Former West Indies batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan has been appointed to lead the senior selection panel of the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB). His appointment is one several made at a meeting of the newly elected board on Saturday night.

At the meeting, which was the second held since the March 29 elections, and chaired by President B Bissoondyal Singh, several sub-committees were established for senior selection, junior selection as well as for cricket development, finance and public relations.

Sarwan will head the senior panel while Andre Percival, the most successful youth captain in the West Indies, will head the junior selection panel. Vice President Hilbert Foster will lead cricket development, Claude Raphael, the Public Relations Committee while Acting Treasurer Dr Cecil Beharry, heads up the Finance Committee.

Also arising from the meeting was the GCB decision to make available several positions on the different committees for the Essequibo Cricket Board.

 

Chris Gayle was among the runs as the Punjab Kings defeated the Rajasthan Royals by four runs in a thriller in Mumbai today.

South Africa levelled the four-match Twenty20 series against Pakistan at 1-1 thanks to a convincing six-wicket win at the Wanderers in Johannesburg.

The Proteas - minus their Indian Premier League stars - had slipped to defeat in the opening game on Saturday but recovered impressively from that setback, with a disciplined bowling performance restricting their opponents to 140-9.

Aidan Markram led the reply with 54 from 30 balls and while there was a mid-innings wobble as they slipped to 98-4, the hosts still cruised to their victory target with six overs to spare.

Stand-in captain Heinrich Klaasen finished up unbeaten on 36, while George Linde was 20 not out from just 10 deliveries to complete a fine all-round performance.

Mohammad Rizwan had starred in Pakistan's successful run chase at the weekend, making an unbeaten 74, but fell for a first-ball duck this time.

The recalled Sharjeel Khan – playing his first international game since January 2017 – also departed early for eight, leaving the score at 10-2 in the third over of an innings that simply never gained momentum.

Skipper Babar Azam made 50 at a run-a-ball rate and Mohammad Hafeez contributed 32, the pair adding 58 for the third wicket.

However, three wickets apiece for Linde – who opened the bowling with his left-arm spin - and Lizaad Williams restricted Pakistan's final score. Tabraiz Shamsi also played his part with the ball, recording figures of 1-22 from his four overs.

The two teams meet again in the third T20 at Centurion on Wednesday, with the series concluding at the same venue two days later.


Rare failure for Rizwan

Rizwan had posted scores of 74 not out, 42, 51, 104 not out and 89 in his previous five T20 appearances for Pakistan. However, the impressive run of form came to a rapid halt on Monday.

The wicketkeeper-batsman fell to the first ball of the game, an ambitious attempt to hit Linde over the top only providing catching practice for Markram at mid-off.

Opening case continues

Markram made sure South Africa had no issues with the required rate in reply, hitting seven fours and three sixes in a 30-ball knock.

The opening batsman has hit back-to-back half-centuries in the format now, furthering his case for a spot in the full-strength line-up ahead of the T20 World Cup later in the year.

 Ricky Skerritt and Dr Kishore Shallow have been re-elected unopposed to the posts of President and Vice President respectively, of Cricket West Indies (CWI). They will serve a second two-year term. The re-election process was conducted as one of the key items on the agenda of the 22nd Annual General Meeting of CWI, today Sunday, April 11, 2021.

“I am humbled and deeply honoured to be re-elected to serve as CWI President for a second term,” said Skerritt, whose leadership was briefly challenged by former Secretary of the Guyana Cricket Board, Anand Sanasie.

“I take the responsibility to lead the Board of this prestigious organization, most seriously. We have much-unfinished work to do, and we renew our pledge to work untiringly to help achieve sustainable improvement, both on and off the field, for West Indies cricket.”

Meanwhile, CWI Vice President said expressed gratitude for being able to continue to serve regional cricket.

“I am again grateful for the continued support of the member representatives for Ricky and myself. This re-election is a victory for West Indies cricket as we continue on the path of growing the game across the region, and achieving good outcomes on all fronts and at all levels,” he said.

In addition to the election for President and Vice President, the following persons were duly elected as Member Directors of CWI:

 Conde Riley – Barbados Cricket Association

Calvin Hope – Barbados Cricket Association

Bissoondyal Singh -– Guyana Cricket Board

Hilbert Foster – Guyana Cricket Board

Wilford Heaven – Jamaica Cricket Association

Dr Donovan Bennett – Jamaica Cricket Association

Enoch Lewis – Leeward Islands Cricket Board

Leon Rodney – Leeward Islands Cricket Board

Azim Bassarath – Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board

Arjoon Ramlal – Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board

Julian Charles – Windward Islands Cricket Board

Dwain Gill – Windward Islands Cricket Board

 Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the meeting took place virtually via video conference. All of the Territorial Board Member Associations were fully represented.

