West Indies batsman Darren Bravo believes that being appointed captain of the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force in January aided in his development and his maturity as a cricketer.

Darren Bravo said challenging himself to bat for as long as possible was the key factor behind his century against New Zealand A on Saturday.

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

 

  1. Batting clicked in Windies warm-up match

The three-day warm-up match between New Zealand A and West Indies at Queenstown ended in a draw on Sunday. Electing to bat first after winning the toss, New Zealand ‘A’ put up a dominant display of batting to post 308 for 3 declared in the first innings and then 124 for 1. The Windies scored 366 in what must be considered a commendable effort.

     The 112-run partnership between Kraigg Brathwaite and Darren Bravo helped bring the Windies compile a good score after opener John Campbell was bowled for 4.

Brathwaite went on to score 47 while gave a glimpse of his class in a memorable Bravo 135. Bravo knock included 13 fours and five sixes. Top order batsman Shamarh Brooks also stepped up with the bat scoring 80 while Captain Rostan Chase contributed 42 from 76 balls. 

  There is cause for optimism when considering the performance with the bat from the West Indies even though John Campbell does need to show greater game awareness and application. The lower order also needs to raise their game as four of the batsmen were dismissed in single digits.

Despite the commendable batting performance, the Windies had a tough time with the ball. Kemar Roach, Chemar Holder and Rahkeem Cornwall ended the match wicket-less and the bowling attack only managed to snare four wickets during the match.

If the West Indies are to be competitive during the coming series, the bowlers need to quickly shake off the rust and get firing.

 

  1. A sigh of relief for Trinidad and Tobago’s football!

Football’s world governing body, FIFA, on Thursday lifted the suspension of the Trinidad and Tobago football Association, TTFA. The decision was communicated in a letter to the Head of FIFA’s normalization committee in T&T, Robert Hadad. This is a major fillip for Trinidad and Tobago’s football as it paves the way for the team to participate in the CONCACAF Gold Cup and World Cup qualifiers. 

     Despite the setbacks, it is my hope that the normalization committee will cleared the massive debt burdening the association while paying salaries and getting the national team ready for international competition.

  1. Huge blow to Golden State Warriors after Klay Thompson’s injury

The Golden State Warriors star guard Klay Thompson suffered a season-ending tear to his right Achilles tendon during a workout last Wednesday in Southern California. The 30-year-old Thompson missed all of last season after tearing the ACL in his left knee during Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors. 

The Warriors were hopeful that Thompson would return fit and ready to compete for the 2020-21 season. However, they are now trying to figure out how they will cope without one half of the Splash Brothers, whose absence contributed to their league’s worst record (15-50) last season.

 Another season without Thompson on the court will be a huge blow to the Golden State Warriors chances of winning a title next season. How does one accept that such a dependable star has become so vulnerable? 

 

 

West Indies bowlers once again showed a lack of a cutting edge as their three-day match against New Zealand ‘A’ petered out to a dull draw at the John Davies Oval at Queenstown on Sunday.

West Indies head coach Phil Simmons has expressed optimism that the team has added needed firepower to its batting line-up following the return of talented batsman Darren Bravo, ahead of the New Zealand series.

The 31-year-old Bravo, along with Shimron Hetmyer and Keemo Paul, declined not to take part in the team’s tour of England earlier this year, citing health concerns due to the ongoing pandemic. 

Despite winning the first Test with a commendable performance, the West Indies batting line-up went through its typical struggles in the next two, as the series went to England 2-1.  The West Indies's batting performance in the England series was among their worst on tour since 2000, with the top-6 averaging just 28.66 and no century in the entire three-game series.

With such performances, it is little wonder Simmons is excited to get back a couple of his key batsmen.  He is confident Bravo and Hetmyer can make a difference.

“He’s (Bravo) has always been important, to the Test team especially, and it’s good to have him and Shimron back in the squad,” Simmons told members of the media on Friday.

“Where the batting is concerned it will be pressure on people to hold their places, in order to hold their places, they will have to score runs and that is a big plus for us,” he added.

“He is a huge plus for us in these situations.  He has done well here.  He is one of the only batsmen that have high averages in international cricket, so he knows what it takes to score big runs at this level so it’s good to have him back.”

 

Cricket West Indies CEO Johnny Grave believes the addition of Darren Bravo and Shimron Hetmyer and the competition for spaces will see the West Indies Test performing much better in New Zealand than it did in England during the summer.

Bravo and Hetmyer declined invitations to the West Indies squad for the #Raisethebatseries in England in July citing concerns over safety. The West Indies relied on Shamarh Brooks, Shai Hope and Jermaine Blackwood during the series when they won the first Test at Southampton only to capitulate in the remaining two Tests as the home side came from behind to win the series 2-1.

For the tour of New Zealand that begins on November 27 with the first of three T20 Internationals and then two Tests, the West Indies have the services of the two middle order batsman. However, Hope was not selected due to a protracted poor run of form.

Notwithstanding, the Cricket West Indies CEO believes the Caribbean side will deliver a much better showing in what is expected to be a tough series.

