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

The three players who pulled out of the upcoming West Indies tour of England expressed serious misgivings about the risk posed to their health, despite the assurances provided.

The trio, Darren Bravo, Keemo Paul, and Shimron Hetmyer all respectfully declined to be part of a 25-man squad picked to tour England next month.  With eyes firmly on the coronavirus epidemic, the three-Test series will be played in empty stadiums and players placed in a quarantined bio-secure environment as soon as they arrive in the UK.  In addition, the players will be brought in on a private flight.

The precautions were, however, not enough to assuage the fears of the players. With 283,311 cases and 40,261 deaths, the UK recently took over from Italy as the European country most badly affected by the coronavirus.  In declining Bravo, Paul and Hetmyer wrote to the CWI authorities and cited concerns for themselves and their families.

“Keemo Paul is the sole breadwinner in his entire household and wider family. He was really concerned if something happened to him how his family would cope,” CWI CEO Grave told ESPNCricinfo.

“He wrote passionately about how hard a decision it was for him and how much he loves playing for West Indies, but after with consultation with his family he doesn’t feel he can leave them and doesn’t want to go on the tour,” he added.

Grave went on to reveal that in a similar email from Hetmyer, he explained that he “didn’t feel comfortable from a safety point of view, leaving his home, leaving his family and heading over to England.”

The CEO had earlier insisted the decision will not be held against any of the players.

Veteran batsman Darren Bravo and newcomers Keemo Paul and Shimron Hetmyer will not face any backlash from Cricket West Indies for their decision not to travel to England for the three-Test series in July.

Reports have emerged that the West Indies selectors have chosen a squad to play against England in a three-Test series in July. However, the squad will not include Darren Bravo, Keemo Paul or Shimron Hetmeyer who have all opted out of the three-Test match tour.

The squad is expected to depart from the Caribbean on June 8.

According to cricket commentator and talk show host Andrew Mason, the selectors had a hard time selecting a squad but in the end, came up with a squad that includes the recalled Jermaine Blackwood and Shannon Gabriel.

The names of the others who were selected include Captain Jason Holder, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shai Hope, Shane Dowrich, Roston Chase, Shemarh Brooks, Rahkeem Cornwall, Nkrumah Bonner, Alzarri Joseph, Chemar Holder, John Campbell, Raymon Reifer and Kemar Roach.

The West Indies will be in the United Kingdom for about four weeks and will be housed in a bio-secure environment while they get up to speed before the start of the first Test.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) confirmed on Tuesday that a three-Test series without spectators is scheduled to start on July 8 at the Ageas Bowl.

Old Trafford will host the second and third Tests.

The venues have been selected from a group of four that submitted an interest, having had to demonstrate to the ECB board an ability to meet criteria surrounding biosecurity, medical screening-testing provision, footprint to enable social distancing and venue-cricket operations.

Edgbaston was picked as a contingency venue and will be utilised for additional training throughout July.

The Windies are due to arrive in England on June 9 and will use Old Trafford as their base for training and quarantining before travelling to the Ageas Bowl.

 

 

 

CPL stars Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer, Keemo Paul and Brandon King have all been included among the 10 Caribbean players retained by the Guyana Amazon Warriors for the 2020 CPL season scheduled to get underway in August.

Paul and Hetmyer are two of seven Guyanese players retained by the Warriors. Big-hitting Sherfane Rutherford, Romario Shepherd, Chanderpaul Hemraj and Anthony Bramble were also retained as has been the emerging player Kevin Sinclair.

Odean Smith from Jamaica will also be back for the coming season.

“The Guyana Amazon Warriors Franchise has and will always be committed to the continued development of our local and regional players. From the inception of the CPL, we included young Guyanese players in our squad as part of the franchise’s mandate to provide opportunities to young aspiring Guyanese cricketers to assist in their overall development as professional cricketers,” said Omar Khan, Guyana Amazon Warriors Team Operations Manager.

“Shimron Hetmyer, Keemo Paul and Sherfane Rutherford have all benefitted from these opportunities prior to them becoming full-fledged members of our team. 

“We are extremely delighted that we were able to retain the majority of our local and regional players, including Nicholas Pooran and Brandon King, both of whom have been hailed by the cricket pundits as potential future stars of West Indies cricket and who were members of our team last year. The Guyana Amazon Warriors wish all of the retained players great success in the CPL 2020."

