Legendary West Indian batsman Sir Vivian Richards is backing the regional side to go all the way and claim a third ICC Men’s T20 World Cup title at the upcoming tournament.

The Darren Sammy-coached and Rovman Powell-captained West Indies will square off against some of the world's best teams at the June 1-29 showpiece, which will be jointly hosted in the Caribbean and United States. West Indies won the 2012 and 2016 editions of the tournament.

Richards gave the team a rousing vote of confidence as he spoke during the ongoing global trophy tour, which touched down in his homeland Antigua earlier this week.

“It’s really exciting to see that one of the biggest sporting events on the global calendar will be coming to the West Indies and the USA and we will have matches right here in Antigua. For me, and my fellow Antiguans this is a tremendous event and we as absolutely delighted to host the world on our shores," Richards shared.

“As I look ahead to the matches, I’m backing my West Indies team to deliver on the big day. We have a very good team, and they look united under Rovman Powell, so I’m throwing my full support behind my team. It would be great to win this ICC Men’s T20 World Cup on our home soil. We won twice before … those were way (in Sri Lanka in 2012 and India in 2016), so a third title would be great, and where better, than at home in front of our great West Indian fans to celebrate," he added.

Richards was joined by former Antigua and West Indies greats Sir Andy Roberts, Sir Richie Ricardson, and Sir Curtly Ambrose as they posed for photos and videos at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium. During the session, they also offered words of encouragement to several young cricketers who were specially selected to attend the event and were delighted to meet their heroes.

The trophy tour made several other stops at iconic locations – Shirley Heights, Nelson Dockyard; and Heritage Quay, and the Antigua Recreation Ground in St John’s. It was also hosted by Governor General Sir Rodney Williams, Prime Minister Gaston Browne and Minister of Sports Daryll Matthew. ICC and CWI thanked the Government of Antigua and Barbuda for their tremendous support in hosting the trophy tour events and the upcoming tournament.

West Indies have been drawn alongside Afghanistan, New Zealand, Uganda and Papua New Guinea in the opening round. They bowl off their title hunt against PNG on June 2, at the Guyana National Stadium, followed by a clash with newcomers Uganda at the same venue on June 8. From there they travel to Trinidad to face New Zealand at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy on June 12. Their final preliminary contest will be against the Afghans on June 17 at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground in Saint Lucia.

 

Cricket West Indies (CWI) vice president Azim Bassarath has declared his intentions to join the effort to possibly coerce spinner Sunil Narine to come out of international retirement for the upcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup to be hosted in the Caribbean and United States.

Bassarath's declaration follows that of West Indies T20 captain Rovman Powell, who has led the charge of trying to get Narine back to the regional setup ahead of the June 1-29 global showpiece.

Narine, 35, confirmed his retirement from the international game last November. However, after a stellar 56-ball 109 for Kolkota Knight Riders (KKR) against Rajasthan Royals in an IPL tie on April 16, Powell said he’s been trying to coax Narine to rejoin the squad for the past year “but he’s blocked out everyone.”

At the same time, the Jamaican revealed that he sought the assistance of Nicholas Pooran and retired international stars Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo to convince their compatriot to return. Former maroon fast bowler Tony Gray also believes Narine would be a welcomed addition to Darren Sammy's side to challenge for a third T20 World Cup title.

West Indies won the 2012 and 2016 editions of the tournament.

After KKR's IPL win against the Lucknow Super Giants on April 14, Narine when asked about the possibility of returning to the West Indies team by former West Indies teammate Samuel Badree, pointed out that “I will be watching from home, Badree.”

However, Narine in another interview on Tuesday, appeared to soften his stance about making the proverbial U-turn, when he said, “It is what it is, but we'll have to see what the future holds.”

Bassarath explained that he has tried unsuccessfully to make contact with Narine, but he intends to keep at it.

“I haven’t spoken to him [Narine], and he hasn’t spoken to me. Everybody is asking for him to change his mind and come represent West Indies, at least for this last chance. It is my intention to give him a shout, and if I have to beg him to come back and make himself available to play in this tournament. Because this is what the people need," he said in a T&T Newsday article.

Bassarath, the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) president Bassarath also revealed that he reached out to Queen’s Park Cricket Club president Nigel Camacho – Narine’s domestic club – for help.

“I have also spoken to the QPCC president, and he indicated to me that he will also reach out to Sunil to see if he can change his mind to come on board," he shared.

