The West Indies will begin their bid to become World Test champions when they host India for five weeks starting in August.

India have announced Shikhar Dhawan will remain in England as their medical team continue to monitor the thumb injury he suffered in the win over Australia on Sunday.

Opening batsman Dhawan was struck on his left hand by a delivery from Pat Cummins in the early stages of the Cricket World Cup clash at The Oval, though the blow did not stop him continuing his innings.

The left-hander went on to make 117, helping India amass 352-5 after opting to bat first, but did not field in the second half of the fixture, watching on from the dressing room as Australia were bowled out for 316 in reply.

Reports in the media have suggested a suspected hairline fracture and while the team have yet to confirm the full extent of the damage, the Board of Control for Cricket in India did offer an update via Twitter on Tuesday.

"Team India opening batsman Mr Shikhar Dhawan is presently under the observation of the BCCI medical team," they wrote in a post that also included a picture of Dhawan celebrating reaching 50 against Australia.

"The team management has decided that Mr Dhawan will continue to be in England and his progress will be monitored."

India are next in action on Thursday, as they face New Zealand at Trent Bridge in a battle between two teams who still own 100 per cent records at this year's tournament.

Virat Kohli's side then take on Pakistan at Old Trafford on Sunday, though they may have to do without Dhawan for at least the next two games.

Windies batting star Chris Gayle was not allowed to use a specially branded ‘Universe Boss’ bat for the ICC Cricket World Cup.

According to reports, the 39-year-old batsman had sought special permission from the International Cricket Council (ICC) to imprint his moniker on the bat ahead of the tournament.  The request would, however, have violated the ICC code as its related to the displaying of messages.  The issue came to the fore after the ICC on Friday also denied India wicketkeeper batsman Mahendra Singh Dhoni permission to wear a dagger insignia on his wicket-keeping gloves.

"The regulations for ICC events do not permit any individual message or logo to be displayed on any items of clothing or equipment,” the ICC said.

"ICC couldn't have made an exception for Dhoni as no personal messages are allowed on equipment. Gayle wanted it but when he was refused permission, he accepted it and moved on," an official privy to the details of the situation later told the media.

During India’s World Cup 2019 opener against South Africa at Ageas Bowl in Southampton on June 5, MS Dhoni sported a pair of wicketkeeping gloves with regimental dagger insignia of the Indian Para Special Forces.  He has since had to remove the symbol.

Ian Bell believes England have their biggest chance in years to win the Cricket World Cup, though they may need a bit of luck to secure the trophy.

England started the tournament on home soil as favourites and lived up to that billing with a 104-run thrashing of South Africa at The Oval in the opening game on Thursday.

Batsman Bell, who played 161 ODIs for England and is still hungry for a Test recall, thinks Eoin Morgan's entertainers will take some stopping.

He told Omnisport: "I have England as favourites and it's the best chance we've had for a long time with the squad we've got.

"There are other teams who are obviously very dangerous but it could be the best summer of all time for England.

"They will need a bit of luck and to play some really good cricket as they have for the last few years, but there is no doubt there is a great opportunity to win a first World Cup."

Bell believes India may be the biggest threat to England's bid for glory, while Australia's resources in the bowling department makes them a team to watch.

"You can't go far away from India, their squad of players seems to be so strong and I think they enjoy playing white-ball cricket in England." he added.

"A lof of the teams will enjoy the conditions, it's not like they are having to deal with a swinging, seaming ball. Pitches will turn as the tournament goes on and that can help India, I expect them to be there and thereabouts.

"Australia with their bowling and attack and [Steve] Smith and [David] Warner back in the ranks are obviously even more dangerous. You could make a strong case for a lot of sides, there is so much talent on show."

Legendary West Indies fast bowler Curtly Ambrose has picked the team to make a deep run at the ICC World Cup, which gets under way in England later this month.

The regional team won the first edition of the tournament in 1975 and 1979 and were only narrowly beaten by India in the following edition.  Since then it has been a major barren stretch of sorts having failed to advance to the semi-final stage in seven of the next eight tournaments.  The only exception came in 1996 when the team did manage to make the final four before being narrowly beaten by Australia.  Ambrose, who was a part of that squad, believes the current iteration could at the very least equal that feat.

