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

Kudos, King on making a difference on and off the field

Jamaican hard-hitting batsman, Brandon King, is using his platform as a cricketer to support the Black Lives Matter movement and those affected by the coronavirus pandemic. This selfless gesture of the young man is deserving of mention and commendation.

King, who belongs to the Caribbean Premier League franchise Guyana Amazon Warriors, scored the most runs, 496, in the 2019 edition of the tournament. He held the highest score in the tournament, 132, at an average of 55.11.  He also scored the most 6’s with a total of 32. The 25-year-old game-changer scored a 72-ball 132 against the Barbados Tridents to propel the Guyana Amazon Warriors to the 2019 CPL final. 

       On Instagram, King posted, “Over the past few months, I’ve had some time to really think about how I could make a positive impact on communities affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and also the Black Lives Matter movement.” 

“So, this year I will be sporting my black SG stickers and along with my management team, GGSM, we will be donating USD$100 for every six I hit during this year’s CPL tournament. Donations will be split between the Greater Trench Town, in Jamaica, and a charity in Guyana to be decided at a later date.”

“As athletes, we have the platform to speak up and make effective change,” he said.

“I am encouraging my sponsors, other athletes, and friends to join in on donations by either supporting a #BLM initiative of your choice or by matching my donations towards these local charities.

I am hopeful and looking forward to getting back out on the field very soon. Thanks for your support and let’s go Amazon Warriors.”

Some may see this as a small gesture that will go a long way, but I see a young man who cares about the less fortunate and those unable to speak up for what they believe in. This gesture will raise awareness and impact those affected by these issues in a positive manner. Based on the current climate, athletes need to use their voices and resources to educate those around them. Well done King!

CWI, what’s the big deal sharing information that has already been leaked?

The lawyer for former Cricket West Indies President, Dave Cameron, says he has filed an application with the Antigua High Court for CWI to disclose to his client a copy of the financial audit conducted by accounting and management consulting firm, ‘Pannel Kerr Foster.’

After Cameron demitted office, the new Ricky Skerritt-led board commissioned PKF consultancy to look at the board’s finances and to submit recommendations. However, the report, which was handed to the board in December last year, also found its way into the public domain and called out the former president on several items including an honorarium, monies sent by the Indian board, reportedly for past players and sponsorship money intended for the Dominican Board, which found its way directly to Cricket West Indies. It is difficult for me to understand how withholding this information benefits CWI. Is it that they are trying to protect current members of their team? These are questions that may remain unanswered.

Attorney Tony Astaphan argues it is unfair for his client’s credibility to be called into question without him even having a chance to see the document in question and to defend himself. The only logical thing to do is to let Cameron see the audit, right?

Something must be done to ensure our women cricketers remain competitive

The Women’s 50 over World Cup has been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. The tournament was scheduled for February 6 to March 7, 2021, in New Zealand, but will now be held February to March 2022. It means three major women’s events will be staged in 2022. The T20 World Cup and the Commonwealth Games are the other two. While it is understandable given the circumstances surrounding COVID-19, Cricket West Indies need to do more for the Windies women.

  Most of these cricketers have dedicated all their time to the sport, it is their full-time job and as a result, it results in a major hit to their finances. A lack of competition also directly affects the form of our Windies women as the situation represents a sudden break in their momentum. CWI should find a reasonable alternative to ensure our women cricketers get back to playing some sort of competitive cricket and they do not become complacent. When a few Windies women were posed with the question, “How does this postponement of the World Cup affect you?” this is how they responded:

Britney Cooper: It’s very disappointing that it is postponed, after the exciting and good quality of cricket that was played in the 2017 World Cup, in England, many were looking forward to an even better World Cup in New Zealand. Looking at the ICC calendar for the next few years you can see it’s full of events for the men. The fact is that they had to take months to decide on the men’s T20 World Cup but only two weeks to decide on the postponement of the women’s. With the postponement, I don't think there will be many cricket tours taking place, which means that women's cricket will be put on the back burner.

Kycia Knight: It is disappointing to hear of the postponement of the World Cup as everyone around the world was looking forward to the tournament, especially after the success of the World T20 tournament in Australia. With that being said, it would give teams enough time to properly prepare for such a big tournament as some teams have not yet started to prepare as a unit. The tournament would've been the final World Cup event for some players and they were looking forward to the tournament and I believe it would be a little disappointing for them to have to wait a little while longer.

Karishma Ramharack: As of now, the safety of the players is important so the decision to postpone may seem best. The worst part is that the wait to get on the field is longer! However, this gives teams a proper and fair chance to prepare fully following the safety precautions. Teams can now devise proper strategies and training methods to be much more prepared for the tournament.

CPL stars Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer, Keemo Paul and Brandon King have all been included among the 10 Caribbean players retained by the Guyana Amazon Warriors for the 2020 CPL season scheduled to get underway in August.

Paul and Hetmyer are two of seven Guyanese players retained by the Warriors. Big-hitting Sherfane Rutherford, Romario Shepherd, Chanderpaul Hemraj and Anthony Bramble were also retained as has been the emerging player Kevin Sinclair.

