West Indies captain for the upcoming Bangladesh tour, Kraigg Brathwaite, insists he does not see the current squad as merely a stand-in 11 but a talented group capable of winning games.

With 12 regular team players making themselves unavailable for selection ahead of the tour, after citing health and safety concerns, the Caribbean team will start as massive underdogs heading into the series.

The full-strength squad was comprehensively outplayed in 2018, with the hosts comfortably coasting to a 2-0 series win.  Brathwaite will lead a squad without the likes of Jason Holder, Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer, Roston Chase, or Shamarh Brooks available.  While he himself, and the likes of Jermaine Blackwood, Shannon Gabriel, and Kemar Roach, will provide some experience, four players could be making a debut with five having less than 10 appearances for the West Indies.

“I think I have a good team here, a few guys haven’t played international cricket, some haven’t played in a little while but I know this team is fully capable of doing well at the international level,” Brathwaite told members of the media on Wednesday.

“The guys here, I don’t see them as second-string guys, I believe they can perform at the international level.  So, I know they are looking forward to the opportunity.”

 

Tributes have poured in from around the Caribbean for Jamaica-born former West Indies Women’s all-rounder Vivalyn Latty-Scott who passed away at the weekend.

Latty-Scott was a member of the first West Indies team to play a women’s Test match in 1976 against Australia. After retirement, she was a coach at all levels and also an umpire.

During her career as an off-spinner and right-handed batter, Latty-Scott played 10 Test matches and six One-Day Internationals. She was the first West Indian woman to take five wickets in a Test innings – 5 for 48 off 41 overs on debut against the Australians in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Ann Browne-John, CWI's Lead Selector for women's cricket and a former international player noted: "It is with great sadness we heard of the passing of Vivalyn Latty-Scott. She was always a fierce competitor and took her cricket very seriously. She taught us how to put our all into the game and paved the way for what we see today. She was an excellent cricketer. She was truly one of the stalwarts of women's cricket in the Caribbean."

Dorothy Hobson, who played alongside Latty-Scott for Jamaica and West Indies described her as a “dedicated and committed cricketer and lifelong fan of the game”. Louise Browne, the first West Indies women’s Test captain hailed Latty-Scott as a “passionate player with amazing knowledge of the game”.

“When I started as captain, ‘Latty’ was one of the senior members of that first West Indies women’s team and she excelled with bat and ball. Whenever I put the ball in her hand I had the confidence she would produce good figures and she never disappointed. She was passionate about the game and was always aware of the statistics and what the team required. When the history of women’s cricket is updated, Vivalyn must be mentioned among the outstanding players,” Browne said.

Hobson said: “She was a great captain for Jamaica and a great player for the West Indies. She was a complete player with bat and ball, equally adept at both skills. Cricket was ‘her game’, she was a dedicated and committed cricketer and she always had a dream of doing great things for the West Indies. Her legacy is that she contributed to the game at all levels — boys, girls, men, and women — she made a great impact at all levels.”

Stafanie Taylor, the current women’s captain and most successful women’s player in West Indies history also paid tribute to Latty-Scott.

“I have known this amazing lady from when I went on my first tour with the Jamaica team and she was very helpful to me. She set a trial in women’s cricket and she played a very important role in my development and inspired many young cricketers in Jamaica to play the game and to excel. We all admired and respected her.”

West Indies coach, Phil Simmons, believes the team has travelled with a balanced bowling line-up for the Bangladesh tour, despite recent discussions surrounding too many spinners being selected for the squad.

The issue was brought to the fore after up and coming fast bowler Chemar Holder was left out of the Test team for the tour.  Holder, who made his debut in New Zealand, showed plenty of promise in tough conditions.  Chief of selectors Roger Harper went on to explain that the player had been left out to accommodate more spinners, in order to take advantage of Bangladesh’s slow pitches.

The Test squad selected included four spinners but also has the usual pace bowling trio of Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel, and Alzarri Joseph and Simmons insists the balance of the first team is yet to be settled.

