Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins took crucial wickets as Australia’s bowlers closed on victory on day four of the third Test against India at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

After Hazlewood removed Shubman Gill for 31 runs, Rohit Sharma fell to Cummins for 52 as an embattled India closed on 98-2, needing 309 more runs for an unlikely win.

Australia had declared on 312-6 after Cameron Green showcased some huge hitting in the afternoon session, surging to 84 off 183 balls, including eight fours and four sixes to set up a tense final session for India.

It was a day of Test cricket once again marred by a crowd incident with play delayed for eight minutes before the tea break while six people were ejected by New South Wales police after India's Mohammed Siraj issued a complaint of alleged abuse to the umpires.

Six people have been removed from the Sydney Cricket Ground on day four of the third test between Australia and India in Sydney.

Play was suspended for eight minutes before tea on Sunday as umpires and security guards attended the boundary area before the six were ejected from the venue by New South Wales Police.

Following the incident, Cricket Australia released a statement on the alleged racist abuse of the India team by a section of the SCG crowd on Saturday.

India’s Mohammed Siraj stopped play on day three to issue a complaint while fielding on the boundary during the afternoon session.

Cricket Austrlia confirmed the incident on Sunday while issuing their statement, although it is not known whether the incident on Sunday was related to racist abuse.

"Cricket Australia condemns in the strongest terms possible all discriminatory behaviour," said Sean Carroll, Cricket Australia’s Head of Integrity and Security, in the statement.

"If you engage in racist abuse, you are not welcome in Australian cricket.

"CA is awaiting the outcome of the International Cricket Council’s investigation into the matter reported at the SCG on Saturday.

"Once those responsible are identified, CA will take the strongest measures possible under our Anti-Harassment Code, including lengthy bans, further sanctions and referral to NSW Police.

"As series hosts, we unreservedly apologise to our friends in the Indian cricket team and assure them we will prosecute the matter to its fullest extent."

Former West Indies captain, Clive Lloyd, believes the upcoming and current generation of fast bowlers will only reach their full potential if they spend more time thinking on the pitch.

For many decades the Windies was known for producing generations of fearsome fast bowlers.  The likes of Joel Garner, Andy Roberts, Malcolm Marshal, and Michael Holding filled the hearts of countless opposition batsmen with fear for decades.

 A new generation of Windies bowlers, led by Kemar Roach and Shannon Gabriel along with youngster Alzarri Joseph has shown some promise, in recent times, but are yet to scale the heights reached by the golden generation.  Lloyd, who captained and played alongside many of the region’s top fast bowlers, has insisted the players had more than just pace.

“The thing with our fast bowlers is that they all did something different, it wasn’t just inswingers or outswingers.  They bowled different things.  So, when you came to bat against our players, you had to be at the top of your game and that’s why they were successful,” Lloyd told the Mason and Guest program.

“There was no let-up.  We didn’t just have fast bowlers; we had thinking fast bowlers.  They were not calypso cricketers,” he added.    

 

West Indies captain for the Bangladesh series, Kraigg Brathwaite, is confident the second-string team will give a good account of itself, despite facing a difficult task.

The regional team, who are off to the third overseas tour since the sport was impacted by the pandemic, will be missing 12 first-team players.  Team captains Jason Holder, Kieron Pollard, and Test vice-captain Roston Chase are among the players that opted out of the tour for health and safety concerns.

Brathwaite will be joined by in-form batsman Jermaine Blackwood and bowlers, Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel, and Alzarri Joseph as some of the available first-team players on the tour, but for the most part, the team will consist of fringe players and a few debutants.  The stand-in captain, however, insists the Windies are up for the challenge.

“We are all up for the challenge… it will be a tough series in Bangladesh but we have confidence and we have belief that we will do very well,” Brathwaite said.

“We have some members of the squad who will be playing there for the first time so it will be something new to them, but they know they have the talent and are capable of performing at this level.”

