West Indies coach, Phil Simmons, has encouraged players who will get an unexpected opportunity to represent the regional team to make full use of it.

Following the withdrawal of 12 first-team players from the Bangladesh tour, the regional team will be made up of a majority of fringe players.  In fact, for the Test squad, four players could be in line for a debut with five having less than 10 caps.  The One Day International (ODI) squad contains 7 players who could be picked for the first time.

Despite being massive underdogs, however, Simmons believes the situation presents a unique opportunity for the inexperienced players that have been selected.

“My role and my message to all the players here: you’re not here to fill in, you’re here to give yourself a chance,” Simmons told members of the media via a Zoom press conference on Tuesday.

 “You have a chance now to seal your place in this team. If you do well here, that augurs well for you going forward.  You come here, you do well in the three games in the ODI series and the two-Test matches then you’re putting yourself in a place where nobody can move you, so you have that opportunity and only you have that opportunity,” he added.

 

West Indies captain for the upcoming Bangladesh tour, Kraigg Brathwaite, insists he does not see the current squad as merely a stand-in 11 but a talented group capable of winning games.

With 12 regular team players making themselves unavailable for selection ahead of the tour, after citing health and safety concerns, the Caribbean team will start as massive underdogs heading into the series.

The full-strength squad was comprehensively outplayed in 2018, with the hosts comfortably coasting to a 2-0 series win.  Brathwaite will lead a squad without the likes of Jason Holder, Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer, Roston Chase, or Shamarh Brooks available.  While he himself, and the likes of Jermaine Blackwood, Shannon Gabriel, and Kemar Roach, will provide some experience, four players could be making a debut with five having less than 10 appearances for the West Indies.

“I think I have a good team here, a few guys haven’t played international cricket, some haven’t played in a little while but I know this team is fully capable of doing well at the international level,” Brathwaite told members of the media on Wednesday.

“The guys here, I don’t see them as second-string guys, I believe they can perform at the international level.  So, I know they are looking forward to the opportunity.”

 

Tributes have poured in from around the Caribbean for Jamaica-born former West Indies Women’s all-rounder Vivalyn Latty-Scott who passed away at the weekend.

Latty-Scott was a member of the first West Indies team to play a women’s Test match in 1976 against Australia. After retirement, she was a coach at all levels and also an umpire.

During her career as an off-spinner and right-handed batter, Latty-Scott played 10 Test matches and six One-Day Internationals. She was the first West Indian woman to take five wickets in a Test innings – 5 for 48 off 41 overs on debut against the Australians in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Ann Browne-John, CWI's Lead Selector for women's cricket and a former international player noted: "It is with great sadness we heard of the passing of Vivalyn Latty-Scott. She was always a fierce competitor and took her cricket very seriously. She taught us how to put our all into the game and paved the way for what we see today. She was an excellent cricketer. She was truly one of the stalwarts of women's cricket in the Caribbean."

Dorothy Hobson, who played alongside Latty-Scott for Jamaica and West Indies described her as a “dedicated and committed cricketer and lifelong fan of the game”. Louise Browne, the first West Indies women’s Test captain hailed Latty-Scott as a “passionate player with amazing knowledge of the game”.

“When I started as captain, ‘Latty’ was one of the senior members of that first West Indies women’s team and she excelled with bat and ball. Whenever I put the ball in her hand I had the confidence she would produce good figures and she never disappointed. She was passionate about the game and was always aware of the statistics and what the team required. When the history of women’s cricket is updated, Vivalyn must be mentioned among the outstanding players,” Browne said.

Hobson said: “She was a great captain for Jamaica and a great player for the West Indies. She was a complete player with bat and ball, equally adept at both skills. Cricket was ‘her game’, she was a dedicated and committed cricketer and she always had a dream of doing great things for the West Indies. Her legacy is that she contributed to the game at all levels — boys, girls, men, and women — she made a great impact at all levels.”

Stafanie Taylor, the current women’s captain and most successful women’s player in West Indies history also paid tribute to Latty-Scott.

