West Indies fast bowler Alzarri Joseph believes he and his teammates need to strive to be better for the second ODI against Bangladesh that bowls off on Friday. The Windies trail 0-1 in the series following their six-wicket loss to the home side on Wednesday.

Jermaine Blackwood was the only West Indies batsman to emerge from the West Indies tour of New Zealand with his reputation intact in what was otherwise a disastrous tour in which some batsmen averaged less than the team’s bowlers.

West Indies middle order batsman was full of praise for Alzarri Joseph following their 15-run seventh wicket partnership against New Zealand albeit in a losing cause on Saturday.

Jermaine Blackwood has credited better composure, greater confidence as well as pre-match preparation for helping him score his second Test century on Saturday.

West Indies captain Jason Holder was scathing in his assessment of his team’s performance following their innings and 134-run defeat inside four days to New Zealand at Seddon Park in Hamilton on Saturday night. (Caribbean time).

Resuming on 196 for 6 following on after being bowled out for 138 in their first innings, the West Indies showed some fight with a 155-run seventh wicket partnership between Jermaine Blackwood and fast bowler Alzarri Joseph. However, once Joseph was dismissed for a career-best 86, the West Indies fell away to inevitable defeat.

Blackwood scored only his second Test century (104) in one of the few bright moments for the West Indies. His was the eighth wicket to fall as the home side closed in for the kill.

Afterwards, a frustrated captain, held nothing back.

“We just weren't good enough. We passed the bat quite a few times but credit to Kane, he made us toil,” said Holder who tried to find a few positives to highlight.

“We still had some positive stuff with our bowling unit. Our batting wasn't good enough. I have to congratulate Blackwood and Joseph for their innings. But quite frankly our top order needs to do better.

“We're still scratching our heads. Our preparations have been good. We had two solid warm up games and although the surface was different, I think we need to show better application up top.”

Holder said the team had to find solutions to the problems plaguing the team that has now lost three of their last four Test matches.

“We need answers and we need ‘em quickly,” Holder said while revealing that the West Indies will be without the services of their most experienced bowler for the remainder of the tour and the possible loss of his wicketkeeper through injury.”

“Kemar pushed through this Test match but he'll be going home to be with his family now. Shane, we're not quite sure about the extent of his hand injury. Looking pretty doubtful for the second Test. As I said to the other guys, it's time to deliver and stop talking. We've talked a lot and we've promised a lot. Now it's time to look ourselves in the mirror and fight. We've thrown in the towel too easily. We need to change that.”

West Indies bowling coach Roddy Estwick has revealed that he expects big things from young fast bowler Alzarri Joseph ahead of the team’s tour of New Zealand later this month.

After a measure of some success when the team’s faced off in the Caribbean, the 23-year-old had also been expected to have a solid performance on the team’s tour of England earlier this year.  Those hopes failed to materialise, however, as the bowler toiled but only managed to pick up three wickets in the first two Tests.  He was dropped for spinner Rahkeem Cornwall for the third and final game.

Estwick, who was quick to point out that he has constantly encouraged the young bowler to seize the moment, expects a much better showing this time around, along with the usual suspects Shannon Gabriel, Jason Holder, and Kemar Roach.  

“I have high expectations of Alzarri Joseph for this tour.  He has been around for a while and I’ve been trying to get him to realise that it’s time now that he really stands up and puts in big performances,” Estwick told members of the media from the team’s training facility in New Zealand on Monday.

“Those four will be very important to us, as you know the pitches in New Zealand are not spin-friendly.  So, the spinners might have to play more of a containing role while the fast bowlers are the key wicket-takers.

Since making his debut against India in 2016, Joseph has claimed 28 wickets in 11 matches.

 

West Indies captain, Jason Holder, has earned the ire of former fastbowler, Winston Benjamin, who has not liked the way he has treated paceman Alzarri Joseph.

According to Benjamin, Joseph has been underutilized by the skipper, making it difficult for him to develop a rhythm and perform at his best.

“It’s not because I’ve worked with this young man, but I think Alzarri has been handled poorly by the captain from day one, not just this series, and just look at how he is being used. Here it is that you have a youngster with raw talent and we don’t have a lot of bowlers with raw talent, but how do you get experience, isn’t it by doing what you have to do?” said Benjamin during an airing of the ‘Good Morning Jojo Sports Show’.

Benjamin also suggested Holder has an issue with Joseph and may not think he is as good as people are purporting.

“If you’re not happy with an individual and you think there is too much talk about this individual and don’t think he’s as good and you want to prove a point, then you give him short spells, bowl him with the old ball when things are tight and critical so he never has a break,” said Benjamin

Benjamin went on to point out that Holder has a responsibility that comes with being captain that, if not managed properly, could be harmful.

“The captain has the ability to make or break a bowler. The time that you give him the ball to bowl, the confidence that you place in him will determine the frame of mind and if you are going to give me two overs and take me off every minute, the first thing I am going to say is that you don’t have any confidence in me so my whole demeanour is now going to change,” said Benjamin.

