Dwayne Bravo can act as a mentor to boost West Indies' death bowling after earning a recall for their Twenty20 international series against Ireland, according to lead selector Roger Harper.

The veteran all-rounder announced he was coming out of international retirement for T20s last December in the hope of playing at the T20 World Cup in Australia this year.

Bravo last represented the Windies against Pakistan in September 2016 and has 1,142 runs and 52 wickets in 66 T20Is.

Speaking about Bravo's recall, Harper said it was his work with the ball that was key in the decision.

"Dwayne Bravo was recalled with the specific intention of bolstering our 'death' bowling, which was identified as an area that really needs improving," he said. 

"His record in this department speaks for itself. He will also be able to act as a mentor to the other 'death' bowlers and lend his experience wherever needed."

Jason Holder is rested for the three-match series, while all-rounder Rovman Powell is recalled.

Squad in full: Kieron Pollard (c), Dwayne Bravo, Sheldon Cottrell, Shimron Hetmyer, Brandon King, Evin Lewis, Khary Pierre, Nicholas Pooran, Rovman Powell, Sherfane Rutherford, Lendl Simmons, Hayden Walsh jr., Kesrick Williams.

 

India completed a 2-0 series victory over Sri Lanka by comfortably winning the third Twenty20 in Pune by 78 runs.

KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan each had fifties for India, whose impressive score of 201-6 never looked achievable for a Sri Lanka side that was skittled for 123 with 4.1 overs remaining.

Dhawan (52) brought up his half century with a single after a shot through extra cover but his 97-run union with Rahul was ended by Lakshan Sandakan (3-35) three balls later.

Rahul (54) fell two deliveries after making his fifty and Sandakan removed Shreyas Iyer in the same over to bring in captain Virat Kohli, who was batting down at number six.

Kohli hit a match-winning six in the second T20 and he made 26 off 17 before being run out attempting an ambitious second off Lasith Kumara, who dismissed Washington Sundar for a golden duck next ball.

India were at 164-6 with 16 balls remaining so Manish Pandey (31 not out) and Shardul Thakur cut loose, the latter bludgeoning two maximums and a four in a sensational eight-ball 22.

Jasprit Bumrah (1-5) moved clear of Yuzvendra Chahal (0-33) as India's leading T20 wicket-taker with a short ball to Danushka Gunathilaka (1) in the opening over of the chase and Sri Lanka were soon in trouble at 26-4.

Angelo Mathews (31) and Dhananjaya de Silva (57) steadied the ship with a 68-run stand for the fifth wicket, but when Sundar accounted for the former the jig was up.

Dhananjaya managed to reach fifty despite a distinct lack of support, but Navdeep Saini (3-28) removed him and Lasith Malinga to put the tourists out of their misery.

Virat Kohli's maximum wrapped up a comfortable seven-wicket win for India over Sri Lanka to take a 1-0 lead in their three-match Twenty20 series.

The opening clash was wiped out by rain in Guwahati and Sri Lanka's innings on Tuesday also proved a damp squib, the loss of late wickets limiting them to a modest 142-9.

India chased that down with 15 balls to spare at Indore, Kohli confirming the triumph in style to cap an explosive knock from the skipper.

Sri Lanka's top three made credible contributions but the tourists' line-up as a whole failed to fire.

Kusal Perera's brisk 34 included all three of his side's sixes, with Avishka Fernando (22) and Danushka Gunathilaka (20) providing support at the top end of the order.

Jasprit Bumrah had opened the bowling by conceding two wides and was then hit for four, but that went against the trend that was to follow.

Sri Lanka were frustrated in their efforts to reach anything close to a par score, despite Wanindu Hasaranga sending the final three deliveries to the boundary to book-end Bumrah's inconsistent spell.

With such a modest total to chase, India could afford to be patient and it took Sri Lanka until the 10th over to end KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan's 71-run opening partnership, Hasaranga claiming the former's scalp.

