West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo has officially announced his retirement from international cricket, following a disappointing title defense for the team at the T20 World Cup.

The West Indies still have one fixture remaining against Australia but have officially been eliminated after losing to Sri Lanka on Thursday.  Overall, the team lost three matches and won one.  The West Indies' lone win so far came against Bangladesh, after losing to England and South Africa to open the tournament.

Ahead of the World Cup, the 38-year-old Bravo had suggested that the tournament would be his last for the region, after a long and decorated career.

I think the time has come," Bravo to the ICC Cricket media channel.

 "I've had a very good career. To represent the West Indies for 18 years, had some ups and downs, but as I look back at it I'm very grateful to represent the region and the Caribbean people for so long,” he added.

Since making his debut in 2006, against New Zealand, Bravo went on to represent the West Indies 90 times in T20 internationals.  Overall, he has made 223 appearances for the Caribbean team in all formats.

"To win three ICC trophies, two with my captain [Daren Sammy] on the left here. One thing I am proud about is that the era of cricketers we had we were able to make a name for ourselves on the global stage and not only do that but have silverware to show for it,” he added.

As for the current campaign, Bravo admitted that it did not go the way the team wanted it to, but that he hoped to be able to still pass on his knowledge to the upcoming generation.

"For me now I want to try and pass on whatever experience and information I have with the younger players," he said. "I think in the white-ball formats West Indies cricket have a bright future and it's important for us to keep supporting the guys and keep encouraging them.

"It wasn't the World Cup we expected, it wasn't the World Cup we wanted as players. We shouldn't feel sorry for ourselves, it was a tough competition, we should keep our heads high."

 

 

 West Indies captain Kieron Pollard believes Thursday’s crucial T20 World Cup clash against Sri Lanka represents an opportunity for the team to break free from its shackles, so to speak, particularly as it relates to the batting line-up.

To say a West Indies line-up, filled with explosive batting talent, has struggled to ignite so far seems a bit of an understatement.  The team began the tournament being bowled out for 55 by England, then collapsing to 143 against South Africa after a promising start.  The team got 142 in a win against Bangladesh but have yet to put in a convincing display at the crease.

With a run rate of 1.598, the team has the worst run rate in Group I and the third poorest overall.  After three matches Evin Lewis is the team’s leading scorer with 68 runs but that total is not in the tournament’s top 15.  Having lost two of its first three games and low run rate the team is on the outside looking as it relates to their chances of staying in contention for the semi-finals.

“The guys are confident, we know exactly what’s needed from a run rate perspective and we’ll take all things into consideration when that match starts,” Pollard told members of the media on Wednesday.

“I believe it’s very important that we try to go through the process of trying to improve each and every game as a team and especially from a batting perspective,” he added.

“It’s an opportunity now, guys can kind of take off the shackles that have been kind of holding us back in terms of our batting performances, there’s no secret about that.  Having said that the first thing to think about is winning the cricket game.”

 

 

 

West Indies white-ball captain Kieron Pollard suffered a muscle injury to his left thigh in the match against Bangladesh and will be assessed ahead of their crucial T20 World Cup match against Sri Lanka on Thursday.

West Indies captain Kieron Pollard is confident the team has done enough work to address concerns surrounding an inability to rotate the strike ahead of the start of the T20 World Cup.

The Caribbean side will open the tournament on Saturday against England but despite being defending champions will have several questions to answer.  One of those recurring issues has been the ratio of the team’s use of traditional hitting versus rotating the strike with singles.

In the past, the Windies have had success with their power-hitting game, winning the tournament twice in just such a fashion.  In recent years, however, the team has shown a propensity to get bogged down looking for boundaries.  Pollard, however, insists that the team has been looking to address the issue, but were at the same time not looking to get away from their style of play.

“A lot of work has been done behind the scenes.  The guys have worked tirelessly to get to where we are right now in terms of trying to cover our bases,” Pollard told members of the media on Friday.

“I’ve said before that we try to keep our strengths and work on our weaknesses.  We’ve accepted certain things and gone back behind the scenes and hopefully, we will see a difference,” he added.

“In terms of the two games that we played, guys didn’t show that intent and different things might have come out but we are confident that the guys have done what is needed and will look to hit the ground running come the first game.”

Babar Azam’s half-century for Pakistan helped condemn West Indies to a seven-wicket loss in their first warm-up match in Dubai on Monday.

West Indies T20 captain, Kieron Pollard, insists he remains unperturbed by the indifferent form of some players heading into the ICC T20 World Cup as there is still enough time to get things right.

With the start of the tournament just a few days away, there has been some concern raised regarding the form of a few of the team’s potential match-winners based on their performances in lead-up tournaments this year, most recently the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and Indian Premier League (IPL).

