Cricket West Indies (CWI) has signed a five-year deal with BT Sport for the exclusive live coverage in the United Kingdom of all West Indies international home matches played in the Caribbean.

Bangladesh kept a firm grip on the first Test against the West Indies on Friday, leading by 218 runs with seven second-innings wickets still in hand at Chattogram.

West Indies captain, Jason Holder, admits he is disappointed by questions about his commitment to the team, which have come to the fore following his decision not to take part in the ongoing tour of Bangladesh.

Holder was one of 12 first-team players to opt-out of the tour, citing health and safety concerns as the primary reasons.  The player and others opting out of the tour were roundly criticised in some quarters, with Holder taking the brunt as the leader of the unit.

From his perspective, however, Holder believes he has more than proved his commitment to West Indies cricket over the years.

“A lot of people just don’t understand.  I would hate to think people would question my commitment to West Indies cricket,” Holder told the Mason and Guest radio program. 

“Over the last five, six, seven years I’ve been on the road.  Eight years consistently I’ve played for the West Indies.  I’ve had tons of opportunities to go abroad and play domestic, T20 leagues.  I could have done county cricket, well I have done it, but I’ve had opportunities to go around the world and I’ve always put West Indies cricket first,” he added.

“So, for people to come now and question my commitment that shows me that people just don’t understand.  My reasons for not going to Bangladesh, yes I had concerns over the integrity of the bubble, but it was mostly mental fatigue.”

West Indies captain, Kraigg Brathwaite, has targeted forming crucial partnerships as the team continues its pursuit of Bangladesh’s first innings total when play resumes on day 3.

The opening batsman has led by example for far, as he dug in for a patient 49 of 81 balls to anchor the early chase of Bangladesh’s first innings score of 430.

In terms of building partnerships, however, the team has already had some early wobbles with John Campbell (3) and Shayne Moseley (2) being sent back to the pavilion early.  Both were dismissed by Mustafizur Rahman.

Brathwaite will no doubt be hoping that Nkrumah Bonner, who had a solid showing in the three-day warm-up match against the Bangladesh Cricket Board XI, will be part of the first significant partnership of the innings.  Bonner has so far stroked a watchful 17 from 58 balls.

“It’s key to get runs on the board.  We did well getting to 70-odd for two and we just have to look to build partnerships tomorrow,” Brathwaite said at the end of play.

“I’m looking for a big first innings, which will be crucial, a big first-innings total on the board,” he added.

The batsman believes the team should be aided by a pitch that is good for batting, which he expects to hold up.

“I thought it (pitch) played well today.  Not much spin, some balls did spin but the bounce is quite true, it’s not too low.  I think it will hold up for the next day, day and a half and possibly, day four, day five, it will start to wear a little bit,” he added.

 

West Indies captain Jason Holder has lashed out at the former greats who constantly criticize the current team without providing solutions.

Bangladesh are in a commanding position at stumps of the second day of the first Test against the West Indies as Mehidy Hasan Miraz scored his maiden Test century to help steer the home side to 430 all out at Chattogram. At the end of play, the West Indies were 75 for 2 still 355 runs behind.

With Bangladesh resuming from their overnight 242 for 5, with Shakib Al Hasan on 39 and Liton Bas on 34, the West Indies had an early breakthrough when Warrican, 3 for 58 overnight, bowled Das for 38 to have the home side 248 for 6.

However, the visitors were made to toil as Mehidy Hasan Miraz scored his first Test century while featuring in three partnerships that spurred a lower-order rally that gradually pushed his side into the ascendancy.

Mehidy put on 67 with Shakib Al Hasan (68) for the seventh wicket, 44 with Taijul Islam (18) for the eighth and then 57 with Nayeem Hasan (42) for the ninth before finally losing his wicket to Rahkeem Cornwall for 103.

The West Indies were made to pay for dropping him twice, on 24 and then on 85. He was first let off the hook by debutant Shayne Moseley who put him down at silly mid-off despite having two chances to hold on. The second chance was spilt by Cornwall at slip off the bowling of Nkrumah Bonner.

