West Indies batsmen showing signs of improvement

By Mariah Ramharack April 04, 2021

On many a Sunday, I realize that people have looked at the stories they have seen throughout the week with different lenses. I have my own personal take on some of these trending issues and I will share them with you. Welcome to #INCASEYOUMISSEDIT the 2021 edition with Mariah.

 

 Positive signs for Windies batting

West Indies batting has been a matter of concern, especially in the Test format for some time.

As recently, as of July 2020 when West Indies faced England in three Tests, the Jamaica Observer newspaper blared the headline “West Indies bowlers undermined by batting woes” a sentiment shared by many newspapers in cricket-loving nations around the world.

After winning the first Test against England, the West Indies only survived 70.1 overs in the second innings of the second Test. It was even worse in the second innings of the third Test when they lasted a mere 37.1 overs as England completed a 269-run win in Manchester.

However, against Bangladesh and in the just concluded test series against Sri Lanka, the Windies have shown signs of improvement.

Generally speaking, West Indies batsmen do not face enough balls and hence give their wickets away cheaply. Against Sri Lanka, there was a refreshing change in attitude and application.

In the final Test, Captain Kraigg Brathwaite made 126 in the first innings- his ninth Test century, his first as captain and 85 in the second. In all, the skipper batted 813 minutes, the most in a Test for the Windies. In that time, he faced 507 balls, the joint-most by a West Indian in a Test match since Brian Lara's 400* off 582 balls against England in 2004.

Similarly, Kyle Mayers and Jason Holder each spent time at the crease while setting a 377-run target for Sri Lanka. Mayers faced 76 balls for his 55 while Holder scored 71 not out off 88 balls.

In the first Test, Nkrumah Bonner’s maiden century of 113* was an exercise in patience and determination. Batting at number three, the 32-year-old Jamaican faced 274 balls in more than seven hours at the crease.

 There is still a lot of work to be done but the early evidence suggests that the West Indies batsman might finally be on the right path.

 

 Sergio Aguero still has value

 It has been confirmed by Premier League club Manchester City that Sergio Aguero will leave when his contract expires at the end of the season.

However, this does not mean that his career has come to an end.

This season has been a challenging one for the striker, who has had to endure injury, Covid-19, and lack of game time. In his 14 appearances, he has started nine games and scored three goals.

Despite his struggles, he is arguably the best non-English striker to grace the Premier League and the numbers speak for themselves. Aguero is the fourth highest goal scorer in the Premier League history with 181 goals. He also leads the statistics in the rate of scoring in English top-flight football since 1992.

Aguero’s famous goal in injury time against QPR in 2012 when he clinched the club’s first English title in 44 years, is one for the books. Overall, he has helped The Citizens to four Premier League titles, one FA Cup and five League Cups.

Though slowed by age and injury, in Saturday’s game against Leicester City, he worked hard off the ball and contributed to his side’s win, something he has done constantly during his incredible career at Manchester City.

His boots will not be easily filled as was made clear by Pep Guardiola.

“I want to be clear. Maybe we'll find a new player to replace Sergio. In terms of numbers, he might be replaced, but in terms of what he means to the club, it is impossible.” 

 

Why are super teams an issue for some in the NBA?

The news of LaMarcus Aldridge joining the Brooklyn Nets did not sit well with many Los Angeles Lakers fans with many saying the Nets are so desperate for a championship they are buying one. Lakers superstar Le Bron James’ son Bronny also weighed in tweeting, “All this to stop a 36-year-old man in Year 18.”

LA Lakers CEO and owner Jeanie Buss, who sees the move as making the NBA a more compelling product said, “So, bring it on.”   

Personally, I see nothing wrong with the Nets creating a super team because LeBron has done the same many times in the past.

In fact, LeBron created his own super team with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami Heat in 2010-2011. He also helped assemble Kevin Love Kyrie Irving for the championship-winning Cleveland Cavaliers.

 And while the Nets signed the talented LeMarcus Aldridge it is important to note that the Lakers also recently signed two-time all-star centre Andre Drummond, who is averaging 17.5 points and 13.5 rebounds this season despite having not played since February 12.

 

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  • Markram 'not brainwashed' by reaching T20 World Cup semi-finals Markram 'not brainwashed' by reaching T20 World Cup semi-finals

    Aiden Markram was in no mood to celebrate despite helping South Africa secure their place in the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup. 

    The Proteas earned a three-wicket victory over co-hosts West Indies at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method. 

    South Africa restricted their opponents to 135-8, but lost Reeza Hendricks (1) and Quinton de Kock (7) in the second over before Tristan Stubbs and Heinrich Klaasen steadied the ship. 

    Marco Jansen was the man to get them over the line, holding his his nerve and hitting a six to secure the triumph with five balls of the contest remaining.

    "A lot of relief to get through to the semi-final," captain Markram, who scored 18 runs from 22 balls, said after the encounter. 

    "But I'm not going to be brainwashed by that, we'd have liked to be a lot more convincing in getting the job done.

    "It's been the story of our competition to get ourselves into tricky situations then by hook or by crook, get over the line."

