West Indies fast bowler Alzarri Joseph has credited increased mental focus on his batting with improved performances at the crease.

Over the past several months, the bowler has made the headlines for positing solid totals at the crease, as much as if not more than multiple wicket hauls.

Against New Zealand, in December of last year, Joseph recorded his highest total of 86, which was his maiden half-century. The Antiguan then went on to add another after scoring 82 in February this year against Bangladesh.

Fast forward a few months later and the player has taken his form with the bat to a debut season of English County cricket for Worcestershire.  With best scores of 46 and 61, Joseph has shown plenty of ability to be handy with the bat when the team needs it.  In four matches to date, Joseph has scored 128 runs and claimed 10 wickets.

“Whatever I could contribute to the team I am happy to do, so it’s good that I have been getting a few scores but for me, I think it’s also about being consistent doing it,” Joseph told the Antigua Observer.

“I have always enjoyed batting but it was just down to me being a bit more focused on it so I think for me it’s just about staying focused, being consistent in any aspect of the game.”

 

 

 

It has been confirmed that the West Indies will officially host South Africa for the first time since 2010, with the series booked for the islands of Grenada and St Lucia.

The parties have been locked in negotiations for the past several months, with several obstacles to overcome.  The latest it is believed was a venue for the tour, which was reportedly originally set for Trinidad and Tobago.

A recent spike of COVID-19 cases has, however, forced an alteration to those plans.  The current plan will see the teams play two Tests at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground in St Lucia and the T20s taking place at the National Cricket Stadium in Grenada.  The series will take place between June 10 and July 3.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) director, Graeme Smith, expressed delight to be heading back to the Caribbean, particularly in light of the difficult and uncertain times caused by the pandemic.  He reserved a special word of thanks for the countries that stepped in to host the series on relatively short notice.

 “We are extremely pleased to have the men’s team’s tour to the West Indies officially confirmed. Covid-19 has played havoc with the ICC Future Tours Programme and we are thankful to Cricket West Indies and the governments of St Lucia and Grenada for ensuring that the tour goes ahead as planned‚” Smith said.

“The hosting nations‚ in particular‚ came to the party at very short notice and Cricket South Africa would like to extend its immense gratitude to them for their enthusiasm and willingness to host us."

West Indies legend, Viv Richards, has called on talented young batsman Shimron Hetmyer to take a more mature approach to cricket, in order to realise and maximise his full potential.

In the same breath, the iconic former batsman fondly referred to as the ‘Master Blaster,’ believes any failure by the player to do so would be a great loss not just to the West Indies, but the sport as a whole.

The 24-year-old Guyanese-born batsman has been in the spotlight recently, after failing to secure an international retainer contract from Cricket West Indies (CWI).  Long-touted as one of the region’s premier talents, Hetmyer has had a disappointing period, missing out on several appearances for the West Indies and twice failing a fitness test.

“You’ve got to put in the work [because] if you take half measure, then you are going to get half measure results for sure. Shortcuts in this particular profession are of no substance and I am not sure if what I am saying here now will get to him at some point, but the individual is a talented individual and there are times when I see him on the field and he is pretty playful like he is still a kid and he actually has to be a little more mature at this stage now,” Richards told the Antigua Observer.

 “The guy has got too much talent and I think that if this talent goes to waste, it would be a huge loss, not just maybe to himself but to world cricket on a whole,” he added.

Hetmyer, who has played all three formats for the West Indies, last appeared for the team in a T20I series against New Zealand last year.  He has, however, not played One Day International Cricket since January of last year and has not played a Test match since November of 2019.

“If he really wants to make this sport his profession and to get the maximum result that everyone feels he has in him in terms of the talent then he has got to really start looking at himself in the mirror and start to think. I think he is [24 years old] now, so he has got to be serious. When you hear some of the stuff like they fail a fitness test and all that sort of stuff then that is just totally unprofessional.”

West Indies fast bowler, Alzarri Joseph, admits that getting used to conditions on a debut English County cricket season has been challenging, but that his only true focus remains continuing to improve as a player.

The 24-year-old Joseph, who signed with Worcestershire, for the first seven games of the 2021 County Championship season, has had a fairly solid debut spell so far.

In four games, Joseph has scored 128 runs, with a high score of 61, as a lower-order batsman, and taken 10 wickets.  According to the player, things have, however, not been easy as conditions are very different to the Caribbean.

