West Indies batting legend Brian Lara believes the current form of senior players in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign is a real fillip for the region.

With the 2019 World Cup just a little over a month away Windies stars Kieron Pollard and Andre Russell have put on some impressive displays with the bat in the IPL to date.  After starting slowly for Mumbai Indians Pollard has picked up steam in recent week, hitting a crucial 46 against Sunrisers Hyderabad before an outrageous 83 against Kings XI Punjab.

Russell has been one of the players of the tournament to date, after scoring 377 runs and claiming seven wickets in 9 matches.

It remains to be seen whether any of the players, who have been outside of the One Day International set-up for several months, will be selected to the final Windies squad.  Lara, however, believes the form of the players makes them nice options to have.

“Cricketers from the West Indies have been doing well in this edition of the Indian Premier League. A few players from other nations are also making good contributions. Kieron Pollard and Andre Russell have been pretty consistent and that augurs well for West Indies cricket. Even Chris Gayle has fired on a couple of occasions, but you need to look out for guys who are making contribution regularly,” Lara said.

“The West Indies players bring their whole-hearted effort in every performance. They are not playing for the West Indies national team, so the IPL is their opportunity to shine.”

 

Newly appointed Cricket West Indies (CWI) president Ricky Skerritt has insisted that the newly formed body is determined to dispel the 'myth’ that several of the team’s senior players are no longer interested in representing the team.

In recent years several of the region’s most high-profile players have found themselves at odds with the regional program’s selectors as heavy T20 league schedule has often clashed with the international game.  For various reasons T20 stars like Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo, who retired from the sport last year, have not consistently represented the region.

Since taking over the office, however, Skerritt and his administration have dismissed the Courtney Browne-led selection panel and installed Robert Haynes.  The administration has since begun to reach out to the players, including Bravo.

“There's a myth that our elite players don't want to play for the West Indies. Over the last couple of weeks, we've engaged several of them and prior to the election, I personally engaged several of them and the desire and hunger to play for their West Indian colours is as strong as ever,” Skerritt said.

“What we have to do is to make sure we put systems in place that can respect the players and help the players to respect their responsibility when they are actually involved in West Indies cricket, and do it in a way that is clearly communicated and that there's mutual respect and understanding,” he added.

“I have no doubt that in the hearts and in the minds of all of these players, the performance of the West Indies team and being involved in a successful West Indies team setup is important to them.”

Kieron Pollard has made it publicly clear that he is very interested in making the Windies team to the World Cup. Pollard's statements came after Cricket West Indies President Ricky Skerritt revamped the Windies coaching staff and selection panel ahead of the marquee event. Does Pollard have a legitimate claim for a spot?

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. 

Alzarri Joseph made history on a sensational Indian Premier League debut, leading Mumbai Indians to a convincing 40-run win over Sunrisers Hyderabad.

West Indies paceman Joseph claimed the best bowling figures in IPL history as he picked up 6-12 from his 3.4 overs, surpassing Sohail Tanvir's haul of 6-14 back in 2008.

The 22-year-old's efforts were also the eighth-best in a Twenty20 game.

Kieron Pollard had earlier lifted Mumbai from 65-5 with an unbeaten 46 off just 26 balls, helping set the Sunrisers a target of 137.

Jonny Bairstow (16) and David Warner (15) got Hyderabad off to a solid start, but the hosts lost their final five wickets for just eight runs in an astonishing collapse.

Joseph sparked the incredible finale by removing Deepak Hooda (20) and he ended it with 14 balls remaining by drawing an outside edge from Siddarth Kaul (0) that was snaffled by wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock.

 

JOSEPH'S DREAM DEBUT

There cannot be many better ways to begin your first IPL appearance than by removing one of the competition's leading run scorers with your first delivery. That is precisely what Joseph did.

Warner – who sits fourth in the list of all-time IPL runs – attempted to play a huge shot to the boundary at the start of the fifth over but only edged Joseph back onto his stumps.

After Windies quick removed Hooda and Rashid Khan off successive deliveries in the 16th over, Hyderabad wilted and Mumbai surged to an impressive victory.

 

POLLARD PUNISHES SUNRISERS

Mumbai were sitting uncomfortably at 97-7 at the end of the 18th over, with Pollard making just nine off the first 13 balls he faced.

However, the 31-year-old plundered a trio of powerful maximums – one from a free hit – off the next set of six from Kaul.

The final over saw Pollard add another six and a pair of fours, with some sloppy fielding from Mohammad Nabi and Hooda proving key as the game turned on its head.

Five West Indians have been retained to their various teams for the Indian Premier League’s 2019 season. 

Lahore Qalandars selected AB de Villiers as first pick in the Pakistan Super League draft and Steve Smith was snapped up by a yet-to-be-named franchise on Tuesday.

De Villiers was the prized selection as a 'Platinum' player for a tournament which gets under way in February.

Mohammad Hafeez, Carlos Brathwaite and Yasir Shah will be among the former South Africa captain's Qalandars team-mates.

Banned ex-Australia skipper Smith was recruited by a 'sixth team' - formerly Multan Sultans - to play alongside the likes of Mohammad Abbas, Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Malik.

Defending champions Islamabad United brought in former England batsman Ian Bell and secured a return for his compatriot Samit Patel.

Kieron Pollard will play for Peshawar Zalmi, while fellow West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo was picked by Quetta Gladiators.

 

Winning Super50 Cup captain, Carlos Brathwaite will turn his attention to the West Indies as he heads a 14-man squad for three T20Is against India, starting on Sunday. 

Windies all-rounder Kieron Pollard talks about the legacy of recently retired star Dwayne Bravo.

Trinidad and Tobago Red Force captain Denesh Ramdin believes the return of the former Windies senior players to the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force bolsters his side’s chances of winning the Regional Super50 competition that bowls off next week.

The St Lucia Stars are off the foot of the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) table for the first time in this season but they must still be ruing the opportunity to get some revenge against the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots. 

The St Kitts and Nevis Patriots, coming off a disappointing loss to the Guyana Amazon Warriors in the Hero Caribbean Premier League, will look to regain some confidence and momentum when they play against the St Lucia Stars at the Warner Park Sporting Complex in Basseterre tonight. 

The St Lucia Stars have not caught many breaks in this year’s Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) with their latest woe coming from being docked their net run rate on account of bowling too slowly. 

The Jamaica Tallawahs have put themselves back in the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) winners’ circle with a 21-run win over the St Lucia Stars at the Darren Sammy Stadium in Gros Islet. 

The St Lucia Stars won for the second time in this season’s Hero Caribbean Premier League thanks to some wonderful bowling, some powerful hitting and despite some poor fielding at the Darren Sammy Stadium on Friday. 

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