“I have known this amazing lady from when I went on my first tour with the Jamaica team and she was very helpful to me. She set a trial in women’s cricket and she played a very important role in my development and inspired many young cricketers in Jamaica to play the game and to excel. We all admired and respected her.”

West Indies coach, Phil Simmons, believes the team has travelled with a balanced bowling line-up for the Bangladesh tour, despite recent discussions surrounding too many spinners being selected for the squad.

The issue was brought to the fore after up and coming fast bowler Chemar Holder was left out of the Test team for the tour.  Holder, who made his debut in New Zealand, showed plenty of promise in tough conditions.  Chief of selectors Roger Harper went on to explain that the player had been left out to accommodate more spinners, in order to take advantage of Bangladesh’s slow pitches.

The Test squad selected included four spinners but also has the usual pace bowling trio of Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel, and Alzarri Joseph and Simmons insists the balance of the first team is yet to be settled.

“I think we are here with a balanced squad, we have three spinners, we have three fast bowlers and a seeming all-rounder, it’s a case where we have balance all round,” Simmons told members of the media via a Zoom conference on Tuesday.

“So, it’s a case where we have balance all around.  The decision has to be made whether we go with three fast bowlers, two spinners, two fast bowlers, three spinners, a decision hasn’t been made yet.  We just have a balanced lineup and that’s what we came here with.  We will make decisions closer to the game.”

 

 

West Indies stand-in vice-captain, Sunil Ambris, has joined those expressing optimism ahead of the team’s upcoming tour of Bangladesh, despite admitting the unit is likely to be impacted by inexperience.

The 27-year-old Vincentian native was appointed second in command of the One Day International (ODI) squad, with Jason Mohammed named as captain, after several regular players pulled out of the tour.

With regulars like captain Jason Holder, Shai Hope, Shimron Hetmyer, Darren Bravo, and Nicholas Pooran missing, Ambris, who has so far played 13 ODIs, will rank among the senior members of the squad.  In fact, eight players will be first-time call-ups for the format.

“It is obvious that we have a very inexperienced team travelling to Bangladesh, but having said that, I think it is a talented bunch of guys,” Ambris told Searchlight.

 “Once we stay positive and do what we know we can do, we should be okay … Once we play some good cricket, we can win the series,” he added.  Ambris, who made his debut in 2017, has scored 448 runs at an average of 44.7. He has two fifties and one hundred to his name.

 

West Indies spinner, Sunil Narine, believes that cricket’s T10 format could be the best choice for inclusion at the Olympic Games as it is even more exciting than the T20 version.

Cricket has not been played at the Olympic Games since 1900, where Britain and France were the only two teams that participated.  There have, however, been numerous discussions geared towards reviving the sport at the Games in recent years, with T20 cricket identified as the best format.  Narine, however, believes that T10 could also be a consideration.

“The T10 format is more exciting than the T20 format. In T20s, the batters take a few overs before starting their attacking skills, however, in T10 the batters probably look for only one or two balls,” Narine told the Daily Times.

“There’s always a possibility to attract new fans through a shorter format of cricket and more exciting cricket. It will be an exciting thing if cricket is included in the Olympics as well and hopefully, maybe T10 could be a part of the Olympics,” he added.

The 10 over-format of the sport was introduced in the United Arab Emirates in 2017, it is, however, yet to be widely adopted.

Narine will be among a number of West Indies players taking part in this season’s edition.  The spinner will represent the Deccan Gladiators, alongside West Indies T20 captain Kieron Pollard.

A season of giving continued for double World U20 Champion and rising track star, Briana Williams, after a recent visit to the Office of the Prime Minister where she gifted Jamaica Prime Minister Andrew Holness with printers for distribution to schools, as the country continues to navigate distance learning during the pandemic.

The effort was the latest in a series of philanthropic acts undertaken by the athlete, who also recently donated tablets to student-athletes and printing machinery to the Jamaica Cancer Society who produces large volumes of readouts of pap smears, mammograms, and testicular cancer screenings on a daily basis.  Williams also conducted a Christmas treat, in Montego Bay, in December.

