Eoin Morgan says Jofra Archer is a "huge asset" to England after the paceman hit out at suggestions he is not committed to playing Test cricket.

Archer is expected to be in the England side when they start a five-match Twenty20 International series against India at Narendra Modi Stadium on Friday, having missed the final Test at the same Ahmedabad venue due to an elbow injury.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan questioned Archer's desire for featuring in the longest format, comments which clearly irked the paceman.

Archer wrote in his Daily Mail column: "A lot of people are saying a lot of things about my right elbow, and so as the person the elbow belongs to, I would like to say something in response.

"Let me be clear about something: I've never changed my attitude towards playing for England. I've always wanted to play all three formats. That hasn't changed, and never will as far as I'm concerned.

"I always dreamed of playing Test cricket and don't feel I've had a bad game so far – yet unless I am taking four or five wickets in an innings, I am placed under scrutiny and some people start trying to decipher what's going on.

"Comments like 'he's not committed' or 'he's not good enough' appear as soon as you are not 110 per cent. I find it quite annoying how people read into stuff and form their own opinions.

"I saw one article from Michael Vaughan in which he said: 'If Jofra doesn't love Test cricket, England need to find out why.' We've never had a conversation about cricket, so I found it a bit odd. He doesn't know what makes me tick. He doesn't know what's driving me."

And white-ball captain Morgan said he has had no problems with World Cup winner Archer. In fact quite the opposite.

"He's a huge asset," said England's skipper. "He's a guy that bowls in three parts of the game and can be threatening whenever he comes on. He obviously has express pace, can bowl cutters, variations, and has a very good yorker. He's a huge asset in any format."

Asked if he finds Archer easy to captain, Morgan replied: "I do. He's always been engaging. He is a younger member of our squad that has different interests to the majority of our squad, because the majority of our squad is in their late 20s, early 30s.

"He loves enjoying what he does, in travelling, playing Xbox, playing cricket, playing in front of big, big crowds and he is a huge family man.

"The more I have got to know him: one, the better our relationship is but two, the more I have grown to enjoy his company away from the game because I have got to know him more. He's a funny guy."

Rohit Sharma feels India have "a lot of work to do" before they challenge for T20 World Cup glory as they prepare to face top-ranked England in a mouthwatering five-match series.

India are on a high after beating England 3-1 to secure a place in the inaugural ICC World Test Championship final against New Zealand.

A strong England squad led by Eoin Morgan will be looking for revenge at the Narendra Modi Stadium, but face a huge test against an India side who have won six and drawn one of their previous seven series in the shortest format.

India sit second in the rankings and are eager to make a statement seven months before the T20 World Cup begins on home soil.

Vice-captain Rohit knows they are not the finished article ahead of the first match in Ahmedabad on Friday, with Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan and Rahul Tewatia in line to make their debuts.

The in-form batsman said: "It's nice for the fans also to look forward to something because it's not every second year you are playing the World Cup, otherwise the charm of the World Cup goes away.

"The freshness of the World Cup remains and it's going to be an exciting World Cup as it is being played in India. We are all looking forward to that but before that, we still have a lot of work to do."

England, who whitewashed South Africa 3-0 late last year, have not lost a T20 series since they were beaten by India in 2018.

 

Malan is the man

There will be an array of outstanding batsmen on show in what should be a pulsating series and it is Dawid Malan who comes into it as the best in the world in this format.

The left-hander was named man of the series in a whitewash of the Proteas, making a magnificent 99 not out in the final match at Newlands on the back of another half-century.

England have an embarrassment of riches in the batting department, with the likes of Morgan, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Jason Roy and Sam Billings in the squad.

Liam Livingstone will also get the opportunity to make his mark after some explosive knocks for Perth Scorchers in the Big Bash League.

Kohli closing in on historic landmark, Pant returns

India captain Virat Kohli needs only 72 more runs to become the first man to reach the 3,000 mark in T20Is.

The prolific skipper averages 50.5 for his country in the shortest format and has more runs than anyone in matches between these two nations (346).