Benjamin, the mentor of Joseph, was speaking after the first two Tests in the three-match #raisethebat Series currently ongoing in England.

In that first Test, Joseph bowled a total of 31 overs to end with match figures of 2-98, while in the second Test he bowled even less, accounting for 25.1 overs for a match-haul of 1-84. Joseph was dropped in favour of spinner Rahkeem Cornwall for the Third Test which heads into day three on Sunday.

According to Benjamin, there is a certain selfishness in the way Holder rotates his bowlers.

“Now, what I have observed with our captain is that he doesn’t bowl unless things are happening and once things are happening the ball belongs to him and he’s not relinquishing that but as soon as you hit a little rough patch, you go and work this ball for me and as soon as things start happening he comes back in and cleans up. I have seen those things, I’ve been part of those situations many times. I’ve gone through that myself,” he said.

What Joseph needs now, more than anything else, Benjamin went on to explain, is experience.

According to the former fast bowler, who took 61 wickets in 21 Tests for the West Indies, that experience can only be had if the captain allows it.

“You can’t learn experience; you learn skill, you develop skill, but experience is you participating in whatever it is in order to gain the experience.”

The West Indies and England are locked at a game apiece in their three-Test series with England dominating the third.

England, sent into bat scored 369 and after two days of cricket, have the West Indies in a spot of bother, six wickets down for 137.

 

The West Indies performed admirably with the ball and in the field, despite a 162-over-long sojourn thanks to some dogged batting from England after two days of the second #raisethebat Test at Old Trafford on Friday.

England skipper Joe Root gave the signal to declare the innings on 469-9 just about an hour before close of play but before that, the side’s vice-captain, Ben Stokes, 176, and opener Dom Dibley, 120, made the West Indies toil.

Chase, himself, bowled a mammoth 44 overs to claim 5-143, while pacers Kemar Roach, 2-58, Alzarri Joseph and Holder, 1-70, offered support with their wickets.

In reply, the West Indies have already lost the services of John Campbell, after Sam Curran trapped him leg before for 12. Opener Kraigg Brathwaite, 6, and Joseph, the night watchman, 14, are the batsmen at the crease, with the West Indies 32-1.

“Most teams being out there for 160-odd overs you would begin to see the tiredness and the lines and lengths start to go wrong, but we didn’t let it get away from us. We still kept the run rate to under three and that was our aim from the beginning,” said Chase.

A large part of that were the 32 overs bowled by Roach. The pacer went at a miserly 1.76 runs per over even though he didn’t get among the wickets til late in the day when he had Stokes caught behind attempting a reverse sweep, and Woakes caught at slip with a peach of a delivery with the very next ball.

“We didn’t get wickets in clusters or really fast like we did in the first game but we stuck to the game plan and stuck to the task,” said Chase.

The West Indies were in for a surprise after believing they could get the most out of the wicket on day one under gloomy skies and with some moisture from rainy days still affecting the pitch.

“I thought the conditions played a big role in us deciding to bowl first. Outside was very overcast and dark, the lights were on before play even started, and having the success we had in the first game as well, everyone was down for the decision to bowl first. But as I said, the English batters played tremendously so kudos to them,” said Chase.

There were a few instances when things looked to be falling apart for the West Indies toward the end of the England innings.

Roach dropped a catch, pushing his effort over the ropes for six, Shannon Gabriel missed an easy run out, having caught the return but failed to make contact with the stumps, as well as a couple of other misfields.

Those instances, though, Chase explained are bound to occur after such a long time in the field.

We made a few blunders in the field which is going to happen when you’re out there for that long because your body is under tremendous strain but all in all I think it was a good effort from the guys,” said Chase.

Centuries from Dom Sibley and Ben Stokes Friday helped England press home their advantage over the West Indies by tea on day two of the second Test at Old Trafford.

England were 264-3 at the end of a wicketless first session in which the hosts added 57 runs in 26 overs — the kind of rate that took Test cricket back to the old days.

Sibley beat Stokes in their painstaking crawls to the milestone, bringing up his second Test hundred with a straight drive for three runs about 10 minutes before lunch. The opener gave a big fist pump to celebrate his 312-ball century, England's fifth slowest since 1990.

Sibley would hole out to Roston Chase for 120 in the second session as he tried to push the scoring.

Stokes, in the meantime, had stepped on the accelerator after lunch when he went to three figures. By tea, Stokes was 172 and England were 378-5.

Again it was Chase who moved the needle for the West Indies, trapping Ollie Pope for just seven.

At the crease with Stokes is Jos Buttler on 12.

Chase now has figures of 4-106, while the West Indies had to do without Alzarri Joseph, the other wicket-taker, for part of the day after the pacer complained of tri-cep pain. Joseph has figures of 1-70.

