Cricket West Indies (CWI) will, this week, send a two-member inspection team to Bangladesh to conduct a detailed assessment ahead of the scheduled ICC Future Tours Programme (FTP) tour in January next year.

Windies head coach Phil Simmons admits to being pleased by increasing pressure placed on batsmen to perform, with competition for spots in the line-up beginning to heat up.

Recently the duo of Darren Bravo and Shimron Hetmeyer returned to the batting line-up, but there was no room for the out of form Shai Hope, once a staple of the batting order.  With Bravo looking to be in good form on his return to the line-up and some displays of consistency from the likes of Sharmarh Brooks and Roston Chase, Simmons hopes the tussle for places leads to steadier performances in the future.

“It’s a case where everybody is under pressure.  We are getting more and more of a group of batsmen where everyone is competing for four or five places,” Simmons told members of the media via an online press conference from New Zealand.

“With the likes of Hetmyer coming back in and Bravo coming back in, after missing the England tour, Shai Hope is not here.  You are getting a group that is fighting for three or four positions in this case,” he added. 

“So, it is putting pressure on them to perform, that is what we want.  If you perform you will be there and the performance we are talking about is 100s, big 100s that is what we keep singing to the players.”

 

West Indies coach Phil Simmons insisted he was not overly concerned by the struggles of the bowling unit to take wickets in the first practice game last week.

It was tough going on day one of the first tour match, for a Windies bowling unit that included top strike bowlers Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel, and Alzarri Joseph.  Of the trio, Joseph was the only one to take a wicket in the first innings as New Zealand A put on 308 for 3 before declaring.  Gabriel did claim a wicket in the second innings of the drawn match.

The coach, however, believes the consistent threat of the bowling unit over the past several years speaks for itself and remained more concerned about the team's batting, which has been far less assured during the same time period.

“Over the years we have seen that the bowling has been our strength,” Simmons told members of the media from New Zealand on Tuesday.

“If in these two matches, the one that’s gone and the one tomorrow, the batsmen can get into form and get into the line that we want them to, I’m not worried about the bowlers.  The bowlers are always up to the task in the Test matches for a few years now,” he added.

Led by a century from returning batsman Darren Bravo the West Indies did put in a solid performance with the bat after scoring 366 in their first innings.

 

West Indies T20 opener Andre Fletcher insists the team does not sweat about its current position in the world rankings, which stands at 9th despite being two-time world champions.

Heading into the series against New Zealand, which bowls off on Friday, the Windies will stand a full three places below their hosts on the global charts.  In terms of world titles in the format, however, it is the West Indies who lead having claimed two, with New Zealand yet to win one.  Fletcher does not believe the rankings will influence the team; in terms of the way it operates playing cricket internationally.

“Sometimes it’s tough winning two World Cups and ranking at 9th in the world.  It’s kind of unbalanced but we will get back up there with the ranking as long as we continue to play our brand of cricket,” Fletcher told members of the media.

“I don’t think anything will change, we’ll continue playing our brand of cricket,” he added.

Of course, one disparity that could account for the difference between the titles and world ranking is the fact that the West Indies often has key players missing for T20 internationals, due to other T20 league commitments or injury.  They remain the only team to have claimed the title on two occasions.

Women’s cricket will take centre-stage in the coming week as Cricket West Indies (CWI) continues to unfold its plan to grow the game and create more opportunities for females who are keen to develop their skills and help increase participation in the sport, at all levels.

CWI will deliver a series of free events — featuring several former players and administrators — which include an Online Women’s Foundation Coaching Course for over 80 present and past players, an interview series with special guests that explores the past, present and future of West Indies women’s cricket, as well as several Cricket Development Workshops held in Antigua. The aim of these initiatives is to engage, inspire and recruit more female players, coaches and course facilitators.

CWI President, Ricky Skerritt, will address the participants at the start of the virtual training session on Tuesday evening. In response to a question following his speech at the recent UWI Frank Worrell Lecture series, Skerritt promised that West Indies Women’s Cricket would soon see an increased attention and focus which he said should help vitalize Women’s cricket and strengthen the female cricketer’s pathway from grassroots to the international stage. The President highlighted the recent appointment of Courtney Walsh, as one of the key steps already taken.