The tour will comprise of two Test matches, as part of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) World Test Championship, and three One-Day Internationals (ODI) as part of the ICC’s Cricket World Cup Super League. The ODIs present the first opportunity for the West Indies to earn Super League points which count towards the pre-qualification for the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2023.

 

Legendary West Indies captain, Clive Lloyd, insists the current crop of players must learn to play in all conditions if the team is to eventually emerge from the doldrums of world cricket.

In the aftermath of the recent squad selection for the West Indies tour of Bangladesh, plenty of eyebrows were raised not only due to the absence of 12 first team players but following the non-selection of promising young fast bowler Chemar Holder for the Test cricket squad.

The team has the typical fast-bowling trio of Shannon Gabriel, Kemar Roach, and Alzarri Joseph but with captain Jason Holder opting out of the tour, many thought Chemar would have been a natural replacement, particularly after a promising debut in difficult circumstances last month.

Cricket West Indies chief of selectors Clive Lloyd, however, explained that the panel had chosen to include more spinners at the expense of Holder, due to the nature of spin-friendly surfaces in Bangladesh.  Lloyd believes the decision could cost the young bowler valuable experience.

“These guys need to play in those countries where it’s not that helpful and you learn to bowl a better line and length,” Lloyd told the Mason and Guest radio show.

“On the dead pitches, someone like (Collin) Croft would still be disconcerting.  He would be getting it up into your neck.  The point is that our fast bowlers bowled well on any kind of wicket,” he added.

“Our bowlers were not deterred by slow pitches and that is what our youngsters have to learn, to bowl on pitches that are not responsive.  Dennis Lille, when he realized the pitch was not helping, he would cut down his run and bowl a different kind of delivery, cutters, and so on and make you think about your cricket.  So did Richard Hadlee, Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, all these guys would have learned to bowl on wickets that are not responsive.  If we are just going to rest people because the wickets are not responsive then something is wrong.”  

 

Twenty-Four West Indies Women cricketers will gather in Antigua from this weekend at the Coolidge Cricket Ground (CCG) for a three-week high-performance training programme.

President of the Nevis Cricket Association, Carlisle Powell, has called for a level playing field when it comes to the selection of players for the West Indies cricket team.

The administrator has taken exception with what he believes is the unfair treatment meted out to opening batsman Kieron Powell, who is also his son.  With 12 first team members opting not to go on the upcoming tour of Bangladesh, Powell, the top runs scorer during last season’s Super50 competition, was left out of a hastily assembled second-string team.

According to Cricket West Indies (CWI) chief of selectors Roger Harper, the player had failed to meet the team’s fitness standards.  The senior Powell, however, insists that was not quite true as while representing the Leeward Islands Kieron had passed the Yoyo fitness test more than once.  He insists that the issue stems from the fact that the player has not being given another opportunity to prove his fitness by the regional governing body.  By comparison, he claims that Evin Lewis and Shimron Hetmeyer, who both failed the test at the same time as Powell, were quickly afforded opportunities to prove their improved fitness level.

“The West Indies Cricket Board has repeatedly said as recently as Roger Harper on the 29th…that Powell was left out because he has not yet met the fitness standard, which is absolutely inaccurate in that he has more than once met and passed the fitness test as administered by the Leeward Islands,” Powell told Television Jamaica.

“The West Indies Cricket Board should amend their statement to say that they have failed to give him a fitness test since he failed the test in December of 2019,” he added.

“By the same token others who failed the fitness test at the same time, Hetmeyer and Lewis, fitness tests were arranged for them by the board.  We’re saying this is absolutely wrong there must be a level playing field for all the persons.”

 

 

 

Nicholas Pooran believes the West Indies’ low ranking in T20 cricket is due mainly to the fact that it hasn’t been able to put its best players on the field of play often enough.

The West Indies are currently ranked 10th in the ICC T20 rankings despite having some of the best players in the world in their talent pool. However, Pooran anticipates that the team could show its full potential at the next world cup.

“I just believe that most of the series West Indies play, they don't play with their strongest team. And by strongest I mean Chris Gayle, Pollard, Russell, Narine, Bravo in the team together,” the talented Trinidadian said in a recent interview with ESPNCricinfo.

