An exciting batsman, known for his aggression and brilliant timing, Tillakaratne Dilshan even has a shot named after him, the Dilscoop.

Dilshan did not start opening the innings for Sri Lanka or other T20 outfits around the world until about 2009, and the move up the order for the wicketkeeper, was brilliant. That year he would win the World Twenty20 Player of the Series for his exploits. With his move up the order, Dilshan also ditched the gloves for the most part and proves to be an asset in the field, especially at backward point. He bowls a little offspin as well, making his addition to any T20 team, a blessing.

 

Career Statistics (2004-2016)

Full name: Tillakaratne Mudiyanselage Dilshan

Born: October 14, 1976, Kalutara (43)

Major teams: Sri Lanka, Asia XI, Basnahira South, Bloomfield Cricket and Athletic Club, Delhi Daredevils, Guyana Amazon Warriors, Kalutara Town Club, Karachi Kings, Northern Districts, Peshawar Zalmi, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Sebastianites Cricket and Athletic Club, Singha Sports Club, Surrey, Tamil Union Cricket and Athletic Club

Playing role: Allrounder

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm offbreak

Fielding position: Wicketkeeper

 

T20I Career

Mat   Inns   NO    Runs    HS     Ave      BF         SR        100   50     4s     6s    

80         79    12    1889     104*  28.19    1567     120.54      1    13     223   33        

T20 Career

Mat   Inns   NO    Runs     HS     Ave      BF         SR        100     50    4s     6s    

221    217     25     5193     104*  27.04    4228     122.82      1      34    633   110        

 

Career Highlights

  • Most runs in T20I for Sri Lanka (14th all-time), 1889, avg. 28.19
  • Most T20 WC matches (35)
  • Player of the tournament and most runs scored at 2009 T20 WC
  • ICC International Performance of the Year award (2009)
  • 1st Sri Lankan to score 1,500 runs in T20Is
  • 1st cricketer to score centuries in all formats as a captain.
  • 5193 T20 runs at 27.04

Former West Indies batting coach Toby Radford has spoken glowing of sacked interim coach Richard Pybus, insisting that he was a fan of the Englishman’s methods.

Pybus, a former Director of Cricket, served in the post from January to April of last year before being replaced by Floyd Reifer, a few weeks ahead of the 2019 World Cup.  Although his tenure was brief, Pybus is credited with orchestrating an outstanding performance from the West Indies cricket team that hosted England last year.

The Test team went on to reclaim the Wisden Trophy with a 2-1 series win over England and also matched up to the highly ranked tourists in the One Day International format where they secured a 2-2 draw.  For some critics, the performances had nothing to do with Pybus but was merely a case of the team beginning to discover its full potential.  Radford, who served as a member of Pybus’ staff, however, disagrees.

“I thought he was exceptional.  Where Richard Pybus was very good was setting the agenda of where he believed the team could go, and getting the players to buy into ‘this is where we were headed’ Cameron told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“I remember the way he drew up on a flip chart, ‘what does a world’s number one look like?’ ‘If you took the world’s best team what is it that they do in Test match cricket?’ He got the players to write down what they needed to deliver. ‘We have to bat for 120 overs. We have to get 350 plus.’  He had all these things and the players were coming up with it, so it gave the players ownership.  The players bought into this vision of what we were trying to deliver.  So there were clear targets,” he added.

‘Another thing he brilliantly did he put the list of 11 players up, he put the England 11 up and he started to do match-ups.  He would say ‘Shannon you have to take more wickets than Anderson’ and it was great there was competition for players with the opposition number.  He had all these kinds of things.  I think he was excellent as a manager and motivator.”

Former West Indies and Barbados batsman Philo Wallace has pointed to team captain Jason Holder’s lack of aggressive killer instinct as one of the issues that ailed the regional team in its recent loss to England.

The 28-year-old all-rounder has faced expected scrutiny in recent days, following a mid-series collapse against the Englishmen, which clouded over a promising start to the series. 

Holder had marshaled his troops to an impressive four-wicket win to begin the tour but the introduction of pace bowler Stuart Broad midway the second Test coincided with the team coming apart at the seams, with displays of less effective bowling and dismal batting.  Wallace believes a more aggressive stance from the typically laid-back captain would have been more beneficial.

“Jason handled the side well in the first Test match.  We won that match convincingly.  If you look at the second and third match and how he handled it, again, we see deficiencies in his aggression.  I don’t think he’s aggressive enough,” Wallace told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“I don’t think he’s aggressive enough.  When Ben Stokes decided to come around the wicket we saw things change.  We didn’t see a lot of aggression from our captain and that’s why bowlers did not show the aggression,” he added.

Wallace was also highly critical of Holder’s continuing support for a struggling Shai Hope during the series.

