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.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Sunil Narine has made it clear that he will not be part of the West Indies squad for the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup in the Caribbean this June. Narine, who has not represented the West Indies since 2019, reiterated his decision after the Kolkata Knight Riders' emphatic victory over the Lucknow Super Giants at Eden Gardens on Sunday.

Former West Indies cricketer turned commentator Samuel Badree asked Narine about his World Cup plans during a post-match interview, to which Narine responded, "I will be watching from home, Badree."

The 35-year-old Narine's absence from the West Indies setup has been notable since 2019, despite invitations to return to the team. Windies white-ball coach Darren Sammy recently indicated that the squad selection process for the World Cup was nearing completion, highlighting the exposure of over 22 players in preparation for the tournament.

“We’ve selected squads and exposed about 22 players over the last year in preparation for this main event that is coming," Sammy explained during a press briefing. "It’s based on the measures that we’ve taken and the strategic roles we have given players.”

While Narine has been a key player for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL since 2012, contributing significantly to the franchise's two title victories in 2012 and 2014, his focus remains on franchise cricket rather than international duties. He has played 51 T20 Internationals for the West Indies, showcasing his talent with 52 wickets at an economy rate of 6.01.

Narine made his debut for the West Indies in March 2012 against Australia and played his last match for the Caribbean side in August 2019 against India. Known for his mystery spin and explosive batting, Narine continues to be a vital asset for the Kolkata Knight Riders, as demonstrated by his recent impactful innings of 85 from 39 balls while opening the batting against the Delhi Capitals.

Despite his absence from international duty, Narine's contributions in franchise cricket underscore his prowess in the T20 format. As the T20 World Cup approaches, West Indies will proceed with a squad that reflects the strategic planning and player exposure outlined by Coach Sammy, with Narine choosing to focus on his IPL commitments while supporting the regional team from the sidelines.

On this day 20 years ago, Brian Lara regained the individual Test score world record on his way to an unbeaten 400 against England in the fourth Test in Antigua.

Ten years after hitting 375 to claim the world record for an individual innings against England at the same venue, Lara exceeded that effort by becoming the first player in history to score 400.

By doing so, he became the first player to hold the individual Test innings record twice.

Lara reclaimed his record from Australian Matthew Hayden, who only six months earlier had broken the record with 380 in Perth in October 2003.

Lara’s mammoth innings steered the West Indies to a total of 751 for five before declaring and reflecting on his achievement, he said: “When I scored it before I didn’t know what to expect – this time it was very tiring, but I’m here again.

“Matthew Hayden must have batted very well against Zimbabwe because it doesn’t matter who you are playing against, it’s very hard.

“It’s a great feeling, but it’s dampened by the series result. Ten years ago the match ended in a draw, but this time we’re looking for a result.”

Upon achieving the record, Lara was greeted in the middle by Baldwin Spencer, the Prime Minister of Antigua, while England captain Michael Vaughan hailed Lara as “one of the all-time great players”.

“We all set out to achieve greatness, but he is a gifted, gifted player – throughout his innings we tested him with a few things but he was much better than us for those two days,” Vaughan said.

“He is one of the all-time great players, he has achieved something that has never been achieved before even with the amount of pressure he had on him before the start of this Test.

“He will go down as one of the greats of the game and it will take some player and some performance to beat his 400.”

Mahela Jayawardene went close with 374 for Sri Lanka against South Africa two years later but Lara remains first and third on the list two decades on.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) director of cricket Miles Bascombe has confirmed that a new Caribbean T20 tournament is being planned for next year.

Bascombe pointed out that the tournament, which has the blessings of Caribbean Premier League (CPL) organizers, is aimed at unearthing a wider range of new talent and is being earmarked for next year May.

“There is some recognition that the CPL may not necessarily be where those stars would emerge, so we are working with CPL to have an emerging players regional T20 tournament,” Bascombe revealed during a CWI press conference in Barbados Monday.

“We recognise in terms of T20 cricket that we need a way to find our next crop of T20 players. We have had success in T20 cricket and I’m sure the head coach [Darren Sammy] is anticipating some more success as we play at home in this (T20) World Cup. But we generally still have to work hard at finding our next crop of emerging T20 stars," he added.