 

 

 

 

 

Nitish Rana led the way with the bat as Kolkata Knight Riders opened their Indian Premier League campaign with a 10-run win over Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Rana made an impressive 80 from 56 deliveries, hitting nine fours and four sixes as the Knight Riders posted 187-6 after being put in at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai.

Rahul Tripathi helped add 93 for the second wicket, his innings of 53 seeing him surpass 1,000 career runs in the competition.

Having crashed their way to 145-1 after 15 overs, Kolkata lost four wickets for 14 runs in trying to lift the run-rate even higher, including two in as many deliveries during a Mohammad Nabi over.

However, it was Nabi’s Afghanistan team-mate Rashid Khan who was the pick of the Hyderabad attack, taking 2-24 from four overs.

Dinesh Karthik produced a late cameo – he hit 22 not out from nine balls – to hurt Sunrisers, who then slipped to 10-2 early in their reply as openers David Warner and Wriddhiman Saha fell cheaply.

Jonny Bairstow and Manish Pandey both made half-centuries to lift their team after the early setbacks, yet an ever-increasing required rate proved too much for the middle order to manage.

Knight Riders make fast start

Rana's 12th IPL half-century came to an end when he departed to Nabi, who then tempted Knight Riders captain Eoin Morgan to loft the next ball straight to Abdul Samad at deep backward square leg.

Having lost Andre Russell cheaply in the previous over too, the clatter of wickets ended any hopes that Kolkata - who missed the play-offs last season after finishing fifth in the round-robin stage – may have had of making it to 200 and beyond.

Jonny be good but Sunrisers come up short

Bairstow was utilised at number four in the batting order - a position he also occupied for England in the recent Twenty20 series against India. At the crease after just 13 deliveries, the right-hander's clean hitting kept Hyderabad's hopes alive as he made 55 from 40 balls.

Pandey ended up unbeaten on 61 - including hitting the final ball of the game for six - while Samad slammed 19 not out from just eight deliveries at the end, raising questions over why he did not come in earlier in the run chase.

Former West Indies captain, Daren Sammy, insists veteran batsman Chris Gayle would be a sure pick in his squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup as the player’s experience and explosive ability remain invaluable.

The recent decision by Cricket West Indies (CWI) to recall the batsman for the recent series against Sri Lanka was met with criticism in some quarters, with some believing the selectors should have opted for younger talent.  The player's struggles in the series did little to dispel that notion.

Sammy, the two-time T20 World Cup-winning captain, however, does not agree.

“After watching Chris Gayle play in the Pakistan Super League, the IPL late last year, and looking at his career, I think he should definitely go to the World Cup,” Sammy told Line and Length on SportsMax.

“Whether he plays in the final XI is a matter for the guys on tour because you will have Evin (Lewis) and (Lendl) Simmons, but Chris’ experience in India and what he brings to the team, I would have him with me,” he added.

“Chris is a batting leader! He has over 20 hundreds in T20s and the next person after that has eight or nine and his experience cannot be underrated so I would have him with me. He knows the big occasion and you bet he can still turn it on…. I will go with him,” said Sammy from his home in St. Lucia.

Gayle has played 31 T20s for the West Indies and scored two centuries and 13 half-centuries, with an average of 31.24 and a strike rate of 140.81. At the last World Cup, he scored an unbeaten 100 in the first match against England but ended the series with 113 runs from four innings.

Sammy, who was at the helm when the team won the T20 World Cup in Sri Lanka, in 2012, versus the hosts, and in 2016 against England, thinks that the West Indies can win again if they improve their bowling attack.

“We have the batting firepower, but we are missing two x-factor bowlers. Fidel is back and brings some pace, but I think our best chance will be chasing totals. We don’t have that Sunil Narine type of bowler and, to be honest, that’s the missing link. We can win but we need a couple of bowlers to put pressure on for eight overs,” explained Sammy.

 

Five years after his fiery speech criticising Cricket West Indies (CWI) hierarchy and then President, Dave Cameron at the conclusion of the T20 World Cup, Darren Sammy says he would do it all over again if he had to.

As the Windies celebrated the 5th anniversary of their historic victory over India at the 2016 Showpiece in Eden Gardens, Sammy reiterated that he would never apologise to Cameron for his statements, which eventually put an end to his international career.

