Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo and Carlos Brathwaite are among several West Indies players who have made themselves available for the Pakistan Super League draft set for January 10, 2021, in Lahore.

Evin Lewis and Lendl Simmons were also the players whose names were released on Tuesday by the PSL. They are among 25 international players who will be available for the six-team competition even though some of them will only be available for a part of the season due to a packed international calendar during the February to March window.

Gayle has played previously in the PSL for the Karachi Kings and the Lahore Qalanders.

Other notable players who are in the draft pool include Imran Tahir, Chris Jordan, Chris Lyn, Mohammed Nabi, Alex Hales and Morne Morkel.

The 25 foreign players have been placed in the 'Platinum' category, from which the six franchises will select.

 

 

Barbadian fast bowler Keon Harding has been selected to join the West Indies tour to Bangladesh later this month.

West Indies fast bowling legend Curtly Ambrose has applied for the position of elite pace bowling coach at the England and Wales Cricket Board, the bowler confirmed on Wednesday.

England's Test squad has been cleared to begin training ahead of next week's series opener with Sri Lanka after being retested for coronavirus.

Joe Root's travelling party had been isolating in their hotel rooms after all-rounder Moeen Ali returned a positive result from PCR tests taken upon arrival at the airport in Hambantota on Sunday.

Moeen will continue to observe a 10-day quarantine period, while team-mate Chris Woakes will isolate for a minimum of seven days after being deemed a possible close contact.

However, the latest round of results show Moeen to be the only positive case and the rest of the squad can begin restricted training on Wednesday. 

"All PCR tests from yesterday are negative, except for Moeen Ali, and we can start controlled training this afternoon," an ECB spokesman said.

"Close contact Chris Woakes tested negative but will continue to isolate in his room."

England's two-match series with Sri Lanka gets under way in Galle on January 14.

Kane Williamson reflected on a "special moment" but insists New Zealand will continue to work hard to improve after reaching the summit of the Test world rankings.

The Black Caps wrapped up victory over Pakistan by an innings and 176 runs on day four at Hagley Oval on Wednesday to seal a 2-0 series win and become the top-ranked Test nation for the first time.

Kyle Jamieson took 6-48 and had 11 wickets in the game to take the Man of the Match award as Pakistan were bowled out for 186 in their second innings.

New Zealand have now won six straight Tests for the first time and swept three consecutive home series', but captain Williamson still wants to see his side kick on.

"It's hard to beat really, I don't know how the rankings work exactly I know they span over a period of time, to achieve that standing means there's been a lot of hard work over a lot of matches, and trainings and all these sort of things to reach that, so it's very special moment from the guys," he said. 

"It's hard to talk about until the Test summer was over, so it's nice to sit back and perhaps take a moment and enjoy the moment.

"I sort of mentioned before in the after match [presentation] that the game is truly a game of small margins. 

"As a side we're pleased with the efforts that went into these last two games but we know the quality side Pakistan have and there were definitely moments in both games that went our way or perhaps moments that we seized and went a long way to putting the result in our favour. 

"It's a game of small margins, guys respect that and it's about working harder and harder to move forward as a collective. 

"We know our next matches will be overseas tours, and just constant adjustments, tinkering to try and perform well in those matches."

For Jamieson, it has been a superb start to Test cricket and he now has four five-fors in six Tests.

"He's a special talent but his attitude, the way he's come in and try to add to the group on or off the field is the most impressive thing. In many ways he's leading and that's great," Williamson added.

"Cricket is an interesting game and something Kyle is extremely good at with bat and ball, a very, very special talent. 

"I think if he continues to, and I'm sure he will he's got great head on his shoulders, bring that great attitude he has - things have come very thick and fast for Kyle and that's a really enjoyable part to the game, something he's learning about and learning about himself.

"But he has a strong desire to improve and pick the brains of the senior guys who have been around a long time. He's a humble guy who wants to get better, I've no doubt he will."