The 18-year-old, who is also a patron of the Caribbean’s largest charity event, the Sigma Sagicor Run 2021, was lauded by the Prime Minister for her charitable efforts. 

“I am happy that our young people are being agents of change and are willing to help build our great nation through service. Keep up the good work, Briana,” he wrote on his social media pages.

For Williams, it was inspirational to meet the Prime Minister once again.  She was awarded the Prime Minister’s Youth Award for Excellence in sports, in 2018, following her outstanding performances at the World Under-20 Championships and CARIFTA Games, where she won the coveted Austin Sealy award.

“It was an honour to sit with him and he was just so encouraging and inspirational. Just being able to speak to him about my training and my preparations was so uplifting for me. He also promised to match my donation by purchasing printers for distribution to more schools as well. I know that if each of us contributes in some way, we can help Jamaica recover stronger, so I’m just happy to play my part,” said Williams.

Williams was accompanied by her manager Tanya Lee and Dominique Walker, CEO of Printware Online who provided the printers.

Former West Indies captain, Clive Lloyd, believes the upcoming and current generation of fast bowlers will only reach their full potential if they spend more time thinking on the pitch.

For many decades the Windies was known for producing generations of fearsome fast bowlers.  The likes of Joel Garner, Andy Roberts, Malcolm Marshal, and Michael Holding filled the hearts of countless opposition batsmen with fear for decades.

 A new generation of Windies bowlers, led by Kemar Roach and Shannon Gabriel along with youngster Alzarri Joseph has shown some promise, in recent times, but are yet to scale the heights reached by the golden generation.  Lloyd, who captained and played alongside many of the region’s top fast bowlers, has insisted the players had more than just pace.

“The thing with our fast bowlers is that they all did something different, it wasn’t just inswingers or outswingers.  They bowled different things.  So, when you came to bat against our players, you had to be at the top of your game and that’s why they were successful,” Lloyd told the Mason and Guest program.

“There was no let-up.  We didn’t just have fast bowlers; we had thinking fast bowlers.  They were not calypso cricketers,” he added.    

 

West Indies captain for the Bangladesh series, Kraigg Brathwaite, is confident the second-string team will give a good account of itself, despite facing a difficult task.

The regional team, who are off to the third overseas tour since the sport was impacted by the pandemic, will be missing 12 first-team players.  Team captains Jason Holder, Kieron Pollard, and Test vice-captain Roston Chase are among the players that opted out of the tour for health and safety concerns.

Brathwaite will be joined by in-form batsman Jermaine Blackwood and bowlers, Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel, and Alzarri Joseph as some of the available first-team players on the tour, but for the most part, the team will consist of fringe players and a few debutants.  The stand-in captain, however, insists the Windies are up for the challenge.

“We are all up for the challenge… it will be a tough series in Bangladesh but we have confidence and we have belief that we will do very well,” Brathwaite said.

“We have some members of the squad who will be playing there for the first time so it will be something new to them, but they know they have the talent and are capable of performing at this level.”

The tour will comprise of two Test matches, as part of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) World Test Championship, and three One-Day Internationals (ODI) as part of the ICC’s Cricket World Cup Super League. The ODIs present the first opportunity for the West Indies to earn Super League points which count towards the pre-qualification for the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2023.

 

Legendary West Indies captain, Clive Lloyd, insists the current crop of players must learn to play in all conditions if the team is to eventually emerge from the doldrums of world cricket.

In the aftermath of the recent squad selection for the West Indies tour of Bangladesh, plenty of eyebrows were raised not only due to the absence of 12 first team players but following the non-selection of promising young fast bowler Chemar Holder for the Test cricket squad.

The team has the typical fast-bowling trio of Shannon Gabriel, Kemar Roach, and Alzarri Joseph but with captain Jason Holder opting out of the tour, many thought Chemar would have been a natural replacement, particularly after a promising debut in difficult circumstances last month.