 “You seek forgiveness when you have done something wrong. I wouldn’t change anything I said because I spoke the truth as to what went on and yes, I paid the price for it, but that’s the way life goes. My Mom always said if you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything,” he said while a guest on Line & Length on SportsMax

“I thought I was a true representative to my team. To Dave Cameron, he has moved on. I recently saw on your show he said he is still available for advice…but I don’t know how the current administration would think about that,” he explained.

After Carlos Brathwaite hit four consecutive sixes off Ben Stokes to upset England in the final over, Sammy chose the presentation ceremony to vilify the administration for a number of matters prior to the tournament and during the competition when players clashed with CWI over fees, equipment, and communication differences.

“There is a vibe and player-harmony now. The players are playing for their captain...added to that, it’s been great watching Jason Holder and the respect he has gained even though no longer captain. West Indies cricket seems to be moving in the right direction,” said Sammy.

 

 

Big-hitting Windies T20 batsman, Kieron Pollard, failed to move closer to a historic IPL milestone after being dismissed for just 7 in the season opener, which pitted Mumbai Indians against Royal Challengers Bangalore at Chepauk Stadium on Friday.

Pollard remains just two sixes shy of 200 IPL sixes, a feat which has been achieved by just five other five batsmen.  At the top of the list is Pollard’s compatriot and Punjab Kings batsman Chris Gayle (349), Royal Challengers Bangalore premier batsman AB de Villiers is next (235), followed by Chennai Super Kings (CSK) captain MS Dhoni (216), Mumbai Indians (MI) Rohit Sharma (213), and RCB skipper Virat Kohli (201) close the list.

In Friday’s encounter, Pollard was, however, undone by a slower delivery from Harshal Patel and caught in the deep by Washington Sundar.  The player’s 7 runs consisted of just one four with no sixes.  RCB won the thrilling encounter by just two wickets.  Batting first Mumbai made 159 for 8 before RCB, needing 7 off the last over, ended with 160 for 8 off the final ball of the over.  RCB batsman AB De Villiers top-scored with 48 from 27 deliveries.

 

Mohammad Rizwan was Pakistan's match-winner again as he carried his bat through a record-breaking run chase to beat an undermanned South Africa side by four wickets in the first Twenty20 International.

Opener Rizwan was the leading run scorer with 197 when these teams met for a three-match series in Pakistan earlier this year, and his outstanding 74 not out suggested he will again have a big role to play across four games in South Africa.

It was a much-needed contribution after the Proteas - missing a host of stars, including new captain Temba Bavuma - scored a competitive 188-6 at the Wanderers.

Stand-in skipper Heinrich Klaasen won the toss and elected to bat, and he was stationed at the other end of the wicket as Aiden Markram claimed a first T20I fifty.

Markram swiftly departed for 51, but Klaasen (50) followed him to the half-century mark before Pakistan belatedly slowed their hosts a little.

In reply, neither captain Babar Azam (14), caught by debutant Lizaad Williams, nor Fakhar Zaman (27) could provide Rizwan with a steady partner.

Tabraiz Shamsi (2-29) accounted for both Fakhar and Mohammad Hafeez (13), playing his 100th match in this format, before Beuran Hendricks (3-32) took two wickets in two deliveries, including Haider Ali after 14 off eight.

That pace was surpassed by Faheem Ashraf (30 off 14), though, and a partnership of 48 with Rizwan had Pakistan needing 11 from the final over.

Williams (1-39) was handed the ball and had opportunities either side of the dismissal of Faheem, but dismal fielding throughout fittingly concluded the chase - Pakistan's highest in T20Is - with a delivery to spare courtesy of an overthrow.

Klaasen steps up but fielders fail

Bavuma added to a long list of absentees, but South Africa's performance with the bat offered few excuses and Klaasen, captain for a fourth time, contributed handily.

A target of 189, boosted by the skipper's 50 off 28, should really have been beyond Pakistan, too.

However, Williams - the most prominent of three home debutants - was denied victory in frantic fashion, Faheem dropped before he was bowled and next man in Hasan Ali also escaping prior to the decisive final error.

Pakistan reliant on Rizwan once more

Pakistan named an array of batting talent at the top of the order, with skipper Babar opening and Fakhar given his T20 chance at number three following exceptional ODI form.

But it was Rizwan, Babar's opening partner, who again came to the fore in this format after his team-mates departed.

Rizwan had 81 more runs than any other batsman in the series earlier this year and is set to play a pivotal role again, although he will hope for more help from Babar in particular over the next three matches.

West Indies legend, Curtly Ambrose, has re-added his voice to the call for an end to the preparation of ‘placid’ pitches throughout the Caribbean for international and regional cricket fixtures.