Kyle Jamieson inspired New Zealand to a comprehensive win over Pakistan in the second Test in Christchurch.

Jamieson took 6-48 in the second innings, and 11 wickets for the match, as the Black Caps wrapped up victory by an innings and 176 runs on day four at Hagley Oval on Wednesday.

Pakistan were dismissed for 186 as New Zealand won a sixth straight Test for the first time in their history and secured a 2-0 series success, going top of the world rankings for the first time.

Azhar Ali (37) and Zafar Gohar (37) provided the most resistance as the tourists had no answers to Jamieson and Trent Boult (3-43).

Only Richard Hadlee (15 against Australia in 1985) and Daniel Vettori (12, twice) have taken more wickets in a single Test for New Zealand than Jamieson's 11.

Pakistan resumed at 8-1, still trailing by 354 runs, before Mohammad Abbas (3) fell early after edging Boult behind to BJ Watling, and wasting a review.

Substitute fielder Will Young then took a spectacular one-handed catch diving to his right at point to remove Abid Ali (26) off Jamieson.

Haris Sohail (15) and Azhar edged Jamieson behind to leave Pakistan at 88-5 and the Black Caps well on track for victory.

Mohammad Rizwan (10), Fawad Alam (16) and Faheem Ashraf (28) provided limited resistance before Gohar's late hitting, with Kane Williamson – who made a double century on Tuesday – chipping in with a wicket.

Tim Paine hinted David Warner's inclusion for Australia in the third Test against India may not be the only change to the side.

Warner is set to return from an adductor injury when the third Test begins in Sydney on Thursday, and Will Pucovski appears set to make his international debut.

Australia captain Paine confirmed on Wednesday a team had been picked – but he would not publicly name it just yet.

"We've got a team, we're just not releasing it at the moment," he told a news conference.

"The boys are still training at the moment so we'll get through that first unscathed and then we'll try and get a team out as quickly as we can after that.

"Obviously with David playing and potentially more, there's some conversation that need to be had first."

Paine confirmed Pucovski would open if he played, with Joe Burns already omitted from the squad.

That is likely to see Matthew Wade return to the middle-order and Travis Head potentially dropped.

In October and November last year, Pucovski became the first player to score double centuries in consecutive Sheffield Shield innings since Dene Hills in 1997-98.

Paine praised Warner, whose absence has been felt as Australia struggled with the bat in the opening two Tests.

"Davey's been awesome, brings really high intensity, fills guys with confidence around him," he said.

"He's a player that you love having on your side, he's always got plenty to say, really energetic, very professional and I've always loved playing with him and I know he's a player in this team that guys love to have in our side.

"He's made an instant impact with that energy and intensity that he brings.

"Will's been fantastic as well. He's been out of the bubble for a couple of weeks so he's excited, he's fresh, he's been batting really well in the nets and looks ready to go if he was called upon."

Former West Indies fast bowler, Franklyn Rose, believes current players representing the team could benefit from a change in mindset as he believes many might be too focused on playing the game solely for financial benefit.

The 48-year-old Rose, who played for the West Indies between 1997 and 2000, has openly admitted to being upset by the current plight of the regional team, particularly on the back of a brutal run of recent results.

After a hiatus enforced by the coronavirus pandemic, the West Indies resumed international cricket with a three-Test tour of England in July.  The Windies won the first match but were badly outplayed for the rest of the series in a 2-1 defeat.  The team then headed to New Zealand, last month, where they were handily beaten in both a three-match T20 series and a two-Test series where they suffered an innings defeat in both matches.

In recent times, particularly with the advent of lucrative T20 leagues, some players have been accused of putting personal gain over the pride of representing the West Indies.  Rose seems to among those that hold some form of that particular view.

“We need to focus more on the success of the game than just thinking about the big bank accounts,” Rose told Television Jamaica.