“Our chances are as good as anybody’s because when you look at cricket in general and like I’ve said to the guys when I was with the team [as a coach], ICC ratings or rankings don’t really count on the field,” Ambrose told the Antigua Observer.

 “In the rankings, you could be one, two or three but it simply means you’re more consistent and you’re winning more games so you get the points to move to the top of the table but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re the better team,” he added.

“We have a decent team but of course, people are going to argue about one or two players which will happen from now until eternity, but I feel we have a good enough team to go deeper into the World Cup.

Our problem is the consistency factor where we would win one game handsomely then maybe lose two or three and then win another one and if you’re so inconsistent then you’re never going to go far. As long as we are consistent in this World Cup, we can spring some surprises and go deep but we have to be consistent,” he said.

Indian Premier League (IPL) team Mumbai Indians will oversee the entire rehabilitation process of Windies pace bowler Alzarri Joseph.

The 22-year-old got his IPL career off to a lightning quick start after claiming a historic 6 for 12 in 3.4 overs.  Tragedy, however, struck for the bowler soon after as he injured his shoulder while fielding for the team in the very next game. 

The damage not only ruled the player out of the rest of the IPL season but also out of the upcoming ICC World Cup.  Despite the bowler not taking part in the rest of the tournament, the club is willing to foot the entire recuperation bill.

  "He has been in Mumbai throughout and his situation was assessed, and the surgery was done on April 30. He is currently recovering and has no movement on the shoulder as it is strapped. One of his family members is here to stay by his side. All his treatment and rehab will be taken care of by MI. He will be shifting to the MI guest house in Navi Mumbai and continue physiotherapy for the next two to three months at the Sir H. N. Reliance Foundation Hospital,” a source familiar with the situation told IANS.

 "After this, he will undergo rehab and hit the ground at the Mumbai Indians academy. It should ideally take around four to five months and even his family member shall stay with him during this phase.”

 

  Windies all-rounder Rahkeem Cornwall has once again launched a bid to improve upon his fitness, generally regarded as a major stumbling block to this inclusion in the senior team.

The 26-year Antiguan native is yet to receive a call to Windies squad, despite consistently performing well at both the regional and Windies A level.  In the most recent Regional Super50 competition, Cornwall took 54 wickets in nine matches at 17.68 apiece to be crowned the competition’s top bowler. 

The Leeward Islands Hurricanes talisman has also dominated at the West Indies A level on both home and overseas tours and currently boasts 256 first-class wickets at an average of 23.

Standing at an estimated 6’5 tall and close to 300 pounds, Cornwall has made several attempts to improve on his overall fitness but is seemingly yet to make any significant progress on achieving the required fitness level.  Cornwall is, however, hoping his latest stint with noted trainer Ronald Rogers will pay dividends.

“Training-wise, I am trying to get as fit as I can because I think I am preparing for India,” Cornwall told the Antigua Observer.

“It’s nothing in terms of getting to a particular weight but just to see how far I can get as quickly as possible between now and June,” he added.

The Windies are expected to host India during a full tour scheduled for June.

“It is something that I am up for and something I am happy about so it’s just up to me now to put in the work.”

Defending champions West Indies will face Pakistan and Australia in the group stage of the 2020 ICC T20 World Cup.

The world's top-ranked Twenty20 team, Pakistan open the Super 12s stage against the hosts Australia in Sydney on October 24 next year.

Australia will then face defending champions West Indies in Perth four days later, it was revealed on Tuesday.

Joining that trio in Group 1 are New Zealand and two teams coming through the first round.

India, ranked second, lead Group 2, which also includes England, South Africa and Afghanistan, with two more teams to qualify.

Melbourne will host the final on November 15, with the semis played in Sydney and Adelaide.

A host nation has never won the ICC T20 World Cup and only Sri Lanka have made the final at home, finishing as runners-up in 2012.

The women's tournament is also being held in Australia, with the final to be played on March 8.

David Warner said his ball-tampering ban has allowed him to grow and spend more time with family as the exiled Australian eyes a return to the national team.

