West Indies chief of selectors, Roger Harper, has admitted that much better performances were expected from the team’s senior batsman after a sub-par showing against South Africa in the recently concluded T20 series.

Despite starting the series in strong fashion, the West Indies were beaten eventually beaten 3-2 after failing to successfully chase a target of close to 170 in three of five matches.

Fabian Allen had the team’s highest average with 67 in four matches, followed by Evin Lewis with 35.60 in five and Andre Fletcher 32.50 from two matches.  However, there will have been major concerns about some of the team’s seasoned batting stars who struggled to find a way into the series.

Veteran batsman Chris Gayle played four games and averaged just 18.66, with a high score of 32.  Andre Russell averaged 15.50, also in five games, with a high score of 25, team captain Pollard had a high score of 51, but also struggled, managing to average just 22 in five matches.

A few of the team's younger, but seasoned T20 players also struggled, with Shimron Hetmyer averaging 19 and Nicholas Pooran 17.75.

The panel of selectors has come under pressure in some quarters for picking the veteran’s trio of Gayle, Fidel Edwards, and Darren Bravo.  However, while Edwards picked up two wickets in two matches and Bravo was the leading wicket-taker with 10, the spotlight has continued to shine on Gayle’s struggles.

“Certainly, Bravo was the leading wicket-taker and Fidel played a couple of games and started to get into stride in the second game.  But from a batting perspective we expect quite a bit more from the senior guys,” Harper told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“Maybe we just got carried away with the manner and the method that we used to win that first game from a batting perspective and just thought that we could continue in the same vein and found ourselves in a hole in the middle overs because South Africa adjusted their approach.”

 

West Indies made it 2-2 in the five-match Twenty20 series against South Africa on Thursday, captain Kieron Pollard top-scoring with 51 and Dwayne Bravo taking four wickets. 

The Windies posted 167-6 and successfully defended the total to ensure everything is still left to play for in Saturday's final match in the T20 series. 

South Africa, who last won a T20 series in March 2019 against Sri Lanka, have not successfully chased a target above 160 since February 2018 when they beat India.

West Indies enjoyed a superb opening over, plundering 20 from the bowling of Aiden Markram – their most in the first over of a T20 and the most by any team batting first in this format.

South Africa responded well to that early setback, however, taking six wickets in the next 15 overs, with George Linde in particularly impressive form, the 29-year-old putting in the most economical performance of his T20 career, conceding just 16 runs in four overs.

The Proteas undermined their efforts in the closing stages as they conceded 66 runs in the final four overs. 

Pollard and Fabian Allen scored six sixes in that period, while the former hit three in three balls off Kagiso Rabada, who bowled his most expensive T20 over.

The impressive Pollard brought up a sixth T20 half-century and his highest score in seven innings as Lungi Ngidi's (0-48) two death overs cost 30 runs. 

Allen suffered what looked like a dislocated shoulder as he tried to cut off a Temba Bavuma sweep as South Africa attempted to start their chase strongly, with his overs made up for by Pollard and Andre Russell. 

Quinton de Kock did his best to drive his team forward, the former captain scoring a second successive half-century (60) and a sixth T20 fifty in his last 15 matches, but no other South Africa batter scored more than 20.

Bravo rolls back the years

Bravo made light of Allen's absence with a superb display. He took the wickets of Linde, de Kock, Tabraiz Shamsi and Ngidi in 12 balls in the closing stages of the match to eventually finish with career-best figures of 4-19.

Rabada sums up Proteas' woes

South Africa's chances of victory collapsed during a dismal final four overs, with Kagiso Rabada particularly generous. His penultimate over of the innings proved to be the most expensive at 25 runs, while he did not complete a full quota of four overs for the first time in a T20 match since his debut in 2014. 

Evin Lewis smashed 71 off 35 balls as West Indies cruised to an eight-wicket win over South Africa in the first Twenty20 international in Grenada on Saturday.

