Newly appointed Windies skipper Kieron Pollard has promised to reject the idea of insularity, an accusation traditionally leveled at numerous regional team selection panels.

As captain of the One Day International and T20 teams, Pollard will assist a panel that has often been accused of favouring players from different regions of the Caribbean, based on its composition at the time.  Despite being an allegation that has never quite been proven, it has clearly caught the attention of the new skipper.

“One of the major things we (selectors) talked about is the insularity that has been going on in the Caribbean and it is something we want to [stamp out],” Pollard said in a recent interview.

“At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter where you’re from, which part of the islands you’re from, once your performance is there, once you fit into the dynamics of the team, [once] you fit into what we’re looking for, you’re going to be selected.

“[The fact] that sometimes you veer to where you’re from is unfortunate, maybe as a home captain or coach, but at the end of the day we will try to pick the best team.

“Me, knowing myself and how I go about things – and this is something I’ve been preaching since the franchise system started in the Caribbean T20 before the CPL – the bigger picture is the cricket and whichever persons are doing well, they’re going to be selected.”

Pollard replaced Jason Holder as ODI captain and Carlos Brathwaite as T20 captain.

Faf du Plessis admits South Africa's humiliating Test series in India exposed plenty of "mental scars" for the Proteas.

Things started badly for the tourists in a 202-run hammering in the opening contest, before they were battered by an innings and 137 runs in the second match.

India showed absolutely no let up in Ranchi and took the final two wickets they needed on Tuesday to win the third and final Test by an innings and 202 runs.

Only five of South Africa's 16-man squad had previously played in India and Du Plessis feels a lack of experience was clear.

"When we play in the subcontinent, our style of bowling is not successful. You have to adapt your style to the style that is required," he said. 

"Obviously, someone like Dale Steyn was effective in the subcontinent because he has a similar skill set. He is a skiddy bowler off the pitch, hits the stumps, whereas if you are missing the stumps a lot or bouncing it over the stumps, it's not as effective here.

"Seam bowling is one area; spin they were better than us and from a batting unit, exceptional ruthlessness in the way they put massive scores on the board. 

"That's one of the reasons why mentally we were so weak towards the end. Obviously, they did bat first every time, which made it easier but they still put on 500, 500, 600 and the scoreboard pressure, the effect that it has on you mentally as a batting line-up, it takes a lot of energy and it takes a lot of toll. 

"You just feel like there's no opportunity or no moment in the game when you can hide. Your body is tired, your mind is tired and then you make mistakes.

"Our next journey is to try and make sure we get a lot stronger as a cricketing team mentally. As you can see, a tour like this reveals that there is a lot of mental scars that can happen and then obviously it's difficult to come out of the hole. 

"We played our best match in the first match and the consistent pressure that was on us made us weaker with every Test match that we played. 

"It tells me we are not mentally strong as a team and that some work is required in that department."

South Africa have lost a lot of experience, with Steyn and Hashim Amla among those to retire in 2019.

But Du Plessis, 35, will not relinquish his captaincy and is determined to unearth the next generation of Proteas leaders.

"How I see my journey unfolding with this team is to help with the transition period," he added. 

"That's something we spoke about before that wasn't necessarily the case before. Graeme Smith was a successful captain for a very long time and then after that, it was like, 'what now, who is going to captain the side, what's going to happen?' 

"This period is to try and make that process a bit smoother, identifying the next leaders, identifying the next captains, working with them, and then when that time is right, that time will be right."

Virat Kohli has called on India to adopt a model similar to England and Australia and host Test cricket at only five venues.

India wrapped up a resounding 3-0 series triumph over South Africa on Tuesday, taking the final two wickets they needed in the third contest to conclude victory by an innings and 202 runs.

All three matches against the Proteas took place at venues hosting Test cricket for just the second time in Visakhapatnam, Pune and Ranchi.

Kohli is all for mixing up venues in international cricket but feels the five-day format needs to played at regular stadiums.

"We've been discussing this for a long time now and in my opinion we should have five Test centres, period," Kohli said.

"I mean, I agree [with] state associations and rotation and giving games and all that, that is fine for T20 and one-day cricket, but Test cricket, teams coming to India should know, 'we're going to play at these five centres, these are the pitches we're going to expect, these are the kind of people that will come to watch, crowds'.

