Replying to New Zealand’s daunting score of  519 for 7, the West Indies began mounting a solid response by close of play on the second day of the first Test at Seddon Park in Hamilton.

Asked to face 26 testing overs at the end of the day, the West Indies reached 49 without loss. Kraigg Brathwaite and John Campbell on 20 and 22, respectively, will resume on Day 3 with the visitors still 470 runs behind a New Zealand total made possible by Kane Williamson’s imperious 251.

Resuming from his overnight score of 97 and New Zealand 243 for 2, the Black Caps captain’s marathon knock was the backbone of the home side’s massive total. Kane faced 412 deliveries in his almost 10 and a half hour stay at the crease.

Ross Taylor, who joined Williamson at the crease at 168 for 2, added seven runs to his overnight score of 31 before becoming Shannon Gabriel’s second victim when he edged to wicketkeeper Shamarh Brooks, who replaced an injured Shane Dowrich.

Williamson dominance of subsequent partnerships of 30 with Henry Nicholls (7); 72 with Tom Blundell (14) and 56 with Daryl Mitchell (9), emphasized his impact on the New Zealand’s innings. His was the last wicket New Zealand to fall when he was caught by Roston Chase at deep midwicket from an Alzarri Joseph after a 94-run seventh-wicket stand of 94 with Kyle Jamieson, who remained unbeaten on 51 when the declaration came.

Williamson’s 251 included 34 fours and two sixes.

Gabriel finished with 3 for 89, while Kemar Roach, who should have got Williamson’s wicket but for a no-ball, returned 3 for 114 from 30 overs. Joseph had figures of 1 for 99.

West Indies fast bowler Kemar Roach began the first Test in the series against New Zealand on Thursday with a heavy heart following the passing of his father, Andrew Smith.

Roach learned of his father’s death on Wednesday.

“Losing a loved one is never easy and we want to offer our full support to Kemar during this very difficult time,” said team manager Rawl Lewis in offering condolences on behalf of Cricket West Indies.

“We got the news as we prepared for the Test match here and the players and team support staff all got together and offered tremendous support.”

Both teams wore black armbands on the opening day of the Test match in honor of the fast bowler’s late father.

Roach has so far taken 1 for 53 from 15 overs at stumps on day one of the Test in which New Zealand were 243 for 2.

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson was closing in on his 22nd Test hundred, as the home side emerged on top at stumps of the opening day of the first Test against West Indies.

West Indies captain Jason Holder believes opening batsman Kraigg Brathwaite could be on the verge of rediscovering his best form, ahead of the start of the series against New Zealand.

The 28-year-old had shown great promise alongside Shai Hope at the top of the order, scoring 134 and 95 when the West Indies successfully chased down 322 for a memorable win at Headingley in 2017.

Brathwaite then suffered a dip in form, averaging 25.33 in his last 20 Tests ahead of the England series this year.  His struggles included poor showings against India and Afghanistan.  The player did show a flicker of returning to form during the team’s last Test tour against England where he scored two half-centuries.  Brathwaite reached 65 in the first and got 75 in the second but, however, also had other innings scores of 4, 12, 1, and 19 to average 21.

The opener though, looked good in the team’s warm-up matches against New Zealand A, where he scored 246 in the second warm-up match.  The performance has encouraged the West Indies captain.

“It’s good to see our opening batsmen, including Kraigg, getting some scores.  I thought he shaped up really well in England, he good a few half-centuries, got a few starts and he’s starting to look like the Kraigg Brathwaite of old,” Holder told CWI media.

“He’s obviously been a banker for us over the years, he’s had a lean patch over the last couple of years but to see him coming back into stride the way he has.  I was remarking to one of the coaches that the innings I saw in Queenstown, the double hundred, was one of the most fluent innings I have seen from him.  It reminded me of a Test match innings he played in Hobart where he got 97 in the second innings that was one of the most fluent innings I’ve ever seen from Kraigg but this one was similar,” he added.

“For me, his balance looks really good and he is striking the ball really well.  So, let’s hope he can continue in that vein and get us off to some really good starts.”  

Jamaica U-23 representative, Kyle Butler, has revealed more details of the alleged incident between himself and father/manager Craig Butler, which led to the wounds seen on his arms in widely circulated social media photos.

According to the younger Butler, who lashed out on Tuesday amidst claims of having suffered years of abuse, the incident happened after he had refused to take part in a training session.  The senior Butler, who has denied the allegations, initially claimed that the injuries seen were suffered after his son 'fell on a stick'.  Kyle, however, disputed that version of events.

“All I said was that I was not going to train.  So, I went into the car, took out my shoes, and said I was walking home because he said to leave the jeep.  While I was walking he asked me, ‘If I feel like is suh it ago guh.’ He grabbed me by my hair, punched me in my mouth, punched me in the back of my head,” Butler said in an interview with Nationwide Radio.

