As was reported by Sportsmax.TV on Tuesday, Cricket West Indies' (CWI) selection panel named a 14-man Test squad for the proposed Sandals Tour of England 2020 that features newcomers Chemar Holder and Nkrumah Bonner.

The selectors have also named 11 reserves for the tour that includes fast bowlers Shannon Gabriel and Oshane Thomas.

The 22-year-old Holder – who is not related to captain Jason Holder – was the leading fast bowler in the West Indies Championship with 36 wickets in eight matches at 18.91 each, and was one of the successful ICC U-19 World Cup-winning side in 2016.

Bonner, 31, will be making his Test squad debut after being one of the leading batsmen in the 2020 West Indies Championship with 523 runs in seven matches at an average of 58.11.  He has previously represented the West Indies when he played two T20 Internationals back in 2011 and 2012.

Subject to the final approval of the UK Government, the West Indies will defend the Wisden Trophy in three back-to-back Test matches to be played behind closed doors,  starting on July 8.   The touring party that will all be tested for COVID-19 this week, is scheduled to fly to England on private charters on June 8.

According to CWI, the West Indies squad will live, train and play in a “bio-secure” environment during the seven weeks of the tour, as part of the comprehensive medical and operations plans to ensure player and staff safety.

The bio-secure protocols will restrict movement in and out of the venues, so the selection panel has also named a list of reserve players who will travel to train and help prepare the Test squad and ensure replacements are available in case of any injury.

Chief selector Roger Harper explained that the squad will have the time to get accustomed to the new norm in the UK but feels that they have selected a competitive squad.

“The new cricketing environment will take some getting used to. However, being in England and working together for four weeks before the first Test will give the squad the opportunity to get acclimatized and hopefully, mentally and technically adjusted to the demands of the new environment. Playing in July could be a blessing as the weather is likely to be warmer which will allow the squad more of an opportunity to play its best cricket,” he said.

“I think we have a squad that will be very competitive. More than half of the squad were involved in the victorious Test series against England in the Caribbean last year so they will bring that experience, that knowledge and belief with them and marry it to the enthusiasm and vitality of the newcomers.

“The experience of the players who toured England before in 2017 will also benefit the squad greatly. I expect that the bowling unit will once again provide a serious challenge for England and our batting will have to deliver. England is a tough team when playing in home conditions, however, I think the West Indies has a good chance of retaining the Wisden Trophy. We will have to bat consistently well to do so.”

Harper believes newcomers Holder and Bonner will benefit greatly from the tour.

“Chemar Holder is an exciting young fast bowling talent who is coming off an excellent domestic First-Class season. He should enjoy bowling in English conditions. He could prove a real asset to the team in England,” Harper said.

 “Nkrumah Bonner is an unflappable character. His ability to hold the innings together and bat through tight situations could serve the team very well.

“Jermaine Blackwood returns by sheer weight of performance in the domestic First-Class season. His patience and application were evident and that resulted in much greater consistency which I look forward to him taking back into the Test arena. His experience of playing Test cricket in England should stand him in good stead.”  

The chief selector also shed light on the inclusion of allrounder Raymon Reifer and Shannon Gabriel who is returning after undergoing surgery.

“Raymon Reifer has been around for a while and has proved to be a real competitor with both bat and ball – qualities that will add great value to the team. Shannon Gabriel is working his way back to full match fitness after his ankle operation last year.

“The four weeks leading up to the first Test will be of tremendous benefit to him. A fully fit and firing Shannon adds great potency to the bowling attack, so it is important to have him back at his best.”

West Indies are scheduled to arrive in Manchester on June 9 and will be based in Manchester for a three-week period before moving to Southampton for the first Test at the Ageas Bowl. They will then return to Manchester for the second and third matches at Emirates Old Trafford.  All these matches will be played behind closed doors and are still subject to UK Government approval.

The West Indies are scheduled to play the first Test at Ageas Bowl in Southampton from July 8-12.

The action will then move to the Emirates Old Trafford in Manchester for the second Test from July 16-20 as well as the third Test from July 24-28.

WEST INDIES TEST SQUAD: Jason Holder (Captain), Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shamarh Brooks, John Campbell, Roston Chase, Rahkeem Cornwall, Shane Dowrich, Chemar Holder, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Raymon Reifer, and Kemar Roach.