"So that becomes a challenge already, when you're leaving your shores, because we go to any place, we know we're having four Test matches in these venues, this is what the pitch is going to offer, it's going to be a full stadium, the crowd's behind the [home] team, and look, you want to keep Test cricket alive and exciting. I totally agree with the fact that we need five Test centres at the max.

"It can't be sporadic and spread over so many places where people turn up or they don't, so in my opinion, absolutely. You should have five strong Test centres that teams coming to India know that this is where they're going to play."

India completely dominated South Africa over the three Tests, winning the final two matches batting just one innings after opening with a 203-run rout.

Captain Kohli believes India's relentless willingness to improve is behind the success.

"We will always be put under pressure, always make mistakes, 11 guys can be vulnerable at times and can make mistakes but I think what is important is we keep a strong check on wanting to learn from the mistakes - we don't let things slide under the carpet," he added. 

"We address things there and then, even session wise, in an hour if we have given away too many runs the message at drinks is straight - 'not good enough, we need to pull our socks up'. 

"We don't wait for a session to be over and speak later because if another hour goes by you are letting the Test match go. 

"It's about addressing things there and then, more credit has to go to the players because they are willing to receive and be open to listening to things that need improving from a team point of view."

Chris Silverwood has no doubt England have recovered from their Cricket World Cup and Ashes exertions and are raring to go ahead of their tour of New Zealand.

England touched down in Christchurch on Tuesday for a five-game Twenty20 series and two Tests against the Black Caps, Silverwood's first assignment since taking over as head coach from Trevor Bayliss.

New Zealand lost a thrilling World Cup final to England on boundary count-back in July, while Bayliss signed off in September with a 2-2 draw in the Ashes that saw Australia retain the urn.

Silverwood does not expect his team to laud their World Cup success over the hosts and indicated they are ready for another challenge.

"I don't think it's been difficult getting them refreshed. We had a great summer but the adventure is lying ahead and to come back here and play cricket again we're very excited," he said.

"One or two are having a little break but its business as usual. Obviously, [T20 captain] Eoin Morgan has a strong hold on what he wants to do with the team and it's my job to back him and help him put things in place.

"I'm sure there'll be a few conversations [about the World Cup final], but we're here to concentrate on the series in front of us, which is always hard fought when we come out to New Zealand with two very good teams."

India needed just 12 balls on the fourth day in Ranchi to wrap up a comprehensive victory by an innings and 202 runs in the Third test and a maiden series whitewash of South Africa.

Shahbaz Nadeem removed Theunis de Bruyn and Lungi Ngidi with the final two balls of the second over to finish with four wickets on his debut and consign the Proteas to their heaviest loss to India, eclipsing the record set in the second Test in Pune.

The tourists added a solitary run to their overnight score of 132-8 before De Bruyn, a concussion substitute for Dean Elgar, edged behind for 30.

Ngidi failed to delay the inevitable, the tailender dismissed the following ball in a bizarre caught and bowled as his shot deflected off Anrich Nortje at the non-striker's end and presented Nadeem with a simple catch.

South Africa had been forced to bat again on Monday after crumbling to 162 all out in response to India's 497-9 declared.

India now have five wins from five in the World Test Championship and hold a commanding 180-point lead at the top of the table.

T20 batting legend Chris Gayle might have priced himself out of the inaugural Hundred Draft held on Sunday.

South Africa are on the verge of suffering a 3-0 series defeat to India after they were reduced to 132-8 in their follow-on enforced second innings in Ranchi. 

Having started day three of the final Test on 9-2, the Proteas were twice dismantled by India's rampant pace attack on Monday.

Zubayr Hamza's knock of 62 was the best South Africa had to offer in their first innings, as they were bowled out for 162, 335 runs shy of India's total.

Virat Kohli enforced the follow-on and India's pace attack - spearheaded by Mohammed Shami - once again made light work of the visitors' batting order.

Theunis de Bruyn (30 not out), a concussion substitute for Dean Elgar, offered some resistance, though India need just two wickets to round off a dominant series triumph with South Africa still 203 runs in arrears.

Things started as they would go on - South Africa captain Faf du Plessis (1) succumbing to a fine delivery from Umesh Yadav.

