WI legend Ambrose hopes Bangladesh tour replacements take opportunity to claim regular spots

By Sports Desk January 06, 2021

Legendary Windies fast bowler Curtly Ambrose is hopeful a few of the players selected for the upcoming tour of Bangladesh will be able to take full use of the opportunity to represent the team, despite being surprise selections.

Twelve players, including West Indies captain Jason Holder, vice-captain Roston Chase and T20 captain Kieron Pollard opted not make themselves available for the upcoming tour of Bangladesh this month.  The players cited health and safety reasons in their decision to reject the tour.

The absence of the team’s first-string players will see Kraigg Brathwaite, lead the Test squad with Jermaine Blackwood as vice-captain. Former West Indies A team captain, Jason Mohammed, will lead the ODI team with Sunil Ambris as vice-captain.

There will be first-time call-ups for Kavem Hodge to the Test squad and left-handed opener Shayne Moseley and all-rounder Kyle Mayers touring in the Test squad for the first time, after being part of the reserve team to England and New Zealand.

Two players earned first call-ups to the ODI squad - Akeal Hosein, a left-arm spinner allrounder, and Kjorn Ottley, a left-handed top-order batsman.  Despite expecting difficult conditions for the tour, Ambrose hopes some of the players will use the opportunity to challenge for regular places.

“I think it’s the perfect opportunity for some of these youngsters who have been knocking on the door for some time now to show the selectors and the rest of the cricket people that they are ready for this kind of cricket,” Ambrose told the Good Morning Jojo radio show.

“I am hoping these guys do very well with Bangladesh.  Whether we win the series, draw the series, or even lose the series, I hope they do extremely well so that when they get back home lead selector Roger Harper and company will have some headaches to decide who to select.”

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    The T&T selectors have also picked the experienced Jason Mohammed, who is on West Indies duty in Bangladesh as well as former West Indies representatives Sunil Narine, Denesh Ramdin and Ravi Rampaul.

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  • England captain Root thanks fan-tastic follower for ball-by-Galle support England captain Root thanks fan-tastic follower for ball-by-Galle support

    England may not have had their usual level of support on hand to witness their Test victory in Galle, but Joe Root still took the time to thank one touring fan for his dedication to the cause. 

    Rob Lewis had travelled to Sri Lanka in March 2020 to watch Root's side in action, only for that series to be cancelled at short notice due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

    However, rather than return home, Lewis opted to stay put, a decision he made in the hope the abandoned series would be completed at a later date. 

    "I thought, 'Oh, this coronavirus will be a month. I'll stay in for that month and then see what happens'. But it rumbled on... there's never been a point where I thought I should go home," he explained in an interview with The Times.

    So, while the Barmy Army were unable to attend in their typically high numbers due to travel restrictions amid the continued global health crisis, there was still one visiting spectator there to witness England's seven-wicket triumph in the first of two Tests on the rearranged trip. 

    Root had acknowledged Lewis – watching the action unfold from the famous Galle Fort that overlooks the cricket ground – when reaching his double century on day three, and he went one step further after the game had come to a conclusion.

    Having completed his media duties, the England skipper put in a phone call to thank Lewis personally, as shown by the team's official Twitter account. 

    "We really appreciate your support. It's an incredible story and journey that you've been on over the last year or so," Root said during the conversation. 

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    "It's a real pleasure for us to be able to enjoy this with you, so thank you very much."

    England have now won four successive overseas Tests for the first time since 1957, while Root has posted 24 victories during his captaincy reign, leaving only two behind Michael Vaughan's all-time team record. 

    Lewis is seemingly set to stick around a little longer for the second match in the series, with the second Test starting on Friday at the same venue. 

  • Root challenges England to 'keep getting better' after victory over Sri Lanka Root challenges England to 'keep getting better' after victory over Sri Lanka

    Joe Root praised the character shown by his bowling attack – particularly spinners Dom Bess and Jack Leach – but hopes England can still get better after securing victory over Sri Lanka in Galle.

    England had suffered an early wobble when chasing just 74 in the fourth innings of the first Test, slipping to 14-3 at one stage. 

    However, resuming the fifth day needing a further 36, they reached their nominal target without any further losses, Jonny Bairstow and Dan Lawrence guiding them home with an unbroken stand of 62. 

    Bess and Leach had laid the foundations with five-wicket hauls in the contest, as England clinched a fourth successive Test triumph overseas – their best run in the format since 1957.

    "To come here with the little preparation we've had, and play in the manner that we have throughout this game, has been really impressive," Root said at the presentation ceremony. 

    "I thought it was a great effort yesterday (on day four). Not a lot fell for us but we worked extremely hard.

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    Root was unsurprisingly named man of the match following his double century in England's first innings, having failed to reach three figures in Test action in 2020. 

    "The exciting thing, I think, is that there's still more to come from the group," he added. "The most important thing is we have that attitude during this winter tour and going into the next Test match." 

    Stand-in Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal, deputising in the absence of the injured Dimuth Karunaratne, admitted the hosts simply left themselves with too much to do after they were bowled out for just 135 after winning the toss on day one. 

    Lahiru Thirimanne made a hundred in Sri Lanka's second innings and while Kusal Perera and Angelo Mathews also weighed in with half-centuries, their spinners did not have enough runs to work with on a dry, turning pitch. 

    "I think it was a crucial toss to win, but the first innings cost us the game," Chandimal said. "You have to get a big total in the first innings, so that cost us on this kind of track.  

    "Credit to Thirimanne, Angelo, Kusal, everyone did their bit as a batting unit in the second innings. Another 70-80 runs it could have been a different story." 

    Sri Lanka will have the chance to draw level in the second and final Test of the series, which begins on Friday at the same venue.

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