21, 1948, and enjoyed a career spanning 48 tests in 20 years. He accumulated an average of 58.61, scored 15 centuries, and 19 half-centuries, with a high score of 207.

One cannot forget, even for a second, his role in shaping the West Indies transition from being a competitive team to being one of the most dominant in sporting history.  Sir Everton Weekes was a true hero and son of West Indian soil. May his legacy live on through his work and the lives that he touched.

 Come on Skips! Time to dust off the rust!

Two intra-squad practice matches have been completed and there has been no sign of batting form from West Indies captain Jason Holder and he has hardly bowled. Some may say, it is just a practice match, do not get overworked!

However, I am fretting as I don’t think there will be a magical turnaround. Even though practice matches count for nothing, because of the lack of sports and training due to COVID-19, this one counts for something, even if it is simply confidence.

Holder continues to struggle to shake off a bit of rust, or allay injury concerns, after being dismissed cheaply in the second and final intra-squad match at Emirates Old Trafford, on Thursday. Scores of 0, 5, and 2 certainly raised eyebrows.  In the intra-squad practice matches the West Indies skipper’s highest score was 5, with his innings lasting just 13 deliveries.  It is also difficult to forget the all-rounder’s golden duck in the first internal match that ended in a draw last week.

In addition to time away from the pitch, Holder has recently been bothered by a mild ankle injury.  Despite claims that he has not been hampered by it, Holder has looked uncomfortable at the crease.

This lack of form is worrying, especially as this Windies group is young and the players will be looking to the number one Test allrounder to lead by example. The Windies is a stronger unit with the skipper fully fit.

 We are missing the bigger picture!

 As humans, sometimes we choose to focus on the wrong things, and in so doing, we are distracted from the bigger picture. President of the Barbados Cricket Association, Conde Riley, initially called for the immediate sacking of West Indies head coach, Phil Simmons, after he heard on a radio station in Barbados that Simmons had broken the bubble to attend the funeral of his father-in-law.

However, based on the report put out by Cricket West Indies Simmons got the Board’s approval and would self-isolate upon re-entry as well as undergo COVID-19 tests before rejoining the group.

Upon reading Mr. Riley’s reaction and CWI’s statement, the SportsMax Zone reached out to Mr. Riley regarding his pronouncements. In this interview Riley stated:

1. He had sent a letter of inquiry to CWI as he was not notified that Simmons was leaving the bubble. He said, “if it is true” that he left the camp for a funeral it was “reckless” and “endangered the players.”

2. Parts of his letter to CWI were leaked thereby misleading the public.

3. Being a board member, if he was notified, he would not have reacted impulsively.

4. There were three board meetings before the team left for England and at no time during those meetings was he made aware that Simmons's father-in-law had died.

 How could Mr. Riley and the CWI be so divergent in their views? Is there a bigger issue?

How did part of Riley’s letter get leaked to the media? Is there a lack of confidentiality and communication between CWI and its board members?

There appears to be more than what meets the eye here.

 

Cricket West Indies (CWI), yesterday, announced Phizz as the Official Hydration Tablet Partner.

The partnership is set to launch on the pitch on Wednesday, July 8 in the team’s highly anticipated first Test match of the Sandals West Indies Tour of England 2020 in the #RaiseTheBat Series at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton.

The second and third Test matches will be at Emirates Old Trafford Bowl in Manchester on July 16-20 and July 24-28

Phizz is scientifically formulated to create the most comprehensive formula of hydration, vitamins and minerals. It was created as a hydration amplifier, ensuring players rapidly absorb two to three times more than drinking water alone, while also replenishing the main electrolytes lost in sweat.

“Player nutrition and hydration is key in supporting performance, recovery and immune systems under stress from training and travel,” said Dr. Oba Gulston, CWI’s Sports Science and Medicine Manager.

“We are pleased to bring Phizz on board. We feel that Phizz provides the ideal blend of hydration, essential vitamins, minerals and electrolytes to support our athletes.”

Dominic Warne, Commercial and Marketing Director for CWI said:

“We are excited to have Phizz on board to support our athletes on the pitch and on the road as one of our technical partners. This great addition to our family of technical partnerships brings genuine benefits for our teams’ preparation and performance development.”

Yasmin Badiani, Phizz Head of Sport said:

"Phizz is proud to partner a legendary team such as the West Indies."

"This is a big moment for our growing company, and we are looking forward to working closely with the team on this partnership.”