Warrican ended with figures of 4 for 133 while Cornwall had 2 for 114. There was a wicket each for Bonner, Kemar Roach and Shannon Gabriel.

In reply, the West Indies found batting difficult against the swing and accuracy of fast-medium bowler Mustafizur Rahman who trapped John Campbell (3) and Shayne Moseley (2) lbw as the visitors slumped to 24 for 2.

However, Captain Kraigg Brathwaite survived a few anxious moments to get to the close unbeaten on 49. Bonner is at the other end on 17.

England batsman, Tom Banton, believes rising West Indies star Nicholas Pooran could be the best six-hitter in the game at the moment.

The 25-year-old has seen his stock rise after a big-hitting display in the Indian Premier League (IPL) last year, a trend that he has continued in the Abu Dhabi T10 league.  In a league with the likes of his West Indian compatriot Chris Gayle and Chris Lynn, it is Pooran who leads the way with 33 sixes and 21 fours in 9 matches.

In fact, Nicholas Pooran has scored more runs from fours and sixes than Gayle - his 89 off 24 balls for Northern Warriors against Bangla Tigers last month included 84 runs from boundaries, while Gayle chalked up 78 in his savage 84 off just 22 balls on Wednesday.

"He's different level that guy," Banton said in an interview with ESPNcricinfo

"Anyone that bowls to him, he'll get hold of. I reckon he's the best in the world at the minute at [hitting sixes],” he added.

"We're actually playing them in a few days' time so I'm going to try and talk to him and actually see what he does. He probably doesn't do anything different to anyone else, he's just a lot better than everyone else."

Pooran’s Northern Warriors are currently second in the Super League standings but are at the top of group A.

Sri Lanka's tour of the West Indies could be rescheduled after head coach Mickey Arthur and batsman Lahiru Thirimanne tested positive for coronavirus.

Arthur and opener Thirimanne are following government health protocols after discovering they had contracted COVID-19 in the latest round of testing on Tuesday.

Sri Lanka are due to head out to the Caribbean this month, but the tour may be put back.

A Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) statement released on Wednesday said: "Following PCR Tests carried out on the provisional squad, which was preparing to take part in the national team's upcoming tour of the West Indies, head coach Mickey Arthur and Sri Lanka player Lahiru Thirimanne have tested positive for Covid-19.  

"They were detected following PCR Tests carried out yesterday for the entire 36-member squad, along with the coaching staff, net bowlers, and the HPC Staff.  

"Immediately upon identification, both Mickey Arthur and Lahiru Thirimanne have been directed to follow the government’s health protocol laid out on COVIDI-19.  

"The 36-member group commenced practices on the 28th January, in three groups and at different time periods, as a precautionary health measure. 

"Considering the current situation, SLC is exploring the possibility of rescheduling the Tour of the West Indies, which was scheduled to commence on 20th Feb, 2021.

"In the meantime, Sri Lanka Cricket will continue with normal operations, adhering to the stipulated health protocols in all its centers."

Sri Lanka were whitewashed 2-0 by England in a recent series in Galle.

 

West Indies left-arm spinner, Jomel Warrican, has credited discipline, accuracy, and strong field setting as crucial factors that enabled a three-wicket haul on day one of the first Test against Bangladesh, in Chittagong, on Tuesday.

At stumps, Warrican had claimed figures of the 3 for 58 as Bangladesh ended the day on 242 for 5.  Another wicket was claimed by pace bowler Kemar Roach with a run out accounting for the other.

The spinner could indeed have plenty of reason to delight in the field placing, and performance for that matter, as two of his wickets resulted from catches.  Firstly, John Campbell took a sharp catch at short midwicket after Mominul Haque lost some patience and failed to keep a lofted drive down.  The other was a brilliant catch at slip by Raheem Cornwall, after Mushfiqur Rahim attempted a defensive stroke that carried to the fielder.  In-between, the bowler ended the run of a dangerous looking Shadman Islam, when the batsman was given lbw just before tea.