“I think touring New Zealand for any team, whatever form you’re in, is challenging, particularly in the Test matches. They haven’t lost a Test match series in New Zealand for years and years against every opposition that they have faced, so we are fully aware of the challenges of playing New Zealand in their home conditions,” Grave said.

“But, I think the Test team has made progress over the last few years and in moments, they’ve obviously won Test matches. What we’re really looking for is winning series, particularly away from home.

“We started the series against England brilliantly, beating them comprehensively in the first Test and we were in a good position in the second Test to seeing out a draw to retain the Wisden trophy but that didn’t happen so I think is hungry to get some championship points in the World Test Championships and also start to prove to themselves that they’re capable of winning series and delivering on that potential.”

This belief, he said, is based on the improvement in the batting driven by competition for places when compared to the team on the England tour.

“Certainly, I am sure the batting line-up will be strengthened and be more competitive with the return of Darren Bravo and Shimron Hetmyer etc,” Grave said.

“It’s going to be more competition for places in that middle order and batting line-up and it’s the batting where we need to show the most improvement because everyone is confident is capable of taking 20 wickets, what we need to do is get enough runs on the board to put whatever team we are playing against under pressure.”

 

 

 

 

 

Jason Holder and Kieron Pollard are to captain West Indies Test and T20 teams, respectively, while Shai Hope has been dropped for the upcoming tour of New Zealand.

Meanwhile, Andre Russell, Lendl Simmons and Evin Lewis have declined invitations to the T20 squad that has been selected for the tour.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) announced a short while ago, the two squads for the proposed tour of New Zealand which will feature three T20 Internationals and two Test matches from November 27 to December 15.

Details of the tour were ratified by CWI’s Board of Directors during a teleconference on Thursday. The Board agreed to the tour in principle, subject to final details on medical and logistical protocols of CWI, New Zealand Cricket and Government of New Zealand.

Left-handed batsmen Darren Bravo and Shimron Hetmyer have been recalled to the Test team, as well as all-rounder Keemo Paul. Bravo’s highest Test score of 218 came at the University Oval in Dunedin in 2013.

“The return of Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer and Keemo Paul will bolster the team, I expect that Darren will solidify the top-order, hopefully making it more productive, while Shimron gives the squad more options in the middle-order and it is another opportunity for him to show how good a player he is.  Keemo provides another wicket taking seam option,” said Chief Selector Roger Harper.

“The Test team has an opportunity to put into practice the learnings from the tour of England earlier this year.  The team has good all-round depth and I expect them be very competitive. New Zealand is a very good team especially in New Zealand, so we need to be on the top of our game.”

A group of reserves will also travel to help prepare the Test squad during the quarantine period and training camp as well as cover for injuries.

Meanwhile, Andre Fletcher, the experienced wicket-keeper/batsman has been named in the T20I squad for the first time since 2018. There is also a maiden call-up in this format for Kyle Mayers, the all-rounder, who performed well in last month’s Caribbean Premier League (CPL).

“Lendl Simmons and Andre Russell are two very experienced T20 players who performed very well on the last tour of Sri Lanka and their absence will surely be noted.  However, Andre Fletcher has another opportunity to show us what he can do and what he brings to the table,” Harper said.

“The T20I Team is now getting back into the groove after a nine-month absence from international competition. Fortunately, a number of players have been involved in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and before that the CPL, so they have had some competitive cricket leading up to this tour. The structure of the tour with the COVID-19 quarantine period, does not give the team any real opportunity for match practice as a team but there are a number of experienced players in the team so, hopefully, they can adapt quickly. 

“In the build-up to the ICC T20 World Cup, every T20I series is an important opportunity to fine tune the team, to get our personnel, our compositions and combinations right. For our players to become more attuned to their roles and the team to have a greater understanding of what works best in each situation. So, this is a very important series for us from that perspective and also in an effort to improve our rankings.”

The T20Is will be the start of an 11-month schedule of matches building up to the ICC T20 World Cup, rescheduled for October 2021 in India. The proposed schedule for this tour of New Zealand has the defending T20 World Cup champions starting at Eden Park in Auckland under lights.

The CWI Selection Panel indicated that this upcoming series will form part of the overall planning towards defending the ICC World T20 title. The panel outlined that they will continue to monitor closely the progress of spin bowler Sunil Narine and all other players in the lead-up to the global event.

 Test Squad:

Jason Holder (captain), Jermaine Blackwood, Kraigg Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Shamarh Brooks, John Campbell, Roston Chase, Rahkeem Cornwall, Shane Dowrich, Shannon Gabriel, Shimron Hetmyer, Chemar Holder, Alzarri Joseph, Keemo Paul and Kemar Roach.

 Test Reserves:

Nkrumah Bonner, Joshua DaSilva, Preston McSween, Shayne Moseley, Raymon Reifer, and Jayden Seales.

 T20 International Squad:

Kieron Pollard (captain), Fabian Allen, Dwayne Bravo, Sheldon Cottrell, Andre Fletcher, Shimron Hetmyer, Brandon King, Kyle Mayers, Rovman Powell, Keemo Paul, Nicholas Pooran, Oshane Thomas, Hayden Walsh Jr, and Kesrick Williams.

