Veteran International commentator, Joseph ‘Reds’ Perreira has launched a stinging rebuke of Cricket West Indies (CWI) and the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) for the timing of contracting players for the upcoming calendar year.

In addition, the 81-year-old Perreira says he is totally and utterly disappointed that there has been no cover for fast bowler Shannon Gabriel, who in his estimation has deteriorated.

“We have given contracts to people who played four Test matches in a year, that cannot be fair,” Perreira said on the Line & Length TV Show on Sportsmax.

“The omission of (Shamar) Brooks and (Roston) Chase was surprising given the limited amount of cricket they played, I mean two series? Four or five Tests? I was hoping that WIPA would not have pushed for contracts now, especially since there is no first-class season.

“You dropped players and don’t give them contracts so how will you adequately judge their form and scores. Ideally, because of all that’s going on, those contracts should have been delayed until after the South Africa or Australia tour….or even Pakistan,” he passionately explained.

“(Shimron) Hetmyer not given a contract? He was losing weight and looked good in the IPL and we have to be careful not to lose players. Chairman Roger Harper said they are working with him, but doing what?! We just rushed a bit this year with the contracts,” he said.

As far as Gabriel is concerned, Perreira pointed to the fact that the 33-year-old who has 157 wickets from 54 Tests has slumped over the last season and CWI should have seen fit to contract two younger fast bowlers as cover for him.

“Gabriel is getting on and had an operation on his ankle. He is not the same! He struggled for rhythm and pace in England, seemed out of sorts against Sri Lanka, and in my estimation can’t play back-to-back Tests matches anymore.

“Gabriel is not bowling 140kmph easily and one good spell is not good enough. Surely, if you pick him, then the Board should have contracted two young fast bowlers to work alongside him and (Kemar) Roach,” he said.

The Guyanese Perreira who is a St. Lucian resident also endorsed the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground, previously the Beausejour Stadium as the venue to hosts the West Indies vs South Africa series and advocates for a crowd of at least 1,000 spectators in the Johnson Charles stand, once they can prove a certificate of vaccination against the COVID19 virus.

 

 

West Indies all-rounder, Jason Holder, is set to be given rest ahead of the upcoming series against South Africa, as part of the team’s load management strategies.

The 29-year-old recently returned to the Caribbean following the postponement of the Indian Premier League (IPL), where he represented Sunrisers Hyderabad.  The West Indies are expected to begin camp in St Lucia, on Sunday, ahead of the series which will take place between June 10 and July 3.

The camp, which comprises 30 players, will include two 'best v best' inter-squad matches.  Holder, who was replaced as Test captain earlier this year, will join the camp at the end of the month.

The team’s Test captain Kraigg Brathwaite and fast bowlers Kemar Roach and Alzarri Joseph will also not be attending the camp, as they are currently competing in English County Championship and will return to the West Indies for the Test series if selected.

 

 

West Indies fast bowler Alzarri Joseph has credited increased mental focus on his batting with improved performances at the crease.

Over the past several months, the bowler has made the headlines for positing solid totals at the crease, as much as if not more than multiple wicket hauls.

Against New Zealand, in December of last year, Joseph recorded his highest total of 86, which was his maiden half-century. The Antiguan then went on to add another after scoring 82 in February this year against Bangladesh.

Fast forward a few months later and the player has taken his form with the bat to a debut season of English County cricket for Worcestershire.  With best scores of 46 and 61, Joseph has shown plenty of ability to be handy with the bat when the team needs it.  In four matches to date, Joseph has scored 128 runs and claimed 10 wickets.

“Whatever I could contribute to the team I am happy to do, so it’s good that I have been getting a few scores but for me, I think it’s also about being consistent doing it,” Joseph told the Antigua Observer.

“I have always enjoyed batting but it was just down to me being a bit more focused on it so I think for me it’s just about staying focused, being consistent in any aspect of the game.”

 

 

 

It has been confirmed that the West Indies will officially host South Africa for the first time since 2010, with the series booked for the islands of Grenada and St Lucia.

The parties have been locked in negotiations for the past several months, with several obstacles to overcome.  The latest it is believed was a venue for the tour, which was reportedly originally set for Trinidad and Tobago.

A recent spike of COVID-19 cases has, however, forced an alteration to those plans.  The current plan will see the teams play two Tests at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground in St Lucia and the T20s taking place at the National Cricket Stadium in Grenada.  The series will take place between June 10 and July 3.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) director, Graeme Smith, expressed delight to be heading back to the Caribbean, particularly in light of the difficult and uncertain times caused by the pandemic.  He reserved a special word of thanks for the countries that stepped in to host the series on relatively short notice.

