At first glance, Joe Root does not look like the type of batsman that makes for a successful T20 player. Obdurate in the Test arena and the solid anchor sheet in One-Day Internationals, Root doesn’t seem to have the swashbuckling, sometimes even kamikaze-like penchant for attacking bowling that the best proponents of the shortest form of the game seem to possess. But, for some reason, maybe his incredible work ethic has helped him, he has adapted.

Root depends on deft touches and manipulations of the field to accumulate his runs, but his ability to do so is so exquisite that he could hurt a team without ever hitting a six. In fact, Root has only ever hit 16 sixes for England in 32 T20I outings. He has, however, scored five half-centuries in that period and averages above 35. The story is similar in the T20 arena where he has scored nine half-centuries in 20 games at an average of 30 and a half. His strike rate of 126 in international cricket and 125 in T20s isn’t staggering, but it does show remarkable adaptability for a man who strikes at 50 in the Test arena and just 60 in ODIs.

Career Statistics (2011-present)

Full name: Joseph Edward Root

Born: December 30, 1990, Sheffield, Yorkshire (29)

Major teams: England, England Lions, England Under-19s, Sydney Thunder, Yorkshire, Yorkshire 2nd XI, Yorkshire Academy, Yorkshire Under-17s

Playing role: Top-order batsman

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm offbreak, Legbreak

 

T20I Career

Mat   Inns   NO    Runs    HS     Ave      BF      SR       100   50     4s      6s    

32       30       5      893      90*   35.72    707   126.30     0      5      92      16   

T20 Career

Mat   Inns   NO    Runs     HS     Ave      BF         SR         100   50    4s     6s     

72         66    13    1619      92*   30.54    1288      125.69      0      9    180    24    

 

Career Highlights

  • 32 T20I caps scoring 893 runs at 35.72
  • 1619 T20 runs at average of 30.54

Blessed with an ability to hit boundaries at the end of innings got observers to label Eoin Morgan a "finisher".

In 2010, he took those talents to the 2010 ICC Twenty20 World Cup where his exploits helped take England to the final they won.

Morgan was named England captain for the 2015 Cricket World Cup, having already captained England in ODIs and T20Is. He is the only England captain to have scored more than four ODI centuries. Under his captaincy, England won the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup for the first time.

As of December 2019, Morgan is the all-time leading run-scorer and most capped player for England in ODI matches. He also holds the England record for the fastest fifty in ODIs and during the 2019 ICC World Cup, he hit the highest number of sixes in an ODI innings with 17 against Afghanistan.

He hit a six off the final ball of the innings to win a KFC Twenty20 Big Bash for the Sydney Thunder against the Melbourne Stars.

Morgan has also taken his big-hitting talents to a number of T20 leagues across the globe having played for the Royal Challengers Bangalore, the Kolkata Knight Riders, the Sunrisers Hyderabad and the Kings XI Punjab.

He also played for Peshawar Zalmi in the Pakistan Super League (PSL).

In January 2020, Eoin Morgan was named captain for Middlesex’s T20 team for the 2020 Vitality Blast campaign.

 

Career statistics (2006 – present)

Full name: Eoin Joseph Gerard Morgan

Born: September 10, 1986, Dublin (33)

Major teams: England, Ireland, Bangalore Royal Challengers, Bangla Tigers, Barbados Tridents, England A, England Performance Programme, England Performance Programme XI, Ireland A, Ireland Under-19s, Karachi Kings, Kerala Kings, Kings XI Punjab, Kolkata Knight Riders, Middlesex, Middlesex 2nd XI, Peshawar Zalmi, Sir Paul Getty's XI, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Sydney Thunder, Team Morgan, Tshwane Spartans

Playing role: Middle-order batsman

Batting style: Left-hand bat 

 

T20I Career

Mat     Inns     NO       Runs    HS       Ave      BF       SR         100       50

89         87       18        2138     91       30.98   1555    137.49      0         13      

T20 Career

Mat     Inns     NO     Runs    HS     Ave      BF        SR         100       50

285      271      38      6321     91      27.12   4788    132.01      0          35      

 

Career highlights

  • Most capped T20I English player (89)
  • Leading T20I runs scorer for England
  • 7th all-time on T20I run-scoring list, 2138, avg. 30.98
  • 6321 T20 runs at 27.12

England seamer Reece Topley has been ruled out of Tuesday's final ODI with Ireland because of a left groin strain.

Topley, who had seen a promising international career derailed by a series of stress fractures in his back, took his first ODI wicket for over four years in England's win on Saturday.