England will also need to remove Rishabh Pant before he gets into full flow, as the wicketkeeper-batsman demonstrated when he made a scintillating century in the final Test.

Pant, who has not played a T20 for India since January 2020, averages just 20.50 at international level in this format but that figure will surely be on the rise before long.

Key Opta Facts

- Kohli has dropped more catches than any other fielder from a Test-playing nation in men's T20Is since the start of 2019 (seven), three of which were rated as easy chances.

- Malan has the highest batting average of any man to log 10 or more T20I innings (53.4 from 19 knocks). Her has reached 50 in seven of his 12 overseas knocks.

- KL Rahul recorded 670 runs from his 14 knocks in the 2020 IPL. He comes into this series having scored more runs in men's T20Is than anyone else since November 2019 (643).

- Yuzvendra Chahal is responsible for the best figures ever recorded against England in a men's T20I (6/25 in February 2017). The spinner is the leading wicket-taker in this fixture (nine), but has only claimed 15 scalps at an average of just 42.1 since the start of 2019.

Brathwaite’s XI defeated Chase’s XI by four wickets as the Best vs Best four-day match at the Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua earlier today.

A century from Shai Hope and a half-century from Evin Lewis helped West Indies cruise to a comfortable eight-wicket victory over Sri Lanka with 18 balls to spare at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium and take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Ian Bradshaw was not impressed with the manner of the West Indies victory in the three-match T20 series against Sri Lanka citing how poor the batsmen of the Caribbean were during the series.

The former West Indies bowler has suggested that if the West Indies was the win a third ICC T20 World Cup later this year, the coach and selectors need to have frank and honest discussions with the batsmen about their performances, especially about how and when they lose their wickets.

Going forward in a world cup year, he said, “this would be the time to have some honest words within the camp and I am sure that Coach Simmons and maybe Chief Selector Roger Harper will have to be brutally honest with the guys.

“Experienced or inexperienced, our match awareness will have to be a lot better.”

In the matches played at the Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua, the West Indies won the opening match by four wickets chasing 132 for victory. Chasing 160 in the second match, the home side lost badly by 43 runs. They eventually clinched the series by virtue of a three-wicket win, needing only 132.

Many of the West Indies batsmen did not live up to expectation. Lendl Simmons managed only 73 runs from the three matches; Evin Lewis, 55, Jason Holder, 52, Kieron Pollard 51, Nicholas Pooran, 31, Chris Gayle, 29, and Dwayne Bravo, 6.

Speaking on Mason & Guest with host Andrew Mason on Tuesday night, Bradshaw said when it comes to T20 matches, it comes down to more than just the number of runs scored. “It’s the manner of the dismissals,” said the 46-year-old Bradshaw, who represented the West Indies in five Tests and 62 ODI's between 2004 and 2007.
“Yes, we showed weakness and uncertainty to the spinners, but it is how collectively as a unit, we bat the spin,” he said, adding that several batsmen were also tentative against aggressive pace bowling.

Bradshaw insisted that the West Indies batsmen will have to show significant improvement as there was “nowhere to hide. There is too much video, too much analysis.”

The performances of the batsmen were so poor, Brathwaite said, the result could have easily been 3-0 in favour of Sri Lanka and with the world cup mere months away, there is a lot of work to be done.

“As we build towards the world cup, our performances will have to be a lot more clinical,” he said.

“Like so many series, we go into it and we believe our bowling is the weak link and when it comes out, it is the batting that struggles, and this has been the case in all three formats.

“In Test cricket, whenever we score over 500 runs over two innings we’ve won and whenever we score over 300 runs in an ODI we are very competitive but quite often it the batting that has let us down, and the batting in the T20 series showed a bit of irresponsibility.

“The shots that were played put us (under) undue pressure when we didn’t need to be.”

  

 

 

 

West Indies bowling coach, Roddy Estwick, insists the team must do more than just occupy the crease if it is to be successful against Sri Lanka in the upcoming series and in One Day Internal cricket overall.

