West Indies captain Kieron Pollard believes there were a number of missteps that led to his side’s one-wicket loss to Sri Lanka in Colombo on Saturday.

The West Indies, thanks to a century from Shai Hope at the top of the order, scored 289-7 before going from losing positions to winning positions and back again, as Sri Lanka got to 290-9 with five balls to spare.

According to Pollard, after leaving a few runs with the bat, the West Indies were also not at their very best with the ball and coughed up too many presents for the Sri Lankans.

But Pollard did enjoy the game, saying it was well contested by both teams.

“Good game of cricket came down to the last over with the crowd on its feet,” he said.

“Normally guys like me and Pooran finish it off but it couldn't happen today. Couple of soft dismissals in the middle really set us back,” said Pollard.

“I think we bowled too many bad balls in the start, gave them too many freebies, that's where we lost the game. Our discipline was not there,” he said.

Sri Lanka started well with a 111-run first-wicket partnership between Avishka Fernando (50) and captain Dimuth Karunaratne (52).

The Windies fought back brilliantly but Thisara Perera played an important innings, slamming a 22-ball 32. When Perera was caught off the bowling of Alzarri Joseph, the match was very much in the balance with Sri Lanka on 253-7.

However, Hasaranga (42 off 39) produced a performance that belied his ODI average of 14.37 to get Sri Lanka over the finish line.

Hasaranga's ability to find the rope – he struck a quartet of fours and one maximum – and inaccurate death bowling from the Windies left the scores level going into the final over.

A direct-hit run out from Sunil Ambris to remove Lakshan Sandakan frayed the nerves a little, but the one run Sri Lanka needed came from a Keemo Paul no-ball off the next delivery as if to highlight the way little mistakes had cost the Caribbean side.

Guyanese prodigy, Shimron Hetmyer, has earned a recall to the West Indies squad scheduled to play against Sri Lanka in two Twenty20 Internationals on March 4 and six after the completion of the current One-Day International between the teams.

Hetmyer and Evin Lewis were spectacularly dropped after an announcement they had both failed fitness tests Cricket West Indies selectors had implemented as a requirement for selection.

There is still no recall for Lewis, who had, not long before, overcome poor form in typically destructive fashion.

The squad also includes a recall for Andre Russell and Oshane Thomas.

Allrounder Russell, 31,  hasn't played for the Caribbean side since pulling up short midway through the 50-over World Cup in June 2019. However, he has taken part in other matches, most notably in the Bangladesh Premier League in December and January

Russell is a two-time ICC T20 World Cup winner, having played a crucial role in the triumphs back in 2012 in Sri Lanka and 2016 in India. He has successfully completed the Cricket West Indies (CWI) return-to-play assessment programme under the supervision of CWI Medical Team in his native Jamaica. He has so far played 47 T20Is for the West Indies.

Fast bowler Thomas, who turned 23 earlier this week, is selected after making a full recovery from a car accident in Jamaica recently. Additionally, wicket-keeper/batsman Shai Hope has been included alongside left-arm spinner Fabian Allen.

Commenting on the squad, CWI lead selector Roger Harper said: “Shimron Hetmyer missed out on selection for the ODI squad. He has since attained the required fitness level, becoming available for selection and has been included.

"Andre Russell is back in the squad, having been cleared by the medical panel and successfully completing CWI’s return-to-play protocol. Andre will add potency to every department of the team. Oshane Thomas appears to be focused and raring to go. He will add pace and penetration to the bowling unit.”

Harper added: “Shai Hope provides an opening option and cover as a back-up wicket-keeper also. Fabian Allen returns from the injury he sustained in the series against Afghanistan late last year. He will provide a spin-bowling option as well as adding depth to the batting group.”

Looking ahead to the T20I matches, Harper outlined that he will have one eye on the ICC T20 World Cup to be played in Australia later this year. West Indies are the defending champions and the only team to lift the trophy twice.

“I look forward to the team building on its recent performances and winning the T20 series in Sri Lanka. This is another opportunity for the team to build on its strengths and identify areas that need improvement while continuing the process of building up with the aim of peaking for the T20 World Cup in October,” said Harper.

