Former West Indies wicketkeeper/batsman Denesh Ramdin said he is looking forward to playing with the St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots for the upcoming season of the Caribbean Premier League CPL.

Captain Jason Holder said the Barbados Tridents are eager to build on last season’s title success as the team announced the retention of nine Caribbean players for the upcoming season of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL).

A behind-closed-doors T20 World Cup could rob some players of their only chance to play in front of huge crowds, Ireland head coach Graham Ford has said.

The sprint-format competition is due to begin in mid-October when Ford's Ireland take on Sri Lanka, a team he used to coach, in the first round of a tournament being staged in Australia.

Though cricket across the world is currently suspended due to the spread of coronavirus, the ICC said last month that the aim is for the T20 World Cup to be staged as planned.

However, the presence of fans at those matches remains a different matter as all industries continue to observe social-distancing measures.

Ford admitted he is split on wanting to play cricket as soon as it is safe to do so and the possibility of some of his players featuring in perhaps their only major tournament without fans present.

"A personal preference – I feel for the players – but I would just love to see cricket happening," he told Stats Perform.

"On the other side of it, it's such a fantastic experience for players to play in those sort of tournaments with big crowds. I feel as though those players are being let down.

"If there's a way of structuring it that eventually that tournament takes place with the normal crowds, that's definitely first prize. But if that can't happen, well, let's play cricket.

"I think it's quite sad if you get to one T20 World Cup and it's played behind closed doors; it's quite a downer on everything."

Ford also feels that nations like Ireland, who have to make it past the first round to reach the Super 12s, where Australia, holders West Indies and England will enter, will be the most disadvantaged by disrupted preparations.

Ireland have already seen a tour of Zimbabwe, due to happen in April, and a seven-match series against Bangladesh, scheduled for this month, postponed.

"Going into the year, I felt we could make a huge improvement in our cricket because our programme was really exciting," Ford added.

"All of that cricket would have improved a lot of our young guys and, by the time we got to the World Cup, we would have brought on a lot of those cricketers a great deal.

"Unfortunately, that's not happening, so it makes the challenge that much bigger.

"I suppose on the other side, some of the top teams, some of their gun players haven't played cricket for a while, if it works out that way.

"I think it might be easier for a Steve Smith or somebody to turn his game on than one of our 20-year-old players, so it's a bit of a disadvantage.

"From what I've seen from the Irish character and their commitment to try to make things happen and never-say-die attitude, we'll be up for the challenge."

The St Kitts & Nevis Patriots have retained or sign seven Caribbean players including Evin Lewis, Fabien Allen and Sheldon Cottrell ahead of the 2020 CPL draft.

Steve Smith and Virat Kohli are talismanic figures who set the tone for their respective international sides, according to David Warner.

Australia's Smith and India's Kohli are two of the finest batsmen of their generation, occupying first and second spot respectively in the current Test rankings.

The duo are set to meet if India's tour of Australia – scheduled to begin in October – goes ahead, although significant doubt remains as the coronavirus pandemic continues to pose a threat.

If it should go ahead, Warner expects to see great things from the two leading men, who he says act as figureheads for their sides.

"When it comes to cricket, they both have got the mental strength, the mental capacity to score runs," Warner told Cricbuzz.

"They stabilise, they boost morale – if they score runs, everyone else's morale is up. If they are out cheaply, you almost sense that on the field that everyone is … [down on morale and thinking] now we all have to step up. It's a very bizarre situation.

"They both love spending time in the middle. Virat's passion and drive to score runs is different to what Steve's would be.

"Steve is going out there for a hit in the middle, that's how he sees things. He's hitting them out in the middle, he's having fun, he's enjoying himself, just does not want to get out.

"Virat, obviously, doesn't want to get out, but he knows if he spends a certain amount of time out there, he's going to score plenty of runs at a rapid rate.

"He's going to get on top of you. That allows the guys coming in [to play their own game], especially in the Indian team you've got a lot of players who can be flamboyant as well."

Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Lendl Simmons, Sunil Narine and Darren Bravo are among 10 players retained by the Trinbago Knight Riders for the 2020 CPL season.

Graeme Smith made an immediate impact as South Africa's director of cricket and his full-time appointment can help the Proteas build for a brighter future, according to Enoch Nkwe.

After initially taking over on an interim basis late last year, Cricket South Africa (CSA) confirmed in April the former captain will be remaining in the role for a two-year period.

The 39-year-old - who scored 9,265 Test runs and a further 6,989 in ODI cricket - appointed Mark Boucher as head coach ahead of the home Test series against England, while another ex-international in Jacques Kallis joined as a batting consultant.

