The Cricket West Indies (CWI) interim selection panel has announced the squads for the upcoming series against Ireland and England.

Captain Kieron Pollard is fit again and returns to lead both the ODI and T20 sides that will battle the Irish in three ODIs and one T20I at Sabina Park, in Jamaica, starting January 8.

The CG Insurance ODI Series between West Indies and Ireland will form part of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League, in which the top seven teams can secure automatic qualification for the 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup in India.

The West Indies are currently eighth in those standings with 40 points, while Ireland sits fourth with 50.

The Caribbean side will then play five T20 Internationals against England, in Barbados, beginning on January 22.

“We have tried to maintain the general make-up of the squads from the Pakistan tour before Christmas, with the captain and some senior players coming back in. The challenges in the next couple of months are getting the young players in both squads to not only improve on their skills but maintain the attitude and desire we saw in Pakistan,” said West Indies coach Phil Simmons.

Simmons also emphasized the need for his team to start the year on a good note.

“We do need to start the year on a high. We know both Ireland and England have very good teams so we expect a very strong challenge as we look to improve our chances of automatic qualification for the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2023 and building the team for the ICC T20 World Cup in 2022,” Simmons added.

ODI squad for the Ireland Series: Kieron Pollard (captain), Shai Hope (vice-captain), Shamarh Brooks, Roston Chase, Justin Greaves, Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Gudakesh Motie, Jayden Seales, Nicholas Pooran, Romario Shepherd, Odean Smith, Devon Thomas, and the COVID-19 reserves are Keacy Carty and Sheldon Cottrell.

T20I squad for Ireland and England Series: Kieron Pollard (captain), Nicholas Pooran (vice-captain), Fabian Allen (England T20Is only), Darren Bravo (England T20Is only), Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell, Dominic Drakes, Shai Hope, Akeal Hosein, Jason Holder, Brandon King, Kyle Mayers, Rovman Powell, Romario Shepherd, Odean Smith, Hayden Walsh Jr, and the COVID-19 reserves are Jayden Seales, Alzarri Joseph, and Devon Thomas.

Fabian Allen is fully recovered from an ankle injury but is unavailable for the Ireland series after a positive COVID-19 test.

Pakistan achieved their highest ever successful run chase in T20 Internationals on Friday to complete a 3-0 series sweep of the West Indies in Karachi.

The home side made 208-3 from 18.5 overs to win by seven wickets.

The Pakistan opening pair of Mohammad Rizwan and Captain Babar Azam were comfortable throughout the first powerplay, taking 60 from the six overs with Rizwan on 32 and Babar on 27.

The pair raced to 98-0 after 10 overs with Rizwan bringing up a half century, his second of the series, on the last ball of the 10th over, and Babar on 46.

A boundary off the first ball of the 11th over bowled by Oshane Thomas made Mohammad Rizwan the first batsman ever to score 2000 T20 runs in a calendar year.

Babar achieved his 50 off 40 balls in the 12th over.

Rizwan and Babar brought up their 150-run partnership in the 15th over, which ended with Pakistan 158-0, still needing a further 50 from 30 balls to secure the sweep.

Babar was finally dismissed for 79 on the first ball of the 16th over bowled by Odean Smith.

Rizwan’s brilliant innings of 87 from 45 balls was finally ended in the 18th over when he was caught off the bowling of Dominic Drakes leaving Pakistan on 184-2 needing 24 off 16 balls to win.

Fakhar Zaman was the next Pakistan batsman to go, caught in the 19th over off the bowling Romario Shepherd for 12 to leave them 195-3.

Pakistan got to their target off 18.5 overs thanks to a late cameo of 21 from seven balls from Asif Ali.

Earlier, The West Indies won the toss and elected to bat, posting an excellent 207-3 thanks to 64 from captain Nicholas Pooran.

He was well supported by Shamarh Brooks who got 49 and Brandon King who scored 43.

Shahnawaz Dahani was Pakistan's best bowler on the day with 1-23 from his four overs.

Mohammad Rizwan was named Man of the Match and, after his brilliant 203 runs in three matches, was also named Man of the Series.

The West Indies have set Pakistan a target of 208 to win the third and final T20 in Karachi thanks to 64 from Captain Nicholas Pooran, his highest T20 International score.

Darren Bravo and Gudakesh Motie replaced Shai Hope and Akeal Hosein in the team for this game as Hope and Hosein were among the five additional members of the touring party to test positive for COVID-19 during PCR tests administered by the Pakistan Cricket Board on Wednesday.

