After a convincing 106-run victory over Bangladesh, England will be up against a vibrant West Indies unit in their fourth match of the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019.

After a shocking defeat to Pakistan, England aced every department against Bangladesh, as they first put up 386/6 on board and then bundled them out for 280 in the 49th over. The openers, determined not to fall into the trap of spin bowling, gave a perfect start, as Jason Roy stroked his way to 153. While Stokes has been giving some priceless overs with the ball, Moeen Ali is likely to return in the playing eleven, considering the number of left handers in the West Indies line-up.

On the other hand, the West Indies' bowlers might have lit up the tournament so far but it was the lack of application on the batting front that cost them the game against Australia. Their pacers started well against South Africa too, with Sheldon Cottrell picking up two early wickets, before no further play was possible due to rain interruption. The batsmen will have to step up, to set it up for their bowlers who will be challenged by the never-ending English batting line-up.

Once their very own, now their adversary, Jofra Archer will look to defy Chris Gayle and others, promising an exciting contest within a contest at the Hampshire Bowl on Friday.

Key Players

Eoin Morgan (England): The England captain is yet to produce an innings that would match his stature in the tournament so far. Morgan, who averages 76.25 at the Hampshire Bowl and was the highest run-scorer for England in the ODI series against West Indies earlier this year, might be the biggest threat to his opponents on Friday.

Chris Gayle (West Indies): Chris Gayle had lit up the tournament with a power-packed 50 against Pakistan but could last only till the fifth over against Australia. The Universe Boss relishes batting against England averaging 51.42 against the hosts, contrary to his career average of 38.14 and will look to stamp his authority early on in the innings.

It would be a cloudy start to the day which would assist the fast bowlers early on, tempting the captains to field first. The afternoon will see rain becoming a bit showery with some brighter spells developing later.

Squads

England: Eoin Morgan (c), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler (wk), Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Vince, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

West Indies: Jason Holder (c), Fabian Allen, Darren Bravo, Shannon Gabriel, Shimron Hetmyer, Evin Lewis, Nicholas Pooran, Andre Russell, Carlos Brathwaite, Sheldon Cottrell, Chris Gayle, Shai Hope, Ashley Nurse, Kemar Roach, Oshane Thomas

 West Indies bowling coach Cory Collymore is confident the team’s star batsman Chris Gayle will relish the challenge of facing Barbadian-born pace bowler Jofra Archer.

The Windies are booked to face England in what is expected to be a thrilling contest at the Rose Bowl Cricket Ground on Friday.  Despite being in the twilight of his career, Gayle remains a formidable force at the top of the Caribbean team’s batting order and his match-up against the up and coming pace bowler Archer is expected to be one of the highlights of the match.  Having claimed six-wickets so far and regularly reaching speeds in excess of 90mph, Archer is having a splendid tournament to date.  Collymore is, however, confident that Gayle will rise to the challenge.

"Chris thrives on that.  I have known him since he was 16 and he has always loved a challenge," said Collymore said.

"He has always enjoyed the challenge of fast bowling so I expect him to relish that. I have known Archer for a while and I saw (Mark) Wood in the Caribbean last year,” he added.

"They are both very impressive, as we have seen throughout this tournament."

Wood faces a late fitness test ahead of the encounter.

Windies fast bowling legend Michael Holding has hit out at what he terms attempts at ‘censorship’ from the ICC, after formal requests made by the cricket body to cut down on criticism of umpires on air.

The former West Indies paceman was heavily critical of the umpiring during the West Indies vs Australia last week.  He was, however, far from the only one as the game featured several high-profile errors.

West Indies opener Chris Gayle was given out twice, while facing an over from Mitchell Starc, with both calls later overturned via the decisions review system.  The batsman was dismissed lbw in the next over from Starc but replays showed the previous delivery had been a huge no-ball. The ball that dismissed the West Indian should, therefore, have been free hit.

Later, two more on-field decisions were overturned. The first was reviewed by Jason Holder after he was initially sent back to the pavilion lbw, sweeping to Glenn Maxwell, the ball just pitching outside leg.

Holder then successfully reviewed once more, attempting to sweep Adam Zampa, with ball-tracker showing the ball would have comfortably missed leg stump. 

Holding, who called the umpiring ‘atrocious’, expressed the belief that the officials were being pressured by strong appeals from the players.

In response, the ICC in an email to Holding and other commentators pointed out “the importance of maintaining the highest standards and uphold the game’s best values and spirit while covering the tournament”.

