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.

 

Former West Indies fast bowler and Barbados cricketer, Ian Bradshaw, would not be in favour of replacing team captain Jason Holder just yet but believes questions regarding the player’s state of mind must be cleared up.

On the back of an impressive effort in marshaling the squad to defeat Bangladesh, in a two-Test series last week, calls have arisen for Kraigg Brathwaite to lead the team, ahead of regular captain Holder, for the upcoming series against Sri Lanka.

Holder missed out on the team’s tour of Bangladesh after being one of 12 players to pull out of the campaign due to health and safety concerns.  In addition, however, the captain, who had led the team to previous tours of England and New Zealand, also admitted to experiencing a high level of fatigue, particularly having gone through several weeks of quarantine.

For Bradshaw, provided he is in a good mental state, Holder should resume his duties leading the squad.

“I would support the retention of Jason if it is that we understand his state of mind at this time,” Bradshaw told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“Jason has been earmarked as our long-term captain.  Let’s recall that he’s had some success and we were very excited when we won the Wisden Trophy.  He has had some success and he has been molding the team,” he added.

“He has led by example and I would want to sit down with him and understand the challenges he was going through.  Because if he is still challenged it may need a situation where he is given that space to ensure that his individual performance does not suffer.”

Holder was appointed captain of the team in 2015.

 

West Indies fast bowling legend, Curtly Ambrose, has not been selected for the position of England Cricket Board (ECB) elite pace-bowling coach, despite making the shortlist of candidates interviewed.

The ECB put out an advertisement for three vacant positions, pace-bowling coach, spin-bowling coach and batting coach, in December.  Interviews were conducted in recent weeks after applications closed last month.

Ambrose, who made known that he had applied for the post a few weeks ago, revealed that he had been contacted but unfortunately was not selected for the post.

“I got a call from one of the panellists yesterday [Thursday] to inform me that I was unsuccessful in my bid. The interview went very well. There were four panellists and everything went according to plan and I thought I did a wonderful job, so I was pretty excited. I thought I probably would have made it but I am not going to really worry too much about it. To have made the shortlist is a step in the right direction obviously,” Ambrose told the Antigua Observer.

With the Ashes on the horizon, Ambrose, who has taken 128 wickets against Australia (fourth-best all-time, with the best economy rate among the top 5), admits that he was hoping that his previously dominant performances down under might have weighed in his favour.

“I was expecting to be part of the squad considering the World T20 coming up and, of course, the Ashes. You know that when England play Australia in the Ashes, it’s a big one and I thought that maybe because of my tremendous success in Australia that it would have, at least, given me an extra step, but it didn’t work out and I am quite happy with how everything went. In life, we get some good news and some not so good, and you learn to accept it and move on,” he said.

The 57-year-old previously worked as West Indies bowling consultant between 2014 and 2016.  He was replaced by Roddy Estwick.

Former West Indies wicketkeeper, Deryck Murray, believes there should be a serious consideration for Kraigg Brathwaite to remain captain on the back of the team’s strong showing against Bangladesh.

Brathwaite, who took charge of the regional squad after Holder and several others opted out of the tour, after citing health and safety concerns, has widely been credited for unifying the team under difficult circumstances.

Holder, on the other hand, has had a difficult spell in charge over the last several months with lopsided losses to England and New Zealand.  Albeit triumphing against more lowly ranked opposition, Murray believes Brathwaite was able to pull exceptional performances out of the squad and is in favour of keeping momentum.

 “It is something that you have to talk about very seriously.  I do not discard Kraigg Brathwaite as Test captain automatically,” Murray told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“You need to look at the team that we are going to put together, and if it is that there is going to be four or five players from this (Bangladesh tour) team there is a strong case for doing that (retaining Brathwaite),” he added.

“There is a strong case for saying to Jason Holder ‘come back, don’t have the pressures of captaincy on you.  You are going to be the central all-rounder in this team.  You are going to bat at six, we need you to attack as a bowler, be a wicket-taking bowler, not a containing bowler as the fourth seamer in the team, and therefore we need to have the best available team at that time.”