Dhawan went soon after, lbw to the same bowler, but it was never likely to trouble India's bid for victory and Shreyas Iyer added a handy 34 before falling in what proved to be the final over.

Kohli put the seal on things, swiping Lahiru Kumara over the ropes to finish with 30 off 17 deliveries.

The final match of the series takes place in Pune on Friday.

Lasith Malinga would be open to retiring from Twenty20 internationals later this year, so long as he has helped Sri Lanka reach the T20 World Cup.

Paceman Malinga has already retired from Test and one-day cricket at international level, yet he intends to lead the team at this year's World Cup, the tournament they won in 2014.

Sri Lanka must come through a four-team group in the first round - playing Ireland, Papua New Guinea and Oman - in order to reach the Super 12 stage.

Malinga is willing to step aside whenever Sri Lanka ask him to, but he wants to see his nation safely through the qualifying stage in Australia.

"I've already retired from Tests and one-dayers," he told a news conference ahead of a T20 meeting with India. "It's [about] whatever is required for Sri Lanka cricket.

"If they say it's enough for me now then I'll be really happy to retire from T20 cricket also.

"But my only target is to be able to play the qualifying [first] round at the World Cup. If I play the qualifying round and the Sri Lanka team qualify for the World Cup, after that, I wouldn't mind any time I retire."

Sunday's opening T20 will see Malinga come up against Mumbai Indians team-mate Jasprit Bumrah.

The India star is the world's top-ranked ODI bowler, but he is making his return from a back injury and Malinga suggests that his lay-off could play in Sri Lanka's favour.

"As the number one [ODI] bowler, he's got the skill and accuracy," the veteran said. "But he's coming [back] after the injury and hasn't played much cricket for five or six months.

"After the injury, most of the bowlers struggle for the first few matches. We want to make that an advantage for us."

Indian cult hero Irfan Pathan has announced his retirement from all forms of cricket.

The 35-year-old starred in India's 2007 ICC World Twenty20 final against Pakistan, taking 3-16 to help steer his country to victory in South Africa. 

All-rounder Irfan first shot to stardom back in 2003 when he claimed figures of 9-16 for India Under-19s against Bangladesh, earning him a spot in the senior squad for a tour of Australia.

He confirmed his decision to call it quits in an interview on Star Sports on Saturday.

"I am announcing retirement from all forms of cricket," said Irfan. "I have been fortunate to share the dressing room with greats of the game like [Sourav] Ganguly, [Rahul] Dravid and [VVS] Laxman. I am calling time on my career.

"I would like to thank my family for providing much-needed support. I would like to thank my fans. They have always hoped for my comeback. Their support has kept me going."

Irfan, who last played on the international stage in 2012, featured in 29 Tests, 120 ODIs and 24 T20s for his country.

Angelo Mathews and Dhananjaya de Silva have been recalled to Sri Lanka's Twenty20 squad for their three-match tour of India.

Former skipper Mathews has not represented his country in the shortest format since August 2018, while Dhananjaya's most recent T20I appearance came last March. 

However, both are now back in favour as Sri Lanka look to bounce back from three comprehensive defeats in their last T20 series against Australia.

Nuwan Pradeep misses out due to an injury sustained in practice, meaning Kasun Rajitha retains his place in a 16-man squad.

Shehan Jayasuriya, who played the last T20 in Australia, is the other player to be cut from Sri Lanka's previous selection.

The squad will leave for India on Thursday, ahead of the first T20 on Sunday.

India have included fit-again duo Jasprit Bumrah and Shikhar Dhawan in their squads for the upcoming limited-overs games against Sri Lanka and Australia.

Paceman Bumrah has not played for his country since the Test series against West Indies concluded early in September due to a stress fracture of the back.

However, the 26-year-old is set to make his return in the three-match Twenty20 series with Sri Lanka, which takes place early in January.

Bumrah – who was part of India's squad for the 2019 Cricket World Cup - will also be involved when Australia are the visitors for three one-dayers later in the same month.