Phizz supplies more than 60 professional sports clubs as well as airlines, gyms and five-star hotels around the world.

The West Indies are about to play against England in England for the Wisden Trophy and we at SportsMax thought it may be interesting to look back at the best performances from the Caribbean side in that country.

The West Indies lead England in head to heads, 57-49, with 51 drawn games between the teams.

The teams began to play for the Wisden Trophy in 1963 and since then have won the series 14 times to England’s 10, though this year’s hosts have been dominant recently, save for last year when the West Indies wrested the trophy from them in a 2-1 win. There have been three drawn series since 1963.

But performing in England has always been tough and good performances there have always been counted at a premium, living in the memories of batsmen, bowlers and fans for a very very long time.

Here are the performances that stand out in my mind, tell me if you have others you remember. Comment on these performances on Facebook or Twitter, I wouldn’t mind the trip down memory lane.

 

Best XI West Indian performances in England

 

Allan Rae and Frank Worrell lay into England (The Oval 1950)

Centuries from Allan Rae and Frank Worrell helped the West Indies to win their first series against England in England.

The West Indies would end up winning the series 3-1 but that was set up from the first innings of the first Test where, electing to bat first, Rae bat for five hours to score 109, while Worrell, batting at number three, did the same to score 138.

The West Indies would go on to score 503, before limiting England to 344 and 103 to win by an innings and 56 runs.

 

Sobers goes on show, Charlie Griffiths works up a head of steam (Headingley (1963)

Sir Garfield Sobers scored 102 against England at Headingley as the West Indies won the fourth Test of their 1963 series against England, setting up a first-innings total of 397, which quickly turned into a 223-run lead thanks to Charlie Griffiths’ 6-36. The performances set up a 221-run victory and the series would end 3-1 in favour of the visitors.

 

Lance Gibbs turns Old Trafford on its head (Old Trafford, 1966)

In 1966 Lance Gibbs was the greatest spinner in the world and England crumbled at the feet of his twirling in the first Test of their series. Following on from Garfield Sobers’ 161 in a first innings at Old Trafford where the West Indies scored 484, Gibbs’ 5-37 left England flapping at 167 all out. The follow-on didn’t go any better for the hosts, with Gibbs bagging 5-69 from a marathon 41 overs of bowling. The West Indies would go on to win that 1966 series 3-1.

 

Lloyd, Boyce take over the Oval (The Oval, 1973)

Cllive Lloyd scored 132 in the first innings of the first Test at The Oval in 1973, but that was just part of the story of the way the West Indies dominated made their way to a 158-run victory and a 2-0 series win against England. Keith Boyce only played 21 Tests for the West Indies over the course of four years but in 1973 England had no answer to him. Lloyd’s Innings proved the catalyst fo the West Indies’ 415-run first innings byt then Boyce returned to bag 5-70 to restrict England to 257 and give the visitors a decided advantage. The West Indies would quickly score 255 before Boyce was back at it again, taking 6-77 on the way to dismissing England for 255.

 

VIV Richards shows complete dominance (Trent Bridge, 1976)

Sir Isaac Vivian Alexander Richards is a name that really needs no introduction and England would feel the brunt of his brutality on many occasions. In 1976, the West Indies won a five-Test series in England 3-0, but Richards was dominant from ball one. Batting at his customary number three in the first Test of the series, Richards would help the West Indies to 494 runs in a first innings where he slammed 232. When England responded with 332 in their first innings, the West Indies needed to score quick runs so they could declare with enough time to bowl England out a second time. Richards obliged with 63 and even though the match ended in a draw, the performance of the Master Blaster.

 

Gordon Greenidge puts his name in the Lord’s book in emphatic style  (Lord’s 1984)

The second Test of a series against England at Lord’s had a number of brilliant performances from both teams. England’s Graeme Fowler had scored a fighting 106 in his side’s 286. The low total was brought about by Malcolm Marshall’s special bowling performance of 6-85. That bowling performance was superseded by Ian Botham’s 8-103 to help restrict the West Indies to 245. In the second innings, England declared on 300-9 thanks to Allan Lamb’s 110. Chasing 341 in the second innings, Gordon Greenidge eclipsed all those performances with a sparkling 214 not out, as the West Indies romped to 344-1 in just 66.1 overs. Larry Gomes got a front seat to the action, scoring 92. The West Indies would go on to win the series 5-0.

