The six Afghan players currently playing in the 2020 CPL will be able to stay until the tournament is concluded, thanks to the intervention of the Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) and Cricket West Indies (CWI).

West Indies players account for the lions share of those considered the best to ever play the game as SportsMax completed its Ultimate XI T20 team ahead of the start of the Hero Caribbean Premier League on Tuesday.

A combination of a panel of experts, the SportsMax Zone, and fans who voted online called fanalysts completed voting on the SportsMax Ultimate XI team with a final discussion on three impact players.

The final six players from which the three were chosen were West Indians

Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard, and Andre Russell, Australian Shane Watson, Pakistani Shahid Afridi, and Indian Yuvraj Singh.

The panel, made up of cricket commentator and broadcast journalist, Fazeer Mohammed, cricket umpire Chris Taylor, and statistician, Zaheer Clarke, picked an all-West Indian cast as their impact players, in complete agreement with the SportsMax Zone and Fanalysts.

There was one dissenting voice among the panellists with Fazeer deciding on Shane Watson over Kieron Pollard, however, Clarke and Taylor’s votes were enough to overrule him.

With all parties, the Zone, the panel, and fanalysts in agreement, the final list of the greatest T20 team of all time is complete.

The openers are Chris Gayle and David warner, the middle-order, batsmen 3-5 are Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the bowlers are Sunil Narine, Rashid Khan and Lasith Malinga, while the impact players are Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Powell and Andre Russell.

The Ultimate XI T20 team is made up of five West Indians in Gayle, Narine, Bravo, Pollard, and Russell, while Kohli and Dhoni make up the Indian contingent. Then there is the South African representation in de Villiers, one Australian in Warner, a Sri Lankan in Malinga, and the Afghan Rashid.

Barbados Tridents captain Jason Holder has pointed to the team’s leg-spinning duo of Hayden Walsh Jr and Rashid Khan as crucial components of its quest to retain the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) title.

Walsh Jr showed up for the Tridents big time last season his 22 wickets, at an economy rate of 8.28, crucial for the Barbados franchise run to its second trophy.

 For the coming campaign, he will be joined by Khan, who last played in the CPL for the Guyana Amazon Warriors in 2017.  On that occasion, the bowler managed to pick up 14 wickets, including the tournament’s first-ever hat trick.

Holder was quick to admit that he was eager to see the duo bowl in tandem, as it could only mean good things for the team.

“We expect big things from them,” Holder told members of the media.

“Hayden was last year’s ‘player of the tournament’ and Rashid is a world-class leg-spinner. We expect big things from both of them, and they are looking forward to bowling in tandem. It is a matter for them to execute and lead the charge,” he added.

The tournament, which will take place in a bio-secure environment, will run from August 18 through to September 10.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fans and the SportsMax Zone were not in agreement with a panel of experts, who made a decision on its picks for SportsMax’s Ultimate XI T20 bowlers today.

The panel on the set of the Zone, made up of former West Indies fast bowler and cricket commentator Ian Bishop, cricket umpire Chris Taylor, and statistician Zaheer Clarke, along with Tom Moody and Vernon Singer (offset), have picked Sunil Narine, Rashid Khan and Lasith Malinga as their three bowlers.

The Afghan Rashid, the Sri Lankan Malinga and the West Indian Narine, were picked from a group of six that included India’s Jasprit Bumrah, South Africa’s Dale Steyn, and Australia’s Mitchell Starc.

Jasprit’s exclusion is where the bone of contention lies.

According to the SportsMax Zone, while Malinga and Narine are shoo-ins, Rashid was not.

In Rashid’s stead, the Zone has picked Jasprit.

In coming up with SportsMax’s Ultimate XI T20, there is a three-way split in the decision-making process with the panel’s picks accounting for 40% of votes, while the Zone has 25, and fans who vote online have a 35% stake in who makes the team.

Fans, so far, have agreed with the SprotsMax Zone’s take on the three best bowlers the T20 game has ever seen, also picking Jasprit to go alongside Narine and Malinga.

