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.

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.

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.

  

 

Paul Stirling's blistering 95 set up a thrilling four-run triumph for Ireland in the opening T20I against West Indies in Grenada.

Stirling clattered eight sixes and six fours in a 47-ball knock, putting on 154 alongside Kevin O'Brien (48) for the opening wicket – meaning the tourists' eventual haul of 208-7 was relatively disappointing.

Evin Lewis was the only Windies batsman to pass fifty but muscular contributions from Shimron Hetmyer (28), Kieron Pollard (31), Nicholas Pooran and Sherfane Rutherford (both 26) took the contest to the wire.

Rutherford and Dwayne Bravo – making his first international appearance since 2016 - fell to impressive left-arm seamer Josh Little (3-29) in the final over as Ireland bounced back from defeat in the recent ODI series to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match rubber.

Their success was built upon the best powerplay score in T20I history as the openers stood on 83 without loss after six overs, Stirling having brought up his half century from 20 deliveries with his fifth six.

They duly brought up three figures in the next over but, after leg-spinner Hayden Walsh and Pollard took pace off the ball to slightly check the scoring rate, veteran all-rounder Bravo bowled O'Brien with a fine yorker that ducked in late.

Sterling mistimed a slog sweep off Walsh to be caught by Lewis five shy of a deserved century and Ireland never truly regained momentum.

Gareth Delany was their next highest scorer with 19, producing the shot of the innings with a glorious six over extra cover from Kesrick Williams, who returned a woeful 0-48 from three overs as Bravo, Khary Pierre and Sheldon Cottrell took two wickets apiece.

West Indies were unable to find a contribution of similar substance to Stirling's at the top of the innings after George Dockrell pouched a stunning catch at deep point to remove Lendl Simmons for 22, with Little the beneficiary.

Lewis stormed to a sixth T20I fifty and was typically strong square of the wicket until he hit Craig Young to a scampering Harry Tector on 53.

Hetmyer looked in the mood with three towering sixes, only for an embattled Dockrell (1-51) to have him caught by captain Andy Balbirnie.

Pollard took up the mantle and kept his side up with the rate, although Dockrell continued to enjoy himself far more in the field and held on when the Windies skipper sent Simi Singh skyward.

The pattern continued with Pooran, who pulled Young (2-31) to Delany for 26 after the 18th over from Barry McCarthy (0-55) cost a damaging 27.

Rutherford found Dockrell's unerring hands at wide long-on before Bravo – sensing a picture-book return – also went six and out as Little and further flawless catching in the deep saw Ireland home, the Windies finishing just short on 204-7.

Windies top-order batsman Evin Lewis has cautioned that he is hungry for runs after what was in many respects an underwhelming performance in 2019.

The 28-year-old batsman went the entire season without scoring a century after eight appearances, despite getting over the half-century mark on three occasions.  In fact, the last time Lewis did make it to triple figures was in 2017.  On Sunday, in the third and final ODI against Ireland, he ensured that the trend would not continue after scoring 102 in a comfortable win and series sweep over the tourist.  

The left-hander had come close to a ton once again but failed to convert to triple figures in the first ODI eventually being stuck on 99 not.  Now with 306 runs in three matches under his belt to start the season, which earned him man-of-the-series honours, Lewis is looking forward to a good year.

“I’ve been working hard in the nets with the batting coach.  I’ve been trying to open up a little more and hit the ball straight down the ground and it has been working so far,” Lewis said following the match.

“To be honest with you I have been hungry for runs.  My last ODI century was in 2017, so this year I’m very determined and I just want to make the best of it,” he added.

“Sometimes when I score 50 I get a little ultra-aggressive.  It was a great opportunity to put my head down and bat.  We weren’t behind in the game, we were in control most of the time.  Going forward I just want to continue batting like that.”

Alzarri Joseph and Evin Lewis guided West Indies to a relatively comfortable five-wicket win over Ireland in their first ODI in Bridgetown on Tuesday.

Joseph ripped through Ireland, who elected to bat first at Kensington Oval, taking 4-32 as they were rolled for just 180.

Lorcan Tucker (31) top-scored for Ireland in the opening game of three ODIs, but they struggled after being reduced to 88-6.