West Indies are set to open their T20 World Cup campaign against Papa New Guinea in Guyana, on June 2.  Afghanistan, New Zealand, and Uganda are the other teams in the group.

England bowler Jofra Archer admits he may not be able to cope with any fresh injury problems, revealing “I don’t know if I have another stop-start year in me”.

Archer has been plagued by a litany of fitness problems since bursting on to the international scene in 2019 but is on the comeback trail with hopes of featuring in June’s T20 World Cup in the United States of America and his native Caribbean.

The seamer is not yet certain if he will make the tournament, having last played competitively 11 months ago following a repeat stress fracture in his right elbow, but insists avoiding further setbacks is crucial.

The mental and physical toll has been considerable on Archer and he accepts another breakdown could be one too far.

“It’s been a while and honestly, I don’t know if I’ve got another stop-start year in me. That’s the truth, I don’t know if I’ve got another one,” he told the 4Cast’s Athlete’s Voice podcast.

“I haven’t played cricket for a whole 12 months as yet. Last year I played from January to May. I think the year before that, I played maybe one or two games for Sussex, so you know I’ve had a whole year of nothing.”

England are taking a cautious approach with his latest return, taking an early decision to withdraw him from the Indian Premier League and pre-emptively ruling him out of the rigours of Test cricket until next year.

Instead they hope to unleash him in familiar territory in the West Indies, where they will look to defend their 20-over crown.

He shares that ambition but is refusing to count on it.

“Come the first game in June I really do want to be in the team. The last two years have been really stop-start, so I just think that, you know, everyone’s going to just take it a bit easy,” he said.

“If I’m ready then fine, happy days, but if I’m not they’re still supporting me. Worst-case scenario, I don’t really want to think about this, but even if I don’t make it to the World Cup for whatever reason, there’s still the T20 Blast, there’s still The Hundred.

“There’s still cricket that I haven’t got a chance to play in the last couple of years, so as much as I want to play in the World Cup, if it doesn’t happen for whatever reason, at least I still know I could be somewhat active.”

And if Archer does manage to pull an England shirt back on during their visit to his home island of Barbados, he is expecting to see some friendly faces in the crowd.

“I know it’s not dog friendly in the Caribbean as much as it is here in the UK, but I’d love my family and my dogs at that first game back,” he added.

Jamaica's iconic Grammy award winning artist Sean Paul and Soca superstar Kes have joined forces to produce the official anthem of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup to be hosted in the West Indies and United States.

With just 50 days to go until the start of the global cricket spectacle, production is in full swing for the track that will reverberate around the world when 20 international teams come together across the Caribbean and United States from June 1-29. The anthem is being produced by Michael “Tano” Montano and will be launched in the coming weeks, together with the music video, which will feature cameos from several well-known superstars.

Grammy-award winning artist Sean Paul expressed delight to be working on the project.

“Cricket has always been a major part of our culture, so I'm honoured to record the official anthem for the T20 World Cup. I'm a big fan of Kes and the track will feature a nice touch of the Caribbean, with some dance, to an international vibe and of course Soca - it will be a real anthem for people to sing out and feel the spirit of unity," he shared.

Soca superstar Kes, whose given name is Kees Dieffenthaller, echoed similar sentiments.

"Our mission has always been about bringing worlds together, so blending cricket, (dear to us in the Caribbean), with music is a powerful combination. Shoutout to Sean Paul, Tano, and the whole team for creating this musical vibe. Can't wait for everyone to sing along to this worldwide anthem and bring the party to stadiums across the West Indies and USA," Kes noted.

 

The anthem will add to the excitement that has been building since the World Cup trophy tour launch in New York. The Caribbean leg of the trophy tour continued in Barbados on Friday.

Claire Furlong, ICC's General Manager, Marketing and Communications welcomed the excitement around the tournament.

“Excitement is building towards the ICC Men's T20 World Cup, with the first match between USA and Canada starting in just 50 days' time at the Grand Prairie Stadium in Texas. We are delighted to have two globally recognised artists who are at the top of their genres in Sean Paul and Kes produce our tournament anthem, which will set the tone for the biggest cricket carnival spectacle ever. Fans can expect a song that will reflect the Caribbean identity, while retaining universal appeal for global cricket fans, themed around the event’s marketing campaign ‘Out of this World’," Furlong shared.

Meanwhile, ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 Tournament Director Fawwaz Baksh concurred.