The two T20Is will be played at the Pallakele International Cricket Stadium in Kandy.

West Indies and Sri Lanka are now contesting a three-match ODI series. Sri Lanka won the first match today by a wicket in Colombo.

The second match is in Hambantota on Wednesday.

 

West Indies T20I squad

Kieron Pollard (capt), Fabian Allen, Dwayne Bravo, Sheldon Cottrell, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Brandon King, Nicholas Pooran, Rovman Powell, Andre Russell, Lendl Simmons, Oshane Thomas, Hayden Walsh Jr, Kesrick Williams.

 

IN: Andre Russell, Oshane Thomas, Fabian Allen, Shai Hope.

 

OUT: Evin Lewis, Khary Pierre, Sherfane Rutherford, Romario Shepherd.

Roston Chase is a man in great form as West Indies prepare to face Sri Lanka in a One-Day International Series. The allrounder struck a century, took two wickets and held a brilliant caught and bowled, as West Indies warmed up for the opening One-Day International with a dominant six-wicket victory over the Sri Lanka Board President’s XI on Thursday.

Playing in their final pre-series contest at Chilaw Marians Cricket Club Ground in Katunayake, the visitors easily chased down their target of 277 for just four wickets with 21 balls to spare, thanks to Chase’s 136 off 113 balls.

Opener Shai Hope hit a typically composed 85 off 102 balls while Sunil Ambris saw West Indies over the line with an unbeaten 34 from 44 balls.

The President’s XI had earlier posted 276-8 off their 50 overs. Wicket-keeper Minod Bhanuka made a top score of 69 from 88 balls and Ramesh Mendis played well with a near run-a-ball unbeaten 64.

The West Indies bowling left a little to be desired, as Chase’s 2-45 was only matched by Keemo Paul, who ended with figures of 2-57.

Fabian Allen was economical in his five overs, taking 1-17, while Hayden Walsh Jr had 1-44 from seven and Jason Holder ended with 1-34 from eight.

Romario Shepherd went wicketless for his 62 runs off nine overs while skipper Kieron Pollard had none for 14 from three overs.

In the second half, West Indies found themselves in early trouble at 35-2 in the eighth over when opener Brandon King and Darren Bravo, who made a century earlier this week, both fell in single figures to catches at the wicket.

However, Chase arrived to turn the game in the visitors’ favour, inspiring two successive century stands, first with Hope and then with Ambris. He put on 133 for the third wicket with Hope who stroked 11 fours in his knock, and then added 108 for the fourth wicket with Ambris who counted a four and a six.

Overall, Chase hit 16 fours and a six before he was dismissed with scores level, bowled by new-ball left-arm seamer Vishwa Fernando (2-56).

West Indies will play the first ODI against Sri Lanka on Saturday at the Sinhalese Sports Club. First ball is 9:30am (12 midnight Eastern Caribbean Time/11pm Friday Jamaica Time). The second match will be at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium in Hambantota on February 26 with the third and final ODI on March 1 at the Pallakele International Cricket Stadium in Kandy.

Prime minister of Grenada and outspoken CARICOM official Dr Keith Mitchell believes the use of promising Windies talents over multiple formats could prove a hindrance in their future development.

Currently, the likes of Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer, and Shai Hope, who lead a group of the next generation of talented Windies players, play both the 50 over and T20 formats or all three.  The practice is not at all uncommon as the evolution of the sport has offered different advantages to players taking part in multiple formats.  Particularly the lucrative T20 format, which offers major cash incentives.

Mitchell, however, believes that different temperaments and various styles needed to be successful in the different formats could prove damaging to young players still honing their craft.

"We have some talented players, the Poorans and Hetmyers and so on. I’m not sure that the right thing is to play these young people in all formats of the game at this point in time,” Mitchell explained in a recent interview.