 “I wouldn’t say it’s been the best or that I am extremely satisfied, but it’s improving as I go along. It’s a lot different to the Caribbean, it’s different conditions in terms of different grounds, different types of surfaces, and different types of players, so it’s also about adjusting to everything at once.  It’s helping me to improve as a player in terms of adjusting to situations a bit quicker,” Alzarri told the Antigua Observer.

“Some days you turn up and it’s like three degrees and very cold in the mornings and then it goes from three to 12 degrees, to 15 and then back down to three. So, it’s just really difficult sometimes, but it’s all part of the job.  All part of the learning experience,” he added.

Joseph signed up with the league last month, following the West Indies series against Sri Lanka.

 

Cricket West Indies (CWI) chief of selectors, Roger Harper, believes it is an absolute necessity for players to get used to the idea of having to perform at the very top of their games in order to secure top-class retainer contracts.

The omission of the likes of Roston Chase, Shimron Hetmyer, Shamarh Brooks, Shane Dowrich, Sheldon Cottrell, Rovman Powell, and Oshane Thomas from the international retainer contracts lists, for the upcoming year, has rubbed a few supporters the wrong way.  Particularly, based on the fact that fewer contracts were handed out this year.

However, according to Harper, some players did not meet the minimum criteria for selection or simply did not display the quality need.

“We have to accept that these are performance-based contracts.  So, the contracts are awarded based on performance during the evaluation period, as well as the selection panel must feel that the players must play a major role or form the nucleus of the team going forward,” Harper told members of the media on Thursday.

“The players who were not awarded contracts their performances over the period did not meet the necessary criteria as well as you had new players who came to fore and performed, so they were offered contracts,” he added.

“Going forward as a culture, if we want to see our team progress, if we want to see our team compete with the best in the world.  We have to be more conscious of the fact that we have to earn our stripes and we have to perform consistently.  I think our retainer contracts are given on that basis.”

In addition to playing at least 50 percent of the games during the evaluation period, to be considered, batsmen must average at least 30 in Test and ODI cricket.  For T20Is players the player’s batting average and strike rate combined must be a minimum 150.

 

Destructive batsman, AB De Villiers, could be part of the South African team booked for a tour to the West Indies next month, which was officially confirmed by Cricket South Africa (CSA) director of cricket Graeme Smith.

 After several months of negotiations, the teams are confirmed to play two Test matches and five Twenty20 Internationals.  The venue, which will be one country, due to existing coronavirus protocols, has not yet been announced.  Originally, it was believed the matches would be held in Trinidad and Tobago, but the country's fresh battle with a COVID-19 surge seems to have put that in doubt.

De Villiers, who played in the Caribbean with the Barbados Tridents in 2016, has not played for the South African team since a Test match against Australia in 2018.  The player has, however, given repeated displays of his jaw-dropping hitting ability for the India Premier League (IPL) franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).

It was last month that South Africa coach Mark Boucher suggested the big hitter could return to the South Africa line-up for the T20 World Cup, scheduled for India from October to November.  It could still be moved due to issues caused by an outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

South Africa has not played in the West Indies since 2016.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) chief of selectors, Roger Harper, has admitted that there is some concern over the form of batsman Shimron Hetmyer after the player failed to secure a retainer contract.

The 24-year-old explosive batsman has been previously heralded as one of West Indies cricket’s brightest prospects but has not been at his best in recent seasons.

Hetmyer has not played a Test for the regional team since 2019, against Afghanistan, and has not played in a One Day International since January of last year, against Ireland.  In addition to that, the player has twice failed fitness tests during the period.

The batsman missed out on the team’s tour of Sri Lanka in February of last year and then missed out on early selection for the squad this year, after failing another following the arrival of the Sri Lankans to tour the Caribbean.  Hetmyer subsequently passed a follow-up test.

“I still think Shimron is the type of player that has the ability to be a world-class player in every format going forward,” Harper told members of the media via an online video chat on Thursday.

“Naturally, when you have that sort of potential, we want to see it reach the kind of level that he is capable of reaching.  So, yes, we are concerned.  Yes, we will continue to work with Shimron and yes we will try to give the short of focus that we think is required for him to maximise his potential.”

Despite losing out on his regional contract, Hetmyer, however, retains a franchise contract.

 

Former Windies captain, Jason Holder, admits he has been left disappointed with how some things have been handled by West Indies cricket, particularly given his monetary sacrifices over the years.

The 29-year-old, who made his debut for the West Indies in 2013, has been an ever-present in the regional team.  Since 2014, Holder, who has been both ODI and Test captain, has been on a retainer contract with Cricket West Indies (CWI), which gives the regional team priority in many instances.