Hamza, with assistance from Temba Bavuma (32), managed to steady the ship somewhat, and amassed his first Test 50 with a sublime six over mid-on.

But Hamza's resistance was ended when, one delivery after he survived an India review, the 24-year-old was bowled by Ravindra Jadeja.

Bavuma followed in the next over and, after Heinrich Klaasen (6) went before lunch, South Africa collapsed after the restart, losing four wickets for 33 runs.

India were swiftly back on the wicket trail after enforcing the follow on - Yadav sending Quinton de Kock's (5) off-stump tumbling while Shami dismissed Hamza (0), Du Plessis (4) and Bavuma (0) in quick succession.

Elgar was forced to retire hurt after he was clattered on the helmet by Yadav and, though his replacement De Bruyn held firm, the Proteas could not stem the flow of wickets - Dane Piedt (23) and Kagiso Rabada (12) offering nothing more than short-lived cameos.

Pakistan's squad has had a major shake-up for the upcoming tour of Australia, with five uncapped players named across the Test and Twenty20 parties.

Sarfraz Ahmed was sacked as Pakistan's captain on Friday, with the wicket-keeper batsman also dropped from the squad following a dismal 3-0 T20 series defeat to Sri Lanka.

Azhar Ali has taken over as the Test captain and will have teenage seamer Muhammad Musa Khan, who has been included in both touring selections, at his disposal.

Experienced spinner Kashif Bhatti will also be available for Azhar, as will youngster Nasim Shah.

Khushdil Shah and leg-spinner Usman Qadir, meanwhile, have been included in the T20 squad, which will be led by Babar Azam.

Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, the injured Hasan Ali, Shadab Khan and Mohammad Amir, who announced his retirement from Test cricket earlier in 2019, have all dropped out of the five-day squad, while Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Akmal miss out on the T20 group.

Pakistan will play three T20Is and two Tests in Australia, with the tour beginning on November 3.

 

Pakistan T20 squad in full: Babar Azam (captain), Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Imam-ul-Haq, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Musa Khan, Shadab Khan, Usman Qadir, Wahab Riaz.

Pakistan Test squad in full: Azhar Ali (captain), Abid Ali, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Imran Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Rizwan (wicketkeeper), Musa Khan, Nasim Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood, Yasir Shah.

Bangladesh's tour of India has been cast into doubt after the nation's players announced a boycott of all cricket activity until demands for improvement of the game in the country are met.

Star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan was involved in a news conference in which Bangladesh's players issued a list of 11 demands to the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB).

They included the reversal of the BCB's decision to disregard the Bangladesh Premier League's franchise-based model.

With the boycott taking place with immediate effect, the National Cricket League - which is currently ongoing - will be the first tournament impacted.

Bangladesh are due to tour India in November, but the players said they will not attend the scheduled training camp until the BCB meet their demands.

The tour is set to start on November 3, with three Twenty20 games planned before two Test matches in Indore and Kolkata.

BCB CEO Nizamudin Chowdhury said a response will be issued once a formal complaint is made.

"We just came to know about it. We will discuss it in the board and try to resolve it as soon as possible," he said.

"I don't think it is anything like revolt. They are yet to tell us anything formally, but we are looking into the matter."

Windies all-rounder Rahkeem Cornwall hopes to make full use of the upcoming series against Afghanistan to deliver his best as he looks to cement a place in the regional squad.

The 26-year-old Antiguan made his debut for the regional team in August against India, where he claimed three wickets and made 15 runs.  Having been selected as a part of the 16-man ODI squad for the upcoming series against Afghanistan, the player is hoping for a much bigger impact this time around.

“After coming off the CPL, I am just trying to get in some work with the Antigua national team and do my fitness work outside of that and see how much I can prepare leading up to the India series. I think I already have a taste of what Test cricket is about so I just have to go and start to perform. I can’t wait any longer to start to deliver the goods at that level so I have to put myself in a position to perform and not really setting any goals, but performance is the key,” Cornwall told the Antigua Observer.

The all-rounder is coming off a productive season for Caribbean Premier League (CPL) team St Lucia Zouks.  His 254 runs in 10 matches was the highest runs scored for the team.  The player, however, believes things could have better.