That four-wicket success clinched the three-match series for the hosts, but Topley will not be available as England look to complete a 3-0 triumph at the Rose Bowl.

Topley, whose last ODI appearance prior to last weekend's victory came in South Africa in February 2016, enjoyed an impressive return and finished with figures of 1-31.

He will hope to recover in time to produce similar performances in this month's T20 series with Pakistan, which begins on August 28.

 On many a Sunday, I realize that people have looked at the stories they've seen throughout the week with different lenses. I have my own personal take on some of these issues and I will share them with you. Welcome to #INCASEYOUMISSEDIT

  

Mental exhaustion or not enough effort on the field?

  England beat the West Indies by 269 runs and took the series 2-1 to reclaim the Wisden Trophy forever. Windies captain Jason Holder, speaking at the end of the third Test, said, “It’s been challenging, it’s been really challenging, mentally some of the guys are a bit worn out.”

Though I agree it is difficult to play any sport during a pandemic and acknowledge the upheaval, surrounding social injustice issues, taking place, to simply attribute the Windies poor result to these issues is unacceptable. I agree the current climate is different than what anyone has ever experienced before but the Windies loss was brought about by a lack of team effort on the field.

Holder went on to say, “It could be this way for a little while, so we’ve got to find ways to make it work. Hopefully, things could ease up throughout the world and probably guys can get out of the hotel a little bit more, but it has been challenging for sure.”

 Each match was played behind closed doors with players unable to feed off the crowd’s energy.  While I agree that the conditions in which they played were not ideal, as professional athletes they knew the job at hand was to retain the Wisden trophy and play smart cricket. 

The Windies made a great start to their tour with a win, at the Rose Bowl, but England found form in Manchester. The shortcomings of the Windies batsmen in English conditions were exposed numerous times. They conceded first-innings leads of 182 in the second test and 172 in the series decider. The most discouraging factor was the batsmen's inability to capitalize on the numerous starts that they got as a few of the batsmen did make half-centuries. The key difference between both squads was when England got opportunities, they went big, for example, Ben Stokes and Dom Sibley.

England’s bowlers were fresh and eager throughout and that ensured their dominance of the series. A key factor in England’s success was the class of bowlers that were available to choose from as well as the effective rotation of those bowlers. It was useful that none of England’s bowlers bowled in more than two matches – not even Ben Stokes and Dom Bess, who played every game but were not required to bowl.  In the case of the Windies, our bowlers were overworked and two of our key bowlers most notably, Shannon Gabriel and Jason Holder, were struggling with niggles.

Though the mental strain of being away from their families and playing the game during the pandemic may have affected the Windies players’ performance, I don’t believe is it the main reason they lost the series.

 

Arsenal has aced the recipe for FA Cup success

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is hoping the FA Cup victory on Saturday will convince captain Pierre Emerick Aubameyang to stay at the club after they beat Chelsea 2-1. The Gunners captain scored twice to seal the win, taking his team to a 14th FA Cup success. Aubameyang has less than a year left on his contract and his future at the club has been a topic of discussion.

On Saturday, when Aubameyang dropped the trophy before raising it above his head, Arteta joked, “He needs more experience with trophies, we can get him more used to that.” Chelsea’s manager Frank Lampard also commended Aubameyang on his match-winning performance. The North Londoners have now landed a spot in UEFA’s second-tier competition next season. 

This triumph has rectified some of the problems Arsenal had this season, especially after finishing 8th in the Premier League.

 

 The TKR captaincy fits Polly

Kieron Pollard will continue to lead the Trinbago Knight Riders for CPL 2020. Last year, Pollard replaced Dwayne Bravo as captain after he was ruled out with a finger injury.  The decision was a beneficial one and a team with a fit Bravo and Pollard can yield success.

Bravo, who led the team to three CPL titles previously, expressed to the owner that he would rather focus on his game, while Pollard leads the team. I think it is a perfect fit for the team as Pollard and Bravo are great friends and a healthy Bravo with Pollard at the helm puts TKR in a position to win another CPL title.

Pollard has scored 1759 runs in 70 matches, at a strike rate of 148.56. He is the 6th highest run-scorer in the history of the tournament. With the ball, Bravo is the leading wicket-taker with 97 scalps in 69 games. Together both players can use their individual achievements and personalities to get the best of the unit as they seek a 4th CPL title.

Former West Indies and Barbados batsman Philo Wallace has pointed to team captain Jason Holder’s lack of aggressive killer instinct as one of the issues that ailed the regional team in its recent loss to England.