Odean Smith from Jamaica will also be back for the coming season.

“The Guyana Amazon Warriors Franchise has and will always be committed to the continued development of our local and regional players. From the inception of the CPL, we included young Guyanese players in our squad as part of the franchise’s mandate to provide opportunities to young aspiring Guyanese cricketers to assist in their overall development as professional cricketers,” said Omar Khan, Guyana Amazon Warriors Team Operations Manager.

“Shimron Hetmyer, Keemo Paul and Sherfane Rutherford have all benefitted from these opportunities prior to them becoming full-fledged members of our team. 

“We are extremely delighted that we were able to retain the majority of our local and regional players, including Nicholas Pooran and Brandon King, both of whom have been hailed by the cricket pundits as potential future stars of West Indies cricket and who were members of our team last year. The Guyana Amazon Warriors wish all of the retained players great success in the CPL 2020."

Retentions and signings of international players will be announced at a later date.

 This year teams can retain as many players from their 2019 squads as they wish. They could also transfer players to other teams and sign emerging players. 

 The CPL is scheduled to take place between August 19 and September 26, but the tournament organisers are currently watching the current situation with COVID-19 closely and are liaising with medical advisors and governments.

 A decision on whether the tournament can proceed as planned, or at a different time, will be made as soon as possible.

 

Windies T20 captain Kieron Pollard is feeling a sense of relief after coming away from Sri Lanka with a series victory after being swamped in the One-Day Internationals before that.

The West Indies beat back the challenge of the hosts 2-0, completing the route with a seven-wicket win in Pallekele on Friday.

Sent into bat, Sri Lanka recovered from 48-4 in the 12th over to score 155-6 thanks to Dasun Shanaka’s 31 not out and Thisara Perera’s unbeaten 21 but that wasn’t enough.

In reply, the West Indies, despite the early loss of Lendl Simmons, 9, didn’t have too much trouble chasing the target with a long, powerful batting line-up, where Brandon King scored 43, Shimron Hetmyer was unbeaten on 43 and Andre Russell scored a remarkable 40 not out, inclusive of six sixes.

“Pretty satisfied to leave Sri Lankan shores with a victory, we hadn't won a T20I series in a while,” said Pollard.

The skipper lauded the team for the effort they put into the two games, saying he liked the fact that the intensity remained high over the course of the two games. The West Indies won the first encounter on Wednesdat by 25 runs.  

“The guys executed nicely, the foundation was laid by Brandon King, the young man is finding his feet in international cricket, Russell finished it off and the bowlers were brilliant,” said Pollard.

On Wednesday, the West Indies had a scare after Kusal Perera threatened to take the game away from them. Pollard had said then, that he would reveal his plans for there not to be a repeat.

“He is always looking for the length ball, every time we bowl fuller he tends to miss, our analyst has done a brilliant job, and as I said, it was a total team effort,” he said.

The bowling effort, Pollard said, was better than in the last game and better than it has been in a while.

“We were trying to make them hit to one side of the park only,” he said, pointing out that his team had previously been leaking runs on both sides of the wicket, making it difficult to contain scoring.

Now, Pollard said, it was just for the team to create those performances consistently.

West Indies limited-overs captain Kieron Pollard has placed the blame for a six-wicket defeat to India in the first T20 international of their tour of India squarely at the feet of the bowlers.

The West Indies, sent into bat in the first game of a three-match series, batted well to score 207-4 from their 20 overs, but found the big total not enough, as India romped to 209-4 in 18.4 overs.

For the West Indies, Evin Lewis scored 40 from 17 deliveries, Brandon King announced himself with 31 from 23 balls, and Shimron Hetmyer notched his first half-century in international T20s with 56 from 41. Pollard scored 37 from 19, Jason Holder had a worldwind 24 not out from nine balls, while Denesh Ramdin ended unbeaten on 11 from seven.

In reply, KL Rahul slammed 62 from 40 deliveries, while India captain Virat Kohli was imperious with 94 not out from 50 deliveries.

“Batters had a good effort. You'd take 208 ten out of 10 times,” said Pollard after the game.

“We lost due to the extras column,” said Pollard.

In a bowling innings where Kesrick Williams had none for 60 in 3.4 overs, and Holder struggled, going wicketless for 46 runs, it was still the extras column that was problematic for the skipper. While Sheldon Cottrell was good, taking 1-24 from his four overs, and Khary Pierre took two wickets for 44, the 23 extras, stemming from 11 illegal deliveries, the West Indies racked up was too much.

“Nearly two and a half overs of extra deliveries. Yes, it was a batting wicket, but if we executed our plans better, it could've been a different story,” said Pollard.

Despite the loss and the manner of defeat, Pollard believes the outing was good for the West Indies and showed they were not far away from being a very good T20 side.

“There are only two areas where we lost the game in. Usually we tend to focus on negatives, but a lot of positives to take away today. King and Hetmyer showed great intent. Fielders did well. In the end, we need to improve, and we will win if we learn to tick more boxes. Can't fault the effort of the guys."

The West Indies will look to get the formula right on Sunday when they again go up against India in a bid to even the series at The Greenfield Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram.

