The place of talented all-rounder Andre Russell could be in doubt for future West Indies teams after a number of injuries and invitation declines.

Russell was invited to join the team for the upcoming tour of New Zealand but, according to Cricket West Indies (CWI) chief of selectors Roger Harper, declined after claiming he needed space to ‘clear his head’ after having to deal with playing during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The player last represented the West Indies on tour of Sri Lanka earlier this year, where his scintillating 40 from 14 deliveries saw him named man-of-the-match.

Even with such brilliant performances under his thumb, Harper insisted he was keeping an eye on things and that emerging talent could make it difficult for the 32-year-old to continually be selected ‘if they take their opportunities.’

“I think as we move forward we will look at all situations, all players and determine whether we need to continue to look at those players, continue to consider those players, or we need to move on,” Harper told members of the media, from the team’s training camp in New Zealand, in reference to the situation.

“A lot of things are determined by how well the team performs.  How well the players in the team at the time perform, and the success of the team.  I think if players in the team perform exceedingly well, then it will make it difficult for those that are not on the tour to get back into the team. So a lot of things will be taken into consideration as we move forward.”

 

 

Kraigg Brathwaite has been dropped as West Indies Test vice-captain in order for him to be able to concentrate on improving his batting, CWI chief of selectors Roger Harper has revealed.

Brathwaite was replaced as vice-captain by all-rounder Roston Chase and batsman Nicholas Pooran ahead of the start of the team’s tour of New Zealand.  The opener, who was first appointed the Test vice-captain in 2015, had averaged 21 from his last 15 Tests heading into the England series.

He did show signs of a promised recovery with half-centuries in the first Test, where he scored 65 and 75 in the second.  Brathwaite, however, also had scores of 4, 12, 1 and 19 to average 21.  According to Harper, the decision panel is hoping less responsibility will lead to more consistency from the player.

“We thought it important at this time to allow Kraigg Brathwaite, who has been the vice-captain for a while, to just pay a little more attention, to focus a little more on his batting,” Harper told members of the media from the team’s training base in New Zealand.

“He has not been in the best of form for a little while.  I think he began to get himself together on the England tour, we want him to build on this.  We thought the relieving of the responsibility would allow him to focus some more on his batting.”

 

Cricket West Indies (CWI) chief selector Roger Harper insists he is keeping a watchful eye on the situation surrounding all-rounder Andre Russell after the player decided to spurn the team’s invitation to tour New Zealand because he needed time to ‘clear his head.’   

The 32-year-old’s choice could be looked upon as quite a reasonable one given his recent struggles, particularly in this season’s Indian Premier League (IPL).  According to reports, however, Russell was recently drafted to take part in the Lankan Premier League, which will begin on November 21 and roughly take part at the same time as the team’s tour of New Zealand.

 When pressed on the issue, Harper insisted he could not draw any conclusions and could only rely on what he had been told.

“Andre said he needed some time to clear his head.  He wasn’t handling a situation very well, that’s what he said.  How he chooses to clear his head, I can’t determine that,” Harper told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“I don’t know what decision he has made.  Where he is playing or if he is playing.  I can only look and see what he had told me and then look at what happens subsequently,” he added.

“He is free to make those decisions.  We will look to see what the situation is, how it develops, and take it from there,” Harper said.

“What I will say is that it gives a younger player an opportunity and hopefully that player can make the most of it and really do us proud.”

West Indies batsman Nicholas Pooran will have the chance to show off his Test cricket credentials in upcoming First-Class matches during the tour of New Zealand.

Recently, calls have grown louder for the 25-year-old batsman to be included in the team for the game’s longest format.  Pooran has put together a string of impressive performances in both the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and Indian Premier League (IPL) convincing some, including legendary West Indian batsman Viv Richards, that some of that success can be translated to the four-day format.

The batsman was not picked on the Test squad for next month’s tour but was named as part of the team’s T20 squad.  Despite that, Cricket West Indies (CWI) chief of selectors Roger Harper recently revealed that the matter was being given some serious thought.

“There was a lot of consideration given to Nicholas Pooran; we are still looking at it and I am sure as we move forward, Pooran will have an opportunity as well,” Harper said.