Retentions and signings of international players will be announced at a later date.

 This year teams can retain as many players from their 2019 squads as they wish. They could also transfer players to other teams and sign emerging players. 

 The CPL is scheduled to take place between August 19 and September 26, but the tournament organisers are currently watching the current situation with COVID-19 closely and are liaising with medical advisors and governments.

 A decision on whether the tournament can proceed as planned, or at a different time, will be made as soon as possible.

 

West Indies great Lance Gibbs has jokingly suggested he would need a belt in order to help the talented but often mercurial young batsman Shimron Hetmyer.

The legendary spinner, who turned 85-year-old last year, had a good laugh when asked to assess what measures could be taken to get the 23-year-old to consistently produce the type of performances his immense ability often seems to suggest he is capable of.

“I want a belt.  I want a belt in my hand when I see him,” Lance quipped during an interview on the Mason and Guest radio show.

The former U-19 World Cup-winning captain has been both a source of both delight and frustration for West Indies fans in recent years.  While he has often been revered for his effortless and beautiful stroke play, the player has also been guilty of a certain amount of recklessness, which often gifts his wicket to opponents.  Hetmyer was dropped for a few games in February after failing a fitness test.

“You don’t just throw away your hand like that,” Gibbs added.

The spin bowling legend, however, believes that the attitude of some of the modern players is influenced by how much they participate in the shorter formats of the game, which have become the most lucrative.

“We play limited-overs cricket at a fair pace, you have 20 overs you have 50 overs. The 20 overs is a slug, our young players are not putting their heads down to bat for a period of time.  We probably need more 50 overs.  A youngster like Hetmyer, for example, goes out and always wants to hit the ball for sixes, you don’t bat that way.”

As means of a solution, Gibbs suggested the creation of a formal medium where past generations could be given the chance to meet and mentor the current crop. 

West Indies batting legend, Brian Lara sees quite a bit of talent in the Windies squads currently hunting for a resurgence in world cricket but there is still work to be done.

Lara, speaking to ESPN Cricinfo, for instance, believes talented 23-year-old Shimron Hetmyer has personal issues like his fitness that he needs to deal with before he is quite ready to take the world by storm.

“People have challenges in different ways and Hetmyer, obviously, is a very talented cricketer, someone who plays all forms of the game for the West Indies. If he is unfit, he has to see it as a personal challenge. Fitness levels are so very important. So if fitness is his problem, I would like to see him face that challenge himself, and he’ll be a much better cricketer,” said Lara.

Lara though, has much more immediate hopes for others in the West Indies squad like Shai Hope, Nicholas Pooran and Alzarri Joseph.

According to the former Windies captain, Pooran understands his role in the team, while the West Indies can find Hope’s stability useful, even in the T20 form of the game, while Joseph is a gamechanger with his ability to take wickets.

“I like Nicholas Pooran, he’s settling down and understanding his responsibilities more now. Shai Hope could play a part in the T20 World Cup, being that solid guy with a great technique that can hold the innings together. Those are the three players I’m really looking forward to seeing. Alzarri Joseph is someone who I look at and say ‘this guy has got potential, he’s a wicket-taker’. He is someone who I’d like to see do well,” said Lara.

Lara, as he has said before, believes the team can learn much from the example of Virat Kohli.

Kohli, he said, has worked hard on his fitness and that, Lara explained, is the perfect lead for Hetmyer to follow.

Guyanese prodigy, Shimron Hetmyer, has earned a recall to the West Indies squad scheduled to play against Sri Lanka in two Twenty20 Internationals on March 4 and six after the completion of the current One-Day International between the teams.

Hetmyer and Evin Lewis were spectacularly dropped after an announcement they had both failed fitness tests Cricket West Indies selectors had implemented as a requirement for selection.

There is still no recall for Lewis, who had, not long before, overcome poor form in typically destructive fashion.

The squad also includes a recall for Andre Russell and Oshane Thomas.

Allrounder Russell, 31,  hasn't played for the Caribbean side since pulling up short midway through the 50-over World Cup in June 2019. However, he has taken part in other matches, most notably in the Bangladesh Premier League in December and January

Russell is a two-time ICC T20 World Cup winner, having played a crucial role in the triumphs back in 2012 in Sri Lanka and 2016 in India. He has successfully completed the Cricket West Indies (CWI) return-to-play assessment programme under the supervision of CWI Medical Team in his native Jamaica. He has so far played 47 T20Is for the West Indies.