RESERVE PLAYERS: Sunil Ambris, Joshua Da Silva, Shannon Gabriel, Keon Harding, Kyle Mayers, Preston McSween, Marquino Mindley, Shane Moseley, Anderson Phillip, Oshane Thomas, and Jomel Warrican.

 

 

 

Reports have emerged that the West Indies selectors have chosen a squad to play against England in a three-Test series in July. However, the squad will not include Darren Bravo, Keemo Paul or Shimron Hetmeyer who have all opted out of the three-Test match tour.

The squad is expected to depart from the Caribbean on June 8.

According to cricket commentator and talk show host Andrew Mason, the selectors had a hard time selecting a squad but in the end, came up with a squad that includes the recalled Jermaine Blackwood and Shannon Gabriel.

The names of the others who were selected include Captain Jason Holder, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shai Hope, Shane Dowrich, Roston Chase, Shemarh Brooks, Rahkeem Cornwall, Nkrumah Bonner, Alzarri Joseph, Chemar Holder, John Campbell, Raymon Reifer and Kemar Roach.

The West Indies will be in the United Kingdom for about four weeks and will be housed in a bio-secure environment while they get up to speed before the start of the first Test.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) confirmed on Tuesday that a three-Test series without spectators is scheduled to start on July 8 at the Ageas Bowl.

Old Trafford will host the second and third Tests.

The venues have been selected from a group of four that submitted an interest, having had to demonstrate to the ECB board an ability to meet criteria surrounding biosecurity, medical screening-testing provision, footprint to enable social distancing and venue-cricket operations.

Edgbaston was picked as a contingency venue and will be utilised for additional training throughout July.

The Windies are due to arrive in England on June 9 and will use Old Trafford as their base for training and quarantining before travelling to the Ageas Bowl.

 

 

 

Reports have emerged that Cricket West Indies has contacted 29 regional players telling them to prepare for a possible tour of England this coming July.

England Test captain Joe Root is in support of finding a way to make sure his side can welcome a visit from the West Indies as early as July.

For that to happen, the players would have to go through rigid isolation and testing protocols, as well as austere social distancing measures.

Of course, the proposal will include officials as well as media and the England skipper thinks it can work.

“I’m optimistic about it. It would be a real shame if it doesn’t happen. The public are desperate for some live sport and the guys are missing it,” said Root.
“The players would be sectioned off in one part of the hotel and would be in isolation together. There would be no interaction with the media, the TV crews or even the opposition when off the pitch.

“We would have separate lunchrooms. It would have a different feel to it but it’s probably manageable. Hopefully that is the case.”

According to the proposals, the three Tests would be played at ‘bio-secure’ venues behind closed doors.

Those venues, the proposal points out, are those that have hotels on location, like Manchester, Southampton and Headingly.

Root, while optimistic, is cognizant of the fact that Cricket West Indies (CWI) would have to take the risk.

In response, West Indies Test captain Jason Holder, has said his side would have to be certain of their safety before saying yes to such a proposal.

“This thing has been really, really serious as we all know and has claimed quite a few lives throughout the world and that’s the last thing any of us would really want,” said Holder.

“I think we’ve got to play the safety card first before we can even think about resuming our normal lives.”

In the meantime, CWI Chief Executive, Johnny Grave, has said the England Cricket Board’s proposals were being considered but that first all the moving parts would have to be understood.
England will be desperate to get back the Wisden Trophy they lost to the West Indies last year for the first time in a decade.

Captain Jason Holder said the Barbados Tridents are eager to build on last season’s title success as the team announced the retention of nine Caribbean players for the upcoming season of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL).

The West Indies can win in England this summer, so says their Test captain, Jason Holder.

The skipper believes his team, having experienced English conditions in a heavy defeat in 2017, have the experience to make restitution for that earlier performance.

The West Indies are scheduled to to play three Tests in England beginning June 1 but there isn’t a lot of hope that it won’t, at the very least, be postponed because of the government’s directives to combat the spread of COVID-19 in that country.

The England Cricket Board and Cricket West Indies have had preliminary discussions and should be meeting again on Sunday to decide a way forward, with the possibility of playing to empty stands, postponements or both still on the cards.

Before the series, the West Indies were to have played three warm-up matches with a camp at the Rose Bowl in Hampshire, but that is also not expected to happen, at least not in the same way or maybe even at the same time.

Holder though, is hopeful that the series will go on.

While the series in England was destructive to the West Indian confidence, last year in the Caribbean, the West Indies had bested England 2-1 in a series that showed they could, not just compete, but hurt the generations-long rivals.