News of the tournament initially came to the fore last December when CWI vice-president Azim Bassarath and Caribbean Premier League CEO Pete Russell indicated that the two bodies were in discussions about a secondary T20 spectacle. Russell at that point hinted at the prospect that the emerging players tournament could come to fruition.

“We feel that’s an important part of any cricket system, even CPL. So, we want to support that in as big a way as possible," Russell said.

England suffered last-over heartbreak in the final of the World Twenty20 as Carlos Brathwaite clubbed Ben Stokes for four successive sixes to seal an unforgettable West Indies win on this day in 2016.

England were strong favourites to lift the crown heading into the final over, with the Windies needing 19 off the last six balls of the match.

But Brathwaite launched an audacious assault on Stokes, heaving him over the ropes four times in a row to seal a four-wicket success.

Joe Root’s 56 off 36 balls helped England to 155 for nine in their 20 overs at Eden Gardens and that looked like being enough to earn a second T20 World Cup.

Despite Marlon Samuels’ impressive half-century, West Indies were set to fall short going into the final six balls of the match.

But Braithwaite had other ideas and sent four huge hits over the rope to win it in style and follow up their 2012 success.

England went on to thrive in the white-ball game, lifting the 50-over World Cup two years later and winning the T20 World Cup in 2022.

West Indies Women will tour Pakistan for a limited-overs series, comprising three ODIs and five T20Is, scheduled to begin on April 18.

The three ODIs will form a part of the ICC Women's Championship 2022-25, and will take place on April 18, 21 and 23.

It will be followed by a five-match T20I series from April 26 to May 3, which will provide both sides with plenty of time to finalize their preparations for this year's ICC Women's T20 World Cup.

All matches games will be played at the National Bank Stadium (NBS) in Karachi.

This will be West Indies women's second tour of the country since 2021. They last visited Pakistan in November 2021 for three ODIs, which they won.

The upcoming ODI series will be Pakistan women’s fourth at home, having earlier hosted Sri Lanka (June 2022), Ireland (November 2022) and South Africa (September 2023).

Pakistan are currently third in the ICC Women's Championship standings with 16 points, while West Indies are towards the bottom at ninth with eight points.

The T20Is will also kick start preparations for both teams in the build-up to the Women's T20 World Cup, scheduled to take place in Bangladesh in September.

Pakistan's Head of Women’s Cricket Tania Mallick said the series forms part of a strategic move.

"We extend a warm welcome to the West Indies women's team to Pakistan for the upcoming series. Hosting the fourth women's championship series at home within the 2022-25 cycle is a testament to PCB's commitment to promoting women's cricket and providing our players with opportunities to shine on the international stage," Mallick said.

“The forthcoming series against West Indies is not just about cricket; it's about developing relationships and strengthening bonds between cricketing nations. The current position of the Pakistan women’s team reflects our determination and dedication, and we aim to collect maximum points from the three championship matches at home,” she added.

Series schedule

18 Apr – First ODI, Karachi (ICC Women’s Championship)

21 Apr – Second ODI, Karachi (ICC Women’s Championship)

23 Apr – Third ODI, Karachi (ICC Women’s Championship)

26 Apr – First T20I, Karachi

28 Apr – Second T20I, Karachi

30 Apr – Third T20I, Karachi

2 May – Fourth T20I, Karachi

3 May – Fifth T20I, Karachi

 

Despite the pressure to live up to expectations where delivering another ICC Twenty20 (T20) World Cup title is concerned, West Indies all-rounder, Jason Holder, says it is important that players also enjoy the experience of the global showpiece to be hosted in United States and the Caribbean from June 1-29.

Holder, who expressed his excitement ahead of the tournament, believes the Darren Sammy-coached team possesses enough firepower to prove as competitive as any other team, but is also mindful that efficient execution will be crucial to their chances of securing the title.

“We've got a team with depth. I think it is very, very important to have depth. We've got mostly two-dimensional cricketers…some three, and it's a matter for us just to come and deliver,” Holder said.

“I think like anybody else in the competition, I think we’ve got really good chances, we've got to hold our nerve, deliver, and enjoy doing what we're doing. I think we wouldn't be a West Indies team if we didn't enjoy what we're doing and play the cricket we know how to play,” he added.