He went on to claim that when the altercation was broken up, his father went to his van took out a knife, and threw it at him while he was leaving the premises.  The player attempted to dodge the object, but it still caught him on the arm.

“The knife could have hit me anywhere else.  I have no reason to lie, I have no reason to attack this guy.  Why would I fall on a knife at training, why would I fall on something so sharp that it goes through my flesh, at a football field, tell me, how does that make sense?’

In a released statement, the senior Butler continued to claim the allegations were unfounded and that his son had been battling ‘major issues.’

I’m responding in this way of my son Kyle Butler allegations of my being physically abusive on the evening of November 30, 2020. My heart goes out to my son as he battles with some major issues and now these unfounded allegations.

“Let me categorically state that I have not been abusive to my son on that date or any other date. I have encouraged him and helped him to achieve his full potential. I have worked hard to create opportunities for my son of which he enjoyed for years.  There was no complains then.

“I’m cognizant of the many issues Kyle has gotten him self in and things that my profession and principles would never allow me to be a part of.  This has created a major problem in our relationship as I have stated that this is not the path any parent would hope for their child.  I am hoping that he will find his way and recognize that his family loves him amd want only what is best for him.

I hope my son will get the chance to show how talented he is and believe in himself as I have always believed in him.  I only ask that the public allows us the privacy to work through this matter,” Butler’s statement read.

 

 

West Indies coach Phil Simmons believes the Test team is in a ‘good place’ ahead of the start of the two-match series against New Zealand, which bowls off on Wednesday.

The team’s tour of New Zealand began with a T20 series last week but they did not experience a lot of joy after being easily swept aside 2-0 by the Kiwis in a three-match series.  Simmons, however, does not expect any follow-on negative effect for the four-day team and admits he has been encouraged by their performance in the warm-up games.  The performances with the bat in the warm-up matches will have been particularly encouraging for the team, which saw the batting line-up post scores of 366 and 571.

“The T20 and the Tests are different.  The Test team has done well in Queenstown and enjoyed a tough four-day game.  Now, they are coming into the Test series with some confidence, especially with the batsmen and we haven’t had that in a while,” Simmons told windiescricket.

“I think the Test team is in a good place, I’m disappointed with the T20 team but looking forward to the Test series…I don’t think the results of the T20 will affect how they think,” he added.

The Test series is also expected to be a tough challenge for the regional team who has not won a series in New Zealand since 1995.

 

 

West Indies Test captain Jason Holder has signed a three-match deal with Sydney Sixers for the upcoming Australia Big Bash League (BBL).

The 29-year-old all-rounder has seen his stock rise in cricket’s shortest format over the last couple of months, following a strong performance in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for Sunrisers Hyderabad.  Holder was signed as a replacement but played a crucial role in the team securing a third-place finish.

The all-rounder, who is currently with the West Indies for its ongoing tour of New Zealand, will not be available for the Sixers until their December 20 clash with the Adelaide Strikers in Hobart. He is expected to then take part in a December 26 fixture against the Melbourne Stars and the December 29 matchup with the Melbourne Renegades.  For his part, Holder was excited about the move.

"I'm really excited to be coming to the BBL and in particular the Sydney Sixers. I've wanted to for a few years now and this year I have the opportunity to come in and make some appearances and hopefully do a bit for the Sixers," he said.

"BBL cricket is an interest for me and the Sixers have been successful over the past few years. Moises and I played together at Sunrisers and I really enjoyed that. It will be good to do it again."

Holder will also be joining up with former West Indies T20 captain Carlos Brathwaite at the club.

 

Antigua and Barbuda track and field star Daniel Bailey has launched a broadside on the county’s National Olympic Committee (NOC), who he accuses of being a 'sham' and not caring about the nation’s athletes.

The 34-year, who has represented the county at the Olympic Games on several occasions, retired from international competition in 2018, pointing to the exorbitant cost of competing as a major factor in his decision. 

Earlier this year, Bailey announced that he had decided to return to the sport in order to compete at next year’s Olympic Games.  It seems, however, that some things have yet to change.

“They turned down my stuff and I left it alone, but I knew that was going to happen and I just think that the NOC is a sham because they don’t care about the athletes,” Bailey said recently on the Good Morning Jojo sports show.

“It is the first time I have sent the NOC an email about funding and the murmuring stated as to why Bakka want this and why Bakka wants that but at the end of the day, the money does not belong to any one of them and without the athletes, they can’t get any funding,” he added.

Earlier this year, EP Chet Greene, politician, and president of the NOC pledged to support the athlete after learning of his bid to qualify for the Olympics.