"This series will be tougher than the one in the Caribbean because we are obviously going in their backyard. England are a very, very good team in their backyard. Even although we beat them in the last series I'll still say England will start as favourites," said Holder.  

According to Holder though, the West Indies aren’t the inexperienced bunch England would have played three years ago when they lost 2-1.

"You've got guys like Kraigg Brathwaite who has played county cricket as well and international cricket there. Shai [Hope] has played enough international cricket and did really well as well. So we have some guys going back there with a vengeance.

"If you speak to a lot of guys who were on that tour in 2017 everybody will say they can't wait to go back and probably just make amends for what would've happened in 2017. We believed personally in our abilities, it is just a matter of understanding the conditions and now that we've had that experience, I should only hope that we should be able to then put into practice and make a better show than we did last time," said Holder.

West Indies Test captain Jason Holder has admitted that losing the captaincy of the region’s One Day International team has not been easy for him.

Holder was replaced as captain of the ODI team last September by Kieron Pollard but was retained as a player. According to the former skipper, the transition from that leadership role has been tough.

"To be quite honest, it has been tough transitioning back just as a player," Holder said on TalkSPORT recently.

According to the former skipper, first he had to contend with getting back into the team.

"In hindsight, it has been tough trying to understand how to get back in as just a player," he said.

The switch from Holder to Pollard had caught the former by surprise, learning of it during last year’s Hero Caribbean Premier League, a tournament he went on to win as captain of the Barbados Tridents.

"Yeah, it was an interesting time for me. I had found out earlier in the tournament that we have moved as one-day international captain. For me, it was just trying to win it [the CPL]," he said.

Just prior to the switch and since, Holder has not proven very effective in the ODI version of the game, but says this is not a bother for him because he is acutely aware of his own ability.

Many had suggested that Holder’s place in the team was in question and he would not be in it were he not captain.

To date, Holder has taken 136 wickets in 111 innings at an average of 36.38, but in his last eight innings with the ball, he has not been able to get near those figures.

In 10 innings prior to losing the captaincy, Holder had seven wickets at an average of 69.85, while in the eight he has played since, he has picked up six at an average of 66.16.

"Performances obviously haven't been there as I would've probably liked, but I'm not too disheartened," Holder said. "I don't beat myself up. I don't get too worried because I know my ability. I know what I can produce. I just know that an innings is around the corner, a bowling effort is around the corner."

According to the Test skipper, he may have been suffering from a bit of burnout, having played 62 matches in 2019.

"I felt I needed the break after the India series [in December] particularly, just to refresh," Holder said.

"I had played every single series in the entire year, I played county cricket as well, and my batteries needed a little bit of a recharge. Obviously, I needed some time to go and think about how I wanted to go forward as a player and try to work out again how just to be a player as opposed to being the captain."

The Barbados Pride completed a 236-run victory over the Guyana Jaguars on Saturday, courtesy of West Indies stars Jason Holder and Kemar Roach in their West Indies Championship game at the Providence Stadium in Guyana.

The Pride were devastating with the ball, restricting the Jaguars to under 100 in both innings, the hosts scoring 55 and 94. While the Pride didn’t cover themselves with glory when they bat either, their 174 and 210 were more than enough.

When the Pride bat first, they had no answer to Keemo Paul, whose 3-61 led the way. They didn’t have many responses to Romario Shepherd (2-15), or Raymon Reifer (2-19).

But if the Pride had no answer to the trio, the Jaguars didn’t even understand the questions Roach, who bagged 5-20 and Holder, who had 4-24, were asking.

The two helped reduce the Jaguars to 54 before going back to bat where they fared a little better in the runs column but still could not deal with the pace and guile of Paul, who had 4-52. Kevin Sinclair, 2-28, and Christopher Barnwell, 2-26, were also markedly difficult for the Pride to negotiate, who benefitted from Kraigg Brathwaite’s 84 and Jonathan Carter’s 43.

In the first innings, Brathwaite had scored an important 48.

With a lead of 329, Roach and Co set to work again.

Roach ended with 4-40, while Chemar Holder got in on the act with 2-29.

Jason Holder had an easy afternoon, bowling just four overs, with 1-10.

Carter was also in the thick of things, taking 3-13.

Cricket West Indies has instituted a mandatory rest period for Test captain Jason Holder in what seems to be a calculated bid to avoid overuse injuries or player burnout.

