Trinidadian allrounder Kieron Pollard said he is honoured to lead the West Indies One Day International and T20 teams. The 32-year-old Pollard replaces Jason Holder and Carlos Brathwaite who led the ODI and T20 teams respectively.

Defending Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) champions Trinbago Knight Riders made it three wins from three in their season-opening home stint after cruising past St Lucia Zouks’ 167 for 5 with seven wickets and 13 balls to spare.

Very different yet equally impressive half-centuries from the explosive Lendl Simmons and ice-cool Denesh Ramdin ensured a mid-range target never really posed much of a threat. Simmons set the tone with a six straight back over Thisara Perera’s head from just the second ball of the innings, with Sunil Narine adding another Hero Maximum as 14 came from the opening over.

With the boundaries coming so regularly, even the loss of Narine and Tion Webster in the space of nine balls, the latter caught at point from Fawad Ahmed’s first ball of the day, did nothing to stem the flow.

Ramdin had been understandably content to play second fiddle to Simmons for the most part but he cut loose once the partnership reached 50, taking Fawad Ahmed for 10 in two balls as 17 runs came from the 11th over of the innings.

Simmons continued the boundary spree with his fifth Hero Maximum, powered down the ground off Kavem Hodge, but the bowler had instant revenge as Simmons ran past a wide to be comprehensively stumped by Andre Fletcher.

The target was by now down to 62 from 52, though, and with Kieron Pollard striding to the middle to join Ramdin there was little reason for optimism from the Zouks.

All that remained to be determined was whether Ramdin could complete his 50 before Pollard finished the game, and back-to-back fours through midwicket and point took him to 47 and the victory target down to seven at the start of the 18th over.

He duly got to the landmark with a clip for two that brought the scores level, and the Zouks’ day to forget ended with a wide outside off to hand TKR the winning run.

The Zouks innings, just as in their opening match against Guyana Amazon Warriors, was given a stunning start by Rahkeem Cornwall. He followed up a 14-ball 36 in that game with 33 from 12.

His departure, trapped plumb in front on the sweep by Narine, brought an inevitable slowing of the rate.

Fletcher struggled to cut loose in a frustrating 32-ball stay that brought him 26 runs while Najibullah Zadran’s promising cameo was ended at 26 from 17 balls when he picked out Javon Searles on the long-off boundary from a Mohammad Hasnain slower ball.

Daren Sammy smashed back-to-back sixes in his 16 from 13, while John Campbell did start to find the boundary towards the back end of the innings but once again it felt like the Zouks had failed to take full advantage of the early momentum the innings had been given by their big opener.

 

 

Windies batsman Kieron Pollard is poised to become the new captain of the regional team in both the T20 and ODI formats, numerous reports have claimed.

The 32-year-old Pollard, long thought of as a viable alternative for the post, is set to replace Jason Holder as head of the ODI team and Carlos Brathwaite as skipper of the T20 squad.  Holder was appointed the head of the regional team in 2014, with Brathwaite appointed as leader in the shorter format in 2016 after an outstanding performance at the World Cup.

 Neither captain has performed particularly well, however, with Holder losing 24 of 54 matches played and Brathwaite managing just a 33 percent win ratio.

Pollard has, however, not been a regular participant for the Windies squad in recent years, particularly in the ODI format where he last appeared for the team in 2016.  The player had, however, been named as a reserve for the 2019 World Cup but failed to make an appearance, as the regional team managed just one win and an eighth-place finish. 

Pollard made his T20 debut on June 2008 against Australia but was overlooked for several years after disputes with the regional board. He was, however, re­called to the West Indies team for the T20 internationals against Indian last month.

 

Trinbago Knight Riders captain Kieron Pollard hailed the impact of mystery spinner Sunil Narine, who fired up the team with a fast and furious start at the top of the order in a 22-runs win over rivals Jamaica Tallawahs on Friday.

Narine, who is better known for his exploits with the ball, was just as dangerous with the bat this time around, cracking 46 from just 22.  The knock, which included 3 sixes and four 4s got the hosts off to a strong start en route to a sizeable 191 for 4. 