    For the West Indies, the defeat ended their hopes of claiming a third T20 World Cup title, having lost to England and overcoming fellow co-hosts the United States in their Super 8 fixtures. 

    "Credit to the boys, they fought to the very end. As a batting group, best to forget, the middle overs especially," Windies captain Rovman Powell said. 

    "When you look on a large scale, we haven't reached the semis. But the cricket we've played in the last 12 months is commendable. To move from number nine to number three in the world, there's a lot of buzz in West Indies cricket.

    "When we hear the anthem play we hear something, we're heading in the right direction."

  • Despite elimination, Windies captain Rovman Powell commends team's tremendous progress Despite elimination, Windies captain Rovman Powell commends team's tremendous progress

    West Indies’ ICC Men’s T20 World Cup campaign came to an end on June 23, when the co-hosts suffered a narrow defeat to South Africa in their final Super Eights fixture.

    After an exceptional start in the first round, having gathered all eight points from their four matches to top Group D, and making into the Super Eights as a serious title contender, West Indies witnessed a dip in form against England, and South Africa. This cost them their semi-final berth.

    Still, captain Powell is proud of how the team progressed throughout the year, moving up the ladder to third place in June 2024 [a recent loss saw them drop a position] in the ICC Men’s T20 International Team Rankings.

    “I think the cricket we have played in the last 12 months or so is commendable," stated Powell in the post-match presentation ceremony.

    "Credit has to be given to the team. If you can take a year to move from number nine to number three in the world, that's tremendous work."

    West Indies put up quite a show during the tournament, with a number of home players firing up the crowd's imagination. There were brilliant wins over New Zealand and Afghanistan.

    The West Indies captain shared his joy in seeing a lot of buzz around the Caribbean again.

    “We haven't won the World Cup, but there was a lot of improvement. There's a lot of buzz around the Caribbean again about West Indies cricket. We have done some very good things over the last 12 months.”

    “Now is where the work starts. It's for us to continue to work as a group, still be tight, and hopefully, just hopefully, we can continue to climb the rankings and make the Caribbean people proud.”

    Powell acknowledged the support they received on and off the field during the home World Cup and identified it as a sign that the team was headed in the right direction.

    “That (the support) has been fantastic. For all the venues that we have played, for all the social media likes and stuff that people have given us, we as a team really appreciate it.”

    Emphasizing on comeback of the West Indies’ cricketing culture, he added, “It's good to see that some buzz is back in the Caribbean for cricket, because we know how long that has died down. Now people are rallying around the West Indies as they do. Now, when we hear the anthem play, as players we feel something. I think that is heading in the right direction.”

    The Windies succumbed to a disheartening loss against South Africa to step back from the tournament as they failed to defend a target of 123, in 17 overs (DLS).

    A poor batting display kept them restricted to 135 runs in 20 overs, with Roston Chase (52 runs in 42 balls) bagging himself a half century. With the ball, Alzarri Joseph, Andre Russell, and Chase did an excellent job picking up a total of seven wickets between them but thanks to a composed finish from Marco Jansen and Kagiso Rabada, the South Africans took home a three-wicket win with five balls to spare.

    Though dismayed at this outing, Powell credited his side for their spirit.

    “As a batting group, this is one batting performance we'll try our best to forget. I think we didn't bat well in the middle overs especially," Powell said.

    "You see both teams bat on the wicket. Obviously, it wasn't an easy wicket, especially to get started. I think it was a commendable bowling effort. 130 (135) at the halfway mark, we said we're just going to give it our all, whatever happens, happens.

    "Credit has to be given to the guys at the halfway mark. They believed, even though it was only 135. They fight to the very end."

     

     

     

     

  • Windies eliminated as South Africa withstand nervy finish to confirm World Cup semi-final spot Windies eliminated as South Africa withstand nervy finish to confirm World Cup semi-final spot

    South Africa booked their place in the T20 World Cup semi-finals following a tense three-wicket victory over West Indies on the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method. 

    Following England's success over co-hosts the United States on Sunday, the game in Antigua was a straight shootout to decide the other side to progress from Group 2. 

    The Proteas elected to bowl first and looked in control, having restricted West Indies to 135-8, with Tabraiz Shamsi starring in their attack (3-27). 

    However, Andre Russell struck twice in the second over of the chase, seeing Reeza Hendricks (1) and Quinton de Kock (7) fall to leave South Africa 15-2.

    The West Indies' momentum was halted, though, following a spell of rain at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, forcing the players off the pitch for over an hour. 

    South Africa returned with a new target from their remaining 17 overs, and although Roston Chase, who made 52 with the bat, took three wickets, the Proteas withstood the pressure as Marco Jansen sealed the win with a six with five balls remaining. 

     

    Data Debrief: De Kock breaks T20 record

    With the stumping of Rovman Powell, De Kock became the first player to record 100 dismissals as a wicketkeeper in T20I's (82 catches, 18 stumpings). 

    South Africa have now won each of their last four men’s T20Is played in West Indies, after winning just one of their five games (L4) in the country prior to that. 

     

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