West Indies legend Sir Vivian Richards has admitted to feeling let down by the Ricky Skerritt-led Cricket West Indies (CWI), following its controversial decision to dismiss the coaching staff ahead of the ICC World Cup.

Less than a month after taking the reins of the association from the four-term president Dave Cameron, the decision was taken to dismiss interim coach Richard Pybus and the entire selection panel.

 The decision was particularly debatable with the ICC World Cup just a few weeks away and the interim-coach and team having put on an outstanding performance against England, the world’s number one team, and eventual World Cup winners only a month prior.

Despite being a huge supporter of the Skerritt slate ahead of it being elected, Richards strongly believed it was a major misstep.

“To be fair I did put my everything behind my support for the individual who is at the helm, but I wasn’t happy with the so-called coming into that particular position and just the way in which subtle little changes were made to get certain individuals in place for them to be managers and coaches of the tour to the World Cup.  I didn’t like the start and I made my point, Richards said.

“I didn’t like the start. I am hoping that the finish is much better than the start.”

Eoin Morgan wants to captain England in next year's Twenty20 World Cup but says he "needs more time" to reflect after a back injury.

Morgan led England as hosts as they won the Cricket World Cup, beating New Zealand in a classic final at Lord's last month.

But his future is uncertain in the aftermath of that success, while he has been battling a back injury that dogged him through the 50-over tournament.

Morgan is keen to continue in the limited-overs leadership role but will first take some time to consider his options, determined he will only captain the side if he is physically fit.

"I need more time to think, that's the honest answer," he told the BBC's Test Match Special. "It's a big decision, a big commitment.

"Given the injury that I went through in the World Cup, I need time to get fully fit.

"I actually need the season to end pretty soon so I can have that time to physically get fit and guarantee that it's not an injury risk between this year and next, and then I'll be able to make a call on that."

Asked if he wanted to skipper the side, Morgan added: "Absolutely. Who doesn't?

"I just don't want to let anybody down. When you lead, you have to lead from the front and you have to be physically fit.

"Finding form is another thing. Hopefully that works itself out."

Ravi Shastri will continue as India head coach for another two years, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) confirmed on Friday.

Shastri's role had been one of several positions in which the BCCI invited applicants last month, putting his future in doubt.

The 57-year-old's contract as coach had initially expired after the Cricket World Cup, where India lost in the semi-finals to New Zealand.

But an extension had seen Shastri take charge of the ongoing series against West Indies.

And Shastri will now keep his role after the BCCI's cricket advisory committee named him as their preferred candidate.

Mike Hesson was selected as the second choice, with Tom Moody third.

But Shastri is to continue in a job he has held since July 2017, having previously worked as team director.

He oversaw India's first ever away Test series win against Australia at the turn of the year.

Windies bowling legend Curtly Ambrose admits he has an issue with a lack of aggression from current captain Jason Holder but believes the Barbadian remains the best man for the job.

The 27-year-old all-rounder has been in the post since 2015 but has come under heavy pressure in recent weeks, following a dismal performance for the team at ICC World Cup.  Managing just a single win, which came against Pakistan, the regional team finished ninth out of 10 teams.

While the outspoken Ambrose insisted that Holder needed to be more assertive in the post, the pace bowler pointed out that there was a lack of suitable replacements available.

“When you look at the resources it is a very short list so what are your options? You have Jason Holder, you got Craig Brathwaite who is his deputy and who are the others who lead or have led before? Hetmyer led the under-19s so maybe he is one to look at in the future once he can cement himself and get going but there is nobody really. The list is very short so we can’t just give a guy captaincy … because we need to be very careful. I think Jason should just continue for now and then we see what happens,” Ambrose told Antiguan radio show Good Morning Jojo.

“I think he has improved from when he started, so let’s be real, but my thing with Jason Holder is that I think is he may not be aggressive enough as a leader. I think he is a little too laid back because when you’re captain you’re a leader and people should recognize right away that he’s the leader. When you look at the West Indies team you’re not sure who the leader is, so Jason needs to, maybe, be more authoritative or just have some kind of presence so you know that he is the man in charge,” he said.