Never one to hold back on his opinions, the player turned pundit claimed commentators were being increasingly “compromised by controlling organisations to the point of censorship”.

“If those umpires were FIFA officials, they would have been told to pack their bags and head home. They would not have been given another World Cup game to officiate. As a former cricketer, I think cricket should be held to a higher standard. Is the objective to protect the umpires even when they do a bad job?” Holding said in a reply accessed and published by The Times of India newspaper.

 “I am sorry, but I am not going to be part of that. Please let me know if I should be heading back to my home in Newmarket instead of heading to Cardiff because I don’t agree with what is being suggested here and happy not being part of it.”

England pace bowler Mark Wood believes the best way to tackle West Indies talisman Chris Gayle is with the raw pace of Barbadian-born speedster Jofra Archer.

The match-up between Archer and Gayle is likely to be one of the key ones when the Windies face the hosts at the Rose Bowl Cricket Ground on Friday. 

A belligerent Gayle dominated the bowling the last time the teams met in the One Day International (ODI) format, which ended in a 2-2 draw in the Caribbean.  It was Gayle who was named man-of-the-series after finishing it with 424 runs at an average of 106, with 39 sixes.

Archer was, however, not a part of the squad on that occasion and has since had a splendid World Cup.  In addition to his express pace rattling batsmen, the bowler has claimed figures of 6 for 135.  Wood is confident his bowling partner can slow the big West Indian down.

“Get Jofra to bowl at him!” was Wood ‘solution to the Gayle conundrum.

“He is destructive and on his day he is hard to stop. In the West Indies, he was in great form, but you didn’t know how he was going to play. Some days he would get himself in and take his time and other days he would go ballistic from ball one,” he added.

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.

In-form batsman Shai Hope led a powerful Windies performance at the crease, which saw the regional team pile on 421 to register a 91-run win over New Zealand in the team’s final ICC World Cup cricket warm-up match.

 On a flat surface at a small Bristol County Ground, the smattering of fans on hand was treated to a superb display of hitting as the Caribbean team dispatched the ball to all parts of the ground.

The innings started off with a bang thanks to an opening stand between Chris Gayle and Evin Lewis that was worth 59 runs from just 44 balls, with Gayle doing the majority of the scoring before he fell for a 22-ball 36. Lewis was more sedate, making 50 from 54 balls before he was dismissed by Jimmy Neesham.

Lewis didn’t have to force the pace, thanks to Hope who looked to attack as soon as he walked to the crease. Even with a long boundary to the west of the ground, the West Indies batsmen found no difficulty in clearing the ropes, with 18 sixes in their innings.

The most powerful hitting came from Andre Russell, who scored 54 off 25. One six, smashed towards the Ashley Down Road end of the ground, almost cleared the flats, hitting the building four floors up.

In an innings that was all about big-hitting, it would have been pleasing for the New Zealanders to see Trent Boult take 4 for 50, going at less than a run a ball. He was the one Black Caps bowler who could keep the rate down.

It was always going to be difficult for New Zealand to chase that massive total, but early wickets made the task more difficult. Needing more than eight an over from the start of their innings they stumbled to 33 for 3 in the 10th over with Martin Guptill, Henry Nichols and Ross Taylor all falling cheaply.

A brilliant stand of 120 between Kane Williamson and Tom Blundell would have kept a team in the contest on another day, but here, with the rate steadily rising, even 85 from 64 balls from Williamson and 106 from 89 from Blundell were not enough for New Zealand.

However, runs for Blundell, the stand-in keeper, will be a boost for the Black Caps with injury concerns around Tom Latham. They will kick off their World Cup campaign against Sri Lanka on Saturday, 1 June, while the Windies will take on Pakistan the previous day.

Xavier Marshall, as a youngster, was one of the most promising batsmen out of Jamaica. The opener had been in and around the West Indies setup, debuting with the bat at just 19 years old.

But migration to the United States and maybe a life outside of cricket beckoned for the talented batsman, who had some disciplinary issues hamper his progress.

Then nothing.

Marshall would turn up again as one of the more prominent players on the United States cricket team, and, in fact, just recently, scored a century to give his side One Day International status.

Now, Marshall has come full circle, returning to play for the Jamaica-based Tallawahs in the 2019 season of the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL).

Marshall was picked in the 17th and final round of the draft for a team he may struggle to feature in, but the opener, for at least the month of September, is back home.

