President of Cricket West Indies (CWI), Ricky Skerritt, is calling on West Indies cricket fans everywhere, to throw their full support behind the West Indies team when they defend the ICC T20 World Cup title next month.

Former member of the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) selection panel, Roland Butcher, believes it could be critical for the West Indies to find a capable replacement for retired batsman Marlon Samuels if the team is to have a chance of retaining the T20 World Cup.

The mercurial Samuels played a key role on both occasions the team won the title, managing to put together innings that balanced an abundance of caution at the crease, with scoring aggression when needed.

In 2012, Samuels average a solid 38.33, with a strike rate of 132 en route to the team’s triumph but more importantly top-scored in the final, with 78 from 56 deliveries, giving the West Indies a comfortable win over Sri Lanka.

In 2016, it was Carlos Brathwaite that got the accolades in a thrilling, brutal final-over onslaught in the final against England but it was Samuels who once again top-scored at the other end, his 85 from 66 balls proving just as crucial in the team’s title triumph.  For that tournament, Samuels averaged 36.20 with a strike rate of 112.42.

“West Indies will play their brand of cricket, which is all guns blazing, but let us remember in those two World Cups that they won there was a certain Marlon Samuels who was the glue,” Butcher told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“Among all of those stars there was someone who could hold the team together and, when needed, up the scoring rate.  What they need to do is to find someone to play that role and play it successfully,” he added.

Among the candidate to do so for the upcoming tournament will be Roston Chase whose performance during the recently concluded CPL saw him force himself into the thoughts of the selectors.  For the finalists, St Lucia Kings this season, Chase averaged an impressive 49.55, with a strike rate of 144.33.

“The question will be whether Roston Chase can perform that role to that level on the international stage.  This is the international level with the best teams, it’s not the CPL.  Marlon Samuels proved, not just on those two occasions, that when things were tough, he was the go-to man.”

Ravi Rampaul and Roston Chase have been called for the West Indies World Cup squad for next month’s International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Men’s T20 World Cup, 2021 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Former West Indies opener Philo Wallace does not believe Chris Gayle should be included in a West Indies squad for the ICC T20 World Cup to be held in the United Arab Emirates next month.

Wallace believes the 42-year-old Jamaican, arguably the best T20 player in history, who has served West Indies cricket well over the years, is now well past his best. He cites Gayle's performances so far in the 2021 Hero Caribbean Premier League as clear signs that the Universe Boss is not the game-changing player he used to be.

“Past performances don’t cut it,” Wallace argued while speaking on the Mason&Guest radio show in Barbados on Tuesday evening.

“Gayle has done wonderfully well. I have no disrespect for Christopher Gayle. I think he has done wonderfully well for the West Indies and himself but the time has come where you need to sit down or stand in a mirror and say ‘can I make it? Can I make it through a world cup?”

At the time he made his comments Gayle had scored 83 runs in five matches in the 2021 CPL with a top score of 42. He is averaging 16.6 runs an innings and has a strike rate of 110.60. According to Wallace, those numbers are simply not good enough.

“For where he is right now in the CPL, it’s a bit of a struggle for someone like Gayle knowing his reputation and what he can do, but you want people of that vintage to be striking it,” Wallace said.

“You had enough time to prepare for the CPL and you know that the CPL is coming before selection for the World Cup.

“If you really wanted to make a statement that I want to go to the world cup despite my age you need to be striking the ball and score runs. There is no excuse for it.”

Wallace named the team he would select for the World Cup and it included Kieron Pollard (captain) Nicholas Pooran (vice-captain), Evin Lewis, Lendl Simmons Shimron Hetmyer, Fabian Allen, Andre Russell, Obed McCoy, Dwayne Bravo, Jason Holder, Andre Fletcher, Hayden Walsh Jr, Akeal Hosein, Odean Smith and Roston Chase.

He listed Sherfane Rutherford, Oshane Thomas and Romario Shepherd as his reserves.

“There is no Gayle, there is no Fidel Edwards because I feel when you get to a certain vintage and you are not fit you have to quit,” Wallace said.

“This cricket is going to be hard. The UAE is not going to be easy against the best players in the world. New Zealand has left out Ross Taylor as well, so they’re looking to move on. West Indies cricket needs to move on.”

 

 

 

West Indies leg-spinner, Hayden Walsh Jr, admits he is eager to put a difficult year behind him, with solid performances in the upcoming series of T20 internationals.

The 29-year-old was named as part of a preliminary 18-man squad that recently began preparations to face South Africa, Australia, and Pakistan in a flurry of upcoming T20 internationals. 