 

 

Joe Root baulked at the suggestion he is under less pressure to deliver an Ashes series win because of his part in England's Cricket World Cup victory.

England and Australia resume their famous rivalry at Edgbaston on Thursday, the first of five Tests in a packed seven-week schedule as the hosts aim to build upon their breathless triumph over New Zealand at Lord's with another memorable success in the longest format.

Root was England's leading runs scorer as Eoin Morgan's men lifted the trophy, comfortably dispatching Australia in the semi-finals en route to glory.

But the 28-year-old is captain once again for Test duties, as he was when Australia took back possession of the urn with a 4-0 win on home soil 18 months ago.

"I think if you speak to anyone that's captained England and is on the verge of an Ashes series… to say that it doesn't mean as much as any other event, I don't think any of them would agree. It's huge," Root, who will step up again to the crucial number three position in England's brittle top order, told a pre-match news conference.

"Cricket in this country is at an all-time high and probably has interest it's not had for a long time. We've got an opportunity as a team to make this summer a very memorable one."

It is a joust limited-overs specialist Morgan will watch from afar.

Root spoke warmly of the Irishman's influence on his leadership of the Test team as he seeks to plot a similarly defining triumph.

"I'm sure he's still celebrating somewhere, to be honest," Root grinned. "He's obviously desperate for us to do well.

"He's been great with me in terms of helping me find my feet as a captain and someone I will always will look up to.

"He's a great man and a great leader. He'll be as supportive as anyone watching on from wherever he is – hopefully with a glass of red somewhere."

Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes return to the England side after sitting out last week's topsy-turvy Test win over Ireland – the duo prescribed rest after showing nerves of steel to guide England towards and through the super-over finale versus New Zealand.

"When you look back at that final and everything that it threw at the group who played in it, those are experiences you can hold with you for ever," Root said, acknowledging the lingering benefit such exploits could have over the coming weeks.

"For people like Jos and Ben, who spent a long period out there under pressure, it must make you think differently and it'll be interesting to see that unfold throughout this series.

"It can only be positive to have two senior players perform for a long period of time under the biggest scrutiny and pressure in the white-ball format.

"They've got a chance now to take that into the red-ball stuff and into this series."

Sunil Gavaskar has hit out at the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) selectors ahead of India's tour of West Indies, labelling the body "lame ducks" over Virat Kohli continuing as captain.

India exited the Cricket World Cup in the semi-finals, losing to New Zealand after topping the group stage table under Kohli.

He will continue to lead the team in the United States and the Caribbean, though, with Gavaskar questioning why there was no discussions about Kohli's position after India failed to reach the World Cup final.

In a column in Indian outlet Mid Day, Gavaskar said: "That they selected the team for West Indies without first having a meeting to select the captain brings up the question of whether Virat Kohli is the captain of the team at his or the selection committee's pleasure.

"To the best of our knowledge his [Kohli’s] appointment was till the World Cup. After that, it was incumbent on the selectors to meet, even if it was for five minutes for his reappointment."

The India great continued: "Speaking of lame ducks, the Indian selection committee appears to be one.

"After the reappointment, he [Kohli] gets invited to the meeting for his views on selecting the players for the team.

"By bypassing the procedure, the message that goes out is that while the players like Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik get dropped after below-expectations performance, the captain continues despite much below-par expectations, where the team did not even reach the final."

India play the first of three T20 internationals against West Indies on August 3, with three ODI games following before a two-match Test series.

Regardless of who lifts the urn at The Oval in September, one Australian who is plotting Ashes glory should forever be revered in England.

Just 16 months ago Trevor Bayliss was facing calls for him to be axed as England head coach after New Zealand rolled Joe Root's side for only 58 in an embarrassing first-Test defeat in Auckland.

That came on the back of a chastening 4-0 Ashes thumping in Australia, where Bayliss also fended off questions over his future – much more assertively than the tourists did with the Australia bowling attack.

