A solid half-century at the top of the order from left-hander Kieran Powell left Jahmar Hamilton XI in a strong position against Jermaine Blackwood XI, on the third day of the Best v Best practice match.

The 31-year-old opener fell just five runs short of a century, but his 95 from 175 balls anchored the West Indies B second innings total of 218 for 4 heading into the fourth day.  The total, at the end of the day’s play, left the team with just 92 runs needed to win the match, with plenty of wickets in hand.

Powell was the anchor throughout the innings, forming key partnerships with opening partner Shane Moseley, who added 36, Shamarh Brooks (39), and Raymond Reifer (22), before being dismissed by spinner Rahkeem Cornwall, who also accounted for Moseley.

Earlier, WI Best A had resumed the day on 197-3 with an unbeaten and confident-looking Shai Hope at the crease on 104.  However, young pace bowler Javon Searles continued an excellent performance with the ball when he added Hope to the collection of top-order batsmen he removed from the crease.  Hope only managed another two runs before being caught by Mosely off the bowling of Searles.  Searles ended the innings with the best figures of 4 for 40.

Paul Palmer, not out on 15, and Reifer, who was not out on 22, will resume the day at the crease for WI Best B on Thursday.

West Indies batsman, Shai Hope, is happy to be scoring runs again on the back of an enterprising, unbeaten century on the second day of the Best v Best four-day match at the Daren Sammy Cricket Stadium on Tuesday.

After scoring 79 in the first innings, Hope stroked a fluid 104 from 132 balls, a total that included 9 fours and six 6s.  The total anchored Jermaine Blackwood XI’s 197 for 3 in the second innings, for an overall lead of 283 runs.  Earlier, they bowled out Jahmar Hamilton XI for 178 in their first innings.  Blackwood’s XI made 264 in the first innings.

  “It’s about making sure the bowlers don’t settle and almost putting pressure back onto them. So the key is to make sure I can stay within my game plan. Obviously, the situation of the game would dictate how I play in certain passages but more or less that is the of play I will try to portray, so hopefully, it works out in the future, and hopefully, I can continue in this vein and continue to score runs,” Hope said following the days play.

The batsman has not played a Test since the series against England last year and was dropped from the team ahead of the New Zealand series following a poor run of form.  Since returning to the team the batsman has looked in good nick, however, and will be eyeing a return to the Test team.

“For me, personally, I’m just happy to get those run I need in the red-ball format.  So, if I can continue that when I get the opportunity to play in the Test team if it comes, I’m definitely going to grab it with both hands and score as many runs as possible.”

Dr. Akshai Mansingh, a member of Cricket West Indies (CWI) Medical Advisory Committee, has cautioned that unvaccinated players could eventually find it difficult to take part in leagues around the world as more of the global population gets vaccinated.

At current, there are no cricket leagues around the world that require players to be vaccinated in order to take part in a competition.  However, with the risk and expense attached to the current model of staging tournaments in a biosecure environment and increasing evidence of the positive effect of vaccination on preventing the spread of the virus, there is no guarantee things will stay the same.

At current, a few members of the squad have taken the vaccine, but some remain hesitant at this point in time.  Mansingh pointed out that it was the duty of the medical team to educate the players on the risks and benefits of getting vaccinated but, at the end of the day, the freedom to make individual choices had to be respected.  He speculated, however, that the choices could plausibly, in the near future, affect an individual’s ability to earn income.

“We live in a free society, and we have to respect the decisions of people.  But there may be leagues around the world who say if you are not vaccinated then we will not take you and that is when personal decisions will have to made,” Mansingh told the Mason and Guest Radio program.

“We have erred on the side of freedom of choice, etc., etc. and we will entertain the discussion but there are leagues that are going to pop up, which will not entertain the discussion,” he added.

“We allowed people to opt-out of bubbles that we knew were safe and some of the people that opted out at that time made a completely different choice when they went to India, which was the second most infected country in the world.”

 

 

 

Legendary West Indies captain, Clive Lloyd, has called on embattled batsman Shimron Hetmyer to answer doubters by scoring a lot of runs whenever he gets the opportunity.

The 24-year-old has been in the spotlight in recent weeks after losing his international retainer contract with Cricket West Indies.  The young batsman has long been considered to be one of the region’s premier talents but has struggled to hit top gear in recent seasons.