“Of course the guys are going to say that they have bills to pay and family to take care of and stuff but when you are at that level of the game, representing the West Indies, one of the greatest teams of all time, you need to have a different mindset.”

CWI President Ricky Skerritt has described the late Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart as a true West Indian legend following news of the latter’s passing on Monday.

Cricket West Indies are engaged in what they describe as ‘positive discussions’ with Sandals Resorts for the latter to resume as its primary sponsor.

Sandals signed on as the CWI’s primary sponsor in 2018 in a partnership that covered all West Indies teams from U15s through to the senior men’s and women’s outfits. The Sandals’ logo featured on all West Indies playing and training kit as part of the deal that expired at the end of last year.

Cricket West Indies CEO Johnny Grave confirmed to Sportsmax.TV today that positive discussions are ongoing. He indicated that there will likely be a temporary halt in those discussions following news Monday night of the passing of Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart, the founder of the Sandals Resorts.

He indicated that the discussions would resume at an “appropriate time”.

West Indies star batsman Chris Gayle has made it clear that he is looking forward to the T20 World Cup, with high hopes of helping the regional team win a third title.

Gayle’s last appearance for the Windes, a One Day International match at the Queen’s Park Oval last year, was a dramatic affair as he walked off the field to applause from both sets of players and fans.  The special occasion was thought to be his retirement from international cricket.

Following that match, Gayle turned down the selection to an ODI series against India, after insisting that he needed some time off to figure out his future.  Since then, however, Gayle has had a complete reversal of thought when it comes to the idea of retirement. 

The big left-hander recently showed that he remains capable of producing plenty of fireworks, after an outstanding season in the Indian Premier League (IPL).  After being left on the bench at the start of the tournament, the insertion of Gayle into the line-up fueled an impressive run for Kings XI Punjab who narrowly missed out on making the playoffs.  During the tournament, Gayle became the first player to reach 1000 T20 sixes. 

Having found himself in that type of form, retirement is understandably now the furthest thing from the batsman’s mind and he is ready to take that kind of form into international cricket.

“I’m enjoying my cricket, to be honest with you.  I just recently played the IPL in Dubai and did well.  Now I have the T10, honestly, I’ve been feeling good, I’ve been putting in some work,” Gayle said.

The player admits that he already has one eye on the ICC T20 Championships, which will be held in November of this year.

“I’m just getting myself in condition.  I still have a lot of cricket to play.  I’m looking forward to the World Cup and hopefully giving the West Indies another T20 title.”

Gayle has not played in a T20 international since March of last year but intends to be part of the squad in lead up matches to the tournament.

 

South Africa hammered Sri Lanka by 10 wickets despite Dimuth Karunaratne's battling hundred to seal a 2-0 series win inside three days in Johannesburg.

Karunaratne was unbeaten on 91 at the close of day two of the second Test with Sri Lanka beginning Tuesday's play at 150-4, but any momentum quickly subsided in a sorry collapse.

The tourists added just 61 more runs and lost their final six wickets for the return of a measly 35, setting the Proteas a meagre target of 67, as Anrich Nortje (2-64), Lungi Ngidi (4-44) and Lutho Sipam (3-40) produced devastating spells with the ball.

Dean Elgar (31) and Aiden Markram (36) steered South Africa over the line with ease in just 13 overs either side of the lunch break to complete a convincing victory.

Karunaratne (103) hit successive fours in the third over of the day as he aimed to help Sri Lanka to a competitive total.

But, having already threatened a couple of times, Nortje (2-64) eventually got the Sri Lanka skipper, his wicked delivery edged into the hands of Wiaan Mulder.

Karunaratne's overnight partner Niroshan Dickwella (36) soon followed, falling to the impressive Ngidi, and the remaining wickets tumbled quickly after that.

Mulder (1-52) dismissed Dasun Shanaka (8), while Sipamla swept up the lower order by taking out Wanindu Hasaranga (16), Dushmantha Chameera (0) and Asitha Fernando (0).