Rassie van der Dussen (56 not out) and wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock (37) helped the Proteas post a modest 160-6 as Fabian Allen (2-18) finished the pick of the West Indies bowlers.

A blistering assault from Lewis laid the foundations for the win as he and opening partner Andre Fletcher (30) put on 85 for the first wicket in seven overs.

Tabraiz Shamsi (1-27) claimed the wicket of Lewis, but Chris Gayle (32 not out) and skipper Andre Russell (23 not out) saw West Indies home with 30 balls to spare.

South Africa thrashed West Indies in their recent two-Test series, but these five T20 matches look set to go the other way based on this one-sided game.

West Indies, the reigning T20 world champions, won the toss and elected to bowl first at the National Stadium in St George's and kept South Africa's batsmen in check.

Left-arm spinner Allen bowled particularly impressively as he accounted for the wickets of Reeza Hendricks (17) and skipper Temba Bavuma (22) before veteran Dwayne Bravo (2-30) closed out the innings.

South Africa's attack were no match for the brutal hitting of the West Indies batsmen with Lewis, who shrugged off a blow to the midriff, reaching his half-century off 22 balls.

Lewis had whacked seven sixes and four fours by the time he sliced Shamsi's left-arm wrist spin into the hands of David Miller at long-off, but Gayle and Russell continued to pepper the boundary in a convincing win.

 

Lewis gives flashes of batting guru

With West Indies team-mate Gayle as his batting mentor, it should be no surprise the left-handed Lewis deals in maximums, and this innings was reminiscent of the six-machine at his pomp.

Too short from Ngidi

South Africa paceman Lungi Ngidi bowled with aggression but should have used his head. He bowled way too much short stuff, was promptly dispatched to the stands, and finished with 0-46 from three overs.

West Indies T20 captain, Kieron Pollard, insists he will not be overly perturbed by the din surrounding the selection of some senior players for the team, as a debate would have surrounded the squad regardless.

The selection of veteran players Chris Gayle, Fidel Edwards, and Dwayne Bravo has ruffled the feathers of some fans who insist the team should be more focused on developing younger players. 

With the T20 World Cup coming up, however, the position of the panel of selectors, and articulated by Pollard himself, has been to leave the door open for any player that can meaningfully contribute to the team winning a third title.

Gayle (41), Edwards (39), and Bravo (37) have been called up to the team ahead of a series of T20 contests, ahead of the global tournament, which began with a series against Sri Lanka back in February.

“When you look at if from a logical perspective if you go with youngsters there will still be noise.  No matter what you do there will be noise,” Pollard told members of the media, in addressing the issue.

“So, I think it’s what’s best for us, what’s best for us, and what we think is best for us going into a tournament like that.  If those guys can be assets for us, then why not get the opportunity to use the little bit of experience or a little bit of cricket that they may have left in them," he added.

“It’s a situation that we are looking to pick the best team.  So, these guys they play around the world, and we get the opportunity to see them play around the world and we wonder why they are not playing for us but then when we select them, we ask the questions, why are we selecting them?  Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”   

The St Kitts & Nevis Patriots have announced their retentions for the 2021 Hero Caribbean Premier League which takes place in St Kitts & Nevis from August 28 to September 19.

The Patriots have brought in two players from other franchises. They have signed Dwayne Bravo from Trinbago Knight Riders in a trade deal that saw Denesh Ramdin go the other way. They have also signed Sherfane Rutherford from Guyana Amazon Warriors.

In addition to these two signings, they have retained Evin Lewis, Fabian Allen, Sheldon Cottrell, Jon Russ Jaggesar and Rayad Emrit.

Exciting young prospects Joshua da Silva and Dominic Drakes round out the retentions.

The Patriots have eight spots to fill to complete their squad and these will be announced in the coming weeks.

“The St Kitts and Nevis Franchise extends a warm welcome to the new players joining us this year as well as to our retained core team for yet another exciting season of the Hero CPL. This year makes it extra special with us playing at our home – Warner Park. I would like to thank all our team players, support staff and management as well as our global fan base for their continued love and support. I look forward to an amazing season in 2021,” said Patriots owner Mahesh Ramani.