 

Malcolm Marshall leaves England a little short (Lord’s 1988)

From the lates 1970s until the mid-1990s the West Indies could depend on one part or another of their team to pull them out of tough situations. In the second Test of their 1988 Wisden Trophy series against England, they were up against it early with Gus Logie’s 81 helping the West Indies to just 209. But Malcolm Marshall proved that any total could be enough, destroying England with 6-32 and leaving the game well balanced and maybe giving the West Indies a slight advantage.

Gordon Greenidge’s 103 gave the West Indies a good lead headed into England’s second innings and despite Allan Lamb’s 113, Marshall’s brilliance meant they never got close. The West Indies won by 134 runs and Marshall took 4-60 to end with figures of 10-92.

 

The Ambrose and Walsh show take over Trent Bridge (Trent Bridge, 1991)

The West Indies conveyor belt of fastbowlers had begun to run dry by 1991 but they still had the services of Malcolm Marshall, Courtney Andrew Walsh and Curtly Ambrose. And while they would lose the Wisden Trophy to England that year, there was one Test at Trent Bridge where Ambrose and Walsh reminded the world of the great days of fastbowling and pointed to what would become the most successful opening bowling partnership in World cricket for the next 10 years. In the first innings, led by Graeme Gooch’s 68, England scored 300 all out, but it would have been a much higher total had it not been for 34 overs from Ambrose that yielded 5-74. The West Indies would go into the second innings with a healthy 97-run lead, thanks in large part to Viv Richards’ 80. When England bat again, Walsh made sure the West Indies would not have much to chase, bagging 4-64. In that England second innings, Ambrose had 3-61.

 

Richie Richardson plays anchor role (Edgbaston, 1991)

Richie Richardson had the reputation for being an aggressive batsman, who hooked and pulled his way out of trouble for the most part, but at Edgbaston, in 1991 a different type of batsman was called for. England had been dismissed for 188 courtesy of Malcolm Marshall, 4-33, and Curtly Ambrose, 3-64. But the West Indies were in trouble with the bat as well, with Chris Lewis running rampant for England with 6-111. Standing in the way though, Richardson, recognizing that wickets were falling all around him, faced 229 deliveries to score 104, his strike rate of 45.41, unusually low for his aggressive nature. The innings helped the West Indies to 292 and set up a seven-wicket win  

 

Lara’s 179, Hooper’s 127 keeps things even against England (Kennington Oval, 1995)

With the six-Test series tied at 2-2 headed into the final game, the West Indies, a team in decline by 1995, needed to make sure they did not lose.

England had scored 454 thanks to Graeme Hick’s 96 and despite Curtly Ambrose’s 5-96. Replying, the West Indies scored 692-8, building a lead of  238 to make sure the game could not be lost. The total is still the biggest without featuring a double-century from a batsman, but there was still much brilliance on show. Brian Lara for instance, scored a masterful 179 from just 206 deliveries, slamming 26 fours and a six. But Lara didn’t have to do it alone, with Carl Hooper scoring 127, skipper Richie Richardson, scoring 93, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, scoring 80, and Sherwin Campbell scoring 89. As a team, that was probably the last time the West Indies showed complete dominance with the bat in England.

 

Shai Hope becomes an immortal at Headingley (Headingley 2017)

Still a growing team, the West Indies unit that went to England in 2017 were expected to be thrashed and they were. While the defeat in the three-Test series was only 2-1, and the a result came down to the final Test, the truth is the teams were world’s apart. In that second Test though, the West Indies learned they could not only compete, but they could win in England. Ben Stokes had scored a century to prop up England’s first innings at 258, as Shannon Gabriel and Kemar Roach with four wickets apiece gave West Indies real hope. Then Kraigg Brathwaite with 134 and Shai Hope with 147, pushed the West Indies advantage, the innings ending at 427. England were up against it but batted well to score 490-8 and give the West Indies a serious total to chase. Again, Brathwaite and Hope were on show. Brathwaite fell for 95, agonizingly close to a second century in the match, but there was no stopping Hope, who was unbeaten at the end, scoring 118to lead the West Indies to 322-5 and a famous victory.

England have opted not to recall Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali for their first Test against West Indies, but Dom Bess does make the 13-man squad.

Test cricket returns on Wednesday when England meet the Windies behind closed doors in Southampton in the opening Test of a three-match series.

Ben Stokes will captain the side for the first time as regular skipper Joe Root has left the team bubble to attend the birth of his second child.