“Obviously, when Jason decided to continually defend Hope, it's a massive statement to defend a man who hasn’t scored runs in Test match cricket for a long time.  Yet, you have the extra batsman available to you and you did not play him,” Wallace said.

“You went down the road with Shai Hope and Shai Hope did not deliver for you, so that is a massive responsibility for a captain to take on board,” he added.

“Sometimes we need to be honest with ourselves about West Indies cricket.  If West Indies cricket is to move forward, sometimes you have to make some harsh decisions.  You have to drop your friend to bring in the man who will fight and perform for you.  You cannot pick a friend and keep getting beat.”  

 

Joe Denly will miss the rest of England's ODI series with Ireland due to back problems.

The batsman has been struggling with back spasms and was not involved in the first match on Thursday, when England claimed a six-wicket victory.

The England and Wales Cricket Board announced on Friday that Liam Livingstone would take Denly's place in the 14-man squad.

"Joe Denly has been ruled out the Royal London Series against Ireland after suffering back spasms in training on Wednesday," the ECB statement said.

"The Kent batsman has been replaced in the 14-man England ODI squad by Lancashire's Liam Livingstone.

"Livingstone has represented England in two IT20s and would make his ODI debut if selected in one of the final two matches with Ireland."

The second ODI takes place at the Rose Bowl on Saturday, with the third set for next Tuesday.

Aaron Finch made his T20I debut for Australia against England in 2011. Two years later, he made his ODI debut against Sri Lanka. In 2013, he scored 156 runs off 63 balls in a T20I, the highest ever T20I individual score. He was selected for the 2015 World Cup side and scored a century in the first match against England.

In 2018, Finch broke his previous record of the highest individual T20I innings by scoring 172 runs against Zimbabwe. With this feat, he also became the only batsman to score 150+ runs twice in T20I cricket. This was also the highest individual score set by a captain in a T20I inning.

 

Career Statistics (2009-present)

Full name: Aaron James Finch

Born: November 17, 1986, Colac, Victoria, Australia, (age 33)

Major teams: Victoria, Rajasthan Royals, Delhi Daredevils, Melbourne Renegades, Auckland Aces, Pune Warriors India, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Yorkshire, Mumbai Indians, Gujarat Lions, Surrey, Kings XI Punjab.

Batting Style: Right-handed

Bowling Style: Slow left-arm orthodox

Playing role: Opening batsman

 

T20I Career

Mat      Inns      NO   Runs     HS       Ave       BF       SR        100   50    4s    6s  

61         61          9     1989     172     38.25    1276     155.87     2     12   196    92 

T20 Career

Mat      Inns      NO   Runs     HS       Ave       BF      SR        100   50   4s     6s  

284       279       32     8914     172     36.08    6201    143.75     8     60   856   373      

 

Career Highlights

  • Most runs in a T20I inning (172)
  • 2nd most capped Australian (61)
  • 1st player to reach 900 rating points on ICC T20I rankings.
  • 10th all-time in T20I runs scored (1989)
  • Australian T20I player of the year (2014 & 18)
  • 8914 T20 runs at 36.08

David Warner had one of the most memorable debuts in international cricket, when he was plucked from obscurity - without having played a single First-Class match - and made a stunning 89 off 43 balls in a T20l against South Africa. The innings was all the more remarkable due to its timing, coming as it did after a morale-shattering home Test series loss for Australia in 2008-09.

The opening pair of Warner and Shane Watson have been the most successful opening pair in T20I history. They are the only opening pairs to have scored over 100 runs in T20Is. Warner is the first Australian batsman to reach 1,500 T20I runs.

 

Career Statistics

Full name: David Andrew Warner

Born: October 27, 1986, Paddington, Sydney (33)

Major teams: Australia, Australia A, Australia Centre of Excellence, Australia Under-19s, Australian Cricketers Association All-Stars, Australian Institute of Sport, Australian XI, Brad Haddin XII, Cricket Australia Chairman's XI, Delhi Daredevils, Durham, Middlesex, New South Wales, New South Wales Institute of Sport, New South Wales Second XI, New South Wales Under-19s, New South Wales Under-23s, Northern Districts, St Lucia Stars, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Sydney Sixers, Sydney South East, Sydney Thunder, Sylhet Sixers, Winnipeg Hawks

Batting Style: Left-handed

Bowling Style: Right-arm leg-break/Right-arm medium

Role: Opening batsman

 

T20I Career

Mat      Inns      NO Runs     HS  Ave       BF  SR  100       50       4s   6s   Ct   St

79  79  9     2207     100*     31.52   1571       140.48 1     17  214       89  44  0

T20 Career

Mat      Inns      NO Runs     HS  Ave       BF  SR  100       50       4s   6s   Ct   St