In the light of the recently concluded series against Sri Lanka, which ended with two drawn games, several former players and Windies coach Phil Simmons has expressed dissatisfaction with the surface prepared for the tour.

The debate has, however, raged on long before that, with Ambrose himself listed among those previously suggesting that many of the pitches prepared are too flat and offer little assistance to bowlers. 

The West Indies, Sri Lanka series has only added to the dissatisfaction.  In both Test matches, Sri Lanka, then the West Indies, the teams enjoyed comfortable leads headed into the final day but ended up doing very little to disturb the batsmen in the pursuit of wickets.

“I have seen local cricket played at Sir Viv Richards cricket stadium where you have grass on the pitch and the ball bounces and carries with good pace … so it’s not a situation where it cannot be done,” Ambrose told the Good Morning Jojo Radio show.

“I felt that the pitches were a little too flat and I’ve been saying this for years — we need to prepare better cricket pitches where the batsmen could play their strokes and the ball bounces a bit for the bowlers,” he added.

Roger Harper, Cricket West Indies’ Chief Selector has expressed concern over the productivity of opening partnerships for the West Indies but laments the fact that no one is really knocking at the door to be selected.

Captain Kraigg Brathwaite has had a welcome return to form with two Test half-centuries and a century in his last four Test matches but fellow opener John Campbell has not been inspiring much confidence with his performances.

The Jamaican has scores of 3, 23, 36, 18, 42, 11, 5, and 10 in his last four Tests. His last half-century, 68, was made in the second Test against New Zealand in December last year.

As a result, solid opening partnerships for the Caribbean side have been rare and this is a worry for Harper.

 “I think it has been a concern for a while. It was pleasing to see the captain get some big scores, but we need the partnership, on the whole, to be solid,” Harper said this past week on Mason and Guest.

But while Campbell has been struggling for form, Harper acknowledges that the batsman has been working hard to correct his flaws, like the ones that saw him get out in similar fashion in all four innings in the recently concluded series against Sri Lanka.

 “We were delighted to see Campbell applying himself and being more patient, but we need some more positive returns,” he said.

There are several players who could come in to bolster the batting but recent history does not offer much hope for success. Players like Shai Hope and Shayne Moseley are potential replacements; Hope especially who has shown a welcome return to form in the ODIs against Sri Lanka, but Test cricket is a different prospect for a player who has struggled in that format of the game.

Moseley, who has shown promise, is yet to demonstrate that he is ready after several failures.

“It is something we are looking at. We are looking at our best options. At the moment, from a red ball perspective, we don’t have enough openers who are knocking down the door in terms of performances,” he concluded.

 

Former Windies pace bowler, Richard 'Prof' Edwards, admits he is disappointed by what he believes to be the slow progress of promising pace bowler Alzarri Joseph.

The 24-year-old fast bowler has long been tipped to give West Indies the type of firepower typical of years gone by but is yet to completely deliver on that promise.

The young bowler has shown plenty of flashes of that prodigious talent.  He put in a strong performance against England, in 2019, and took a record-breaking six for 12 on his debut for Mumbai Indians.  Joseph has, however, not produced such performances consistently.  Joseph, who made his debut in 2016, has taken 38 Test wickets in 16 matches and 54 One Day International wickets in 34 matches.

“It’s disappointing that he does not seem to have gone on from the time he started until now, there doesn’t seem to be any great improvement,” Edwards told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“He seems to be bowling wide of the crease to right-handers, angling it.  He should get as close to the stumps as possible,” he added.

“He is not accurate, he had not been able to develop as much as you would have expected.  He is not a real swinger of the ball, he is athletic, he looks like he bowls pretty fast, but he is not doing much with the ball.”

 

Harshal Patel hit the winning run off the last ball after claiming a five-wicket haul as Royal Challengers Bangalore beat Mumbai Indians in a thrilling first game of the Indian Premier League.

Defending champions Mumbai collapsed from 94-1 after 11 overs to 159-9 after being put in by Virat Kohli, all-rounder Harshal taking 5-27 in Chennai on Friday and Chris Lynn top-scoring with 49.

Four wickets fell in the final over of the holders' innings at M.A. Chidambaram Stadium, with Harshal claiming his maiden five-wicket T20 haul in the first match of his second spell with RCB following his Delhi Capitals exit.

Bangalore were cruising with Kohli (33) and new signing Glenn Maxwell (39) at the crease, but it was game on when they were 122-6 in the 17th over after losing four wickets for 24 runs.

AB de Villiers looked set to see them home, but RCB were left needing two off as many balls for victory when the maverick wicketkeeper-batsman was run out for 48.

