Legendary West Indies batsman Sir Viv Richards believes newly appointed skipper Kieron Pollard was kept out of leadership roles because of politics.

The 32-year-old Pollard was recently appointed both captain of the One Day International and T20 squads, replacing Jason Holder and Carlos Brathwaite respectively.  While heartily agreeing with the move, Richards believes it was a long time in coming.

“I’ve always felt he should have been [appointed] a bit earlier,” Richards said in an interview with the Line And Length cricket podcast.

“I guess the politics with the last regime and the things that obviously went down in India, and some of these guys, in my opinion, were blacklisted from playing the role that they should and helping to move the team forward, and I think because of those political issues, it didn’t quite help the progress,” he added.

Pollard was part of a one-day squad that infamously walked out of the team’s tour of India in 2014.  A new Cricket West Indies governance body, led by Ricky Skerritt, deposed the Cameron-led administration earlier this year.  The change in the administration led to a number of adjustments, which included a new selection panel in addition to Pollard’s elevation to the leadership posts.

David Warner said the support he received from Australia fans was music to his ears as he marked his birthday by scoring a maiden Twenty20 International century in a hammering of Sri Lanka.

Warner must have had jeers ringing in his ears when he returned home after spectators in England let him know what they thought about his part in the Newlands ball-tampering scandal.

The opening batsman was subjected to boos and verbals from crowds during the Cricket World Cup and a drawn Ashes series after making his comeback from a one-year suspension.

Warner endured a miserable Ashes series with the bat but scored a hundred in New South Wales' Sheffield Shied opener this month and plundered 100 not out in the first match of the T20 series against Sri Lanka on Sunday.

The left-hander expressed his gratitude to the Adelaide Oval crowd after he smashed the Sri Lanka attack to all parts in a 134-run drubbing - Australia's biggest by runs in a T20 - on his 33rd birthday.

"It's always fantastic to get that [support]. You sort of sit back and watch highlights of other people's packages and stuff, you forget how much it actually drives you when you're out there," said the former Australia vice-captain.

"We love the people's support and we love the Australian crowds coming out and supporting us and we always try and put on a show for them.

"But I don't think they actually realise how much impact it has on us players while we are out there. I remember when I was supporting the [Sydney] Roosters in the [NRL] Grand Final this year.

"When you've got that support behind the team or when you're supporting someone else, it's a massive boost, the confidence for us and for the other people out there playing."

Warner said there was no other ground he would rather have been playing at in his first home international since returning from his ban.

"Emotions were great. Another year older. Another game for Australia and coming out here in front of an Adelaide crowd," he added.

"There's no better place to play, you know. You've always got a fantastic wicket; the curators are absolutely fantastic here. It's a batting paradise. I absolutely love it out here."

The tourists could only make 99-9 in reply to Australia's imposing 233-2, Adam Zampa taking 3-14.

David Warner marked his return to the international Twenty20 arena with a stunning maiden century as Australia eased past Sri Lanka by 134 runs in their opening game.

Warner was back in the T20 fold for the first time since the infamous ball-tampering saga, in which the star Australia batsman served a year-long suspension.

Having already made his Test and ODI comeback, birthday boy Warner capped his T20 return with an unbeaten hundred in his 71st appearance against touring Sri Lanka in Adelaide on Sunday.

Warner led Australia to a record-breaking victory, surpassing last year's 100-run win over Zimbabwe, and their highest T20 total on home soil – 233-2 – before hapless Sri Lanka only managed 99-9 in response at Adelaide Oval.

After a forgettable Ashes series in England which only yielded 95 runs across five matches, Warner was desperate to return to form as the Australian summer got underway.

Warner was back to his brilliant best on his 33rd birthday as the big-hitting star scored 100 runs from just 56 balls in game one of the three-match series against Sri Lanka – bringing up his ton from the last delivery of the innings.

The tone was set by Warner and captain Aaron Finch (64) after Sri Lanka opted to bowl first, with the opening pair combining for 122 runs from just 10.5 overs and reaching their half-centuries in the same over.

Finch and Warner smacked consecutive sixes from Kasun Rajitha – who finished with figures of 0-75 from four overs for the most expensive spell in T20 history – before the former was caught at deep midwicket off the bowling of Lakshan Sandakan (1-41).

Glenn Maxwell (62) then joined Warner at the crease as the duo put on 107 runs from just 52 balls, though Maxwell was dismissed by Dasun Shanaka (1-10) in the last over.