Nkwe is part of the staff as an assistant coach and feels Smith has already made a difference in the job, aided by his standing within the game.

"From a cricketing perspective, to have someone of his stature, you can almost see the confidence in general from a cricketing space, especially from the team," he told Stats Perform.

"He is an ex-player and an ex-captain who has a very good cricketing brain.

"It all happened very quickly in a short period of time. He was only initially in the position for three months and there was so much he needed to do. Understanding of systems, then at the same time try and help the Proteas and give as much support as possible to try to win and build the confidence of the public, so he had quite a lot on his plate I must say.

"Looking at the circumstances, I think he's done well. He's well aware of the circumstances and there is still a lot he needs to put in place from a system point of view.

"There's no doubt that will happen in the next couple of months and years, to ensure the foundation is as strong as it's ever been."

South Africa have struggled in all forms of the game, including failing to progress beyond the group stage of the 2019 Cricket World Cup, but Nkwe is confident Smith can help bring some much-needed stability, both on and off the field.

He added: "The fact that now we know we are dealing with someone for the next two years at least, we are able to strategically plan certain things and he will be accountable for that. Also, it will give us confidence in us being able to execute our plans properly.

"There are just so many things around his full-time appointment that, as a team, we know where we are going, what we need to do, and I look forward to not only the next two, but the next three years, because I signed until the 2023 World Cup.

"Even just in our meetings, his energy is felt and he's someone who has always has that presence. That's something that is very, very exciting and something we needed in South African cricket."

South Africa assistant coach Enoch Nkwe says the prospect of AB de Villiers regaining the Proteas captaincy has never been discussed.

De Villiers has made no secret of his desire to come out of international retirement, but last week emphatically denied reports Cricket South Africa had asked him to take a leadership role.

Quinton de Kock only replaced Faf du Plessis as white-ball captain earlier this year and a decision on the next Test skipper is expected to be announced in the near future.

Nkwe was surprised to read claims that De Villiers had been given the chance to take the captaincy and welcomed his swift denial of such claims.

He told Stats Perform: "I was shocked because from our position, we've never discussed anything like that.

"I was completely surprised because generally if something like that is going to happen myself and Mark [Boucher, head coach] would talk about it, including Graeme Smith [director of cricket], over a call, chat about ideas on who do we think would be captain going forward for however long.

"To see something like that was a complete surprise. I suppose maybe it could be someone out there just trying to make something out of nothing and I'm happy to see AB himself say that's not such.

"There's definitely been communication with regards to him returning because of the [Twenty20] World Cup and I know he would love to make an impact and win a World Cup for our country.

"That's clear, it's out there, he said it himself. But with regards to captaincy, that's pretty new to me and as far as I'm concerned nothing has been discussed behind the scenes."

The Jamaica Tallawahs have claimed that the decision to not retain Chris Gayle for the 2020 CPL season was strictly business.

The Jamaica-based Hero CPL franchise on Wednesday refuted claims made by Chris Gayle on Monday, that politics and Ramnaresh Sarwan were behind their decision to let Gayle leave for the St Lucia Zouks for the coming season.

Gayle, in a series of videos posted on Youtube on Monday,  suggested that Sarwan, his former West Indies teammate, turned management against him. He said when he refused to back Sarwan’s bid to become team manager, Sarwan sought payback. Gayle called Sarwan a snake and said he was worse than the Coronavirus.

Gayle also said he believes that accepting an invitation from Guyana’s Minister of State Joe Harmon in 2018, also played a part in the decision to let him go.

However, in a statement released early Wednesday, the Tallawahs said Gayle’s comments were far off base and that they are only focussed on rebuilding a team that disappointed during the 2019 season.

“The ownership and management of the Jamaica Tallawahs was disappointed to see the comments made by Mr Christopher Gayle about his departure from the Tallawahs, as we would much rather have had these discussions in private,” the statement said, explaining that Sarwan did not play a role in any decision affecting the self-styled ‘Universe Boss’.

“Mr Gayle gave several reasons for the decision that was made not to retain him in the Tallawahs. However, the truth is that this decision was made collectively by the ownership and management team, which did not include Mr Ramnaresh Sarwan, and based purely on business and cricketing reasoning.”

The Tallawahs also dismissed Gayle’s claim about him being targeted because of perceived political connections.

 “Further, the ownership and management of the Tallawahs have no political affiliation with any political organization in any country of the Caribbean,” the statement said.

“The Tallawahs had a very disappointing season in CPL 2019, where the team finished last in the tournament. The ownership and management team has exercised its rights in the selection of players for CPL 2020 for the betterment of the team.