Dhawan also returns, the opening batsman available after overcoming a leg injury. However, Hardik Pandya is absent as he continues to recover from a back problem.

Rohit Sharma, meanwhile, is rested for the Sri Lanka series, along with fast bowler Mohammed Shami.

The first T20 takes place on January 5 in Guwahati, followed by games in Indore (January 7) and Pune (January 10).

As for the series with Australia, that begins in Mumbai on January 14. Virat Kohli's side will then be in 50-over action in Rajkot three days later, followed by the finale in Bangalore on January 19.

 

India squad for T20 series against Sri Lanka: Virat Kohli (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Sanju Samson, Rishabh Pant (wk), Shivam Dube, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Shardul Thakur, Navdeep Saini, Jasprit Bumrah, Washington Sundar.

India squad for ODI series against Australia: Virat Kohli (capt), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, KL Rahul, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, Rishabh Pant (wk), Shivam Dube, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Mohammed Shami.

Faf du Plessis says there is no room for egos in a new South Africa leadership group as they prepare for the Test series against England.

Mark Boucher was appointed head coach last weekend and has wasted no time in assembling his staff.

Jacques Kallis, Charl Langeveldt and Justin Ontong will assist the former Proteas wicketkeeper-batsman along with Enoch Nkwe.

Graeme Smith took charge as interim team director before bringing in Boucher, with Du Plessis remaining captain amid wholesale changes. 

The South Africa skipper believes he can have a good relationship with Boucher in a new era.

"It's important that you don't have guys with egos. That's the most important thing when it comes to leadership groups, especially if there's a few names thrown into the mix," said the batsman.

"For someone like Mark Boucher who has been coaching for the last three or four years with the Titans, seeing what it is like on the other side, because coaching and playing are two different roles, and you can see his development from a personality point of view.

"He also understands that it's give-and-take. He will come in sometimes and I'll pull away and vice versa and I think that only comes when you are mature enough to understand what a leadership group looks like and are secure in your own position.

"If you are insecure, then you are going to feel like you need to talk all the time because there is another big voice in the team but I don't feel like that at all."

Faf du Plessis says AB de Villiers has already held discussions over a potential South Africa comeback.

De Villiers retired from international cricket in May 2018, stating he had "run out of gas".

New Proteas head coach Mark Boucher said it would be remiss of him not to try to tempt one of South Africa's greatest batsman to have a change of heart, with the T20 World Cup on the horizon next year.

South Africa captain Du Plessis revealed talks with the 35-year-old started a few months ago.

"People want AB to play and I am no different," said Du Plessis, speaking to reporters after playing for Paarl Rocks against Tshwane Spartans in the Mzansi Super League final.

"Those conversations have been happening for two or three months already: What does it look like? How does it look over the next year? And that's where it starts.

"T20 cricket is a different beast, it's not a lot of time away from home. If you are a full campaigner, you have to really get stuck in and spend a lot of time on the road.

"Test cricket now is the most important thing but also the T20 World Cup is not too far away and there isn't a lot - I reckon 20 T20s over the season - which won't be that hard on one to do that.

"Those conversations have already taken place and will continue to before the next T20 series starts."

De Villiers is set to make his Big Bash League debut for Brisbane Heat next month.

New South Africa head coach Mark Boucher may try to convince AB de Villiers he should come out of international retirement.

Interim director of cricket Graeme Smith on Saturday revealed he appointed former wicketkeeper-batsman Boucher to "bring the toughness to turn a young and inexperienced Proteas squad into a battle-ready outfit".

Boucher has not ruled out turning to some older players with plenty of knowhow ahead of the T20 World Cup next year, including maverick 35-year-old batsman De Villiers.

"When you go to a World Cup, you want your best players playing for you," said Boucher, who will be assisted by Enoch Nkwe.