With Hope missing, Shamarh Brooks joined regular opener, Brandon King, at the top of the innings. Together they brought up 50 in the fifth over with King going well on 37 and Brooks on 11.

King was dismissed on the last ball of the powerplay by Mohammed Wasim Jr for a well-played 43 to leave the team 66-1 after six overs.

Pooran came to the crease to join Brooks who was on 21.

Brooks narrowly missed out on a maiden T20 International 50 when he was dismissed for 49 by Shahnawaz Dahani in the 10th over to leave the West Indies 99-2.

After 15 overs the West indies were 153-2 with Pooran on 37 and Bravo on 16. Pooran brought up his fourth T20 International 50 in the 17th over off 31 balls.

He was eventually dismissed by Wasim Jr for 64 from 37 balls to leave his team 192-3 in the 18th over.

The 200 came up in the 19th over with Bravo on 30 and Rovman Powell on four.

The West Indies eventually ended their turn at the crease on 207-3 with Darren Bravo finishing not out on 34 from 27 balls and Rovman Powell not out on six.

Pacer Shahnawaz Dahani was the pick of the Pakistan bowlers with 1-23 from his four overs.

 

A Man of the Match performance from Shadab Khan helped Pakistan take an unassailable 2-0 series lead against the West Indies after a nine-run win in the second T20 International in Karachi today.

A late cameo of 28 from 12 balls by Shadab Khan propelled Pakistan to a respectable 172-8 off their 20 overs in the second T20 international against West Indies in Karachi Tuesday.

Pakistan won the toss and chose to bat first.

After getting to 14 without loss in the second over, Mohammed Rizwan and captain Babar Azam inexplicably went for a single that resulted in the Pakistan captain being run out for seven.

Rizwan and new batsman Fakhar Zaman attempted to steady the ship with a 19-run fourth over off Oshane Thomas to take the score to 38-1. The partnership was broken by Akeal Hosein, who had Zaman stumped for 10.

That wicket brought together, Rizwan and Haider Ali, who on Monday scored half-centuries in Pakistan's 63-run win over the visitors. Together, they guided the hosts to 50-2 at the end of the first powerplay.

Hosein bowled his four overs within the first seven and was once again excellent with figures of 1-16 to follow up his 1-19 performance Monday.

Pakistan were still only 2 wickets down at the halfway mark as Rizwan and Ali played sensibly to take the score to 73-2. The partnership was broken in the 12th over when Odean Smith had Rizwan caught at short cover for 38 from 30 balls. Smith got his second wicket of the day when Haider was caught at deep point by Shamarh Brooks for 31 on the last ball of the 14th over.

Hayden Walsh Jr got his first wicket in the very next over, removing Mohammad Nawaz, who was caught at deep mid-wicket for one.

Pakistan ended the 15th over 113-5 with Iftikhar Ahmed at the crease on 14 and Asif Ali on two.

Rovman Powell took an excellent catch off the bowling of Romario Shepherd to remove Ali for nine off the second ball of the 17th over to reduce Pakistan to 124-6.

Iftikhar hit two sixes off Thomas in the 18th over but was then dismissed caught behind off the last ball for a well-played 32 from 19 balls.

Shadab Khan brought up Pakistan’s 150 with a straight six off Dominic Drakes off the second ball of the 19th over.

Mohammad Wasim Jr was run out on the second to last ball of the innings for five.

Pakistan finished their 20 overs 172-8 with Mohammad Rizwan top-scoring with 38 and Iftikhar Ahmed getting 32.

Odean Smith and Akeal Hosein were the best performers for the West Indies with the ball with 2-24 from 3 overs and 1-16 from four overs, respectively.

Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell and Kyle Mayers are all unavailable for the West Indies T20 series against Pakistan after returning positive Covid-19 tests in Karachi.

West Indies head coach, Phil Simmons, says he’s looking for the young players to put their hands up during their white-ball tour of Pakistan starting December 13.

The West Indies will face Pakistan in three T20I and three ODIs during the tour that concludes on December 20 and Simmons is expecting members of the team to stand up and be counted.

“We’re looking to see who’s going to put their hand up to be a major player in this team. It’s about them putting up their hands and saying we want to go forward with this team. We want to do the things that are necessary to help this team win,” Simmons said.

Speaking in a press conference Friday after the team’s arrival in Pakistan, Simmons acknowledged that this is the team’s first white-ball assignment since the disastrous World Cup campaign and that it is time to move on from that.

