West Indies coach Phil Simmons insists the team is preparing for a tough Test series against Pakistan, not just based on the competitiveness of previous encounters, but because of the form of the teams heading into the matches.

On the back of a largely rained-out T20I series, Pakistan should head into the encounter high on confidence following 2-0 wins over Zimbabwe and South Africa.  After two impressive performances, the West Indies will head into the series on the back of underwhelming performances, at home, against South Africa, where they were themselves swept aside 2-0.

“Going through the years we’ve always had tough battles with any Pakistan team whether we go there, or they come to the Caribbean,” Simmons told members of the media at an online press conference on Monday.

“They have played very well in their last two-Test series, so they are coming here on a high, whereas we played well in a couple of Test series and the last one we didn’t play well.  So, even though we are home, we’ll be an underdog in this, but we are going to try to put everything into it,” he added.

The West Indies last played Pakistan in a Test series in 2017 when they lost 2-1 at home, they have in fact not managed a win over the South Asian team since 2000.

West Indies vice-captain Nicholas Pooran played a sizzling career-best knock while fast bowler Jason Holder took career-best bowling figures, but Pakistan's bowling attack did just enough to take them to victory in the second match on Saturday.

Pooran's explosive unbeaten 62 off 33 balls with six 6s and four 4s kept the West Indies in with a chance of overcoming the target, even to the final over when 20 runs were required to overhaul Pakistan's total of 157-8.

However, Shaheen Shah Afridi claimed the wicket of captain Kieron Pollard (13) and then denied the rampant Pooran the opportunity to swing freely and lustily at the next three deliveries to ensure the visitors came away with the win, with the hosts kept to 150-4 off 20 overs.

West Indies suffered a setback when opening batsman Evin Lewis retired hurt on 35 off 33 balls with two fours and two sixes mid-way through the innings.

Earlier in the match, it was Holder and Dwayne Bravo who combined to put the brakes on the Pakistan scoring rate. Holder returned the excellent figures of 4-26 while Bravo, the leading wicket-taker in all T20 cricket, claimed 2-24 as the tourists squandered a solid platform provided by Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan.

Babar’s polished 51 off 58 balls with two sixes and four 4s was the top score of the innings. He put on 67 runs for the third wicket with Rizwan (46) after Sharjeel Khan and Rizwan had set the stage for a challenging target in putting on 56.

Pollard, who played the supporting role in a 70-run fourth-wicket partnership with Pooran to revive the West Indies chances, gave credit to the West Indies bowlers for limiting the visitors after he chose to put them in to bat.

 “We were staring down the barrel of a 170-plus total and I was really happy with the way the bowlers battled back in the latter half of their innings,” Pollard said.

“We had to try and explode towards the end, but it just didn't work out.”

 Rain forced an early end to West Indies’ first Twenty20 against Pakistan with no result on Wednesday despite the game being reduced to nine overs per side.

West Indies had reached 85-5 off their nine overs before umpires abandoned the game with rain persistently falling at the Kensington Oval.

West Indies, loaded with power-hitters, couldn’t get the tempo after the game was shortened as Pakistan won the toss and elected to field first.

Lendl Simmons (9) had to retire hurt in only the second over of the innings after being hit on the left side of the neck by debutant fast bowler Mohammad Wasim’s short-pitched delivery.

Fast bowler Hasan Ali (2-11) had Evin Lewis caught at mid-on off his first delivery and Nicholas Pooran (13) smashed Mohammad Hafeez for two sixes before ballooning an easy catch to point off the off-spinner.

The two experienced power-hitters -- Andre Russell and Chris Gayle -- also couldn’t make an impact against the variations of Pakistan spin and pace.

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Russell smashed leg-spinner, Usman Qadir, for a six over extra cover in the sixth over before getting a thick edge to wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan in the same over.

Wasim had a memorable debut to his T20 international when Gayle holed out in the deep for a run-a-ball seven before captain Kieron Pollard lifted the total in the last over.

Top scorer Pollard (22 not out) hit Shaheen Afridi for a boundary and then ended the innings with a six over mid-wicket before rain ruined the series opener.

The remaining three matches will be played at Providence before a two-test series at Kingston beginning from Aug. 12.

