England might boast the likes of Barbadian-born pace bowler Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad and James Anderson but according to West Indies wicketkeeper/batsman Shane Dowrich, he likes his team’s bowling attack just fine.

West Indies all-rounder Roston Chase insists he is ready to assume whatever role it takes to help the regional team secure a rare success for the upcoming tour of England.

The 28-year-old batting rounder has emerged as a valuable utility player for the Windies in recent years.  That ability was on full display the last time the teams met, in the Caribbean, where Chase scored a half-century and took eight wickets in the first Test, a win for the West Indies, and scored 102 in the dead rubber loss.

As it stands, heading into the upcoming series with no clear direction on the match-day team composition, Chase, in terms of his bowling, could be used from anywhere between the first spin option to back-up spin option.  For batting options, he could be moved further up the order with the absence of Shimron Hetmyer and Darren Bravo or be tasked with providing crucial lower middle-order runs.  According to Chase, however, whatever configuration he is picked in will suit him just fine.

“I’m ready to do whatever it takes for us to be victorious, to be successful.  Last time we came to England its something I had to do quite a bit of, so it’s not new to me,” Chase told members of the media.

“I am looking forward to that challenge if we go with the four-pronged attack, if not I’ll just try to contribute to my team in any way possible,” he added.

 As a part of the last tour in 2017 Chase struggled with the bat but managed to claim seven wickets.

Rory McIlroy and LeBron James produced memorable moments on June 19, a date that means much to England cricket fans but one their Australian counterparts will always want to forget.

McIlroy was magnificent as he won the 2011 U.S. Open, five years before James and the Cleveland Cavaliers completed a memorable triumph over the Golden State Warriors.

As for the Ashes rivals, England's batsmen were undoubtedly on top in 2018 as they put Australia's poor bowlers to the sword in Nottingham.

Take a look back at some of the memorable moments that have happened on this day through the years.

 

2011: Major breakthrough for McIlroy

Just over two months after enduring a last-round meltdown that ended his hopes of Masters glory at Augusta, McIlroy secured his first major - and in some style, too.

The Congressional course was no match for the Northern Irishman, who left the field fighting it out for second place - Jason Day would eventually finish a distant runner-up - and had the statisticians trawling through the records.

McIlroy's eight-shot triumph was the biggest margin of victory in the tournament's history, while his final score of 16 under was a record for strokes under par (a feat matched by Brooks Koepka in 2017). 

2016: Cavs stun Warriors to reign at last

Having returned for a second spell with Cleveland, the team that drafted him back in 2003, James finally steered the Cavs to glory in the NBA Finals.

The Golden State Warriors appeared on course to retain their title when they led the best-of-seven series 3-1. LeBron, however, had other ideas, inspiring his team to rally from the brink of defeat to claim the city's first professional sports title in 52 years.

His triple-double was influential in deciding the outcome of Game 7, though his most notable play was 'The Block' on Andre Iguodala late in proceedings. Yet it was Kyrie Irving who made the key shot with just under a minute remaining, sinking a three-pointer that helped clinch a 93-89 triumph.

2018: Australia suffer as England run up the score

Going, going gone. England's one-day team made history in the third match of the series against Australia, smashing their way to a world record total in the 50-over format.

Jonny Bairstow and Alex Hales both made centuries as the hosts amassed 481-6 at Trent Bridge. Captain Eoin Morgan weighed in with a rapid 67, helping England ease past their previous highest score of 444-3, made against Pakistan just under two years earlier at the same venue.

Australia could only muster 237 all out in reply to suffer their heaviest ever loss in ODI cricket in terms of runs (242 runs, to be precise). They would end up being swept in the series too, going down 5-0.

West Indies pace bowler Shannon Gabriel insists there is no malice between himself and England captain Joe Root, after a heated exchange between the duo led to a four-match suspension when the teams met in the Caribbean last year.

During the series, Root was picked up on the stump mics responding to an unheard comment from Gabriel. "Don't use it as an insult," he said. "There's nothing wrong with being gay."