280       279       36  9218     135*     37.93   6482       142.20 8     75  902       359       132       0          

 

Career Highlights

  • Most capped Australian in T20Is (79)
  • 5th most runs all-time in T20Is (#1 Aussie), 2,207- avg. 31.52
  • Most runs by an overseas player in IPL (4th all-time)
  • Most IPL Orange Caps (3) 2015, 2017, 2019
  • 3rd Aussie to score centuries in all three formats of the game (One T20I century)
  • 9,218 T20 runs at 37.93

As far as T20 leagues go, Martin Guptill’s ability to hit them clean has resulted in stints with IPL's Mumbai Indians, CPL's Guyana Amazon Warriors as well as St Kitts and Nevis Patriots, and BBL's Sydney Thunder. He's also played in the English county for Derbyshire and more recently Lancashire.

In T20Is, too, Guptill’s performances have been phenomenal. He became only the second New Zealand batsman to reach a thousand runs in the shortest format and has ruled Twenty20 cricket across the world.

 

Career Statistics (2006-present)

Full name: Martin James Guptill

Born: September 30, 1986, Auckland

Major teams: New Zealand, Auckland, Barbados Tridents, Derbyshire, Guyana Amazon Warriors, Kings XI Punjab, Mumbai Indians, New Zealand Academy, New Zealand Under-19s, St Kitts and Nevis Patriots, Sunrisers Hyderabad 

Playing role: Opening batsman

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm off-break

 

T20I Career

Mat      Inns      NO   Runs     HS    Ave       BF    SR        100       50       4s       6s  

88          85         7     2536     105   32.51   1884   134.60    2         15       225     119      

T20 Career

Mat      Inns      NO   Runs     HS        Ave       BF      SR      100    50    4s     6s

253       245       23     7308     120*     32.91   5588    130.78    4     46    633   330

 

Career Highlights

  • 3rd most runs all-time in T20Is (#1 kiwi), 2,536r- avg. 32.51
  • 2nd most capped Kiwi in T20Is (88)
  • Received Sir Richard Hadlee Medal in 2011 (Kiwi cricketer of the year)
  • 2nd most T20 sixes (119)
  • New Zealand T20 Player of the Year (2011-12 & 2015-16)
  • Has scored a century in all 3 formats of the game (2 T20I centuries)
  • 7308 T20 runs at 32.91

Rohit Sharma debuted for India in T20 internationals during the 2007 ICC World Twenty20 and was part of the World Cup-winning Indian national team. He is only the second cricketer to have scored a century in all three formats on the international stage. Sharma is the second Indian batsman after Virat Kohli, and fifth worldwide to score 2,000 runs in Twenty20 internationals.

Sharma has had one of the most successful and illustrious IPL careers ever. He debuted in the IPL in 2008. He was signed by the Deccan Chargers franchise, based in Hyderabad. His contract got him a whopping US$750,000 a year. Although he was selected as a batsman, he proved his worth as a bowler too.

 

Career Statistics (2007-present)

Full name: Rohit Gurunath Sharma

Born: April 30, 1987, Bansod, Nagpur, Maharashtra

Major teams: India, Air India, Deccan Chargers, India A, India Blue, India Green, India Red, India Under-19s, Indian Board President's XI, Indian Oil Corporation XI, Mumbai, Mumbai Cricket Association President's XI, Mumbai Cricket Association XI, Mumbai Indians, Mumbai Under-19s, Rest of India, West Zone

Playing role: Top-order batsman

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm off-break

 

T20I Career

Mat    Inns    NO      Runs   HS       Ave     BF       SR       100     50       4s        6s            

108     100     15       2773    118     32.62  1998   138.78       4      21       245     127    

 

T20 Career

Mat    Inns    NO      Runs   HS       Ave     BF       SR       100     50       4s        6s             

328     315     47       8642  118      32.24   6463   133.71       6      60       763     361    

 

Career Highlights

  • Most-capped Indian cricketer in T20Is (108)
  • 2nd most runs all-time in T20I, 2773- avg. 32.63
  • 2nd Indian cricketer to score centuries in all three formats
  • Record for most sixes in T20Is (127)
  • First and only batsman to score (4) T20I centuries
  • 3rd highest runs scorer in IPL history (4898)
  • 8642 total T20 runs at an average of 32.24

Dave Cameron’s vision for the future of cricket involves longer T20 seasons, fewer Test matches for weaker teams but more players earning decent livelihoods playing all over the globe.

 The former president of Cricket West Indies is pushing this vision as he attempts to become the next Chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC), a platform that will provide him with the opportunity to create a more equitable environment in cricket globally.