Sri Lanka made a nightmare start to their run chase after Kusal Mendis fell victim to Mitchell Starc (2-18) for a duck in the first over, before the visitors were left reeling at 13-3 in the four over as Pat Cummins (2-27) wreaked havoc.

Shanaka was Sri Lanka's highest score with 17 on putrid day for Sri Lanka, with spinner Adam Zampa (3-14) cleaning up the final three wickets, while Maxwell produced a stunning piece of fielding to run out Wanindu Hasaranga (5).

President of Cricket West Indies (CWI) Mr Ricky Skerritt has been appointed a member of the newly formed International Cricket Council (ICC) Governance Working Group, set out to consider the future governance structure of the ICC.

The appointment was made by ICC Chairman Mr Shashank Manohar during the recent ICC Annual Conference in Dubai. The working group will be chaired by Earl Eddings from Cricket

 Australia, and will comprise Greg Barclay (New Zealand Cricket), Tony Brian (Cricket Scotland), Ehsan Mani (Pakistan Cricket Board), Chris Nenzani (Cricket South Africa) and Ricky Skerritt (Cricket West Indies).

Skerritt is also a member of the ICC Human Resource and Development Committees.

Following the successful completion of the CWI selection system review, which was a key election campaign of the “Cricket First” 10-point initiative, the other two major reviews promised by the Skerritt-Shallow administration are, like the ICC, a review of the CWI governance structure and system, and an upgrade of the professional franchise system.

“Commissioning the CWI governance review task force, led by Jamaican senator and Grace Kennedy CEO, Don Wehby was as one of the first actions we took after being elected,” said Skerritt.

“Mr Wehby and his team have been hard at work ever since and I expect to begin hearing from them over the next few weeks.”

Skerritt said serving as a member of this ICC group also gives him the opportunity to learn and share ideas at the highest level of world cricket administration and bring back to the Caribbean some best practices in our governance reform quest.

 

Cricket West Indies (CWI) today announced a brand new three-year home fixtures cycle, featuring the West Indies teams in all formats with matches in all the main venues across the Caribbean.

England have confirmed the schedule for their two-Test tour of Sri Lanka in March.

The first Test will begin on March 19 in Galle, with the second match slated to commence eight days later in Colombo.

Those contests will form part of the inaugural ICC World Test Championship.

A three-day warm-up game against a Sri Lanka Cricket Board President's XI in Katunayake will kick the tour off for Joe Root's men on March 7, with another four-day match taking place in Colombo from March 12.

England completed a 3-0 series whitewash on their previous Test tour of Sri Lanka in November 2018.

England sit fifth in the World Test Championship table after the drawn Ashes series against Australia, while Sri Lanka occupy third with four more points.

India are 180 points clear at the top after five victories out of five against West Indies and South Africa.

MS Dhoni's India career would appear to be over after he was omitted from the Twenty20 International squad to face Bangladesh, with chief selector MSK Prasad reiterating "we are moving on".

Rishabh Pant is set to don the gloves in a three-match series against the Tigers and Sanju Samson was also among the 15 players named in the T20 squad on Thursday, while Rohit Sharma was named captain as Virat Kohli is given a rest.

There was no place for the 38-year-old Dhoni and although Prasad did not go as far as saying the former captain will not play for his country again, he gave a strong indication that may be the case.

"This is our clear thought process that post-World Cup we are focusing on Rishabh Pant only," Prasad said.

"I made it very clear post the World Cup that we are moving on. We are giving opportunities to youngsters [to] establish themselves in the side.

"With Rishabh Pant doing so well and even Sanju Samson coming in, I am sure you must be understanding our thought process."

Asked whether Dhoni could be recalled with an impressive return to domestic action, Prasad said: "That is purely his personal call.

"Going into domestic cricket, getting his touch back, or thoughts about retirement, everything is purely his personal [decision]. We've already laid the roadmap for future, I'm sure you can see in the way we are selecting the teams."

Pressed if Pant will get a certain number of games to prove he is the right man for the job, Prasad said sternly: "I have already answered, we are backing Rishabh Pant."

 

India T20 squad: Rohit Sharma (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Sanju Samson, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Rishabh Pant, Washington Sundar, Krunal Pandya, Yuzvendra Chahal, Rahul Chahar, Deepak Chahar, Khaleel Ahmed, Shivam Dube, Shardul Thakur.

Sourav Ganguly has been named the new president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

The legendary batsman was elected after a general body meeting on Wednesday.