The 28-year-old all-rounder has faced expected scrutiny in recent days, following a mid-series collapse against the Englishmen, which clouded over a promising start to the series. 

Holder had marshaled his troops to an impressive four-wicket win to begin the tour but the introduction of pace bowler Stuart Broad midway the second Test coincided with the team coming apart at the seams, with displays of less effective bowling and dismal batting.  Wallace believes a more aggressive stance from the typically laid-back captain would have been more beneficial.

“Jason handled the side well in the first Test match.  We won that match convincingly.  If you look at the second and third match and how he handled it, again, we see deficiencies in his aggression.  I don’t think he’s aggressive enough,” Wallace told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“I don’t think he’s aggressive enough.  When Ben Stokes decided to come around the wicket we saw things change.  We didn’t see a lot of aggression from our captain and that’s why bowlers did not show the aggression,” he added.

Wallace was also highly critical of Holder’s continuing support for a struggling Shai Hope during the series.

“Obviously, when Jason decided to continually defend Hope, it's a massive statement to defend a man who hasn’t scored runs in Test match cricket for a long time.  Yet, you have the extra batsman available to you and you did not play him,” Wallace said.

“You went down the road with Shai Hope and Shai Hope did not deliver for you, so that is a massive responsibility for a captain to take on board,” he added.

“Sometimes we need to be honest with ourselves about West Indies cricket.  If West Indies cricket is to move forward, sometimes you have to make some harsh decisions.  You have to drop your friend to bring in the man who will fight and perform for you.  You cannot pick a friend and keep getting beat.”  

 

Joe Denly will miss the rest of England's ODI series with Ireland due to back problems.

The batsman has been struggling with back spasms and was not involved in the first match on Thursday, when England claimed a six-wicket victory.

The England and Wales Cricket Board announced on Friday that Liam Livingstone would take Denly's place in the 14-man squad.

"Joe Denly has been ruled out the Royal London Series against Ireland after suffering back spasms in training on Wednesday," the ECB statement said.

"The Kent batsman has been replaced in the 14-man England ODI squad by Lancashire's Liam Livingstone.

"Livingstone has represented England in two IT20s and would make his ODI debut if selected in one of the final two matches with Ireland."

The second ODI takes place at the Rose Bowl on Saturday, with the third set for next Tuesday.

David Willey's bowling set the tone for a comprehensive six-wicket England win in Thursday's ODI with Ireland, while Sam Billings impressed at the crease as a 173 target was reached with little fuss in the series opener.

England's Test players were unavailable due to their endeavours against West Indies, meaning an entirely different ODI XI was given the chance to prove their credentials, and Willey certainly rose to the occasion.

The 29-year-old was left out of England's World Cup squad last year, but in Southampton he provided a reminder of his qualities with an exceptional 5-30, his first five-wicket haul in ODI cricket.

It did not take Willey long to find his groove, taking out Paul Stirling (2) and Ireland captain Andrew Balbirnie (3) in the first three overs.

Three successive fours – which were soon followed by another pair – from Gareth Delany (22) at least gave Ireland a little momentum, but he too fell victim to Willey having just seen Mahmood (2-36) deal with Harry Tector (0), and Lorcan Tucker (0) followed them just two balls later in the sixth.

Curtis Campher (59 not out) and Kevin O'Brien (22) steadied the ship with some conservative batting, staving off the England attack for 14 full overs, but the latter eventually paid the price for opting to alter their mentality.

Like Tector and Tucker, Simi Singh returned to the pavilion without a run to his name, and although Andy McBrine's solid 40 helped he and Campher put up a decent defence, Ireland were eventually skittled in the 45th over when Jason Roy caught Craig Young to secure Willey's fifth wicket.

England's chase did not begin particularly emphatically, as they found themselves at 36-2 after the sixth over – Roy (24) and Jonny Bairstow (2) the early casualties.

Tucker then caught Vince (25) off Young in the 10th over, but England's wobble effectively ended with his replacement, Billings, who impressed with an unbeaten 67, which included 11 fours.

England lost Tom Banton (11), but captain Eoin Morgan (36 not out) came in and ultimately sealed a comfortable victory as he blasted Singh's delivery for six – the hosts reaching 174 runs in the 28th over with six wickets to spare.

Last week I wrote Test Cricket wasn’t in the DNA of this West Indies Cricket team. Since that article the team offered up yet another insipid display to lose the three-match Test series against England 2-1 and the Wisden Trophy forever.