 It is a job made harder for not having the support of the CWI but Cameron, who needs two votes to become a contender, is confident that he has a legitimate shot against ECB Chairman Colin Grave and possibly India’s Sourav Ganguly.

 “I have those votes I don’t think it will change. I am still waiting to hear about Ganguly’s future in the ICC. They have not finalised the election process yet,” said Cameron.

 During an interview with Indian Express, Cameron revealed his belief in a longer Indian Premier League (IPL), while noting the irony that the cancellation of the ICC World Cup paved the way for the IPL in the same window.

  “The IPL is way a more valuable product than the T20 World Cup. Let’s be very clear about that,” he said. “India will make a lot more money and so too the players. The players themselves would prefer would playing in IPL than the World Cup.

 “A lot of T20 leagues need to run concurrently, which is not happening now. Everybody wants to not clash with the other guys. The IPL needs to happen alongside BPL, CPL and Big Bash and the best players will get picked in the best leagues.

 “There will be room for everyone including the Indian players who are unsold in the IPL. They have the opportunity to play elsewhere. One has to make a decision on tradition versus profitability.”

 That being said, Cameron lamented the lack of growth in the sport, believing it should be played in more non-traditional markets that will make the sport more valuable for all concerned.

 “We need to grow in China and other places. It is a plan that has to include India. Any globalisation will require investments from India,” Cameron said.

 “A team like the West Indies plays less international games in a year but their players are able to play in the best leagues around the world and then they come to play for the country.

 “That way players make more money, their board will not have to spend money on retaining its best players and we focus on the continuous development of the sport with that money.

 We are living in a capitalist world. We are trying to talk about tradition versus what the players want. The players want to be paid.

 “Yes, Test cricket is great and it is a tradition and it will survive for another few years between the big countries but the truth is smaller counties like Afghanistan and Ireland should not be forced to play Test cricket until they can be competitive. You are wasting resources.”

 He continued: “This thing of trying to do more ICC events is not going to help the smaller countries because there is not enough space in the calendar. Test cricket should be a choice for smaller teams like Afghanistan and Ireland, it should not be mandatory.”

David Willey's bowling set the tone for a comprehensive six-wicket England win in Thursday's ODI with Ireland, while Sam Billings impressed at the crease as a 173 target was reached with little fuss in the series opener.

England's Test players were unavailable due to their endeavours against West Indies, meaning an entirely different ODI XI was given the chance to prove their credentials, and Willey certainly rose to the occasion.

The 29-year-old was left out of England's World Cup squad last year, but in Southampton he provided a reminder of his qualities with an exceptional 5-30, his first five-wicket haul in ODI cricket.

It did not take Willey long to find his groove, taking out Paul Stirling (2) and Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie (3) in the first three overs.

Three successive fours – which were soon followed by another pair – from Gareth Delany (22) at least gave Ireland a little momentum, but he too fell victim to Willey having just seen Mahmood (2-36) deal with Harry Tector (0), and Lorcan Tucker (0) followed them just two balls later in the sixth.

Curtis Campher (59 not out) and Kevin O'Brien (22) steadied the ship with some conservative batting, staving off the England attack for 14 full overs, but the latter eventually paid the price for opting to alter their mentality.

Like Tector and Tucker, Simi Singh returned to the pavilion without a run to his name, and although Andy McBrine's solid 40 helped he and Campher put up a decent defence, Ireland were eventually skittled in the 45th over when Jason Roy caught Craig Young to secure Willey's fifth wicket.

England's chase did not begin particularly emphatically, as they found themselves at 36-2 after the sixth over – Roy (24) and Jonny Bairstow (2) the early casualties.

Tucker then caught Vince (25) off Young in the 10th over, but England's wobble effectively ended with his replacement, Billings, who impressed with an unbeaten 67, which included 11 fours.

England lost Tom Banton (11), but captain Eoin Morgan (36 not out) came in and ultimately sealed a comfortable victory as he blasted Singh's delivery for six – the hosts reaching 174 runs in the 28th over with six wickets to spare.

Last week I wrote Test Cricket wasn’t in the DNA of this West Indies Cricket team. Since that article the team offered up yet another insipid display to lose the three-match Test series against England 2-1 and the Wisden Trophy forever.

 And of course, the typical excuses have come from all quarters. “These were difficult conditions to play in”, because Test cricket usually is like a game of Pictionary I presume. “Decisions didn’t go our way”, “luck wasn’t on our side” were some of the other gems passed around. And of course there was the obligatory “taking the positives” statement which comes with every post mortem of a series.

And frankly I’m tired of all of it.

I was a supporter of West Indies cricket long before I became a journalist 17 years ago, and I’ve heard these excuses before. And back then we actually had superstars like Brian Lara, Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh in the team.