Bayliss would be entitled to feel he had more than enough credit in the bank at that point, having masterminded a transformation of the ODI side from a Cricket World Cup shambles in 2015 to a major force.

There was no word from his critics when top-ranked England were crowned world champions for the first time this month, an ambitious mission that he was challenged to achieve when he took the reins four years ago.

The unassuming Bayliss started his tenure with a home Ashes win and could sign off with another before stepping aside at the end of the series.

An emphatic home Test series win over India and two series victories against South Africa have also been achieved with the former Sri Lanka coach at the helm, as well as a run to the final of the 2016 World T20.

Paul Farbrace, long-time assistant to the man from New South Wales both with England and Sri Lanka, knows as well as anybody why Bayliss has been so successful over the years.

He told Omnisport: "It's very easy when you are a coach to talk a lot, it's very hard not to say a lot and when you do speak, you speak at the right time and you say the right thing.

"That is where I think he is a genius, in that when he speaks, people listen and when he speaks, he genuinely says something that is very good and you think 'that is a great point'.

"There is a lot of things Trevor gets underestimated about. He appears to sit quietly and not say a lot, but he gets his point across and he knows what is going on all the time in the game, he never misses a ball.

"He is a genuine cricket lover and he's passionate about the game, with exceptional knowledge. He may forget the odd name, but he doesn't forget too much about the game.

"He has been the perfect fit for England over the last four years. The World Cup was the goal four years ago and that's what they have achieved."

Farbrace added: "It's a special summer for English cricket; a home World Cup and Ashes in the same six-month period, it's magnificent for the game in this country at all levels of the game.

"There's never been a better time to introduce people to get involved in the game of cricket. If England can win the Ashes it would be the perfect way to see things home and I see no reason why they can't do that."

Whether or not England regain the Ashes, Bayliss can leave the job with his head held high, although he may prefer to stay poker-faced wearing dark shades under his floppy sun hat to stay out of the limelight.

Lasith Malinga has played his final ODI, starring for Sri Lanka in Friday's victory against Bangladesh in Colombo.

The Lions seamer went out in style as he took three wickets for 38 runs - his dismissal of Mustafizur Rahman wrapping up the win - in a 91-run triumph.

Malinga will continue to play 20-over internationals until next year's T20 World Cup, but it was in the 50-over format that he first established himself as a worldwide bowling icon.

Marking the end of a brilliant career, we take a look at how he compares to the very best.

 

ONE OF SRI LANKA'S ELITE

Malinga ends his career at number three on Sri Lanka's list of ODI wicket-takers, having claimed 338 from 220 innings.

Only the great Muttiah Muralitharan (523) and Chaminda Vaas (399) can better that tally, both playing considerably more innings - 334 and 319 respectively.

That puts Malinga ahead of Sanath Jayasuriya, Nuwan Kulasekara, Dilhara Fernando and team-mate Thisara Perera, with his average of 28.87 better than each of those four players, too.

 

HIS PLACE AMONG THE GREATS

Those figures unsurprisingly put Malinga high on the all-time worldwide list, too.

The 35-year-old is ninth in a table that again sees compatriot Muralitharan on top, also trailing Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Vaas, Shahid Afridi, Shaun Pollock, Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee.

Counting only seamers in ODIs, Malinga is seventh, with Javagal Srinath (315 wickets) the next after him.

He also collected three hat-tricks, which is more than any other bowler in ODI history, while he had eight five-wicket hauls.

 

A GENUINE WORLD CUP STAR

A rare bowling list that Muralitharan does not lead is that of Cricket World Cup wickets, where he is second behind McGrath. Malinga, with 56, 15 behind the leader, is third.

That total came from just 28 innings as Malinga produced his best on the big stage, playing in four World Cups (2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019) and taking 12 or more wickets in each of them. No other bowler has taken at least 10 wickets in more than three tournaments.

Sri Lanka were runners-up in 2007 and 2011, and big-game player Malinga took a hat-trick in each tournament. He took four wickets from four balls for the first of those against South Africa.