Falling into that category and of primary concern would be the form of high-impact pair Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran, whose IPL form this season best illustrates the point.  The duo set the IPL alight for Punjab Kings XI last season and such form would have been welcome heading into next week.

In 2020, Pooran played 14 matches scoring 353 runs at an average of 35.30, by comparison, the player’s most recent campaign has ended with 85 runs at an average of 7.72, in 12 games.  For Gayle, 2020 saw him score 288 runs and average a healthy 41.14 in 7 games, however, this time around he could only manage 193 runs at an average of 21.44 in 10 games. 

Pollard, however, believes players who might not be in form still have plenty of time to kick into gear for the global showpiece, where they will start as defending champions.

“If we look too much into the past, then that is where sometimes we get ourselves into trouble,” Pollard told members of the media on Tuesday.

“Let’s deal with what we have in the present, the guys that have confidence, roll with them, the guys that don’t we try to get them into that zone with some practice sessions,” he added.

“We have a couple more games and then the big one, which is the World Cup, so from a perspective of being concerned, I know when it comes to the international stage it is about personal pride and individuals will want to show what they have to offer.”

 

      

 

As the 2021 ICC T20 World Cup draws ever closer, some observers are still in disbelief at the squad Cricket West Indies selectors have chosen to defend the title the West Indies won in 2016.

Among them is Sir Vivian Richards, a man considered by many to be the greatest batsman of all time and one of the most destructive.

Richards, who played on the West Indies teams that won the Prudential World Cup in 1975 and 1979, said he still cannot believe that former West Indies captain Jason Holder, was not among the 15-man squad named for the world cup.

Holder, who played well in the recent CPL and took 16 wickets for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL this season, was only named among the four reserve players who will travel with the team to the United Arab Emirates where the West Indies will begin the defence of their title on October 23.

The decision by the selectors doesn’t sit well with the Master Blaster.

“I felt maybe it could have been a misprint and then hearing the news as well you think you were not hearing right at that particular time,” Sir Vivian told the Antigua Observer.

“We may have our issues with Jason when he was in charge as captain of the team, but we can never doubt the individual’s ability and his talent and I just felt sad that someone with such ability couldn’t make a West Indies T20, so that suggests to me that we must be seriously blessed with talented individuals the calibre of Jason Holder.”

Despite his misgivings, Richards urged fans to get behind the team as it goes for a third world title having won the tournament in 2012 and 2016.

West Indies open their defence against England in Dubai.

 

Champions Dwayne Bravo and Chris Gayle and will be looking to make it “seventh heaven” when they turn out in the #MenInMaroon for the marquee ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.

The legendary duo has played all six tournaments since its inception in 2007 in South Africa and will want to have maximum impact as we enter the seventh edition in the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

They later played in 2009 in England, 2010 at home in the Caribbean, 2012 in Sri Lanka, 2014 in Bangladesh and the last edition in 2016 in India. Gayle is the undisputed king of T20 cricket and the Universe Boss has dominated this format everywhere he has set foot on the planet. Bravo is not far behind with his expert bowling and is a sharp thinker and tactician.

Back in 2012, Gayle adopted The Gangnam style as the unofficial theme song for the team and fans joined the global street party. For Bravo, it was an extra-special moment in time as the epic performance came on the night of his birthday. He had the pleasure of taking the catch to seal the sensational result. To savour the memory, he kept the ball and still has it at home.

“It was my 29th birthday and was a very special moment. It was the first time we won the T20 World Cup and as players, we wanted to prove to the world, we were the best, as individuals and as a team,” Bravo said.

“To do it on my birthday was special and something I could never forget. I still have that ball at home … was a dream come true. A lot of people didn’t give us and chance and picked four teams and didn’t have West Indies among their top four. To win on that night against Sri Lanka on their home turf was a great end to the tournament and we proved ourselves as a team.”

Bravo and Gayle have also had some other great moments in T20 World Cups. None better than at Eden Gardens in Kolkata in 2016 when West Indies celebrated that famous victory over England with Bravo leading the merriment with his song “Champion”.

Gayle is the only man to hit two centuries in the T20 World Cup. In his very first outing against South Africa back in September 2007, he set ablaze the Wanderers in Johannesburg with a sizzling 117 off just 57 balls. It was just the start kind of start that world cricket needed and set the trend for more of his power-packing pyrotechnic displays.

With a sense of occasion, and with an estimated global viewing audience of over 500 million fixed eyes fixed to the Wankhede Stadium, Gayle set the tone for the tournament. It was magical and memorable as he muscled 11 mammoth sixes and lit up the Mumbai night sky to score 100 not out off just 48 balls.

Bravo recalled the moments.

 “I remember I had a launch event in Mumbai and had my teammates and friends. We had a good start to the tournament, and we formed a great unit. Chris made a hundred and started the dance and everyone was inspired and motivated … it became the anthem, and we did the dance and kept on winning,” the allrounder said.