The Tallawahs should not be in need of an opener like Marshall with the return of Chadwick Walton from the Guyana Amazon Warriors and Chris Gayle from the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots.

The two have opened the innings in successful CPL campaigns for the Tallawahs, who are chasing a record fourth title along with the Trinbago Knight Riders, and the Jamaican franchise may be reluctant to change their tried and tested combination.

There is also Glenn Phillips, Rovman Powell, and the big-hitting Andre Russell in the middle order, who may prove hard to replace as well.

The Tallawahs seem to have a balanced unit that will be hard to pick an eleven from game to game. While the batting seems settled, the allrounders and bowling department throws up interesting challenges.

There is George Worker, from New Zealand, who is listed as a batting allrounder. Worker will go up against Shamar Springer for a place in the lower order. Both are very decent bowlers in the T20 version of the game and could demand places.

But then there is the presence of Zahir Khan, who should also be a certainty.

The arrival of Christopher Lamont, Ramaal Lewis, Steven Jacobs, Derval Green and Imran Khan means the fight for spots among the bowlers will be interesting to watch.

Another certainty is the pacey Oshane Thomas, who has impressed since his arrival on the scene in the last Hero CPL, earning for himself a place at this year’s ICC World Cup in England.

Another allrounder in the mix is Pakistan’s Amad Butt, who plies his trade for Islamabad United in the Pakistan Super League. The allrounder is making his debut in the CPL but it is not known what part he will play with the number of allrounders in the Tallawahs line-up who have serious quality.

Windies star batsman Chris Gayle is well aware that he will be the target of young upcoming fast bowlers when the ICC World Cup gets under way later this month but has cautioned that he will be ready.

The 39-year-old batsman, who has long been a standard of attacking cricket, will take part in his swansong for the West Indies at a fifth tournament.  Despite being one of the game’s elder statesmen the self-styled Universe boss devastating attacking capability was on full display against England in March. 

The veteran batsman was named man of the series after amassing 429 runs in four matches at an average of 106.  Many pundits and fans have tipped Gayle to carry that good form into the tournament but not if the bowlers have a say in the matter and he has slowed down just a bit.

"Youngsters coming at my head - it's not as easy as it was like one time before," Gayle told cricket.com. "I was quicker then.

"But they'll be wary. They know what the Universe Boss is capable of. I'm sure they will have it in the back of their mind, 'Hey, this is the most dangerous batsman they've ever seen in cricket,” he added.

Two-time champions West Indies begin their campaign against 1992 winners Pakistan on May 31 at Trent Bridge.

 

West Indies vice-captain Chris Gayle said his only focus is trying to win the World Cup, as he has nothing to prove.

Windies talisman Chris Gayle is known for setting records but the big left-hander could be heading for one he may not want when he makes his appearance later this month at the ICC World Cup.

The 39-year-old batsman is expected to earn his 290th ODI cap as a Windies opener, having scored 10,151 runs.  The appearance will also be the player’s fifth at a World Cup.

 If the Windies do not win the tournament and with the player already slated to retire immediately after it, Gayle would join a select group of players to have played the most World Cup without winning.  The big left-hander is in danger of being the ninth player to have accomplished this unwanted record.  Some of the most notable names include the likes of Mahela Jayawardene, Shahid Afridi and Jacques Kallis.  Regionally Gayle will join legends Brian Lara and Curtly Ambrose. 

Ambrose played in 17 World Cup games across three editions from 1992 to 1999 and had 24 wickets at just 20.79, conceding a miserly 3.03 runs per over.  Lara is the third highest run-scorer in World Cups with 1225 runs from 34 matches spread across 5 editions, starting from 1992.

Windies veteran batsman Chris Gayle has admitted to focusing on his mental preparation, ahead of even the physical aspects as his final World Cup appearance looms on the horizon.

Despite being one of the oldest players heading to the tournament, the 39-year-old has been in solid form in recent months.  In this season’s IPL Gayle has scored 490 runs in 13 matches but really stood out for the recent England series in the Caribbean.  The veteran batsman was named man of the series after amassing 429 runs in four matches at an average of 106.  The player believes keeping fresh has been key.

"I am just taking a lot of rest, getting a lot of massages, lots of stretching, just trying to stay fresh for games. I know what is required to keep me going on the field," Chris Gayle told PTI.

"Age catches up as you ain't getting any younger. But most important thing for me is the mental part of the game. It is not so much about the physical side of the game anymore. I have not done much fitness in the last couple of months," said the Windies veteran.

