Former West Indies pace bowler Tony Gray has expressed concern with the bowling technique of spinner Rahkeem Cornwall, which he believes could eventually lead to the player suffering injury issues.

Another former player, legendary spinner Lance Gibbs, sparked controversy after questioning the effectiveness of the player’s short run-up technique last year.  Taking the analysis a step further, however, Gray believes the unusual technique could also put a strain on the player’s body.

Cornwall has constantly faced criticism for his overall fitness level but has achieved some measure of success despite that.   At an estimated 1.96 m and 308 lbs, he is believed to be the heaviest man to ever play Test cricket.

“I ask the question that has never been answered.  Is Cornwall’s problem genetic, because if it’s genetic it’s going to be difficult to lose the weight?  If not, why hasn’t he lost the weight yet, since the under-19 level,” Gray said recently on the Mason and Guest radio program.

“I share Lance Gibbs's opinion…the thing about it is if you look at Cornwall’s mechanics, he is a big guy, he takes two steps and it puts a lot of pressure on his body," he added.

“He had a knee operational earlier this year, not a serious one but he still had some pressure on that knee.  My thing with him is that early on in his career he should have been coached with better mechanics, giving him at least four or five steps.  Spinners who can rip the ball, they don’t only use their wrist or their fingers, but obviously, their body as well and you can’t use your body if you are taking only two steps.”

 

Returning West Indies batsman Darren Bravo crafted an enterprising century to anchor the team’s efforts on day two of the three-day First Class match against New Zealand A on Friday.

Bravo made 135 from 214 balls as the regional team ended the day at 329-6, inching 21 runs ahead of the Blackcaps' first innings total of 308 for 3 declared.  Bravo, 31, one of the most capped members of the West Indies Test squad on the Tour of New Zealand with 54 matches behind him, batted a little more than 4½ hours at the crease after he started the day on eight. Bravo raced towards his hundred in a volley of strokes, mostly off left-arm spinner Michael Rippon.

 In reaching the target, Bravo struck 13 fours and five sixes and formed a third-wicket partnership with Shamarh Brooks that was worth 122.

Brooks made 80 from 152 balls, with the team also receiving contributions from newly appointed vice-captain Roston Chase who made 41 from 62 balls.  The New Zealand bowling line-up did not feature anyone likely to gain selection for the official matches and no bowler claimed more than one wicket.

The first Test between New Zealand and West Indies starts on December 3 at Seddon Park in Hamilton and the second Test begins on December 11 at the Basin Reserve in Wellington.

 

Scores

New Zealand A 308-3 declared (R Ravindra 112, H Nicholls 76, D Conway 46no, J Carter 41no) v West Indies 329-6 (D Bravo 135, S Brooks 80, R Chase 41) in Queenstown.

 

 

West Indies women’s team captain Stafanie Taylor has praised players and several teams in the Women's Big Bash League (WBBL) for their continued support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The symbolic gesture of taking a knee in support of racial equality spread around the globe an adopted by many sports in the aftermath of the death of an African American man, George Floyd, at the hands of the police earlier this year.

To some extent, the symbolic action has fizzled out in the sport of cricket, with some teams claiming other more concrete options in pursuit of equality are being pursued.  The WBBL has, however, continued to support the gesture and Taylor has been appreciative of it.

 "We have been taking a knee throughout the whole tournament and I am so pleased with the support I got from my teammate, it was really fantastic,” Taylor, who plays for Adelaide Strikers, told the Daily Telegraph.

“Sometimes I even forget, and Megan Schutt will say to me; Stafanie, don’t forget we’ve got to take a knee,” she added.

Taylor also thanked Sydney Thunder and Hobart Hurricanes for statements made by the teams and praised individual players from other teams for adopting the gesture.

“While I wish that all players from all eight teams competing in the WBBL this year were taking a knee, BLM is a global movement and I’m proud that cricket is helping to stamp out racism on and off the field.”

