West Indies T20 vice-captain, Nicholas Pooran, has hailed the mammoth effort put in by lower-order batsmen Akeal Hosein and Romario Shepherd albeit coming in a losing effort against England on Sunday.

The English levelled the series after a narrow 1-run win, at the Kensington Oval, but early on in the West Indies run chase, after the visitors had scored 171, the result seemed a mere formality.

After a slow start from the hosts, tight bowling from England during the middle overs, spearheaded by Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid, saw the West Indies tumble from 47 for 2 to 65 for 7 but a superb display of power hitting from Hosein and Shepherd, in the end, left the team just short of the target.

Shepherd blasted 44 from 28, a tally which included 5 sixes, while Hosein put in 44 from 16, including a flurry of boundaries to close out the match.

“Akeal and Shepherd have been working really hard on their batting.  We have a long list of hitters in our team and tonight we saw something special from Akeal and Shepherd, kudos go to them, they didn’t give up at all,” Pooran said.

“It just shows the strength in our team, tonight was their night, we lost the game by two runs but another night someone else will turn up to the party,” he added.

At the same time, Pooran admits that the team could have gotten a bit more contribution from the top order.  Pooran scored 24 himself and Darren Bravo 23, but both openers Brandon King (0) and Shai Hope (2) went for peanuts.

“I think Kingy (Brandon King) had a tough decision, but we have to accept those things and Hope was a bit unfortunate, the wrong decision maybe at that time.  That set us back in the powerplay but having said that (Reece) Topley bowled really well in the powerplay.”

 

Legendary West Indies fast bowler, Sir Andy Roberts, insists all of the team’s shortcomings at the crease should not be blamed on coaches at the senior team level, as overall, more work needs to be put into developing the region’s young players.

On the back of a historic shock loss to Ireland in their most recent international One Day International (ODI) series, the team’s performances have come under the microscope even more than usual, particularly as it relates to the patchy performance of the batting line-up.

Against Ireland, the batsmen seemed technically incapable of dealing with either the moist conditions on the pitch or the craft of the Irish bowlers.  The team’s struggles have led some to question the work of head coach Phil Simmons and the team’s batting coaches, but while admitting that more needed to be done by the coach, Roberts insists the team’s troubles run a lot deeper.

“For what it is now, I don’t think I would blame the coach alone because of the (low) quality of our players coming out of the region,” Roberts told the Mason and Guest radio show.

“We have to put some emphasis on the coaches from our lower levels coming up because that is where you learn the skills of batting because most focus today is on batting.  I read where the captain said that the West Indies has a batting problem but we’ve been having a batting problem for years… we want to blame others at the top when this is a problem that comes from the lower level.”

 

West Indies T20 star Chris Gayle has made himself unavailable for the upcoming season of the Indian Premier League, which could signal an end to his time at the tournament.

The 42-year-old has played in the world’s premier T20 tournament for the past 13 seasons, where he has played a total of 142 matches since making his debut in 2009.  Gayle has represented the Punjab Kings, Kolkata Knight Riders, and Royal Challengers Bangalore.

After experiencing inconsistent playing time during the last edition, for Punjab, and leaving the tournament early to prepare for the T20 World, questions had been raised regarding the player’s future.

The batsman has been one of the league’s most iconic players and is its seventh-highest runs scorer, having scored 4,965 runs at an average of 39.72 and with a strike rate of 148.96.  Gayle tops the list with the most centuries (6) and also holds the record for hitting the highest number of sixes (357).  The West Indian has, however, never managed to win a title.

On the back of a disappointing World Cup, Gayle was expected to retire from international cricket but has registered to play for Fortune Barishal in this year’s Bangladesh Premier League (BPL).  The BPL got underway yesterday, but Gayle is not expected to join the squad until later in the season.

Former Ireland batsman turned commentator, Nyle O’Brien, believes the West Indies batsmen have become caught-up playing an old fashion type of cricket, which has little chance of success in the modern game.