"If I feel he is one of your best players, why wouldn't I want to have a conversation with him? I've only just got into the job, I might have conversations with quite a few players and see where they are."

Boucher added: "You want your best players playing in the World Cup and if there's a couple of issues you need to iron out, with media, with team-mates, and if it's for the good of South Africa, why not, let's do it."

Boucher has no power over selecting players that moved overseas to take up Kolpak deals but would welcome being able to call upon them.

"If I can answer from a coach's perspective, absolutely. If you look at rugby, the way the Springboks won the World Cup, the experience they got from players playing overseas was invaluable." said the 43-year-old, who retired from playing in 2012 due to a serious eye injury.

"From a coach's perspective, I'd love to have the opportunity to deepen and strengthen the squad. It will keep everyone on their toes and will bring more excellence into the game in this country."

Graeme Smith is not looking beyond his initial three-month tenure as South Africa team director after appointing Mark Boucher as Proteas head coach.

Smith wasted no time in getting to work in his temporary role, unveiling Boucher on Saturday and naming Enoch Nkwe - who had been interim team director - as his former team-mate's assistant. 

Ex-South Africa captain Smith this week agreed to take his new role on a short-term basis due to Indian Premier League media commitments.

The 38-year-old says announcing a Test squad to face England rather than considering his long-term future was the priority.

"We will be announcing both the Proteas Test squad and the South Africa A squad to play England on Monday," Smith said.

"The Test squad will then go into immediate camp to prepare for the Test series and some of them will be included in the South Africa A team.

"Aiden Markram is likely to be the only player released for franchise duty in the four-day series as he is in need of match practice after his lengthy injury-enforced absence.

"As far as my vision for the future is concerned, we need to rewind to performance excellence and that will be the focus going forward. Our public want and demand a world-class Proteas side and we must deliver on that.

"As far as my own future is concerned, I face a very busy and at times hectic three months and I am not going to look further ahead than that. I am sure everybody will understand that.

"Because of the time frame the Proteas Test squad is my most immediate concern and we will be rolling out plans for the Proteas Women and the under-19s, who both face important ICC global events next year, in the immediate future."

It was also confirmed on Saturday that Linda Zondi resumes as convener of the national selection panel, while unsurprisingly Faf du Plessis remains Test captain ahead of a four-match series with England on home soil.
 
Meanwhile, ex-Proteas batsman Ashwell Prince will take charge of South Africa A for the upcoming tour match against England.

Former South Africa wicketkeeper Mark Boucher has been appointed as the head coach of the Proteas.

Boucher will be assisted by Enoch Nkwe, who stepped in as interim team director after the departure of Ottis Gibson following a disappointing Cricket World Cup campaign.

Titans head coach Boucher's appointment was confirmed on Saturday, just a few days after Graeme Smith was installed as Cricket South Africa's acting director of cricket.

Linda Zondi resumes as convener of the national selection panel, while unsurprisingly Faf du Plessis remains Test captain ahead of a four-match series with England on home soil.
 
Meanwhile, ex-Proteas batsman Ashwell Prince will take charge of South Africa A for the upcoming tour match against England.
 
Smith, who this week accepted the director of cricket role for an initial three-month period, believes his former team-mate Boucher's experience will be crucial for a young South Africa side.
 
"I have brought Boucher on board because I feel he will bring the toughness to turn a young and inexperienced Proteas squad into a battle-ready outfit. With his experience of a long career as an international cricketer he has first-hand experience of what it takes to succeed in the Test arena," commented Smith.
 
"I have the highest regard for Enoch as well and I want to create a clear path for him to grow into a top international coach.
 
"At the same time there is a clear need to maintain continuity and stability in the Proteas management team and we will be retaining the technical support staff along with Volvo Masubelele continuing as team manager and Justin Ontong as fielding coach.
 
"I will be appointing batting and bowling consultants, and these will be announced in the next couple of days."