Ganguly was India captain from 2000 to 2005 and guided them to the final of the 2003 Cricket World Cup.

He is sixth on the all-time list of Test run-scorers for India with 7,212, and his 11,363 runs in ODIs rank ninth on the international all-time list.

"I congratulated him. It's great that he has become BCCI president," said India captain Virat Kohli.

Wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha added: "I hope players will immensely benefit after Dada [Ganguly] takes up the new role.

"He has represented the country for a long time and then went on to dominate Indian cricket first as a player then captain.

"He can bring about a lot of improvements as he knows the game inside out. If something is not happening, Dadi can make it happen."

Lockie Ferguson will make a timely return from injury for a New Zealand XI in two Twenty20 warm-up matches against England.

The paceman has been out of action since suffering a fractured thumb training in Sri Lanka last month.

Ferguson is now fully fit and will face Eoin Morgan's side in a team captained by Colin Munro at Bert Sutcliffe Oval in Lincoln on Sunday and next Tuesday.

He said: "The thumb has healed well and I'm looking forward to having a hit-out at Lincoln.

"While it's obviously frustrating to be sidelined, it's actually been good to take some time to freshen up and be able to return with plenty of motivation and energy.

"It's the beginning of a really big summer of cricket and it's exciting to be starting it against a quality England side."

A five-match T20 series between the Black Caps and England starts in Christchurch on November 1.

Newly appointed Windies skipper Kieron Pollard has promised to reject the idea of insularity, an accusation traditionally leveled at numerous regional team selection panels.

As captain of the One Day International and T20 teams, Pollard will assist a panel that has often been accused of favouring players from different regions of the Caribbean, based on its composition at the time.  Despite being an allegation that has never quite been proven, it has clearly caught the attention of the new skipper.

“One of the major things we (selectors) talked about is the insularity that has been going on in the Caribbean and it is something we want to [stamp out],” Pollard said in a recent interview.

“At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter where you’re from, which part of the islands you’re from, once your performance is there, once you fit into the dynamics of the team, [once] you fit into what we’re looking for, you’re going to be selected.

“[The fact] that sometimes you veer to where you’re from is unfortunate, maybe as a home captain or coach, but at the end of the day we will try to pick the best team.

“Me, knowing myself and how I go about things – and this is something I’ve been preaching since the franchise system started in the Caribbean T20 before the CPL – the bigger picture is the cricket and whichever persons are doing well, they’re going to be selected.”

Pollard replaced Jason Holder as ODI captain and Carlos Brathwaite as T20 captain.

Faf du Plessis admits South Africa's humiliating Test series in India exposed plenty of "mental scars" for the Proteas.

Things started badly for the tourists in a 202-run hammering in the opening contest, before they were battered by an innings and 137 runs in the second match.

India showed absolutely no let up in Ranchi and took the final two wickets they needed on Tuesday to win the third and final Test by an innings and 202 runs.

Only five of South Africa's 16-man squad had previously played in India and Du Plessis feels a lack of experience was clear.

"When we play in the subcontinent, our style of bowling is not successful. You have to adapt your style to the style that is required," he said. 

"Obviously, someone like Dale Steyn was effective in the subcontinent because he has a similar skill set. He is a skiddy bowler off the pitch, hits the stumps, whereas if you are missing the stumps a lot or bouncing it over the stumps, it's not as effective here.

"Seam bowling is one area; spin they were better than us and from a batting unit, exceptional ruthlessness in the way they put massive scores on the board. 

"That's one of the reasons why mentally we were so weak towards the end. Obviously, they did bat first every time, which made it easier but they still put on 500, 500, 600 and the scoreboard pressure, the effect that it has on you mentally as a batting line-up, it takes a lot of energy and it takes a lot of toll. 

"You just feel like there's no opportunity or no moment in the game when you can hide. Your body is tired, your mind is tired and then you make mistakes.

"Our next journey is to try and make sure we get a lot stronger as a cricketing team mentally. As you can see, a tour like this reveals that there is a lot of mental scars that can happen and then obviously it's difficult to come out of the hole. 

"We played our best match in the first match and the consistent pressure that was on us made us weaker with every Test match that we played. 

"It tells me we are not mentally strong as a team and that some work is required in that department."

South Africa have lost a lot of experience, with Steyn and Hashim Amla among those to retire in 2019.

But Du Plessis, 35, will not relinquish his captaincy and is determined to unearth the next generation of Proteas leaders.