The individual who returned a positive COVID-19 test result ahead of the West Indies second ODI against Australia has been confirmed to be a non-playing member of the West Indies staff.

The match between the teams, which was scheduled for the Kensington Oval today, was postponed shortly after the toss as news of the positive test reached the units.

According to the existing COVID-19 protocols all players, management teams, and match officials will return to their hotel rooms where they will isolate before undergoing a round of PCR testing.

According to Cricket West Indies CEO Johnny Grave, a decision will be taken on when or if the match can resume once the testing is completed.

“Everyone will be retested later today.  In the meantime, everyone will have to stay in isolation until the results of those PCR tests are confirmed,” Grave said.

“We’ll make a further decision when the match can be replayed at a later date, once all the test results are back in, which will hopefully be by tomorrow morning.”

Australia currently leads the three-match series 1-0, after securing a 133 runs win via the DLS method in the first match on Tuesday.  

The second ODI between the West Indies and Australia was suspended due to a positive COVID-19 case. The match was set to get underway at Kensington Oval in Barbados this afternoon.

Australia won the toss and chose to bat first but there was a delay at the start of play. Shortly after, it was reported by ESPN Cricinfo that play was suspended and all persons in the bubble will go into isolation.  The identity of the person who tested positive has not been revealed.

West Indies legend and commentator, Ian Bishop tweeted, “Unfortunate. It’s the risk taken in these testing times. Hope the person is not to. (sic) Adversely affected”.

Australia currently leads the three-match series 1-0 and were hoping to close out with a win today.

In game one, Australia posted a score of 252 for 9 in a game reduced to 49 overs. Captain Alex Carey top-scored with 67 while Ashton Turner added 49.

Leg spinner Hayden Walsh Jr. was the pick of the bowlers with 5 for 39 from his ten overs. In reply, the Windies were skittled out for just 123 in 26.2 overs. Kieron Pollard was the top scorer with 56 while fast bowler Mitchell Starc picked up his 8th five-wicket haul, finishing with 5 for 48 in 8 overs.

West Indies captain, Kieron Pollard, has urged the team to show more fight on the back of a disappointing loss to Australia to open the ODI series between the teams on Tuesday.

Despite the high of coming off a dominant T20I series, the Windies were crushed by 133 runs, via the DLS method.  Batting first, Australia made 259 for 9 but in response, the West Indies could only muster 123 all out and were at one stage, 27 for 6.

For his part, Pollard, who only just returned to the team, made a battling 56.  In an innings where four batsmen were dismissed without scoring, the captain could have used more of that grit from the rest of the team.

“I was disappointed with our overall batting performance, not being able to chase down 250 from the position that we were in,” Pollard told members of the media.

“I didn’t think we showed enough fight or enough courage.  They are going to come hard at us, it’s an experienced bowling attack that they have so we need to fight as a team and as individuals when we go out there.”

Australia fast bowler Mitchell Starc was the dangerman for the tourists after ending with figures of 5 for 48.

West Indies Women’s team captain Stafanie Taylor is already considering a future beyond cricket and has hinted she could be tempted to put up her bat sooner rather than later.

The 30-year-old Taylor has been the most dominant force in West Indies cricket for over a decade.  In a 13-year career, the player has racked up some impressive stats. 

She is third overall on the all-time One Day International runs scoring list with 4908, behind Charlotte Edwards (5992) and Mithali Raj (7304).  In terms of ODI wickets taken she ranks 9th, the second West Indian in a top 10 that also includes teammate Anisa Mohammed.  In terms of T20 runs scored, Taylor has 3121 a figure that is surpassed by only New Zealand’s Suzie Bates.  The West Indian is, however, younger than those ahead of her, in the case of Edwards, by 11 years and the case of Raj by 8.  It’s not even a stretch to imagine the player eventually topping both lists.  She, however, may simply not play that long.

“The youngsters are good to watch. I’m currently here watching them in a series against Pakistan A and they are very vibrant, they seem to really enjoy what they are doing,” Taylor told SportsMax.tv’s InCaseYouMissedIT when quizzed about the future of West Indies cricket.

“It’s important for us too because when I look at myself, I’ll probably retire soon, and you want to know that you are leaving West Indies cricket in good hands.  These girls are the future.”

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Stand-in West Indies captain Nicholas Pooran insists he is not very bothered by his form, despite a difficult time at the crease in recent matches.