“The ownership and management of the Tallawahs will not be making any further comment on this matter as we are focusing on building the team for the future.”

The 2020 season of the CPL will be the last for Andre Russell with the Jamaica Tallawahs.

On the eve of his 32nd birthday, Russell, perhaps the most dangerous player in T20 cricket globally, in a rambling speech on Instagram Live on Tuesday night, accused the team’s ownership of poor communication and continued disrespect that helped create the impression that he was part of a conspiracy to get rid of Chris Gayle.

“I have another year’s contract with the Tallawahs and I am going to play and try and win because that is all I play for, but this will be my last because I have been getting mixed up with all these (expletive) that is happening,” he said, “and I can’t be playing cricket and I am not comfortable.

“And I think another franchise that has been coming last and fifth and fourth in CPL will appreciate me more. I am not getting it here.”

Russell revealed that he only heard about Chris Gayle’s departure from the team when the Universe Boss sent him a copy of a report in the Jamaica Gleaner that suggested that Gayle was not going to be retained by the two-time CPL champions and that there were going to changes to the coaching staff.

Rovman Powell was to be made captain.

That information, when combined with recent statements from Marlon Samuels suggesting that Russell must have known about Gayle's departure and Chris Gayle's subsequent comments, gives the impression that he knew what was going on behind the scenes at the Tallawahs when nothing could be further from the truth.

He said in 2019, he was not involved in anything with regards to the Tallawahs whom he said treated him like a player who was making his debut and whose opinion is not valued.

This is despite his decision to play for much less money because he wanted to play before his home fans. “I have accepted a pay cut just to play in front of my home crowd, my family and my friends,” he said.

This year, nothing has changed, Russell said.

“They communicated with my agent. My agent agreed. I agreed with my agent, ‘okay, let we sign’. The only time the CEO (Jeff Miller) or the only time the Jamaica Tallawahs contacted me was to ask me how soon will I sign,” he revealed. “The deadline is that time and can you sign please.”

Russell said when he asked who the team planned on retaining he did not get answers. “Who you guys planning on buying, I don’t get no answers on that. So I just leave it,” he said.

He said he read the newspaper report before he called Gayle and it made him nervous when it said that Floyd Reifer was going to be the head coach.

Reifer had messaged him, he said, indicating that he might be the head coach for the Tallawahs and mentioned plans they have for the upcoming season. However, Reifer suddenly ceased all communication and Miller still was not communicating with him.

During that time, Russell said, rumours began to circulate that Gayle was leaving for the Zouks.

He said his respect for Gayle made him fearful to even approach the ‘Universe Boss’ about whether the rumours were true. So when Gayle messaged him with the newspaper article asking if he knew anything about it, he was stunned.

“I called Chris instantly and I addressed the situation. I said to Chris that the only thing I heard was that Floyd Reifer was potentially going to be the coach.”

However, Russell believes that the fact that Rovman Powell and Reifer are friends and the perception that he knew what was going on behind the scenes, it creates the impression that he was part of a conspiracy to get rid of Gayle.

“Up till now I know nothing that was going on but now it looks like me, Rovman and Floyd Reifer plan up and a get of Chris. Why would I get rid of Chris? Chris has a three-year contract, you’re not supposed to breach your contract,” he said. “I had to address the situation because things don’t look good right now.”

However, this was something Russell said that was a feature of the ownership from the start.

He said when he signed to the Tallawahs in 2018, he had just returned from a one-year ban. The ban was for whereabouts violations after he had missed three doping tests within a calendar year, which under the WADA Code is equal to a doping violation.

He was made captain but, according to Russell, “the way they go about things kinda allowed me to dress back a bit”.

He said when he was made captain he gave the owners a list of the players that he wanted them to sign for the team.  “Overseas players, local players, players from inside the Caribbean. It wasn’t about friends. It wasn’t about Jamaicans,” he said. “I am a guy that plays to win and I have won 13 championships, maybe the only player that has done that, so I don’t play to lose.”

He said he tried to reach out to the owners on the day of the draft and got no reply. However, when the draft was completed they reached out and asked him if he was happy with the team they selected.

He said it took him a while to reply because he was disappointed that they did not communicate with him when he reached out to them. However, his agent urged him to reach out to them and indicate that he still wanted to be captain and that he was happy with the draft.

He concedes that they did pick a good team but it lost in the playoffs to St Kitts and Nevis.

However, Russell believes the owners of the Tallawahs need to change if they are to remain viable.

“We have to do things better for the future,” Russell said, who seemed genuinely disappointed and upset about what transpired between Gayle and Jamaica Tallawahs.