Conventional wisdom has at times suggested that a team’s best chance of doing well in the format is for batsmen to spend as much time out in the middle as possible.  With ball change rules, shorter boundaries, better bats, and more attacking-minded batsmen ODI scores in the last decade and a half have risen steadily.  Scores in the region of 350 have become more commonplace.  In fact, the top five highest scores in ODI cricket have all come in the last 14 years.

As such, Estwick points out that just occupying the crease will not be enough and the team must find a way to score runs.

“It’s hard to say you are going to bat time, you still need to make sure you get around 300 runs.  We can’t just say we will sit back and bat time,” Estwick told members of the media via a Zoom press conference call on Tuesday.

“We got to come up with better game plans, we have to execute better.  You know that you have a certain strike rate and certain runs per over to go at in ODI cricket,” he added.

“To be safe these days you have to make around 340, 350.  It might not be that much in this series but remember we are preparing for 2023 that is when the World Cup is.”

Captain Kraigg Brathwaite fell just short of a century as West Indies Brathwaite XI, in pursuit of West Indies Chase XI first day total of 328, were 242 for 5 at the close of play on the second day.

Brathwaite scored a stroke-filled 95 from 156 balls, before becoming the third wicket of Jomel Warrican.  The team’s pursuit of the target took an early wobble when opener Kieran Powell was dismissed for a duck in the second over.  Powell was caught by Sunil Ambris off the bowling of Chemar Holder, having faced just four balls.

Brathwaite, however, immediately partnered with Shamar Brooks to settle the innings and put on 76 for the second wicket before Brooks was caught, for 19, by Hamilton, off the bowling of Nial Smith.  Next to bat, Shimron Hetmyer only lasted 5 balls before has was bowled, by Warrican, for 12 runs.

The captain was then part of another significant partnership, putting on 67 with Kavem Hodge, before departing the scene with the team at 170 for 4.  Joshua Da Silva became Warrican’s third wicket, after he was caught by Nkrumah Bonner, after putting seven runs on the board.  Hodge, who has gone on to 59, has partnered with Paul Palmer Jr (31) as the team continues to pursue the target.

Warrican has so far claimed 3 for 52 with Holder and Smith taking one each.

Earlier resuming the second day at 280 for 7, overnight batsman Jermaine Blackwood, who resumed the day on 18, added another 16 runs before being bowled by Preston McSween.  Imran Khan, the other overnight batsman, added another 21 to his 3 before becoming McSween’s fourth wicket.  McSween ended with figures of 4 for 64.  Jayden Seales claimed 3 for 42.

 West Indies and Jamaica star batsman, Chris Gayle, has admitted to some amount of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and would not want to take the medication if given a choice.

With the disease having a devastating impact on normal life over the last year, countries around the globe have already launched various campaigns to stop the spread of COVID-19 in a bid to halt its devastating impact on those most vulnerable to its effects. 

According to research, the majority of the vaccines have efficacy rates between 80 and 100 percent when it comes to preventing serious illness and deaths for those who contract the virus.  Despite the evidence of clinical trials, however, some have questioned the safety of the vaccines.  Last week, Jamaican World Champion Yohan Blake stated that he would rather not compete at the Olympics than take the vaccine.

“If I don’t have to take it, I wouldn’t want to take it. I wouldn’t want to take any vaccine at all, to be honest, because I am naturally living fine. So, I don’t want anything being injected inside of me,” Gayle told the Antigua Radio program Good Morning Jojo Radio Show.

So far, no sport has mandated that athletes looking to compete at any event be vaccinated.  Gayle, however, believes that in the future it could be a requirement for those wishing to compete.

“Down the road, there is a possibility they are going to slow you down from your earnings and say if you don’t take it you can’t do this or you can’t do that and you can’t earn. So, it’s a situation where they might hold you ransom at some stage, but for me, if I don’t have to take it, I don’t want to,” he added.

“I am sure that at some stage they are going to hold everybody ransom by saying you can’t travel, you can’t play in a particular tournament or you can’t fly on a particular airline, but I am not up for it. I’ve been tested maybe over 60 times, 70 times since I’ve been flying and playing and being in a bubble and knock wood because I haven’t caught the Covid.”