Now, we were told, we have a group of guys that will fight and show grit, even though the talent isn’t quite there. But the DNA results came in, and proved that that was a lie. The capitulation I saw was typical of the Caribbean team of recent years gone by. And frankly, if this team doesn’t have fight and fortitude, it has nothing.

Before the start of the series, there was a point of view that if the players were acclimatized in these conditions and if their minds were solely on cricket and they had no distractions because of the fact they were in a bubble brought on by covid19 restrictions, that maybe we would see the best that West Indies had to offer.

And we were well on our way after a very good, if not convincing performance in the opening Test at Headingley. But it all went downhill after that. And yes, of course, we had our moments in the game, but every Test playing team has their moments, so that shouldn’t be the standard.

Last week I pointedly stated that our batsmen were more likely to win a T20 game than a Test match, citing the different approaches required for victory. We had a day to navigate at Old Trafford on a pitch which had no terrors and we lasted 37.1 overs.

Yes, we succumbed to defeat a mere half an hour before the heavy rains returned which would have surely washed out the remainder of play. All this after day 4 was also washed out. But this is where we are again as West Indies supporters, doing rain dances under mango trees to hide the ineptitude.

 West Indies had only one century partnership in the entire series. England had four. Our best batsman Jermaine Blackwood averaged 35.16 in the series, and Shannon Gabriel took the most wickets (11) at 32.27 apiece. This is ordinary.

 And now the team is playing on the heart strings of the world. We are using our players to beg the likes of England and India to play us at home in order to help with our coffers which have taken a further hit due to the pandemic. And the reason why this appeal is necessary is because as a performing team we can’t attract the teams or the sponsors and the television demand. Where is our superstar to help fill up a stadium? At least Lara was able to break a Test record once or twice.

My friend and co-worker Ricardo Chambers disagrees with me when I say Test Cricket isn’t in the DNA of this West Indies cricket team, not that his point of view comes with any ray of hope. He believes there is little talent on the batting side of things, and has pointed to the fact there is no batting superstar in the team. And some have pointed out to me that that was the difference between the teams and not necessarily the fact our boys simply cannot play Test cricket.

However, having Test Cricket in your DNA doesn’t mean you have to be a superstar or the best in the world. It just means you have to be efficient in carrying out tasks like batting for half an hour to save a Test match. I’m hardpressed to find the characters. Because I once thought we had fight in us, at the very least.

Donald Oliver is a football and cricket commentator and a senior producer at SportsMax. Learn more about him at www.thedonaldoliver.com or email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Considered the greatest T20 batsman in history, Chris Gayle has been a dominant force in the format for more than a decade.

He is the proud holder of many records in T20 cricket including most centuries (22), fastest T20 century, most sixes, and highest individual score in a T20 match. He was also the first cricketer to score a century in all three formats of the game – Tests, ODIs and T20.

In 404 T20 matches, Gayle has scored 13,296 at an average of 38.20 with a fantastic strike rate of 146.94. In addition to his 22 centuries, Gayle has also score a whopping 82 50s as well.

The closest batsman to Gayle’s record of centuries in Twenty20 cricket (22) is Brendon McCullum who has 7 and 15 of his 22 T20 centuries have been not out.

Gayle’s success can be attributed in large part to his outstanding hand-eye coordination, which allows him to regularly hit even good-length deliveries for boundaries. No batsman has taken to the 20-over format like he has. He showed early signs of his liking for that format by smashing the first century in Twenty20 internationals - a 57-ball 117 against South Africa in the World Twenty20 in 2007 - and when Twenty20 leagues mushroomed the world over and sought international stars, Gayle was the biggest beneficiary.

Over two seasons - 2011 and 2012 - of the IPL, he became easily the most feared batsman of the league, smashing more hundreds and sixes than any other, by far. When he carted Pune Warriors all over the ground to score an unbeaten 175 in IPL 2013, it felt right that he should finally own the record for highest individual score, fastest century, and most sixes in a Twenty20 innings, because no batsman has dominated Twenty20 cricket like he has.

 

Career statistics (2005-present)

Full Name: Christopher Henry Gayle

Born: September 21, 1979, Kingston, Jamaica (40)

Major teams:  West Indies, Balkh Legends, Barisal Burners, Chattogram Challengers, Chittagong Vikings, D Ganga's XI, Dhaka Gladiators, Dolphins, Hooper XI, ICC World XI, Jacobs XI, Jacques Kallis Invitational XI, Jamaica, Jamaica Tallawahs, Jozi Stars, Karachi Kings, Kings XI Punjab, Kolkata Knight Riders, Lahore Qalandars, Lions, Marylebone Cricket Club, Matabeleland Tuskers, Melbourne Renegades, Rangpur Riders, Royal Challengers Bangalore, RR Sarwan's XI, Somerset, St Kitts and Nevis Patriots, Stanford Superstars, Sydney Thunder, Vancouver Knights, West Indies Under-19s, Western Australia, Worcestershire.