 

 

Former West Indies pace bowler Franklyn Rose believes the development of the regional team has been hampered by a ‘chop and change’ mentality with batsman Shai Hope being just the most recent victim.

The decision to drop the 27-year-old Hope, after his recent monumental struggles, has divided public opinion.  While some believe the player could benefit from time away from the team to address potential confidence and technical issues, others believe the batsman would best be served staying within the system, even if he remains outside of the first team.

Rose, for his part, believes with the team currently in rebuilding mode, nothing will be gained from the talented player being pushed out of the squad at this point.

“They’re rebuilding, how are you going to get rid of the guy (Hope) when you are rebuilding.  He’s one of the brightest talents,” Rose told the Mason and Guest radio program.

 “West Indies cricket is rebuilding.  You cannot chop and change while rebuilding.  Shai Hope, one of the best talents in the Caribbean, you just drop him like that.  I would have brought him on tour, got him to play a few of the practice games.  Even if he doesn’t get to play Test matches.  What cricket is he going to play now to get back his confidence?”

Kings XI Punjab co-owner, Ness Wadia, has made it clear that he believes West Indies star batsman Chris Gayle should start from ball one next season, as analysis surrounding the team’s unsuccessful campaign continues to unfold.

Kings XI narrowly missed out on securing an Indian Premier League (IPL) playoff spot after finishing 6th in the overall standings.  The team, however, got plenty of plaudits for an improbable run, which saw it win five games in a row after getting off to a 1-6 start.

Kings XI’s rapid ascent from the bottom of the table was fueled by the re-introduction of Gayle into the line-up.  The West Indian had been left on the bench for the first seven games of the season.  He was not picked for the first five, with a bout of food poisoning ruling him out for the next two.  Gayle fired immediately once he was inserted into the line-up, ending with 288 runs at an average of 44.14 and a high score of 99.

“The team management did what it thought was best for the team.  It is important to back experienced players and Gayle has demonstrated that he should play every game next season,” Wadia told the Press Trust of India (PTI).

The owner also had high praise for team captain and leading scorer KL Rahul, suggesting that some of Kings XI’s struggles could be based on the fact that it is a newly assembled unit.

“It’s a new captain, new team with lots of fresh faces, sometimes it clicks and sometimes it doesn’t.  The auction is coming up soon and we would be looking to plug gaps in the middle order and our bowling,” Wadia said.

“K L has been with is for three years and there was a reason we went after him so aggressively.  He has proved us right.”

 

 

 

Former West Indies fast bowler Franklyn Rose has expressed serious concerns regarding the fitness of spinner Rahkeem Cornwall, despite admitting that the bowler has incredible talent.

The 27-year-old off-spinner was recently selected as part of a 15-man Test squad that will face New Zealand in a two-match series later this month.  

After putting in several strong performances at the regional and A-Team level, the player made his debut for the West Indies senior team against India last year.

Cornwall has since gone on to appear in three matches, where he has claimed 13 wickets with a best innings of 7 for 75 against Afghanistan.  Discussions surrounding the player have, however, inexorably centred around his weight.  At an estimated 1.96 m and 308 lbs, he is believed to be the heaviest man to ever play Test cricket.  The debate surrounding the issue has settled mainly into two camps, with some believing the player should continue to be given a chance because of his achievements to date and others believing he should be judged on the same fitness merit as other players selected for the squad.  Rose has trended toward the latter.

“He has a lot of talent, but no disrespect, I have a problem with his fitness,” Rose told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“Say for example they play him in the first Test and he makes 100 runs. ‘Very well done, congratulations’ but when he goes out into the field to field, how many runs is he going to give away?” he added.

“No disrespect, it doesn’t fit the profile of a Test cricketer.  Maybe try him with the T20.  Can he bat for three days? Do you think he can bat for three days in a Test match? Can he chase the ball to the boundary, pick it up and throw it back in?”

Cornwall is often deployed in the slip positions when the team is on fielding duty.

West Indies vice-captain Roston Chase has called on the team’s batting line-up to give more support to the bowling unit, particularly as it relates to putting up strong first innings performances.

