West Indies T20 captain, Kieron Pollard, believes the team's current mix of youth and experience is an ideal balance and should be a blueprint going forward.

With the return of veteran batsman Chris Gayle and pace bowler Fidel Edwards, along with the likes of Dwayne Bravo, Lendl Simmons, Jason Holder, and Pollard himself, to call upon, the West Indies has plenty of firepower to begin the series against Sri Lanka and build-up to the ICC World Cup, which will be held in India, in October.

With many of the above players forming parts of World Cup-winning teams, in the case of Simmons, Bravo, and Gayle on multiple occasions, the team has an unrivaled amount of title-winning know-how.

Added to the firepower of a younger generation, led by the likes of the explosive Nicholas Pooran, Fabian Allen, and Andre Fletcher the two-time World Champions could have the perfect ingredients for another powder keg.  With Gayle being the oldest members of the squad to face Sri Lanka, at 41, and Kevin Sinclair the youngest at 21, the average age of the squad is around 30.

“We’re excited to have certain individuals back.  We excited as well to have the younger players trying to get an opportunity as well.  I think the way to go forward is having that sort of mix,” Pollard told members of the media via a Zoom press conference on Tuesday.

“In the team, we have youth and experience.  The youthful guys can learn from the experienced guys.  These are some of the things that have been missing throughout, from 2016 till now, can we say we have put out our best T20 team to go to any series or anything like that.  There was always different things happening in the midst of it.”

West Indies star batsman, Chris Gayle, has admitted he contemplated retirement from international cricket but could not turn down the call to don the colours of the regional team once again.

Gayle, now 41, had initially announced his intention to retire following the 2019 ICC World Cup.  The player then targeted the One Day International series against India, shortly after the World Cup, as possibly his final hurrah.  Following a standing ovation received following the series, the batsman seemed to have a change of heart.

Two years later, however, the batsman has found himself in fine form and, on the back of an outstanding IPL campaign for Punjab Kings, could once again prove a major force for the West Indies with the ICC World T20 tournament on the horizon.  As such, the player was recalled to the T20 squad as the team begins a series of matches that will lead up to defending its title in India.

“Back then I thought about actually walking away from the game and people said, no, don’t do it, stay and play for as long as possible.  I decided I would actually continue playing the game of cricket,” Gayle told members of the media via a Zoom press conference on Tuesday.

“I wasn’t looking down this road.  I thought of playing franchise cricket and exploiting my talent to entertain the people as much as possible.  When I got the call and they asked if I was willing and interested, I said yes. Once I’m playing for the West Indies that’s where my heart is.  I’m never going to turn down anything pertaining to West Indies cricket,” he added.

“I decided I was full-on, I was actually in a tournament and they said ‘you know Chris this is the structure we have in place, so we need you to be a part of it, we need you to fit into what is basically set for the team, so I basically agreed to it.  I came back from Pakistan to be part of the set-up leading into the World Cup.”   

West Indies T20 captain, Kieron Pollard, has pointed to the fact that the senior players recalled to the team have consistently proven their value with high-level performances, which has not always been the case with younger players who got the opportunity.

The recent recall of veteran players Chris Gayle and Fidel Edwards, who are 41 and 39, respectively, caused consternation in some quarters.  Some argue the selection of such senior players may have taken opportunities away from younger players looking to secure places in the World Cup squad.

Pollard, however, insists that several players have been given an opportunity in recent years and have failed to consistently provide what the team has needed.  With the reigning World Champions currently ranked at 10th in the ICC rankings and the World Cup just a few months away, Pollard believes it’s time to prioritise winning games.

“Some of the guys have gotten opportunities when we started off in 2019, I believe, and it hasn’t produced the results that we might have wanted on a consistent basis.  Guys were still in and out for non-cricketing reasons and stuff like that,” Pollard told members of the media via a Zoom press conference on Tuesday.