Markram and Elgar, whose first-innings 127 was the highest score of the Test, returned to the crease in a professional mood and hit nine boundaries between them.

The former did have a brief scare when Kusal Mendis appeared to catch him low before the boundary, but the third umpire ruled it not out after replays suggested he grounded the ball, and from there it was plain sailing for the hosts.

Australia will hope the "very likely" return of David Warner can inspire them to regain the series lead as they take on India in the third Test from Thursday.

India produced an impressive turnaround in Melbourne last time out, squaring the series at 1-1 despite being without Virat Kohli and also losing the toss.

Stand-in Ajinkya Rahane stood up in the absence of India's captain, making 112 to set the tourists up for an impressive eight-wicket victory.

However, Australia are undefeated in their last nine Tests against India at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Indeed, their only defeat in meetings between the teams at the venue came in January 1978.

The hosts reacted to the defeat by dropping out-of-sorts opener Joe Burns, having made just 63 runs in four innings during the series.

Warner and Will Pucovski were both injured and missed the first two Tests but head coach Justin Langer gave a positive update on the former, who he thinks will be able to play through the pain.

Uncapped prospect Pucovski, meanwhile, has passed concussion examinations so will challenge Travis Head for a place in the side.

BUBBLE CONCERN FOR INDIA

India had to isolate five members of their squad as a precaution in the aftermath of the Boxing Day Test, amid concerns over a breach of protocols within the bio-secure bubble.

Rishabh Pant, Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Navdeep Saini and Prithvi Shaw trained away from the rest of the squad after a video on social media showed them dining at an indoor venue in Melbourne.

However, both teams - and members of the support staff - tested negative for COVID-19 prior to travelling to Sydney to continue the four-match series.

Rohit has not featured for India on the tour so far due to injury, including missing the white-ball games that preceded the Tests, but could be involved at the SCG.

Batsman KL Rahul is out of the rest of the series with a wrist injury, ending speculation he could replace struggling Mayank Agarwal.

LANGER CONFIDENT OF SMITH RECOVERY

While the expected return of Warner could give them a boost, Australia will also be looking for a turnaround from Steve Smith.

Smith has only managed scores of 1, 0 and 8 during his completed innings in Adelaide and Melbourne, with spinner Ravichandran Ashwin having him caught in two of those three dismissals.

Ranked at three in the ICC rankings, he had only failed to reach double figures in two of his 14 previous innings since returning to Test cricket in the 2019 Ashes.

"Imagine how good we'll be when he does start batting well," said a confident Langer. "That's how I look at it.

"He hasn't had the best of series so far, he'll be the first to admit that, but my gosh, what I know about great players is the longer they miss out, the sooner it is that they're coming good again.

"So that puts a big smile on my face. I don't coach Steve Smith. Steve Smith coaches himself and I'm sure he's going to work it out. 

"He is a great player and I can't wait to watch him bat this Test match and the next Test match."

KEY OPTA FACTS

- India have lost only two of their last nine Tests against Australia (W5, D2) - they now search for back-to-back wins against them for just the second time since 2013.
- Australia's loss in the second match snapped an eight-game winning run in Tests at home; they will now look to avoid consecutive home defeats for the first time since November 2016.
- The home team dropped eight catches last time out in Melbourne, their most in a single Test since dropping nine against India in the New Year's Test of 2012 in Sydney.
- Ricky Ponting (8) is the only player to have logged more centuries at the Sydney Cricket Ground than David Warner (7) in international cricket.
- No player has taken more wickets (10) or posted a better bowling economy (2.1) than India's Ravichandran Ashwin throughout this series.
- Nathan Lyon is six wickets shy of becoming just the third Australian bowler to take 400 in men's Tests (Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath); his 89 wickets against India are his most against any team.

Kane Williamson and a hobbling Henry Nicholls put on a batting masterclass as New Zealand tightened their grip on the second Test against Pakistan.