"I use my experience and mental aspect. I have not done gym for some time," said Chris Gayle.

Shai Hope and Chris Gayle have been named as the vice-captains of West Indies team for the Ireland Tri-Nation Series and ICC Cricket World Cup, respectively.

Explosive opener Chris Gayle has returned to the Jamaica Tallawahs for the 2019 Caribbean Premier League (CPL) season.

This was revealed by Jefferson Miller, Chief Executive Officer of the Jamaica Tallawahs during the franchise's 2019 CPL season launch on Saturday at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel.

Miller said Gayle has been signed as "their marquee player and will captain the team."

Miller further added that "we are delighted to have Chris playing for his home team for the 2019 season. There is no bigger name in Twenty20 cricket, and we can’t wait for him to arrive and make the Jamaican fans proud. We are looking forward to Chris being a big part of our push for a third CPL title.”  

Gayle was with the Tallawahs from 2013 to 2016, winning the title with them twice in that time. Since then he has been with St Kitts & Nevis Patriots where he has captained them to the playoffs in successive years, making the final in 2017. 

The Tallawahs will be playing five home games in Jamaica during the 2019 season giving the fans at Sabina Park the chance to see Gayle in action on his home ground.

The leading T20 batsman of all time, Gayle is the only player with more than 10,000 runs in the format. He is the leading CPL run scorer with 2111 runs and has scored three CPL hundreds, all of those for the Tallawahs. 

The rest of the Tallawahs squad will be decided at the Hero CPL Players Draft which takes place on May 22. 

This year, the CPL will bowl off in September for the first time.

The move to push back the competition was to ensure the availability of all West Indian players as the Caribbean side is set to host India between during July and August.

Windies batting star Chris Gayle believes the upcoming World Cup will be a wide open one and the regional team could have a good a chance as any to lift the title.

The 39-year-old star batsman believes that the hosts England will start favourite when the tournament bowls off next month, but with other teams know to extract good performances from conditions in England Gayle believes the tournament will be competitive.

“Almost every team has a chance to actually win the World Cup. Everybody puts England as favourites and they are at home.  They have a star-studded team as well, a well-balanced all-around team as well, so you have to give them credit,” Gayle told India Today.

“India always plays well in England, Pakistan always plays well in England so you have to look at those team that always do well in those kinds of conditions.  Australia, you can’t write them off, they're always up there and you can’t write off New Zealand either.  Everybody really and truly has a chance but there is going to be one winner, the West Indies and that goes without saying,” he added.

The big left-hander was confirmed as one of 15 members for the Windies World Cup squad, where he will make a fifth appearance at the tournament.

Windies all-rounder Kieron Pollard has admitted he is hopeful of a recall to the regional team, following the recent change of regime and appointment of a fresh panel of selectors.

Newly appointed Cricket West Indies (CWI) president Ricky Skerritt announced several changes to the administration on Thursday.  Robert Haynes was named to replace Courtney Browne as chairman of selectors, with Floyd Reifer replacing Richard Pybus as interim Windies coach to name a few.  In addition, the entire panel of selectors has been dismissed.

Pybus, who led the team to a surprise win over England in the Test series and a 2-2 draw in the One Day Internationals (ODI), was expected to take the team to the World Cup.  The 31-year-old Pollard, who was previously called to the Windies squad ahead of the ICC World Cup qualifiers, was not expected to factor in the occasion. 

The Trinidadian had made himself unavailable prior to the World Cup qualifiers, after taking issue with just being given four days to respond and prior commitments to take part in the Pakistan Super League (PSL).  The player, however, continued to express an interest in continuing to represent the team and hopes the latest changes will give him another chance.

 “There has been a lot of turmoil in West Indies cricket over the last couple of years. I was blacklisted. We have seen in the last couple of weeks there’s a change. The most I can do every time I step on the cricket field is try to put runs on the board,” he said in reference to the appointment of Skerritt as CWI president.

“We have a new chairman of selectors, there’s a new president of the cricket board, and as I said you take it as it comes. There’s people there who have the job to select and whatever and let’s see how that goes. I’m 31 years old, I have cricket left in me. Gayle is still playing, he’s 39, and he’s whacking it all around.”

Pollard recently showed plenty of quality in the IPL, smashing an astounding 83 off just 31 balls for Mumbai Indians, which upstaged Gayle’s Kings XI Punjab earlier this week. 

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