The pair of First-Class matches are expected to take place at the same time as the Test match.  The first Test is scheduled for Hamilton, between December 3-7, with the second booked for Wellington from December 11-15.  Harper indicated that the team will consist of some of the T20 players and Test reserves.

"He is in the T20 squad and he has expressed willingness to play in four-day games that will be available during the tour," Harper said.

So far, Pooran has only played three First-Class matches and he has a top score of 55.  In One Day Internationals (ODIs) he is considered as one of the most talented young batsmen. In 25 matches Pooran has scored 932 runs at an average of 49 with one century and seven fifties. In T20 cricket, he has 14 fifties and one hundred in 146 global matches.

Injury, concerns over safety and a need for a clear head are the reasons behind Evin Lewis, Lendl Simmons and Andre Russell’s decisions not to accept invitations to join the West Indies’ tour of New Zealand starting next month.

The West Indies on Friday named a 14-man squad that is expected to play three T20 Internationals in New Zealand later this year that included Andre Fletcher who was making a return to the squad after a two-year absence as well as Shimron Hetmyer and Darren Bravo. However, it was noticeable that Russell, Lewis and Simmons were absent.

Chief selector Roger Harper explained during a press conference Friday morning that the three batsman gave different reasons why they opted out.

Simmons, he said, decided against travelling after discussions with his family. Lewis, he said, also discussed the issue with family but was also concerned about a injury that needed more time to heal.

Russell, who is currently playing for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League, said he needed time to clear his head after being in quarantine situations in the Caribbean Premier League and IPL competitions.

“Lendl Simmons and Andre Russell are two very experienced T20 players who performed very well on the last tour of Sri Lanka and their absence will surely be noted,” Harper said in a release from CWI.

However, the respective decisions to decline the invitations to tour will not factor in the selection process to future teams, CWI said.

 

West Indies lead selector Roger Harper said West Indies head coach Phil Simmons and coaches in Barbados are to design a programme that they hope will help Shai Hope rediscover his form and live up to his potential.

Jason Holder and Kieron Pollard are to captain West Indies Test and T20 teams, respectively, while Shai Hope has been dropped for the upcoming tour of New Zealand.

Meanwhile, Andre Russell, Lendl Simmons and Evin Lewis have declined invitations to the T20 squad that has been selected for the tour.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) announced a short while ago, the two squads for the proposed tour of New Zealand which will feature three T20 Internationals and two Test matches from November 27 to December 15.

Details of the tour were ratified by CWI’s Board of Directors during a teleconference on Thursday. The Board agreed to the tour in principle, subject to final details on medical and logistical protocols of CWI, New Zealand Cricket and Government of New Zealand.

Left-handed batsmen Darren Bravo and Shimron Hetmyer have been recalled to the Test team, as well as all-rounder Keemo Paul. Bravo’s highest Test score of 218 came at the University Oval in Dunedin in 2013.

“The return of Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer and Keemo Paul will bolster the team, I expect that Darren will solidify the top-order, hopefully making it more productive, while Shimron gives the squad more options in the middle-order and it is another opportunity for him to show how good a player he is.  Keemo provides another wicket taking seam option,” said Chief Selector Roger Harper.

“The Test team has an opportunity to put into practice the learnings from the tour of England earlier this year.  The team has good all-round depth and I expect them be very competitive. New Zealand is a very good team especially in New Zealand, so we need to be on the top of our game.”

A group of reserves will also travel to help prepare the Test squad during the quarantine period and training camp as well as cover for injuries.

Meanwhile, Andre Fletcher, the experienced wicket-keeper/batsman has been named in the T20I squad for the first time since 2018. There is also a maiden call-up in this format for Kyle Mayers, the all-rounder, who performed well in last month’s Caribbean Premier League (CPL).

“Lendl Simmons and Andre Russell are two very experienced T20 players who performed very well on the last tour of Sri Lanka and their absence will surely be noted.  However, Andre Fletcher has another opportunity to show us what he can do and what he brings to the table,” Harper said.