Cricket West Indies President Ricky Skerritt and Dr Kishore Shallow have officially launched their bid to lead for a second term with promises to build on their first term of their leadership of regional cricket.

John Campbell scored a patient century today as Chase’s XI reached 280 for 7 at stumps of the first day of the four-day practise match against Brathwaite’s XI at the Coolidge Cricket Ground.

Fabian Allen credits his confidence for his stand out performance against Sri Lanka on Sunday night that helped the West Indies win the third and final match of the T20 series by three wickets and subsequently take the series 2-1.

Fabian Allen smashed three sixes off the penultimate over of the match to hand the West Indies a hard-fought three-wicket win over Sri Lanka at the Coolidge Cricket Ground this evening.

The West Indies, who took the series 2-1, was staring possible defeat in the face at 105-7 after 17 overs, needing 27 from the last 18 balls but with only Kevin Sinclair and Obed McCoy to come. With Jason Holder at the other end and the West Indies needing 20 from the last two overs, Allen hit the first ball of the 19th over bowled by Akila Dananjaya for six and then ran two leg byes off the second.

He then smashed the third ball for six and then took a single off the fourth. Holder took a single from the fifth, leaving Allen to face the last ball of the over with four runs needed for victory. Allen duly obliged with his third six of the over to end unbeaten on 21 off just six balls.

Holder was not out on 14.

Chasing 132 for victory, the West Indies were put in a spin by Hasaranga de Silva 2-13 and Lakshan Sandakan 3-29, who threatened to take the match away from the home side. The former removed Evin Lewis for 21 and Lendl Simmons for 26, both batsmen playing injudicious shots to the bowler, who prior to the start, had planned to see off.

Sandakan and Dushmantha Chameera (2-23) then combined to rip the heart out of the West Indies middle order. Sandakan bowled Chris Gayle for 13 early in the piece and then returned to bowl Rovman Powell for seven and then getting Dwayne Bravo caught at short fine leg for a golden duck from consecutive deliveries as the match headed towards a thrilling climax.  

Chameera had Kieron Pollard caught behind for a duck and then bowled Nicholas Pooran for 23 to leave the West Indies in a spot of bother at 95 for 5.

Dananjaya ended with regrettable figures of 0-53 from his four overs.

Earlier, an unbeaten fifth-wicket partnership of 85 from 63 balls between Dinesh Chandimal and Ashen Bandara helped take Sri Lanka from 46 for 4, after the West Indies bowlers had combined to restrict the visitors to 46 for 4 mid-way the 10th over.

The pair took 13 off Dwayne Bravo’s final over to push the score to produce the highest fifth-wicket partnership for Sri Lanka to reach 131 for 4.

Chandimal’s unbeaten score of 54 came off 46 balls. He only hit three fours as he and his fellow batsmen were made to work hard by the West Indies bowlers, who produced a disciplined display.

Bandara’s 44 not out came from 35 balls hitting three fours and two sixes.

So restrictive was the home side’s attack they limited Sri Lanka to only eight fours and two sixes over the course of the 20-over allotment.

Fabian Allen, who returned figures of 1-13 from his four overs, took the first Sri Lankan wicket when he took a brilliant return catch to dismiss Danushka Gunathilaka for nine with only 10 runs on the board.

Nirsoshan Dickwella provided Kevin Sinclair (1-19) with his second wicket of the series caught by Jason Holder at wide mid-on for four as Sri Lanka crept to 15 for 2 in the fourth over.

Sinclair returned the favour when he took Pathum Nissanka at mid-off of Holder’s (1-27) short-of-a-length delivery for five to leave Sri Lanka struggling at 27 for 3.

Chandimal and Captain Angelo Matthews began to repair the damage with a stand of 19 when Matthews was caught behind off an Obed McCoy (1-29) delivery for 11. However, his dismissal opened the door to the record stand that took Sri Lanka’s to a competitive total at the Coolidge Cricket Ground.

The West Indies will now turn their attention to the ODI Series set to begin at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium at North Sound on March 10, 2021.

 

 

 

Sri Lanka Legends defeated West Indies Legends by five wickets with six balls to spare in the Road Safety World Series in Raipur, India on Friday.

