Windies quick Jerome Taylor has been re-signed by English country cricket club Somerset ahead of the new T20 Vitality Blast.

The 34-year-old previously spent time with Leicestershire and Sussex, joined Somerset midway last season where he took 22 wickets at an average of 16.64.

The Jamaica, who took a season-best of 5 for 15 against Hampshire in Taunton, was crucial in the team’s run to the final for the first time in over 20 years.  Taylor has played 30 T20 internationals and 101 other T20 matches across the globe.   Unlike last season, Taylor will be available for Somerset for the entire duration of the T20 Blast.  The team begins its campaign with a fixture against Glamorgan on July 18. 

Somerset Director of Cricket Andy Hurry insisted the club was happy to have Taylor back in its ranks.

“Jerome made a real impact during the 2018 Vitality Blast campaign and we are really excited to be continuing our relationship with him,” Hurry said.

“He brought a wealth of experience and skill that, alongside his availability for the full duration of the 2019 competition, will again add significant value to our attack.”

 

England captain Joe Root has warned players not to focus on this summer’s Ashes series during the upcoming tour against the Windies.

With England entering the series as heavy favourites against the hosts, ranked four places below them in the latest ICC rankings.  In addition, the teams are at opposite ends of the form spectrum with the Windies coming off a disastrous tour of Asia and the English coming off an impressive 3-0 triumph’ over Sri Lanka.

With such a gap in form and expectations, perhaps a few players could be forgiven for looking to this summer’s showdown with eternal rivals Australia.  Root, however, has different expectations.

“Their job and their responsibility is not to worry about this summer’s Ashes, their job is to perform well for three Tests here. I don’t want the guys to be playing for stuff that’s going to be happening in six months’ time.

“We have to look after here and now. We’re going to have to play well for long periods of time and know exactly what our roles are individual, not be distracted by other things.”

England will play the West Indies in Wednesday’s first Test against at the Kensington Oval.

Andile Phehlukwayo enjoyed a career-best outing with bat and ball and Rassie van der Dussen made a second straight half-century as South Africa levelled their ODI series against Pakistan.

The tourists had taken Saturday's opener by five wickets but the Proteas hit back by the same margin at Kingsmead on Tuesday as Phehlukwayo and Van der Dussen mounted a successful chase of 204 having come together at 80-5.

Phehlukwayo earlier took an ODI-best 4-22 as Pakistan were all out for just 203 - a total only boosted thanks to Hasan Ali's career-high 59 from 45 balls in a ninth-wicket stand of 90 with captain Sarfraz Ahmed, celebrating his 100th appearance in the format.

South Africa's chase was in tatters inside 15 overs but Phehlukwayo made his maiden ODI half-century, finishing 69 not out in an unbroken union worth 127 with Van der Dussen, who followed up his debut 93 at the weekend with an unbeaten 80 as the hosts made it 1-1 in the five-match series.

Ultimately Pakistan were made to rue the failings of their top order as Fakhar Zaman's 26 from 44 balls proved the best effort among the first seven batsmen.

Kagiso Rabada picked up both of his wickets with the short ball, a tactic that also saw Duanne Olivier remove Fakhar, while Phehlukwayo and Tabraiz Shamsi (3-56) accounted for a weak middle order.

When Hasan came to the crease Pakistan were reeling at 112-8 with 18 overs remaining but he set about the Proteas attack with glee, thumping five fours and three sixes - the last of which almost took out a spectator making use of a giant inflatable slide on the grassy banks.

Phehlukwayo removed Sarfraz (41) and Hasan in the space of five balls to end the innings, and he was soon needed with the bat as South Africa wobbled.

Shaheen Afridi (3-44) ousted Hashim Amla, Reeza Hendricks and Faf du Plessis - all for single figures - and when Shadab Khan dismissed David Miller (31) and Heinrich Klaasen with successive deliveries, the hosts were staring a 2-0 deficit in the face.

But Phehlukwayo successfully overturned an lbw decision when he was on seven and Pakistan were cursing him further when he launched Mohammad Hafeez for two sixes in three balls in the 24th over.