“The T20I Team is now getting back into the groove after a nine-month absence from international competition. Fortunately, a number of players have been involved in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and before that the CPL, so they have had some competitive cricket leading up to this tour. The structure of the tour with the COVID-19 quarantine period, does not give the team any real opportunity for match practice as a team but there are a number of experienced players in the team so, hopefully, they can adapt quickly. 

“In the build-up to the ICC T20 World Cup, every T20I series is an important opportunity to fine tune the team, to get our personnel, our compositions and combinations right. For our players to become more attuned to their roles and the team to have a greater understanding of what works best in each situation. So, this is a very important series for us from that perspective and also in an effort to improve our rankings.”

The T20Is will be the start of an 11-month schedule of matches building up to the ICC T20 World Cup, rescheduled for October 2021 in India. The proposed schedule for this tour of New Zealand has the defending T20 World Cup champions starting at Eden Park in Auckland under lights.

The CWI Selection Panel indicated that this upcoming series will form part of the overall planning towards defending the ICC World T20 title. The panel outlined that they will continue to monitor closely the progress of spin bowler Sunil Narine and all other players in the lead-up to the global event.

 Test Squad:

Jason Holder (captain), Jermaine Blackwood, Kraigg Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Shamarh Brooks, John Campbell, Roston Chase, Rahkeem Cornwall, Shane Dowrich, Shannon Gabriel, Shimron Hetmyer, Chemar Holder, Alzarri Joseph, Keemo Paul and Kemar Roach.

 Test Reserves:

Nkrumah Bonner, Joshua DaSilva, Preston McSween, Shayne Moseley, Raymon Reifer, and Jayden Seales.

 T20 International Squad:

Kieron Pollard (captain), Fabian Allen, Dwayne Bravo, Sheldon Cottrell, Andre Fletcher, Shimron Hetmyer, Brandon King, Kyle Mayers, Rovman Powell, Keemo Paul, Nicholas Pooran, Oshane Thomas, Hayden Walsh Jr, and Kesrick Williams.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) chief of selectors, Roger Harper, expects the team’s batting to once again be placed under the microscope when its tour of New Zealand begins next month.

The team’s batsmen faced plenty of criticism in a 2-1 loss to England, earlier this year, and a quick look at the recent batting statistics suggests they may well deserve it.  For the series, the team averaged close to 27.86 and it was one of the best batting performances in a series in recent years.

In fact, it is the fourth-best for the West Indies’ batsmen among all the series consisting of two or more matches since 2017.  Their highest batting average in a Test series consisting of at least two matches since 2017 is 34.66; which came in Zimbabwe in 2017.  Harper knows they will need to do much better to have a chance against the Blackcaps.

  “New Zealand are very competitive, in their own backyard especially.  They play very well as a team.  They plan well and they execute well. We have to be at the top of our game,” Harper told the Mason and Guest radio show.

“Again, a lot of questions will be asked of our batting and that’s the department that needs to step up for us in order for us to have a real chance of getting a positive result in the series,” he added.

The historic England tour ended on a bit of a sour note for the regional team, not only because of a 2-1 loss to the hosts but the manner of the defeat, which represented somewhat of a collapse by the Jason Holder-led unit. Things began brightly with the team putting in a strong all-around performance to secure a four-wicket win in the first Test.

“I’m looking for the team to build on its performance in England.  Winning away Test matches hasn’t been something we have done consistently.  We won one in England and we were positioned to really draw that series comfortably, if not win it, and I’m looking for us to build on that in New Zealand.”

In recent times, the West Indies have not had the best of fortune in New Zealand, where they have lost three of the last four T20 series, with one draw, while losing four of the last five-Test series again managing one draw.

Convener of selectors, Roger Harper, has revealed that Jason Holder will retain the captaincy of the West Indies team for the coming tour New Zealand.

The West Indies will play two Tests against New Zealand in November and according to Harper, there is no reason for a change in the captaincy.

“We have discussed a lot of things and all of those things (leadership) we discussed but I think at this point we’re not thinking of changing the captaincy at all,” Harper said of Holder.

West Indies have won seven of their last 20 Tests and are eighth in the ICC Test rankings. The team was beaten 2-1 in their three-Test series against England in July.