Martin Guptill blasted New Zealand to a comprehensive seven-wicket victory in the decisive fifth Twenty20 international against Australia to secure a 3-2 series triumph on Sunday.

The Black Caps restricted Australia to 142-8 from their 20 overs after the visitors won the toss and elected to bat in Wellington, with Ish Sodhi taking 3-24.

Guptill (71 from 46 balls) eased any anxiety about a smaller run chase on a pitch being used for the third time this series, with New Zealand claiming victory with 27 balls to spare.

New Zealand's successful chase bucked the series trend of the side batting first winning every game.

Australia captain Aaron Finch said: "We probably just weren't aggressive enough with the bat. We probably let them dictate slightly, but we didn't get enough runs and kept losing wickets at regular intervals.

"A couple of us put a fair bit of time into our innings, 20, 30, 40 balls and then to not go on with that it was probably the difference in the game. If one of us gets 60 or 70, that might be a 160-170 score and then you're a couple of good power-play overs away from really squeezing."

Sodhi was named as the player of the series, finishing with 13 wickets at an average of 12.07 across five games.

The win was set up by a disciplined bowling display led by Sodhi, while Trent Boult (2-26 with 10 dot balls) did early damage, Mitchell Santner (0-21 with 10 dots) was tight and Tim Southee (2-38 with eight dots) restricted Australia at the death.

Boult trapped Josh Philippe lbw early before Finch (36 from 32 balls) and Matthew Wade (44 from 29 balls) put together a 66-run second-wicket stand.

Finch, who came under pressure earlier in the series after a poor run of form on the back of the Big Bash League, managed one six and five fours during his knock, while Wade hit two maximums and three fours.

Sodhi got the breakthrough with Finch slicing to Santner at point, leaving Australia 74-2 after 10 overs before the innings fell away, with Glenn Maxwell falling for one, Ashton Agar for six and Mitchell Marsh for 10.

Australia lost 68-6 in the final 10, including being restricted to 36-4 from the last five overs, battling an inconsistent pitch and tight New Zealand bowling.

Devon Conway (36 from 28) and Guptill combined for a 106-run opening partnership in the chase, before Glenn Phillips (34 not out from 16) finished the job.

Guptill blasted four sixes and seven fours in his knock, going at a strike rate of 154.35.

Riley Meredith (2-39) took two wickets in two balls, with Conway caught in the deep by Agar and Kane Williamson trapped lbw for a golden duck, but it was too little, too late.

The defeat compounds a bad 24 hours for the Aussies, after India's Test win over England on Saturday confirmed Australia would miss the Test Championship final.

Black Caps captain Williamson said: "Incredibly hard-fought series and momentum shifts throughout. Then to finish with three games on a surface, try and get a read on it was a real challenge."

West Indies coach, Phil Simmons, believes batsmen must avoid the temptation of being too tentative in looking to navigate the Sri Lanka spin attack, as the team looks to bounce back in the third and decisive T20 international, on Sunday.

The Windies took the opening match of the series with a comfortable four-wicket win, with 41 balls remaining.  On Friday, however, Sri Lanka came roaring back to claim the second match after a star performance from the team’s spinners.

Lakshan Sandakan and Wanidu Hasaranga proved particularly hard to negotiate, each claiming three wickets, with Sandakan boasting a miserly economy rate of 2.73.  In pursuit of Sri Lanka’s 160 for 6, the Windies were restricted before being bundled out of 116.  Things had not gone smoothly against the spin in the first match, despite the result, with Akila Danajaya claiming a four-for, including a third over hat-trick before being taken apart by Windies captain Kieron Pollard who smashed 6 sixes off his over.  The coach believes a similar approach could pay dividends in the decider.

“The key is playing them in the right way.  You can’t be too tentative when you are playing against good spinners,” Simmons told members of the media via a Zoom press conference on Saturday.

“We have to still go out there and look to score against them and playing cricket how we know how to play cricket,” he added.

“All the guys who played IPL would have played against these spinners or even better spinners and done well, so that is what we have to make sure we do tomorrow.”

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