Chris Brabazon, the CWI’s Coaching Development Manager, will be part of the CWI team who will be delivering these events in collaboration with Territorial Boards, Ministries of Sport and a host of past greats and contributors to West Indies cricket.

“In what is a hugely exciting time for women’s cricket with the inaugural ICC Women’s Under-19s and Cricket World Cups on the horizon, we want to ensure that women and girls from across the Caribbean feel that they can be part of the game in a playing, coaching or administrative capacity at any level as their involvement is crucial to a thriving and sustainable cricket pathway,” Brabazon said.

“The response to this week’s Online Foundation Course has been overwhelming with over 80 women signed up to take part in the event which is a clear reflection of the passion that exists for the game. The course will be held online, via Zoom, over two evenings due to the present COVID-19 restrictions.

“We will also be releasing a series of interviews and presentations that highlight the rich heritage of women’s cricket, the current landscape and the future direction which will bring together some of the ‘best of the best’ to share their views including newly appointed West Indies Women’s Coach, Courtney Walsh, Jimmy Adams, Merissa Aguilleira and Anne Browne-John.”

West Indies batsman Darren Bravo believes that being appointed captain of the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force in January aided in his development and his maturity as a cricketer.

Jai Hind, West Berbice and Demerara Masters were among the winners during Sunday's round of matches in the GCB Tropical Spring T20 Over 40 Tournament in Guyana.

Jai Hind defeated Sarjoo Tigers by 38 runs at the Jai Hind Ground in Berbice.

Batting first, Jai Hind opening batsman Subramani Mangal blazed 36 and Kemraj Sumair, 29, to propel the team to 154 for 7 from their 20 overs.

Mangal smashed three fours and a six that helped set the foundation for the competitive score. Sumair, who batted at three, hit two fours and two sixes. Zahir Moakan contributed a useful 18 runs that included a six and a four.

David Perreira was the pick of the bowlers with 2 for 19 from three overs while there was a wicket each for Mark Ferreira, Tagenarine Ramroop and Rohan Sarjoo.

Chasing 158 for victory, opening batsman Surendra Hiralall gave the Tigers a good start, hitting two fours and two sixes in his score of 33. However, other than Tagenarine Ramroop, who stroked a polished 39, which included a four and three sixes, the remainder of the batting failed to deliver as the Tigers were restricted to 117.

Mangal completed an outstanding match claiming 2 for 8 from three overs. However, Rafeek Kassim was the best of the bowlers returning the incredible figures of 2 for 2 from two overs.

In the day’s second match at the Jai Hind ground, West Berbice defeated General Marine Masters by six wickets.

Batting first, General Marine Masters was only able to muster 91 for 9 from their 20 overs. Daiaram Hemraj was the top scorer with 23 while middle order batsman Mustak Shaw contributed 18 to the score.  Rajban Hemraj was the best of the West Berbice bowlers taking 4 for 8 from three overs.

In what proved to be a comfortable chase, Jaipaul Hiralall scored an unbeaten 44 as West Berbice eased to 92 for 4 from 16 overs. Hemraj followed up his four-wicket haul with 11 runs in the successful pursuit. Hemchan Persaud returned figures of 2 for 6 in the losing effort.

Over in Demerara county, intermittent rainfall saw the match between Bel-Air Rubis Ultra Tec and West Demerara Masters being reduced to 15 overs a side, which the latter won by seven wickets.

After winning the toss and electing to bat, Bel-Air Rubis Utra Tec posted a meagre 78-9. Richard Rambarran top scored with 18, while Nadir Baksh added 11. Nirmaldeo Sarwan and Shauan Messiah each made 10 as Mohamed Abit Haniff picked up two wickets for just five runs.

West Demerara Masters reached their target in the 13th over as Ramesh Thakur (19) and Sudesh (18) led the way before falling to the bowling of Arthur Duke who took 2-16.

The first match at the Enmore Community Centre ground saw West Demerara Mavericks emerge winners over KV Construction by virtue of walk over. Both matches at the Everest ground were abandoned due to heavy rainfall.

The tournament resumes on Tuesday, 24 November when West Demerara Mavericks take on West Demerara Masters and RP Construction Legends versus Everest Masters at the Enmore Community Centre.