However, Harper said Holder remained the first choice captain since there was a dearth of leadership qualities not only throughout the ranks of the Test side but across the regional game.

“I looked at a lot of the four-day championships. I had the opportunity to see most of the captains on show and I think that there are some decent captains out there but there is also a lot of improvement that can be made,” he said.

“I think some of our captains need to know when to attack, when not to attack, how to defend and how to put pressure on the opposing batsmen and those sort of things. These are the areas we need to improve on.”

Cricket West Indies’ chief selector Roger Harper said that after discussing the upcoming tour of New Zealand with players, there has been no indication that they are not interested.

Harper was responding to questions regarding the upcoming tour that is to run from November 27 to December 15 on i95FM Sports.

During the three-Test tour of England in July, Shimron Hetmyer, Keemo Paul and Darren Bravo declined invitations over concerns about their safety. However, since the tour was successful and the players returned safely, it is likely that all players selected will take up the chance to travel to New Zealand next month.

“There was a briefing recently where the players were informed of what is taking place, what measures have been put in place, what protocols will obtain during the tour,” Harper said. “And when we look at finalizing the squad, we’ll discuss with them whether they are willing to tour or not. At this point, we’ve not had a definite indication from anyone that they’re not interested.”

Harper revealed that the selection process for the squads will begin sometime next week for the three T20 matches and two Tests the West Indies are scheduled to play.

“There’ll be a T20 International team and, of course, the Test team and as usual now, we’ll be taking some reserve players on tour which will serve to provide backup players if needed during the tour as well as provide practice players,” Harper said.

“What is likely to happen because of scheduling, is the Test team is likely to go out first and have an early camp and some of the T20 players who are in the region will travel with that Test team and the T20 players who are involved in the IPL will join the team later.”

Cricket West Indies chief of selectors Roger Harper has admitted the panel hoped to see more ‘sensible’ batting from players under the microscope at the ongoing Caribbean Premier League (CPL) tournament.

The tournament, being staged in a biosecure atmosphere in Trinidad and Tobago, due to the ongoing threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, has been widely panned for poor batting performances and low scoring.

Statistically, the average score per innings has fallen some 27 runs behind last season, which had an innings average of around 151, as compared to this season’s average of 122.  Perhaps even more instructive, is the fact that in completed matches this season teams have failed to reach double digits on eight occasions as opposed to just once last season.

A lot of speculation has surfaced regarding the reason for the diminished performances to date.  Among them is the fact that players have not played for months, due to the pandemic, and the condition of the pitch.  It has also been suggested that possible quarantine fatigue might be affecting some players who took part in the England series.  It has, however, also been suggested that a lot of it is simply down to irresponsible batting.  To a large extent, Harper concurs.

“I think that yes we expected to have some better cricket.  I think at times a lot of power play was put in and not enough brain play,” Harper told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“We are happy to have some cricket but yes we expected to have some better performances generally, particularly on the batting side of things,” he added.

“Ideally you would like to have pitches more conducive to stroke play from the get-go.  But the batsmen that have generally succeeded have adapted very well.  They have given themselves some time to get in and then capitalised later.  Some players have not gotten that memo as yet, some teams are still trying to score all the runs upfront, when all the runs are scored at the back end.”

 

West Indies chief of selectors Roger Harper believes it is critical for the team’s batsmen to improve their first-class cricket performances and raise the current standards of selection, in order to truly compete at the top level.

Heading into the series, the team’s top batsmen averaged in their 30s, their average performance during the series has not even lived up to that.  The batting average of the Windies’ batsmen in the series was 27.86 and, shockingly, stands out as one of the best for a series in the past several years.

In fact, it is the fourth-best for the team’s batsmen among all the series consisting of two or more matches since 2017.

The team’s highest batting average in a Test series consisting of at least two matches since 2017 is 34.66 and that was against Zimbabwe in 2017.  For Harper, the improvement needed must begin at home, with improved performances in first-class cricket.

“As far as our first-class game is concerned it is important for us to set standards for our players.  I don’t think we can continue to be content with picking players averaging 30 in first-class cricket that has to change,” Harper told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“Our international batsmen have to understand that when they get to our regional competition they have to dominate and average 50 and 55.  That’s what happens in the other international territories.  Players looking to break into the team that’s what they have to be aiming for," he added.