 And of course, the typical excuses have come from all quarters. “These were difficult conditions to play in”, because Test cricket usually is like a game of Pictionary I presume. “Decisions didn’t go our way”, “luck wasn’t on our side” were some of the other gems passed around. And of course there was the obligatory “taking the positives” statement which comes with every post mortem of a series.

And frankly I’m tired of all of it.

I was a supporter of West Indies cricket long before I became a journalist 17 years ago, and I’ve heard these excuses before. And back then we actually had superstars like Brian Lara, Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh in the team.

Now, we were told, we have a group of guys that will fight and show grit, even though the talent isn’t quite there. But the DNA results came in, and proved that that was a lie. The capitulation I saw was typical of the Caribbean team of recent years gone by. And frankly, if this team doesn’t have fight and fortitude, it has nothing.

Before the start of the series, there was a point of view that if the players were acclimatized in these conditions and if their minds were solely on cricket and they had no distractions because of the fact they were in a bubble brought on by covid19 restrictions, that maybe we would see the best that West Indies had to offer.

And we were well on our way after a very good, if not convincing performance in the opening Test at Headingley. But it all went downhill after that. And yes, of course, we had our moments in the game, but every Test playing team has their moments, so that shouldn’t be the standard.

Last week I pointedly stated that our batsmen were more likely to win a T20 game than a Test match, citing the different approaches required for victory. We had a day to navigate at Old Trafford on a pitch which had no terrors and we lasted 37.1 overs.

Yes, we succumbed to defeat a mere half an hour before the heavy rains returned which would have surely washed out the remainder of play. All this after day 4 was also washed out. But this is where we are again as West Indies supporters, doing rain dances under mango trees to hide the ineptitude.

 West Indies had only one century partnership in the entire series. England had four. Our best batsman Jermaine Blackwood averaged 35.16 in the series, and Shannon Gabriel took the most wickets (11) at 32.27 apiece. This is ordinary.

 And now the team is playing on the heart strings of the world. We are using our players to beg the likes of England and India to play us at home in order to help with our coffers which have taken a further hit due to the pandemic. And the reason why this appeal is necessary is because as a performing team we can’t attract the teams or the sponsors and the television demand. Where is our superstar to help fill up a stadium? At least Lara was able to break a Test record once or twice.

My friend and co-worker Ricardo Chambers disagrees with me when I say Test Cricket isn’t in the DNA of this West Indies cricket team, not that his point of view comes with any ray of hope. He believes there is little talent on the batting side of things, and has pointed to the fact there is no batting superstar in the team. And some have pointed out to me that that was the difference between the teams and not necessarily the fact our boys simply cannot play Test cricket.

However, having Test Cricket in your DNA doesn’t mean you have to be a superstar or the best in the world. It just means you have to be efficient in carrying out tasks like batting for half an hour to save a Test match. I’m hardpressed to find the characters. Because I once thought we had fight in us, at the very least.

Donald Oliver is a football and cricket commentator and a senior producer at SportsMax. Learn more about him at www.thedonaldoliver.com or email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The West Indies failed to retain the Wisden Trophy after going to England to take part in the first-ever bio-secure Test event, the #raisethebat series.  

From the jump, even playing against their own, it was clear something was amiss with the visitor’s batting but a win in the first encounter at Southampton provided hope that the usual collapses and an apparent inability to cope with good bowling were behind them, it wasn’t.

Now a win or loss happens as a team and there is never usually any particular person to blame, though many, suffering from the pain of loss may search one.

But, on the way to 113-run and 269-run defeats, there must have been a number of persons who failed to perform at the level they should, even against obviously superior opposition.

So let’s grade this team and how they performed, beginning with the selectors.

I’ve decided to make each individual’s score out of 30, 10 marks for each Test. The grading scheme may be a little harsh as there will be no As, Bs, or Cs. This is strictly pass or fail and the pass mark is 66%, meaning you can only consider yourself passing if you played well enough to in, at least, two of three Tests or 2/3rds of the time. 

West Indies selectors

The team of Roger Harper, Hendy Wallace, Lockhart Sebastien, Miles Bascombe, Phil Simmons and Jason Holder are the selectors who picked the team for the #raisethebat series and they got some things right when they picked a four-pronged pace attack for the first match in Southampton while ensuring a longer batting line-up with Jason Holder coming all the way down at number eight. Picking the same team again for the second Test was also the right call even if it didn’t quite work the same way. In that second Test, the team could have drawn or won the game had a few things gone their way. Where I find fault with the selectors, is not seeking to fix what appeared the most glaring problem. The batting. Instead, they chose to tinker with the bowling line-up in a game the West Indies could ill-afford to lose. Dropping Alzarri Joseph for the spin of Rahkeem Cornwall was an error. This was an error, especially given the success Roston Chase had been having bowling at the English. There was also the fact that they didn’t think to tinker with a misfiring top order. For the first two games, I will give the selectors 8/10 each. For the last game, they get 2/10 for missing the big picture. That gives them 18/30 (60%). Fail.