Narine was given excellent support at the other end by Tian Webster who batted straight through the innings with 66 from 49 balls.  The two put on a damaging 74 runs on the board for the second wicket, helping to offset the early loss of Lendl Simmons who was sent packing for 11 runs.  In response, man-of-the-match Narine claimed 2 for 23 as the Tallawahs eventually crumbled at 169 for 6.

Pollard, who added 33 from 21 for TKR, believes the contribution of the pair was crucial to the team’s success.

“I thought the guys played well, we asked for a start and yes we lost the early wicket but it shows the confidence of Sunil Narine, he walked in and just changed the momentum immediately and that first 6 overs is where we stamped our authority,” Pollard said following the match.

For the most part, the defending champions TKR kept the explosive Tallawahs from really going after the steep target, with the timely dismissals of Chris Gayle (28), Glenn Phillips (6) and Ravmon Powell (1).  Andre Russell scored a brisk 44 from 24 but was in the end left with too much to do.

“We sat and we tried to analyse the Tallawahs line-up.  We had specific plans for certain batsmen and I just asked the guys to back themselves and execute…again it wouldn’t have been possible without Narine but also the way young Webster batted.”

 

Trinbago Knight Riders all-rounder Jimmy Neesham hailed the contribution of newly minted team captain Kieron Pollard in a narrow 11-runs win for the defending champions over St Kitts and Nevis Patriots, in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) opener on Wednesday night.  

The in-form Pollard crafted a responsible 47 off 32 balls, as the Knight Riders managed a par score 152 for 7 in their time at the crease.  Man-of-the-match Neesham also made a steady contribution for the Knight Riders, with 33 from 30 balls before claiming 3 for 18 as the Patriots eventually crumbled for 141 in pursuit.  Fabian Allen did his best to get what seemed a makeable target, accumulating 30 from 14 runs to push the Patriots.  His dismissal by Mohammad Hasnain, however, triggered a late collapse with Neesham closing out the game with the dismals of Rayad Emrit and Sheldon Cottrell.

“Obviously we wanted to get off to a strong start here in front of the home fans.  The way Poly batted was exceptional in the first innings to get us up to what was probably just above the par score and then our spinners especially did a great job in defending it,” Neesham said.

Having come up big at crunch time for the Knight Riders, Neesham was quick to admit it was the type of role he had learned to appreciate and hoped to flourish in it for the team this season.

“It’s something I had to learn to love.  I think as an all-rounder batting six and bowling death you are going to be involved in the crunch time and you either shy away from it or you enjoy it.”

 

A power-packed 47 from new skipper Kieron Pollard and all-round heroics from New Zealand star Jimmy Neesham helped two-time defending champions Trinbago Knight Riders start the 2019 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) with a thrilling 11-run win over St Kitts & Nevis Patriots on Wednesday.

Pollard, leading the side after the finger injury suffered by Dwayne Bravo, powered his side to 152 for 7 after Neesham and Denesh Ramdin’s 60-run partnership began the champions’ recovery from an early slump at 24 for 3.  The new captain crafted a responsible 47 from 32 balls.

After his vital 33 with the bat, Neesham then made the crucial first breakthrough with the ball to end a 47-run opening partnership, having Kjorn Ottley caught and bowled off a slower ball for 25, before catching Evin Lewis for 36 off the impressive Khary Pierre to trigger a decisive collapse of four wickets for six runs.

Neesham later returned to defend 13 from the final over of the match, taking the last two wickets with a pair of low full-tosses zeroing in on the stumps to seal victory.

The Patriots’ pursuit of 153 appeared to be well in hand at 70 for 1 but three overs later, the scoreboard read 76 for 5 after Pierre and spin twin Seekkuge Prasanna ripped the heart out of the middle-order.

Jason Mohammed fell for a duck and Devon Thomas just 1, while a horrible mix-up saw Carlos Brathwaite run out for only 2.

That appeared to be that, but Fabian Allen rekindled the visitors' hopes by blasting four sixes off Prasanna’s third over - an assault made all the more astonishing by the fact just three runs, a wicket and that run out had come from the Sri Lankan’s first two.