"The upcoming launch of the official tournament anthem led by Grammy Award winner Sean Paul and Soca icon Kes comes as we get ready to launch party-stand tickets which is something fans have been eagerly awaiting. Adding to the already hyped excitement, the World Cup trophy tour is now in the Caribbean and people from all walks of life are looking forward to seeing the coveted trophy in person. It’s an exciting time in the West Indies and USA and we are looking forward to welcoming fans from around the world to be part of an out of this world T20 World Cup experience," Baksh said.

The ICC's announcement of the artists to feature on the official anthem comes as party-stand tickets for World Cup matches are also set to go on sale on April 15, at tickets.t20worldcup.com, with prices starting at just US$25. General tickets are also available for purchase on the ticketing website and will be available at box offices across the Caribbean when they open in the coming weeks.

Party-stand tickets will be available for all matches across the Caribbean, including those for the Group Stage, Super 8, semi-finals and final. Additionally, limited hospitality package options are available for all matches across the West Indies. In the USA, packages to all eight matches in New York, including for India v Pakistan on June 9, are now available to purchase.

As the much-anticipated ICC Men’s T20 World Cup draws closer, Cricket West Indies president Dr Kishore Shallow expressed satisfaction with the region’s state of readiness for global showpiece which is jointly hosted by in the Caribbean and United States.

Shallow’s remarks followed a recent visit Kensington Oval in Barbados where he was assured that all was on course for the June 1-29 tournament.

Barbados will host nine matches– five in the group stage, three in the Super Eight second stage, and the final on June 29, which will mark the third such ICC marquee game to be staged at the venue following on from the historic One-Day International World Cup in 2007 and the 2010 T20 World Cup.

Though West Indies will not feature in any group stage games at the Oval, a box office fixture between reigning T20 World champions England and Australia is on the cards for June 8.

Ambassador Noel Lynch, chairman of the National Organising Committee, in a recent media conference said that the major elements of the storied venue would be delivered to tournament authorities next week while the remaining elements would be completed by month end.

“On the eastern concourse where there’s the party stand and the temporary facility, and all of those facilities that are coming in, we are sure that we’ll hand over those on the 30th of April. But we’ll hand over the major parts that you know – the 3Ws, the Greenidge and Haynes, the Media Centre, the field of play, the scoreboards, all of the electronic boards – will be finished within a week and handed over,” Lynch said.

“I think that’s ahead of schedule. I think Barbados has done an exceptional job. It wasn’t my job … when I came back from the US, we were already very far advanced in terms of the progress – the infrastructural progress at Kensington Oval,” he added.

Shallow agreed, as he gave the thumbs up to Barbados and other host venues across the region, who are well advanced in preparation for the tournament.

“Well ahead of schedule. I’m happy with the progress we’ve made so far with the World Cup and it’s definitely going to be a spectacle of an event and something we should all look forward to,” Shallow said.

He later revealed that there was one territory that was lagging behind in their preparations, but was reluctant to name the island.

Along with Barbados, games will also be played in Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

“Only one facility in the Caribbean, one country (is) probably a couple weeks behind schedule, but we have their commitment that they are going to accelerate. It might take some day and night application but no doubt, by June 1, every country in the Caribbean is going to be ready,” Shallow shared.

With the ICC Men’s Twenty20 World Cup now less than two months away, West Indies Head coach, Daren Sammy says he has just about settled on his squad for the global showpiece, which will be jointly hosted in the Caribbean and United States.

Sammy, who captained the West Indies in T20 titles in 2012 and 2016, is aiming to cop his first title as a coach and, by extension, lead the regional side to a third crown. As such, he pointed to three Ps –personnel, preparation and purpose –which has guided his decision-making where selecting players is concerned.

“We’ve selected squads and exposed about 22 players over the last year in preparation for this main event that is coming, and fine-tuning and giving clear guidance as to what roles are required in the different positions, to help us to be successful,” Sammy told journalists during a press briefing on Monday.

“So you would’ve seen … different guys getting different opportunities over a consistent period of time in different roles, and it has brought us down to probably the final 15, 16, 20 players, and it’s about fine-tuning now. I’m probably quite sure as to what my World Cup team will be. It’s based on the measures that we’ve taken and the strategic roles we have given players,” he added.

Sammy expressed satisfaction with the entire thought process that goes into their preparation to ensure that players’ mindset and performances align with their objectives. He also welcomed the fact that the core group of players are already showing a heightened sense of belief, which he believes is vital to their charge.