Holder, who was a part of the team’s recent tour of India, will be rested for both the three-match ODI and Twenty20 series against Ireland.  The player will also be unavailable for his regional team Barbados in the upcoming four-day competition fixtures.

“Jason will be rested during the Ireland series and will be unavailable for Barbados until the end of the series against Sri Lanka in February. He will then be assessed coming out of the SL series and a decision made and communicated on what his regional workloads will be for the later rounds of the 4-day competition,” CWI Director of Cricket Jimmy Adams told Barbados Today.

With a busy 2020 coming up, which will includes the team’s defense of the T20 World title, another player targeted for load management is fast bowler Kemar Roach.

The bowler is not in the Barbados team for the opening match against Windward Islands Volcanoes in St. Vincent following a request from Cricket West Indies (CWI) that he plays six of the maximum ten matches.

“We see the need to manage Kemar and Jason’s workloads to get the best out of them for 2020," Adams explained.

 

 

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 limited-overs captain Kieron Pollard has placed the blame for a six-wicket defeat to India in the first T20 international of their tour of India squarely at the feet of the bowlers.

The West Indies, sent into bat in the first game of a three-match series, batted well to score 207-4 from their 20 overs, but found the big total not enough, as India romped to 209-4 in 18.4 overs.

For the West Indies, Evin Lewis scored 40 from 17 deliveries, Brandon King announced himself with 31 from 23 balls, and Shimron Hetmyer notched his first half-century in international T20s with 56 from 41. Pollard scored 37 from 19, Jason Holder had a worldwind 24 not out from nine balls, while Denesh Ramdin ended unbeaten on 11 from seven.

In reply, KL Rahul slammed 62 from 40 deliveries, while India captain Virat Kohli was imperious with 94 not out from 50 deliveries.

“Batters had a good effort. You'd take 208 ten out of 10 times,” said Pollard after the game.

“We lost due to the extras column,” said Pollard.

In a bowling innings where Kesrick Williams had none for 60 in 3.4 overs, and Holder struggled, going wicketless for 46 runs, it was still the extras column that was problematic for the skipper. While Sheldon Cottrell was good, taking 1-24 from his four overs, and Khary Pierre took two wickets for 44, the 23 extras, stemming from 11 illegal deliveries, the West Indies racked up was too much.

“Nearly two and a half overs of extra deliveries. Yes, it was a batting wicket, but if we executed our plans better, it could've been a different story,” said Pollard.

Despite the loss and the manner of defeat, Pollard believes the outing was good for the West Indies and showed they were not far away from being a very good T20 side.

“There are only two areas where we lost the game in. Usually we tend to focus on negatives, but a lot of positives to take away today. King and Hetmyer showed great intent. Fielders did well. In the end, we need to improve, and we will win if we learn to tick more boxes. Can't fault the effort of the guys."

The West Indies will look to get the formula right on Sunday when they again go up against India in a bid to even the series at The Greenfield Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram.

West Indies Test captain Jason Holder wants his side to be among the best in the world by July 2021 and goes further to expect a top-five ranking by then.

There was a time when that kind of brash talk would have been expected from a West Indian but not given the kind of lean times the region has had with bat and ball in the last 25 years.

Holder was speaking after the West Indies won its first Test match under new coach Phil Simmons in Lucknow, India, beating Afghanistan by nine wickets.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) started the World Test Championship on August 1, 2019, creating a league for the top nine Test-playing teams over two years with the top two teams qualifying for a World Test League Championship Final. The World Test Championship begins again in July of 2021.

That being said, the West Indies did not start their World Test Championship campaign very well, losing to India in the Caribbean in a largely one-sided affair.

But now, with the dominance the West Indies showed against Afghanistan, despite it not being a World Test Championship encounter, hope abounds once again.

"I think by the end of the Test Championship, I don't see it being impossible for us to be fourth or fifth in the world," said Holder.

"That would be a significant achievement in a two-year period. We've got some tough series coming up. We've got England, then South Africa coming to the Caribbean, then we've got New Zealand… all good cricket sides. But I don't think it's beyond us to beat them. We've just got to make sure we keep building and developing. Once we do that, we can compete with any side in the world. A realistic target in two years would be to be ranked three or four in the world."

According to Holder, while the game was not part of the World Test Championship, there was enough shown by the West Indies to offer a road map of what needed to be done to get into the top five.

"I've said it in the last couple of series we've played: more responsibility needs to be taken by our batters," Holder said.