The pair delivered an almost faultless 369-run fourth-wicket partnership, the third highest for any wicket in Black Caps Test history, as the hosts finished day three with a lead of 354 runs.

After New Zealand had declared on 659-6, the tourists were sent in to face 11 overs and the in-form Kyle Jamieson removed Shan Masood as Pakistan closed day three on 8-1.

Williamson had earlier posted another two blistering sessions to score a brilliant 238 and become the quickest of three New Zealanders to score 7,000 career Test runs.

The world’s top-ranked Test batsman notched his fourth Test double century and was supported by a gutsy 157 from Nicholls, who was hampered by a calf strain while bringing up his third Test 150.

Nicholls pushed through the pain barrier on his home ground at Hagley Oval to join Brendon McCullum as the only players with two Test hundreds in Christchurch.

Daryl Mitchell raced to his first Test century before the declaration, scoring 102 not out, as New Zealand recorded their fifth highest all-time Test total.

Starting the day 11 runs behind the tourists’ first-innings total, the hosts picked up where they left off yesterday with Nicholls bringing up his century off 213 balls for 315-3.

Limping between the creases, Nicholls dug deep to navigate the new ball and went on the attack, hitting the first six of the innings, as Williamson surged past 7,000 career Test runs.

The Black Caps skipper was once again putting on a clinic, punching his 21st boundary back past Naseem Shah to bring up the 300 partnership from 459 balls.

The 30-year-old continued to rack up the milestones, reaching 150 in 247 balls, and bringing up 400 on the final ball of the session as the hosts headed to lunch 103 runs ahead.

Let’s face it. Melbourne Stars batsman Andre Fletcher has not set the Big Bash League alight with his batting. The Grenadian batsman, who has been opening for the Stars, has a top score of 18 in seven outings. And, after scores of 10, 10, 18, 4, 6, 12 and 12, few would argue with the growing consensus that he should be to be dropped.

However, he showed on Sunday - with two spectacular catches against the Hobart Hurricanes - that his value extends well beyond his batting skills, as he twice helped swing the match in favour of the Stars, who eked out a close 10-run victory.

Fletcher made 10 of the Melbourne Stars’ 183 for 6 from their 20 overs, thanks mainly to Marcus Stoinis’ unbeaten 55-ball 97 that included seven fours and seven sixes; 36 from Hilton Cartwright and 26 from the in-form Nicholas Pooran.

Riley Meredith, who had Fletcher caught behind after his four-ball stay at the crease ended with 2 for 25 but it was Nathan Ellis, who dismissed Cartwright and Pooran, who was the Hurricanes’ best bowler with 3 for 31.

Daunting as the target might have seemed, Ben McDermott seemed headed to make light work of it with a blazing knock of 91 off just 58 balls and included eight fours and five sixes. It was while going for his sixth six that Fletcher intervened, changing the direction of the match in the process.

On the last ball of the 19th over, Liam Hatcher (1 for 45) served up a thigh-high full toss wide outside off McDermott, who flayed it flat over extra cover. Fletcher, known as the Spiceman, raced close to 10m to his left before taking off like Superman to hold on to a spectacular catch to have the Hurricanes at 163 for 5.

Fletcher’s blinder was his second of the match.

At the fall of the Hurricanes’ second wicket, that of Dawid Malan for 26 with the score 89, Colin Ingram and McDermott flayed the Stars’ bowling to all parts putting together a 50-run stand in just 22 balls.

It was a partnership that was threatening to take the match away from the visitors when in the 17th over, Billy Stanlake (1 for 41) bowled one full and wide. Ingram sliced it in the air over extra cover. Fletcher charged in, misread the flight of the ball and then adjusted as the ball began to tail away towards the boundary rope.

At the last minute, Fletcher dove to his right and snatched the ball inches off the ground before breaking out into a celebratory dance.

It was then 139 for 3, with the Hurricanes still in the hunt until Fletcher struck out in the field once more.

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