“We know what happened in the World Cup and we’re not going to go back there. We’re looking to move forward and see who now wants to move forward with this team and our different ideas of how we want to play,” he said.

The former Ireland and Afghanistan coach also expressed that while many know what these players are capable of, it is time for them to show it in high-pressure situations.

“Yes, we have an idea of what they can deliver, but they’ve got to go out there and start showing us now that they can deliver under pressure. Playing against Pakistan in Pakistan is as much pressure as you can get,” said Simmons.

Simmons says he’s anticipating how the mental approach within the squad will change.

“We’re looking forward to seeing how things are going to change within this squad, not just from a cricketing point of view but also an attitude point of view,” Simmons said.

The West Indies coach also noted the threat of Pakistan left-arm pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi.

“He’s been brilliant for Pakistan and I’m sure he will continue to improve. Our batsmen will work on plans to of how to play him, how to score off him and we’ll see how their plans work out when the games come about,” said Simmons.

 

Rohit Sharma has been named captain for India's upcoming T20I series against New Zealand.

The three-match home series, which begins on November 17, will be the first since Virat Kohli's decision to step down after the T20 World Cup.

Kohli, who will stay on as ODI and Test captain, led India in the short format for the final time on Monday, as the pre-tournament favourites bowed out of the World Cup with victory over Namibia.

The 33-year-old captained his nation in 50 T20Is – winning 30 and losing 16 – while scoring 1,570 runs, including 114 boundaries and 59 sixes.

 

Kohli is one of several notable absentees from the squad to face the Black Caps next week along with Jasprit Bumrah, Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammed Shami.

Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, Venkatesh Iyer, Harshal Patel and Avesh Khan are among the players to come into the squad.

Rohit will take over as skipper – with KL Rahul as his deputy – although it is yet to be confirmed whether he will be given the role on a permanent basis.

Following his knock of 56 against Namibia, Rohit became one of only three players – along with Kohli – to reach 3,000 T20I runs, while he has averaged 32.66 in 108 innings.

 

India T20I squad: Rohit Sharma (captain), KL Rahul, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant, Ishan Kishan, Venkatesh Iyer, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Avesh Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Harshal Patel, Mohammed Siraj.

A stunning 93 off 56 deliveries from Martin Guptill helped New Zealand to a 16-run victory over Scotland in the T20 World Cup Super 12 stage.

The Black Caps' quest for the semi-finals got off to a strong start as they set a target of 172 in Dubai.

Although they lost Daryl Mitchell (13) and captain Kane Williamson for a duck in the fifth over, Guptill steadied the ship with a supreme display of batting that included six fours and seven sixes.

Glenn Phillips managed 33 off 37 balls before he was caught off a good ball from Brad Wheal (2-40). Guptill fell at the next ball, a tired launch to long on comfortably caught by Calum MacLeod.

Scotland put up a spirited chase after Kyle Coetzer (17) was caught by Tim Southee. George Munsey (22) and Matthew Cross (27) spearheaded a brave batting display, the latter smashing five consecutive fours in the sixth over to put his side at 48-1.

When Munsey was caught superbly by Southee after hammering a full toss from Ish Sodhi (2-42), Scotland's resistance seemed to falter, Southee skittling Cross in the 11th over.

Michael Leask led a late charge with a brilliant 42 from 20 balls, but they could not stop New Zealand moving onto four points in the group.

Guptill greatness

Guptill's ruthless knock saw him become just the second batsman to reach 3,000 runs in T20 internationals after Virat Kohli.

Only four men have hit more sixes in the entire tournament this year than the 35-year-old managed in these innings alone.

Scotland show heart

Scotland have now gone three defeats in a row in this format for the first time since they lost four on the spin from January 2017 to June 2018.

Yet this was a spirited performance that should give them confidence ahead of Friday's showdown with India.

Babar Azam claimed "everything has gone to plan" after Pakistan sealed their T20 World Cup semi-final spot with victory over Namibia on Tuesday.

Captain Babar and Mohammed Rizwan combined for their second 100-opening stand of the tournament, leading Pakistan to 189-2 – the second-highest score in the competition so far.

Namibia – led by David Wiese (43 not out) and George Williams (40) – batted impressively in their response but could still only muster a 45-run loss against the 2009 champions, who have now won all four of their opening games.

Despite a few misdemeanours in the field, Babar was left satisfied with yet another efficient performance from his side as they became the first team to officially confirm their place in the final four.