“Being disciplined and accurate at the same time, as well as setting the right field,” Warrican responded when asked about the keys to his opening day success.

“I thought it best to bring them on the front foot as much as possible because when they play back they have a lot of time.  The more you bring them on the front foot is the more you ask questions,” he added.  

 

Left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican took three wickets but Bangladesh held a slight edge at stumps of day one of the first Test against the West Indies at Chattogram today.

West Indies stand-in captain, Kraigg Brathwaite, has backed off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall to make a telling impact in the upcoming Test against Bangladesh.

The spinner showed himself to be in good form after claiming five wickets against a Bangladesh Cricket Board XI last week.  Outside of taking the wickets, Cornwall proved hard to get away and boasted an economic rate of 2.82.  Brathwaite backed the spinner to carry that form into the series, on a pitch that is suited for spinners.

“He did a very good job in the practice game, created a lot of pressure, bowling dot balls and such.  I think he’ll do well in the series.  He’s a quality off-spinner, we all know this,” Brathwaite told members of the media via an online press conference on Tuesday.

“We just need to stick to our plans, support him in the field, support all the bowlers not only Rahkeem but we look forward to him doing well this series, all the bowlers."

Cornwall’s best performance so far for the West Indies came in Asia when he claimed 7 for 75 in an innings against Afghanistan and claimed 10 wickets overall.  The West Indies will begin the first Test against Bangladesh at 10:30 pm on Tuesday (9:30 pm ECT).

 

West Indies head coach, Phil Simmons, insists the team must be ready to take advantage of any rustiness on the part of the Bangladesh team but insists the hosts are firm favourites heading into the series.

The Bangladesh team has not played a Test since February when they faced Zimbabwe at the Sher-e-Bangla stadium.  The West Indies has in the meantime, played two-Test series against England and then New Zealand.

Relying on that statistic would, however, be slightly misleading as several of the West Indies' first-team players opted out of the tour, leaving the unit to rely on more inexperienced players for the tour.  In such circumstances and Bangladesh’s home record, Simmons is skeptical of there being any advantage but hopes the team will be able to captilise once there is.

“There could be a little bit of vulnerability early in the Test because they haven’t played any international Test cricket for a year now and getting back into it might expose some vulnerability early on," Simmons told members of the media.

“I’m sure that, that would be taken care of because they have a fairly experienced team, with the likes of Tamim and Shakib.  The experience is there so it might not last too long, but if it does happen, we have to take that opportunity and seize on it,” he added.

“Bangladesh will always have the edge no matter who they are playing at home.  They are a very strong side when they play at home.  So, they will always have the edge even when they haven’t played any cricket for a year.”

Bangladesh won the previous series, which consisted of three ODI matches, against the West Indies 3-0.

 

 

 

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

An 82-run eighth-wicket partnership between Joshua Da Silva and Raymon Reifer was the highlight of the final day of the three-day ‘warm-up’ match between the West Indies and the Bangladesh Cricket Board XI that ended in a draw today.

Former West Indies Under-19 captain, Emmanuel Stewart, hopes to insert himself in the debate for selection in what he believes could be a big year for regional cricket.

The 21-year-old Windwards Islands Volcanoes batsman was part of the squad that contested the 2018 Under-19 World Cup.  Since making his First-Class debut in 2019, for the Volcanoes, he had made three half-centuries in 9 matches.

For the upcoming season, the middle-order batsman will once again form part of the Windward Islands squad looking to claim a 5th Regional Super50 crown.  With plenty of international cricket on the horizon this year, including Caribbean tours for Sri Lanka, Australia, and Pakistan, Stewart knows a solid season could place him squarely in the thoughts of the Cricket West Indies (CWI) selectors.

“I think it’s an important year for cricket in the Caribbean, a lot of teams are touring the Caribbean,” Stewart told Grenada’s Talksport.

“So, I think what I have control over is my performance and once I continue putting the numbers up, then that is the most I can do,” he added.

“As long as I continue playing, I will continue putting my focus on those numbers and keep progressing for the Windwards and hopefully eventually the West Indies too.”

 

 

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