Following an extraordinary display of batting prowess by Sunil Narine, scoring his maiden T20 century with 109 runs for Kolkata Knight Riders, West Indies T20 captain Rovman Powell is making a compelling case for Narine to come out of retirement and represent the West Indies in the upcoming T20 World Cup, scheduled to kick off in the Caribbean and the USA starting on June 1.

Powell's Rajasthan Royals clinched a thrilling victory over Narine's Kolkata Knight Riders by two wickets at Eden Gardens on Tuesday, but it was Narine's exceptional century that captured attention and reignited discussions about his international comeback.

Just days ago, Narine had been adamant about watching the T20 World Cup from home after announcing his retirement from international cricket in November 2023. However, his post-match remarks on Tuesday hinted at a potential change of heart.

"It is what it is, but let's see what the future holds," Narine stated when asked about reconsidering his retirement decision after his stellar performance.

Powell, determined to sway Narine's decision, disclosed his ongoing efforts to convince the seasoned cricketer to return to the West Indies squad.

"For the last 12 months, I've been whispering in his ears, but he's blocked out everyone," Powell revealed. "I've asked Pollard, Bravo, Pooran. Hopefully, before they select the team, they can crack his code," Powell revealed.

Powell's persistence underscores the value Narine could bring to the West Indies team, especially in a high-stakes tournament like the T20 World Cup. Narine's experience, coupled with his remarkable skills showcased in domestic leagues, makes him an enticing prospect for Powell and other team selectors.

As Powell and his counterparts continue to advocate for Narine's return, cricket fans eagerly await Narine's final decision, which could have significant implications for the West Indies' T20 World Cup campaign. Will Narine heed Powell's call and make a dramatic comeback to international cricket? Only time will tell as the tournament approaches and team selections are finalized.

 

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.

“Where before 2023 we were averaging six or so runs per over between overs number seven to 15 whereas international teams were going at seven, close to eight, we have now changed that to seven. Still, we need improvement but the small measures that we’re taking and the preciseness with which we’re working has enabled us to take little strides,” Sammy noted.

“Where our team is really strong is in the engine room. What I call the engine room is from number four to seven, where you have your all-rounders coming in and keeping on the pressure. I’m quite happy with where we are as a T20 team as we’re building towards the main event. I see a group of men that believe that they can win,” he declared.

Sammy’s side, to be led by Jamaican Rovman Powell, will contest Group C alongside New Zealand, Afghanistan, Papua New Guinea and Uganda in the preliminary stage of the June 1-29 tournament.

Their group campaign will be spread across Guyana, St Lucia and Trinidad, and Sammy said much of the planning took into consideration the various venues.

“A lot goes into our thinking when we select different teams and with the different venues that we have, if you see the different teams we play, it’s right in line with the strength of our team and understanding what it will take to defeat these guys,” Sammy shared.

“The biggest thing for us has been preparation and it shows that when we prepare well, we’ve given ourselves the best chance of performing. The system that we’ve implemented is just geared towards winning the World Cup, and that’s what we have to do,” he ended.

In a thrilling turn of events at the 2024 draft of The Hundred, five West Indies power-hitting batters clinched top-bracket contracts, setting the stage for an electrifying season ahead. The draft, held on Wednesday, saw these dynamic players securing lucrative deals worth £125,000 each, promising an explosive display of cricketing prowess when the latest season of The Hundred kicks off on July 23.

The Northern Superchargers made the headlines by selecting Nicholas Pooran as their first pick, highlighting the team's strategic focus on acquiring top-tier talent. Pooran's exceptional batting prowess and aggressive style make him a formidable force on the field, adding depth and flair to the Superchargers' lineup.

London Spirit secured the services of two West Indian powerhouses, with Andre Russell and Shimron Hetmyer joining their ranks. Known for their ability to smash boundaries with ease, Russell and Hetmyer are expected to bring an exciting brand of cricket to the Spirit camp, captivating fans with their explosive stroke play.

Meanwhile, Southern Brave strengthened their batting lineup by acquiring the services of Kieron Pollard, adding the experienced all-rounder's firepower to their arsenal. Pollard's ability to turn the game on its head with his big-hitting prowess makes him a valuable asset for the Brave as they aim for glory in The Hundred.

Rovman Powell emerged as a top pick for Trent Rockets, further solidifying the West Indian presence in the tournament. Powell's aggressive batting style and knack for scoring quick runs make him a perfect fit for the Rockets' lineup, providing the team with a dynamic middle-order batsman capable of changing the course of a game single-handedly.

While the draft brought joy to these five West Indian stars, there was disappointment for Trinidad and Tobago's mystery spinner Sunil Narine, who went undrafted. Despite his absence from the draft, Narine remains a formidable force in the world of cricket, with his unique bowling skills and all-round abilities.

Having already identified a powerhouse batting line-up, West Indies white-ball Head coach Darren Sammy says the only task left is to assign specific roles for bowlers to be fully prepared for this year’s ICC Men's Twenty20 (T20) World Cup at home in June.

Cricket’s shortest format remains a strong suit for West Indies, who won both their T20 World Cup titles in 2012 and 2016 under Sammy’s captaincy.

The regional side again showcased their prowess when they won T20 series against South Africa, India and England in 2023, and posted three successive 200-plus scores in Australia earlier this year, despite losing that series 2-1. Those results have left Sammy upbeat about the prospects, as they look ahead to the global showpiece to be hosted jointly in the West Indies and United States.

“The way my batters batted, I think it’s the first time a team had scored over 200 three-consecutive times whether batting first or chasing, and it speaks volumes of the power that we have in that squad. It sends a strong message to the world from our batting group that West Indies is a dangerous force,” Sammy said in a recent Cricket West Indies interview.

“I’ve said it before to my guys. I said to them, ‘I’ve seen this team before, this type of power, the explosiveness’. It was a team that I captained before, so to see it eight years since I left the game... man, it’s exciting times for us in the World Cup coming in June," he added.