Jason Holder

Now looking at the team itself, let’s begin with the skipper. In the very first game, he bowled very well, picking up 6-42 and 1-49 from about 42 overs of bowling. While he never made many with the bat, his unbeaten knock to help West Indies over the line looked assured. His captaincy was also spot on, changing his bowlers around to good effect. In the second Test, Holder’s decision to field first was a good one, even if England got off to a romping start with the bat. In the field, I can’t fault his captaincy too much, though he did drop a perfectly good opportunity at second slip off Shannon Gabriel. A note here though, Dom Bess made 31 in that first innings and Stuart Broad, 11 not out, You would have thought the West Indies would have been trying to work out how to bowl to the lower-order batsmen, who had shown they can bat. In the third Test it was apparent the skipper hadn’t thought about it and to win a Test match, 20 wickets have to be taken. Holder also had his bowlers try too many things at the lower order, rather than bowl the same way they bowled to the top order. In the second innings, Holder also went back to the idea of being too defensive once batsmen get on top of the bowling, rather than trying to counter-attack. That allowed England to score 129 in just 19 overs. Holder’s personal performances in that second Test were poor as well. Though he did score 35 in the second innings. For that second Test, Holder gets four out of 10. He would probably get five for the third Test because he scored 46 in the first innings. So adding it all up, Holder gets 9/10 for the first Test, 4/10 for the second, and 5/10 for the third. He, therefore, ends up with 18/30 (60%). Like the selectors, Fail.

Kraigg Brathwaite

Kraigg Brathwaite started well in Southampton, scoring 65 in the first innings. But that’s half the job. He scored just four in the second innings, but his contribution to the victory was significant, I would give him 8/10 even though he failed to make England pay by scoring a century. In the second Test, again he started well, scoring 75 before coughing a very soft caught & bowled for Ben Stokes. This time, in a losing effort, his inability to get to a hundred counts more against him than in the first innings of the first Test. Given he only managed 12 in the second innings, making the same mistake of getting trapped on the crease from good length deliveries, he gets 6/10. In the third Test, Brathwaite with one and 19, was a disaster, so he gets 4/10. That four comes because I cannot fault his attitude to trying to stay at the crease. Brathwaite, despite too half-centuries, has scores of 8/10, 6/10, and 4/10. That also gives him 18/30 (60%). Fail.

John Campbell

John Campbell’s highest score for the series was 32. He had a dismal series despite looking the part in a number of innings. He played some handsome drives and made it clear he was willing to push back at the English and so he gets some points for that. His string of low scores seems to have affected his normally exquisite fielding as well and he is guilty of a number of misfields and at least one very costly dropped catch in the second Test. Campbell scores 3/10 in each Test. 9/30 (30%). Fail.

Shai Hope

Shai Hope’s form in Test cricket has been abysmal and it is strange that it is so because he seems confident at the crease and shows signs of having every bit of class everybody touts him as having. Hope got a couple of starts but must be chastised for his final innings where on 31, he tried to pull a Chris Woakes delivery that wasn’t short enough and only ended up skying it. The dismissal was inexcusable, especially with the West Indies attempting to try to save a Test match.

Hope gets 3/10 for each of the first two Tests but 2/10 for the third even though he had his highest score in the second innings of that game. 8/30 (26.6%). Fail

Shamarh Brooks

Shamarh Brooks looked the best of the top-order batsmen in the West Indies line-up and had scores of 39 and 0 in the first Test, 68 and 62 in the second, and 4 and 22 in the third. For the first Test, Brooks, who is trying to get the selectors to keep faith with him after his troubles with breaking into the starting XI for years. His first innings of 39 was admirable but the trend of getting starts without continuing on was born there. Despite two half-centuries in the second Test, his failure to continue when set, may just have cost the team the Wisden Trophy. Truth is though, Brooks has not given his wicket away, and has suffered because of technical flaws. His intent and his willingness to bat and bat long seem to be where it should be. He gets 4/10 for the first Test, 7/10 for the second, and 3/10 for the third. In that third Test, his failure in the first innings came because his bat was not coming straight down in line with the ball. The extravagant movement from gully of his blade also proved his undoing in the second innings and may show a tendency not to be able to adapt. Brooks scores 14/30 (46.6%). A good effort, I believe, but a failure nonetheless. Fail