 “We are extremely pleased to have the men’s team’s tour to the West Indies officially confirmed. Covid-19 has played havoc with the ICC Future Tours Programme and we are thankful to Cricket West Indies and the governments of St Lucia and Grenada for ensuring that the tour goes ahead as planned‚” Smith said.

“The hosting nations‚ in particular‚ came to the party at very short notice and Cricket South Africa would like to extend its immense gratitude to them for their enthusiasm and willingness to host us."

 Cricket West Indies (CWI) has announced an action-packed schedule for the West Indies Men, featuring three consecutive international home tours against South Africa, Australia and Pakistan, from June to August 2021.

The Test and T20 International (T20I) series against the Proteas, rescheduled from 2020, will start the International summer. The world-renowned tourism destinations of Saint Lucia and Grenada will be the West Indies host venues. South Africa are due to arrive at St Lucia on June 1 and will play two Test matches at The Daren Sammy Cricket Ground, followed by five T20Is at the Grenada National Cricket Stadium from June 26 to July 3. CWI is grateful to the Governments of St Lucia and Grenada for agreeing, at relatively short notice, to host the touring South Africans. This will be the first time that South Africa has played bilateral cricket in the West Indies since 2010.

The July 9 to 24 Australia white-ball tour of the West Indies will also begin at St Lucia’s Darren Sammy Cricket Ground hosting five T20Is. The Aussies then move on to Barbados for three day/night CG Insurance One Day Internationals (ODIs) at the world-famous Kensington Oval. The CG Insurance ODIs provide the opportunity for West Indies to secure more points in the ICC ODI Super League, as the West Indies strive to qualify automatically for the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup following the recent 3-0 victory against Sri Lanka. https://www.icc-cricket.com/cricket-world-cup-super-league/standings

Pakistan is scheduled to arrive in Barbados on July 21 ahead of their five-match T20I Series, with the first two matches to be played at Kensington Oval before travelling to Guyana to play the concluding three T20Is at Guyana’s National Stadium from 26 to 29 June. The West Indies and Pakistan teams will then travel to Jamaica for two back-to-back Test matches at Sabina Park from August 12 to August 24 which conclude four days prior to the start of the Caribbean Premier League in St Kitts.

This schedule features a total of fifteen T20Is for the reigning ICC T20 World Champions, as the West Indies continue the build-up to their title defence at the ICC T20 World Cup, in October and November 2021.

CWI CEO Johnny Grave said: “Following the successful hosting of the all-format series against Sri Lanka earlier this year, we are delighted to announce that we are set to welcome South Africa, Australia and Pakistan to the West Indies. To host three international teams back-to-back in five territories is unprecedented, and putting these fixtures together was an enormous Covid-related logistical challenge. We must thank the visiting teams for agreeing to travel at this challenging period for world cricket and we are especially grateful to our regional Governments who are playing such a vital role in partnering with CWI to ensure that International cricket can be hosted safely while providing entertainment for our loyal fans and income for our cricketers and cricket communities.”
CWI has also been working closely with Territorial Cricket Boards, along with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Sport in all the host countries, to orchestrate all the logistics and agree the safety and medical protocols for the tour. All players, support staff and match officials will stay, train and play in a bio-secure environment, with regular COVID-19 PCR testing taking place with the assistance of Ministries of Health and from CARPHA.

It is not yet determined whether fans will be able to attend matches in person, however, they will be able to follow live on TV in the Caribbean with Flow Sport, live on radio with Vibes FM and their partner radio stations and via ball-by-ball updates and the new live blog in the match centre on www.windiescricket.com.

West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite was a happy man on Thursday upon hearing the news that his team is now sixth on the ICC Test rankings, up from eighth following improved performances against Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in recent months.

 The Barbados Tridents have announced their retentions for the 2021 Hero Caribbean Premier League which gets underway on August 28 in St Kitts & Nevis.

 The Tridents will welcome back the world’s number one rated Test all-rounder and Tridents’ captain Jason Holder, along with fellow Barbadians Shai Hope, Kyle Mayers, Raymon Reifer, Justin Greaves, Nyeem Young and Joshua Bishop.

 In addition to the local playing contingent, the Tridents have retained opening batsman Johnson Charles and leg spinner Hayden Walsh Jr who was the player of the tournament when the Tridents claimed the Hero CPL title in 2019.

 Tridents have eight spots left to fill in their squad and the remaining players will be announced in the coming weeks.