Fast bowler Thomas, who turned 23 earlier this week, is selected after making a full recovery from a car accident in Jamaica recently. Additionally, wicket-keeper/batsman Shai Hope has been included alongside left-arm spinner Fabian Allen.

Commenting on the squad, CWI lead selector Roger Harper said: “Shimron Hetmyer missed out on selection for the ODI squad. He has since attained the required fitness level, becoming available for selection and has been included.

"Andre Russell is back in the squad, having been cleared by the medical panel and successfully completing CWI’s return-to-play protocol. Andre will add potency to every department of the team. Oshane Thomas appears to be focused and raring to go. He will add pace and penetration to the bowling unit.”

Harper added: “Shai Hope provides an opening option and cover as a back-up wicket-keeper also. Fabian Allen returns from the injury he sustained in the series against Afghanistan late last year. He will provide a spin-bowling option as well as adding depth to the batting group.”

Looking ahead to the T20I matches, Harper outlined that he will have one eye on the ICC T20 World Cup to be played in Australia later this year. West Indies are the defending champions and the only team to lift the trophy twice.

“I look forward to the team building on its recent performances and winning the T20 series in Sri Lanka. This is another opportunity for the team to build on its strengths and identify areas that need improvement while continuing the process of building up with the aim of peaking for the T20 World Cup in October,” said Harper.

The two T20Is will be played at the Pallakele International Cricket Stadium in Kandy.

West Indies and Sri Lanka are now contesting a three-match ODI series. Sri Lanka won the first match today by a wicket in Colombo.

The second match is in Hambantota on Wednesday.

 

West Indies T20I squad

Kieron Pollard (capt), Fabian Allen, Dwayne Bravo, Sheldon Cottrell, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Brandon King, Nicholas Pooran, Rovman Powell, Andre Russell, Lendl Simmons, Oshane Thomas, Hayden Walsh Jr, Kesrick Williams.

 

IN: Andre Russell, Oshane Thomas, Fabian Allen, Shai Hope.

 

OUT: Evin Lewis, Khary Pierre, Sherfane Rutherford, Romario Shepherd.

Guyana Jaguars captain Leon Johnson found a slice of form to steady his side’s batting, after Keron Cottoy and Shane Shillingford hit half-centuries to beef up the Windward Islands Volcanoes first innings total at St. George's, Grenada.

Johnson was 65 not out and shared two successive, significant stands to prop up his side’s batting as the Jaguars closed on 145 for 3 after they had stumbled to 25 for two.

He added 74 for the third wicket with West Indies batsman Shimron Hetmyer, who got 32, and has added 46 – unbroken – with Christopher Barnwell, not out on 28.

Earlier, Cottoy made 56 and Shillingford hit 53 to give proof that there was a sting in the Volcanoes’ tail after they resumed from their overnight total of 212 for six.

Cottoy and Shillingford became the second and third batsmen to score half-centuries in the Volcanoes’ innings after their captain Kavem Hodge scored 53 on an opening day.

After Cottoy fell to left-arm pacer Raymon Reifer, Shillingford added 57 for the eighth wicket with Shermon Lewis to further frustrate the Jaguars.

But Shillingford was one of three wickets – two to Test left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul – that fell for 23 in 42 balls to bring the innings to a close at 318.

Permaul ended with 4-59 from 33.5 overs and West Indies leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo finished with 3-73 from 20 overs for the Jaguars.

It is normal for players who are not turning out for the West Indies to return to their franchises when a regional competition is on, but that did not happen yesterday with Shimron Hetmyer and the Guyana Jaguars who began their contest with the Jamaica Scorpions at Sabina Park.

Hetmyer had been dropped by the Windies ahead of an away series against Bangladesh after failing a fitness test and was expected to take his place with the Jaguars on Thursday.

However, according to the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB), Hetmyer did not follow the protocol associated with contracted players not on West Indies duties ahead of the game.

“Players who are not on West Indies duties but are contracted to the West Indies are supposed to report to their franchise,” GCB Secretary Anand Sanasie was reported as saying.