 Allen, though, was superbly caught at third-man by Prasanna himself off Mohammad Hasnain in the next over for 30 from just 14 balls. Usama Mir bravely took up the charge with an enterprising 24 from just 10 balls, including one astonishing ramped six over fine-leg off Hasnain, but ultimately he had just too much to do.

He was bowled by Neesham in the final over and was swiftly followed by last man Sheldon Cottrell, who had been the early star of proceedings at the Queen’s Park Oval with superb figures of 3 for 13 from his four overs.

 

 

The Trinbago Knight Riders have appointed Kieron Pollard captain for the 2019 Hero CPL season. They came to the decision after Dwayne Bravo injured his finger during practice and could miss a significant part of the season.

West Indies legend Sir Vivian Richards believes veteran T20 player Kieron Pollard would make a better option for team captain than current skipper Carlos Brathwaite.

The 31-year-old Brathwaite was named captain of the squad in 2016, following the controversial dismal of World Cup-winning captain Darren Sammy and his heroics against England in the final.  The Barbadian has, however, struggled since taking charge of the unit, winning just 11 and losing 17 of his matches in charge of the team for a 36 percent win rate.

Despite being out of the squad for a couple of years, Pollard has continued to be one of the game’s most reliable players, recently returning to score 115 in a three-match series against India.  The Windies, however, lost the series 3-0.

“Given his experience in that format, I would have liked to see Kieron Pollard as the best choice for our T20 captain. But he is not, for there are some reasons for that. During the CPL, he is the best with the bat and his fielding talent,” Richards recently told the India Times.

“There is no disrespect to Carlos Brathwaite, but he probably would have been part of the team still. It was a political scenario after Darren Sammy exited the captaincy. Brathwaite is magnificent as an individual and highly competitive, but I know a lot of players in that team who believe Pollard would have been a great choice as captain.”

 

 

Windies skipper, Carlos Brathwaite believes his unit could have made a fight of the first T20 international against India in Lauderhill on Saturday had there been but a few better decisions with the bat.

According to the skipper, the T20 side, stacked with new-ish faces, not for the first time, did not adapt to the conditions they were faced with after early-morning showers made batting a little tougher.

“Once again don't think we assessed conditions,” said Brathwaite after the game the West Indies lost by four wickets.

Batting first, the ‘home’ side amassed a paltry 95-9 from their 20 overs, thanks in large part to Kieron Pollard’s run-a-ball 49.

Sent to bat at number four, Pollard showed experience in waiting for the right moments to get the scoring going, but fell in the 20th over.

Brathwaite paid attention.

“Kudos to Kieron coming back into the team. He showed his experience,” he said.

“Had we made 130, it would've been a different game. We batted ourselves out of the game,” said a disappointed Brathwaite.

The skipper admits that the West Indies style of being aggressive up front would not change, but that there were still better decisions to be made when doing so.

“We have to play positively. The message will continue to be to keep intent, but we need to have better shot selection and awareness,” said the skipper.

India skipper Virat Kohli was not too perturbed by his side’s difficulty in overhauling a small total against the West Indies in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday.

Playing in the first T20 of an Indian tour of the Caribbean, Kohli’s side ran through the West Indies top order, leaving veteran all-rounder, Kieron Pollard, the only man to offer any resistance with his run-a-ball 49, that took the home team to 95-9.

The total seemed too low to be a problem for the powerfully stacked Indian batting line-up but at 69-5 when Kohli picked out Pollard at mid-wicket, the game was very much on.

India would eventually make their way to 98-6, a comfortable enough victory with 16 balls to spare, but it was tougher than it should have been.

“We would've liked to chase it four down, but we wanted to take risks and take the scoreboard moving. As the ball got older, strike rotation became key. It's just about putting in solid performance, ensure the guys who play contribute in some way or the other,” said Kohli.

The Indian skipper had lots to say about his side’s bowling and fielding, pointing out that they did well under the conditions.

“Bowlers were on top throughout, variations were superb,” he said.

The Indian skipper gave special praise to theDelhi Daredevil’s paceman Navdeep Saini, who ended with figures of 3-17. Saini was responsible for the important wickets of Nicholas Pooran, Pollard, and Shimron Hetmyer.