“The team who is coming with the confidence of just being successful.  Rallying around the team that we are going to build for the next three or four months because we have two or three series coming up in quick succession.  We have to make sure we are doing that and that we don’t suddenly say ‘yep these players have done it but we are not putting too much emphasis on that.”

 

 

  Cricket West Indies, CEO Johnny Grave, has expressed delight with the impending return of international cricket to the region, as the team prepares to host Bangladesh next month.

After weeks of negotiation and a delay due to positive COVID tests, the teams have finally settled on the official dates of the tour, which will take place in Antigua between Wednesday, March 3 and Friday, April 2.  The teams will play three T20Is, three One-Day Internationals (ODIs), and two Test matches.

With the team having played the last three Test matches away from home, in England, New Zealand, and Sri Lanka, Grave admits it will be good to see international cricket back on West Indies soil.

“It’s been a long time since we hosted Ireland in the Caribbean back in January of 2020, so I’m just delighted that we’ve been able to get Sri Lanka to fulfil their obligations under the ICC Futures Program.

“We’ve had to delay the tour by a few days due to two of the Sri Lanka party testing positive for Covid-19 but we’ve been working really closely with our counterparts at Sri Lanka cricket and we were delighted to confirm that the tour is on and that we have been able to keep all the matches, all three formats.”

The tournament will take place under biosecure conditions, with Covid protocols in full effect for the duration of the series.

West Indies spinner, Rahkeem Cornwall, has already made a massive contribution with the ball after claiming five wickets against Bangladesh on day three of the second Test but has already targeted having a say with the bat as well, should he get the opportunity.

Cornwall, who has previously shown himself to be a good striker of the ball, particularly in the cricket's shortest format, is yet to translate any of that skill in recent Test team call-ups.  In five innings so far, Cornwall has a high of 10 runs, which he scored against England in July.

In Bangladesh, Cornwall, batting far down the order, scored 2 in the first innings of the first Test and ended without scoring in the second.  He added 4 not out in the first innings of the second Test.  If he is called upon, for Saturday’s fourth day, the bowler could be looking to free his arms for a useful total.

“Once I get the opportunity I would always love to contribute with the bat,” Cornwall said following day three.

“I don’t think my batting ability is showing at the moment, but I think runs are around the corner for me.  I just have to keep putting in the work with the coaches and when my opportunity comes I make good use if it.”

Spinner Rahkeem Cornwall claimed a five-for to put the West Indies in a strong position but Bangladesh struck back immediately to leave the second Test delicately poised at the end of the third day.

By the final session of the day, the West Indies had dismissed the hosts for 296 to begin the second innings with a 113-run lead.  However, they ended the day at 41 for 3, having lost captain Kraigg Brathwaite (6), John Campbell (18), and Shayne Mosely (7) before long.

The West Indies captain was the first casualty, miscuing a shot off Nayeem Hasan, which caught the top of his gloves before being taken by wicketkeeper Liton Das.  Shayne Moseley then departed after edging to second slip, in the process becoming Mehidy Hasan’s 100th Test wicket.  Brathwaite’s opening partner Campbell was then dismissed in bizarre fashion, with the ball spinning back off the ground to hit the stumps after he had attempted to play a defensive stroke.

Earlier, Das and Mehidy, who got together before lunch, played out a crucial session after the break – with the team still over fifty short of avoiding the follow-on and looking at one point like they would have headed in that direction.  Eventually, the two accounted for a valuable 126-run partnership and looked set to potentially cause even more severe damage.

Cornwall, however, ensured it would not be the case.  Having earlier removed both captain Mominul Haque (21) a confident-looking Mushfiqur Rahim (54) and Mohammad Mithun (15), earlier, he put an end to the partnership after removing Das.  The batsman took the dreaded walk after getting an edge off an attempted paddle, for 71.  Cornwall added No. 9 Nayeem Hasan to complete his tally.  It was pace bowler Shannon Gabriel who accounted for Mehidy after an attempted drive.

Cornwall ended the innings with figures of 5 for 74, while Gabriel ended with 3 for 70.  Nkrumah Bonner (8) and Jomel Warrican (2) will be the batsman resuming the day at the crease for the West Indies on the fourth day.

 

West Indies legend, Clive Lloyd, is hopeful the region will not soon be locked in a battle for the services of burgeoning talent who may be tempted by the prospect of playing in big-money T20 leagues.