“I think we are here with a balanced squad, we have three spinners, we have three fast bowlers and a seeming all-rounder, it’s a case where we have balance all round,” Simmons told members of the media via a Zoom conference on Tuesday.

“So, it’s a case where we have balance all around.  The decision has to be made whether we go with three fast bowlers, two spinners, two fast bowlers, three spinners, a decision hasn’t been made yet.  We just have a balanced lineup and that’s what we came here with.  We will make decisions closer to the game.”

 

 

West Indies stand-in vice-captain, Sunil Ambris, has joined those expressing optimism ahead of the team’s upcoming tour of Bangladesh, despite admitting the unit is likely to be impacted by inexperience.

The 27-year-old Vincentian native was appointed second in command of the One Day International (ODI) squad, with Jason Mohammed named as captain, after several regular players pulled out of the tour.

With regulars like captain Jason Holder, Shai Hope, Shimron Hetmyer, Darren Bravo, and Nicholas Pooran missing, Ambris, who has so far played 13 ODIs, will rank among the senior members of the squad.  In fact, eight players will be first-time call-ups for the format.

“It is obvious that we have a very inexperienced team travelling to Bangladesh, but having said that, I think it is a talented bunch of guys,” Ambris told Searchlight.

 “Once we stay positive and do what we know we can do, we should be okay … Once we play some good cricket, we can win the series,” he added.  Ambris, who made his debut in 2017, has scored 448 runs at an average of 44.7. He has two fifties and one hundred to his name.

 

West Indies spinner, Sunil Narine, believes that cricket’s T10 format could be the best choice for inclusion at the Olympic Games as it is even more exciting than the T20 version.

Cricket has not been played at the Olympic Games since 1900, where Britain and France were the only two teams that participated.  There have, however, been numerous discussions geared towards reviving the sport at the Games in recent years, with T20 cricket identified as the best format.  Narine, however, believes that T10 could also be a consideration.

“The T10 format is more exciting than the T20 format. In T20s, the batters take a few overs before starting their attacking skills, however, in T10 the batters probably look for only one or two balls,” Narine told the Daily Times.

“There’s always a possibility to attract new fans through a shorter format of cricket and more exciting cricket. It will be an exciting thing if cricket is included in the Olympics as well and hopefully, maybe T10 could be a part of the Olympics,” he added.

The 10 over-format of the sport was introduced in the United Arab Emirates in 2017, it is, however, yet to be widely adopted.

Narine will be among a number of West Indies players taking part in this season’s edition.  The spinner will represent the Deccan Gladiators, alongside West Indies T20 captain Kieron Pollard.

Former West Indies captain, Clive Lloyd, believes the upcoming and current generation of fast bowlers will only reach their full potential if they spend more time thinking on the pitch.

For many decades the Windies was known for producing generations of fearsome fast bowlers.  The likes of Joel Garner, Andy Roberts, Malcolm Marshal, and Michael Holding filled the hearts of countless opposition batsmen with fear for decades.

 A new generation of Windies bowlers, led by Kemar Roach and Shannon Gabriel along with youngster Alzarri Joseph has shown some promise, in recent times, but are yet to scale the heights reached by the golden generation.  Lloyd, who captained and played alongside many of the region’s top fast bowlers, has insisted the players had more than just pace.

“The thing with our fast bowlers is that they all did something different, it wasn’t just inswingers or outswingers.  They bowled different things.  So, when you came to bat against our players, you had to be at the top of your game and that’s why they were successful,” Lloyd told the Mason and Guest program.

“There was no let-up.  We didn’t just have fast bowlers; we had thinking fast bowlers.  They were not calypso cricketers,” he added.    

 

West Indies captain for the Bangladesh series, Kraigg Brathwaite, is confident the second-string team will give a good account of itself, despite facing a difficult task.

The regional team, who are off to the third overseas tour since the sport was impacted by the pandemic, will be missing 12 first-team players.  Team captains Jason Holder, Kieron Pollard, and Test vice-captain Roston Chase are among the players that opted out of the tour for health and safety concerns.