Batting style: Left-hand bat

 

T20I Career (West Indies)

Mat        Inns        NO         Runs      HS          Ave        BF           SR           100        50         

58           54           4             1627      117        32.54     1139      142.84   2            13

 

T20 Career

Mat        Inns        NO         Runs      HS          Ave        BF           SR           100        50         

404        396        48           13296    175*      38.20     9048      146.94   22          82

Career highlights:

  • Most runs in T20 cricket (13,296 at 38.20)
  • Most runs by a West Indian in T20Is (1627r- avg. 32.54)
  • Most centuries in T20 cricket (22)
  • Most runs in a T20 match innings (175*)
  • Fastest century in any official format of the game (30 balls)
  • IPL player of the tournament 2011
  • IPL Orange cap winner for most runs 2011 & 12
  • Has scored a century in all 3 formats of the game (two T20I tons)

The West Indies failed to retain the Wisden Trophy after going to England to take part in the first-ever bio-secure Test event, the #raisethebat series.  

From the jump, even playing against their own, it was clear something was amiss with the visitor’s batting but a win in the first encounter at Southampton provided hope that the usual collapses and an apparent inability to cope with good bowling were behind them, it wasn’t.

Now a win or loss happens as a team and there is never usually any particular person to blame, though many, suffering from the pain of loss may search one.

But, on the way to 113-run and 269-run defeats, there must have been a number of persons who failed to perform at the level they should, even against obviously superior opposition.

So let’s grade this team and how they performed, beginning with the selectors.

I’ve decided to make each individual’s score out of 30, 10 marks for each Test. The grading scheme may be a little harsh as there will be no As, Bs, or Cs. This is strictly pass or fail and the pass mark is 66%, meaning you can only consider yourself passing if you played well enough to in, at least, two of three Tests or 2/3rds of the time. 

West Indies selectors

The team of Roger Harper, Hendy Wallace, Lockhart Sebastien, Miles Bascombe, Phil Simmons and Jason Holder are the selectors who picked the team for the #raisethebat series and they got some things right when they picked a four-pronged pace attack for the first match in Southampton while ensuring a longer batting line-up with Jason Holder coming all the way down at number eight. Picking the same team again for the second Test was also the right call even if it didn’t quite work the same way. In that second Test, the team could have drawn or won the game had a few things gone their way. Where I find fault with the selectors, is not seeking to fix what appeared the most glaring problem. The batting. Instead, they chose to tinker with the bowling line-up in a game the West Indies could ill-afford to lose. Dropping Alzarri Joseph for the spin of Rahkeem Cornwall was an error. This was an error, especially given the success Roston Chase had been having bowling at the English. There was also the fact that they didn’t think to tinker with a misfiring top order. For the first two games, I will give the selectors 8/10 each. For the last game, they get 2/10 for missing the big picture. That gives them 18/30 (60%). Fail.

Jason Holder

Now looking at the team itself, let’s begin with the skipper. In the very first game, he bowled very well, picking up 6-42 and 1-49 from about 42 overs of bowling. While he never made many with the bat, his unbeaten knock to help West Indies over the line looked assured. His captaincy was also spot on, changing his bowlers around to good effect. In the second Test, Holder’s decision to field first was a good one, even if England got off to a romping start with the bat. In the field, I can’t fault his captaincy too much, though he did drop a perfectly good opportunity at second slip off Shannon Gabriel. A note here though, Dom Bess made 31 in that first innings and Stuart Broad, 11 not out, You would have thought the West Indies would have been trying to work out how to bowl to the lower-order batsmen, who had shown they can bat. In the third Test it was apparent the skipper hadn’t thought about it and to win a Test match, 20 wickets have to be taken. Holder also had his bowlers try too many things at the lower order, rather than bowl the same way they bowled to the top order. In the second innings, Holder also went back to the idea of being too defensive once batsmen get on top of the bowling, rather than trying to counter-attack. That allowed England to score 129 in just 19 overs. Holder’s personal performances in that second Test were poor as well. Though he did score 35 in the second innings. For that second Test, Holder gets four out of 10. He would probably get five for the third Test because he scored 46 in the first innings. So adding it all up, Holder gets 9/10 for the first Test, 4/10 for the second, and 5/10 for the third. He, therefore, ends up with 18/30 (60%). Like the selectors, Fail.