"It was a different plan today, we wanted that opening partnership to go deep and it worked for us," Babar said at the post-match presentation.

"We then had two good players in [Mohammed] Hafeez and Hasan Ali. They'll be important in the next stage and it was important we ticked those boxes [scoring runs at the end, batting first].

"There was some dew that didn't help with the fielding, but that's not an excuse, we need to be better.

"Everything has gone according to plan. We're looking forward to the semi-finals and playing our cricket with the same intensity."

Pakistan sit on eight points at the top of Group 2, with Afghanistan currently in second on four points.

In Group 1, England have all but qualified with four wins in four games, with South Africa – Pakistan's potential semi-final opponents – on six points in second, two clear of third-placed Australia.

Pakistan made it four wins from four to progress to the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup as they eased to a 45-run victory against Namibia in Abu Dhabi.

A 113-run opening stand between Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam, their second century partnership of the tournament, laid the foundations for a fourth Super 12 win out of four.

It took Namibia until the 15th over to take their first wicket, with Pakistan captain Babar falling to the bowling of David Wiese for 70 from 49 balls, a third half-century in his four innings.

Rizwan blasted 79 from 50 balls, taking a fierce 24 runs off the final over.  Rizwan's knock paired with a rapid unbeaten 32 from 16 balls from Mohammad Hafeez led Pakistan to 189-2.

Namibia's chase never got going, with Michael van Lingen falling in the second over for just four as Hasan Ali clattered his stumps.

Fellow opener Stephan Baard was able to hit 29 at a run a ball before being run out, while skipper Gerhard Erasmus could only make 15 before he was caught by Shadab Khan.

Craig Williams (40) and Wiese (43 not out) showed some resistance, but the result was never in doubt as the impressive Group 2 leaders advanced to the last four.


Rizwan and Babar on fire

There are numerous ways to win a T20 match but having two openers who can lay such a strong platform always helps.

Rizwan and Babar set the tournament alight with their performance against India in the opening game, and were imperious once again as they dismantled the Namibian attack at the Zayed Cricket Stadium.

The duo now sit second and third in the rankings for most runs scored in the competition on 199 and 198 respectively. Only England's Jos Buttler (214) has more.

 

A day to forget for Smit

JJ Smit was the unfortunate victim of Rizwan's final-over assault, seeing the first five deliveries smacked to the rope as 24 runs were added from the last six balls.

Smit, who is ranked joint-third in the ICC men's T20i world rankings for all-rounders, ended with figures of 0-50 from his four overs.

He did not fair any better with the bat either, scoring just two from five balls before being caught by Fakhar Zaman off the bowling of Haris Rauf.

Afghanistan got back to winning ways at the T20 World Cup as they beat Namibia by 62 runs in what was the final match of Asghar Afghan's career.

The former skipper announced prior to the Group 2 clash in Dubai that he would retire from all forms of cricket following the conclusion of the contest.

Asghar received a guard of honour in his 75th and final T20I before producing a knock of 31 – taking his overall tally to 1,382 runs – as Afghanistan looked to bounce back from Friday's defeat by Pakistan.

Mohammad Shahzad top-scored with 45 – surpassing 2,000 runs in men's T20I – while Hazratullah Zazai hit 33 and captain Mohammad Nabi was 32 not out as Afghanistan set a target of 160-5.

Namibia were aiming to build on their opening win over Scotland, but their quest suffered an early blow when Naveen-ul-Haq (3-26) bowled Craig Williams and Michael van Lingen within the opening three overs.

Hamid Hassan also claimed three wickets as the Eagles' chase fell way short at 98-9.

David Wiese hit 26 for Namibia, but it was not enough to prevent a first defeat in the Super 12s.

History for Shahzad

Dismissed by Pakistan for just eight, Shahzad had another opportunity to reach 2,000 runs in the short format.

This time, he made no mistake with his knock of 45 making him the first Afghan to achieve the feat – and 12th overall.

Naveen shines

It was always going to take a special effort to chase down Afghanistan's total of 160-5, but Naveen quickly put Namibia on the back foot.

The 22-year-old dismissed Williams and Van Lingen within his opening 10 deliveries, and that set his side well on the way to what was eventually a commanding victory.

Asif Ali produced an inspired cameo as Pakistan defeated Afghanistan by five wickets to maintain their 100 per cent record at the T20 World Cup.

Pakistan left it late in the Group 2 clash in Dubai as they chased their opponents' total of 147-6.