Harshal held his nerve to take a single off the final delivery from IPL debutant Marco Jansen (2-28), sealing a dramatic two-wicket win for big-spending RCB.

Five-time champions Mumbai, bidding to become the first team to win the tournament three times in a row, were ultimately made to pay for scoring only 25 runs in the last four overs of their innings.

Late Harshal burst rocks Mumbai

The holders appeared set to post a challenging total with Indians debutant Lynn and Suryakumar Yadav at the crease after Rohit Sharma was run out for 19, but they capitulated in spectacular fashion.

Powerful new recruit Lynn struck three sixes as the Australian and Suryakumar (31) put on 70 for the second wicket before they were removed by Washington Sundar and big-money signing Kyle Jamieson (1-27) respectively.

Paceman Harshal then took centre stage, trapping Ishan Kishan lbw before dismissing Krunal Pandya, Kieron Pollard and Jansen in an incredible final over that ended with Rahul Chahar being run out. 

 

De Villiers delivers, Harshal the hero

Maxwell put on a show along with Kohli after Sundar and Rajat Patidar fell cheaply, clearing the rope twice.

The Australia all-rounder was on his way when he ramped Jansen to Lynn at short fine leg and the South African paceman struck for a second time in the 15th over to send Shahbaz Ahmed packing.

De Villiers made it advantage RCB as 15 runs came off the 18th over from Trent Boult and although he was run out by Krunal after hitting a couple of sixes in a brilliant 27-ball knock, Harshal ensured his innings was not in vain.

Indian Premier League matches could soon be held in London, according to city mayor Sadiq Khan.

Surrey, who play at The Oval, are in initial talks with IPL and BCCI authorities in India to explore the possibility.

Khan would like to see IPL matches in London and later the rest of England after similar moves were made by the big US sports leagues – the NFL, NBA and MLB – in holding competitive matches abroad.

County cricket clubs are exploring all options to make up lost revenue caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

"Surrey are speaking to teams in India and colleagues in the BCCI and IPL," Khan said.

"The first step will be friendlies and exhibition matches. 

"We want to get them going, maybe even this year if we make progress as we are doing with the pandemic. It has to be Covid-safe, of course."

Khan is seeking re-election in London and sport is central to his vision of the city's future.

He added: "We have to bang the drum for our city, and sport is one way to do this.

"This is part of my plan to build a better London after the pandemic.

"I know Londoners are hungry to see more of the likes of Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma and Rishabh Pant.

"With two of the world's greatest cricket grounds in Lord's and The Kia Oval, London is ideally placed to host IPL matches. 

"I know we can see our capital confirmed as the undisputed sporting capital of the world."

The 2021 edition of the IPL began on Thursday, as five-time champions the Mumbai Indians look to defend their title.

IPL matches being played outside India is not unprecedented. Last year, the whole tournament was played in the United Arab Emirates without spectators because of the pandemic.

The tournament was held in South Africa in 2009 and in the UAE for two weeks of the 2014 season, in both cases due to elections in India.

The second match of the inaugural CPL Esports Series saw Glenn Phillips of the Jamaica Tallawahs take on Andre Fletcher of the St Lucia Zouks at Sabina Park, and despite his claims to have never played Cricket19 before it was Phillips who emerged victorious in a stunning all-round display. 

Phillips was put in to bat by Fletcher and the New Zealander took control of a digital version of himself and he was out of the gate like a shot, making 30 runs off the first over on his way to a match-winning score.

Chadwick Walton fell early but the wicket of his opening partner did not slow Phillips down as he brought up a 10 ball fifty in the third over as he used his crease to make it difficult for the bowler to bowl to his plans. It was 105/1 at the end of the fourth over and a single from the first ball of the fifth got Phillips back on strike for the last five balls of the innings. 

Phillips continued to plunder runs from the last over, finishing on 80 (19) and leaving the Zouks a daunting 127 to win.

Fletcher got the Zouks chase underway with some fireworks as he took control of himself and smashed 26. He looked well set to match Phillips’ efforts, but a mistimed shot saw him caught at extra cover.

When Andre Russell had Rahkeem Cornwall caught and bowled in the next over it left the Zouks in trouble, and it got worse when Daren Sammy was out first ball.

Sandeep Lamichhane went even better than Russell when he picked up a hattrick, dismissing Mohammad Nabi, Roston Chase and Scott Kuggeleijn to leave the Zouks chase in tatters at 41/6.  

Some lusty blows from Chemar Holder brought some respectability to the Zouks total as he made 34 (7) but it was too little too late as the Tallawahs emerged winners by 28 runs.

 

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