Brathwaite will be joined by in-form batsman Jermaine Blackwood and bowlers, Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel, and Alzarri Joseph as some of the available first-team players on the tour, but for the most part, the team will consist of fringe players and a few debutants.  The stand-in captain, however, insists the Windies are up for the challenge.

“We are all up for the challenge… it will be a tough series in Bangladesh but we have confidence and we have belief that we will do very well,” Brathwaite said.

“We have some members of the squad who will be playing there for the first time so it will be something new to them, but they know they have the talent and are capable of performing at this level.”

The tour will comprise of two Test matches, as part of the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) World Test Championship, and three One-Day Internationals (ODI) as part of the ICC’s Cricket World Cup Super League. The ODIs present the first opportunity for the West Indies to earn Super League points which count towards the pre-qualification for the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2023.

 

Legendary West Indies captain, Clive Lloyd, insists the current crop of players must learn to play in all conditions if the team is to eventually emerge from the doldrums of world cricket.

In the aftermath of the recent squad selection for the West Indies tour of Bangladesh, plenty of eyebrows were raised not only due to the absence of 12 first team players but following the non-selection of promising young fast bowler Chemar Holder for the Test cricket squad.

The team has the typical fast-bowling trio of Shannon Gabriel, Kemar Roach, and Alzarri Joseph but with captain Jason Holder opting out of the tour, many thought Chemar would have been a natural replacement, particularly after a promising debut in difficult circumstances last month.

Cricket West Indies chief of selectors Clive Lloyd, however, explained that the panel had chosen to include more spinners at the expense of Holder, due to the nature of spin-friendly surfaces in Bangladesh.  Lloyd believes the decision could cost the young bowler valuable experience.

“These guys need to play in those countries where it’s not that helpful and you learn to bowl a better line and length,” Lloyd told the Mason and Guest radio show.

“On the dead pitches, someone like (Collin) Croft would still be disconcerting.  He would be getting it up into your neck.  The point is that our fast bowlers bowled well on any kind of wicket,” he added.

“Our bowlers were not deterred by slow pitches and that is what our youngsters have to learn, to bowl on pitches that are not responsive.  Dennis Lille, when he realized the pitch was not helping, he would cut down his run and bowl a different kind of delivery, cutters, and so on and make you think about your cricket.  So did Richard Hadlee, Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, all these guys would have learned to bowl on wickets that are not responsive.  If we are just going to rest people because the wickets are not responsive then something is wrong.”  

 

President of the Nevis Cricket Association, Carlisle Powell, has called for a level playing field when it comes to the selection of players for the West Indies cricket team.

The administrator has taken exception with what he believes is the unfair treatment meted out to opening batsman Kieron Powell, who is also his son.  With 12 first team members opting not to go on the upcoming tour of Bangladesh, Powell, the top runs scorer during last season’s Super50 competition, was left out of a hastily assembled second-string team.

According to Cricket West Indies (CWI) chief of selectors Roger Harper, the player had failed to meet the team’s fitness standards.  The senior Powell, however, insists that was not quite true as while representing the Leeward Islands Kieron had passed the Yoyo fitness test more than once.  He insists that the issue stems from the fact that the player has not being given another opportunity to prove his fitness by the regional governing body.  By comparison, he claims that Evin Lewis and Shimron Hetmeyer, who both failed the test at the same time as Powell, were quickly afforded opportunities to prove their improved fitness level.

“The West Indies Cricket Board has repeatedly said as recently as Roger Harper on the 29th…that Powell was left out because he has not yet met the fitness standard, which is absolutely inaccurate in that he has more than once met and passed the fitness test as administered by the Leeward Islands,” Powell told Television Jamaica.

“The West Indies Cricket Board should amend their statement to say that they have failed to give him a fitness test since he failed the test in December of 2019,” he added.

“By the same token others who failed the fitness test at the same time, Hetmeyer and Lewis, fitness tests were arranged for them by the board.  We’re saying this is absolutely wrong there must be a level playing field for all the persons.”

 

 

 

Former West Indies batting coach, Toby Radford, has questioned the conventional wisdom of selecting so many spinners for the team's upcoming tour of Bangladesh.