”We won the final the song was the most played. It was a special moment for West Indian people around the world. Everywhere we went there were celebrations. We want to do it again this time around.”

West Indies captain Kieron Pollard believes the team’s overall experience will be a critical factor in the bid to successfully defend its World T20 title.

The final 15 selected to represent the West Indies, for the tournament in the United Arab Emirates and Oman, has stirred up considerable debate in the Caribbean, with several questioning the age of the squad.  At current, the team boasts four players over the age of 35, with an average age of 30.6.

Pollard, however, sees the likes of Chris Gayle, Ravi Rampaul, and Lendl Simmons in the squad, several of who have won multiple World Cups, as a major advantage, particularly in tight situations.

“It’s great to have all these guys and myself playing together again,” Pollard told India.com.

“This hasn’t happened in a very long time. No matter which way you look at it you can’t beat experience because we have seen different scenarios time and time again,” he added.

“We react (to those scenarios) and we get the other players to react and understand the magnitude of what we are in and what we are about to do. Having guys like that to lean on is great, and guys that can get you out of situations where people might think, or you might think as well, that you can’t get out of.

“The younger guys get to learn and get to understand some of the things that are needed to be successful, especially from a T20 aspect. As I’ve said before, we would have seen it time and time again all over the world, different situations, different conditions, different bowlers – having guys like that to help the younger guys, I think you can’t ask for anything better than that.”

 

 

The Universe Boss Chris Gayle has left the IPL bubble citing bubble fatigue and a need to stay fresh for next month’s ICC T20 World Cup.

Former Barbadian-born Test batsman, Roland Butcher, does not believe the Cricket West Indies (CWI) panel of selectors deserves all the vitriol that it has received following its announcement of the West Indies T20 squad for the World Cup.

The decisions to include Chris Gayle, omit Jason Holder from the final 15, and the inclusion of veteran fast bowler Ravi Rampaul have been among those that have drawn criticism.  Others have called for the inclusion of players that put in strong performances in the recently concluded CPL, which includes the likes of Sherfane Rutherford and Odean Smith.

Butcher, who has himself sat on a selection panel for Barbados, has insisted some of the picks were understandable and insists that in fact, some players left themselves out of contention and does not see why the panel should bear that burden.

“In terms of the selection, Jason holder really should have been selected, because he may not have done well of late but he is a proven player if we use him correctly.  I think Jason is someone you use to bowl four overs there and then, let him bat later on the game, and he is also a good fielder,” Butcher told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“In terms of the guys who didn’t make it, everyone is shouting and screaming that Rutherford should have made it.  People forget that Rutherford has played for the West Indies for some time and he has a poor average in actual fact,” he added

“…Roger Harper didn’t say it, but if you notice Rutherford for the last few years has not played for Guyana, except for the white ball competition, that is because he has refused to take a fitness test and that is obviously why he was not selected because he was dropped before, and the caseis obviously still the same.  Why are selectors being crucified for leaving him out, by his actions he has made himself unavailable for selection.”

Butcher also did not agree with the criticism of the bowling selection as he is confident that both Rampaul and Chase can contribute meaningfully to the team.

“Roston Chase upset the applecart because no one was looking for him to perform the way he did, by doing that he forced his way into the side.  In terms of Oshane Thomas and Rampaul, Fidel Edwards really caused them to have a problem because he was picked for the 15 matches but unfortunately got injured and was able to show his best,” he said.

  “In Rampaul’s case he is proven at the international level and I can see why they have gone for him in the current crop of fast bowlers and Thomas, we’ve seen his inconsistency, but Smith is one for the future.”

 

Former West Indies fast bowler turned analyst, Richard ‘Prof’ Edwards, believes veteran batsman Chris Gayle could still add plenty of value as an x-factor, with the team set to continue preparations for the upcoming T20 World Cup.

The big-hitting left-handed was included in the 18-man squad for a flurry of upcoming T20 matches, in the Caribbean, which will include series against South Africa, Australia, and Pakistan.

The 41-year-old batsman’s inclusion, along with the inclusion of a few other senior players, has continued to divide opinion.  While some believe the players are solid and experienced additions to any potential World Cup squad, there are others who believe the focus should be on developing younger players.

Edwards, however, believes a player like Gayle's ability to change a game means he should very much remain a consideration, despite other potential drawbacks.

 “You do want fellows to be very mobile.  The trouble that we all know with Chris Gayle is that if you hit the ball to him, he will catch it, but he’s not as fast these days, he slowed down quite a lot,” Edwards told the Mason and Guest program.

“He is still such a dangerous player with the bat, though, if he gets away and hits an 80 off 28, off 30 balls, you’re in with a chance to win the match,” he added.