Van der Dussen brought up his fifty by pulling Shaheen for four, Phehlukwayo joining his partner with a reverse-swept boundary off Shadab, who dropped the all-rounder at point in the next over as the Proteas cruised home with eight overs to spare.

Opposing captains Kane Williams and Virat Kohli were full of praise for each other ahead of New Zealand's five-match ODI series against India.

The Black Caps, ranked third in the world, host the side one place above them in the rankings over what promises to be a thrilling couple of weeks.

In Kohli, India boast the ICC's top-ranked ODI batsman, while earlier on Tuesday he completed a clean sweep in being named ICC Cricketer of the Year to go alongside his awards in the Test and 50-over formats.

And Williamson knows his side have their work cut out against a man who averaged a staggering 133.55 in ODIs in 2018.

"Someone like Virat is certainly a player I admire and enjoy watching and he's pushing the boundaries of the game so that's brilliant," said Williamson, who was included in the Test Team of the Year.

"He's a respectful guy and I've known him for a very long time but as a player, obviously, [he's] world class and our focus is more about that and his cricketing ability and how we can combat him as best as we can.

"He's always a challenge to come up against and is someone who is most admired in terms of how he goes about his cricket and he's formidable in his run scoring so he's definitely a player of note to try to shut down."

And Kohli had kinds words for his opposite number in return ahead of Wednesday's opening ODI in Napier.

"Williamson is easily one of the best players in the world. So easy on the eye, great to watch and I personally enjoy his batting and when he is on song he is easily one of the most attractive batsmen to watch," the India skipper said.

"He is always going to be a solid player for New Zealand purely because of what all he has done over the years in all three formats.

"He more or less makes the team win when he is scoring runs, so that tells you about his awareness about the game and hence he is leading the side and guiding it in the right direction. So Kane will be a factor but at the same time Rosco [Taylor] and other guys as well.

"You can't take anyone for granted and their batting revolves around Kane and Ross in ODIs especially, the other guys bat around them and we are aware of that and working on our plans."

Sydney Thunder failed to put the frustration of their no-result at Brisbane Heat behind them as they suffered a 12-run home defeat against Melbourne Renegades on Tuesday.

The Thunder had appealed to be awarded full points after a power failure at the Gabba last week cost them what appeared a likely victory after posting 186-4.

But Cricket Australia knocked back the Thunder's bid for maximum points and defeat to the Renegades compounded that disappointment.

Skipper Aaron Finch top scored for the Renegades with 54 as they reached 152-9, while the best efforts of Callum Ferguson (52) and Jason Sangha (54 not out) were not enough to rescue the Thunder's chase.

The result sends the Renegades second, while the Thunder remain fourth.

THUNDER APPEAL FALLS FLAT

The Thunder's challenge of the Heat result was based on the fact that they felt the host venue had a responsibility to provide floodlighting and have a back-up source in case of a failure.

But a CA review found that the playing conditions were correctly applied and the right result awarded, meaning each team will be given one point.

Head of Big Bash Leagues, Kim McConnie said: "After reviewing the issues the Thunder presented we have determined that the correct decision was made, and the result of the match will stand."


WATSON FAILS TO FIRE

Thunder captain Shane Watson was the star performer in that match that never reached its conclusion, hitting 100 before the lights went out.

But he could not pull off a repeat performance on Tuesday, managing only a single before knocking the ball straight to Finch at cover off the bowling of Harry Gurney (2-27).

Watson's fellow opener, Anton Devcich, was caught for a duck, while there were also disappointing showings from Chris Green (7) and Daniel Sams (2).


GURNEY'S MIXED FORTUNES

Gurney's two-wicket haul earned him the man-of-the-match award but it could have been so much better for the Englishman.

The 32-year-old dropped two skied balls off his own bowling, while Mackenzie Harvey also let one slip off a Gurney delivery.

Sydney Thunder have had their appeal to be awarded full points for the abandoned Big Bash League fixture against Brisbane Heat rejected by Cricket Australia (CA).

A power failure at the Gabba early in the Heat's reply to the Thunders' 186-4 led to a no result, with the visitors claiming they should be awarded the full two points.

The Thunder's challenge was based on the fact that they felt the host venue had a responsibility to provide floodlighting and have a back-up source in case of a failure.