  The Windies currently lead their five-match T20 series against Australia, 3-1. So far, Pooran has made a total of 65 runs in three innings. He was run out in the first game for just 17 from 16 deliveries and did not bat in game 2.  He had a better game 3 when he scored a responsible 32 not out from 27 deliveries to build a partnership with Chris Gayle that led the Windies to the series victory.

Despite that good performance in the previous game, Pooran was dismissed cheaply once again in game 4. With the West Indies chasing 190 to win, he was caught off the bowling of Mitchell Marsh for just 16 from 15 deliveries.

Pooran’s lack of form has been a concern for many West Indies cricket fans and analysts since the IPL earlier this year. The left-hander, who represents the Punjab Kings, only managed 28 runs from 7 matches before the tournament was halted due to the rising COVID cases in India. He was dismissed for a duck 4 times out of his 6 innings with his highest score being 19.

“I’m not worried about myself to be honest. You know I’m getting starts which is very important. A couple of months ago (during the IPL), I wasn’t even getting starts at all so I’m very thankful, very happy to actually be getting starts. So, I’m not worried about myself in all honesty,” Pooran told members of the media during a press conference on Thursday.

  The West Indies will play the final game of their T20 series against Australia tonight at the Darren Sammy National Stadium in St Lucia. They will then move on to Barbados for a three-match ODI series.   

Stand in West Indies captain Nicholas Pooran believes things are tying together nicely for the squad, following a 3-1 series win against Australia.

After a difficult series loss against South Africa, the West played their way to a 3-0 lead against Australia in a five-match series, before suffering their first loss on Thursday.

Even so, the affair was a closely contested one, with the Windies losing by just four runs in pursuit of the visitor’s target of 189.  So far for the series the West Indies has boasted an average of 167, up from the 157.4 average against South Africa.  

“I think we are getting close to where we want to be.  We are starting to get opening partnerships of 50 and above, we’ll take that any day,” Pooran told members of the media via an online press conference.

“In the middle overs, for the first three games we batted really well, that is something we adjusted.  After the first series we played that situation well, last time we kind of faltered there a little bit,” he added.

“All in all, I think we are getting there.  You can see in the end now Fabian Allen coming in to bat with Polly out, he’s played that role wonderfully for us and can actually lengthen our batting and we can depend more on Allen.  So from a standing captain's point of view, I believe we are getting there.”

Veteran West Indies batsman Chris Gayle has hailed the influence of team captain Kieran Pollard following a return to form against Australia.

The 42-year-old scored an enterprising 67 from 38 balls as the Windies took an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match T20 series.

The half-century would have come as a relief for the under-pressure batsman who had struggled to make an impact since being recalled to the team.  In eight matches, against Sri Lanka, South Africa, and Australia, Gayle has averaged 12.71, with a combined 89 runs, and has a highest score of 31.  In addition, the batsman has a strike rate of 94.68, well below his career average of 139.71.  In fact, the score was the highest for the player since March 2016. 

“It’s good to be among the runs.  Yes, it’s a relief, any batter who hadn’t been among the runs for quite some time now would definitely want to be back among the runs…but it wouldn’t have been possible without my teammates,” Gayle said.

“He told me that he was backing me to go out there and play the cricket that Chris Gayle is accustomed to playing.  So, getting the backing from my teammates, senior guys like Dwayne Bravo as well, Nicholas Pooran. 

“It gave me goosebumps when Pollard was speaking in the dressing room.  Me being a leader and I used to captain Pollard and I tried to help him excel in his career, now’s he’s the captain and for him to stand up and say ‘hey Chris’ and give me a reminder of how good I am.  It’s fantastic.”

 West Indies spinner Hayden Walsh Jr insists the team never doubted that they were still in the game despite facing an uphill battle late in the first T20 international against Australia.

In the end, the West Indies triumphed in an 18-run win in St Lucia on Friday but at one point seemed headed for a certain defeat.  On the back of a century from Mitchell Marsh, the Australians had put 70 for the loss of three wickets on the board, at the end of the power play.

However, Walsh Jr combined with the man of the match Obed McCoy and the spinners decimated the Australia line-up as the visitors lost their last six wickets for 19 runs.  Walsh Jr accounted for Marsh in his haul of 3 for 23, while McCoy ended with 4 for 26.

