The West Indies, despite coming up short in the series opener against Sri Lanka, will have plenty of positives to take into a must-win second ODI against the hosts, at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.

The regional team would have been encouraged by its batting, despite the failures of the middle order, with most of the top four coming good before the lower order showed a lot of grit in laying the finishing touches to an innings that had lost significant steam.  Their bowlers couldn’t quite haul them to victory, but they pushed Sri Lanka to the limit, making the home team earn their win.

Sri Lanka will also have been encouraged, most notably the number of contributions they received from all around the batting order.  Now, the key for them would be to retain that level of consistency and seal the series, something they haven’t been quite adept at doing in the recent past.  But with the familiarity of home, and a hard-earned win to boot, they sure do have the belief that it can be done.

The West Indies team has been fined for a slow over rate in the one-run loss to Sri Lanka, in the first One Day International (ODI), in Colombo on Saturday.

The sanctions were imposed after the Kieron Pollard-led side was found to be two overs short of the target, even with time allowances considered.  Pollard pleaded guilty to the charges, which will negate the need for a formal hearing.

According to Article 2.22 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel, which relates to minimum over-rate offences, players are fined 20 per cent of their match fees for every over their side fails to bowl in the allotted time.

The charges were brought by on-field umpires Paul Wilson and Ruchira Palliyaguruge, third umpire Marais Erasmus and fourth official Lyndon Hannibal.  Earlier, South Africa and Australia played the Johannesburg T20I where the visitors Australia claimed a big victory by 107 runs.

After that match, South African players faced 20% fine of their match fees for maintaining a slow over-rate. The hosts were one over short of the target after time allowances were taken into consideration.

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.

Former Trinidad and Tobago Red Force captain Denesh Ramdin has lashed out at what he claims is a toxic environment under coach Mervyn Dillon.

The 32-year-old batsman was one of five players dropped from the Red Force squad, after a disastrous showing against Barbados Pride last weekend, in the West Indies Championships. Ramdin made a pair of ducks in a 299 runs loss.  The team will take on the Leeward Islands Hurricanes this weekend.

The out of favour Windies player, however, revealed that the issues with the coach seem to spread deeper than just the one game.

“The coach does not want me on the team. We don’t talk, probably a good morning here or there but we don’t communicate,” Ramdin said in an interview with the T&T Guardian.

“It all started last year in St Kitts when we needed 140 runs from 15 overs and I was batting at the time. I called off the game because the next three batsmen to come after me was very young and it would have been difficult to get that score. I was told he left the ground and called the chairman of selectors (Anthony Gray) and the president of the board (Azim Bassarath) to get me fired,” he added.

According to the player, he has officially filed a complaint with the T&T Cricket Board (TTCB) but was told the situation could not be assessed immediately.

“I have complained to the board because this can’t be good for the team. The environment there is not good at all. The players on the team are not comfortable and this cannot be good for the young cricketers on the team.”

 

 

Barbados Pride pacer Keon Harding ripped through the rest of the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force batting line-up to formalise a massive 299 runs win in West Indies Championship action at Bridgetown.

Harding ended with second innings bowling figures of 5 for 57 and was the primary architect as the Red Force scuttled out for a paltry 77 in the second innings.  Looking to stage an unlikely rescue mission, overnight batsmen Joshua Da Silva (23) and Yannic Cariah (12) began the final day with the team struggling at 48 for 4.

Da Silva only managed to add another 13 runs before he was dismissed lbw by Chemar Holder.  Cariah followed soon after, managing to add just one more run before being caught by Shane Dowrich off the bowling of Harding.

In a steady procession of wickets, Terrance Hinds (2) Bryan Charles (0) Uthman Muhammad (3) and Daniel St Clair (0) all departed while adding just a total of 5 runs added to the total.

 

 

 West Indies Women spinner Anisa Mohammed admits the team would love some measure of revenge against hosts Australia, who defeated them on Caribbean soil before going on to claim the Women’s T20 World Cup title two years ago.

The Windies and Aussies have become fierce competitors over the last two editions of the tournament.  The regional team made international headlines after stunning the heavily favoured Australians at the 2016 edition in India, to claim their first world title.

The Australians, however, returned the favour by beating the West Indies in the semifinals of the tournament, in the Caribbean in 2018, before going on to claim a fourth title.  In five days’ time, the Australians will begin a campaign they hope will culminate in them claiming a fifth on their home soil.   Mohammed believes it is the perfect opportunity for the Windies to play spoilers.

 "We've come to win this World Cup and take it back from Australia," Mohammed, whose 118 wickets makes her the most successful T20I bowler of all time, told ICC Cricket.