 “I wouldn’t say I am happy. I think I had a few good starts and gave it away and I think I could have carried on, and had I carried on then, maybe, I would have been in the [West Indies] T20 squad, but it wasn’t one of the best CPL squads I’ve had,” Cornwall said.

“I think the role that I was given I did it well and it’s just up to me to carry on and make bigger things but it didn’t happen so next time around I have to make sure I do those things and see how far that performance can take me.”

 

 

West Indies fast bowling legend and outspoken pundit Michael Holding has pleaded for the inclusion of former opener Desmond Haynes in the regional team’s plans going forward.

Haynes, also a member of the legendary West Indies teams of the 70s, 80s and early 90s, has continually expressed interest in occupying the position of head coach and has often received the endorsement of several prominent former players.

The 63-year-old had been in the running for the position, which was recently up for grabs, but Cricket West Indies (CWI) choose to appoint his former opening partner Phil Simmons instead.  Despite not getting the position, Holding is confident that Haynes and others who applied for the post still have plenty to offer to the region and should be included in some way or the other.

 “ I would hope that they (CWI) wouldn’t just turn their backs and say ‘Phil Simmons is the coach; that’s it – the rest of you can just sit down and wait until something else comes up,” Holding told the Line & Length cricket podcast.

“I would hope that Phil Simmons would look at the people who also applied and think to himself ‘ok, I can use some of these people in my set­up. Let me try and get these people under my wing and help this West Indies team’.”

 

Rashid Khan entered the history books as the first player picked in the draft for the inaugural season of The Hundred, while Andre Russell was snapped up but Chris Gayle and Lasith Malinga went unsigned.

Afghanistan spinner Rashid, the ICC's top-ranked Twenty20 bowler, was selected in the top-tier £125,000 bracket by the Trent Rockets to join a team that also includes England Test captain Joe Root, Alex Hales and Australia big-hitter D'Arcy Short.

West Indies' electric all-rounder Andre Russell was the second man chosen and is bound for the Southern Brave, where Australia slogger David Warner and England's lightning paceman Jofra Archer are among his team-mates.

"I'm feeling good, I was nervous before, it's the first time being in the draft in this competition," Russell said. 

"I've got a lot to offer, a 100 ball [format] is definitely see ball, hit ball. I don't have to worry about my head [with Archer as a team-mate]. He's a great character. 

"I will try to just bowl faster than him."

Windies legend Gayle and veteran Sri Lanka quick Malinga will not be involved in the tournament, which starts in July next year, after their reserve prices were not met.

Welsh Fire selected world-class Australian quality with the menacing Mitchell Starc and superstar batsman Steve Smith joining England international Jonny Bairstow.

Northern Superchargers coach Darren Lehmann went with Australian familiarity by selecting Aaron Finch and Chris Lynn. 

Lehmann also chose Mujeeb Ur Rahman for a team that already has England's Cricket World Cup hero Ben Stokes.

Glenn Maxwell, Mohammad Nabi, Mohammad Amir and Mark Wood link up with Eoin Morgan – who skippered England to World Cup glory – at London Spirit, while classy New Zealand star Kane Williamson and Ravi Bopara are headed to the Birmingham Phoenix.

Manchester Originals landed Imran Tahir for their top-bracket selection, while Sunil Narine offers spin and top-order explosiveness for the Oval Invincibles.

Rohit Sharma labelled his maiden Test double century as "probably the most challenging" innings he has played.

India took complete control of the third and final Test against South Africa on day two in Ranchi, with Rohit scoring 212 from 225 deliveries to help the hosts to 497-9 declared, the Proteas reaching stumps on 9-2 in reply.

Rohit, who had three double hundreds in ODIs but never in the five-day format, faced a nervy wait after lunch was called while he was on 199.

The 32-year-old, who has excelled at the top of the order having endured a stop-start Test career to date, then saw out a maiden over upon resumption before finally getting over the line with an excellent pull for six off Lungi Ngidi. 

Asked about his wait, Rohit said: "That's the nature of the game. You can't do anything about it. I wouldn't say it's frustrating. It's just the laws of the game. 

"The time [a session] has to finish, it has to finish on that time.

"From my side, I wasn't thinking about that at all. Because I knew the time will come and whenever it's supposed to happen, it will happen. I was just trying to be positive, think positive at that particular time. 