Roston Chase

Roston Chase was probably playing against his favourite opposition and was a threat throughout the Test series with bat and ball. Unfortunately, much of the promise he showed in the first Test and through the first innings of the second, never resulted in more than a threat. In the first Test, with bat he scored 47 and 37, while taking 2-71 in the second innings. In the second he returned from 5-172 in 44 overs to score 51. In the third Test, sharing the ball with Rahkeem Cornwall, he was only allowed 11 overs, from which he had 2-36, and scored nine. He was run out for seven in the second innings after his 1-69 from 14 overs.

For the first Test I score Chase at 5/10, in the second he scores 7/10, and in the third, probably through no fault of his own, he only gets 4/10. 16/30 (50%). Fail.

Jermaine Blackwood

Jermaine Blackwood has always had the talent to play at this level but would his attitude to batsmanship ever let him? Blackwood showed signs he was willing to fight for, not just his place in the West Indies team, but for wins on behalf of his team as well. Blackwood scored 95 in the second innings of the first Test that proved a match-winning knock, and despite his rogue effort in the first innings, he gets 7/10 for his return to the highest level of cricket. In the second Test, Blackwood again failed to do well in the first innings after he was bowled by a ball that never got off the ground. In the second innings, he again showed his resilience, scoring 55, but his susceptibility to the short ball proved his undoing. For that Test, I give the diminutive Jamaican 6/10. In the third Test, Blackwood was again bowled, this time through the gate, before being last man out after failing to get enough bat on a leg-side short ball for 23. That was his only failure but he showed more fight in that 23 than the rest of the team, which looked out of gas. I would give him 5/10 for the last Test despite two low scores. Blackwood scored 18/30 (60%). Good effort, but ultimately he also failed.

Shane Dowrich

He started with a bang but ended with a whimper. Shane Dowrich looked a confident batsman when he scored a fighting 61 in the first innings of the first Test, but it was all downhill from there. He made a pair in the second Test but this was after the swinging ball had made a mockery of his wicketkeeping. Dowrich’s trouble with the bat stems from his inability to play the short ball and his awareness that his opposition will target this. The results were not dissimilar to those of more accomplished batsmen. Going lbw after playing back to deliveries he should be on the front foot to.

Dowrich gets 6/10 for a brilliant catch in the first innings of the first Test as well as his half-century, but thereafter, he gets 3/10. Dowrich’s grade is 9/30 (30%). Fail

Kemar Roach

Kemar Roach started the series with a  wicketless performance in the first Test but it could never be considered a failure as he bowled consistently well and had batsmen beaten all ends up on numerous occasions without a breakthrough. The breaks came in the second and third Tests but Roach was consistently good, climbing to 201 wickets along the way, ending with eight for the series. Roach gets 5/10 for the first Test because he was still inexpensive though wicketless, 6/10 for the second, and in the third where he had 4-72 in the first innings before his 0-34 as England only lost three wickets, he gets another 6. Kemar Holder scores 17/30 (56.6%). Fail

Shannon Gabriel

Shannon Gabriel has proven himself a warrior. Coming back from a serious ankle injury and months upon month without cricket, he soldiered through three Tests with very little turnaround time. On occasion, he looked like he wouldn’t make it, but in truth, every spell was aggressive and at high pace for the duration of the Tests. He was man-of-the-match in the first Test and was very unlucky in the second save for a poor opening spell where he looked stiff. There was much said about his injury problems and frequent exits from the field but when it came time to bowl, he was ready every time the captain called on him. He would end up with 11 wickets in the series to lead the West Indies although nine of those wickets came in the first Test where he took 4-62 and 5-75. For his performance in the first Test Gabriel gets 10/10 for me, but he was unfortunate to have a number of catches dropped off his bowling in the second Test where he had figures of 0/79 and 0/43. However, Gabriel did have a couple of failures where he bowled no-balls and wides and for that, he fails with a 4-10. In the final Test, Gabriel provided good support to Roach but again his problems with no balls were present. His 2/77 and 0/19, in that Test were ineffective and whenever he was ineffective, so was the West Indies. Again he gets 4/10. Gabriel gets 18/30 (60%). A courageous Fail