The retained players are Dwayne Bravo, Evin Lewis, Fabian Allen, Sherfane Rutherford, Sheldon Cottrell, Rayad Emrit.

The veteran trio of Chris Gayle, Fidel Edwards, and Dwayne Bravo have all been included in a provisional 18-man squad released by Cricket West Indies, ahead of a flurry of upcoming international matches.

As part of preparations for the upcoming World T20 championships the Windies, the defending champions, will be involved in three back-to-back five-match T20 International (T20I) series against South Africa, Australia, and Pakistan.

The squad, which will be captained by Kieron Pollard, will also see the return of the likes of Sheldon Cottrell, Shimron Hetmyer, Andre Russell, Oshane Thomas, and Hayden Walsh Jr.  The players missed out on being selected for the team’s previous T20 international series against Sri Lanka, which was won 2-1 by the regional team.

Windies coach Phil Simmons has praised the squad as a combination of experience and youth.

“These upcoming T20Is are crucial in terms of our preparation for the ICC T20 World Cup. We have assembled a very solid squad — with experienced world-class match-winners and some exciting young talented players, ready to explode onto the global stage and do great things for West Indies cricket,” Simmons said.

 “We are at that point where we have identified those who we will look to be the core of the squad to defend our World Cup title, so we want to make sure the upcoming matches create that environment — the way we train, the way we plan, the way we execute and the chemistry within the group. We won five years ago, so the next few weeks and months will be major steppingstones on the road towards defending our title and being World Champions for the third time.”

 

FULL SQUAD SELECTED:

  1. Kieron Pollard – Captain
  2. Nicholas Pooran – Vice-Captain
  3. Fabian Allen
  4. Dwayne Bravo
  5. Sheldon Cottrell
  6. Fidel Edwards
  7. Andre Fletcher
  8. Chris Gayle
  9. Shimron Hetmyer
  10. Jason Holder
  11. Akeal Hosein
  12. Evin Lewis
  13. Obed McCoy
  14. Andre Russell
  15. Lendl Simmons
  16. Kevin Sinclair
  17. Oshane Thomas
  18. Hayden Walsh Jr

Dwayne Bravo has been traded by the Trinbago Knight Riders to St Kitts and Nevis Patriots. The 37-year-old Trinidadian requested the trade that will see compatriot Denesh Ramdin move the other way prior to the start of the new season.

Evin Lewis and Sherfane Rutherford came up big for the Delhi Bulls who defeated the Deccan Gladiators by eight wickets despite a captain’s knock from Kieron Pollard in the Abu Dhabi T10 tournament today.

Delhi won the toss and put the Gladiators to bat and they were in immediate trouble at 34 for 3 after three overs. However, Pollard came to the rescue smashing 47 from just 18 balls. The Gladiators captain smashed four fours and four sixes that propelled his side to 118 for 7 even as wickets fell at the other end.

Fidel Edwards returned figures of 1 for 34 from his two overs. Dwayne Bravo was slightly more expensive with 1 for 34 from his two. However, the chief destroyers were Ali Khan who took 2 for 4 including Pollard’s wicket and Amad Butt, who returned 2 for 20 from the 10 balls he bowled.

Chasing 119 proved to be child’s play for the Bulls.

Lewis, who smashed 55 from 16 balls against the Maratha Arabians on Saturday, picked up from where he left off, racing to 35 from just 14 balls in a first-wicket stand of 90 with Rahmanullah Gurbaz, who bludgeoned the bowling for 47 runs from 20 balls.

Imran Tahir took the wickets of both openers within nine balls as Delhi slumped to 98 for 2, two balls into the seventh over. However, Rutherford ensured there would be no further stumbles smashing two fours and two sixes in his 13-ball knock that sealed victory for Delhi with 11 balls to spare.