Bailey’s scorn was not, however, limited to the NOC as he reflected on a long career of footing his own expense.

“For the majority, I had to do it myself along with two or three corporate sponsors.  The NOC is not coming on board, the athletics association is not coming on board and the Ministry of Sports is not coming on board.  At the age of 18 years, I left for Jamaica on an IOC scholarship, and ever since then I have never gotten any help from the NOC, the government nor the Ministry of Sports.  I have been to four Olympic Games, spent 100s of thousands of dollars on myself, and represented this country without a dollar from anybody.”

Bailey, who has a personal best of 9.91, has made it to the semi-finals of two Olympic Games and was fourth at the 2009 World Championships.

Rain was the winner of the third and final T20 International of West Indies tour of New Zealand on Monday.

A stature of Barbados and West Indies iconic fast bowler Sir Wes Hall was unveiled at Kensington Oval on Sunday night on the eve of the country’s 54th year of independence.

 

I use my Sundays to look back at what has been happening in the world of sport. On many a Sunday, I realize that people have looked at the stories they have seen throughout the week through different lenses. I have my own personal take on some of these issues and I will share them with you. Welcome to #INCASEYOUMISSEDIT. 

) Nicholas Pooran - one for the future.    

West Indies have provided Nicholas Pooran with the opportunity to prove that he is worthy of being part of the Test squad by including him in a 14-man 'A' squad to play a pair of first-class matches in New Zealand next month.

This, I feel is a good move.

The 25-year-old Trinidadian has played well in the shorter formats to the extent that many fans and pundits alike have suggested that he should considered for Test selection. There are others, however, who believe he should not be included because of his limited participation in first-class cricket in that he has only played three games for Trinidad and Tobago back in 2014.

My question is, how will we know unless he tries?

Sometimes an opportunity is all you need. The chance Pooran is now being given will allow selectors to determine if he has what it takes. Cricket West Indies lead selector Roger Harper believes the player deserves an opportunity.

"This series will give our players an opportunity to play first-class cricket against foreign opposition as well as experience different conditions here in New Zealand. It will also help to keep them in the frame should the need for replacements for the test team arise as we will have players who have been playing red-ball cricket and in form to consider."

There are two four-day matches set for December 3 in Mount Maunganui and December 11 in Nelson.

 

  1. Ineffective bowling cost the Windies

West Indies were outplayed by New Zealand and lost by 72 runs in the second T20 International on Sunday at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui. New Zealand’s Glenn Phillips cracked a 51-ball century, the quickest in T20Is by a New Zealander as the home side took a winning 2-0 lead. 

The West Indies struggled to make a mark in the first two matches of the series. In the first match, there were a combination of errors with the bat and ball.  Despite the heroics of skipper Kieron Pollard, who blasted 75 not out, the Windies lost five wickets for one run and needed Pollard’s brilliant knock to get them back into contention.

Wickets were also hard to come by as Keemo Paul went for 39 runs in three overs that included five costly no-balls. Kesrick Williams gave up 33 runs in two overs while Fabian Allen went for 32 runs in the 12 balls he was allowed.

 

In the second T20 international, Andre Fletcher looked good for the time he lasted but was run out on 20 having faced 14 deliveries. Brandon King failed miserably and was dismissed for duck. West Indies' biggest hopes in the middle order Shimron Hetmyer and Nicholas Pooran failed to fire.

How many times do we expect the Windies captain to carry the side? Skipper Kieron Pollard top-scored again for the Windies with his 15-ball 28, which included three consecutive sixes off Mitchell Santner but it was not enough.

As was the case in the first match, none of the Windies bowlers made an impact. Instead of gaining momentum when Guptill and Seifert were dismissed they literally dropped the ball. There were a number of misfields and a general lack of discipline from the bowlers.  Fast bowler Keemo Paul conceded 64 runs in four overs and Sheldon Cottrell went for 39 runs.  

The final T20 international will be held at Mount Maunganui on Monday, before a two-Test series begins in Hamilton on December 3.

  

  1. The world rocked by the passing of Diego Maradona. RIP Sir.

 On Sunday, Lionel Messi paid an emotional tribute to Diego Maradona by revealing a Newell's Old Boys shirt after scoring for Barcelona in their 4-0 win over Osasuna. The forward looked emotional during the minute’s applause for Maradona, who died at the age of 60 on Wednesday after a heart attack.

Messi, his fellow Argentine, alongside Pele and Cristiana Ronaldo best summed up the passing of the legend when they said "He is gone, but he will be with us for eternity."

Without a doubt, Maradona will be remembered for his many achievements on the field. He won titles in three different countries. He took Argentina to victory in the 1986 World Cup. He delivered two league titles to the city of Naples, something most felt was impossible. However, the Argentine’s impact off the field is what touched people the most.