The group was named with preparations for the T20 World Cup in mind, which is slated for India later this year.  Despite not featuring in a number of matches for the regional team this year, he was one of 18 players offered an international retainer contract.  Chief of selectors Roger Harper went on to explain that the player’s status as the only quality leg-spinner, in the region, prompted the selectors to include him in the team’s retainer plans.

The player suffered from misfortune last year after being forced to pull out of the tour to Bangladesh, after testing positive for Covid-19.

 “I’ve been having a tough year so far, so the fact that I am still in the plans and I still have a lot to work for, it’s still a good feeling,” Walsh said in an interview with the Antigua Observer.

“I started out the year testing positive for Covid, which ruled me out of the Bangladesh series, which I was really looking forward to. I came back to the Super 50 and I didn’t really do as well, mainly because I’ve been in isolation and I didn’t have any preparation,” he added.

 “If that did not happen, then I probably most likely would have been around the T20 and One Day squads against Sri Lanka, so I feel like I’ve missed out a lot.”

 

Former West Indies captain, Daren Sammy, insists veteran batsman Chris Gayle would be a sure pick in his squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup as the player’s experience and explosive ability remain invaluable.

The recent decision by Cricket West Indies (CWI) to recall the batsman for the recent series against Sri Lanka was met with criticism in some quarters, with some believing the selectors should have opted for younger talent.  The player's struggles in the series did little to dispel that notion.

Sammy, the two-time T20 World Cup-winning captain, however, does not agree.

“After watching Chris Gayle play in the Pakistan Super League, the IPL late last year, and looking at his career, I think he should definitely go to the World Cup,” Sammy told Line and Length on SportsMax.

“Whether he plays in the final XI is a matter for the guys on tour because you will have Evin (Lewis) and (Lendl) Simmons, but Chris’ experience in India and what he brings to the team, I would have him with me,” he added.

“Chris is a batting leader! He has over 20 hundreds in T20s and the next person after that has eight or nine and his experience cannot be underrated so I would have him with me. He knows the big occasion and you bet he can still turn it on…. I will go with him,” said Sammy from his home in St. Lucia.

Gayle has played 31 T20s for the West Indies and scored two centuries and 13 half-centuries, with an average of 31.24 and a strike rate of 140.81. At the last World Cup, he scored an unbeaten 100 in the first match against England but ended the series with 113 runs from four innings.

Sammy, who was at the helm when the team won the T20 World Cup in Sri Lanka, in 2012, versus the hosts, and in 2016 against England, thinks that the West Indies can win again if they improve their bowling attack.

“We have the batting firepower, but we are missing two x-factor bowlers. Fidel is back and brings some pace, but I think our best chance will be chasing totals. We don’t have that Sunil Narine type of bowler and, to be honest, that’s the missing link. We can win but we need a couple of bowlers to put pressure on for eight overs,” explained Sammy.

 

West Indies star batsman Chris Gayle has made it clear that he is looking forward to the T20 World Cup, with high hopes of helping the regional team win a third title.

Gayle’s last appearance for the Windes, a One Day International match at the Queen’s Park Oval last year, was a dramatic affair as he walked off the field to applause from both sets of players and fans.  The special occasion was thought to be his retirement from international cricket.

Following that match, Gayle turned down the selection to an ODI series against India, after insisting that he needed some time off to figure out his future.  Since then, however, Gayle has had a complete reversal of thought when it comes to the idea of retirement. 

The big left-hander recently showed that he remains capable of producing plenty of fireworks, after an outstanding season in the Indian Premier League (IPL).  After being left on the bench at the start of the tournament, the insertion of Gayle into the line-up fueled an impressive run for Kings XI Punjab who narrowly missed out on making the playoffs.  During the tournament, Gayle became the first player to reach 1000 T20 sixes. 

Having found himself in that type of form, retirement is understandably now the furthest thing from the batsman’s mind and he is ready to take that kind of form into international cricket.

“I’m enjoying my cricket, to be honest with you.  I just recently played the IPL in Dubai and did well.  Now I have the T10, honestly, I’ve been feeling good, I’ve been putting in some work,” Gayle said.

The player admits that he already has one eye on the ICC T20 Championships, which will be held in November of this year.

“I’m just getting myself in condition.  I still have a lot of cricket to play.  I’m looking forward to the World Cup and hopefully giving the West Indies another T20 title.”

Gayle has not played in a T20 international since March of last year but intends to be part of the squad in lead up matches to the tournament.

 

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