Lewis ensured there were few hiccups in the chase for the Windies as the opener held firm despite wickets falling around him, the hosts reaching their target with 100 balls to spare.

Brandon King (20), Roston Chase (19) and Nicholas Pooran (17) provided enough support for Lewis, who dominated.

The left-hander hit 13 fours and two sixes on his way to an unbeaten 99 off as many balls as he fell agonisingly short of a third ODI century.

Needing one to win and sitting on 95, Lewis produced a huge drive as he chased a ton, but it bounced just before the rope and went for four.

The second game of the series is in Bridgetown on Thursday.

West Indies white-ball cricket captain, Kieron Pollard is not paying attention to the difference in ranking between his side and India who are currently locked at a win apiece in their three-match T20i series.

West Indies batsman Nicholas Pooran, by all accounts, is a very talented player, who could do great things on the international scene, and his 38 not out to help his side to an 8-wicket win over India in the second T20 between the two in Thiruvanthapuram on Sunday is evidence of that fact.

According to Pooran though, his talent isn’t enough to help him do well for the West Indies or even keep his place, and that he has to work hard.

“I work very hard and happy it's finally paid off. I believe in my processes and glad it's coming off,” said Pooran, who came to the crease with the West Indies on 112-2 in chase of India’s 170 in the 14th over.

Six overs later it was all over, as Pooran took over from Lendl Simmons, who scored a classy 67 from 45 deliveries, slamming four boundaries and two sixes in 18 balls to take the West Indies to 173-2

That type of innings, Pooran said, was not difficult, because the hard work has already been done.

“Cricket's all about having fun. I've put in a lot of hard work, so now is time for having fun,” he said.

Pooran explained after the game that places in the middle order of the West Indies side comes at a premium with the type of talent that lies in it but that was good for the team.

“There's a bit of competition in the middle order, but we all want to do good, that's all,” he said.

Earlier Evin Lewis had scored 40 and Shimron Hetmyer, 23, in a bid to chase down India’s 170, which they were restricted to thanks to Hayden Walsh Jr’s 2-28 and Kesrick Williams’ 2-30.

Those bowling figures, along with the start from Lewis and Simmons, meant there was no pressure for Pooran.

“To be honest, we had no pressure. Tried not to panic, tried to build partnerships.”

West Indies limited-overs captain Kieron Pollard has placed the blame for a six-wicket defeat to India in the first T20 international of their tour of India squarely at the feet of the bowlers.

The West Indies, sent into bat in the first game of a three-match series, batted well to score 207-4 from their 20 overs, but found the big total not enough, as India romped to 209-4 in 18.4 overs.

For the West Indies, Evin Lewis scored 40 from 17 deliveries, Brandon King announced himself with 31 from 23 balls, and Shimron Hetmyer notched his first half-century in international T20s with 56 from 41. Pollard scored 37 from 19, Jason Holder had a worldwind 24 not out from nine balls, while Denesh Ramdin ended unbeaten on 11 from seven.

In reply, KL Rahul slammed 62 from 40 deliveries, while India captain Virat Kohli was imperious with 94 not out from 50 deliveries.

“Batters had a good effort. You'd take 208 ten out of 10 times,” said Pollard after the game.

“We lost due to the extras column,” said Pollard.

In a bowling innings where Kesrick Williams had none for 60 in 3.4 overs, and Holder struggled, going wicketless for 46 runs, it was still the extras column that was problematic for the skipper. While Sheldon Cottrell was good, taking 1-24 from his four overs, and Khary Pierre took two wickets for 44, the 23 extras, stemming from 11 illegal deliveries, the West Indies racked up was too much.

“Nearly two and a half overs of extra deliveries. Yes, it was a batting wicket, but if we executed our plans better, it could've been a different story,” said Pollard.

Despite the loss and the manner of defeat, Pollard believes the outing was good for the West Indies and showed they were not far away from being a very good T20 side.

“There are only two areas where we lost the game in. Usually we tend to focus on negatives, but a lot of positives to take away today. King and Hetmyer showed great intent. Fielders did well. In the end, we need to improve, and we will win if we learn to tick more boxes. Can't fault the effort of the guys."

The West Indies will look to get the formula right on Sunday when they again go up against India in a bid to even the series at The Greenfield Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram.

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