Ben Stokes is "flattered" to be nominated for the New Zealander of the Year award but England's Cricket World Cup hero says Kane Williamson should receive the accolade.

Votes were cast for the New Zealand-born all-rounder to claim the prize last week after he was named man of the match following a decisive innings in a World Cup final defeat of the Black Caps at Lord's.

However, Stokes believes New Zealand captain Williamson is the man who should be given the honour.

"I am flattered to be nominated for New Zealander of the Year. I am proud of my New Zealand and Maori heritage but it would not sit right with me to be nominated for this prestigious award," said the 28-year-old.

"There are people who deserve this recognition more and have done a lot more for the country of New Zealand.

"I have helped England lift a World Cup and my life is firmly established in the UK – it has been since I was 12 years old.

"I feel the whole country should align their support to New Zealand captain Kane Williamson. He should be revered as a Kiwi legend. He led his team in this World Cup with distinction and honour. 

"He was the player of the tournament and an inspirational leader of men. He shows humility and empathy to every situation and is an all-round good bloke.

"He typifies what it is to be a New Zealander. He would be a worthy recipient of this accolade. New Zealand, fully support him. He deserves it and gets my vote."

Lasith Malinga has told Dimuth Karunaratne he will retire from ODIs following the first match against Bangladesh, according to the Sri Lanka captain.

The 35-year-old had already announced plans to quit cricket following next year's T20 World Cup, yet his final ODI appearance is set to come this week.

Sri Lanka face Bangladesh in a three-match ODI series, starting on Friday, but Karunaratne is expecting to be without Malinga following the opener in Colombo.

"We need to find a wicket-taking bowler because Malinga is not available after this series," the skipper told a news conference.

"He is going to play the first match. After that, he is retiring. That's what he said to me. I don't know what he said for the selectors but, for me, he said he is playing only one match."

Malinga has taken 335 wickets in 225 ODIs, sitting third on his country's all-time list, with 13 dismissals at the recent Cricket World Cup.

Karunaratne added ahead of taking on Bangladesh: "As the captain of Sri Lanka, after the World Cup, we need to build a good team.

"We are trying to find some new talent, so we are giving some chances to the youngsters in this series. We want to play a good cricket series."

Rory Burns is confident Surrey team-mate Jason Roy will adapt to Test cricket as he looks set to make his England bow in the longest format.

Roy was a star of England's Cricket World Cup triumph as an opening batsman and his form has earned him a place in the squad to face Ireland ahead of the Ashes.

Burns is also set to feature at the top of the order and he believes Roy will have little difficulty taking his white-ball form into Tests.

"In recent times, he's come further up the order - he batted three at the end of last year and he's been top four outside that," Burns said. "I think it'll translate.

"For Jason, it's going to be a mindset thing. He's been playing a lot of white-ball cricket recently, and that's see-ball, hit-ball.

"Now he gets the chance to leave a couple and assess things. He's a fine player and I'm sure he'll adapt."

Burns was not a member of England's victorious ODI side, yet he suggests the Test team have a good mixture of players who were involved and were watching on.

"If you look down the squad, eight were in the World Cup squad and eight weren't," he said. "There's guys there where this is the start of their summer in terms of Test matches.

"Then there's guys who are riding that high, so hopefully the guys riding that high can reset and push on. And hopefully the other guys can get amongst it."

England captain Eoin Morgan insisted he was yet to make a decision on his future, saying he needed more time to consider what is ahead.

Morgan, 32, led England to their first Cricket World Cup title earlier this month after a dramatic win over New Zealand in the final.

With some uncertainty over his future, Morgan said he would take a break before making a decision.

"After every major tournament or challenge, I'll always sit down and say 'how does the future look? How does the next six months, year, four years look?'" he told Sky Sports.

"I actually haven't had a chance to come down off the high of the World Cup yet, so it's been incredibly difficult to make a logical decision and that's when I make my best decisions.

"Next week, I'm going away with my wife to get away from the game, in a really nice way. I'm absolutely knackered – physically and mentally knackered. I need a little bit of time away to consider everything."