“You have talent in Pooran and Hetmyer – these guys on the 50-over and on the Test team, we’d be moulding these guys. But when a guy gets used to sixes and sixes and hitting the ball in the air in the 20-over game which they must do, I think the mindset if they’re not well-developed yet … you can be spoiling a talent that is there for the [longest] version of the game and the 50-over game,” he added.

“That’s my opinion; I might be wrong … but in watching it from the sidelines, I think it is something [CWI] and selectors must look at – do you need to play these young players in all versions of the game? I’m not sure that’s the right thing to do.”

Windies in-form batsman Shai Hope has labeled adaptability as a key component to his recent success and expects to successfully replicate his good form in the coming year.

The 26-year-old batsman has been the regional team’s top runs getter in the ODI format for 2019 and third overall in the world, behind the Indian duo of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma.  At year-end, the right hander plundered 1345 runs at an average of 61 with four hundreds.

Often finding himself nestled between power hitters, Hope’s unflappable nature and timely stroke play often proved crucial in whatever success the Windies team had.

“The key is knowing your role in the team and knowing how it affects your batting partners, so the key is about standing your role. I think everyone in the team is starting to understand their role and it’s making our batting performances a lot more successful and consistent,” Hope said in a recent interview.

“It’s about being adaptable. I believe that adaptability is the biggest thing in cricket, especially when you’re playing [different] formats,” he added.

Hope recently produced a strong showing against the world’s top-ranked ODI team India.  It was his unbeaten hundred in the series opener in Chennai which helped the Caribbean side take a 1-0 lead but knocks of 78 and 42 in the remaining matches failed to prevent defeats.  The young batsman insists he remains focused on improving.

“[It’s] about improvement. Obviously you want to score more runs as a batsman but the key is about gaining things, adding things to your game and improving as a cricketer.”

 

For the moment, West Indies batsman Shai Hope can count himself as one of the top ten batsmen in One-Day International Cricket after scoring heavily against India in a just-concluded three-match series in that country.

Hope will end the year as the number nine batsman in the world, jumping five places on the ICC ODI Player Rankings after scoring 222 runs in those three matches at an average of 111.

Hope opened up in Chennai, helping the West Indies to a 1-0 series lead with an unbeaten 102, before he made things interesting despite losing efforts from the West Indies.

Hope would go on to score 72 in Visakhapatnam, and 42 in Cuttack to end the year with four centuries in 2019 and a healthy average of over 60, above his lifetime average of 52. The ODI top-order batsman now has eight centuries and became the quickest West Indian batsman to reach 3000 runs in the format. Only Hashim Amla has gotten to 3000 runs faster.

Hope lies ahead of all West Indies ODI batsmen, even Shimron Hetmyer, who has also seen improvement in his ICC ODI ranking. Hetmyer now lies at 19 in the world, while Nicholas Pooran, another player from West Indies’ young and exciting middle-order, now stands at 30th in the world, up from 63 after scoring 193 runs at an average of 96.50.

Hetmyer scored 180 runs at an average of 60.

Shai Hope is the most prolific One-Day International batsman to his first 3000 runs the West Indies has ever seen.

On Sunday, during a losing effort against India , Hope struck a single to get to 35 runs and with it, reached 3,000 runs in ODIs.

Sir Vivian Richards, long known as the most fearsome ODI batsman the West Indies has ever seen, took 69 innings to get to 3000 runs, while Lara, the greatest the region has produced and arguably the greatest of all time, took 79 innings to do so. Hope was playing his 67th innings on Sunday.

Gordon Greenidge, who formed part of the greatest opening ODI parternships in West Indies history with Desmond Haynes, achieved the milestone in 72 innings, while one of the greatest exponents of white ball cricket, Chris Gayle took 80 innings.

In fact, there has only ever been one batsman in world cricket to get to 3000 runs faster than has Hope, with South Africa’s Hashim Amla owning the record of the quickest to the milestone of all time, getting there in 57 innings.

Hope would go on to score 42, as the West Indies went on to post 315, a total India got to for the loss of six wickets in the 49th over.

On the way to 316-6, Rohit Sharma scored 63, KL Rahul, 77, and Virat Kohli, 85, to smother the efforts of Hope, Nicholas Pooran, 89, and Kieron Pollard, 74.