"It would be nice to spoil the party. They spoiled ours, so it would be nice to return the favour,” she added.

"Australia have been doing really well. They recently played in the tri-series and came out on top, but we've been working hard ourselves.”

The Windies will begin the tournament against Thailand on Saturday, with defending champions Australia bowling things off on the previous day.

 

West Indies Under-19 paceman Jayden Seales is not resting on his laurels after brilliant performances in the just-concluded youth World Cup but is eyeing improvement with a view to breaking into the senior ranks.

Seales was one of the U19 World Cup’s best pacers with 10 wickets on the way to helping the West Indies to a fifth-place finish.

Now Seales wants to see what he can achieve in first-class cricket and from their break into the West Indies Test team.

“I always told my father I want to play Test cricket. I want to open the bowling in Test cricket,” said Seales.

The pacer, who grabbed 4-49 to help the young West Indies to a three-wicket win over pre-tournament favourites Australia in its opener, understands that there is work to be done to make the transition, but is more than willing to put in the hard yards.

“For me right now it is about staying fit, training harder, getting myself ready to play four-day cricket, and hopefully get into West Indies A team or the senior team soon enough to play for the senior team in Test cricket,” he said.

Seales went wicketless against England but his 0-21 from 10 overs was impressive nonetheless. His 4-19 against Nigeria in the final game of the first round meant the West Indies were unbeaten and looked dangerous ahead of a quarterfinal encounter against New Zealand.

He also went wicketless against New Zealand but his figures of 0-21 were again a testament to his fine bowling.

Seales’ exploits did not go unnoticed by the ICC, who picked him in the team of the tournament as one of two West Indians, the other being allrounder Nyeem Young.

“For me personally, it was a good performance. Coming off the tri-series (against Sri Lanka and England) I did not have the best performance,” he said.

“I wanted to do better for the team so I trained very hard when I came back home and in the World Cup itself [in] the training sessions I worked hard.”

West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell has expressed regret with not paying more attention to the health of his knees after experiencing serious issues with the joint in recent years.

The 31-year-old T20 star was forced to have surgery on his left knee after being out of the ICC World Cup with the injury.  Despite having a successful T20 career the issue has kept the player out of the longer formats of the game.

In retrospect, the big hitter believes things could have been dealt with differently by taking better care of the issue and has warned developing players not to follow his example.

  Russell is expected to undergo an injury assessment to determine his level of fitness as the team steps up its plans for this year’s T20 World Cup.

“Those who want to be another Russell should never do what happened to me.  When I was 23 or 24 I began to get knee pain,” Russell told Gulf News.

“If I had someone tell me: ‘Look Russ, you should get your knee stronger by keep doing these simple exercises, I would have been pain-free from my knees and hopefully I wouldn’t have to have had surgery. Unfortunately, at 23 you are fearless, and I used to ignore that pain and I always gave it a quick fix by taking pain killers and kept running,” he added.

“By the time I reached my late twenties I started feeling the pain like I never felt before. The wear and tear began to show up. If I was doing those strengthening exercises like training of the legs and doing the right things, I would have been fitter.”

“I want the youngsters to know that guys should not just think about the upper body alone,” he explained.

“I used to go to gym and just work only on my abs and my shoulders because I wanted to look sexy for the girls. At the end of the day being sexy and then your legs being weak, don’t work. So it is very important to have a complete work out of the body. I could have done more wonders had I worked on my legs too.”

West Indies star allrounder Andre Russell is set to undergo a fitness test with a view to making him part of the region’s bid for a third lien on the Twenty20 World Cup set for Australia this year.

It has been more than a year and a half since Russell last represented the West Indies in a T20 International with the 2019 World Cup marking the last time he suited up for the side.

During that World Cup Russell was unable to finish a game without treatment and seemed in real pain. He had to do knee surgery after limping out of one game, but seems on the comeback trail, having played in a number of domestic T20 games around the world.

“Hopefully, in the next few weeks he will undergo what is described by the medical team as a return-to-play protocol,” said Cricket West Indies CEO Johnny Grave.

“So he will go through a fitness test to see how his knees have recovered from the injuries that he suffered and allowing us to see if he would be passed fit medically – which is the first stage – and injury free in terms of his ability to both bat and bowl.

“He would then build up his fitness levels and hopefully through performances in the Indian Premier League (IPL) make himself available for selection for the West Indies.”

Russell is expected to turn out for the Kolkata Knight Riders when the IPL season bowls off on March 29 later this year.