Cricket West Indies chief of selectors Clive Lloyd, however, explained that the panel had chosen to include more spinners at the expense of Holder, due to the nature of spin-friendly surfaces in Bangladesh.  Lloyd believes the decision could cost the young bowler valuable experience.

“These guys need to play in those countries where it’s not that helpful and you learn to bowl a better line and length,” Lloyd told the Mason and Guest radio show.

“On the dead pitches, someone like (Collin) Croft would still be disconcerting.  He would be getting it up into your neck.  The point is that our fast bowlers bowled well on any kind of wicket,” he added.

“Our bowlers were not deterred by slow pitches and that is what our youngsters have to learn, to bowl on pitches that are not responsive.  Dennis Lille, when he realized the pitch was not helping, he would cut down his run and bowl a different kind of delivery, cutters, and so on and make you think about your cricket.  So did Richard Hadlee, Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, all these guys would have learned to bowl on wickets that are not responsive.  If we are just going to rest people because the wickets are not responsive then something is wrong.”  

 

Wolmer’s Boys School will join forces with top locally based track club MVP in a bid to turn around its high school track and field program.

The 14-time Boys Championships winner last claimed the title in 2010, on the 100th year anniversary of the competition.  Though being typically there or thereabout, the school has not been able to consistently compete for the Mortimer Geddes trophy.

The shakeup will see the school part ways with noted high school track and field coach Danny Hawthorne, who took over the job in 2016.  The annual track and field event was cancelled last year, due to the onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic, but the team has finished outside of the top five for the previous three years claiming 6th place positions in 2017, 2018, and 2019 editions.  MVP club president Bruce James, a former student at the institution, confirmed the existence of the new arrangements.

“The headmaster of Wolmer’s Mr. Pennycoke has invited the MVP track club to play a positive role in the redevelopment of the Wolmer’s Boys track team, this takes effect on the first of January 2021,” James told Television Jamaica.

“The Wolmer’s Boys school happens to be where the MVP track and field club was founded and the MVP club’s management consists of Wolmer’s old boys such as Stephen Francis, Paul Francis, Andre Edwards, so we are happy to help the Wolmer’s Boys track and field team and the program he is building,” he added.  

 

President of the Nevis Cricket Association, Carlisle Powell, has called for a level playing field when it comes to the selection of players for the West Indies cricket team.

The administrator has taken exception with what he believes is the unfair treatment meted out to opening batsman Kieron Powell, who is also his son.  With 12 first team members opting not to go on the upcoming tour of Bangladesh, Powell, the top runs scorer during last season’s Super50 competition, was left out of a hastily assembled second-string team.

According to Cricket West Indies (CWI) chief of selectors Roger Harper, the player had failed to meet the team’s fitness standards.  The senior Powell, however, insists that was not quite true as while representing the Leeward Islands Kieron had passed the Yoyo fitness test more than once.  He insists that the issue stems from the fact that the player has not being given another opportunity to prove his fitness by the regional governing body.  By comparison, he claims that Evin Lewis and Shimron Hetmeyer, who both failed the test at the same time as Powell, were quickly afforded opportunities to prove their improved fitness level.

“The West Indies Cricket Board has repeatedly said as recently as Roger Harper on the 29th…that Powell was left out because he has not yet met the fitness standard, which is absolutely inaccurate in that he has more than once met and passed the fitness test as administered by the Leeward Islands,” Powell told Television Jamaica.

“The West Indies Cricket Board should amend their statement to say that they have failed to give him a fitness test since he failed the test in December of 2019,” he added.

“By the same token others who failed the fitness test at the same time, Hetmeyer and Lewis, fitness tests were arranged for them by the board.  We’re saying this is absolutely wrong there must be a level playing field for all the persons.”

 

 

 

Former West Indies batting coach, Toby Radford, has questioned the conventional wisdom of selecting so many spinners for the team's upcoming tour of Bangladesh.