The Caribbean side was beaten by Ireland, in a One Day International series, for the first time in their history earlier this week.  The team had a poor showing all-around but as has become custom in recent times their substandard display at the crease was noticeable.

The team struggled to come to grips with not just the surface, but also the Irish bowlers, particularly Andy McBrine who took 10 wickets over the three games. O’Brien believes a major part of the issues at the crease stems from the batting unit’s outdated philosophy of run-scoring.

“The West Indies, they’re playing a very old school type of cricket.  They just stand around in the crease and either block or try to hit the ball for four or six.  Unfortunately, when you are playing international cricket that doesn’t happen very often.  Very rarely do you see a West Indies batter come down the pitch, using their feet, knock it to long-on, or long-off for singles, rotate the strike, or manipulate the field.  We saw very few sweeps, when Shamarh Brooks did play a sweep he was out lbw,” O'Brien told the Mason and Guest radio show.

“When you’re a batter if you’re going to stand in the crease waiting for a bad ball, this is international cricket, the bad balls don’t come very often…It’s a technical thing, it’s a tactical thing…it’s something for West Indies cricket, it’s been a pattern for many, many years they don’t play spin very well.  They really on their brute force and teams are getting more clever with how to go about that.”

 

 

Legendary West Indies batsman, Viv Richards, has once again decried what he believes to be the role of poorly prepared playing surfaces in the underdevelopment of both the region’s batsman and bowlers.

The regional team is in the grips of a particularly bad spell, after suffering a 2-1 defeat to Ireland in the most recent One Day International series.  The series was the first the Irish have won again them and sent shockwaves around the region.

The team’s batsmen were in particularly woeful form with only Sharmarh Brooks, Shai Hope, and Odean Smith managing to average over 30.  Albeit on a pitch that held moisture early on, and losing the toss three times, the West Indies only managed to make over 250 runs in the first match, well short of the total typically required for a good innings in modern ODI cricket.

With many of the batsmen continuing to look out of sorts, despite often putting in strong spells in regional cricket, Richards believes substandard pitches are partially to blame for the situation.

“I don’t think there is enough preparation being put into wickets, and wickets play a huge part because sometimes you get some individuals who would be selected because of some good performances on some dodgy tracks,” Richards told Antigua’s Good Morning Jojo Radio program.

“So, when you get to the bigger picture or they take a step up, then you find individuals are found wanting because these wickets are rather inferior on either sides of the coin, whether it’s batting or bowling. We need to pay a little more attention to having proper wickets that can be quite competitive for bat and ball,” he added.

West Indies opener, Brandon King, is looking to keep things simple on his return to international cricket after recently returning to the team.

King was named as part of the Windies T20 squad who will play against England in the upcoming five-match series.  The batsman looked in solid form after returning to the team against Pakistan last month, after more than a year away from the team.  He scored 111 runs in three matches, with an average of 37 and a high score of 67.

On the back of another controlled showing against a BCA President's XI in a warm-up match at Kensington Oval, on Tuesday, King will be looking to provide solidity against the English for a Windies team that has struggled as of late.

“For me mentally, I play my best cricket when I am keeping things simple out there while I am batting.  I just try and play the situation as it is and that has really helped me to do better out there,” King said of his form since returning to the team.

Despite the World Cup coming up later this year, however, and the West Indies in rebuilding mode, he insists he is not looking too far ahead in terms of regular selection.

“I try to focus on the things that I can control.  For me, that is just every game that presents itself I just try and do my best and perform.  Selection and those other aspects I don’t have any control over it but I just try and put myself in a position to be in the conversation.”

 

The West Indies suffered a historic loss at the hands of Ireland after the visitors secured a two-wicket win to claim a 2-1 series win at Sabina Park on Sunday.