Gabriel was charged the next day for an alleged homophobic remark and did not contest the charges.  The footage received widespread attention.  The player was charged with a Level Two offence under article 2.13 of the ICC's Code of Conduct, covering "personal abuse".

Having recently recovered from injury, Gabriel could be in line to face up with Root again when the teams compete in a three-Test series next month.  The bowler has downplayed the incident and has insisted he has long moved past it.

"To be honest that was in the past," Gabriel said. "I don't really think about it too much. Whatever happened or whatever was said, I don't really want to harp on about that, I'm just looking to the future now. I've just come here to play good cricket if selected, and do my best for West Indies cricket,” he added.

"I just think the way they dealt with it was blown way out of proportion," he added. "The story that was told was not entirely true, but I just want to move on and forget that."  

Tiger Woods did not only win the 2000 U.S. Open on June 18, he did so having obliterated the rest of the field.

Two decades ago, no one could get near to Woods and his record-breaking performance at Pebble Beach.

Mike Catt got much closer to Jonah Lomu five years earlier, not that he was able to stop him, while Eoin Morgan was delivering his own dominant performance on June 18, 2019.

Here we take a look at three major sporting events to have occurred on June 18 in previous years.

 

1995 - Lomu steamrollers England

Lomu delivered perhaps the finest individual performance at a Rugby World Cup match when starring for New Zealand against England in the 1995 semi-final.

The wing scored four tries as the All Blacks won 45-29 against an England side that simply could not contain the All Blacks' number 11.

His first score was the best, as Lomu collected a ball that bounced behind him, held off two England players and then dismissively ploughed over Catt when off-balance before dotting down.

In another incredible demonstration of speed, Lomu crossed for the fourth time when side-stepping Catt to leave the England back grasping at air.

 

2000 - Woods goes wire-to-wire at Pebble Beach

Stating Woods was the wire-to-wire winner at the 2000 U.S. Open only begins to explain his dominance given his eventual major record 15-stroke advantage.

Woods arrived at the 100th U.S. Open as a two-time major champion and a third looked assured even before the weekend as he had a six-shot lead after 36 holes.

Only playing against himself by the Sunday, Woods parred the opening nine holes before reeling off four birdies in five holes en route to a final-round 67. It was the first of four majors in a row that Woods would win - which became known as the 'Tiger Slam'.

 

2019 - Aerial Eoin dismantles Afghanistan attack

Prior to hosting the World Cup on home soil in 2019, England players had mused on the possibility of becoming the first team in ODI history to score 500 runs.

It did not quite happen, but the reason for such optimism was evident when they took Afghanistan's attack apart in making 397-6 in a group-stage game at Old Trafford.

Several records did fall as captain Morgan made the most sixes in an ODI (17), England accrued the most maximums in an ODI (25) while poor Rashid Khan went for 0-110 off his nine overs.

Morgan, who would end up lifting the trophy later that tournament, finished with a frankly ridiculous 148 from 71 balls before England claimed a 150-run success.

West Indies opening batsman Kraigg Brathwaite insists he is focused on the task at hand and not recent criticism or past successes as the team prepares for its upcoming tour of England.

The 27-year-old Brathwaite was a standout player when the regional team played in England three years ago.  The opener scored 40 in the first Test, before scoring 134 and 95 in the second, forming part of a crucial partnership with Shai Hopes as the West Indies leveled the series.

The player has not been in the best of form since then.  The top batsman averaged just 16 from his last six Tests, to see his overall average drop to 33.  During the recent first-class championship, he was averaging a mere 25 after the seventh round of matches before knocks of 48 and 84 not out against Guyana Jaguars in the eighth round, boosted his numbers.  It has led some to question his inclusion in the squad.  The player, however, insisted he would not focus on either those negatives or dwell on his strong showing in England the last time around.

“I look forward to any series against England but what I’m really focusing on is obviously doing my job on the team and built that foundation, that’s all I’m focusing on,” Brathwaite told members of the media on Wednesday.

“There’s no pressure.  You can’t always do well.  I know my role and it just about going out there and focus on each ball.  The batting hasn’t been going well the last few innings but I’m up for challenge,” he added

“Looking back, you obviously see things that you did well (2017) but that is history.  I have an important job to do here and now and I’m raring to go.”