At the Everest Cricket club ground, Bel-Air Rubis Ultra Tec will battle Regal Masters in the morning encounter while KV Construction Masters will compete against Sand Pipper

Paceman Kagiso Rabada has compared South Africa's bio-secure environments to "luxury prisons" but says it is important they retain perspective about their privilege. 

The South Africa squad are staying in carefully controlled accommodation ahead of their Twenty20 international series against England amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

While Rabada admits it has proved challenging, he says he is constantly reminding himself of the fortunate position he and his team-mates find themselves in. 

"It can be quite tough," he told ESPNcricinfo. "You can't interact. You've basically lost your freedom. 

"It's almost like luxury prisons we are in. But we have to remind ourselves that we are fortunate.

"People have lost their jobs, people are struggling at the moment, so we must be grateful for the opportunity we have been given to make some money and to do what we love.

"And we don't get treated too badly. We stay in great hotels. We get the best food. It's like a spoilt kid not getting what they want at the candy store. It can be quite tough because you are surrounded by four walls the whole time and that can be a factor mentally.

"But just remind yourself of all the good things that are happening and once we start playing, it will take away from the desolate times."

Rabada has recently returned to South Africa after an impressive stint in the Indian Premier League, where he finished as the top wicket-taker. 

That followed a long period in his home country without playing cricket, having spent most of 2020 in some form of lockdown imposed by the South African government. 

Rabada says the break helped him reset both physically and mentally but does not expect to have similar periods off in the future. 

"The break helped to refresh the body and to take the mind off of a lot of things," he added. "But I don't know if long extended breaks will happen in future because cricket is getting more and more. 

"I'm not sure how much of it is due to a long break, but I don't think it will happen a lot in the future. I don't think we will get breaks that long unless we get Covid-20."

The three-match Twenty20 series starts in Cape Town on Friday, while the Proteas and England will also contest a three-match ODI series after competing in the shortest format.

Darren Bravo said challenging himself to bat for as long as possible was the key factor behind his century against New Zealand A on Saturday.

West Indies bowlers once again showed a lack of a cutting edge as their three-day match against New Zealand ‘A’ petered out to a dull draw at the John Davies Oval at Queenstown on Sunday.

Fakhar Zaman will miss Pakistan's tour of New Zealand as he is still suffering from a fever.

Batsman Fakhar was named in a 35-man squad for three Twenty20 Internationals and two Tests against the Black Caps.

The 30-year-old opener tested negative for coronavirus but is not deemed to be well enough to fly out of Lahore with his team-mates on Monday.

Pakistan doctor Sohail Saleem said: "Fakhar's covid test report was received on Saturday which came out negative but today he picked up fever.

"As soon as his condition was reported, he was isolated from the rest of the squad in the team hotel. We are constantly monitoring his condition and remain hopeful of his quick recovery; however he is not fit to travel with the squad and as such has been withdrawn from the touring party."

Pakistan and New Zealand start the T20 series at Eden Park on December 18.

Former West Indies pace bowler Tony Gray has expressed concern with the bowling technique of spinner Rahkeem Cornwall, which he believes could eventually lead to the player suffering injury issues.

Another former player, legendary spinner Lance Gibbs, sparked controversy after questioning the effectiveness of the player’s short run-up technique last year.  Taking the analysis a step further, however, Gray believes the unusual technique could also put a strain on the player’s body.

Cornwall has constantly faced criticism for his overall fitness level but has achieved some measure of success despite that.   At an estimated 1.96 m and 308 lbs, he is believed to be the heaviest man to ever play Test cricket.

“I ask the question that has never been answered.  Is Cornwall’s problem genetic, because if it’s genetic it’s going to be difficult to lose the weight?  If not, why hasn’t he lost the weight yet, since the under-19 level,” Gray said recently on the Mason and Guest radio program.

“I share Lance Gibbs's opinion…the thing about it is if you look at Cornwall’s mechanics, he is a big guy, he takes two steps and it puts a lot of pressure on his body," he added.

“He had a knee operational earlier this year, not a serious one but he still had some pressure on that knee.  My thing with him is that early on in his career he should have been coached with better mechanics, giving him at least four or five steps.  Spinners who can rip the ball, they don’t only use their wrist or their fingers, but obviously, their body as well and you can’t use your body if you are taking only two steps.”