The omission of promising pace bowler Chemar Holder raised more than a few eyebrows when the squad was named last week, especially on the back of a promising debut in New Zealand.  The Test squad at current features four spinners in Rahkeem Cornwall, Kavem Hodge, Veerasammy Permaul, and Jomel Warrican along with the regular fast bowling trio of Shannon Gabriel, Kemar Roach and Alzarri Joseph.

  Cricket West Indies (CWI) chief of selectors, Roger Harper, went on to explain that Holder’s exclusion for additional spin bowling was based on the fact that the team was eager to take advantage of Bangladesh’s spin-friendly pitches.

Radford, who was part of a successful tour of the region in 2012, is unsure if that was the best approach.

“I’ve been listening to what people have been saying.  We have gone heavy with a lot of spin.  You expect the pitches to be slow and turn out there.  Whether they need as many spinners as they are taking, I’m not too sure,” Radford told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“In fact, when we won in 2012 it was done with good batting, posting big scores and having pace, actually, guys who could get it down in the high 80s, 90 miles and hour, not just assuming that because it’s slow pitches spinners are going to do the work.  I’m actually working for Bangladesh at the moment, I spent 6 weeks out there, they play spin very well, they’re brought up playing that kind of bowling.”

Legendary Windies fast bowler Curtly Ambrose is hopeful a few of the players selected for the upcoming tour of Bangladesh will be able to take full use of the opportunity to represent the team, despite being surprise selections.

Twelve players, including West Indies captain Jason Holder, vice-captain Roston Chase and T20 captain Kieron Pollard opted not make themselves available for the upcoming tour of Bangladesh this month.  The players cited health and safety reasons in their decision to reject the tour.

The absence of the team’s first-string players will see Kraigg Brathwaite, lead the Test squad with Jermaine Blackwood as vice-captain. Former West Indies A team captain, Jason Mohammed, will lead the ODI team with Sunil Ambris as vice-captain.

There will be first-time call-ups for Kavem Hodge to the Test squad and left-handed opener Shayne Moseley and all-rounder Kyle Mayers touring in the Test squad for the first time, after being part of the reserve team to England and New Zealand.

Two players earned first call-ups to the ODI squad - Akeal Hosein, a left-arm spinner allrounder, and Kjorn Ottley, a left-handed top-order batsman.  Despite expecting difficult conditions for the tour, Ambrose hopes some of the players will use the opportunity to challenge for regular places.

“I think it’s the perfect opportunity for some of these youngsters who have been knocking on the door for some time now to show the selectors and the rest of the cricket people that they are ready for this kind of cricket,” Ambrose told the Good Morning Jojo radio show.

“I am hoping these guys do very well with Bangladesh.  Whether we win the series, draw the series, or even lose the series, I hope they do extremely well so that when they get back home lead selector Roger Harper and company will have some headaches to decide who to select.”

CONCACAF has announced the cancellation of both its Under-17 and Under-20 youth championships in light of FIFA’s recent announcement to shutter the FIFA U-17 and U-20 Men’s World Cups, scheduled to take place in Peru and Indonesia later this year.

The U-20 tournament was originally scheduled to be held in Honduras between 20 June and 5 July 2020.  However, following the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic the tournament was initially pushed forward to later this year.  The U-17 competition suffered a similar fate.

With the spread of the virus continuing to affect safety concerns and travelling ability, FIFA announced the decision to cancel both tournaments last week.  With the CONCACAF tournaments serving as qualifiers for the World Cups, the confederation decided to follow suit. As part of the decision, FIFA announced the next editions will be held in 2023 at the venues that were to host the 2021 editions of the tournaments.

 Jamaica (1999, 2011), Trinidad and Tobago (2001, 2007) and Haiti (2007, 2019), and Cuba (1989, 1991) are the Caribbean teams to have qualified for the FIFA Under-17 World Cup editions.  At the Under-20 level Trinidad and Tobago (1991, 2009) Jamaica (2001), and Cuba (2013) have qualified to the finals.

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