He was vulnerable and showed that openly as he lived a life of excess in the public eye.  He immersed himself in whatever he did and took on the authorities when they failed to represent what he stood for. He will be remembered for his work on and off the field. Rest in peace, Sir. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

West Indies were outplayed by New Zealand and lost by 72 runs in the second T20 International on Sunday (Saturday night Caribbean Time) at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui.

Glenn Phillips was delighted to provide the crowd at Mount Maunganui with an innings to remember after he struck New Zealand's fastest-ever Twenty20 international century. 

Phillips – playing in just his 13th T20 game for his country – struck a 46-ball ton as the Black Caps amassed a huge 238-3 in a series-clinching victory over West Indies. 

It was the 23-year-old's first international hundred, Phillips hitting eight sixes and 10 fours in total before suffering a recurrence of a freak knee injury he sustained in the first game in Auckland. 

He battled on, but his innings came to an end on 108 from 51 balls when he was dismissed by Kieron Pollard. 

Still, with crowds allowed back at sporting events in New Zealand, Phillips was thrilled to have put on a show in the 72-run win. 

"That's just an incredible day. You don't get them very often, make the most of it," Phillips said. 

"My whole thing is to try and be an entertainer for the crowd and, in that moment, having the crowds back, I wanted to give them something special, the whole team wanted to give them something special. It was amazing for me personally, (that) I could be part of it."

It has been a long slog for Phillips to establish himself in the New Zealand team in the shortest format, having made his T20 debut in February 2017. 

"I had to go back, work on things, and took a step back to be able to move forward again," he added. 

"Then I had the opportunities in the Caribbean [Premier League], which slowly worked my confidence back and I was able to have a couple of good performances, being able to come out against these boys has had a massive part of play in that. 

"To be able to produce the kind of freedom in my performance was the biggest thing for me, and I was absolutely ecstatic. You don't get those very often, and I was going to enjoy it." 

Phillips and New Zealand have one more T20 contest remaining at Mount Maunganui, followed by Test matches against West Indies in Hamilton and Wellington.

Former Jamaica and West Indies cricketer, Nehemiah Perry, is considering a bid to challenge for the post of Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) president next year.

If confirmed, it could mean a second consecutive challenge for incumbent Wilford ‘Billy’ Heaven.  Heaven easily saw off opposition from former vice-president Mark Neita in 2019 to secure a third two-year term.

While insisting that, at this point, a decision had yet to be made, Perry admitted that he was far from pleased with the current state of cricket on the island of Jamaica and it was an option he was strongly considering.

“It could be a possibility.  I’m not confirming that but I’m still giving it some thought.  It’s a lot that you have to give up,” Perry, who recently became president of Jamaica Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (JAIFA), told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“I strongly believe that we need some very good leadership and we need some serious work to bring back our cricket.  Our cricket is in a desperate situation and I think that management and leadership, we have to start from there to get everything streamlined so that the pathway is very clear,” he added.

Heaven has been president of the JCA since 2013 when then-president Lyndel Wright did not seek re-election.  Of interest, however, is the fact that Heaven’s upcoming re-election bid will be the first since the JCA is believed to have voted against fellow Jamaican Dave Cameron in his re-election bid for Cricket West Indies (CWI) president.  The move was widely condemned in some quarters of Jamaica’s local cricket fraternity.

 

West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell slammed a blistering 14-ball fifty, in a 34-run win for Colombo Kings over Galle Gladiators, who both featured in a severely shorted rain-affected Lanka Premier League fixture on Saturday.

The 32-year-old heavy hitter showed no signs of a recent injury or quarantine fatigue, as he crashed 13 of the 19 deliveries he faced to the boundary.  His total included nine fours and four sixes - en route to an unbeaten 65.

Overall, the score put Russell in elite company, as he became the joint fifth fastest scorer of a half-century in T20 cricket.  Only compatriot Chris Gayle, India’s Yuvraj Singh and Afghanistan’s Hazratullah Zazai who reached the mark in 12 deliveries, and England’s Marcus Trescothick, who reached the mark in 13, remain ahead of Russell on the list.

In getting to the total of 96 for 1 from five overs, Colombo lost Russell’s opening partner Thikshila de Silva who was dismissed for a golden duck.  After being sent in to bat, Russell by himself scored three more runs than the entire Gladiators team when they unsuccessfully chased the target.  In fact, he was on 44 from 11 balls and just one six away from matching the fastest T20 half-century but could only take one run from the 12th delivery he faced.

 Danushka Gunathilaka top-scored for Gala with an unbeaten 30 as the Gladiators managed to get to 62 for 2.   

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