Skipper Mohammad Nabi and Gulbadin Naib led the way with 35 each for Afghanistan, who aimed to build on their thumping 130-run win over Scotland on Monday.

The in-form Mohammad Shahzad went for just eight and missed the opportunity to become the first Afghan to reach 2,000 men's T20I runs.

Mohammad Rizwan's eight runs were enough to take him beyond 1,000 in T20 internationals since the start of 2020, however, he fell to Mujeeb Ur Rahman, who claimed another wicket after taking five against the Scots.

Captain Babar Azam top-scored with 51 but paid the price for a questionable shot choice as he was bowled by Rashid Khan and Pakistan headed into the penultimate over requiring 24.

Step forward Asif, who produced four thumping sixes from six balls to make it three wins out of three for Pakistan.


Asif delivers again

Afghanistan appeared to be gaining the upper hand when Babar and Shoaib Malik were dismissed within five balls of each other at the end of the 18th over.

But the whole complexion of the contest turned on its head with Asif on strike.

The all-rounder hit 25 from just seven balls and farmed the strike to magnificent effect, producing another devastating display of power after his 12-ball 27 against New Zealand.


Bittersweet for Rashid

After dismissing Babar and Mohammad Hafeez, Rashid took his T20I wicket tally to 101.

He became the fourth player to reach 100 T20I wickets after Lasith Malinga, Shakib Al Hasan and Tim Southee.

Nevertheless, his efforts were not quite enough to give his nation a second successive win.

Quinton de Kock blasted an unbeaten 59 as South Africa sealed a T20I series whitewash over Sri Lanka with a 10-wicket win on Tuesday.

The Proteas, who clinched the series victory on Sunday, completed another routine win after the hosts limped to a run-a-ball 120-8, with Kagiso Rabada and Bjorn Fortuin taking two wickets apiece.

De Kock, who top-scored with 58 not out against in the previous game, was ably supported by Reeza Hendricks (56 not out) as the pair sealed victory inside 15 overs.

Sri Lanka opening batsmen Kusal Perera offered the most resistance, making 39, but when he was dismissed by Keshav Maharaj with the score at 80-5, the hosts failed to reach an imposing total once more.

Chamika Karunaratne managed an unbeaten 24 – his highest score in the format – but with De Kock and Hendricks racing to 46 without loss after the powerplay, another victory for the tourists was all but confirmed.

De Kock reached his 11th T20I fifty, and fifth for the year, off 40 balls and Hendricks followed suit, recording his sixth T20I half-century in two balls fewer as Maharaj's side triumphed with 32 balls remaining.

Miserly Maharaj

De Kock will steal the headlines with more top-order fireworks, but captain Maharaj should take credit as well as he continues to improve ahead of the spinning surfaces that await him at the T20 World Cup.

The left-armer assumed the captaincy role for his first ever T20I series and, in the final match, bowled a game-high 12 dot balls as he conceded just 14 runs from his full allocation, including the wicket of Perera.

Persistent Perera

Perera scored a third of his team's runs in the second T20I as he made 30 off 25 balls and he almost repeated the feat on Tuesday with his highest score of 2021.

However, the opener was not supported by his team-mates, with only Karunaratne and Dasun Shanaka (18) troubling the opposition bowlers, who dominated once more in Colombo.

England's home schedule for 2022 has been confirmed with New Zealand, India and South Africa all set to tour during a hectic year.

The ECB released the men's international fixture list on Wednesday, which launches with a three-match Test series against world champions New Zealand in June.

The Black Caps – winners of the inaugural World Test Championship earlier this year – face England at Lord's (June 2-6), Trent Bridge (June 10-14) and Headingley (June 23-27).

Joe Root's side then welcome India for a three-match T20 series beginning at Old Trafford on July 1, before a three-match ODI series follows from July 9 at Edgbaston.

South Africa then arrive for a three-match ODI series starting at Riverside on July 19, before a three-match T20 series between the sides begins in Bristol eight days later.

The Proteas will also provide the opposition as England conclude their calendar year on home soil with a three-match Test series played at Lord's (August 17-21), Edgbaston (August 25-29) and the Oval (September 8-12). 

ECB chief executive officer, Tom Harrison, said: "It has been a scintillating summer of cricket and so good to see crowds back packing out venues later this summer. 

"For next summer, I am pleased to be able to confirm three high-quality men's international touring teams for 2022, starting with a three-Test series against World Test champions New Zealand.

"We also look forward to India returning for two white-ball series before we host South Africa for what promises to be hard-fought series across three formats, including three Test matches."

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