 

 

Kraigg Brathwaite has not had a good time at the crease lately. In 2019, a score of 49 against the visiting English team in Antigua was his highest score for the year in what was a disastrous run as the West Indies Test opener.

England all-rounder Moeen Ali is back in the Test fold after being named in a 30-man training squad for next month's series against West Indies, which features eight players who are uncapped in the longest format.

Moeen took a break from Tests after being dropped during last year's Ashes series but is set to be involved in a three-day practice game from July 1, after which point the squad for the first Test at the Ageas Bowl seven days later will be chosen.

The expanded group will convene at the Southampton venue for training from June 23.

Essex batsman Dan Lawrence, Gloucestershire wicketkeeper-batsman James Bracey, Sussex seamer Ollie Robinson, Somerset paceman Jamie Overton and Surrey off-spinner Amar Virdi are all included having not represented England at senior level in any format.

Somerset all-rounder Lewis Gregory, Lancashire leg-spinner Matt Parkinson and his fast bowling county colleague Saqib Mahmood have limited-overs caps.

All the established members of Joe Root's Test side are present, with seamers James Anderson, Mark Wood and Jofra Archer all recovered from injury complaints, along with opener Rory Burns.

To assist with operating with a larger group in bio-secure conditions, head coach Chris Silverwood will be joined by an expanded backroom team.

Assistant head coach Graham Thorpe is to be joined by Kent head coach Matthew Walker in overseeing the batsmen, with Lancashire boss Glen Chapple to work alongside Silverwood as bowling coach.

Ex-England wicketkeeper Chris Read will take care of the glovesmen, with the ECB's national lead fielding coach Carl Hopkinson completing the coaching staff.

Assistant coach Paul Collingwood will take charge of England's ODI matches against Ireland later in the season, subject to those matches being confirmed.

West Indies middle-order batsman Shai Hope insists players must be willing to put up their hands and be counted in order to be successful on the upcoming tour of England.

With the team missing two of its most explosive batsmen in Shimron Hetmyer and Darren Bravo, runs could be hard to come by against a dangerous England bowling attack.  On his last visit to England, Hope certainly did stand up for the Windies team.  In the second Test, his two centuries proved crucial in a five-wicket win that saw the regional team level the series before going on to lose 2-1.

Although admitting the team will be missing the duo, Hope insisted the big match-winning performances needed were simply about the players' available accepting the challenge on any given day.

“It just happened to be my day at Headingley but it can be anyone else’s day on any given day.  The key is just to make sure that whenever you get an opportunity in the middle you grasp it and do whatever you can to put in those performances for the team," Hope told members of the media.

“It’s a case where the performances will matter.  Yes, we are going to miss those guys, they play a big role on the team.  But it’s more performances that we miss rather than players, they could be here and it just doesn’t go their way, that’s how cricket goes sometimes.  You always just need someone to put their hands up, I always stress that.  It’s just key for us that we as batters put those runs on the board.”

The West Indies will defend the Wisden Trophy against England in three Test matches, beginning next month at the Rose Bowl Cricket Ground.

 

West Indies bowling coach Roddy Estwick is confident that the bowling unit’s steady improvement over the past several years means they are now a match for any team in the world.

The Windies are currently preparing for a return to international cricket with the upcoming tour of England, after a globally enforced break due to the coronavirus pandemic.  Ahead of the series, the regional team is likely to be encouraged by the fact that it once again has a full complement of first choice strike bowlers. The likes of Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel, and Alzarri Joseph are all available having recovered from injury.  The regional team’s bowling attack has on occasion shown that they can be a handful for even top batting line-ups.  Against England, in the Caribbean last year, Roach and Holder both claimed four-wicket hauls, with Gabriel and Joseph getting among the wickets as well.  Estwick believes a major difference that has boosted the team's bowling performance in recent years is its level of fitness.

“What we’ve done is to improve our fitness,  now we can sustain pressure,” Estwick said via a news conference.