 Kailash Pardasani, Barbados Tridents Co-CEO, said: “We are really excited to welcome back our retained players and especially look forward to making Barbados and all Tridents’ fans very proud in our upcoming 2021 season. Our primary driving factor is the Barbados Tridents family which comprises our players, their extended families and all fans across the globe. This together with our love and passion for the game of cricket will enable us to bring the Hero CPL 2021 title back home as we did in 2019.“

 

West Indies legend, Viv Richards, has called on talented young batsman Shimron Hetmyer to take a more mature approach to cricket, in order to realise and maximise his full potential.

In the same breath, the iconic former batsman fondly referred to as the ‘Master Blaster,’ believes any failure by the player to do so would be a great loss not just to the West Indies, but the sport as a whole.

The 24-year-old Guyanese-born batsman has been in the spotlight recently, after failing to secure an international retainer contract from Cricket West Indies (CWI).  Long-touted as one of the region’s premier talents, Hetmyer has had a disappointing period, missing out on several appearances for the West Indies and twice failing a fitness test.

“You’ve got to put in the work [because] if you take half measure, then you are going to get half measure results for sure. Shortcuts in this particular profession are of no substance and I am not sure if what I am saying here now will get to him at some point, but the individual is a talented individual and there are times when I see him on the field and he is pretty playful like he is still a kid and he actually has to be a little more mature at this stage now,” Richards told the Antigua Observer.

 “The guy has got too much talent and I think that if this talent goes to waste, it would be a huge loss, not just maybe to himself but to world cricket on a whole,” he added.

Hetmyer, who has played all three formats for the West Indies, last appeared for the team in a T20I series against New Zealand last year.  He has, however, not played One Day International Cricket since January of last year and has not played a Test match since November of 2019.

“If he really wants to make this sport his profession and to get the maximum result that everyone feels he has in him in terms of the talent then he has got to really start looking at himself in the mirror and start to think. I think he is [24 years old] now, so he has got to be serious. When you hear some of the stuff like they fail a fitness test and all that sort of stuff then that is just totally unprofessional.”

Cricket West Indies (CWI) has announced that annual retainer contracts have been offered to all 13 members of the existing Senior Panel of Umpires for the new contract period April 1st 2021- March 31st 2022.

The significant reduction in regional cricket in the last contracting period, due to the impact of COVID-19, has resulted in no changes being made to the list of umpires to be offered contracts.

CWI invests annually in the panel of umpires due to their fundamental role in ensuring that the spirit and integrity of cricket is preserved and that the highest possible quality fair play is upheld on the field.  Investing in a broader pool of umpires who can be rewarded for their hard work and application in developing their skills is vital for the health of cricket at all levels.

CWI’s Director of Cricket Jimmy Adams said, “I am pleased that even in the midst of our financial constraints, CWI will be re-engaging our senior panel of umpires as we recognize and appreciate their important role within the game.  We all hope that there will be increasing amounts of cricket within the region in the months ahead to allow our best umpires to continue their ongoing development.”

The Senior Panel of Umpires being offered retainer contracts is as follows:

CWI’s Senior Panel of Umpires 2021/22: Zahid Bassarath,  Johnathan Blades,  Gregory Brathwaite,  Deighton Butler, Nigel Duguid, Patrick Gustard, Danesh Ramdhanie, Leslie Reifer,  Verdayne Smith, Christopher Taylor, Carl Tuckett, Jacqueline Williams and  Christopher Wright.

During the recent International Home Series between West Indies and Sri Lanka, for the first time, all match officials were of Caribbean origin, due to the ICC temporarily permitting the appointment of locally-based match officials from the Emirates Elite Panel of Match Officials and the Emirates ICC International Panel of Match Officials. This was due to the logistics challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. One very positive outcome was for Barbadian and West Indies Umpire, Gregory Brathwaite, to officiate in his first Test Match.

 

West Indies fast bowler, Alzarri Joseph, admits that getting used to conditions on a debut English County cricket season has been challenging, but that his only true focus remains continuing to improve as a player.

The 24-year-old Joseph, who signed with Worcestershire, for the first seven games of the 2021 County Championship season, has had a fairly solid debut spell so far.

In four games, Joseph has scored 128 runs, with a high score of 61, as a lower-order batsman, and taken 10 wickets.  According to the player, things have, however, not been easy as conditions are very different to the Caribbean.