There is still an opportunity for the fans to change their minds, but at the moment, they are joining the zone in beating back the opinions of the expert panel.

So far, the panel has picked Chris Gayle and David Warner as its openers, Virat Kohli, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, and AB de Villiers as its middle order to go along with Rashid, Narine and Malinga as its bowlers.

Tomorrow the panel will go about whittling down what are termed impact players in a bid to come up with its version of an Ultimate XI.

The Zone has differed in small ways to date, picking Rohit Sharma to go along with Gayle as well as picking Jasprit over Rashid.

Fans have stuck even closer to the panel to date. As far as openers and the middle order are concerned they are in complete agreement but have veered away with the bowling choices, choosing the same way as the Zone.

But the voting isn’t finished and fans, called fanalysts, can vote by clicking here or going to SportsMax.tv and just clicking on the Ultimate XI tab at the top of the screen.

SportsMax.tv has also built a list of profiles where Fanalysts can go to have a look at the careers of the players who have made the SportsMax Ultimate XI shortlist just in case you want to learn a little more about them before making your choice. To take a look at those players click here.

There is no place in the final XI set of SportsMax Ultimate XI T20 bowlers for a man who, at one time or another, was the world’s foremost T20 bowler after a panel of experts had to make tough choices to reduce a shortlist of the best in the format of all time.

A panel made up of cricket umpire Chris Taylor, former Australian cricketer and commentator Tom Moody, and regional commentator Vernon Springer, today on the SportsMax Zone, had to bring a not-so-short shortlist of 17 bowlers down to six for final discussion tomorrow where another panel will pick three for SportsMax’s Ultimate XI T20 team.

Samuel Badree will not be part of that discussion.

The team is picked through a combination of voting among fans, the panel, and the SportsMax Zone’s team.

Fans vote online, with their collective decision amounting to 35% of the vote, while the Zone team’s votes amount to 25%. The panel has the lion’s share of the percentage with their vote counting for 40%.

Today, the panel had to decide among a group made up of Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga and Ajantha Mendis; Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Sohail Tanvir and Wahab Riaz; Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan; Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan; West Indies’ Sunil Narine, Badree, and Dwayne Bravo; South Africa’s Imran Tahir and Dale Steyn; India’s Jasprit Bumrah; along with Australia’s Dirk Nannes and Mitchell Starc, who would remain in the discussion for a second evening.

From that list, Afridi, Shakib, Umar, Saeed, Ajantha, Imran, Sohail, Badree, Nannes, Wahab, and Bravo, were all cut.

In the case of Bravo, the panel felt the all-rounder would be better suited as one of the Impact Players, a discussion that is to come down the line.

Badree, on the other hand, was seen as limited and not offering as much flexibility as would Rashid or Narine.

According to the panel, Taylor in particular, Badree is at his best when opening the bowling, while Narine and Rashid are useful throughout an innings.

The SportsMax Zone, in response, found no fault with the eventual six the panel came up with. The Zone and panel will discuss the merits and flaws of Malinga, Rashid, Narine, Steyn, Jasprit, and Starc before coming up with a final three.

While fans, call fanalysts, have not yet made up their mind on the three bowlers who would make up their Ultimate XI, there has been a trend that suggests their six for final discussion.

According to fans, Malinga, Narine, Jasprit, Rashid, Bravo, and Nannes would be the six they would have under consideration tomorrow.

Fanalysts can vote by clicking here or going to SportsMax.tv and just clicking on the Ultimate XI tab at the top of the screen.

SportsMax.tv has also built a list of profiles where Fanalysts can go to have a look at the careers of the players who have made the SportsMax Ultimate XI shortlist just in case you want to learn a little more about them before making your choice. To take a look at those players click here.

During Monday’s 2020 CPL Draft, defending CPL champions Barbados Tridents added a number of potential match-winners to their roster for the coming season. Among them are spinner Rashid Khan and the big-hitting Marcus Stoinis, players who returning batsman Alex Hales thinks will make the team better than before.