The 2020 ICC T20 World Cup is just 15 months away, while England will defend their 50-over crown in 2023.

Morgan said he needed to decide whether he was the man to continue leading England through the period.

"It's a big commitment – not only to go to the T20 World Cup next year, but to commit to the next 50-over World Cup," he said.

"This last five weeks has taken so much out of me mentally and physically. My levels of fitness with my back have always been in question and it's not a nice place to be in as a leader.

"At the forefront of it will be 'can I take the team forward?'"

England's dramatic Cricket World Cup final victory over New Zealand does not feel like a fair result, according to Eoin Morgan.

The showpiece at Lord's went down to a super over, after Ben Stokes had inadvertently deflected Martin Guptill's throw out for a boundary to keep England's chances of victory alive.

Stokes and Jos Buttler then amassed 15 runs in the additional over, a total which was matched by New Zealand, but an incredible contest was settled in England's favour courtesy of Morgan's side hitting more boundaries throughout their innings.

And Morgan conceded he has still not quite been able to make sense of the triumph, and is slightly troubled by winning in such a manner.

"I don't think it's fair to have a result like that when there's very little between the sides," Morgan told the Times.

"I don't think there was one moment that you could say, 'That actually cost the game there'. It was quite balanced.

"I'm black and white. I'm normally going, 'I know. I was there, that happened'. [But] I can't stick my finger on where the game was won and lost.

"I'm not sure winning it makes it any easier. A little bit [troubled], because there's no defining moment that you'd say: 'Yes, we thoroughly deserved it.' It's just been crazy."

Morgan added he has been in contact with his Black Caps counterpart Kane Williamson, who shares his disbelief at how the final panned out.

"I spoke to Kane [Williamson] over the last couple of days on numerous occasions and none of us has come up with a rational explanation as to the various times we gave them the game and they gave it back to us," Morgan added.

"Like me, he can't get his head around everything."

Former New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum, meanwhile, has no doubt the Black Caps - also runners up in the 2015 World Cup - will bounce back from the result, despite being "broken" at the moment.

"That's the thing and it's going to be so difficult for those guys," McCullum told stuff.co.nz. "I was lucky enough to have a beer with them in the changing room and they were pretty broken, that's for sure.

"They were also really proud of what they did and how well they played. Over the coming months and years, whilst it's still raw now, they'll understand just how magnificent that spectacle was.

"And for it to happen on the biggest of stages, to have played the hand that they played in that match is absolutely amazing."

England's triumphant squad have received plenty of praise since lifting the Cricket World Cup - and now they have been honoured with a one-of-a-kind championship belt from an unlikely fan.

As a 14-time champion, WWE superstar Triple H knows a thing or two about winning in big situations. And the man with a finishing move called the 'Pedigree' was certainly impressed with the standards shown by Eoin Morgan's side against New Zealand on Sunday, when the tournament hosts prevailed following a dramatic Super Over at the home of cricket.

The wrestler, whose real name is Paul Levesque, tweeted out a message of congratulations to the new ODI champions, along with a picture of a customised world heavyweight championship belt made to mark their success.

"An incredible tournament, an awe-inspiring final, and a team of worthy champions. Congratulations to England Cricket for winning the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019! This custom WWE Championship is YOURS!" Triple H wrote.

The unique strap includes the words "World Cup champions", with the England and Wales Cricket Board's official logo appearing twice, placed either side of the central WWE badge.

However, the generous gift to mark England's achievement does create a problem - who gets to keep it?

Jos Buttler, who was in partnership with Ben Stokes in the middle during England's Super Over, had an on-topic suggestion to decide the owner, tweeting: "Royal rumble lads last man standing keeps the belt?" 

If Buttler's idea comes to fruition, Morgan and his team-mates would have to forget about boundary ropes and focus on the top rope instead. Perhaps Triple H could make an appearance during the upcoming Ashes series against Australia to crown England's new wrestling champion, too.

The Game at a game of cricket? We can only hope...

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