“If we keep rewarding players for mediocrity we are going to get mediocre performances.”

Cricket West Indies Chief Selector Roger Harper is suggesting that the structure of the West Indies team now in England for a three-Test series starting next month, and the expected playing conditions there, precluded the selection of Guyanese spinner Veerasammy Permaul.

Permaul, the 30-year-old slow left-arm orthodox spinner from Guyana, snared 50 wickets during the West Indies Championships that ended in March at an excellent average of 12.98. Speaking with Sportsmax.TV shortly after the season ended, he said he felt that the success he enjoyed would have put him closer to selection to the West Indies senior squad.

“Playing for the West Indies is always my goal every season I play,” he said, “but I wasn’t finding favour with the West Indies selectors. I don’t know how close I am to making the West Indies team, I would think after an excellent season like this one I am not far from playing for the West Indies again.”

However, according to Harper, a fellow Guyanese, Permaul’s success did not get him close enough.

“If you look at the structure of the team; the Test squad and the reserves, you realize that there are not many spinners in the party,” Harper said while speaking on the Mason and Guest talk show in Barbados on Tuesday.

“In England, we looked at the conditions you are likely to face there and the sort of bowlers we will need in the squad and (Rahkeem) Cornwall was selected as a spinner in the squad from his performance in his last Test match.

“Looking at the reserves we thought we would look at a replacement for the positions in the Test team…the panel went for the incumbent who was on the last tour.”

The decision to exclude Permaul did not go down well with Hilbert Foster President of the Berbice Cricket Board in Guyana. Permaul plays his domestic cricket in Berbice.

“The BCB would like to condemn in the strongest possible way the sick treatment being handed out to this outstanding son of Berbice and would like for an explanation to been given on his non-selection," Foster said.

"Has a decision been taken that Permaul's career is over at just 30 years old? Is there another unknown factor for his non-selection? Is he indisciplined? Is he considered just a regional bowler or is he too old?

"We deserve to know as the BCB is, without doubt, the hardest working cricket board in the Caribbean and we would not sit back and watch our cricketers being treated like a second class when they deserve better."

Had Marva Holder been alive she would have been a very proud grandmother.

On Wednesday, her grandson, Chemar Holder, received a call from Cricket West Indies for his first tour with the men’s senior team that will play three Tests in England starting July 8.

For Holder, the leading pace bowler in the West Indies Championships that concluded in March, it was a dream come true.

“It was a good feeling yesterday (Wednesday) when I got the call to know that I was included in the 15. It was something that I was always looking forward to and now I have got the opportunity to represent my country,” he said.

Holder, 22, took 36 wickets at a healthy average of 18.91 during the championships that was ended with two rounds to go because of the Coronavirus pandemic, leaving him just four wickets shy of the target he had set at the start of the season.

Nonetheless, the West Indies selectors rewarded him with a place in the senior squad that is set to play the ‘bio-secure’ Tests series.

“Chemar Holder is an exciting young fast bowling talent who is coming off an excellent domestic First-Class season. He should enjoy bowling in English conditions. He could prove a real asset to the team in England,” said Roger Harper, Cricket West Indies Chief Selector.

Coming from a cricket-loving family, Holder has always enjoyed their support.

“If things are not going well, they all talk to me, tell me to keep my head up, everything is not going to be the same,” he said. “So I always get support from them, especially my grandmother, who passed away. She was always my big supporter.

“She stayed up all night and watched me during the U19 World Cup. Every time I play I remember her so she would be happy to find out this news if she was alive today.”

Marva Holder passed away in 2016 at the age of 72.

 

 

As was reported by Sportsmax.TV on Tuesday, Cricket West Indies' (CWI) selection panel named a 14-man Test squad for the proposed Sandals Tour of England 2020 that features newcomers Chemar Holder and Nkrumah Bonner.

The selectors have also named 11 reserves for the tour that includes fast bowlers Shannon Gabriel and Oshane Thomas.

The 22-year-old Holder – who is not related to captain Jason Holder – was the leading fast bowler in the West Indies Championship with 36 wickets in eight matches at 18.91 each, and was one of the successful ICC U-19 World Cup-winning side in 2016.