Kraigg Brathwaite

Kraigg Brathwaite started well in Southampton, scoring 65 in the first innings. But that’s half the job. He scored just four in the second innings, but his contribution to the victory was significant, I would give him 8/10 even though he failed to make England pay by scoring a century. In the second Test, again he started well, scoring 75 before coughing a very soft caught & bowled for Ben Stokes. This time, in a losing effort, his inability to get to a hundred counts more against him than in the first innings of the first Test. Given he only managed 12 in the second innings, making the same mistake of getting trapped on the crease from good length deliveries, he gets 6/10. In the third Test, Brathwaite with one and 19, was a disaster, so he gets 4/10. That four comes because I cannot fault his attitude to trying to stay at the crease. Brathwaite, despite too half-centuries, has scores of 8/10, 6/10, and 4/10. That also gives him 18/30 (60%). Fail.

John Campbell

John Campbell’s highest score for the series was 32. He had a dismal series despite looking the part in a number of innings. He played some handsome drives and made it clear he was willing to push back at the English and so he gets some points for that. His string of low scores seems to have affected his normally exquisite fielding as well and he is guilty of a number of misfields and at least one very costly dropped catch in the second Test. Campbell scores 3/10 in each Test. 9/30 (30%). Fail.

Shai Hope

Shai Hope’s form in Test cricket has been abysmal and it is strange that it is so because he seems confident at the crease and shows signs of having every bit of class everybody touts him as having. Hope got a couple of starts but must be chastised for his final innings where on 31, he tried to pull a Chris Woakes delivery that wasn’t short enough and only ended up skying it. The dismissal was inexcusable, especially with the West Indies attempting to try to save a Test match.

Hope gets 3/10 for each of the first two Tests but 2/10 for the third even though he had his highest score in the second innings of that game. 8/30 (26.6%). Fail

Shamarh Brooks

Shamarh Brooks looked the best of the top-order batsmen in the West Indies line-up and had scores of 39 and 0 in the first Test, 68 and 62 in the second, and 4 and 22 in the third. For the first Test, Brooks, who is trying to get the selectors to keep faith with him after his troubles with breaking into the starting XI for years. His first innings of 39 was admirable but the trend of getting starts without continuing on was born there. Despite two half-centuries in the second Test, his failure to continue when set, may just have cost the team the Wisden Trophy. Truth is though, Brooks has not given his wicket away, and has suffered because of technical flaws. His intent and his willingness to bat and bat long seem to be where it should be. He gets 4/10 for the first Test, 7/10 for the second, and 3/10 for the third. In that third Test, his failure in the first innings came because his bat was not coming straight down in line with the ball. The extravagant movement from gully of his blade also proved his undoing in the second innings and may show a tendency not to be able to adapt. Brooks scores 14/30 (46.6%). A good effort, I believe, but a failure nonetheless. Fail

Roston Chase

Roston Chase was probably playing against his favourite opposition and was a threat throughout the Test series with bat and ball. Unfortunately, much of the promise he showed in the first Test and through the first innings of the second, never resulted in more than a threat. In the first Test, with bat he scored 47 and 37, while taking 2-71 in the second innings. In the second he returned from 5-172 in 44 overs to score 51. In the third Test, sharing the ball with Rahkeem Cornwall, he was only allowed 11 overs, from which he had 2-36, and scored nine. He was run out for seven in the second innings after his 1-69 from 14 overs.

For the first Test I score Chase at 5/10, in the second he scores 7/10, and in the third, probably through no fault of his own, he only gets 4/10. 16/30 (50%). Fail.

Jermaine Blackwood

Jermaine Blackwood has always had the talent to play at this level but would his attitude to batsmanship ever let him? Blackwood showed signs he was willing to fight for, not just his place in the West Indies team, but for wins on behalf of his team as well. Blackwood scored 95 in the second innings of the first Test that proved a match-winning knock, and despite his rogue effort in the first innings, he gets 7/10 for his return to the highest level of cricket. In the second Test, Blackwood again failed to do well in the first innings after he was bowled by a ball that never got off the ground. In the second innings, he again showed his resilience, scoring 55, but his susceptibility to the short ball proved his undoing. For that Test, I give the diminutive Jamaican 6/10. In the third Test, Blackwood was again bowled, this time through the gate, before being last man out after failing to get enough bat on a leg-side short ball for 23. That was his only failure but he showed more fight in that 23 than the rest of the team, which looked out of gas. I would give him 5/10 for the last Test despite two low scores. Blackwood scored 18/30 (60%). Good effort, but ultimately he also failed.

Shane Dowrich

He started with a bang but ended with a whimper. Shane Dowrich looked a confident batsman when he scored a fighting 61 in the first innings of the first Test, but it was all downhill from there. He made a pair in the second Test but this was after the swinging ball had made a mockery of his wicketkeeping. Dowrich’s trouble with the bat stems from his inability to play the short ball and his awareness that his opposition will target this. The results were not dissimilar to those of more accomplished batsmen. Going lbw after playing back to deliveries he should be on the front foot to.