 “I wouldn’t say it’s been the best or that I am extremely satisfied, but it’s improving as I go along. It’s a lot different to the Caribbean, it’s different conditions in terms of different grounds, different types of surfaces, and different types of players, so it’s also about adjusting to everything at once.  It’s helping me to improve as a player in terms of adjusting to situations a bit quicker,” Alzarri told the Antigua Observer.

“Some days you turn up and it’s like three degrees and very cold in the mornings and then it goes from three to 12 degrees, to 15 and then back down to three. So, it’s just really difficult sometimes, but it’s all part of the job.  All part of the learning experience,” he added.

Joseph signed up with the league last month, following the West Indies series against Sri Lanka.

 

New Zealand wicketkeeper-batsman BJ Watling will retire after the upcoming tour of England.

Watling had been considering his options and has decided to call time on his career following two Tests against England - the first of which starts at Lord's on June 2 - and the ICC World Test Championship final versus India at the Ageas Bowl June 18-22

The 35-year-old has played in 73 Test since making his debut as an opening batsman in 2009 and will break Adam Parore's record number of appearances by a Black Caps keeper of 67 if he plays in all three matches in England.

Watling said: "It's the right time. It's been a huge honour to represent New Zealand and in particular wear the Test baggy.

"Test cricket really is the pinnacle of the game and I've loved every minute of being out there in the whites with the boys. Sitting in the changing rooms having a beer with the team after five days' toil is what I'll miss the most.

"Although I've had to make this announcement ahead of the tour to England, my focus is very much on the three Tests ahead and preparing to perform in them.

"This tour will be a challenge on a few levels and we know as a team we will need to be at the very top of our game if we want to succeed."

Watling holds the New Zealand Test dismissals record with 249 catches - excluding 10 as a fielder - and eight stumpings, more than any other current Test gloveman.

Tim Southee has enjoyed the most fruitful bowler-keeper partnership with Watling, who has been involved in 73 dismissals for the paceman. Fellow seamers Trent Boult and Neil Wagner have seen Watling pouch catches off their bowling 55 and 53 times respectively.

He has scored eight centuries in the longest format, with a career-best 205 coming against England at Bay Oval in November 2019.

Watling has also played in 28 ODIs and five Twenty20 Internationals. 

A rescheduled Indian Premier League looks highly unlikely to take place with any centrally contracted England players involved.

The IPL was postponed last week due to rising coronavirus cases in India.

It is up in the air as to where and when the tournament can be completed, but dates in September or November - either side of the T20 World Cup - have been talked of as options.

England players were permitted to miss the Test series against New Zealand next month to play in the IPL before it was cut short, but a rearranged event would be likely to clash with Future Tours Programme (FTP) commitments.

Ashley Giles, England's director of cricket, does not see how the players will be able play any further part in the IPL in what is such a busy year.

"We're planning on the involvement of England players in England matches," Giles said.

"We've got a full FTP schedule. So if those tours to Pakistan and Bangladesh [in September and October] are going ahead, I'd expect the players to be there.

"The New Zealand scenario was very different. Those Test matches were formalised at the end of January, by which time all those contracts and NOCs [no objection certificates] were signed for full involvement in the IPL.

"None of us knows what a rearranged IPL looks like at the moment; where it's going to be or when. But from when we start this summer against New Zealand, our programme is incredibly busy.

"We've got a lot of important, high-profile cricket including the T20 World Cup and the Ashes. And we're going to have to look after our players."

Sir Curtly Ambrose said while he fully endorses regional players plying their trade across the world to secure their financial futures, he believes those players should equally make themselves available to play for the West Indies.

There have been several instances in the past few years where players have declined invitations to represent the West Indies but then jet off to destinations across the globe to play in T20 tournaments.

The issue was brought into sharp focus recently when several West Indies players declined to tour Bangladesh citing the pandemic and their related safety concerns. However, some of those players later went on to play for T20 franchises in countries that were also experiencing spikes in the number of Covid-19 infections.

During an interview on Talk Sports Live with Michael Bascombe on Saturday, the West Indies bowling icon, said the players need to do a better job of striking a balance between playing franchise cricket and representing the West Indies.

“The game has evolved. There is a lot more cricket being played now and many different T20 tournaments around the globe and there’s lots more money as well, so guys are going to go where the money is and I have no issues with that,” Ambrose said.

“A cricket career can be a very short one, once you have injury it could be all over for you so with guys going around plying their trade with different franchises making money to set themselves up financially, I have no issues with it.

“However, I think it needs to strike a balance somewhere because most of these guys who are playing their trade around the world, it’s because they played for the West Indies team why people saw them and gave them contracts. So for me, you need to find a balance somewhere where you can give back to West Indies cricket. You need to give back to West Indies cricket at some point as opposed to abandoning West Indies cricket.”