Alzarri Joseph

Alzarri Joseph is a better bowler than the one who debuted for the West Indies in 2016. He isn’t bowling as quickly but his accuracy and the way he has tried to think his way to wickets has improved. Joseph was unfortunate to have been dropped for the third Test, so he gets graded out of 20. In the first game, he had figures of 0/53 and 2/45. He also contributed 18 with the bat. He did not bowl badly and his fight with the bat gave him some points. I give him 5/10 for the effort. In the second Test, Joseph was the West Indies’ best bowler in the first innings, though his 1/70 was not a match-winning performance. He had figures of 0-14 in the second innings. But Joseph was also an adequate night watchman when the West Indies first bat in that second Test as well, scoring 32. Again, for his all-round effort, Joseph gets 5/10. His score of 10/20 gives him 50%, again another fail, but again he cannot be faulted.

Rahkeem Cornwall

Rahkeem Cornwall is the only other player to break into the West Indies XI after the first Test. He played in the final Test in place of Alzarri Joseph but had a torrid time of bowling, going wicketless throughout the Test, with figures of 0/85 in the first innings and 0/79 in the second. With the bat he was deplorable, scoring 10 and two in an altogether forgettable outing. Cornwall scores 2/10 (20%). Fail

Former England fast bowler Gladstone Small has branded the inclusion of off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall, for the final Test match against England, as a useless change and evidence of a West Indies squad that was overly conservative.  

The off-spinner was brought into the squad at the expense of pace bowler Alzarri Joseph for the decisive Test.  He did not do terribly in terms of economy rate but never really troubled the batsmen.

With Roston Chase a batsman and off-spinner, who was already taking wickets, already included in the squad, Small believes Cornwall only offered more of the same.

“I thought the selection of that team for the third Test was negative and wrong,” Small said on the Mason and Guest radio program.

“Cornwall? What was that selection about? What did he bring to the table? You’ve already got an off-spinning batsman in Roston Chase in the team? What does Cornwall bring to that team?  You have got to have variety to take 20 wickets in a Test match," he added.

"Straight away I thought they were just playing for time here.  They wanted to just dry up runs and play for time knowing that the weather was bad.  When you start a game in a negative frame of mind it's very hard to come forward and play front-foot cricket.  You have to start off aiming to win a Test match and play your best cricket.”

Cornwall bowled 27 overs in the first innings, with an economy rate of 3.15, in the second has was given 19 and had an economy rate of 4.16.  He did not get a wicket.

Donald Oliver believes the West Indies do not have the mettle to play Test cricket, Ricardo Chambers believes the team is missing a world-class batsman.

Eoin Morgan does not believe England's Cricket World Cup triumph will prove to be a hindrance as his side prepare to begin their home white-ball season.

England face Ireland in a three-match ODI series, starting on Thursday, at the Rose Bowl in Southampton.

However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, England's first home one-day series since Morgan led the team to World Cup glory in July 2019 will be played behind closed doors.

And though Morgan understands there will be new challenges posed by having no fans in attendance, he does not believe England's World Cup success will be a weight on the side's shoulders.

"I would rather be in that position than not winning and having to fight to find a winning formula," Morgan told a news conference.

"I think winning last year has given our guys a huge confidence in the process and the planning with which we went through a long period.

"It allows us to go into every World Cup with that strategy and forward thinking and trying to continually get better.

"Seeing the finished product last year was an eye opener for everybody. It also creates a level of expectation wherever we go, and while it sits well with some of our guys a lot of them haven't experienced that. We want to win more trophies."

Morgan also added that he sees the current pool of players available for selection as the strongest in his time as captain.

"I think the selection was particularly difficult. Over the last four and a bit years we've always had tough decisions to make," he said.

"Everyone who has been left out was a tough call. The standard has been exceptional, way above the standard I expected given the time we had off.

"We're blessed at the moment with a high-calibre group of top-order batters, not only in the team but also sitting in the wings. 

"There's such a big pool of players that are all so talented. We don't know if they'll succeed in international cricket but you would be comfortable selecting them in a squad if you needed them."

Former Barbadian-born England fast bowler Gladstone Small has stamped a failing grade on the performance of West Indies batsmen, against England, and expressed dismay at their inability to make tactical adjustments.

The West Indies looked up to the task of being competitive after securing a convincing four-wicket win over England in the first Test.  The introduction of England pace bowler, Stuart Broad, who was omitted for the first Test, however, drastically changed the equation.  In the fourth evening of the second Test, with the West Indies enjoying some level of comfort, Broad took the new ball and claimed 3 for 14 in a devastating nine-over spell. 