"I know it can be frustrating at times but there's nothing you can do about it. I just went back happy [at lunch], you know, 199 not out, I'd take that any day."

Rohit now has six centuries in Test cricket but conceded this was the toughest innings he has played.

"I haven't played much, I have played only 30 Test matches," he added. 

"Yes, in terms of what was thrown at me in this particular Test match, I would definitely say that it was probably the most challenging one."

India had stumbled to 39-3 on day one before Rohit was joined by Ajinkya Rahane, with the duo putting on an outstanding fourth-wicket stand of 267.

"We've seen Ajinkya for so many years, the way his Test career has progressed, and whenever the team has been in a difficult situation, he's come and rescued us," Rohit said. 

"This isn't something he's done just once or twice, he's done it in many innings. This shows how strong he is, mentally, and how much hunger he has, to be able to steer the team out of bad situations.

"We've seen it outside India, we've seen it in India as well, so Ajinkya's Test graph, it's climbing one step at a time, and there can't be anything better for the team, because if your middle order is strong, whatever situation comes, you're confident that one guy will always put his hand up and take the team forward."

Rohit Sharma completed his first Test double hundred and Ajinkya Rahane added a century of his own as India moved into complete control of the third Test in Ranchi.

Starting day two on 224-3, India piled on the runs to declare on 497-9 and then reduced South Africa to 9-2 before bad light prematurely halted Sunday's action.

Rohit rapidly progressed his overnight total of 117 and reached a double century for the first time in the longest form of the game, having previously done so three times in ODIs.

His total had reached 212 from 255 deliveries when he finally fell to Kagiso Rabada, while Rahane moved from 83 to complete his 11th Test hundred with an innings of 115.

Bad light meant only five overs of South Africa's reply were possible, but that was enough for India to put the tourists in complete disarray after openers Dean Elgar (0) and Quinton de Kock (4) were removed.

Captain Faf du Plessis (1 not out) and Zubayr Hamza (0no) will return to the crease on Monday with their side right up against it in their efforts to avoid a 3-0 series whitewash.

The fourth-wicket partnership between Rohit and Rahane had reached 267 before Rahane finally fell shortly before lunch, caught behind after some sharp turn earned George Linde his first Test wicket, the debutant then going on to claim figures of 4-133.

Rohit smashed 28 fours along with six maximums, one of which got him to his double ton after he went into lunch tantalisingly close on 199. His brilliant effort came to an end when he was caught at fine leg when trying to take on Rabada (3-85).

Ravindra Jadeja scored 51 and Umesh Yadav whacked five sixes in an explosive 31 from just 10 balls as useful partnerships right down the India order ensured the hosts were just shy of 500 before Virat Kohli opted to declare.

Mohammed Shami dismissed Elgar for a duck with only the second ball of the innings in a dreadful start for the Proteas.

De Kock followed in the next over when he was unable to cope with a short ball from Yadav, wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha claiming his second catch as India piled on the pressure.

Batting coach Vikram Rathour says having an in-form Rohit Sharma at the top of the order changes the dynamic of the India side after he made another century on day one of the third Test against South Africa.

Rohit was unbeaten on 117 and Ajinkya Rahane 83 not out when stumps were drawn due to bad light, with India on 224-3 as they bid to secure a 3-0 whitewash after being reduced to 39-3 in Ranchi on Saturday.

The selectors promoted Rohit to open for the first time in the longest format in the series against the Proteas and the 32-year-old has grasped his opportunity, making three hundreds.

Rathour has been impressed with the application Rohit has shown following his promotion and always felt there should be a place for the dangerous right-hander in all three formats.

"He is such an experienced player I don't think you needed to do anything with his technique, the only adjustment I think he had to make was his game plans," said Rathour

"In Test cricket you need to play through those tough spells and I think he's doing that really well in this series.

"If he can keep doing that, once he's set, then he is a phenomenal player - we all know that - he can really punish you. He needed to make that mental adjustment to his game plans and he's done that well. 

"I always said he's too good a player not to be playing in any format, so I think it was a good call to get him to open and with the amount of runs scored of course, I think he has settled the issue for the time being.

"Somebody with his experience and the kind of cricket he plays, if he starts coming good for you at the top of the order that changes everything for the Indian dynamic - even when you are touring."

 

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