"Once they do that and take the bull by the horns, I think our bowling attack has shown it can compete with any attack in the world. We've shown glimpses of brilliance, which is all well and good, but consistency is the name of the game. In order to be a world-class team, you have to be consistent with your batting. You have to get 20 wickets of course, but you have to set it up with the bat. First innings' count for a lot. If we can put teams under pressure with our first innings scores, more often than not, West Indies will be up there among the top-ranked sides in the world."

While the West Indies were expected to dominate their one-off Test against Afghanistan in Lucknow, India, they still had to do it and it was important to their skipper, Jason Holder, that the year ended with his side tasting some success.

The West Indies, playing in a one-off Test after T20 and ODI series against Afghanistan, were emphatic nine-wicket winners after bowling out the hosts for 187 and 120 while scoring 277 and 31-1.

The results were brought about by Rahkeem Cornwall’s 7-75 and 3-46, as well as Shamarh Brooks first-innings knock of 111.

“Really important win, you know. We had a tough series against India. Was important to finish the year well,” said Holder after his West Indies side finished the game inside three days.

Holder also pointed out that there was a certain type of unity within the West Indies squad that he believed would hold them in good stead for bigger challenges on the horizon.

“We've got a good group going. The whole management staff has been excellent. We've got good unity, we have a one-team motif. Once we love one another, the job becomes much easier on the cricket field. Hope it continues," he said.

Holder was also pleased with the way the new players in the side have come on and held their hands up to be counted when the going gets tough.

“Very pleasing to see new guys come in and take the opportunity. Shamarh did that. He scored a fifty in the last innings and followed it with a hundred here. It was full of class. And then Rahkeem getting seven in the first innings, in just his second Test, is amazing,” said Holder.

West Indies needed just an hour to complete a nine-wicket rout of Afghanistan on day three of the one-off Test in Lucknow.

Resuming on 109-7, Afghanistan only lasted another 7.1 overs as Windies captain Jason Holder claimed the remaining three wickets on Friday.

Afghanistan were skittled for 120 – a lead of just 31 – after Holder (3-20) sent Rashid Khan (1), Yamin Ahmadzai (1) and Afsar Zazai (7) back to the pavilion.

The Windies then eased to victory, despite Amir Hamza (1-5) getting Kraigg Brathwaite (8) caught behind, as John Campbell (19 not out) and Shai Hope (6 not out) led the team to 33-1.

Shamarh Brooks' maiden Test century and a 10-wicket haul from Rahkeem Cornwall had put the Windies in complete control on day two.

"I'm delighted with my performance," Cornwall said after being named man of the match. "Playing for West Indies was my dream as a youngster and now 10 wickets in a Test match is amazing."

Sir Vivian Richards is in full support of the appointment of Kieron Pollard as white-ball captain of the West Indies, saying the veteran all-rounder brings more aggression to the role than the two men he replaced.

Pollard, who opened his account as ODI captain on Wednesday with an emphatic seven-wicket victory over Afghanistan in Lucknow, India, has had the eye of Richards for the last five years, ever since he won the CPL with the Barbados Tridents.

"I've always admired his captaincy,” said Richards, who has been one of those to have noted a tendency towards passiveness in previous West Indies sides.

Jason Holder, the West Indies Test captain and previous ODI captain, has been criticized for not being aggressive enough on occasion and going into defensive mode too quickly.

“I've always felt that when he played the first CPL T20 at home, he was the best captain,” said Richards.

“I think Barbados Tridents went on to win it [in 2014], and he was the best captain in my opinion, more proactive than the rest of the captains we would have seen,” said Richards.

 I think he's in a good place," he said.

Richards also believes Pollard will benefit from having more talent around him than did his predecessors, Holder and Carlos Brathwaite, former captain of the T20 side.

“There's enough good players around him that can help out as well,” said Richards, referring to newcomers like Brandon King and Hayden Walsh Jr.

Pollard's first course of action as ODI captain was to marshall his troops into dismissing Bangladesh for 194 in 45.2 overs, courtesy of Jason Holder, 2-21, Romario Shepherd, 2-32, Roston Chase 2-31, Sheldon Cottrell, 1-33, and Hayden Walsh Jr, 1-33, sharing the workload. The West Indies batters then made simple work of the total, getting to 197-3 three balls into the 47th over.

Roston Chase, 94, and Shai Hope, 77, were the major contributors to the innings.

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