Dowrich gets 6/10 for a brilliant catch in the first innings of the first Test as well as his half-century, but thereafter, he gets 3/10. Dowrich’s grade is 9/30 (30%). Fail

Kemar Roach

Kemar Roach started the series with a  wicketless performance in the first Test but it could never be considered a failure as he bowled consistently well and had batsmen beaten all ends up on numerous occasions without a breakthrough. The breaks came in the second and third Tests but Roach was consistently good, climbing to 201 wickets along the way, ending with eight for the series. Roach gets 5/10 for the first Test because he was still inexpensive though wicketless, 6/10 for the second, and in the third where he had 4-72 in the first innings before his 0-34 as England only lost three wickets, he gets another 6. Kemar Holder scores 17/30 (56.6%). Fail

Shannon Gabriel

Shannon Gabriel has proven himself a warrior. Coming back from a serious ankle injury and months upon month without cricket, he soldiered through three Tests with very little turnaround time. On occasion, he looked like he wouldn’t make it, but in truth, every spell was aggressive and at high pace for the duration of the Tests. He was man-of-the-match in the first Test and was very unlucky in the second save for a poor opening spell where he looked stiff. There was much said about his injury problems and frequent exits from the field but when it came time to bowl, he was ready every time the captain called on him. He would end up with 11 wickets in the series to lead the West Indies although nine of those wickets came in the first Test where he took 4-62 and 5-75. For his performance in the first Test Gabriel gets 10/10 for me, but he was unfortunate to have a number of catches dropped off his bowling in the second Test where he had figures of 0/79 and 0/43. However, Gabriel did have a couple of failures where he bowled no-balls and wides and for that, he fails with a 4-10. In the final Test, Gabriel provided good support to Roach but again his problems with no balls were present. His 2/77 and 0/19, in that Test were ineffective and whenever he was ineffective, so was the West Indies. Again he gets 4/10. Gabriel gets 18/30 (60%). A courageous Fail

Alzarri Joseph

Alzarri Joseph is a better bowler than the one who debuted for the West Indies in 2016. He isn’t bowling as quickly but his accuracy and the way he has tried to think his way to wickets has improved. Joseph was unfortunate to have been dropped for the third Test, so he gets graded out of 20. In the first game, he had figures of 0/53 and 2/45. He also contributed 18 with the bat. He did not bowl badly and his fight with the bat gave him some points. I give him 5/10 for the effort. In the second Test, Joseph was the West Indies’ best bowler in the first innings, though his 1/70 was not a match-winning performance. He had figures of 0-14 in the second innings. But Joseph was also an adequate night watchman when the West Indies first bat in that second Test as well, scoring 32. Again, for his all-round effort, Joseph gets 5/10. His score of 10/20 gives him 50%, again another fail, but again he cannot be faulted.

Rahkeem Cornwall

Rahkeem Cornwall is the only other player to break into the West Indies XI after the first Test. He played in the final Test in place of Alzarri Joseph but had a torrid time of bowling, going wicketless throughout the Test, with figures of 0/85 in the first innings and 0/79 in the second. With the bat he was deplorable, scoring 10 and two in an altogether forgettable outing. Cornwall scores 2/10 (20%). Fail

Former England fast bowler Gladstone Small has branded the inclusion of off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall, for the final Test match against England, as a useless change and evidence of a West Indies squad that was overly conservative.  

The off-spinner was brought into the squad at the expense of pace bowler Alzarri Joseph for the decisive Test.  He did not do terribly in terms of economy rate but never really troubled the batsmen.

With Roston Chase a batsman and off-spinner, who was already taking wickets, already included in the squad, Small believes Cornwall only offered more of the same.

“I thought the selection of that team for the third Test was negative and wrong,” Small said on the Mason and Guest radio program.

“Cornwall? What was that selection about? What did he bring to the table? You’ve already got an off-spinning batsman in Roston Chase in the team? What does Cornwall bring to that team?  You have got to have variety to take 20 wickets in a Test match," he added.

"Straight away I thought they were just playing for time here.  They wanted to just dry up runs and play for time knowing that the weather was bad.  When you start a game in a negative frame of mind it's very hard to come forward and play front-foot cricket.  You have to start off aiming to win a Test match and play your best cricket.”

Cornwall bowled 27 overs in the first innings, with an economy rate of 3.15, in the second has was given 19 and had an economy rate of 4.16.  He did not get a wicket.

Donald Oliver believes the West Indies do not have the mettle to play Test cricket, Ricardo Chambers believes the team is missing a world-class batsman.

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