Since the advent of the cash-rich shortest format of the sport, the top Caribbean players have often found themselves caught between representing the regional team and earning from the major payday provided by the global T20 calendar.

With the emergence of a new generation of talented West Indies players, the likes of Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer, and particularly more recently Kyle Mayers, Nkrumah Bonner, and Joshua Da Silva, Lloyd is already worried Cricket West Indies could find itself in a similar position to several years ago.

“I impress on the board and all those that are in charge, to make sure that these guys stick with our cricket,” Lloyd told the Mason and Guest radio program.

 “We can’t afford to lose another three guys because I know the IPL fellows are going to come knocking and it’s very difficult for them to say no,” he added.

“They have a lot of T20 games in which they will be able to make money, but the point is the other countries seem to be able to harness their talent.  They go to those places and play but when international cricket is being played, they are back there.  Let’s just hope that we keep these young men we are grooming that we work hard with and they’ve now come to fruition; so that the captain or whoever will have people to call on.  If you keep losing players, it’s like digging a hole to fill a hole.”

West Indies fast bowler, Alzarri Joseph, is confident that he will eventually get to triple digits after another close miss against Bangladesh on Thursday.

The 24-year-old racked up an impressive 82 from 108 balls, as part of staunch mid-lower order resistance, en route to the Windies posting a satisfactory first innings score of 409.  In the end, Joseph’s aggressive innings was ended when he was caught by Liton Das as he attempted to pull away Abu Jayed.

His total proved a handy one for the team, who will count any runs from the bowler as a huge bonus.  For Joseph, however, a player who prides himself on his batting, it was the second time he was coming close to making his first Test century.

Against New Zealand, in December, Joseph put together a commendable 86, which remains his highest score to date.

“It’s disappointing not to get 100 but I’ve been working hard on my batting, so there will be other opportunities to get that total,” he added.

“When I came to the crease it was just to spend some time and support Josh (Joshua Da Silva) at the crease."

Together Joseph and Da Silva put together an important 7th wicket partnership.

 

  

West Indies middle-order batsman, Nkrumah Bonner, insists he always puts pressure on himself to do well, after scoring another half-century against Bangladesh on day one of the second Test.

On the back of a patient 86, which proved crucial to the Windies in their first Test win, Bonner once against set himself up to be the lynchpin of the innings.  At the close of the first day’s play, the batsman remained unbeaten on a watchful 74 from 173 balls.

Bonner’s stand brought stability back to the innings after the Windies lost three wickets for 29 runs after lunch.  The team had gone to lunch at 84 for 1, with Brathwaite on 36 and Shayne Moseley on six.

“For me, every innings that I play, I put pressure on myself,” Bonner told windiescricket following the innings.

“We get paid to make runs and to be consistent and that’s exactly what I’m trying to do.”

Bonner, who will resume batting with Joshua Da Silva on the second day, admits the team suffered from early mishaps but has targeted making around 350 from the first innings.

“We had a few soft dismissals, but that’s the nature of the game, me and Josh are there now, and we still have others to come, so we will have to just bat as long as possible.”

 

 

West Indies middle-order batsman, Nkrumah Bonner, has recalled drawing inspiration from gritty India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara in wake of the team’s recent triumph over Bangladesh.

Pujara earned widespread commendation for a gutsy performance against Australia last month, where the India batman took hits to the head, elbows, hands, and ribs.  In total, ten balls crashed into him throughout his 211-ball innings.  His stubborn 56, however, was crucial to a historic win for an understrength India, in Australia.

Bonner may not have had to put up with as much physical punishment from the Bangladesh bowlers, but certainly showed plenty of determination in his gritty 86 from 245.  The knock, alongside a cracking 212 from Kyle Mayers, was critical in anchoring an understrength West Indies to a surprise win, in Bangladesh.  Bonner admits he has been taking close note of the India batsman and tries to emulate a few of his qualities.

“I like to see how he goes about his batting.  I think he is very tough mentally and it’s something that I’ve taken from him,” Bonner told members of the media, via a Zoom press conference on Tuesday.

“There is nothing that really troubles him, so I idolize him a lot,” he added.

 

 

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