"How I see my journey unfolding with this team is to help with the transition period," he added. 

"That's something we spoke about before that wasn't necessarily the case before. Graeme Smith was a successful captain for a very long time and then after that, it was like, 'what now, who is going to captain the side, what's going to happen?' 

"This period is to try and make that process a bit smoother, identifying the next leaders, identifying the next captains, working with them, and then when that time is right, that time will be right."

Virat Kohli has called on India to adopt a model similar to England and Australia and host Test cricket at only five venues.

India wrapped up a resounding 3-0 series triumph over South Africa on Tuesday, taking the final two wickets they needed in the third contest to conclude victory by an innings and 202 runs.

All three matches against the Proteas took place at venues hosting Test cricket for just the second time in Visakhapatnam, Pune and Ranchi.

Kohli is all for mixing up venues in international cricket but feels the five-day format needs to played at regular stadiums.

"We've been discussing this for a long time now and in my opinion we should have five Test centres, period," Kohli said.

"I mean, I agree [with] state associations and rotation and giving games and all that, that is fine for T20 and one-day cricket, but Test cricket, teams coming to India should know, 'we're going to play at these five centres, these are the pitches we're going to expect, these are the kind of people that will come to watch, crowds'.

"So that becomes a challenge already, when you're leaving your shores, because we go to any place, we know we're having four Test matches in these venues, this is what the pitch is going to offer, it's going to be a full stadium, the crowd's behind the [home] team, and look, you want to keep Test cricket alive and exciting. I totally agree with the fact that we need five Test centres at the max.

"It can't be sporadic and spread over so many places where people turn up or they don't, so in my opinion, absolutely. You should have five strong Test centres that teams coming to India know that this is where they're going to play."

India completely dominated South Africa over the three Tests, winning the final two matches batting just one innings after opening with a 203-run rout.

Captain Kohli believes India's relentless willingness to improve is behind the success.

"We will always be put under pressure, always make mistakes, 11 guys can be vulnerable at times and can make mistakes but I think what is important is we keep a strong check on wanting to learn from the mistakes - we don't let things slide under the carpet," he added. 

"We address things there and then, even session wise, in an hour if we have given away too many runs the message at drinks is straight - 'not good enough, we need to pull our socks up'. 

"We don't wait for a session to be over and speak later because if another hour goes by you are letting the Test match go. 

"It's about addressing things there and then, more credit has to go to the players because they are willing to receive and be open to listening to things that need improving from a team point of view."

Chris Silverwood has no doubt England have recovered from their Cricket World Cup and Ashes exertions and are raring to go ahead of their tour of New Zealand.

England touched down in Christchurch on Tuesday for a five-game Twenty20 series and two Tests against the Black Caps, Silverwood's first assignment since taking over as head coach from Trevor Bayliss.

New Zealand lost a thrilling World Cup final to England on boundary count-back in July, while Bayliss signed off in September with a 2-2 draw in the Ashes that saw Australia retain the urn.

Silverwood does not expect his team to laud their World Cup success over the hosts and indicated they are ready for another challenge.

"I don't think it's been difficult getting them refreshed. We had a great summer but the adventure is lying ahead and to come back here and play cricket again we're very excited," he said.

"One or two are having a little break but its business as usual. Obviously, [T20 captain] Eoin Morgan has a strong hold on what he wants to do with the team and it's my job to back him and help him put things in place.

"I'm sure there'll be a few conversations [about the World Cup final], but we're here to concentrate on the series in front of us, which is always hard fought when we come out to New Zealand with two very good teams."

India needed just 12 balls on the fourth day in Ranchi to wrap up a comprehensive victory by an innings and 202 runs in the Third test and a maiden series whitewash of South Africa.

Shahbaz Nadeem removed Theunis de Bruyn and Lungi Ngidi with the final two balls of the second over to finish with four wickets on his debut and consign the Proteas to their heaviest loss to India, eclipsing the record set in the second Test in Pune.

The tourists added a solitary run to their overnight score of 132-8 before De Bruyn, a concussion substitute for Dean Elgar, edged behind for 30.

Ngidi failed to delay the inevitable, the tailender dismissed the following ball in a bizarre caught and bowled as his shot deflected off Anrich Nortje at the non-striker's end and presented Nadeem with a simple catch.

South Africa had been forced to bat again on Monday after crumbling to 162 all out in response to India's 497-9 declared.

India now have five wins from five in the World Test Championship and hold a commanding 180-point lead at the top of the table.

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