“If you look back in the 80s, that’s one thing the fast bowlers had, it’s fitness.  Another thing is that they (current players) are now understanding fast bowling.  They have got to that age, Kemar and Shannon they are leading the charge and they are very experienced,” he added.

 “Jason Holder has become a much better Test match bowler in the last two years and Alzarri Joseph is now beginning to show his potential.  So were have four fast bowlers where we can challenge any team in the world.”

West Indies batsman Shai Hope said he is ready to transform his Test fortunes when the three-Test series against England begins on July 8.

West Indies fast bowler Kemar Roach plans to launch his campaign towards 200 Test wickets and beyond during the upcoming three-Test series against England.

Former West Indies all-rounder Ian Bradshaw insists focus will be key for the regional team considering the prevailing extraordinary circumstances for the upcoming tour of England.

The West Indies and England will return to international cricket with a three-Test match series, in England, next month.  With the prevalence of the coronavirus still a major concern and ongoing racial equality protests around the globe, the situation to begin the tour is anything but typical.

In a bid to mitigate the risks of exposure to COVID-19, the teams will spend the entire period of the tour in what has been termed a bio-secure environment, which will keep everyone associated with the series quarantined from the general public.  With all the distractions, Bradshaw believes the task of focusing on just cricket is likely to be tougher for the team.

“We could lose the series mentality if we are distracted before the start of that series.  So, it’s going to be incumbent on the management team to keep the guys focused,” Bradshaw told the Mason and Guest Radio program.

“These are trying circumstances that they are playing under, but they are professionals and they must act as professionals and really utilize the preparation time to the best of their advantage.”  

Retired West Indies all-rounder Ian Bradshaw has advised the team to realistically face up to its lack of quality all around batting and look to mirror approaches taken by past New Zealand squads, in order to be successful on the upcoming England tour.

The West Indies will return to international cricket, following an enforced absence due to the coronavirus epidemic, with a three-Test tour of England next month.  The unpredictability of the team’s batting line-up, much as it has in recent years, will again be a source of concern, particularly with explosive middle-order batsmen Darren Bravo and Shimron Hetmeyer unavailable for selection.

The duo, along with all-rounder Keemo Paul, opted to miss the tour over health concerns.  The West Indies will need no further illustration than the opening Test of their last England tour for an example of a dismal batting performance.  On that occasion, the team was dismissed for 168 and 137 in pursuit of England’s 514 declared.

“We've been concerned with our batting for a while, let’s just stop and be realistic.  We don’t have the quality of batting that we want," Bradshaw told the Mason and Guest Radio program.

“We don’t have the quality batsmen but what we hope for, is that collectively we can rally and that we can get 300 and 350 and 400 by batting deep and by batting sensibly," he added.

"There are other teams in the world that have a similar challenge and they manage to fight through.  For a number of years, we saw that with teams like New Zealand, where each player coming to the crease understood your job was to build a partnership that allowed the team to put a competitive total on the board.  Getting runs in England is important, especially in the first innings, so there is no doubt that we will have to bat deep.”

 

West Indies pace bowler Shannon Gabriel will have a good chance of featuring for the final Test squad against England if he can prove his fitness in the coming weeks.

The 32-year-old pace bowler was initially named as the 15th member to the official Test squad for the upcoming tour.  Gabriel, one of the team’s lead strike bowlers, has not played cricket since September of last year after a brief spell with Gloucestershire.  The player was sidelined after suffering an ankle injury that required surgery.

Head coach of the West Indies Phil Simmons, however, recently revealed the player had been training well and would be in contention for a spot in the final day Test squad.

“We have to put this in perspective.  We selected 14, but Shannon, as we know, has come back from injury and being a senior member of the squad in the past two or three years we would have to look at him if he is up to that fitness level heading into the first Test,” Simmons told members of the media on a conference call on Saturday.

Gabriel claimed eight wickets and bowled with plenty of menace when the teams met in the Caribbean last year.  The West Indies won the Test series 2-1.  The player was, however, suspended for five One Day internationals after a verbal exchange with England batsman Joe Root.

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