In Test cricket, where he has not played for the team since 2019, he averages 27.93 having played 16 matches.  In One Day International cricket, where he last played in January of last year, he averages 36.66.  In T20 international cricket, he averages 18.95 with a strike rate of 116.97.

In addition, the player has struggled with fitness issues, twice failing a fitness test during the period, ahead of a subsequent tour of Sri Lanka last year and a visit of the same team earlier this year.

“The guy has got ability, we know that all he has to do is produce the runs and there should be no problem,” Lloyd told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“We all know Pooran, Hetmyer these are very talented guys, but that talent must come out with runs.  For a bowler it’s wickets,” he added.

“I would like to say to all the young people, Mr. Hetmyer and the rest of the gentlemen.  They are asking you to be fit, they want you to produce the goods.  If you do well, we would have a world-beating team.”

Former West Indies captain, Darren Sammy, has admitted that a nasty delivery faced by batting legend Brian Lara from Pakistan fast bowling great Shoaib Akhtar made him fearfully question whether he wanted to continue playing cricket.

The incident took place during the 2004 ICC Champions Trophy in a semi-final encounter between the teams.  Lara, then the West Indies captain, was on 30 when the brutish delivery from the Rawalpindi Express spat off the pitch and caught the evading batsman in the back of the neck.

Sammy, then a 19-year-old, had watched from the bench.

“When I made my debut for the West Indies in the Champions Trophy, I remember Pakistan playing West Indies at the Rose Bowl in Hampshire. They were opening with Mohammad Sami, Waqar Younis, and Shoaib Akhtar," Sammy told The Current.

 "I saw Shoaib Akhtar bowling a bouncer to Brian Lara and hit him in the head. Brian Lara fell back, probably almost unconscious. I was sitting, and I was 19 years old next to Dwayne Bravo. I literally questioned whether I wanted to play cricket again. Shoaib Akhtar did that to me,” he added.

After staying down for a while, Lara left the field injured and did not return.  The West Indies, however, ended up winning the match easily with seven wickets to spare.

The Jamaica Tallawahs have retained T20 star Andre Russell, former Windies T20 captain Carlos Brathwaite, Rovman Powell and Chadwick Walton ahead of the 2021 Hero Caribbean Premier League, which begins on August 28, in St Kitts & Nevis.

Russell boasted the team’s highest average of 44.40 last year, having scored 222 runs in 9 matches.  The all-rounder also bagged three wickets.  Brathwaite largely struggled with the bat, averaging just 12 runs in 11 matches but took 10 wickets.

Powell, who was the team captain, also had a below par season, scoring 106 runs in 11 matches for an average of 11.77, while Walton struggled after averaging 3 runs in eight matches, with a high score of 10.

Interestingly, there has been no mention of the team’s leading run-scorer last season, Glenn Phillips, who has been one of the team’s most consistent performers for the last 4 seasons.  The 24-year-old was recently offered his first retainer contract by New Zealand Cricket.

 Afghan off-spinner Mujeeb-ur-Rahman, who was the team’s leading wicket-taker with 16 wickets last season, and Nepal leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane, who snared 12 wickets, the second most, have also not been retained.

In the meantime, the Tallawahs have also kept faith with fast bowler Fidel Edwards who showed plenty of pace after returning to the CPL in 2020.  The Jamaica-based franchise will also be welcoming back left-arm spinner Verasammy Permaul and ICC America's player from last season, Ryan Persaud. 

The rest of the squad, which includes the remaining 10 spots, will be announced in the coming weeks.

 

The West Indies cricket team camp in St Lucia is reportedly dealing with a COVID-19 scare, which has seen players and the management team forced into isolation.

The details or extent of the outbreak are yet to be confirmed by Cricket West Indies (CWI), but the team’s practice session at the Darren Sammy Grounds in St Lucia on Saturday was cancelled, with no official reason yet to be provided.

Several members of an 18-man squad, which had been called ahead of a flurry of upcoming T20 international series, reported to a bio-secure environment, where they were to live and train in preparation for the upcoming series.  The players and support staff were expected to undergo rigorous COVID-19 testing.