It has meant the sought-after player has perhaps been unable to ply his trade in some of the cash-rich cricket competitions around the globe, as they, at times, have clashed with regional engagements.

“I could sit down here and safely say I’ve passed up a lot of money to play for West Indies. I could have been a lot more well off than I am. I consider myself really blessed because I’ve made a lot of money in my life for a guy my age…but I probably could have made a lot more but I’ve always had that desire to play for West Indies,” Holder told the Headstrong An Innings With… podcast.  The player was addressing the situation that arises when players are often forced between signing lucrative deals and representing the regional team.

Holder was replaced as West Indies captain by, Kraigg Brathwaite, in March, after the latter’s strong showing in the team’s series against Bangladesh.  Holder was one of several players who declined to go on the tour.  The all-rounder cited health and safety concerns but also quarantine fatigue, as reasons he did not participate in the tour.

While not getting into the specific instances to which he was referring, Holder expressed disappointment with the fact that he doesn’t believe that West Indies cricket has always been generous in their handling of players that have sacrificed a lot.

 “My disappointment, however, comes when players like myself give up so much to commit to West Indies cricket, and then West Indies cricket isn’t as accommodating as they possibly can. There have been a few instances where I’ve been very disappointed in how things were handled,” he added.

 

West Indies Women’s team coach, Courtney Walsh, admits the team could be pressed for time to be fully ready to compete at the upcoming World Cup qualifiers, particularly with a lack of international and regional fixtures.

The qualifiers are expected to take place in Sri Lanka, in December of this year, giving the team just around 7 months to prepare.  The presence of the coronavirus and protocols put in place to stop its transmission, however, has meant that regional competition for female cricketers has been put on hold.

It is a similar case for international fixtures, with the team having not played a series since November of last year when the Windies faced off against England.

“Not being able to play enough cricket, you would not say it is enough time but we have to try to understand the situation and work with it as best as we can,” Walsh told members from media from Antigua, where the team was gathered for a training camp.

“In an ideal world we would be able to tour and play as much cricket as we could then yes,” he added.

“It is a tickling situation, but it is something that is understandable, so we have to do what we can and get in as much as we can.  The back of the year might be a little busier coming closer to that time.  I am still hoping that we can have a couple of tours and play and have the regionals and stuff.  Once the girls are playing, I much prefer that because it gives me a better chance of seeing who is in form, seeing who is improving, who is not improving.  With them not being able to play that’s my biggest challenge.”

Former West Indies batsman Suruj Ragoonath insists that he would leave both veteran players Chris Gayle and Sunil Narine out of a squad for the T20 World Cup, but very for different reasons.

With the World Cup just a few months away, the debate has raged on regarding the most effective composition of the squad.  Experienced players like Gayle, Narine, and Dwayne Bravo, who all have world titles under their belts, remain eligible for selection.  Some have called for the selection panel to look past the players.

Recently, the selection of veteran players Fidel Edwards and Gayle, for the West Indies series against Sri Lanka, set off vigorous debate around the region.  While some endorsed the decision the Cricket West Indies (CWI) selection panel’s decision to add experience to the World Cup squad.  Some argued that Gayle being 41 and Edwards 39, the CWI should be invested in selecting promising youth players.

 In the meantime, top spinner Narine is only 32 but has not appeared for the West Indies since 2019 and prior to that had not played consistently.

“I don’t think that Sunil Narine is interested in going to World Cup, to be honest, given the challenges he had,” Ragoonath told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“Dwayne Bravo is showing that he is still capable and Chris Gayle for me is a big question mark.  For the first time, I’ve seen Chris Gayle actually dive around in a match.  The last game they played (Punjab King’s XI).  He looks a little fitter, but at the same time, I am not inclined to taking Chris Gayle to a World Cup at this stage,” he added.

Gayle struggled to make an impact against Sri Lanka in March, scoring just 29 runs in three matches.  Since the start of this season’s IPL, the batsman has been solid, if not spectacular for Punjab Kings XI after scoring 165 runs from seven matches.

“Of the three, I would love to have Sunil Narine on my side, but psychologically Sunil is not half the player he used to be and so Bravo is the only one I would give serious consideration to.”

Legendary former West Indies captain, Clive Lloyd, has called for a redoubling of efforts to get regional bowlers to achieve peak fitness levels as part of realizing ambitions to consistently challenge the world’s best.

In assessing the difference between the fitness levels of some of the current crop of bowlers and those who dominated oppositions in his time, Lloyd admitted that the players of yesteryear had the advantage of much heavier involvement in English County Cricket.