Hales believes having, Khan, the number-one ranked T20 bowler in their side is a massive boost for an already strong side.

“I have played against Rashid Khan a few times and had a season with him at Sunrisers Hyderabad. Any team that has Rashid Khan in it, you boost your chances of winning the competition,” Hales remarked.

“For me, he and Andre Russell are probably the two best T20 players in the world. So to have Rashid, particularly on the pitches that favour spin in the Caribbean he can an absolute handful. And he is fantastic in the field and obviously smacks a few at the end, so any team that has got him in their ranks seriously boosts their chances of winning.”

Hales is also very optimistic about the addition of Stoinis.

“We have signed Marcus Stoinis as well, and playing against him in the Big Bash, he was in the form of his life and scored runs in every game that he played. We seem to have got an even stronger squad somehow than we did last year. It is really exciting,” he said.

Hales will be linking up again with his Nottinghamshire teammate, Harry Gurney, for the 2020 tournament and he was full of praise for the left-arm seamer, saying he was crucial to their championship win. Gurney arrived for the home leg of the tournament at a time when the Tridents were far from certain of making the playoffs. Hales says his efforts helped guide them to the knockouts and beyond.

“Signing Harry Gurney was massive. He learns his trade on Trent Bridge, which is arguably the flattest pitch it the world. So, for him to bowl on probably bowler-friendly pitches was huge for us for him to come in for the back-end of the tournament.

“He played a massive part in us winning the whole thing. I think we can build on that for next year, knowing that if things don’t quite work out at the start of the tournament you have got time to figure it and not panic. And that is something Jason and Phil did really well, at no point did they get edgy or concerned about playing well at the start. Everyone kept a cool head and we really turned it on when it mattered which is a really good trait in a team.”

 

 

 

Defending Hero Caribbean Premier League Champions (CPL), the Barbados Tridents, have earned the prized signing of the world’s number-one T20 bowler in Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan.

The Tridents were pulling off a coup on last year’s beaten finalists the Guyana Amazon Warriors, for whom Rashid would have last played for in the CPL.

Rashid will be joined by a team similar to the one that claimed the CPL title in 2020, as the Tridents have retained Jason Holder, Harry Gurney, Johnson Charles, Shai Hope, Hayden Walsh Jr, Ashley Nurse, Jonathan Carter, Raymon Reifer and Justin Greaves.

In yesterday’s CPL draft, the Tridents also picked untested Pakistan medium-fast bowler Shayan Jahangir, Afghan wicketkeeper-batsman Rahmanullah Gurbaz and re-drafted Kyle Mayers.

In addition, they have also picked up powerful English opener Alex Hales, despite a relatively lean time with the team last season.

Hales will be joined by new signing Australian middle-order batsman Marcus Stoinis and West Indies under-19 standout Nyeem Young.

Barbados Tridents: Rashid Khan, Jason Holder, Marcus Stoinis, Harry Gurney, Alex Hales, Johnson Charles, Shai Hope, Hayden Walsh Jr, Ashley Nurse, Jonathan Carter, Raymon Reifer, Kyle Mayers, Joshia Bishop, Nyeem Young, Justin Greaves, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, and Shayan Jahangir.

Afghanistan skipper Rashid Khan believes his side can be a much better Test side given the opportunity.

Rashid was speaking after Friday’s demolition at the hands of the West Indies in Lucknow, India.

The West Indies, playing in a one-off Test after T20 and ODI series against Afghanistan, were emphatic nine-wicket winners after bowling out the hosts for 187 and 120 while scoring 277 and 31-1.

The results were brought about by Rahkeem Cornwall’s 7-75 and 3-46, as well as Shamarh Brooks first-innings knock of 111.

But according to Rashid, despite the one-sidedness of the affair, there isn’t a big gap between Afghanistan and the better Test-playing nations.

“I think, what I've seen, we've been struggling in the longer formats. Especially in batting. That's the only area we need to improve. Once we do that, we can trouble good sides,” he said.