Bonner, 31, will be making his Test squad debut after being one of the leading batsmen in the 2020 West Indies Championship with 523 runs in seven matches at an average of 58.11.  He has previously represented the West Indies when he played two T20 Internationals back in 2011 and 2012.

Subject to the final approval of the UK Government, the West Indies will defend the Wisden Trophy in three back-to-back Test matches to be played behind closed doors,  starting on July 8.   The touring party that will all be tested for COVID-19 this week, is scheduled to fly to England on private charters on June 8.

According to CWI, the West Indies squad will live, train and play in a “bio-secure” environment during the seven weeks of the tour, as part of the comprehensive medical and operations plans to ensure player and staff safety.

The bio-secure protocols will restrict movement in and out of the venues, so the selection panel has also named a list of reserve players who will travel to train and help prepare the Test squad and ensure replacements are available in case of any injury.

Chief selector Roger Harper explained that the squad will have the time to get accustomed to the new norm in the UK but feels that they have selected a competitive squad.

“The new cricketing environment will take some getting used to. However, being in England and working together for four weeks before the first Test will give the squad the opportunity to get acclimatized and hopefully, mentally and technically adjusted to the demands of the new environment. Playing in July could be a blessing as the weather is likely to be warmer which will allow the squad more of an opportunity to play its best cricket,” he said.

“I think we have a squad that will be very competitive. More than half of the squad were involved in the victorious Test series against England in the Caribbean last year so they will bring that experience, that knowledge and belief with them and marry it to the enthusiasm and vitality of the newcomers.

“The experience of the players who toured England before in 2017 will also benefit the squad greatly. I expect that the bowling unit will once again provide a serious challenge for England and our batting will have to deliver. England is a tough team when playing in home conditions, however, I think the West Indies has a good chance of retaining the Wisden Trophy. We will have to bat consistently well to do so.”

Harper believes newcomers Holder and Bonner will benefit greatly from the tour.

“Chemar Holder is an exciting young fast bowling talent who is coming off an excellent domestic First-Class season. He should enjoy bowling in English conditions. He could prove a real asset to the team in England,” Harper said.

 “Nkrumah Bonner is an unflappable character. His ability to hold the innings together and bat through tight situations could serve the team very well.

“Jermaine Blackwood returns by sheer weight of performance in the domestic First-Class season. His patience and application were evident and that resulted in much greater consistency which I look forward to him taking back into the Test arena. His experience of playing Test cricket in England should stand him in good stead.”  

The chief selector also shed light on the inclusion of allrounder Raymon Reifer and Shannon Gabriel who is returning after undergoing surgery.

“Raymon Reifer has been around for a while and has proved to be a real competitor with both bat and ball – qualities that will add great value to the team. Shannon Gabriel is working his way back to full match fitness after his ankle operation last year.

“The four weeks leading up to the first Test will be of tremendous benefit to him. A fully fit and firing Shannon adds great potency to the bowling attack, so it is important to have him back at his best.”

West Indies are scheduled to arrive in Manchester on June 9 and will be based in Manchester for a three-week period before moving to Southampton for the first Test at the Ageas Bowl. They will then return to Manchester for the second and third matches at Emirates Old Trafford.  All these matches will be played behind closed doors and are still subject to UK Government approval.

The West Indies are scheduled to play the first Test at Ageas Bowl in Southampton from July 8-12.

The action will then move to the Emirates Old Trafford in Manchester for the second Test from July 16-20 as well as the third Test from July 24-28.

WEST INDIES TEST SQUAD: Jason Holder (Captain), Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shamarh Brooks, John Campbell, Roston Chase, Rahkeem Cornwall, Shane Dowrich, Chemar Holder, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Raymon Reifer, and Kemar Roach.

RESERVE PLAYERS: Sunil Ambris, Joshua Da Silva, Shannon Gabriel, Keon Harding, Kyle Mayers, Preston McSween, Marquino Mindley, Shane Moseley, Anderson Phillip, Oshane Thomas, and Jomel Warrican.

 

 

 

Page 1 of 2
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.