“Navdeep is from Delhi, he's come a long way. Plays the IPL as well, had a great season. Raw talent, hardly any bowlers who can bowl 150 clicks, hopefully he builds on from here,” he said.

Navdeep Saini enjoyed a wonderful international debut as India edged out West Indies by four wickets in a low-scoring Twenty20 contest in Lauderhill, Florida.

Saini (3-17) struck with successive deliveries in his first over and the seamer finished off the Windies' innings with a wicket-maiden that included the scalp of Kieron Pollard, whose 49 represented more than half of his side's paltry total of 95-9.

On a sluggish pitch, India then lost wickets at regular intervals, but they nevertheless reached their target with 16 balls to spare, Rohit Sharma's 24 the most substantial contribution to the chase.

Victory represents a welcome boost for India after their painful semi-final defeat to New Zealand in the Cricket World Cup. 

Uncertainty surrounds the future of the team's coaching staff in the wake of that loss, while skipper Virat Kohli rubbished rumours of a feud between himself and Rohit earlier this week.

After Kohli had won the toss on Saturday, the Windies lost openers John Campbell and Evin Lewis for ducks, setting the tone for a dismal batting display in the first contest of a three-match series.

Nicholas Pooran briefly sparkled, with two sixes in his 20, but he and Shimron Hetmyer then fell to consecutive Saini deliveries, leaving the debutant on a hat-trick.

Saini could not manage that feat, but he finished his day's work in style by trapping Pollard lbw in a run-less 20th over. The experienced all-rounder had been the only man to offer any prolonged resistance for the Windies, striking four maximums in his run-a-ball innings.

Shikhar Dhawan fell cheaply in reply on his return from the thumb injury that prematurely ended his World Cup campaign and India were in trouble at 32-3 when Rohit and Rishabh Pant (0) holed out to successive balls from Sunil Narine.

Kohli and Manish Pandey contributed 19 apiece to edge India closer, though, and their victory was sealed by a Washington Sundar six.

The uncapped Anthony Bramble has been named in West Indies' squad for the first two Twenty20 games against India along with recalled duo Sunil Narine and Kieron Pollard.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Bramble could make his debut in a three-match series that will be staged in Florida and Guyana next month.

Spinner Narine and all-rounder Pollard come back into the fold, but opener Chris Gayle made himself unavailable as he is playing in the GT20 in Canada. 

John Campbell should get his chance at the top of the order, while spinner Khary Pierre is also in the 14-man squad.

Andre Russell will have to pass a fitness test after a left knee injury cut short his participation in the Cricket World Cup.

"This squad is an excellent balance of experience and youth," said interim chairman of selectors Robert Haynes.

"It's not just about the present – the India tour of the West Indies – but we are also looking at the T20 World Cup coming up next year and it is important that we find the right combination of players and the right formula for defending our title.

"We have to make sure that we put certain things in place now, so that when it comes to picking the squad for the T20 World Cup, it becomes easier, so we are giving more players the opportunity to play and get the exposure."

 

West Indies squad:

Carlos Brathwaite (captain), Anthony Bramble, John Campbell, Sheldon Cottrell, Shimron Hetmyer, Evin Lewis, Sunil Narine, Keemo Paul, Khary Pierre, Kieron Pollard, Nicholas Pooran, Rovman Powell, Andre Russell, Oshane Thomas.

West Indies cricket selectors have recalled Sunil Narine and Kieron Pollard to the squad to play the first two T20 internationals against India early next month.

The creme de la creme will be involved in the Cricket World Cup, but there are plenty of talented players who will not feature when the tournament begins this week.

Each of the 10 nations involved in England and Wales named 15-man squads for the competition, which meant selectors faced some difficult decisions before settling on their chosen line-ups.

Here, with the help of Opta, we take a look at the best 11 players who will not be involved.

Niroshan Dickwella (Sri Lanka)

Sri Lanka's dreadful pre-World Cup form led to changes for this tournament and Dickwella was one of those to pay the price. He was out in single figures in all three of his innings against South Africa in March.

Opta fact: Despite his recent struggles, Dickwella has amassed more ODI runs (1,388) than any other Sri Lankan batsman since the start of 2017.