“These guys (Gayle and Edwards) continue to perform despite their age and one thing that has been said throughout is that the door is open to each and every individual, once you show that you can perform at the highest level,” he added.

“We need to start winning cricket matches, we need to win series…so we have to strike a balance.  We are the defending champions of the T20 World Cup and we have to get into that winning habit.  If it’s the case that we have a couple of extra senior guys to start that process, so be it.”

 

 

 

West Indies talismanic batsman, Chris Gayle, has stressed the massive importance of talented players like Shimron Hetmyer to the regional set-up and vowed to speak to the young batsman regarding staying focused on achieving his full potential.

The 24-year-old Hetmyer will miss the upcoming T20 and One Day International (ODI) matches against Sri Lanka after disqualifying himself from selection because of a failed fitness test.  The player, who recently took part in the Regional Super50 competition, will return to the team for the Test squad after subsequently passing another fitness test, along with Roston Chase.

Of concern, however, is the fact that Hetmyer also failed a fitness test administered at around the same time last year and a result missed out on some matches of an away series to the same opponents.

“It’s very unfortunate that he is out of the squad for fitness reasons but there is a protocol and things put in place.  It is beyond my control but it is up to him if he really wants to represent the West Indies and to really help West Indies cricket because he is such a talent,” Gayle told members of the media via a Zoom press conference on Monday.

“West Indies cricket needs that type of talent, it’s just unfortunate and hopefully things work out and these guys take it seriously.  These guys are the future.  A guy like Hetmyer, with his talent, he is the future.  We need him, we definitely need his talent,” he added.

“We don’t want to lose such a talent, so if I see Hetmyer I will try and have a talk with him.  I’ve spoken to him before and I will do so if I get the chance again.”

 

When Joshua Da Silva dedicated his 92-run match-winning knock in Bangladesh to Andrea Bharratt, Ashanti Riley and other Trinidadian women who have been victims of violence, he did so in part because a recent horrifying incident made the matter personal.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) Director of Cricket, Jimmy Adams, has reiterated the fact that special consideration is given to players who could have physiological limitations or chronic conditions when fitness assessment tests or conducted, as is often the case in standard international practice.

In the light of the omission of batsman Shimron Hetmyer from the West Indies squad, ahead of the tour of Sri Lanka, based on the player failing to meet the requisite fitness standards, critics have pointed fingers towards other members of the team they doubt are able to meet the requirements.

While a few expressed doubts about legendary batsman Chris Gayle’s fitness level, the majority pointed to the continued inclusion of Rahkeem Cornwall.  The off-spinner is listed as 6’ 7” and 308 pounds but has performed creditably for the West Indies on a few occasions, most recently against Bangladesh.

“As is best practice around the world, there are going to be times when players for different reasons might be unable or incapable of achieving minimum standards either across the whole battery of tests or certain aspects of it,” Adams told members of the media via a Zoom press conference call.

“There are exemptions that are given to these players and the four main areas that are considered for these exemptions would be the player’s age, individual physiological limitations, their injury history, and also their training history.  This is standard across many high-performance environments and we are no different,” he added.

“There are quite a few players that have been exempted under one of these four headings and it is something that I think maintains robustness about the situation.  If I go back and look at an Indian spinner in the 70s who had a withered arm, if he were to have an upper-body strength test he would not be able to complete that test and therefore in that area he would have to have an exemption,” Adams said.

“It is there ensuring that we do not discriminate against players that have issues, injuries, long-standing chronic things that might prevent them from completing some of these tests.”

 

Cricket West Indies (CWI) chief of selectors, Roger Harper, hopes the selection of veteran players like Chris Gayle and Fidel Edwards gives young players a good idea of the kind of standard required for selection heading into the team's World Cup title defense later this year.

The talismanic batsman, Gayle, who is 41-years-old, and Edwards, who is 39, were both selected as part of the T20I squad ahead of the team’s upcoming series against Sri Lanka.