The Afghanistan skipper believes that his team lacks experience, and with a little more of it, the teams at the top will have to watch out.

“Still early days in our Test careers, only our fourth game, against an experienced Windies. Hope to recover from our mistakes. We want more Tests,” said Rashid.

At the moment, the opportunity for Afghanistan to play more Test cricket and to get that valuable experience is a little beyond them, a situation, Rashid is not happy with.

“Just one Test per year isn't good enough.”

But the talent is there and Rashid is hopeful that the best for Afghanistan, is yet to come.

“Great talent for us in the future. We are not taking our batting innings long. People are getting out for thirties and forties. We need to work on that. Overall, quite disappointing. And we will try to bring the improvements,” said Rashid.

Afghanistan will now turn its attention away from Test cricket for the moment to the Asia Cup and the T20 World Cup early next year.

At 31 years old, Shamarh Brooks is playing in just his second Test, but he will not allow that late start to create anxiety that could mean he performs at less than his best for the West Indies.

Shamarh Brooks struck a magnificent maiden Test century before Rahkeem Cornwall claimed a 10-wicket match haul on day two to leave West Indies closing in on victory against Afghanistan.

Brooks showed great skill and application in only his third Test to make 111 after John Campbell fell for 55 as the Windies posted 277 in Lucknow.

Debutant Amir Hamza took 5-74 on a turning pitch to restrict the Windies' lead to 90 runs, but Afghanistan were reduced to 109-7 at stumps - leading by only 19 and facing a heavy defeat.

Cornwall claimed brilliant Test-best figures of 7-75 in only his second international on day one and helped himself to 3-41 on Thursday.

Roston Chase (3-10) also took advantage of spin-friendly conditions at Ekana International Cricket Stadium, striking a big blow by removing Javed Ahmadi for 62 with the final ball of the day.

Campbell and Brooks got Jason Holder's side off to a solid start after resuming on 68-2, but the opener departed when Ihsanullah took a fine catch anticipating the sweep off Hamza to end a stand of 82.

Shimron Hetmyer and Chase also fell before lunch, but Brooks played positively in the morning session, before reigning it in somewhat following the break.

Shane Dowrich (42) offered support to take the Windies into the lead and Brooks attacked Rashid Khan (3-114) after the wicketkeeper-batsman was removed by Zahir Khan.

Elegant Barbados batsman Brooks had struck a six and 15 fours by the time he was bowled by impressive left-armer Hamza.

Just as in their first innings, Afghanistan got off to an encouraging start, but they were 59-4 after losing four wickets for six runs - burly spinner Cornwall taking two in one over.

Ahmadi stood firm as wickets tumbled around him, but Chase produced a devastating late burst and had the opener caught by Cornwall just before the close to leave Afghanistan on the ropes.

Rahkeem Cornwall has downplayed the idea that there was a magical formula for his performance on the first day of a one-off Test match against Afghanistan in Lucknow, India.

Windies skipper Kieron Pollard has insisted it will be important for the team to carefully plan its approach in what could be a tricky upcoming series against Afghanistan.

The Pollard-led regional squad will square off against the Rashid Khan-led Afghans in three One Day Internationals (ODI) and three T20 internationals.  Despite being ranked just above the hosts in the ICC ODI standings, the Afghans hold an advantage in recent results after winning three of the last six encounters.  The Asian team has often taken advantage of the Windies noted weakness against spin bowling, a fact not lost on the Windies skipper.

 "Rashid Khan is a world-class bowler. It was seen by all of us and all around the world. Again there is no secret about it. Nabi himself has been doing well, he is a classical off-spinner. Mujeeb has done well for himself," Pollard said ahead of the match.

"We as a team, we have to plan how we are going to structure our fifty overs of batting and then our fifty overs of bowling. Each and every one of us is a good player in his own right and must show what we have to offer," he added.

 The team will bowl off the series on Wednesday at the Bharat Ratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee International Cricket Stadium, in Lucknow.

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