The win was not just the Irish team’s first triumph over the West Indies in an ODI series, but the come-from-behind victory was only the second over a full member team. Prior to that, the team defeated Zimbabwe at home in 2019.

After dismissing the West Indies for just 212, the Irish survived a late-game wobble but still had enough to get over the line after getting to 214-8 in the 45th over.

The effort was anchored by half-centuries from Andy McBrine and Harry Tector.

Earlier, the West Indies were off to a fast with Shai Hope cracking 53 from just 39 balls at the top of the innings, as he did the majority of the scoring in an opening stand of 72 in 11 overs with Justin Greaves.  However, things fell apart when he and Greaves were caught off the bowling of Craig Young in quick succession.  The hosts went on to lose the next three wickets for just four runs as the middle order collapsed when Nicholas Pooran, Shamarh Brooks, and skipper Kieron Pollard all spent very little time at the crease.

Jason Holder ensured at least a competitive score with an impressive 44 but was run out, with West Indies all out for 212.  Odean Smith remained unbeaten on 20 from 10 balls.

 

Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago (SPORTT) Douglas Camacho is confident the country will benefit from hosting the ICC U19 World Cup, despite spectators not being allowed to attend matches.

The tournament, which will get underway on Friday will be played across the Caribbean territories of St Kitts, Antigua, and Guyana, in addition to T&T.

With case numbers for the Covid-19 pandemic remaining high, however, the T&T venues, Queen’s Park Oval, Brian Lara Cricket Academy, and Diego Martin Sporting Complex will only be occupied by players and officials.

Despite that fact, however, Camacho expects the tournament to be a success.

 “We wouldn’t be able to have spectators at attendance. While this is a downer for some, I don’t think this will impact upon the quality of the tournament itself or on the organisation that has been put in place,” Camacho said.

“The facilities, both for training and competitive matches, are world-renowned, world-class and the best of the best,” he added.

 “We are very confident that all the players, officials, attendees will have a wonderful experience, that would be to the benefit of Trinidad and Tobago.”

The tournament will get underway at the  

Providence Stadium, in Guyana, on Friday, with the West Indies playing against Australia.

Out-of-favour Windies batsman Shimron Hetmyer has targeted putting together longer spells at the crease, as opposed to a typically stroke-filled but risky approach that has long been his trademark.

The 25-year-old was left out of the ongoing West Indies series against Ireland, after failing a fitness test a few weeks ago.  Since then, the player has been working on the issue in his home country Guyana.  In the meantime, the batsman has been preparing for the upcoming season of the Regional 4-day competition with the Guyana Harpy Eagles.

Recently, the player spent 300-minutes plus at the crease during the team’s Best of Best 4-Day trial match at Albion last week.  According to reports, in addition to the typical stroke play and skill, the player did plenty of running between the wickets for his knock of 149.  He is hoping to put together similar performances at the highest level.

“I just got out there and tried to bat as long as I possibly could, and try to help my team to win in whatever way possible. I try to accumulate, and just to be there as long as possible. It is really something I am trying to bring into my game, instead of playing that flashy innings and just batting a couple of balls,” Hetmyer told the Guyana Times.

“I just try to be there as long as possible, and just help my team. Even if we cannot win it, I can try to draw it. That is basically along the lines I am thinking right now,” he added.

Over the last few years, Hetmyer has been known for his exploits in the shorter formats.  The batsman has not played Test cricket since 2019 and last appeared in the regional four-day tournament in 2020.

Legendary West Indies captain Clive Lloyd was knighted by the British Royal Federation, on Wednesday, after the ceremony was previously postponed due to Covid-19.

Lloyd the former two-time World Cup-winning captain was honoured with a CBEs (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) for his services to the sport of cricket.

The Guyana-born batsman played for the English County cricket club of Lancashire between 1968 until 1986.  During that time the team won two One-Day League titles in 1969 and 1970 and four Friends Provident Trophy titles between 1970 and 1975.