In addition to that, however, 13 members of the training squad and management received vaccinations against the coronavirus last week.

CWI has been painstakingly and, for the most part, successfully navigating play during the coronavirus pandemic for the last several months.  The West Indies and England were the first teams to return to playing international cricket, with the Raise The Bat series, which took place in a biosecure environment in England in July of last year.

West Indies leg-spinner, Hayden Walsh Jr, admits he is eager to put a difficult year behind him, with solid performances in the upcoming series of T20 internationals.

The 29-year-old was named as part of a preliminary 18-man squad that recently began preparations to face South Africa, Australia, and Pakistan in a flurry of upcoming T20 internationals. 

The group was named with preparations for the T20 World Cup in mind, which is slated for India later this year.  Despite not featuring in a number of matches for the regional team this year, he was one of 18 players offered an international retainer contract.  Chief of selectors Roger Harper went on to explain that the player’s status as the only quality leg-spinner, in the region, prompted the selectors to include him in the team’s retainer plans.

The player suffered from misfortune last year after being forced to pull out of the tour to Bangladesh, after testing positive for Covid-19.

 “I’ve been having a tough year so far, so the fact that I am still in the plans and I still have a lot to work for, it’s still a good feeling,” Walsh said in an interview with the Antigua Observer.

“I started out the year testing positive for Covid, which ruled me out of the Bangladesh series, which I was really looking forward to. I came back to the Super 50 and I didn’t really do as well, mainly because I’ve been in isolation and I didn’t have any preparation,” he added.

 “If that did not happen, then I probably most likely would have been around the T20 and One Day squads against Sri Lanka, so I feel like I’ve missed out a lot.”

 

Cricket West Indies (CWI) will host the West Indies Professional Cricketers Draft for the 2021/2022 cricket season next Tuesday via video call.

The territorial board franchises will be convening to draft the final two players for their squads to play in the forthcoming season, which will hopefully include the CG Insurance Super50 Cup and the West Indies Championship. 

The draft will be conducted over two rounds, where each franchise must pick a player in each round. Each franchise will pick two players to add to their pre-selected squad of thirteen (13) protected players, to make a full squad of fifteen (15) players. The franchises will be selecting their two picks from a pool of nearly 100 players. 

For the 2021-22 season, each franchise will be allocated a pick number according to their final league position and performance of the franchise in the last West Indies Championship, held in 2019-20 and won by the Barbados Pride (see table below for sequence of draft picks).  Each franchise will have 90 seconds in each round to make a pick. Where a selection is not made within this time period, the franchise will miss their turn and will have to wait until all the other franchises have made their selection in that round, before making its selection.

Once the franchises have made their full picks to confirm their fifteen retained players, a total of 90 cricketers across the six franchises will be retained on full-time regional contracts for the next twelve months. 

CWI’s Cricket Operations Manager, Roland Holder said, “The draft, now in its eighth (8th) year, demonstrates that CWI remains committed to our professional cricket structure and system, even in these times of uncertainty from the COVID-19 pandemic. The ninety (90) regional players who will be awarded regional franchise contracts, will be able to train and practice professionally as CWI hopes for a return to normalcy in regional cricket later this year.”

Each choice by each Franchise selection committee will be monitored and recorded by the draft overseer (s), as notified to the Franchises by CWI.

 

Australian cricketers, David Warner, and Pat Cummins could be given rest ahead of the West Indies series, as tensions continue to simmer over the latest ball-tampering comments.

The pair were both named as part of a 23- preliminary squad for the July series, which will consist of five T20Is and three ODIs, but recent reports are suggesting that Cricket Australia is contemplating resting the players, in order to give them more time with their families as fissions within the squad have appeared.

The issue came back into the public spotlight after recent comments were made by bowler Collin Bancroft who hinted that the team’s bowlers were aware of the plan to use sandpaper on the ball during the Test against South Africa.

The 2018 incident had led to bans for then Australia captain Steve Smith and vice-captain Warner and Bancroft.  The team’s bowlers Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc, and Nathan Lyon all issued a statement denying any involvement in the issue but another investigation from Cricket Australia now seems likely.

Several players were left discontented after Warner’s manager, James Erskine recently came out openly to say that the Sandpaper Gate was handled badly and eventually the truth will come out.