Imrul Kayes (Bangladesh)

Imrul has been out of the ODI picture since December having been dismissed for four and a duck against West Indies. Prior to that, though, he had accrued 349 across three innings against Zimbabwe, so there was some surprise he was deemed surplus to requirements.

Opta fact: Of the 124 men to have registered at least eight ODI innings in 2018, Imrul's average of 62.3 was the eighth-highest.

Rishabh Pant (India)

Dinesh Karthik, who turns 34 during the tournament, was preferred to Pant, 21, as back-up wicketkeeper to MS Dhoni. Given Karthik and Dhoni's advancing years, Pant's time will surely come but the explosive youngster is only on the standby list in 2019.

Opta fact: Pant has starred in the Indian Premier League, scoring the second-most runs (1,172) over the last two seasons behind only KL Rahul (1,252). Pant also claimed the most dismissals for a wicketkeeper (24) in this year's tournament.

Ambati Rayudu (India)

Rayudu had been earmarked for the number-four slot in India's batting line-up but lost out to Vijay Shankar due to the latter's 'three-dimensional' qualities. Rayudu had some fun with that, saying on Twitter that he had ordered "a new set of 3D glasses to watch the World Cup".

Opta fact: In his 35 ODI innings outside of India, Rayudu has averaged 47.4. Only Virat Kohli and Dhoni have better records among those to have played for the country as often.

Dinesh Chandimal (Sri Lanka)

Despite being his nation's captain as recently as six months ago, Chandimal was another high-profile Sri Lankan to be omitted. A regular throughout 2017 and 2018, Chandimal's last ODI century was in August 2016.

Opta fact: Chandimal has scored a half-century in four of his last six ODI innings in England and Wales.

Peter Handscomb (Australia)

Australia had to find a way to include Steve Smith and David Warner following their returns from bans, and wicketkeeper-batsman Handscomb was the unfortunate one to miss out despite starring in the duo's absence.

Opta fact: Prior to naming their preliminary squad, Handscomb had featured in 13 straight ODIs, scoring a century and three half-centuries while averaging 43.5.

Kieron Pollard (West Indies)

All-rounder Pollard has not played an ODI since October 2016 but many thought he might have been involved on the back of a fine IPL, when he helped Mumbai Indians to a record fourth title.

Opta fact: As well as averaging 49.2 across his final 11 innings in this year's IPL, Pollard has the experience of appearing in two previous World Cups (2007 and 2011).

Dwayne Bravo (West Indies)

It has been nearly five years since Bravo appeared in an ODI and he retired from international cricket in October 2018, but the all-rounder is still on the standby list having scored 2,968 runs and taken 199 wickets for the Windies in this format.

Opta fact: Only 21 men have scored over 2,500 ODI runs and claimed at least 150 wickets and Bravo is one of three West Indians to have done so - along with Chris Gayle and Carl Hooper.

David Willey (England)

Someone had to make way for the talented Jofra Archer and left-armer Willey, useful with bat and ball, was the unfortunate player to miss out. Willey has been a major part of England's recent white-ball success but, even in his absence, Eoin Morgan still has Archer, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood, Tom Curran, Liam Plunkett and Ben Stokes as seam options.

Opta fact: Since his debut in May 2015, no player has opened the bowling more often for England in ODIs than Willey (44 - level with Woakes)

Josh Hazlewood (Australia)

A back injury contributed to Hazlewood's absence from Australia's squad, though the seamer is expected to be in England later in the year for the Ashes series.

Opta fact: Hazlewood produced his best ODI figures in the last major tournament to take place in England - the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy - taking 6-52 against New Zealand.

Junaid Khan (Pakistan)

Included in the preliminary squad, Junaid was axed after disappointing in the warm-up series with England as the selectors went back to Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz. Having featured in 76 one-day games for his country, Junaid's experience will be missed.

Opta fact: Junaid has taken a wicket in each of his previous six ODI appearances in England and Wales.

The West Indies selectors have rewarded Sunil Ambris and John Campbell for the good work they did during the Walton Tri-Series in Ireland which concluded on Friday. 

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