“We just kept believing and we just kept thinking we were always in the game.  We were picking up wickets all the time so with us picking up wickets we just felt we were always in the game,” Walsh said following the match.

“When I came on to bowl, the way that I bowled I just had the feeling that these guys were going to have trouble playing me and getting the ball off the square and hitting boundaries,” he added.

The spinner was returning to the squad for the first time since November of last year.

All-rounder Hayley Matthews starred with both bat and ball as the West Indies cruised to an 8-wicket win over Pakistan, at the Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua, to take a 2-0 lead in the CG Insurance five-match One Day International Series.

Matthews ended the match with figures of 2 for 17, going to work with the ball first of before smashing 49 from 58 balls in pursuit of 120.

In stifling Pakistan, Matthews had plenty of help from the duo of Anisa Mohammed, Karishma Ramharack as the trio combined for eight wickets.

Overall, it was Mohammed who led the way with 4-27 off 9.4 overs, while Matthews had 2-17 off eight and Ramharack got 2-27 off nine.

Opener Muneeba Ali top-scored for Pakistan with 37 from 63 balls but runs and partnerships came at a premium.  Aliya Riaz also contributed 26 for the tourists.

In reply, West Indies Women were solid from the get-go as Matthews and Kyshona Knight put together 65 in 17.5 overs effectively ending the contest.

 Matthews was eventually dismissed after being run out by Diana Baigs, while Knight remained unbeaten on 39. Kycia Knight fell for 12, and Deandra Dottin was on 13 not out when victory was achieved.

Game three will take place on July 12 from 9:30 pm at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.

 

West Indies chief of selectors, Roger Harper, has admitted that much better performances were expected from the team’s senior batsman after a sub-par showing against South Africa in the recently concluded T20 series.

Despite starting the series in strong fashion, the West Indies were beaten eventually beaten 3-2 after failing to successfully chase a target of close to 170 in three of five matches.

Fabian Allen had the team’s highest average with 67 in four matches, followed by Evin Lewis with 35.60 in five and Andre Fletcher 32.50 from two matches.  However, there will have been major concerns about some of the team’s seasoned batting stars who struggled to find a way into the series.

Veteran batsman Chris Gayle played four games and averaged just 18.66, with a high score of 32.  Andre Russell averaged 15.50, also in five games, with a high score of 25, team captain Pollard had a high score of 51, but also struggled, managing to average just 22 in five matches.

A few of the team's younger, but seasoned T20 players also struggled, with Shimron Hetmyer averaging 19 and Nicholas Pooran 17.75.

The panel of selectors has come under pressure in some quarters for picking the veteran’s trio of Gayle, Fidel Edwards, and Darren Bravo.  However, while Edwards picked up two wickets in two matches and Bravo was the leading wicket-taker with 10, the spotlight has continued to shine on Gayle’s struggles.

“Certainly, Bravo was the leading wicket-taker and Fidel played a couple of games and started to get into stride in the second game.  But from a batting perspective we expect quite a bit more from the senior guys,” Harper told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“Maybe we just got carried away with the manner and the method that we used to win that first game from a batting perspective and just thought that we could continue in the same vein and found ourselves in a hole in the middle overs because South Africa adjusted their approach.”

 

  West Indies Women secured an insurmountable 2-0 lead over Pakistan following a 7-runs DLS method win over Pakistan Women in the three-match T20I series in North Sound on Friday.

Electing to bat first the Windies Women complied just 125 with the DLS further reducing the target to 110.  Pakistan were 103 for 6 when the rain stopped the match.

The West Indies effort was built on the backbone of Chedean Nation and Kycia Knight, who put together a 32-run stand from 26 balls for the fifth wicket.  The batsmen were 28 and 30 not out respectively, after forming the partnership at 69 for 4 in the 14th over.

In pursuit, Pakistan got off to a tough start after the top three were sent back to the pavilion with just 25 runs on the board.  Pakistan had five run-outs, with Nida Dar top-scoring with 28.  West Indies Women coach Courtney Walsh admits he is hoping for a clean sweep.

“I don’t expect any complacency to set in. Winning is a habit to have and I want us to go out and focus on us winning the series comprehensively,” Walsh said, following the match.

 

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