“In the last couple of years, we haven't witnessed these players together. Either most of them weren't selected, some were unavailable ... but definitely a case around that.

“We couldn't play as a team after the last T20 World Cup. This, I am saying from a player's and a fan's point of view. Not seeing some of my favourite players represent West Indies might be one of the reasons.”

Notwithstanding the disappointment that comes with that reality, Pooran said he is looking forward to the coming T20 World Cup where he expects to be a better player holding his own amongst the best players from the region.

“Personally, I am looking forward to the T20 World Cup. As a team, our strength is T20s. For the last couple of years, we've been doing good in World Cups, but as a team where we are ranked [10th], it doesn't show how good our team actually is,” he said, indicating that believes that situation could change in the near future.

“Most of the senior guys are coming back to the West Indies team ... like Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo, Andre Russell and Sunil Narine are all coming back eventually.

“As a player, I am especially excited because I want to do good for the West Indies people and put a smile on their faces. My record for West Indies in T20s isn't that good and I want to improve that for the next couple of months.”

 

 

Former West Indies batting coach, Toby Radford, has questioned the conventional wisdom of selecting so many spinners for the team's upcoming tour of Bangladesh.

The omission of promising pace bowler Chemar Holder raised more than a few eyebrows when the squad was named last week, especially on the back of a promising debut in New Zealand.  The Test squad at current features four spinners in Rahkeem Cornwall, Kavem Hodge, Veerasammy Permaul, and Jomel Warrican along with the regular fast bowling trio of Shannon Gabriel, Kemar Roach and Alzarri Joseph.

  Cricket West Indies (CWI) chief of selectors, Roger Harper, went on to explain that Holder’s exclusion for additional spin bowling was based on the fact that the team was eager to take advantage of Bangladesh’s spin-friendly pitches.

Radford, who was part of a successful tour of the region in 2012, is unsure if that was the best approach.

“I’ve been listening to what people have been saying.  We have gone heavy with a lot of spin.  You expect the pitches to be slow and turn out there.  Whether they need as many spinners as they are taking, I’m not too sure,” Radford told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“In fact, when we won in 2012 it was done with good batting, posting big scores and having pace, actually, guys who could get it down in the high 80s, 90 miles and hour, not just assuming that because it’s slow pitches spinners are going to do the work.  I’m actually working for Bangladesh at the moment, I spent 6 weeks out there, they play spin very well, they’re brought up playing that kind of bowling.”

Legendary Windies fast bowler Curtly Ambrose is hopeful a few of the players selected for the upcoming tour of Bangladesh will be able to take full use of the opportunity to represent the team, despite being surprise selections.

Twelve players, including West Indies captain Jason Holder, vice-captain Roston Chase and T20 captain Kieron Pollard opted not make themselves available for the upcoming tour of Bangladesh this month.  The players cited health and safety reasons in their decision to reject the tour.

The absence of the team’s first-string players will see Kraigg Brathwaite, lead the Test squad with Jermaine Blackwood as vice-captain. Former West Indies A team captain, Jason Mohammed, will lead the ODI team with Sunil Ambris as vice-captain.

There will be first-time call-ups for Kavem Hodge to the Test squad and left-handed opener Shayne Moseley and all-rounder Kyle Mayers touring in the Test squad for the first time, after being part of the reserve team to England and New Zealand.

Two players earned first call-ups to the ODI squad - Akeal Hosein, a left-arm spinner allrounder, and Kjorn Ottley, a left-handed top-order batsman.  Despite expecting difficult conditions for the tour, Ambrose hopes some of the players will use the opportunity to challenge for regular places.

“I think it’s the perfect opportunity for some of these youngsters who have been knocking on the door for some time now to show the selectors and the rest of the cricket people that they are ready for this kind of cricket,” Ambrose told the Good Morning Jojo radio show.

“I am hoping these guys do very well with Bangladesh.  Whether we win the series, draw the series, or even lose the series, I hope they do extremely well so that when they get back home lead selector Roger Harper and company will have some headaches to decide who to select.”

Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo and Carlos Brathwaite are among several West Indies players who have made themselves available for the Pakistan Super League draft set for January 10, 2021, in Lahore.

Evin Lewis and Lendl Simmons were also the players whose names were released on Tuesday by the PSL. They are among 25 international players who will be available for the six-team competition even though some of them will only be available for a part of the season due to a packed international calendar during the February to March window.

Gayle has played previously in the PSL for the Karachi Kings and the Lahore Qalanders.

Other notable players who are in the draft pool include Imran Tahir, Chris Jordan, Chris Lyn, Mohammed Nabi, Alex Hales and Morne Morkel.

The 25 foreign players have been placed in the 'Platinum' category, from which the six franchises will select.

 

 

Barbadian fast bowler Keon Harding has been selected to join the West Indies tour to Bangladesh later this month.

West Indies fast bowling legend Curtly Ambrose has applied for the position of elite pace bowling coach at the England and Wales Cricket Board, the bowler confirmed on Wednesday.

England's Test squad has been cleared to begin training ahead of next week's series opener with Sri Lanka after being retested for coronavirus.

Joe Root's travelling party had been isolating in their hotel rooms after all-rounder Moeen Ali returned a positive result from PCR tests taken upon arrival at the airport in Hambantota on Sunday.

Moeen will continue to observe a 10-day quarantine period, while team-mate Chris Woakes will isolate for a minimum of seven days after being deemed a possible close contact.

However, the latest round of results show Moeen to be the only positive case and the rest of the squad can begin restricted training on Wednesday. 

"All PCR tests from yesterday are negative, except for Moeen Ali, and we can start controlled training this afternoon," an ECB spokesman said.

"Close contact Chris Woakes tested negative but will continue to isolate in his room."

England's two-match series with Sri Lanka gets under way in Galle on January 14.

Kane Williamson reflected on a "special moment" but insists New Zealand will continue to work hard to improve after reaching the summit of the Test world rankings.

The Black Caps wrapped up victory over Pakistan by an innings and 176 runs on day four at Hagley Oval on Wednesday to seal a 2-0 series win and become the top-ranked Test nation for the first time.

Kyle Jamieson took 6-48 and had 11 wickets in the game to take the Man of the Match award as Pakistan were bowled out for 186 in their second innings.

New Zealand have now won six straight Tests for the first time and swept three consecutive home series', but captain Williamson still wants to see his side kick on.

"It's hard to beat really, I don't know how the rankings work exactly I know they span over a period of time, to achieve that standing means there's been a lot of hard work over a lot of matches, and trainings and all these sort of things to reach that, so it's very special moment from the guys," he said. 

"It's hard to talk about until the Test summer was over, so it's nice to sit back and perhaps take a moment and enjoy the moment.

"I sort of mentioned before in the after match [presentation] that the game is truly a game of small margins. 

"As a side we're pleased with the efforts that went into these last two games but we know the quality side Pakistan have and there were definitely moments in both games that went our way or perhaps moments that we seized and went a long way to putting the result in our favour. 

"It's a game of small margins, guys respect that and it's about working harder and harder to move forward as a collective. 

"We know our next matches will be overseas tours, and just constant adjustments, tinkering to try and perform well in those matches."

For Jamieson, it has been a superb start to Test cricket and he now has four five-fors in six Tests.

"He's a special talent but his attitude, the way he's come in and try to add to the group on or off the field is the most impressive thing. In many ways he's leading and that's great," Williamson added.

"Cricket is an interesting game and something Kyle is extremely good at with bat and ball, a very, very special talent. 

"I think if he continues to, and I'm sure he will he's got great head on his shoulders, bring that great attitude he has - things have come very thick and fast for Kyle and that's a really enjoyable part to the game, something he's learning about and learning about himself.

"But he has a strong desire to improve and pick the brains of the senior guys who have been around a long time. He's a humble guy who wants to get better, I've no doubt he will."

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