 Despite being past the age many other players have retired from the sport, both men have expressed an interest in representing the team at the T20 World Cup, in India, in October.  On the back of an impressive IPL campaign, for Kings XI Punjab, few would have issues with Gayle suiting up.  Edwards would have been more of a question mark, however, as he was not available for selection, due to a Kolpak contract, for the last eight years.  The bowler recently showed he is still more than capable of hostile bowling at express pace.  In the recent Abu Dhabi T10 league final, Edwards was seen hurrying young in-form compatriot Nicholas Pooran.  According to Harper, despite the player’s age, he still brings exceptional quality to the team.

“I would hope it (selection) sends a message to the young players of the standards they need to attain,” Harper told members of the media via an online Zoom press conference.

“You would recall in some of the T20 games, for example in New Zealand, us losing some games and where we were deficient,” he added.

“I would hope the message that is sent is that these are the standards we need to attain and the sort of players that we need to have in these sort of teams; guys who will work harder at developing their skills to get to that level.”

 

 

 

Cricket West Indies (CWI) Director of Cricket, Jimmy Adams, has insisted players are well aware of the minimum fitness requirements needed to be considered for selection before even individual form is considered.

Based on an agreement between CWI and the West Indies Player Association (WIPA), players must achieve a rating of 40 during the evaluative yoyo fitness test to be considered for selection. 

Adams comments come on the back of the recent non-selection of talented batsman Shimron Hetmyer for the upcoming series against Sri Lanka.  The 24-year-old had looked in splendid form based on a scoring a majestic 112 in the semi-finals of the CG Insurance Super50 competition, which lifted Guyana to the final.  Hetmyer, however, clearly fell below the 40 percent stipulation.

“The policy asks for a minimum standard in certain aspects of the fitness testing.  So on the yoyo intermittent test, that minimum standard is 40 and for a couple of years we have had selection tied to the achievement of that minimum standard,” Adams told members of the media via an online press conference chat on Saturday.

“It’s pretty simple and all the players are aware of it.  Failure to get to 40 makes them unavailable for selection.  So when the panel sits, the first thing that they will consider,before looking at the teams and the squads they want to put together, is who are the players that are available through achieving that minimum standard,” he added.

The occasion was the second that Hetmyer missed out on making the minimum fitness standard, after failing a fitness ahead of a tour against Sri Lanka in February of last year.  The player last represented the team in the New Zealand series in November and was called up but opted out of the tour to Bangladesh earlier this month.  The test is conducted twice per year.

Trinidad and Tobago Red Force captain, Kieron Pollard, believes the team’s all-round balance should be enough to deliver a 13th regional 50-over title, with a win over Guyana Jaguars, in the final of the CG Insurance Super50, on Saturday.

A dominant Red Force squad has certainly set the marker as the team to beat this season, and a seventh straight win will cap a flawless performance.  In advancing to the final, the Red Force coasted to a comfortable 6 wicket win over the Jamaica Scorpions with 47 balls remaining.

In fact, it is the Red Force who handed today’s opponents, the Guyana Jaguars, their only loss of the season so far, on that occasion also a comfortable win.  Pollard believes the team’s dominance so far has been down to getting the personnel just right.

“In terms of personnel, I think we have the right mix – in terms of experience, in terms of youth, in terms of wicket-taking ability, in terms of flexibility in the batting order and stuff like that,” Pollard said.

“We tried to cover all bases and it has shown that each and every individual that has come into the team has done well despite their varying roles. We’re very flexible in what we’re doing and we take everything on a game-by-game sort of basis.”

Top class West Indies talent, Shimron Hetmyer, has been left out of the squad for the upcoming Sri Lanka tour after failing to meet the required fitness standard for the second time in just around one year.

The exclusion due to falling short of the fitness requirement is a repeat such issue for Hetmyer, who also missed out on selection in February of last year for a tour match against the same opponents.  The 24-year-old Guyanese batsman has been in splendid form of late, only yesterday, crafting a masterful century to push Guyana Jaguars to the semi-final of the Regional Super50 competition.