Former Australia vice-captain and opener Warner is serving a one-year suspension for his role in the ball-tampering scandal against South Africa in March.

Warner was found to have devised the plan to alter the condition of the ball with sandpaper after Cameron Bancroft – who was banned for nine months while Steve Smith was hit with a year-long suspension – was caught on camera using yellow tape on day three of the third Test.

March will mark the end of Warner's ban, with an international return in Australia's proposed one-day series against Pakistan a possibility ahead of the Cricket World Cup in England, starting in May.

Speaking after being named captain of Bangladesh Premier League side Sylhet Sixers, Warner said: "Life has been good for me.

"I have been spending time with the family. I wouldn't be able to do that if I wasn't sitting in the sidelines.

"It is about getting the best out of myself and growing as a human being. My most important thing was being a father and husband at home.

"Now it is down to playing cricket again and making sure I get Sylhet Sixers on top of the table."

"It is up to the selectors whether or not they want to pick me," Warner continued. "At the end of the day, all I can do is score runs in this tournament and the IPL, keep putting my hand up and making sure that I am the best person I can be."

Warner will come up against former Australia captain Smith's Comilla Victorians in the BPL amid claims of a fractured relationship between the pair following the Cape Town fiasco.

However, Warner played down a rivalry with Smith by telling reporters: "I will just treat it as another game.

"It is not just taking on one player but taking on a team of eleven players. It is about making sure that our bowlers know how to get Smith out, and then tackle the rest of the guys."

Sachin Tendulkar has paid a glowing tribute to his former coach Ramakant Achrekar, who has died in Mumbai at the age of 86.

Achrekar was renowned for coaching a host of players who went on to enjoy successful careers, with Tendulkar his most famous pupil.

In a Twitter post on Wednesday, the record run-scorer in Test and one-day international cricket wrote: "Cricket in heaven will be enriched with the presence of Achrekar Sir."

Tendulkar continued: "Like many of his students, I learnt my ABCD of cricket under Sir's guidance. His contribution to my life cannot be captured in words. He built the foundation that I stand on.

"Last month, I met Sir along with some of his students and spent some time together. We shared a laugh as we remembered the old times.

"Achrekar Sir taught us the virtues of playing straight and living straight. Thank you for making us a part of your life and enriching us with our coaching manual. Well played Sir and may you coach many more."

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) also expressed its condolences.

A Twitter post from the organisation's official account read: "The BCCI expresses its deepest sympathy on the passing of Dronacharya award-winning guru Shri Ramakant Achrekar.

"Not only did he produce great cricketers, but [he] also trained them to be fine human beings. His contribution to Indian Cricket has been immense."

 

Legendary West Indies batsman Sir Vivian Richards has picked the trio of England, India and Pakistan as favourites for next year’s ICC World Cup but believes anything can happen on a given day as it relates to the regional team’s chances.

A winner with the Windies at the 1975 and 1979 World Cups Richards believes around four or five teams will be in contention when the tournament rolls around next summer.

 “England has played well. But always they have fallen short at the last moment. It is a good team always. Pakistan and India are two teams that can defeat anyone. Australia is another great team. So, I think there are 4-5 teams that have the potential to win 2019 World Cup,” Richards said.

Though the West Indies, who struggled to reach to the tournament via the ICC World Cricket World Cup qualifiers, was not listed among them, Richards did not completely rule out their chances of making an impact at the tournament.

 “In limited over game, it all depends on how you play on that particular day. If it is a bad day, even a bad team can defeat you. I hope to see the team where it belonged.”

Jasprit Bumrah said India were "a little surprised" with Virat Kohli's contentious dismissal on day three but is confident they can chase down any target to beat Australia at Perth Stadium.

Australia still believe they have a "massive sniff" of winning the first Test against India despite a difficult fourth day in Adelaide, according to Nathan Lyon.

Cheteshwar Pujara took it upon himself to step up after his India team-mates crumbled in the first Test against Australia on Thursday.

Cheteshwar Pujara claimed his first century on Australian soil to rescue India from a top-order collapse and leave honours even on day one of the opening Test.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.