Hope had also scored 102 not out and 78 in the previous two games, taking his tally to four centuries this calendar year, along with seven half-centuries.

The West Indies lost a T20I series to India, 2-1, and suffered the same result in a three-match ODI series that ended Sunday.

Evin Lewis, Shai Hope and Carlos Brathwaite were among seven West Indies players who went unsold during the 2020 IPL Auction in Kolkata, India on Thursday.

West Indies captain Kieron Pollard is not yet a frustrated man but the big all-rounder is noticing a trend with his side he would like to put an end to.

"I thought we gave it away in the last 20 overs with the ball, didn't execute well,” said Pollard, voicing a sentiment he has on at least three occasions since the start of a tour to India.

The West Indies were bat out of a game against India in Visakhapatnam on Wednesday after the hosts posted a mammoth 387-5 with man-of-the-match, Rohit Sharma, slamming 159 from 138 deliveries and KL Rahul more than helping with 102 from 104 balls. All-rounder, Shreyas Iyer, scoring 53 from 32 to help push the score along as the West Indies gave up too many in the closing stages of the first innings.

The West Indies, in reply, scored 280 all out in 43.3 overs, with Shai Hope, 78, and Nicholas Pooran, 75, doing the bulk of the scoring. Keemo Paul also had an enterprising cameo, scoring 46, to take the visitors to the total.

Still, Pollard believes the batting of India shows there is reason to fear the power the West Indies batting line-up has on offer.

“It goes to show in order for them to win, they've to score big against us,” said the skipper.

Again, Pollard reminded his charges that there were little things the team had to get right if they were to turn some of these losses to wins.

“For us, it's looking to improve in small areas. We weren't able to execute our plans like we would've liked. Maybe 40-50 runs less, it would've been much different,” said Pollard.

Pollard did give some of the credit for the nature of the defeat to the opposition, saying the start the openers gave the Indian middle-order made things easy for them.

“Credit to them, Rohit and KL batted well, it allowed the guys lower down the order to come and score freely.”

The series is now tied at one apiece with one ODI remaining and Pollard has issued a warning to the hosts that the one-sidedness of the defeat doesn’t mean the West Indies have dropped their shoulders or that the series won’t still go the way of the visitors.

“Pooran and Hetmyer - talented youngsters who I've spoken about earlier. Hope too has shown consistency in the way he goes about his game. It's a matter of putting the pieces of the puzzle together, nothing happens overnight. We deserve to go out with a bang, our heads and shoulders are still high. We'll come back and fight hard in a couple of days."

The West Indies will benefit from the return of Fabian Allen and Denesh Ramdin when they go to India for a T20I series.

Allen is said to be fully recovered from a hamstring strain which put him out of the West Indies 2-1 loss to Afghanistan in Lucknow, India recently.

Ramdin played part of the series as well but had to be replaced by Shai Hope after he also went down due to hamstring issues.

The Kieron Pollard-led squad has retained newcomers Hayden Walsh Jr. and Brandon King, with an eye firmly on the T20 World Cup next year.

Andre Russell continues to be missing from both the ODI and T20I squads although the allrounder, plagued with knee injuries, was fit enough to play in the Abu Dhabi T10 recently.

According to West Indies coach Phil Simmons, who marked his return to the post with successful series against Afghanistan, India is expected to provide more of a challenge than did Afghanistan and is a good way to continue to test the ‘newbies’ in lieu of the T20 World next year.

"We have three matches in each format, so we wanted to give each squad a chance to compete against India," said Simmons.

"No disrespect to Afghanistan, but facing India will be a more difficult series. Our players really got the hang of things, with the 3-0 series win in the ODIs [against Afghanistan], and I believe we will move from strength to strength," he added.

According to Simmons, the battle for places in the T20i squad will heat up and everybody should be given a fair chance to show what they are made of.