But a CA review found that the playing conditions were correctly applied and the right result awarded, meaning each team will be awarded a point.

Head of Big Bash Leagues, Kim McConnie said: "After reviewing the issues the Thunder presented we have determined that the correct decision was made, and the result of the match will stand.

"The BBL match on Thursday 17 January was unable to be completed due to an external power issue that was outside the control of Cricket Australia, the Brisbane Heat, and the Gabba.

 "The umpires on the night applied the correct Playing Conditions in determining the conditions at the match to be both dangerous and unreasonable due to insufficient light.

 "The safety of players and officials is of paramount importance to Cricket Australia and any Playing Condition relating to the safety of our players is one that is treated very seriously by our match officials. 

"The match officials are ultimately responsible for the safety of our players and officials whilst on the field of play and we entrust them to make decisions with this in mind."

India captain Virat Kohli made history with a clean sweep of three major ICC awards on Tuesday.

After enjoying an incredible 2018, Kohli was named the ICC Cricketer of the Year, Men's Test Player of the Year and ODI Player of the Year.

The 30-year-old becomes the first player to win all three top awards, while he was also named captain of the Test and ODI teams.

Kohli scored 1,322 runs at an average of 55.08 in 13 Tests last year, while he managed 1,202 at an average of 133.55 in 14 ODIs.

"It feels amazing. It's a reward for all the hard work that you do throughout the calendar year. I feel really grateful and very, very happy with the team doing well at the same time as myself performing," he said.

"Having recognition at the global level from the ICC is something you feel proud of as a cricketer because you understand that there are many players playing the game.

"To be rewarded in this manner is obviously a very proud moment for me and something that gives you more motivation to keep repeating the same things because you have to keep the standard of cricket up and keep bringing in consistent performances.

"From that point of view, these awards give you that extra motivation."

South Africa paceman Kagiso Rabada finished second to Kohli for the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy – awarded to the Cricketer of the Year – and for the Test prize.

Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan was runner-up for the ODI award.

Cricketer of the Year: Virat Kohli (India)
Test Player of the Year: Virat Kohli (India)
ODI Player of the Year: Virat Kohli (India)
Emerging Player of the Year: Rishabh Pant (India)
Women's Cricketer of the Year: Smriti Mandhana (India)
Women's T20I Cricketer of the Year: Alyssa Healy (Australia)
Test Team of the Year: Tom Latham (New Zealand), Dimuth Karunaratne (Sri Lanka), Virat Kohli (c) (India), Kane Williamson (New Zealand), Henry Nicholls (New Zealand), Rishabh Pant (wk) (India), Jason Holder (West Indies), Nathan Lyon (Australia), Jasprit Bumrah (India), Kagiso Rabada (South Africa), Mohammad Abbas (Pakistan).
ODI Team of the Year: Rohit Sharma (India), Jonny Bairstow (England), Virat Kohli (c) (India), Joe Root (England), Ross Taylor (New Zealand), Jos Buttler (wk) (England), Ben Stokes (England), Mustafizur Rahman (Bangladesh), Kuldeep Yadav (India), Rashid Khan (Afghanistan), Jasprit Bumrah (India).

Jamaica Scorpions opener Chadwick Walton believes a more disciplined approach enabled them to get their first win the West Indies Championships season following Sunday’s four-wicket victory over the Windwards Volcanoes.

Moeen Ali is ready to accept the responsibility of being England's leading spinner in Test cricket ahead of the series against West Indies, as the tourists consider their bowling options for the first game in Barbados.

Former Windies allrounder Vasbert Drakes, Esuan Crandon and Toby Radford have been named as assistants to head coach Richard Pybus for the England tour that begins on Wednesday at the Kensington Oval in Barbados.

Hobart Hurricanes strengthened their position at the top of the Big Bash League table with a comfortable 10-wicket victory over Adelaide Strikers in a repeat of last year's final.

Kurtis Patterson was rewarded for his two centuries against Sri Lanka by being added to Australia's Test squad for the upcoming series.

West Indies interim head coach Richard Pybus insists he is not letting the row regarding his appointment cloud his focus ahead of the Test series against England.

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