Ahead of the start of the New Zealand tour, the Windies batting struggles have been well documented.  In their previous series against England, the team’s batting average teetered at around 27.86 and that was one of the team’s best in recent years.

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.

While they have struggled at the crease, however, the team has developed a strong bowling line-up, a four-pronged attack that consists of captain Jason Holder, Shannon Gabriel, Kemar Roach, and Alzarri Joseph.

“What I would like to see improve overall is the batting of the team.  I think that our bowlers have been doing brilliantly for us, but we have not been getting big enough scores for them to bowl at,” Chase told members of the media from the team’s training camp in New Zealand.

“Mainly in the first innings, the first innings sets up the game for the whole Test match.  Once you put the team under pressure with a good first innings total, they’ll always be chasing the game and that is a good thing to have the opposition doing in Test cricket…as a batting unit we need to give the bowlers more to work with.”

 

West Indies all-rounder Rovman Powell is eager to showcase his potential over the game’s longer format when he suits up for the team in two First Class matches.

The 27-year-old will be among a number of players typically recognized for their achievements in cricket's shortest format who will be looking to show that they merit consideration for the team’s Test cricket squad.

Prominently featured among that group has been T20 standout Nicholas Pooran, but Powell also believes he is capable of having a big impact with both bat and ball.

“I’m looking forward to it. I’m looking to show my all-around capabilities.  Whenever I’m given the ball, to put it in the right areas and get wickets,” Powell told windiescricket.

“West Indies needs players that can bat a long time.  So, I’m trying my best to go into those games and bat for a session, bat for two sessions,” he added.

Powell, who has never played Test cricket for the West Indies, has accumulated 338 runs in 11 First Class matches, with a high score of 71.  The West Indies will open its tour of New Zealand with three T20 series.

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. 

 

New Zealand strike bowler Trent Boult and captain Kane Williamson have opted out of the T20 series against the West Indies, in order to be fully fit for the Test series. 

The Windies are booked to face New Zealand in a three-match T20 international series, which will run between the 27th to 30th of this month.

Both Boult and Williamson had several strong performances in the recent Indian Premier League (IPL) season, but the Blackcaps have prioritised the Test series.   New Zealand are eyeing a spot in the World Test Championship final at Lord's next year.  They are currently fourth in the standings and need to beat West Indies in the two-Test series in December to stake their claim.

"We've had to make a decision on Kane and Trent to prioritise the test matches, given how important they are to our red-ball team and the fact they both played such big roles in the recent IPL while also managing injuries," New Zealand coach Gary Stead said after announcing the squads.

"There's no secret we're right in the hunt for the World Test Championship final following our two-nil win over India and having Trent and Kane fully fit and focussed for the upcoming series will be crucial."

 

Former India opener turned cricket analyst, Aakash Chopra, believes Kings XI Punjab could greatly improve its fortunes for the next Indian Premier League (IPL) season by resigning Windies T20 talisman Chris Gayle and dropping pace bowler Sheldon Cottrell.

Kings XI finished a disappointing 6th place in the final IPL standings, after missing out on a spot in the playoffs.  A good portion of the team’s season had, however, focused on a five-game winning streak, which had put them in unlikely contention for the final four after a 1-7 start.

The man at the centre of the winning streak, Gayle, had spent the early days of the competition sitting on the bench, while Australian Glenn Maxwell, who had huge expectations placed on him heading into the season, continued to disappoint.

He wasn’t alone, however, as Gayle’s international teammate Cottrell also failed to live up to expectations after commanding a whopping INR 8.5 crore ($US1,156,239) at the auction.  In the end, Cottrell ended the competition with six wickets in six matches at an economy rate of 8.80.  Chopra believes, ahead of the next campaign, several changes should be considered

"Kings XI Punjab have a reasonable need of a mega auction because they need changes. They have to do something for the fast bowling unit because it will not work out with the ones they have," Chopra said in his review of the season.

"They should leave out Sheldon Cottrell, they should leave Hardus Viljoen also if they are not playing him, and they should leave Maxwell as well," Chopra added.