"In the T20s this will be another chance for them to play and develop, and again, with no disrespect to Afghanistan, this should be a stronger T20 country and we will look to see how they perform against India. The next ICC T20 World Cup is in Australia and the one after that is here in India so there is a lot of preparation to be done for first for Australia. We have given the players here a chance in this series and we know we have players outside who may be coming in later on as well, so it's good to give those here another opportunity."

The T20I series begins in Hyderabad on December 6. There are two further T20Is, in Thiruvananthapuram and Mumbai, before three ODIs in Chennai, Vizag and Cuttack.

T20I squad: Fabian Allen, Sheldon Cottrell, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder, Brandon King, Evin Lewis, Keemo Paul, Khary Pierre, Kieron Pollard (capt), Nicholas Pooran, Denesh Ramdin, Sherfane Rutherford, Lendl Simmons, Hayden Walsh Jr, Kesrick Williams

ODI squad: Sunil Ambris, Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Brandon King, Evin Lewis, Keemo Paul, Khary Pierre, Kieron Pollard (capt), Nicholas Pooran, Romario Shepherd, Hayden Walsh Jr.

Rahkeem Cornwall has downplayed the idea that there was a magical formula for his performance on the first day of a one-off Test match against Afghanistan in Lucknow, India.

West Indies opening batsman Shai Hope played no small part in getting the regional side their first series win in five years.

The batsman, who scored an unbeaten 77, 43, and 109 not-out, said the regional side were at pains to earn a series win and that achieving a whitewash a day after his birthday was special.

“It was a long time coming. We've been waiting for this series win for a long time, so it felt good,” said Hope.

For the series win and the eventual whitewash to come to reality, Hope explained he had to take the responsibility of batting the team into good positions.

“Someone had to put his hand up and bat through the innings,” he said.

“Felt good to be able to do it. It's just about reading the situation, and as long as someone batted through, we were always going to win the game," said Hope.

The West Indies completed a whitewash over Afghanistan with a five-wicket win in Lucknow, India.

Afghanistan, having the best game of the three-match series, scored 249-7 in their 50 overs thanks to Asghar Afghan’s 86 and Hazrafullah Zazai’s 50, Mohammad Nabi, 50, and Najibullah Zadran, 30, but found they were still outgunned after the West Indies cruised to 253-5 in 48.5 overs.

The West Indies total was anchored by Hope’s 145-ball knock. Hope reached the boundary eight times and went over it on a further three occasions and was ably supported by debutant Brandon King, who scored 39, Nicholas Pooran, 21, Kieron Pollard, 32, and Roston Chase, 42.

West Indies captain Kieron Pollard is of the belief that the regional side has venom in them and needed to show it against Afghanistan, something they achieved after a 3-0 whitewash in their One-Day International that concluded on Monday in Lucknow, India.

"We are thankful to God for giving us this opportunity,” said Pollard.

“We came here with a mission and specific roles for players, and all the players deserve credit,” he said.

“Winning is a habit, and anything that we want to do as a team is a process, and it's something we had to improve in a period of time,” said Pollard.

According to the new captain, the team took the chance to show how aggressive they could be and urged them to make that way of playing cricket, habitual.

“This was an opportunity for us to show we have that kind of venom inside us. We knew we had to rally as a team, and we proved we can bat 50 overs, and once we do that, we can win games,” he said.

The West Indies destroyed Afghanistan over a three-game ODI series, winning the first by seven wickets thanks to Shai Hope’s unbeaten 77 and Roston Chase’s 94 before claiming a series-winning 47-run victory, this time courtesy of Evin Lewis’ 54 and Nicholas Pooran’s match-saving 67.

In the final game, playing with Brandon King and Keemo Paul in the line-up, the West Indies restricted Afghanistan to 249-7 despite 50 from Hazratullah Zazai and 86 from Asghar Afghan. In reply the West Indies scored 253-5 with Chase scoring 42, King, 39, Pollard, 32, and Hope, an unbeaten 109.

Despite Hope’s knocks, Chase was named player of the series.

West Indies captain Jason Holder was named Player of the Year and Test Player of the Year at the West Indies Players' Association/Cricket West Indies annual awards in Antigua on Monday night.

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