“Since returning from West Indies duties he has not reported to the franchise for training … which automatically makes him unavailable,” said Sanasie.

Hetmyer and Windies opener Evin Lewis fell afoul of Windies’ fitness requirements but the team’s chief selector, Roger Harper, had said the Guyanese left-hander was well on his way to getting himself together.

With that in mind, Cricket West Indies had said Hetmyer and Lewis would have been retested in another two weeks.

Next week the Jaguars will go to Grenada where they take on the Windward Islands Volcanoes and Sanasie believes whenever Hetmyer makes himself available, he will be [art of the team.

“We wish him well. Once he has made himself available he would be selected to play for the franchise,” said Sanasie.

CWI chief executive refutes claims players omission was no conspiracy and players have known rules for two years.

Discarded West Indies batsmen Shimron Hetmyer and Evin Lewis could rejoin the West Indies squad in a couple weeks’ time if they are able to achieve the required fitness standards when re-tests are administered.

Hetmyer and Lewis were dropped from the regional team ahead of the upcoming One Day International (ODI) series against Sri Lanka, after failing to meet the minimum fitness standard required.

The Windies will play three matches against Sri Lanka at the Sinhalese Sports Club, the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium in Hambantota and the Pallakele International Cricket Stadium in Kandy. The ODIs will be followed by two T20 Internationals in Kandy.

According to CWI chief executive Johnny Grave, the duo could return in time for the T20 series if they manage to pass upcoming re-tests.

“In the case of Hetmyer he has been extremely fit and bought into the fitness standards but for whatever reason, the test came back well below the minimum standard, but we expect him to be re-tested in two weeks.  Hopefully, he’ll pass the test and be available for selection,” Grave told the SportsMax Zone.

“The squad that we have announced is for the three one day internationals against Sri Lanka.  There are two T20 internationals after those and that squad hasn’t been selected.  Hopefully, the players will re-take those tests and pass them and be available for selection.”

West Indies Cricket chief executive Johnny Grave maintains the regional sport’s governing body takes very little pleasure in excluding players from the squad for fitness reasons but insists the standards are well known and accepted.

Controversy struck earlier this week after promising batsmen Evin Lewis and Shimron Hetmyer were left out of the regional team, ahead of its series against Sri Lanka after both failed a fitness test.  The opener Lewis’ omission came as even more of a surprise in the circumstances, considering the fact that he was the team’s best player in the recently concluded series against Ireland.

“We’ve made it clear to the players for three years now.  The last thing we want to do is to be fining any players.  The last thing we want to be doing is to be downgrading a player’s contract.  The last thing we want to do is to not have any of our players available for selection,” Grave told the SportsMax Zone.

“At the same time if we have really to make a difference in driving a new fitness culture in our cricket and professionalizing all elements of cricket in the West Indies, we have to have minimum standards, accountability for those standards and consequences if players don’t adhere to those standards,” he added.

According to the official over the last two years, CWI has been forced to fine players significant sums of money and significantly reduced salaries.

Both players failed to meet the minimum standard but are expected to be re-tested in a few weeks.

  

 

Windies skipper Kieron Pollard seemed to make good on his promise to take ‘tough decisions’ after being dissatisfied with the team’s performance in the second ODI against Ireland.

Top-order batsman Shimron Hetmyer was dropped from the team’s line-up for the third One Day International (ODI) against Ireland, on the back of what has been general frustration with the looseness of his stroke play in the first two matches of the series.

On Sunday, however, the skipper seemed to make it clear the move was just a temporary one with Hetmyer expected to return to the team’s line-up later this week.  In the two ODI games played, Hetmyer made 14 runs and was caught on both occasions after questionable shots.

“We spoke about working hard and the discipline and what is required for the team.  He is a very important player for us and it is a discussion that we had.  We need him to settle down and bat the way that we know he can bat.  In India he did it very well for us,” Pollard said following the match.

“These things happen, it just goes to show the dynamics of the team we have, Sunil coming in and getting that opportunity as well.  We want guys to be very, very hungry because there are other guys knocking on the door so we can’t relax and take anything for granted,” he added.

“At the end of the day, all is well that ends well.  He is a jovial guy.  He has helped out throughout the day and we look forward to him making runs in the T20 series.”

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