The omission of promising pace bowler Chemar Holder raised more than a few eyebrows when the squad was named last week, especially on the back of a promising debut in New Zealand.  The Test squad at current features four spinners in Rahkeem Cornwall, Kavem Hodge, Veerasammy Permaul, and Jomel Warrican along with the regular fast bowling trio of Shannon Gabriel, Kemar Roach and Alzarri Joseph.

  Cricket West Indies (CWI) chief of selectors, Roger Harper, went on to explain that Holder’s exclusion for additional spin bowling was based on the fact that the team was eager to take advantage of Bangladesh’s spin-friendly pitches.

Radford, who was part of a successful tour of the region in 2012, is unsure if that was the best approach.

“I’ve been listening to what people have been saying.  We have gone heavy with a lot of spin.  You expect the pitches to be slow and turn out there.  Whether they need as many spinners as they are taking, I’m not too sure,” Radford told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“In fact, when we won in 2012 it was done with good batting, posting big scores and having pace, actually, guys who could get it down in the high 80s, 90 miles and hour, not just assuming that because it’s slow pitches spinners are going to do the work.  I’m actually working for Bangladesh at the moment, I spent 6 weeks out there, they play spin very well, they’re brought up playing that kind of bowling.”

Former West Indies fast bowler, Franklyn Rose, believes current players representing the team could benefit from a change in mindset as he believes many might be too focused on playing the game solely for financial benefit.

The 48-year-old Rose, who played for the West Indies between 1997 and 2000, has openly admitted to being upset by the current plight of the regional team, particularly on the back of a brutal run of recent results.

After a hiatus enforced by the coronavirus pandemic, the West Indies resumed international cricket with a three-Test tour of England in July.  The Windies won the first match but were badly outplayed for the rest of the series in a 2-1 defeat.  The team then headed to New Zealand, last month, where they were handily beaten in both a three-match T20 series and a two-Test series where they suffered an innings defeat in both matches.

In recent times, particularly with the advent of lucrative T20 leagues, some players have been accused of putting personal gain over the pride of representing the West Indies.  Rose seems to among those that hold some form of that particular view.

“We need to focus more on the success of the game than just thinking about the big bank accounts,” Rose told Television Jamaica.

“Of course the guys are going to say that they have bills to pay and family to take care of and stuff but when you are at that level of the game, representing the West Indies, one of the greatest teams of all time, you need to have a different mindset.”

West Indies star batsman Chris Gayle has made it clear that he is looking forward to the T20 World Cup, with high hopes of helping the regional team win a third title.

Gayle’s last appearance for the Windes, a One Day International match at the Queen’s Park Oval last year, was a dramatic affair as he walked off the field to applause from both sets of players and fans.  The special occasion was thought to be his retirement from international cricket.

Following that match, Gayle turned down the selection to an ODI series against India, after insisting that he needed some time off to figure out his future.  Since then, however, Gayle has had a complete reversal of thought when it comes to the idea of retirement. 

The big left-hander recently showed that he remains capable of producing plenty of fireworks, after an outstanding season in the Indian Premier League (IPL).  After being left on the bench at the start of the tournament, the insertion of Gayle into the line-up fueled an impressive run for Kings XI Punjab who narrowly missed out on making the playoffs.  During the tournament, Gayle became the first player to reach 1000 T20 sixes. 

Having found himself in that type of form, retirement is understandably now the furthest thing from the batsman’s mind and he is ready to take that kind of form into international cricket.

“I’m enjoying my cricket, to be honest with you.  I just recently played the IPL in Dubai and did well.  Now I have the T10, honestly, I’ve been feeling good, I’ve been putting in some work,” Gayle said.

The player admits that he already has one eye on the ICC T20 Championships, which will be held in November of this year.

“I’m just getting myself in condition.  I still have a lot of cricket to play.  I’m looking forward to the World Cup and hopefully giving the West Indies another T20 title.”

Gayle has not played in a T20 international since March of last year but intends to be part of the squad in lead up matches to the tournament.