This is not the first time that Ambrose has expressed these sentiments.

In December 2020, he publicly criticized Andre Russell, who after declined an invitation to play for the West Indies against New Zealand but later went to play in the Sri Lanka Premier League T20 tournament.

Chief selector Roger Harper told media that Russell declined the West Indies invitation citing the need to clear his mind after being in quarantine lockdown for both the Caribbean Premier League in Trinidad and Tobago where he played for the Jamaica Tallawahs franchise and then, the Indian Premier League in Abu Dhabi where he played for the Kolkata Knight Riders.

Ambrose poured cold water on the explanation.

“Because he wants to clear his head for a while to get his mind together, I have no problem with that because cricket is a high-pressure game,” he said.

“So if you want to clear your head for a while, take your mind off cricket I have no issues with that, but if you are going to reject playing for your nation, your country, and then two weeks later you’re playing for somebody else, that to me is a no-no.”

 

 

 

Pakistan eased to a 2-0 series win over Zimbabwe with a victory by an innings and 147 runs in their second Test at Harare Sports Club.

The hosts won the first Test inside three days but were just about taken to a fourth day this time around after Regis Chakabva and Brendan Taylor stood firm for Zimbabwe.

However, Pakistan required just one wicket in Monday's session, and they got it in five overs thanks to Shaheen Afridi, who finished on 5-52 by taking Luke Jongwe (37).

Jongwe and Blessing Muzarabani initially looked comfortable and added 11 runs to Zimbabwe's tally before the former was coaxed into a drive by Shaheen.

The ball edged through to Mohammad Rizwan to send Zimbabwe packing for 231 as Shaheen joined Hasan Ali and Nauman Ali in taking five wickets in the one-sided series.

It marked the first time Pakistan had three bowlers claim five wickets in the same Test. Such a feat has only been achieved six times in Test cricket history and not at all since 1993.

Hasan Ali was named the player of the series for his twin five-wicket hauls in the first and second Tests, which he put down to his hard work paying off.

"It's been a good tour for me," he said. "The pitch wasn't good for bowling, getting slower every day. 

"But the plan was simple: keep bowling stump to stump and let the batsmen make mistakes. Whenever you execute well, it's a pleasurable moment for me. 

"I'm very happy. I had hard work in the previous year. It is paying off and I'm looking forward to continuing this performance for my team."

Pakistan are on the brink of a 2-0 series win against Zimbabwe after the hosts finished day three of the second Test on 220-9.

After the tourists declared at 510-8, Zimbabwe were forced into the follow-on thanks to a career-best five-for from Hasan Ali (5-27).

Zimbabwe managed only 15 runs in 13 overs at one stage of the opening hour as any thoughts of a chase seemed to dissipate.

They did at least offer sterner resistance over the subsequent 30 overs, reaching 132 before being sent in to bat again.

Nauman Ali (5-86) skittled Kevin Kasuza for 22 and Mohammad Rizwan caught Tarisai Musakanda for the loss of just eight runs, as Shaheen Afridi (4-45) also smelled blood.

However, Zimbabwe began to get a grip on proceedings through an admirable stand from Regis Chakabva (80) and captain Brendan Taylor (49).

Taylor in particular seemed to enter short-form mode, swinging for 10 fours from just 31 balls before being removed at 142-3 as Rizwan and Shaheen combined again.

Chakabva was taken at slip by a good catch from Babar Azam, and suddenly the win was in Pakistan's sights, Milton Shumba caught for 16 before consecutive balls from Nauman accounted for Donald Tiripano and Roy Kaia as he reached 300 first-class wickets.

Shaheen bowled Tendai Chisoro for eight and Richard Ngarava for a duck but Luke Jongwe (31 not out) dug deep to keep the contest alive.

As the shadows lengthened in Harare, Pakistan switched to the spin attack but could not find the breakthrough and must return on Monday to finish the job.

 

Red-hot Hasan

Hasan has enjoyed spectacular form since returning to Test cricket this year and made it 24 wickets in five innings as he dismantled the Zimbabwe middle order in the early session.

Although he could not add to his tally as Nauman led the charge in the second innings, this was still a Test to remember.

 

Taylor fights fire with fire

After a first-innings knock of just nine, Taylor opted to attack the bowlers when he came out again, swinging for the boundary with abandon.

His 49 from just 31 balls was an entertaining ray of light for a home side for whom this contest has looked over for some time.

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