“If you put him at first slip, short extra cover, short mid-wicket and say well ‘they may get one of two past him, but we’ll still be in a position to win because he has made 80 runs off 30 balls.”

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.

 

England is among the T20 World Cup favourites.

 It is no secret that England has put a lot of focus on white-ball cricket in the last eight years. The results were clear when they trampled South Africa at the end of 2020 winning all three T20 games. It was at that point; they rose to the number one T20 team in the world. 

 Since then, they have dominated in this format of the game, having won their last five T20I and eight of their last T20I series overall. Despite struggles with their batting during the recently concluded Test series against India, it is evident that the English possess firepower in their T20 lineup.

 In the ongoing T20I against India, opener Jason Roy appears to be in great form, having blasted 49 of 32 balls. David Malan, who averages an excellent average of 54 in T20I, is also an asset with 24 from 20 balls while remaining not out.

 In this shorter format of the game, England’s rest and rotation policy has worked to their advantage and has been endorsed by England’s T20 captain Eoin Morgan.

One notable example of the benefit of their rotation policy is the performance of England’s pace bowler Jofra Archer. Having struggled with an elbow injury, the 25-year-old Archer missed two Tests in England’s 3-1 series defeat by India, he returned taking in 3 for 23 in the first T20I. 

The England Cricket and Wales Cricket Board has also maximized the benefits of having their players in the Indian Premier League. The ECB has made provisions for 13 of their players in this year’s IPL even at the expense of missing the first Test of the summer. 

“As a white-ball captain planning towards World Cups, certainly over the last five years, we’ve used it ( the IPL) and benefitted from it hugely in the development of our players and the confidence that we’ve built in the changing room in guys like Ben Stokes and Jos Butler going there and being MVP and bringing the knowledge they’ve learnt into our dressing room,” said Morgan is endorsing the move to allow their players the opportunity to play in the IPL.

A combination of all these factors places England among the favourites for the ICC T20 World Cup.

  Welcome back Shai Hope

West Indies right-hand batsman Shai Hope announced his return to international last Wednesday with his 10th ODI century as West Indies beat Sri Lanka by 8 wickets at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua.

Due to a lack of form, Hope was dropped for the West Indies tour of New Zealand. He missed the tour of Bangladesh after he was infected by the Covid-19 virus.

However, while his Test form has been poor, Hope has been among the best batsmen in the world in the 50-over version of the game.

In ODIs, he continues to stamp his authority, having amassed 3483 runs at an average of 53.58. The 27-year-old hit a brilliant century in the first T20 match against Sri Lanka and maintained that form in the second match ODI, scoring 84 from 104 balls.

His maturity opening the innings for the West Indies has helped his team and the fact that the West Indies have been winning recently and he has the backing of Captain Kieron Pollard, would have helped his confidence.

“For us in the white-ball cricket Hope is the guy. He has been given a role he gives us a foundation and others can bat around him. In one day, cricket, he’s been fantastic,” Pollard said after Hope’s century in the first ODI.

Hope will now be banking transferring his form to Test cricket where he could be a boon for the West Indies for the foreseeable future.

 

Fidel Edwards is harbouring ambitions of representing the West Indies at the ICC T20 World Cup later this year.

Nicholas Pooran believes the West Indies’ low ranking in T20 cricket is due mainly to the fact that it hasn’t been able to put its best players on the field of play often enough.

The West Indies are currently ranked 10th in the ICC T20 rankings despite having some of the best players in the world in their talent pool. However, Pooran anticipates that the team could show its full potential at the next world cup.

“I just believe that most of the series West Indies play, they don't play with their strongest team. And by strongest I mean Chris Gayle, Pollard, Russell, Narine, Bravo in the team together,” the talented Trinidadian said in a recent interview with ESPNCricinfo.

“In the last couple of years, we haven't witnessed these players together. Either most of them weren't selected, some were unavailable ... but definitely a case around that.

“We couldn't play as a team after the last T20 World Cup. This, I am saying from a player's and a fan's point of view. Not seeing some of my favourite players represent West Indies might be one of the reasons.”

Notwithstanding the disappointment that comes with that reality, Pooran said he is looking forward to the coming T20 World Cup where he expects to be a better player holding his own amongst the best players from the region.

“Personally, I am looking forward to the T20 World Cup. As a team, our strength is T20s. For the last couple of years, we've been doing good in World Cups, but as a team where we are ranked [10th], it doesn't show how good our team actually is,” he said, indicating that believes that situation could change in the near future.

“Most of the senior guys are coming back to the West Indies team ... like Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo, Andre Russell and Sunil Narine are all coming back eventually.

“As a player, I am especially excited because I want to do good for the West Indies people and put a smile on their faces. My record for West Indies in T20s isn't that good and I want to improve that for the next couple of months.”

 

 

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