West Indies all-rounder, Dwayne Bravo, has hailed the role of big-hitting teammates Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard in inspiring a new generation of exciting batsmen.

For decades the Caribbean has created some of the world’s most exciting stroke players, with the likes of Everton Weekes, Gary Sobers, and, later on, Viv Richards and Brian Lara thrilling crowds with their incredible run-scoring ability.

The likes of Pollard, Gayle, and Andre Russell have fallen very much into that mold and a new generation that includes players like Nicholas Pooran, Evin Lewis, Shimron Hetmeyer, and Brandon King have followed in their footsteps.

The 37-year-old all-rounder Bravo, one of the T20 cricket’s most devastating wicket-takers in his own right, was quick to commend Pollard and Gayle for passing the torch.

 “I think these young guys look up to players like Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, what these guys have done in white-ball cricket,” Bravo told Khaleej Times after leading the Delhi Bulls to a win in the Abu Dhabi T10 league on Friday.

“The players from the younger generation now aspire to be like them (Gayle, Pollard) you know. Before them, they had Sir Viv (Richards) or (Brian) Lara and (Shivnarine) Chanderpaul, these players and the likes of Gayle and (Ramnaresh) Sarwan. The young players were looking up to those players,” he added.

“But now because of Pollard, Andre Russell, Gayle, you know, you have seen the likes of Pooran, Heytmayer, Rutherford, and Brandon King.”

Shimron Hetmyer, Dwayne Bravo and Andre Russell were among West Indies players were retained by their Indian Premier League franchises on Wednesday. However, several others were cut loose and will re-enter the pool of players eligible for the IPL Draft coming up on February 11.

Nicholas Pooran believes the West Indies’ low ranking in T20 cricket is due mainly to the fact that it hasn’t been able to put its best players on the field of play often enough.

The West Indies are currently ranked 10th in the ICC T20 rankings despite having some of the best players in the world in their talent pool. However, Pooran anticipates that the team could show its full potential at the next world cup.

“I just believe that most of the series West Indies play, they don't play with their strongest team. And by strongest I mean Chris Gayle, Pollard, Russell, Narine, Bravo in the team together,” the talented Trinidadian said in a recent interview with ESPNCricinfo.

“In the last couple of years, we haven't witnessed these players together. Either most of them weren't selected, some were unavailable ... but definitely a case around that.

“We couldn't play as a team after the last T20 World Cup. This, I am saying from a player's and a fan's point of view. Not seeing some of my favourite players represent West Indies might be one of the reasons.”

Notwithstanding the disappointment that comes with that reality, Pooran said he is looking forward to the coming T20 World Cup where he expects to be a better player holding his own amongst the best players from the region.

“Personally, I am looking forward to the T20 World Cup. As a team, our strength is T20s. For the last couple of years, we've been doing good in World Cups, but as a team where we are ranked [10th], it doesn't show how good our team actually is,” he said, indicating that believes that situation could change in the near future.

“Most of the senior guys are coming back to the West Indies team ... like Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo, Andre Russell and Sunil Narine are all coming back eventually.

“As a player, I am especially excited because I want to do good for the West Indies people and put a smile on their faces. My record for West Indies in T20s isn't that good and I want to improve that for the next couple of months.”

 

 

Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo and Carlos Brathwaite are among several West Indies players who have made themselves available for the Pakistan Super League draft set for January 10, 2021, in Lahore.

Evin Lewis and Lendl Simmons were also the players whose names were released on Tuesday by the PSL. They are among 25 international players who will be available for the six-team competition even though some of them will only be available for a part of the season due to a packed international calendar during the February to March window.

Gayle has played previously in the PSL for the Karachi Kings and the Lahore Qalanders.

Other notable players who are in the draft pool include Imran Tahir, Chris Jordan, Chris Lyn, Mohammed Nabi, Alex Hales and Morne Morkel.

The 25 foreign players have been placed in the 'Platinum' category, from which the six franchises will select.

 

 

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