Mindley back with rest of Windies squad after returning negative COVID-19 test

By Sports Desk June 04, 2021

Pace bowler Marquino Mindley has been released from quarantine, after testing positive for the coronavirus two weeks ago.

The 26-year-old was called to the West Indies red-ball camp a few weeks ago, as part of the team’s preparations to face South Africa in two weeks time.

The player was, however, forced to isolate, as part of strict COVID-19 protocols, after returning a positive PCR test.  The player was put into isolation at the team hotel away from the other players and the coaching staff.

He was cleared to resume training with the rest of the camp on Thursday, after returning a second negative RT-PCR test result.

Mindley even managed a short spell on the final day the intra-squad four-day match, which concluded on Thursday.  The bowler, however, missed the majority of the Best vs Best four-day match, which was used to select the squad for the two-match Test series against South Africa beginning June 10. Both Tests will be played at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground.

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    Despite just 20 first-class appearances behind him and a modest record, Hartley fully vindicated his left-field selection for the tour of India by spinning England to a famous win in Hyderabad, while he tops the wicket-taking charts with 20 dismissals at an average of 33.45 after four Tests.

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    Rather than fret about his place, Hartley sees the upshot of the Red Rose signing a bowler with 527 Test wickets and will take steps to try to prevent the pair from being in direct competition with each other.

    “I’m really trying to work on my batting and become more of that all-rounder role which makes me a lot easier to pick,” Hartley said. “Playing alongside (Lyon) would be fantastic.

    “I hope he’s going to be fantastic for me and be a real game-changer. He’s going to be great to learn off. He’s probably going to be fed up of me by September. Hopefully we can get on really well.

    “The type of bowler he is is something I’m trying to work on. The way he operates in Australia on pretty flat wickets, there are times when English wickets are pretty similar.”

    England head coach Brendon McCullum said last week it would be “slightly mad” if Hartley and Shoaib Bashir were overlooked by their counties having established themselves as Test cricketers on this trip.

    While Hartley could be behind Lyon in the pecking order and Bashir set to play second fiddle to Jack Leach at Somerset, one solution would be to send the pair on loan to other counties.

    “I think it’s a bit early for that,” Hartley said. “I’ll do whatever’s best for Lancashire and the team.”

    Hartley will instead concentrate on pumping up a respectable first-class batting average of 26.19. He has demonstrated his character in recent weeks by taking the attack to Ravichandran Ashwin, thumping India’s premier spinner for four sixes in the series.

    While there may still be more to work on before he can consider himself a fully-fledged all-rounder, Hartley is determined to show he can bring value with both bat and ball.

    “I’ve made big strides in these last two years with my batting but I still feel there are gaps there and that (improving) only really comes with time at the crease,” Hartley said.

    “I think I get a bit carried away trying to hit sixes and fours. Sometimes I’ve just got to relax myself, take my time to get in and just have a bit more patience.”

    His adventurous approach to batting has been encouraged by McCullum and captain Ben Stokes, with Hartley bumped up to eighth in Ranchi after three Tests at number nine in the order.

    “They’re over the moon whenever I hit a six, that’s what I get cheered for,” Hartley said. “Coming back in the dressing room, that’s what they talk to me about. It just encourages me to play more of them.”

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    Pope has had mixed fortunes in India. A career-defining 196 underpinned a famous England triumph in Hyderabad but the number three batter has amassed a combined 89 runs in his other seven knocks.

    He has been accused of being on edge when first arriving at the crease and faced just three deliveries in Ranchi without scoring as India moved into an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-match Test series.

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    “He’s trying to be as calm as he can when he goes out there and there’s a period when he needs to grab information from the wicket and get the rhythm of how the game is going,” McCullum added.

    “For him, the key is to not have played his innings before he goes out there, just to be nice and calm, relaxed and go out there and be able to back himself in that situation.

    “He’s aware of that, that’s ultimately what everyone is trying to do when they go out and play. He obviously bagged them in the last Test and he’s gutted.”

    Despite two anonymous showings with the bat, Pope’s enthusiasm in India’s successful pursuit of 192 impressed McCullum, whose side will be looking for a consolation victory this week in Dharamsala.

    “The way he was helping the skipper and diving around in the field, that’s the stuff you’re desperate for as a coach, to see people giving it their best regardless of their own performance,” McCullum said.

    “It was great leadership qualities and shows where he’s at as a player, member of the team and as a person.”

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