 

Returning West Indies batsman Darren Bravo crafted an enterprising century to anchor the team’s efforts on day two of the three-day First Class match against New Zealand A on Friday.

Bravo made 135 from 214 balls as the regional team ended the day at 329-6, inching 21 runs ahead of the Blackcaps' first innings total of 308 for 3 declared.  Bravo, 31, one of the most capped members of the West Indies Test squad on the Tour of New Zealand with 54 matches behind him, batted a little more than 4½ hours at the crease after he started the day on eight. Bravo raced towards his hundred in a volley of strokes, mostly off left-arm spinner Michael Rippon.

 In reaching the target, Bravo struck 13 fours and five sixes and formed a third-wicket partnership with Shamarh Brooks that was worth 122.

Brooks made 80 from 152 balls, with the team also receiving contributions from newly appointed vice-captain Roston Chase who made 41 from 62 balls.  The New Zealand bowling line-up did not feature anyone likely to gain selection for the official matches and no bowler claimed more than one wicket.

The first Test between New Zealand and West Indies starts on December 3 at Seddon Park in Hamilton and the second Test begins on December 11 at the Basin Reserve in Wellington.

 

Scores

New Zealand A 308-3 declared (R Ravindra 112, H Nicholls 76, D Conway 46no, J Carter 41no) v West Indies 329-6 (D Bravo 135, S Brooks 80, R Chase 41) in Queenstown.

 

 

West Indies women’s team captain Stafanie Taylor has praised players and several teams in the Women's Big Bash League (WBBL) for their continued support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The symbolic gesture of taking a knee in support of racial equality spread around the globe an adopted by many sports in the aftermath of the death of an African American man, George Floyd, at the hands of the police earlier this year.

To some extent, the symbolic action has fizzled out in the sport of cricket, with some teams claiming other more concrete options in pursuit of equality are being pursued.  The WBBL has, however, continued to support the gesture and Taylor has been appreciative of it.

 "We have been taking a knee throughout the whole tournament and I am so pleased with the support I got from my teammate, it was really fantastic,” Taylor, who plays for Adelaide Strikers, told the Daily Telegraph.

“Sometimes I even forget, and Megan Schutt will say to me; Stafanie, don’t forget we’ve got to take a knee,” she added.

Taylor also thanked Sydney Thunder and Hobart Hurricanes for statements made by the teams and praised individual players from other teams for adopting the gesture.

“While I wish that all players from all eight teams competing in the WBBL this year were taking a knee, BLM is a global movement and I’m proud that cricket is helping to stamp out racism on and off the field.”

 

 

The Guyana Cricket Board Tropical Spring Over 40 T20 Competition bowls off on Saturday, November 21, across grounds in three counties in what will be the first competition held since the GCB was forced to suspend activities due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sixteen teams will compete for a first prize of Guy$250,00 while the runners up will secure Guy$100,000.

Eight teams in Demerara will compete for four quarter-final places, four Essequibo teams will battle for two quarter-final places while four teams representing the Berbice region will compete for two quarter – final places.

The preliminary round of matches will conclude on Saturday, 5 December 2020 with the quarter-finals being held on Sunday, 6 December 2020. The semi-finals have been scheduled for Friday, 11 December 2020 and the Final on Saturday, 12 December 2020.

Games in Demerara will be played at the Everest and Enmore cricket grounds while the Berbice matches will be played at Jai Hind ground. The Essequibo-leg of matches will take place at Imam Bacchus’ ground.

The GCB said it was grateful to the Ministry of Health and the country’s COVID-19 Task force for granting approval for the return to competition and has called on all players and officials to ensure that there is strict adherence to the Covid-19 protocols.

Further, GCB extends gratitude to tournament sponsor, Tropical Spring.

The teams: Reliance Sports Club, Invaders Masters, Imam Bacchus Over 40, Jaguars Over 40, West Demerara Masters, West Demerara Mavericks, Everest Masters, Regal Masters, KV Construction Masters, RP Construction Legends, Sand Piper Masters, Bel-Air Rubis Ultra Tec, General Marine Masters, Jai Hind Masters, Sarjoo Tigers, and West Berbice Masters

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