Sam Curran, who has been battling illness, is the only other player to miss out from the XI that faced South Africa in Johannesburg in England's last Test in January.

The squad for the West Indies Test also includes Rory Burns, James Anderson and Jofra Archer - who were missing at the Wanderers due to injury - and spinner Bess, who played earlier in the South Africa series.

There is no recall for either Bairstow or Moeen, neither of whom are included on the nine-man reserve list, which does feature Curran.

Bairstow has not played since scoring a combined 10 across two innings against South Africa in the first Test of that series last December.

All-rounder Moeen has not featured in the five-day game since the 2019 Ashes having opted out of England's three tours since, though he was named in the 30-man squad that has been training in preparation for the Windies series.

Uncapped pair James Bracey and Dan Lawrence - both of whom scored half-centuries in the intra-squad match this week - are on the reserve list too along with bowling options Jack Leach, Saqib Mahmood and Ollie Robinson.

Vasbert Drakes says the pace of former sprinter Chemar Holder can make a fierce West Indies attack even more potent in the Test series against England.

Uncapped 22-year-old Holder was named in the touring party following some outstanding domestic performances for Barbados Pride in the West Indies Championship.

The Barbadian gave a demonstration of his huge potential back in 2016 when the Windies won the Under-19 Cricket World Cup and could make his senior debut during a three-match series in England, which starts behind closed doors at the Ageas Bowl next Wednesday.

Former West Indies fast bowler and assistant coach Drakes has helped to nurture Holder's talent and thinks he can cause England problems if he is given an opportunity.

Drakes told Stats Perform News: "I've known Chemar from a young age, he went to school with my son, Dominic, and they have come through the system together and been part of the group of West Indies Emerging Players.

"I have done some one-to-one coaching work with him and he's got some good attributes, good skill sets. He's a hard worker and used to be a sprinter, he was a 400 metres runner and also competed in the 1500 metres.

"When he gets it right, he's consistently in the high 80s [miles per hour]. The only way to find out if he's ready is to throw him in at the deep end against England.

"He would have played against England A team last year and would have gone to England the year before that as part of the Emerging Players group, so he would have had the experience of bowling in those conditions."

Kemar Roach was among 12 members of the Windies squad who Drakes worked with before they flew out to England for the first international cricket since the coronavirus pandemic brought the vast majority of sport to a halt.

Roach was man of the series when West Indies won a Test series against England in the Caribbean last year and Drakes, who was assistant coach for that 2-1 triumph, says he can make a big impact again.

Asked if Roach will be the spearhead of the attack, he replied: "Absolutely. One of the things he did well last year was he took early wickets.

"Without giving away too much methodology in how to deconstruct the opposition gameplan and counter them, Kemar Roach has the ability to take early wickets, releasing the ball from wide of the crease and moving away from batsmen - particularly the right-handers.

"His track record against left-handers is phenomenal and England have some left-handers. Kemar and Jason [captain Holder], they set the tone along with [Alzarri] Joseph and Shannon Gabriel can be a threat with his pace and uncertainty he creates.

"It will be interesting to see if that combination can work as it did in the Caribbean."

The International Cricket Council (ICC) says there is no evidence to merit launching an investigation into allegations that the 2011 Cricket World Cup final between India and Sri Lanka was fixed.

A criminal probe was launched in Sri Lanka following claims made by Mahindananda Aluthgamage, the country's sports minister at the time of a final won by India in Mumbai nine years ago.

Aluthgamage alleged that Sri Lanka had "sold" the World Cup, prompting a special investigation to be opened.

Kumar Sangakkara, Aravinda de Silva and Upul Tharanga were called in for questioning, but police this week dropped the probe. Mahela Jayawardene was due to be questioned but the investigation was dropped before he appeared.

The ICC on Friday said the governing body has not received any information to suggest there was any wrongdoing.

ICC anti-corruption code general manager Alex Marshall said: "The ICC Integrity Unit has looked into the recent allegations regarding the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup final 2011.

"At this time, we have not been presented with any evidence that supports the claims made or which would merit launching an investigation under the ICC anti-corruption code.

"There is no record of any letter regarding this matter sent by the then Sri Lanka sports minister to the ICC and senior ICC staff at the time have confirmed they have no recollection of receiving any such letter which would have led to an investigation.

"We have no reason to doubt the integrity of the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup final 2011.

"We take all allegations of this nature extremely seriously and should we receive any evidence to corroborate the claims, we will review our current position."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.