"They can keep Gayle if he wants to play although he is 41-years old. But the IPL is just a few months away and he was not expensive as well. So they can keep him as he is an X-factor and an intimidating factor," Chopra continued.

The pundit, however, believed the team would have to weigh its options more carefully if there is an IPL mega auction next year, in which case retaining Gayle may not be a good idea.

 

West Indies bowling coach Roddy Estwick does not believe there should be any doubting the talent of all-rounder Keemo Paul but believes it is crucial to see the player getting more red ball cricket under his belt.

The 24-year-old Paul has been included in a 15-man Test squad to face New Zealand this month.  The player was previously invited for the team’s tour of England but along with Darren Bravo and Shimron Hetmyer, declined to participate for health reasons.

His selection has not been entirely without controversy, with some believing the player to be too inconsistent to play Test cricket, particularly with the way he bowls.  Estwick believes, however, that a few of those inefficiencies come down to not playing the format enough.

“Keemo is very talented player, obviously he hasn’t played first-class cricket for a while because he has been with the West Indies and on the T20 circuit.  It’s good to have him back to see where he is at.  We have two first class games coming up to see where he is at,” Estwick told members of the media.

“We know the talent of Keemo Paul there is no doubt about that, a wonderful talent player.  He reminds me of someone like the late Keith Boyce from Barbados who represented the West Indies. Very athletic fielder, good mover, excellent timer of the ball,” he added.

“Remember Keemo is only 24 so it’s about how hard you work and how much preparation you put in.  Once Keemo can do that and he can get first class cricket under his belt, there is no doubt about his talent.  The last time he played a full first-class season he got 40-odd first-class wickets.”

 

Recently appointed West Indies vice-captain Roston Chase claims there is a special vibe around the team, similar to when it put in a stellar performance to beat England in the Caribbean last year.

On that occasion, the Windies showed plenty of grit and determination to beat the much more highly fancied England 2-1.  A similar result against New Zealand would be even more remarkable, however, considering the team’s poor showing against the Blackcaps in recent campaigns.

With the regional team having not registered a Test series win against New Zealand since 2012, it is the Kiwis that have won the last three, with the Windies winning just a match.  The victories included a 2-1 win over the West Indies in the Caribbean in 2014.  Chase, however, believes the upcoming series could be a little different.

“New Zealand is never an easy place to play…but I am feeling something special about this tour.  The energy that I’m feeling from the guys.  The eagerness reminds me of when we played the series against England in the Caribbean,” Chase told windiescricket.com.

“I just really have a good feeling about this one,” he added.

Chase replaced opener Kraigg Brathwaite as vice-captain of the squad.  The West Indies will face-off against New Zealand in two Test and three T20 internationals.

West Indies legend Brian Lara has picked watching T20 star Chris Gayle, during the recently concluded IPL 2020 season, as his highlight of the tournament.

Despite Gayle's team not making the playoffs, few would argue with Lara’s choice.  The 41-year-old began the season looking on from the bench for Kings XI as the team struggled to a 1 and 7 start.  The results meant they were rooted to the bottom of the table with little hope of advancing to the play-offs.

Gayle’s introduction saw the team embark on a five-game winning streak and finding themselves just outside the top four.  Perhaps the highlight of the tournament individually for Gayle came with a whirlwind 99 against Rajasthan Royals.  The batsman was dismissed on 99 by England bowler Jofra Archer but prior to that made history as the first player to club 1000 T20 sixes.  Despite just missing out on the play-offs, Lara believes Gayle deserved special commendation for rallying Kings XI and in the process entertaining the fans.

“I think the Universe Boss – Chris Gayle. The reason being that if there were 50-60 thousand people watching, it was more when he arrived in the tournament at the second half,” Lara told Star Sports’ Cricket Live

“His performances and how he got Kings XI Punjab going and almost getting there. I think it’s just been amazing watching him and the turnaround of Kings XI Punjab.”

 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.”

 

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