Newly crowned 2020 Hero CPL champion Darren Bravo, losing captain Darren Sammy and T20 record-setter Chris Gayle are among 150 players in a pool awaiting selection for the Lankan Premier League set to run from November 14 to December 6.

Shahid Afridi and Trinbago Knight Rider’s Colin Munro are also in the pool for the player auction set for October 1.

Under the rules governing the Sri Lankan T20 league, each franchise can buy up to six international players.

However, according to reports, there are still some loose ends to be tied up before the auction can take place. Among them government approval for a shorter quarantine period for players, officials and broadcast staff.

SLC officials are asking that the quarantine period for those arriving for the tournament be reduced from 14 to seven days.

 

The Trinbago Knight Riders showed they are a formidable squad, not just a starting XI, as Kieron Pollard rested both himself and Sunil Narine from an experimental lineup that was still far too good for St Kitts & Nevis Patriots. Lendl Simmons found form, Sikandar Raza and Pravin Tambe were excellent with the ball, and the Patriots are all but out of Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) semi-final contention.

Darren Bravo eased the Trinbago Knight Riders past the St Lucia Zouks in a DLS adjusted chase to keep their 100% Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) 2020 record intact, on a day where his elder brother made history. DJ Bravo became the first bowler to reach 500 T20 wickets, and 100 Hero CPL wickets to boot as the Knight Riders showed that, even without Sunil Narine, they are a formidable team.

Sunil Narine’s whirlwind 50 and miserly 2 for 19 saw Trinbago Knight Riders kick off the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) 2020 in style, easing past Guyana Amazon Warriors in the tournament opener, at Tarouba, despite Shimron Hetmyer’s unbeaten 63 off just 44 balls.

West Indies captain Jason Holder is not certain the inclusion of batsmen Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer, and all-rounder Keemo Paul would have made a difference to the team’s fortunes, following a series loss to England.

The trio was invited to the tour but declined to participate due to concerns surrounding the spread of the coronavirus.  Despite not being in rich veins of form, Hetmyer and Bravo are considered to be two of the team’s most talented and dangerous batsmen and Paul a promising all-rounder.

Despite an average performance from the bowling line-up, the team on occasion found themselves well short of batting, particularly in the final Test where they could only manage 326 in both innings.  England, by comparison, made 369 in the first innings.  Based on the conditions Holder, however, does believe the batsmen’s inclusion would necessarily have helped the situation.

“I’m very happy with the team we brought up here.  The team we brought up here is a part of our Test team.  There is no guarantee that Bravo, Hetmyer or Paul would play,” Holder told members of the media via a Zoom press conference interview.

“The way we’ve gone as a batting unit, we haven’t had the consistency we have been looking for.  If you look at two of the three players they are batsmen so there is no guarantee and Paul was a back-up to what we had here so far,” Holder said.

“The squad we had here was the squad to do it.  I’m happy with the guys who came and the work we put in.  It’s unfortunate the way it turned out but there are still lots of positives,” he added.

West Indies fast bowling great Andy Roberts believes Shimron Hetmyer erred when deciding to forego the West Indies tour of England.

The absences of Shimron Hetmyer and Darren Bravo on the West Indies tour of England are still causing a few headaches for the structure of the team, with head coach Phil Simmons yet to decide on what is the best line-up ahead of the first game which begins July 8.

The West Indies are playing in the first bio-secure Test series since the COVID-19 pandemic impacted sports worldwide and Hetmyer, Bravo and Keemo Paul decided against touring England on the back of health concerns.

The absence of the trio means there are questions about how the team will line up but head coach Phil Simmons, speaking during a press conference this morning, believes the answers are to be found in the next few practice games.

According to the coach, who was responding to questions about the batting positions of skipper Jason Holder and wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich when the three-Test series begins at the Rose Bowl in Southampton, the options are numerous.

“We have thought about quite a few things. The three-day game which starts tomorrow and then the four-day game will help us to decide how we structure the batting,” said Simmons.

“So there are possibilities in different directions. Jason could bat six, Dowrich could bat six, so we look at the three-day game and the four-day game and then make a decision from there,” he said.

There are also places to be considered with the returning Jermaine Blackwood to the batting line-up along with the likes Shamarh Brooks and Nkrumah Bonner and where they bat, if at all, in the new-look line-up.

The West Indies will play a three-day match game at their Emirates Old Trafford base beginning tomorrow, June 23, before a four-day encounter beginning on June 29.

 

Test Squad: Jason Holder (captain), Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shamarh Brooks, John Campbell, Roston Chase, Rahkeem Cornwall, Shane Dowrich, Chemar Holder, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Raymon Reifer, Kemar Roach

 

Reserve Players: Sunil Ambris, Joshua DaSilva, Shannon Gabriel, Keon Harding, Kyle Mayers, Preston McSween, Marquino Mindley, Shayne Moseley, Anderson Phillip, Oshane Thomas, Jomel Warrican

West Indies T20 star Dwayne Bravo has joined the growing throng of celebrity voices calling for an end to racism, saying all people of colour want is equality.

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