West Indies middle-order batsman, Darren Bravo, has sought to assure fans of the regional team that the unit is striving to achieve consistency and has backed them to eventually accomplish it.

Spirits have been high, both for the West Indies team and many of its supporters, as the team followed up a surprise win away to Bangladesh with home wins over Sri Lanka and in both the T20 and One Day International series.

The fans will, however, be wary of celebrating a return to headier times too soon as the team has on several occasions given signs of turning the proverbial corner, so to speak, which they hope will be a crucial step to once again becoming a dominant force in world cricket.  Bravo, who scored a century in the ODI series, has explained that while things have not always quite gone to plan, the team is working to make the fans happy.

“To be honest, I don’t think it’s a situation where we have to try to be perfect because you will never ever be perfect.  It’s more about striving to be consistent in all facets of the game, whether it be bowling batting, or fielding,” Bravo told members of the media via a Zoom press conference call on Monday.

“I think as long as we strive for consistency then that is where you are going to see improvement.  If you try to be perfect, you fall short here and there.  As a team we are striving for consistency, the guys are working hard and I’m sure we are going to get it right.”

 

A century from Darren Bravo and half-centuries from Shai Hope and Kieron Pollard led the West Indies to a five-wicket win with nine balls to spare, and a sweep of Sri Lanka in the CG Insurance ODI series that concluded at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua today.

Man of the Match Bravo scored 102 and shared in two crucial partnerships - a 109-run third-wicket partnership with Hope, who made 64, and a fourth-wicket partnership with Pollard that set up the West Indies for a third consecutive victory. The captain remained unbeaten on 53 at the end.

Chasing 275, after Sri Lanka made 274 for 6, their best score of the series, the West Indies had their worse start of the series. After stands of 143 and 192, respectively, in the first two matches, Evin Lewis and Hope managed only 24 runs on this occasion.

Lewis, who has been in ominous form with scores of 65 and 103 in the two previous matches, was bowled by Suranga Lakmal for 13 at the end of the fifth over. The West Indies crawled to 39 for 1 in the 10th over when Jason Mohammed was bowled by Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva, who was getting his first wicket of the ODI series.

His dismissal brought Hope and Bravo together for the first of the two instrumental partnerships of the West Indies innings. However, after keeping the scoreboard ticking over at close to five runs an over, the pair got bogged down by the tight bowling. By the start of the 32nd over the pair had taken the score to 148 when Hope got out trying to slog Thisara Perera first ball only be caught by Suranga Lakmal running in from long-on.

Hope had made 64, his third consecutive score of 50 or more in the series and on the sixth consecutive occasion overall. Nicholas Pooran came intending to push the score along hitting two sixes in what was to be a brief stay at the crease. Three overs later he was back in the pavilion out lbw to Danuska Gunathilaka for 15 to leave the West Indies in a spot of bother at 169 for 3, still needing 106 from 78 balls.

Pollard arrived at the crease intent on pushing the scoring rate without unnecessary risk. He knocked balls into the gaps, running singles and twos, sprinkling four fours in between. Bravo soon followed suit and together they put on 80 runs while bringing the run rate down from near eight an over to near six and which took the West Indies within sight of their target.

By the time Bravo got out trying to hit Lakmal over extra cover, the West Indies needed 25 from 23 balls. Bravo hit five fours and four sixes.

Holder joined Pollard and together began a steady run toward the required runs.

Pollard hit one six in his 42-ball innings and it was perhaps the most important one of the innings.

It came from the last ball of the 48th over bowled by Asitha Fernando that yielded 14 runs, resulting in the West Indies needing nine from 12 balls.

After missing with an almighty swipe from the first ball of the 49th over bowled by Lakmal, Jason Holder finished the job hitting a four and a six off the next two balls to finish the job unbeaten on 14.

Lakmal, who gave up the winning runs, finished with 2-56 from 9.3 overs.

Earlier, Sri Lanka, who had been put in to bat, only managed their competitive score of 274 for 6, due to an unbroken seventh-wicket stand of 123 from 111 balls between Hasaranga and Ashen Bandara.

Hasaranga who should have been run out for 42, hit seven fours and three sixes on his way to his best ODI score of 80 that came off just 60 balls while Bandara was unbeaten on 55 that included three fours and six.

They had taken the score from 151 for 6 sliding from 68 without loss.

Gunathilaka made 36 before he lost his wicket to Alzarri Joseph. Seven balls later and two balls later Dimuth Karunaratne was bowled by Mohammed for 31. It was the start of a trend wherein the Sri Lankan batsmen would all get starts and then got out.

Akeal Hossein took 3-33 taking the wickets of Pathum Nissanka for 24, Dinesh Chandimal for 16 and Dashun Sanaka for 24. The latter two getting out in a similar fashion playing across the line to faster straight deliveries and getting bowled.

By that time, Sri Lanka was struggling at 143 for 5 in the 31st over.

When Perera was run out by a direct hit from Nicholas Pooran seven balls later, Sri Lanka was slipping fast at 151 for 6 before Hasaranga and Bandara pulled out their rescue act.

For his scores of 102, 84 and 64, Shai Hope was named Player of the Series.

Both teams will now turn their attention to the Test series that begins on March 21.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jason Holder and Darren Bravo have been recalled to the West Indies squad for the first Test against Sri Lanka set for March 21-25, 2021.

Trinidad and Tobago Red Force recorded their fifth win in a row to end the preliminary round of the CG Insurance Super50 Cup with a perfect record and 20 points.

There was little interest in West Indies players at the 2021 IPL Auction held in Chennai earlier today.

Evin Lewis, Darren Bravo, and Rovman Powell are among 19 West Indies players who have been shortlisted for the Indian Premier League draft set for Chennai on February 18 at the ITC Grand Chola.

Evin Lewis’ better than a run-a-ball century helped the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force romp to a five-wicket victory with 55 balls to spare over the Jamaica Scorpions at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium today.

Kieron Pollard will lead a powerful TT Red Force squad when the CG Insurance Super50 Cup bowls off in Antigua and Barbuda from February 7-27.

Pollard heads a seasoned squad of players that include the likes of Evin Lewis, Lendl Simmons and the hard-hitting Nicholas Pooran. Darren Bravo, who will form part of the strong squad will also serve as vice-captain for the team that were semi-finalists last time out.

The T&T selectors have also picked the experienced Jason Mohammed, who is on West Indies duty in Bangladesh as well as former West Indies representatives Sunil Narine, Denesh Ramdin and Ravi Rampaul.

Imran Khan, Akeal Hosein, opener Kjorn Ottley, Khary Pierre, Anderson Phillip and Jayden Seales are also in line to represent the team from the twin-island republic that on paper should start as favourites to win the shortened version of the competition in 2021.

The full squad reads: Kieron Pollard (captain), Darren Bravo (vice-captain), Evin Lewis, Lendl Simmons, Jason Mohammed, Nicholas Pooran, Sunil Narine, Denesh Ramdin, Imran Khan, Akeal Hosein, Ravi Rampaul, Jayden Seales, Kjorn Ottley, Anderson Phillip, Khary Pierre.

Kraigg Brathwaite produced an unbeaten hundred and Darren Bravo just missed out on his second of the tour as the West Indies compiled 353 for 3 against New Zealand ‘A’ on the opening day of the second warm-up match at the John Davies Oval in Queenstown on Thursday.

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.”

 

 

 

 

 

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