 

West Indies One Day International (ODI) captain for the upcoming tour of Bangladesh, Jason Mohammed, hopes to bring a sense of calm to the team ahead of what is expected to be a difficult match-up next month.

A quick glance at the record books will tell you that the hastily selected second-string unit is expected to have a difficult trip to Asia. The West Indies has won just one of the last seven ODIs against Bangladesh.  The most recent loss saw Bangladesh stroll to a comfortable 7-wicket win at the 2019 World Cup.  With several first-team players, including West Indies captain Jason Holder, in-form batsman Shai Hope, in the 50-over version anyway, and the explosive Shimron Hetmeyer are just a few of the players missing from the squad.  Their replacements will be short on experience.

While admitting that results will not be easy to come by for the series, Mohammed hopes to at least lead the team to consistent and calm performances.

“What I can bring to the table is being calm.  That’s one of the things that get us in trouble.  Speaking for myself, as an experienced player, sometimes when we overthink the situation, we just don’t stay calm in certain situations like bowling in the right areas, shot selections,” Mohammed told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“A lot has been said about the team going but I don’t think there will be a lot of pressure on us as players because at the end of the day we are going to represent the West Indies.  We still have a job to do.”

 

West Indies ODI Squad

Jason Mohammed (captain)

Sunil Ambris (vice-captain)

Nkrumah Bonner

Joshua Da Silva

Jahmar Hamilton

Chemar Holder

Akeal Hosein

Alzarri Joseph

Kyle Mayers

Andre McCarthy

Kjorn Ottley

Rovman Powell

Raymon Reifer

Romario Shepherd

Hayden Walsh jr

 

 

 

 

West Indies spinner Rahkeem Cornwall is eager to make use of what could be a solid opportunity on the upcoming tour of Bangladesh, which will provide conditions more suited to spin bowling.

Amidst a flurry of withdrawals, Cornwall was one of the current members of the squad to readily accept the invitation to tour the Asian country next month.

The 27-year-old has been part of the West Indies squad since being invited to the England tour with the team in July.  He then traveled to New Zealand with the team for the tour that took place in December.

Cornwall has, however, had a difficult time making an impact.  Called to the first-team squad for the third Test in England, the spinner bowled 46 overs but did get a wicket.  He was not added to the first team for the New Zealand tour.  On the slower, more spin-friendly matches in Bangladesh, however, the player hopes to have a much bigger impact.

“I think I’m in a good space and we know Bangladesh is known for being more conducive to spin, so I just have to set my mind for a next bubble and go out there and perform the way I should,” Cornwall told the Antigua Observer.

“I went on two tours in England and New Zealand and there was nothing there for spinners and after playing three Test matches, I finally got something that suits me and I hope I can go there and perform,” he added.

Cornwall will have good memories of performing in Asia, as he claimed his career-best figures of 7 for 75 against Bangladesh last year.

West Indies talisman Chris Gayle has targeted matching the exploits of India great Yuvraj Singh who once cleared the boundary rope six times in one over.

Singh, who retired from cricket in June of last year, achieved the feat in 2007 in a league-stage match of the inaugural T20 World Cup when he clobbered Stuart Broad.

The India legend achieved the feat on the biggest stage, but six other cricketers have also managed the achievement.  West Indian legend Gary Sobers, Ravi Shastri of India, Herschelle Gibbs of South Africa, Ross Vitali of England, Hazratullah Zazai of Afghanistan, and Leo Carter of New Zealand.

Despite being 41, Gayle still fancies his chances of becoming the eighth player to do so.  Based on his recent performances at this season's IPL, one wouldn’t bet against it.  It was at the IPL this season that Gayle became the first player to get to 1000 sixes in T20 cricket.  The big left-hander went close to the feat in 2016 when he hit five sixes in an over off Sulieman Benn in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL).

"It’s very much possible to hit six sixes.  So, if six is possible and Yuvraj has done it before so why can’t I do it? Yes, you, I anybody can do that,” Gayle told the Hindustan Times.

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