Lloyd captained the West Indies between 1974 and 1985 and is one of the most successful Test captains in the sport’s history. During his captaincy, the team had a run of 27 matches without defeat, which included 11 wins in a row.  Lloyd was also named Wisden’s Cricketer of the Year in 1979.

After retiring from the sport, Lloyd went on to manage the West Indies in the late 1990s and also served as a member of the team's panel of selectors.  For his exploits, Lloyd was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame.

 

 

 

Antigua and Barbuda minister of sport, Daryll Matthew, insists the country’s preparations to host matches for the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup remains on track, despite concerns being raised in recent weeks.

The matches for the tournament will be played in Antigua, Guyana, Saint Kitts, and Trinidad.  Antigua has been earmarked to host the Super League quarter-finals, semi-finals the finals, in addition to the 3rd, 5th, and 7th place playoffs.

The main venues that will be used are the Coolidge Cricket Ground and the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium but there have been questions asked about the state of some of the practice grounds with the tournament set to bowl off on January 14.

 Two of the venues of concern are the Liberta Sports Club and the Police Recreation Ground.  At Liberta, issues were recently brought to the fore regarding the reconstruction of a section of the facility’s fencing and work for the bathrooms.

Matthew insists there is no need to worry, however, as the government fully intends to honour its commitment.

“I just want to assure the public of Antigua and Barbuda that all of the venues will be ready. We’re almost there in terms of our readiness to host what is probably the largest international cricket event on our shores and the nation will be proud,” Matthew told the Antigua Observer.

“The major area of work that needs to be done [in Liberta] is one part of the fencing and so you can be assured that those things will be completed because it is part of our hosting requirement and so we do not have the option to not do it,” he added. 

The ICC Under-19 World Cup will take place between 14 January – 5 February.

“We’re actually hosting the quarterfinals, semifinals, and the finals for the Under-19 World Cup, and immediately following that we will be hosting the Test series with England, the Richards-Botham series and so we will be hosting a four-day warm-up match and then go right into the first Test so for the next eight to 10 weeks we should be having a substantial amount of cricket here in Antigua and Barbuda.”

 West Indies all-rounder Keemo Paul has his heart set on a return to international cricket after closing in on peak physical condition.

Despite being one of the region’s top prospects, the 23-year-old has not played for the West Indies since 2020.  Paul opted out of the team’s tour of England in 2020 but appeared against New Zealand in T20 internationals at the end of that same year.  He has not been seen on the international stage since.

The player has, however, in the meantime taken part in a few T20 leagues and with the regional 4-day tournament looming on the horizon, Paul will be looking to make a statement.  According to reports, the player recently turned in excellent scores in a fitness test conducted in Guyana recently.

 “I am feeling excellent, I think I needed this to get back out there and bowl a few overs to get the feel of four-day cricket. My body is responding really well and for me personally, I am feeling really happy with where I am right now. I bowled a few overs on the trot, I was not feeling tired, I just wanted to put a few balls in the right area and it’s coming out really nice and I am happy with that,” Paul recently told the Guyana Times.

“I was in the Sri Lankan Premier League, it was not the best of tournaments for me, but it is always a learning experience for me; you go to these different leagues in the different continents and you play on different pitches, you gain a lot of experience so that was a major learning curve for me,” he added.

“My body is starting to feel like where it was when I first started playing. I am in the gym and I am trying not to worry about injuries. I just want to try and enjoy my cricket as best as I can. I want to represent my country and hopefully, back to the West Indies team sometime soon.”

In the 2018-2019 season, his last full season in the four-day competition Paul claimed 42 wickets in 10 matches, while scoring 260 runs.

 

The West Indies U19s did not have the best showing ahead of the start of the ICC Under-19 50-over World Cup after suffering a heavy 108 loss to India U19s  team in their first official warm-up match on Sunday.