 

The veteran trio of Chris Gayle, Fidel Edwards, and Dwayne Bravo have all been included in a provisional 18-man squad released by Cricket West Indies, ahead of a flurry of upcoming international matches.

As part of preparations for the upcoming World T20 championships the Windies, the defending champions, will be involved in three back-to-back five-match T20 International (T20I) series against South Africa, Australia, and Pakistan.

The squad, which will be captained by Kieron Pollard, will also see the return of the likes of Sheldon Cottrell, Shimron Hetmyer, Andre Russell, Oshane Thomas, and Hayden Walsh Jr.  The players missed out on being selected for the team’s previous T20 international series against Sri Lanka, which was won 2-1 by the regional team.

Windies coach Phil Simmons has praised the squad as a combination of experience and youth.

“These upcoming T20Is are crucial in terms of our preparation for the ICC T20 World Cup. We have assembled a very solid squad — with experienced world-class match-winners and some exciting young talented players, ready to explode onto the global stage and do great things for West Indies cricket,” Simmons said.

 “We are at that point where we have identified those who we will look to be the core of the squad to defend our World Cup title, so we want to make sure the upcoming matches create that environment — the way we train, the way we plan, the way we execute and the chemistry within the group. We won five years ago, so the next few weeks and months will be major steppingstones on the road towards defending our title and being World Champions for the third time.”

 

FULL SQUAD SELECTED:

  1. Kieron Pollard – Captain
  2. Nicholas Pooran – Vice-Captain
  3. Fabian Allen
  4. Dwayne Bravo
  5. Sheldon Cottrell
  6. Fidel Edwards
  7. Andre Fletcher
  8. Chris Gayle
  9. Shimron Hetmyer
  10. Jason Holder
  11. Akeal Hosein
  12. Evin Lewis
  13. Obed McCoy
  14. Andre Russell
  15. Lendl Simmons
  16. Kevin Sinclair
  17. Oshane Thomas
  18. Hayden Walsh Jr

The Cricket West Indies (CWI) Selection Panel has named a 30-man squad for a three-week high-performance red-ball training camp in St Lucia, starting today in preparation for the upcoming Test Series against South Africa.

 Veteran International commentator, Joseph ‘Reds’ Perreira has launched a stinging rebuke of Cricket West Indies (CWI) and the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) for the timing of contracting players for the upcoming calendar year.

In addition, the 81-year-old Perreira says he is totally and utterly disappointed that there has been no cover for fast bowler Shannon Gabriel, who in his estimation has deteriorated.

“We have given contracts to people who played four Test matches in a year, that cannot be fair,” Perreira said on the Line & Length TV Show on Sportsmax.

“The omission of (Shamar) Brooks and (Roston) Chase was surprising given the limited amount of cricket they played, I mean two series? Four or five Tests? I was hoping that WIPA would not have pushed for contracts now, especially since there is no first-class season.

“You dropped players and don’t give them contracts so how will you adequately judge their form and scores. Ideally, because of all that’s going on, those contracts should have been delayed until after the South Africa or Australia tour….or even Pakistan,” he passionately explained.

“(Shimron) Hetmyer not given a contract? He was losing weight and looked good in the IPL and we have to be careful not to lose players. Chairman Roger Harper said they are working with him, but doing what?! We just rushed a bit this year with the contracts,” he said.

As far as Gabriel is concerned, Perreira pointed to the fact that the 33-year-old who has 157 wickets from 54 Tests has slumped over the last season and CWI should have seen fit to contract two younger fast bowlers as cover for him.

“Gabriel is getting on and had an operation on his ankle. He is not the same! He struggled for rhythm and pace in England, seemed out of sorts against Sri Lanka, and in my estimation can’t play back-to-back Tests matches anymore.

“Gabriel is not bowling 140kmph easily and one good spell is not good enough. Surely, if you pick him, then the Board should have contracted two young fast bowlers to work alongside him and (Kemar) Roach,” he said.

The Guyanese Perreira who is a St. Lucian resident also endorsed the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground, previously the Beausejour Stadium as the venue to hosts the West Indies vs South Africa series and advocates for a crowd of at least 1,000 spectators in the Johnson Charles stand, once they can prove a certificate of vaccination against the COVID19 virus.

 

 

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