The West Indies will benefit from the return of Fabian Allen and Denesh Ramdin when they go to India for a T20I series.

Allen is said to be fully recovered from a hamstring strain which put him out of the West Indies 2-1 loss to Afghanistan in Lucknow, India recently.

Ramdin played part of the series as well but had to be replaced by Shai Hope after he also went down due to hamstring issues.

The Kieron Pollard-led squad has retained newcomers Hayden Walsh Jr. and Brandon King, with an eye firmly on the T20 World Cup next year.

Andre Russell continues to be missing from both the ODI and T20I squads although the allrounder, plagued with knee injuries, was fit enough to play in the Abu Dhabi T10 recently.

According to West Indies coach Phil Simmons, who marked his return to the post with successful series against Afghanistan, India is expected to provide more of a challenge than did Afghanistan and is a good way to continue to test the ‘newbies’ in lieu of the T20 World next year.

"We have three matches in each format, so we wanted to give each squad a chance to compete against India," said Simmons.

"No disrespect to Afghanistan, but facing India will be a more difficult series. Our players really got the hang of things, with the 3-0 series win in the ODIs [against Afghanistan], and I believe we will move from strength to strength," he added.

According to Simmons, the battle for places in the T20i squad will heat up and everybody should be given a fair chance to show what they are made of.

"In the T20s this will be another chance for them to play and develop, and again, with no disrespect to Afghanistan, this should be a stronger T20 country and we will look to see how they perform against India. The next ICC T20 World Cup is in Australia and the one after that is here in India so there is a lot of preparation to be done for first for Australia. We have given the players here a chance in this series and we know we have players outside who may be coming in later on as well, so it's good to give those here another opportunity."

The T20I series begins in Hyderabad on December 6. There are two further T20Is, in Thiruvananthapuram and Mumbai, before three ODIs in Chennai, Vizag and Cuttack.

T20I squad: Fabian Allen, Sheldon Cottrell, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder, Brandon King, Evin Lewis, Keemo Paul, Khary Pierre, Kieron Pollard (capt), Nicholas Pooran, Denesh Ramdin, Sherfane Rutherford, Lendl Simmons, Hayden Walsh Jr, Kesrick Williams

ODI squad: Sunil Ambris, Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Brandon King, Evin Lewis, Keemo Paul, Khary Pierre, Kieron Pollard (capt), Nicholas Pooran, Romario Shepherd, Hayden Walsh Jr.

West Indies opening batsman Shai Hope played no small part in getting the regional side their first series win in five years.

The batsman, who scored an unbeaten 77, 43, and 109 not-out, said the regional side were at pains to earn a series win and that achieving a whitewash a day after his birthday was special.

“It was a long time coming. We've been waiting for this series win for a long time, so it felt good,” said Hope.

For the series win and the eventual whitewash to come to reality, Hope explained he had to take the responsibility of batting the team into good positions.

“Someone had to put his hand up and bat through the innings,” he said.

“Felt good to be able to do it. It's just about reading the situation, and as long as someone batted through, we were always going to win the game," said Hope.

The West Indies completed a whitewash over Afghanistan with a five-wicket win in Lucknow, India.

Afghanistan, having the best game of the three-match series, scored 249-7 in their 50 overs thanks to Asghar Afghan’s 86 and Hazrafullah Zazai’s 50, Mohammad Nabi, 50, and Najibullah Zadran, 30, but found they were still outgunned after the West Indies cruised to 253-5 in 48.5 overs.

The West Indies total was anchored by Hope’s 145-ball knock. Hope reached the boundary eight times and went over it on a further three occasions and was ably supported by debutant Brandon King, who scored 39, Nicholas Pooran, 21, Kieron Pollard, 32, and Roston Chase, 42.

West Indies captain Kieron Pollard is of the belief that the regional side has venom in them and needed to show it against Afghanistan, something they achieved after a 3-0 whitewash in their One-Day International that concluded on Monday in Lucknow, India.

"We are thankful to God for giving us this opportunity,” said Pollard.

“We came here with a mission and specific roles for players, and all the players deserve credit,” he said.

“Winning is a habit, and anything that we want to do as a team is a process, and it's something we had to improve in a period of time,” said Pollard.

According to the new captain, the team took the chance to show how aggressive they could be and urged them to make that way of playing cricket, habitual.

“This was an opportunity for us to show we have that kind of venom inside us. We knew we had to rally as a team, and we proved we can bat 50 overs, and once we do that, we can win games,” he said.

The West Indies destroyed Afghanistan over a three-game ODI series, winning the first by seven wickets thanks to Shai Hope’s unbeaten 77 and Roston Chase’s 94 before claiming a series-winning 47-run victory, this time courtesy of Evin Lewis’ 54 and Nicholas Pooran’s match-saving 67.

In the final game, playing with Brandon King and Keemo Paul in the line-up, the West Indies restricted Afghanistan to 249-7 despite 50 from Hazratullah Zazai and 86 from Asghar Afghan. In reply the West Indies scored 253-5 with Chase scoring 42, King, 39, Pollard, 32, and Hope, an unbeaten 109.

Despite Hope’s knocks, Chase was named player of the series.

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