He dominated the rest of the series, going on to claim 10 wickets in the third and final Test, for 16 overall, en route to man-of-the-series honours.

While Small was quick to acclaim Broad’s indisputable ability and the rest of the England bowling line-up for that matter, he insisted it was inexcusable that the West Indies batsmen made no adjustment’s in facing the bowler.

“If it was a school report after the series, the bowlers tried brilliantly, you would probably mark them with a B-.  They were big-hearted and kept going but three Test matches in three weeks is unrelenting,” Small told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“The batsmen, I can only see them getting an F.  Perhaps, I’m being generous,” he added.

“They faced good bowling, credit where credit is due.  England bowlers, obviously the records are there to show, Anderson, Broad…Woakes and obviously Jofra Archer, those English bowlers are brilliant in English conditions. With the new ball in hand, they are very tough. 

"The one thing you cannot do is play those guys on the backfoot, you can’t.  Broad and Anderson are fine bowlers but they’re not going to knock you over or intimidate you with pace.  You have to get on the front foot to nullify their movement.  To see your best batsman, well your most experienced batsman in the line-up, Kraigg Brathwaite, how many times did he get out on the backfoot, that for me is pure nonsense.  Big failure.”     

England's one-day captain Eoin Morgan believes James Anderson and Stuart Broad are "the greatest that's ever been" after the latter followed his fellow bowler in reaching 500 Test wickets. 

Broad was dropped by England for the first match in the three-Test series against West Indies but was the star of the show as Joe Root's side regained the Wisden Trophy with two successive wins at Old Trafford. 

The 34-year-old took his 500th Test wicket on the final day of the third Test on Tuesday, helping the hosts secure victory by 269 runs. 

He became the seventh player to reach the landmark when he dismissed Kraigg Brathwaite – Anderson having taken the wicket of the same batsman when he reached the landmark back in 2017. 

Asked for his thoughts on Broad's achievement, ODI captain Morgan was full of praise for his former team-mate.

"It's incredible," Morgan told a news conference ahead of England's ODI series against Ireland, which begins on Thursday.

"We [the one-day squad] watched most of it. We sort of sat back and discussed where he started, how he progressed, different guys with which he's played. 

"In many ways, Broady and Jimmy [Anderson] are always paired together, but when you speak about them on their own, they're the greatest that's ever been. 

"That doesn't hold a lot of weight at the moment, but I’m sure it will do when they finish playing, which is sad but I'm sure that's the way everybody operates. 

"I'm very lucky to have played Test cricket with him [Broad]. I played in a game where he took a hat-trick at Trent Bridge and it was unbelievable. 

"To show the longevity, the skill and not only that, he's box office. He takes wickets in clusters, he's a nightmare to play against." 

Broad and Anderson are no longer involved with England's limited-overs teams, with Morgan believing their focus being directed solely towards Test cricket has helped the duo in the long run. 

"I think you'd have to speak to them. They know their bodies, know how they feel," he said. 

"I know for me, it's prolonged how I see my career going, having cut red-ball [cricket] out of it. It makes it less clustered, you spend more time with your family and cricket isn't as overwhelming as it potentially could be towards the end of your career. 

"I think both of them have spoken about the Ashes. Everybody who plays English Test cricket is judged on Ashes performances, and it wouldn't surprise me if those guys want to go past that." 

England have named an unchanged 14-man squad for the first Test against Pakistan in Manchester.

Joe Root's side wrapped up a series-clinching victory over West Indies at Old Trafford on Tuesday, the hosts rallying impressively after falling behind to prevail 2-1 and lift the Wisden Trophy.

Stuart Broad reached the personal milestone of 500 Test wickets as he claimed 10 in the match, helping England seal a 269-run victory despite losing an entire day's play to rain.

The 11 players who were on duty are joined by Zak Crawley, Sam Curran and Mark Wood ahead of the opener with Pakistan, which will take place at the same venue.

Batsman Crawley dropped out of the XI due to fitness concerns over all-rounder Ben Stokes, who did not bowl in the third Test.

As well as announcing the squad, England also named a quartet of players - James Bracey, Ben Foakes, Jack Leach and Dan Lawrence - as reserves.

The first Test between England and Pakistan begins on August 5, with the teams then moving down to the Rose Bowl in Southampton for the remaining fixtures.

 

England squad: Joe Root (captain), James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Dominic Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Ollie Pope, Dom Sibley, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

Reserves: James Bracey, Ben Foakes, Jack Leach, Dan Lawrence.

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