“To deal with Chris Gayle the way that they have dealt with the situation is nothing to do with cricket. It’s more personal.

 “This is going to be an awkward dressing room. It’s going to be an awkward CPL but no one will actually see that when I step out to bat or to bowl while I am on the field because I play to win.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An angry Chris Gayle has described Jamaica Tallawahs Assistant Coach Ramnaresh Sarwan as a snake and a backstabber in a series of videos in which he explains the reasons behind his move from the Jamaica Tallawahs to the St Lucia Zouks for the 2020 CPL season.

Former Pakistan captain Sana Mir has announced her retirement from international cricket.

Mir, 34, played 226 times for Pakistan across one-day internationals and Twenty20s, leading her country on 137 occasions.

The spinner retires as Pakistan's leading wicket-taker in ODIs having claimed 151 dismissals, the joint fourth-most of all-time, while she scored 1,630 runs in the format.

Mir's last ODI was in November 2019 and she did not play in the Women's T20 World Cup in Australia earlier this year.

"The last few months have provided me with an opportunity to contemplate," she said in a statement released on the Pakistan Cricket Board's website.

"I feel it is the right time for me to move on. I believe I have contributed to the best of my ability for my country and the sport."

England's home series against West Indies will not go ahead in June as planned after the start of the 2020 season was further delayed.

Having originally announced there would be no play on English soil before May 28 due to the coronavirus pandemic, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has now announced there will be no professional cricket until at least July 1.

The decision affects the three-Test series with West Indies due to take place in June, though the aim is to reschedule international fixtures for both the men's and women's teams from July until the end of the September.

ECB chief executive officer Tom Harrison admitted there is still no certainty of any cricket being played during the English season, with games only able to go ahead if permitted by government guidelines.

"As much as we remain hopeful that we can deliver some cricket this summer, we are in the midst of a worldwide crisis and our priority – over and above the playing of professional sport – will be to protect the vulnerable, key workers and society as a whole," Harrison said.

"That's why, simply put, there will be no cricket unless it's safe to play. Our schedule will only go ahead if government guidance permits.

"Our biggest challenge, along with other sports, is how we could seek to implement a bio-secure solution that offers optimum safety and security for all concerned. The guidance we receive from Westminster will help us shape how we deliver this."

A revised domestic fixture list will see the Vitality Blast Twenty20 tournament pushed "as late in the season as possible to give it the best opportunity of being staged", according to a statement from the ECB.

However, nine rounds of the County Championship will be lost this year, with a board meeting next Wednesday to decide what will happen with The Hundred, the new white-ball competition due to begin on July 17.

"Our plan is to reschedule international matches as late as possible in the season to give the best chance of play," Harrison said of the potential restructuring.

"The Vitality Blast will also now occupy the latest possible season slot to offer as much time as possible to play a county short-form competition.

"I want to thank everyone involved in this complex and sensitive work. There have clearly never been times like this and my colleagues at the ECB and across the game have been exemplary in this period. It has been refreshing, but not surprising, to see how cricket has come together."

Contingency plans for staging the men's T20 World Cup were discussed during a chief executives' committee meeting on Thursday.

The heads of all 12 full ICC members and three associate representatives dialled in for a conference call to discuss the challenges they are facing amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The men's T20 World Cup in Australia, due to start in October, and the women's 2021 Cricket World Cup are to go ahead as planned as it stands.

However, the situation will continue to be monitored and the ICC Future Tours Programme will be reviewed through to 2023.

The ICC revealed that the future of the World Test Championship and the men's Cricket World Cup Super League will be discussed at a later date.

Cricket Australia chief executive Kevin Roberts said: "Cricket Australia is working closely with the ICC, the Local Organising Committee and the Australian government so we have a comprehensive understanding of exactly what it will take to be able to play the T20 World Cup 2020 in October in Australia as planned.

"We are also jointly exploring all other options in relation to staging the event and will take the right decisions at the right time so we can host a wonderful celebration of the sport and keep everyone involved safe and well."

ICC chief executive Manu Sawhney said: "I am grateful to my fellow CEOs for their clear commitment to a unified approach to steering cricket through this pandemic.

"We will work in partnership for the best outcomes for the sport in relation to both ICC events and bilateral cricket.

"We agreed on the importance of taking well informed, responsible decisions in relation to the resumption of international cricket.

"The complexities involved in being able to stage ICC global events are extensive to ensure we protect the health and safety of everyone involved and they will be carefully considered before any decisions are arrived at in the best interests of the game."

Daren Sammy will return as captain of the St. Lucia Zouks for the 2020 season.

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