Key Windies strike bowler Kemar Roach believes young pace bowler Alzarri Joseph can have a decisive impact against England in the upcoming Test series.

Roach and Joseph are expected to form part of a four-pronged bowling attack that also includes the returning Shannon Gabriel and West Indies captain Jason Holder.  The quartet did well on home soil last year when the team secured a 2-1 win over England and the Wisden trophy.

On that occasion, it was Roach that played a starring role with the ball, but Joseph provided plenty of support with a 10-wicket haul for the series and gave the England batsman plenty to think about.  Ahead of the upcoming series, Roach believes his young teammate is even better this time around.

“Once he sticks to his game plan and has confidence in himself, I don’t see why he can’t do very well in this series,” Roach told members of the media.

“He’s a fantastic talent and we all know what he is capable of,” he added.

“At a young age, he is enthusiastic, very good, and always willing to learn.  He has improved significantly in my eyes and I think he has a great future for the West Indies.”

The 23-year-old Joseph made his debut for the West Indies as a 19-year-old against India in 2016.  He has since then, however, been plagued by injury issues but heads into the England Test in good shape.

“I’m looking forward to playing with him and in years to come, i’ll probably be at home and watching him lead the West Indies bowling attack.  So, I think he has a great future and I’m looking forward to seeing what he can produce.”

West Indies paceman Alzarri Joseph says he is a better bowler today than the one who faced England in England three years ago.

Joseph had a torrid time of the one Test he played in England during the 2017 Wisden Trophy, toiling for 22 overs without a wicket at a cost of 109 runs.

“I think I have made some improvements as a bowler. That was a big learning experience for me, my first time in England. So I have some experience here now so I know now how to bowl in these conditions in my second time around,” said Joseph.

According to Joseph, the key to bowling in England is making small adjustments to the increased movement in the ball.

“The ball does a bit more here in England than in the Caribbean. There are just some slight adjustments. Nothing too big,” the paceman said.

Joseph and the West Indies will be going into the second of their warm-up games ahead of the July 8 start to the battle for the Wisden Trophy.

In his first outing, a three-day encounter earlier this week, Joseph picked up 4-60 as a team captained by Jason Holder drew with another skippered by Kraigg Brathwaite.

Still, Joseph isn’t using the practice games to impress the coach into putting him in the final 11 for the July 8 series start, but rather, is ensuring he is ready if that happens to be the case.

“I see this as an opportunity to get some more overs under my belt, some more time out in the middle to get used to the conditions. I’m just looking to stay consistent. I think I bowled pretty well, so I am just looking to repeat what I did last game,” he said.

Joseph has had some trouble with injuries in recent times but feels he is fitter and stronger and more able to deal with the rigours of Test cricket.

“I put it down to a lot of hours on the training ground trying to improve my strength and my conditioning. Working on bowling consistently for longer periods,” he said of his recovery.

As far as fitting into a four-pronged pace attack which is expected to give England some trouble, Joseph is banking on the element of surprise.

Obviously those three [Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel, JasonHolder] guys have a lot more experience than I do, so more often than not, teams may see me as the weak link,” said Joseph.

“I can use that as an advantage for me because I know my abilities. They might not know but once I get in on the day and get the job done I know I can get on top of any opponent.”

Half-centuries from Kraigg Brathwaite and Shai Hope carried a Brathwaite XI team to 275 all out at stumps on day one of the West Indies’ three-day warm-up match against Jason Holder’s XI at the Emirates, Old Trafford on Tuesday.

West Indies bowling coach Roddy Estwick is confident that the bowling unit’s steady improvement over the past several years means they are now a match for any team in the world.

The Windies are currently preparing for a return to international cricket with the upcoming tour of England, after a globally enforced break due to the coronavirus pandemic.  Ahead of the series, the regional team is likely to be encouraged by the fact that it once again has a full complement of first choice strike bowlers. The likes of Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel, and Alzarri Joseph are all available having recovered from injury.  The regional team’s bowling attack has on occasion shown that they can be a handful for even top batting line-ups.  Against England, in the Caribbean last year, Roach and Holder both claimed four-wicket hauls, with Gabriel and Joseph getting among the wickets as well.  Estwick believes a major difference that has boosted the team's bowling performance in recent years is its level of fitness.

“What we’ve done is to improve our fitness,  now we can sustain pressure,” Estwick said via a news conference.

“If you look back in the 80s, that’s one thing the fast bowlers had, it’s fitness.  Another thing is that they (current players) are now understanding fast bowling.  They have got to that age, Kemar and Shannon they are leading the charge and they are very experienced,” he added.

 “Jason Holder has become a much better Test match bowler in the last two years and Alzarri Joseph is now beginning to show his potential.  So were have four fast bowlers where we can challenge any team in the world.”

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.

Jermaine Blackwood scored most runs but fast bowler Alzarri Joseph topped the batting averages during the recently concluded West Indies Championships.

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