Russell’s partner at KKR, mystery spinner Sunil Narine is also somebody the West Indies are keeping a close watch on.

Narine played through a finger injury during last year’s Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL), and has also, for a number of years, struggled with his action.

“He’s obviously been a player that has been a fantastic servant and player for West Indies, particularly in white ball cricket, but at this stage, Sunil is still working on his action,” said Grave.

“He obviously had the finger injury which took him out and made him struggle to bowl, and we’re hoping that he’s going to be fully fit … and be able to bowl his full portfolio of deliveries for the IPL and then fingers crossed, from the West Indies point of view, all goes well and he can follow that through into the CPL and hopefully be in form and be available for the World Cup.”

The T20 World Cup in Australia takes place in October.

West Indies batting star Chris Gayle has, through his attorney, directed a Guyanese political official to withdraw statements made about him during a political meeting.

The politician in question Charles Ramson Jr, a member of the Peoples Progressive Party (PPP), reportedly endorsed and shared a claim made during a meeting in Albertown, Georgetown in January.  The claim stated Gayle had been promised US$50,000 by the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR)  for a visit to Linden late last year and was still trying to get the money, which was owed to him.

The West Indian star was spotted in Linden last year with officials of the PNCR.  The opening batsman who was in the country for a cricket match and to celebrate his 40th birthday was quick to dismiss any political motive or links to the appearance.  Gayle pointed out that the visit had simply been part of a community outreach program.

In a letter dated February 4 Gayle’s attorney Roysdale Forde gave the politician 24 hours to retract the statements, which were referred to as “defamatory” and totally “false.”  The letter went on to state that the claims also seem calculated to subject [Gayle] to ridicule and portray him as being paid by a political party in Guyana to engage in work on its behalf.”

“As you are aware my client is an internationally recognized personality and cricketer and has carefully protected his brand and reputation especially by refusing to engage in public relations activities at the request of political parties,” the letter states, before adding that Gayle has engaged in a number of business ventures in Guyana, such as the promotion of a number of entertainment events, branded on his personality and persons in Guyana,” the letter read.

“Your statements are injurious to the financial success of these events and by extension necessarily to the said business undertaking of my client in Guyana and worldwide,” the letter concluded.

It is normal for players who are not turning out for the West Indies to return to their franchises when a regional competition is on, but that did not happen yesterday with Shimron Hetmyer and the Guyana Jaguars who began their contest with the Jamaica Scorpions at Sabina Park.

Hetmyer had been dropped by the Windies ahead of an away series against Bangladesh after failing a fitness test and was expected to take his place with the Jaguars on Thursday.

However, according to the Guyana Cricket Board (GCB), Hetmyer did not follow the protocol associated with contracted players not on West Indies duties ahead of the game.

“Players who are not on West Indies duties but are contracted to the West Indies are supposed to report to their franchise,” GCB Secretary Anand Sanasie was reported as saying.

“Since returning from West Indies duties he has not reported to the franchise for training … which automatically makes him unavailable,” said Sanasie.

Hetmyer and Windies opener Evin Lewis fell afoul of Windies’ fitness requirements but the team’s chief selector, Roger Harper, had said the Guyanese left-hander was well on his way to getting himself together.

With that in mind, Cricket West Indies had said Hetmyer and Lewis would have been retested in another two weeks.

Next week the Jaguars will go to Grenada where they take on the Windward Islands Volcanoes and Sanasie believes whenever Hetmyer makes himself available, he will be [art of the team.

“We wish him well. Once he has made himself available he would be selected to play for the franchise,” said Sanasie.

  The West Indies U-19s captured fifth place at the ICC Under-19 World Cup after their playoff match again Australia in Benoni was rained out on Friday.

The Australians may well be cursing the inclement weather as they had looked in control at the break.  Anchored by half-centuries from Liam Scott and Cooper Connolly, the Australians put 319 for 8 on the board.  Matthew Patrick was the pick of the Windies bowlers after claiming 3 for 43.

In pursuit, the West Indies began briskly with openers Kimani Melius and Leonardo Julien scoring 62 runs in 12.3 overs.  Melius was dismissed for 39 but no more play was possible when the skies opened up after the player left the field and the rain never let up.  The situation forced the umpires to call off the match.  The Windies ended with a run rate of 4.96, which was behind the required Australia rate of 6.88.

According to tournament rules, in case of a washed-out knockout game, the team that finished higher on points at the end of the group stage would finish higher. West Indies were unbeaten in Group B, while Australia had lost to West Indies.

 

CWI chief executive refutes claims players omission was no conspiracy and players have known rules for two years.

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