According to Cricket West Indies (CWI) stipulations, players must pass a battery of tests that measure stamina and endurance, called the Yoyo test, before being eligible for selection.

The test is, however, not without controversy as some players who do not make the 40 grade in the yoyo test are given exemptions, at times much to the annoyance of those players who fail to meet the grade.

Hetmyer will be joined on the sidelines by fast bowlers Sheldon Cottrell and Oshane Thomas, along with West Indies vice-captain and all-rounder Roston Chase.  Cottrell and Hetmyer were among 12 players who declined to take part in the team’s tour of Bangladesh earlier this month, after citing health and safety concerns.

 

 

  Experienced fast bowler Fidel Edwards has been tipped to make a return to the West Indies squad, ahead of the Sri Lanka T20 series, which could mark his first appearance for the team in over eight years.

The 39-year-old pace bowler last suited up for the regional team against Sri Lanka, at Pallekele, in 2012.  Edwards has been unavailable for selection after signing a Kolpak deal in 2015.  However, the player became available again with the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union and the termination of such contracts.

Earlier this year, the player announced his availability for the West Indies and also took part in the IPL and Abu Dhabi T10 League.  Despite being one of the oldest active players, in the sport, Edwards has lost none of the pace he has always been noted for and is cable of exceeding 90mph deliveries.  His pace and guile were very much on display in a fiery over against in-form young compatriot Nicholas Pooran during the T10 league.

The Barbadian-born right-arm pacer has played 20 T20 internationals for the West Indies and claimed 16 wickets.  He has also taken part in 55 Tests and 50 One-day Internationals.  Edwards hopes to be part of the T20 World Cup squad, which will attempt to defend its title in October.

Former Cricket West Indies (CWI) president, Dave Cameron, insists the controversial eligibility rules put in place during his tenure were never meant to disenfranchise players.

The legislation, which was implemented as the region jostled with the cash-rich T20 leagues for the commitment of its top players, stated that players who did make themselves available for domestic competitions would be ineligible for international selection.

As a result, many of the region’s top players were often left out of the line-up, which left the Windies' Test and ODI sides shorn of some of their best talents.  Cameron insists that the hope at the time was to encourage more balance between the West Indians taking part in cash-rich T20 leagues and representing the regional team.

“It was never about not wanting players to play around the world.  We respected that, we accepted that, but, West Indies cricket doesn’t have a product if we don’t have our best players playing.  So we needed to find a way to get our players to have the understanding that you can’t play everything,” Cameron told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“In the early days, I had a conversation with the players about telling us what they were going to play and when they would be available.  So the selectors could understand where they want to go.  After the strike occurred in India players decided that they weren’t going to play, and for the reduced salaries, so the West Indies first policy never actually got a chance,” he added.

“It was never intended to disenfranchise anybody, but look at what is happening in New Zealand, they still play in the leagues but they give their all to New Zealand when New Zealand is on the stage.  That’s all we were saying, as our senior players, you can’t play everything.”

 

 

 

 

Former West Indies batting coach, Toby Radford, has suggested calls to replace all-rounder Jason Holder are an overreaction and would stick with the current captain, despite the success of Kraigg Brathwaite in Bangladesh.

Brathwaite was widely commended for his role in leading an understrength team to a 2-0 win away to Bangladesh earlier this month. Holder, on the other hand, was one of 12 players to pull out of the tour after citing health and safety concerns.

Holder had, however, also pointed to feeling some level of fatigue having had to deal with quarantine situations in both the West Indies prior tours of England and New Zealand.  However, in addition, aspects of the team’s performance on those tours had also put Holder and his captaincy under the microscope.

While admitting that the team had performed exceptionally well in Bangladesh, Radford, however, sees no reason to replace Holder as the man in charge for the upcoming Sri Lanka series.