After being set a challenging target of 279 to win, the young Windies struggled to 170 all out in just 43 overs.  The team got off to a solid enough start when openers Matthew Nandu and Shaqkere Parris put on 30 in the opening overs.   Parris was, however, the first to go after being dismissed by fast bowler Garv Sangwan.  The other batters, unfortunately, followed in quick succession, with Teddy Bishop being dismissed ten balls later, and Sangwan going lbw with the score on 35.

Nandu managed another 30 with Jordan Johnson (10) before falling to the spin of Manav Parakh in the 18th over, with the total at 65 for three.

Windies skipper Akeem Auguste went for a duck after also being bowled by Parakh, Rivaldo Clarke (11), and vice-captain Giovonte Depeiza (10) were also gone midway through the innings.

Nandu eventually departed in the 33rd over with a top-score of 52 off 101 balls, after being a victim of left-arm spinner Aneeshwar Gautam, caught by Kaushal Tambe.  Off-spinner Tambe then wrapped up the innings with the wickets of Carlon Bowen-Tuckett (20), Anderson Mahase (1), and an attacking Johann Layne.

Earlier in the innings, the team set a furious pace after skipper Yash Dhull won the toss.  Things did not start well, however, as the team found themselves at 18 for two in the seventh after excellent work from Layne got rid of openers Harnoor Singh and Angkrish Raghuvanshi.

Dhull, however, led a strong revival with 52 off 67 balls and put on 85 for the third wicket with Shaik Rasheed.   Aradhya Yadav attacked the bowling and added 82 for the fifth wicket with top-scorer Nishant Sindhu, who lashed seven fours and three sixes in an unbeaten 78 off 76 balls, effectively putting the match out of reach.

Scores

India U-19s 278-6, 50 overs (Nishant Sindhu 78 n.o., Yash Dhull 52, Aradhya Yadav 42; Johann Layne 3/51)

 WI U-19s 170 all out, 43 overs (Matthew Nandu 52; Kaushal Tambe 3/30, Manav Parakh 3/34, Garv Sangwan 2/18, Aneeshwar Gautam 2/37). --India U-19s won by 108 runs.

 

Windies middle-order batsman, Shamarh Brooks, admits it was a crushing blow to narrowly miss out on a debut ODI century but insists it is just part of a learning curve.

Brooks put on a solid performance that proved the backbone of a close 24-run win in the opening match of the series on Sunday

Together with Windies skipper Kieron Pollard, Brooks put 155 runs on the board for the 5th wicket, which proved critical in stabilisng the team’s middle-order after floundering at 4 for 62.

On 93 the player seemed destined to be only the second West Indian to make an ODI century on debut but was out lbw off the bowling of Mark Adair.

“Word can’t express (how disappointing it was) but at the end of the day it was still my first game and I’m still happy with the score that I got.  It’s just unfortunate to miss out on triple figures,” Brooks said.

“I wouldn’t say I panicked in the nervous 90s.  Some people would have been a little more cautious having been set but as we all know it’s a learning curve at this stage.  I’ll take this one on the chin and look to grow from strength to strength,” he added.

The West Indies and Ireland will face off again in the second match on Tuesday.

  

 

Veteran all-rounder Dwyane Bravo will join fellow West Indian Chris Gayle at Fortune Barishal for the upcoming Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) after replacing Sri Lanka's Danushka Gunathilaka.

Gunathilaka was forced to pull out of the tournament after he failed to receive a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC). 

In addition to Gayle, who will be playing for the franchise for the third time, the franchise has also added another two Caribbean players.  Pace bowlers Alzarri Joseph and Obed Mccoy will also be joining the team.

The 38-year-old Bravo, who retired from international cricket following the ICC T20 World Cup earlier this year, has previously represented the Chittagong Kings, Comilla Victorians, and Dhaka Dynamites in the BPL.

The competition, which is scheduled to bowl off on January 21, will be played across three cities and will feature 6 teams.

 

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