The appointment of 43-year-old Boucher, who retired in 2012 due to an eye injury after playing 147 Tests and 295 one-dayers at international level, comes a week after Jacques Faul was named Cricket South Africa's acting chief executive, replacing the suspended Thabang Moroe.

Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer and Jos Buttler are among the England players to be rested for the ODI series against South Africa, but they will return for the Twenty20s.

All-rounder Stokes, paceman Archer, wicketkeeper-batsman Buttler and quick Mark Wood have not been included in a 16-man squad for three ODIs in February.

Seamer Pat Brown, batsman Tom Banton, spinner Matt Parkinson and fast bowler Saqib Mahmood are included for the first time in the 50-over format.

Joe Root is among eight players from England's triumphant Cricket World Cup squad to be selected, but the Test captain will not feature in the T20 series - which comes after the ODIs.

Moeen Ali and Jason Roy were included in both squads after missing the tour of New Zealand. 

There is no place for Banton, Sam Billings, Lewis Gregory, Mahmood and James Vince in a party of 16 for the contests in the shortest format.

England national selector Ed Smith said: "These two squads were selected with an eye on the T20 World Cup in Australia in 2020.

"In the T20s, a number of players who were rested for the successful 3-2 victory in New Zealand return to the squad: Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali and Jason Roy.

"We want to expand the pool of players who can perform successfully for England, while also helping the team to peak for major tournaments."

 

England ODI squad: Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Tom Banton, Pat Brown, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Joe Denly, Chris Jordan, Saqib Mahmood, Dawid Malan, Matt Parkinson, Adil Rashid, Joe Root, Jason Roy, Chris Woakes.

England T20 squad: Eoin Morgan (captain) Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Pat Brown, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Joe Denly, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Matt Parkinson, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, Mark Wood. 

Australia star Glenn Maxwell will make his return to cricket this month and lead Melbourne Stars into the new Big Bash League season.

All-rounder Maxwell announced he would be taking a short break from cricket to address "difficulties" relating to his mental health during Australia's T20I series against Sri Lanka at the end of October.

The Stars, who lost to Melbourne Renegades in the BBL final last year, confirmed the 31-year-old had joined their pre-season camp ahead of their first match in the competition against Brisbane Heat on December 20.

"We're pleased to see Glenn in green and ready to lead our side with a big season ahead," said Stars coach David Hussey.

"He's an incredible talent and a key part of our club but health and wellbeing comes first and it's important that he's been able to take some time away to focus on that."

After an initial absence, Maxwell has been stepping up his schedule, playing club cricket and training with the Victoria Sheffield Shield squad.

He has scored three centuries and had a further seven fifties for Australia in T20 cricket and is also expected to be involved in the Indian Premier League auction later this month.

Maxwell recently told reporters he had felt "mentally and physically ruined" from living out of a suitcase and believed spending four or five years on the road with his cricket commitments had taken its toll.

Former West Indies captain Dwayne Bravo has come out of Twenty20 International retirement at the age of 36.

The all-rounder has not played for the Windies for over three years but is hoping to force his way into the defending champions' squad for the T20 World Cup in Australia next year.

Bravo revealed he would only be available to play international cricket in the shortest format.

He posted on Instagram: "Today I confirm the announcement of my decision to return to international cricket to all my fans and well-wishers all around the world.

"It's no secret that this big announcement has come as a result of the changes made at the administration level.

"For a while now I have been contemplating my return to international cricket and my decision was solidified by these positive changes.

"With the current leadership of coach Phil Simmons and captain Kieron Pollard I'm really excited about this come back and about the chance to be part of something really special.

"We have a lot of young talent on the team as well as cricketers with a wealth of experience such as Pollard, [Lendl] Simmons and Jason Holder and I believe that I can contribute to a positive change.

"With a powerful team such as ours we can definitely rebuild the WI T20 cricket team on and off the field and improve our rankings. I will remain fully committed to WI T20 team once selected."

Bravo took 3-37 in the Windies' dramatic T20 World Cup final win over England in 2016.

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