“I think they surprised everybody not least of all Bangladesh, probably their own supporters as well.  They performed really well.  But it’s very easy to get carried away, isn’t it? You have a couple of big wins like that and then suddenly we have done it because Kraigg Brathwaite is captain and Jason Holder wasn’t captain,” Radford told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“Who’s to know if Jason was captain whether you would have had the two wins anyway,” he added.

“There were a lot of very good individual performances and because individuals play well and you win two matches, to me, that isn’t down to captaincy.”

In supporting his decision to stick with Holder, Radford pointed to the example of the incident with India captain Virat Kolhi, which occurred during the Asian team's big win over Australia.

“It was raised the other day, someone mentioned Virat Kohli.  They (India) lost the game in Australia, he went home for the birth of his child.  They went suddenly and won a couple of games.  When they started the Test series against England, in India, nobody questioned whether Kohli should captain the team. He came back in because he was captain.”

   

West Indies star batsman, Chris Gayle, will return to the Caribbean to take part in the upcoming series against Sri Lanka, interrupting his ongoing participation in the Pakistan Super League.

With the T20I World Cup just a few months away, the talismanic batsman, who has indicated a desire to suit up for the Caribbean team for the tournament, could return to the team for the first time in over a year.  Gayle last played the West Indies in August of 2019, when he played an ODI against India.  

On that occasion, the player had received a standing ovation as many had thought the game was his final in international cricket, after previously announcing his attention to retire.

The West Indies will play Sri Lanka in three T20 series, three One Day International (ODI) series, and a two-Test series.  Gayle is expected to take part in the T20I series between March 3 and March 7 before returning to the PSL to compete for the Quetta Gladiators.

The arrangement was made prior to the season, with Faf du Plessis expected to replace Gayle for the matches in which he will be absent.  The World Cup is due to take place in India in October-November.  The Caribbean team won the last edition of the tournament, also in India, in 2016.

Lawyers for Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) Secretary Anand Sanasie have written strong objections to the decision of Guyana Culture, Youth, and Sports Minister Charles Ramson Jr to appoint Attorney Kamal Ramkarran as cricket Ombudsman.

In two letters, one to Ramson and the other to Ramkarran, the attorney’s pointed out that they deemed the appointment, made in accordance with Section 17 of the Guyana Cricket Administration Act, Chapter 21:03, Laws of Guyana, to be illegal, based on the fact that it was carried out more than once.

In addition to vehemently disputing Ramson’s claims that the Cricket West Indies (CWI) board was consulted, the letters pointed out that a 7-day period for holding the proposed elections was unreasonable.

“This is the third such appointment to be made by a Minister of Sport. The first person appointed under that section was Professor Winston McGowan. He served in the office for some time and then resigned. The Minister is only once required to exercise his power to appoint a Cricket Ombudsman. The Minister claims to have “just” consulted with CWI in his Notice appointing you as Cricket Ombudsman, which was published on the 19th February 2021,” the document read.

“We are instructed that the Minister did not meaningfully or at all consult with CWI. There has been no meeting with CWI convened for this purpose. Our client is aware that the Minister shares a close relationship with the current President of CWI and supports his re-election as President of CWI in elections slated for March 2021. Our client is his challenger for the post of President at the upcoming CWI elections.”

Should Sanasie be defeated in the election, he would be ineligible to challenge Skerritt for the post of CWI president.

“The consultation which was critical to the validity of your appointment was improper for the foregoing reasons and was motivated by an improper purpose and was taken in furtherance of the interest of the current President, Mr. Ricky Skerritt who did not raise the issue of the Cricket Ombudsman of Guyana with the Board as is required by the Cricket Administration Act.

Meaningful consultation could not in the circumstances take place by a phone call between the Minister and a single member of the Board of CWI. Your appointment is, therefore, illegal and we call upon you to decline the appointment and/or resign. The Minister has fixed a time frame of less than seven (7) days with which you are to fulfil your obligations of the establishment and verification of a Register of Clubs.”

The attorneys have demanded Ramkarran resign from the post or legal proceedings would begin to quash the appointment.

 

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