“Joel Garner was a big fellow, but he was terribly fit.  Walsh was a big fellow, tall fellow, but he was fit.  Those guys were accustomed to playing in County cricket, where you would have to bowl four spells a day and travel the next day and start again.  They got accustomed to that, our guys are not accustomed to that,” Lloyd told the Mason and Guest radio program.

He, however, insists there should be no excuses when it comes to athletes being in the very best physical shape for cricket.

“We should have our young men fit, we have the climate and we have the coaches.  You should have fitness guys there who are strong, mentally, like Dennis Waite.  When he says run four laps, you have to run four laps,” he added.

“We don’t do enough of that.  I think that is why our players are not bowling as many overs as they should.  You ask Malcolm Marshal at 4:30 in the afternoon ‘Malcolm I’d like four overs from you’.  He would say ‘no skip, I will give you six’.  That’s the sort of thing you need, Walsh wanting to bowl, Crofty you can’t get the ball out of his hands.  We have to get that kind of hunger again.”

 

 

 

  

 

 

West Indies and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) all-rounder, Andre Russell, has crossed the threshold of 6000 runs in T20 cricket during an IPL match against the Delhi Capitals.

The big hitter became the sixth West Indian to reach the mark behind the likes of Dwayne Bravo, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Smith, Kieron Pollard on top run-getter Chris Gayle.  Russell is, however, the youngest West Indian player to reach the total.

Russell, who was celebrating his birthday, reached the milestone with a double in the 16th over of the match.  He went on to blast an unbeaten 45 from 27 deliveries but Delhi won the match by 7 runs.

Overall, Russell has played 80 matches in the Indian Premier League, scoring 1635 runs at an average of 29.68 with a strike rate of 179.67 and a high score of 88*.  He has also taken 68 wickets in IPL so far, at an economy rate of 9.08 and an average of 26.86.

 This season the player is off to a strong start for Kolkata, scoring 118 runs in six matches at a solid strike rate of 151. He has also claimed seven wickets in six games.  Things have, however, not gone well for KKR who have lost four of their first 6 games.

Former Indian cricketer, Pragyan Ojha, believes the Punjab Kings XI are heaping unnecessary pressure onto batsmen Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran, due to the team's approach to structuring its innings.

Pooran has struggled to make an impact in six matches so far this season, managing just a high score of 19 and failing to score on three occasions.  Gayle has had more of a mixed performance, scoring 40 plus on two occasions but also had a series of low scores, including a golden duck in the team’s last encounter against Kolkata Knightriders.

Ojha, however, believes that the team’s top two KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal might be thinking about scoring too quickly and posting too big a target too early in the innings.

"They should think about 160-170 at first. But if you start thinking from the beginning that we have a very good batting line-up with Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran and we should aim 180-190 then you are putting undue pressure on (them),” Ojha told Cricbuzz.

"You can only think about a big score once you have got a good start. So you have to change your plans accordingly. You can't think that you have big names and they will always score runs. You have the look at the kind of form they are in too. Can't plan based on past glory," Ojha added.

The upcoming edition of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) set to be held entirely on the island of St Kitts & Nevis and bowls off on August 28.

Due to the threat posed by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the entire 2020 edition of the tournament was held in Trinidad and Tobago, under strict COVID-19 protocols.

In several respects, the tournament was a success with the event successfully being delivered to a record audience of over 500 million.  The Trinbago Knightriders were eventually crowned champions on their own patch.

St Kitts and Nevis’ Warner Park has been the scene of some of the most iconic matches in Hero CPL history.  Fans were treated to Chris Gayle’s brilliant hundred against the Jamaica Tallawahs in 2019 and Andre Russell’s even more explosive century against the Trinbago Knight Riders in 2016. There have also been some amazing matches, not least the game that went to a Super Over finish between St Kitts & Nevis Patriots and the Knight Riders in 2019.

This year’s tournament takes on extra significance with it taking place in the lead up to the ICC T20 World Cup and both West Indies and overseas players will be using the opportunity to push for selection for their international teams.

 “We are delighted to be able to announce that we will be having the Hero CPL in St Kitts & Nevis in 2021 and we would like to thank those involved in welcoming the tournament to this wonderful country,” Pete Russell, Hero CPL’s COO, said.

“As was demonstrated during the 2020 tournament the CPL is a massive boost for the host country with US$51.5million delivered in sponsorship value for Trinidad & Tobago. We are really looking forward to giving St Kitts & Nevis the exposure they deserve.”

 

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.