West Indies captain, Jason Holder, has earned the ire of former fastbowler, Winston Benjamin, who has not liked the way he has treated paceman Alzarri Joseph.

According to Benjamin, Joseph has been underutilized by the skipper, making it difficult for him to develop a rhythm and perform at his best.

“It’s not because I’ve worked with this young man, but I think Alzarri has been handled poorly by the captain from day one, not just this series, and just look at how he is being used. Here it is that you have a youngster with raw talent and we don’t have a lot of bowlers with raw talent, but how do you get experience, isn’t it by doing what you have to do?” said Benjamin during an airing of the ‘Good Morning Jojo Sports Show’.

Benjamin also suggested Holder has an issue with Joseph and may not think he is as good as people are purporting.

“If you’re not happy with an individual and you think there is too much talk about this individual and don’t think he’s as good and you want to prove a point, then you give him short spells, bowl him with the old ball when things are tight and critical so he never has a break,” said Benjamin

Benjamin went on to point out that Holder has a responsibility that comes with being captain that, if not managed properly, could be harmful.

“The captain has the ability to make or break a bowler. The time that you give him the ball to bowl, the confidence that you place in him will determine the frame of mind and if you are going to give me two overs and take me off every minute, the first thing I am going to say is that you don’t have any confidence in me so my whole demeanour is now going to change,” said Benjamin.

Benjamin, the mentor of Joseph, was speaking after the first two Tests in the three-match #raisethebat Series currently ongoing in England.

In that first Test, Joseph bowled a total of 31 overs to end with match figures of 2-98, while in the second Test he bowled even less, accounting for 25.1 overs for a match-haul of 1-84. Joseph was dropped in favour of spinner Rahkeem Cornwall for the Third Test which heads into day three on Sunday.

According to Benjamin, there is a certain selfishness in the way Holder rotates his bowlers.

“Now, what I have observed with our captain is that he doesn’t bowl unless things are happening and once things are happening the ball belongs to him and he’s not relinquishing that but as soon as you hit a little rough patch, you go and work this ball for me and as soon as things start happening he comes back in and cleans up. I have seen those things, I’ve been part of those situations many times. I’ve gone through that myself,” he said.

What Joseph needs now, more than anything else, Benjamin went on to explain, is experience.

According to the former fast bowler, who took 61 wickets in 21 Tests for the West Indies, that experience can only be had if the captain allows it.

“You can’t learn experience; you learn skill, you develop skill, but experience is you participating in whatever it is in order to gain the experience.”

The West Indies and England are locked at a game apiece in their three-Test series with England dominating the third.

England, sent into bat scored 369 and after two days of cricket, have the West Indies in a spot of bother, six wickets down for 137.

 

The West Indies performed admirably with the ball and in the field, despite a 162-over-long sojourn thanks to some dogged batting from England after two days of the second #raisethebat Test at Old Trafford on Friday.

England skipper Joe Root gave the signal to declare the innings on 469-9 just about an hour before close of play but before that, the side’s vice-captain, Ben Stokes, 176, and opener Dom Dibley, 120, made the West Indies toil.

Chase, himself, bowled a mammoth 44 overs to claim 5-143, while pacers Kemar Roach, 2-58, Alzarri Joseph and Holder, 1-70, offered support with their wickets.

In reply, the West Indies have already lost the services of John Campbell, after Sam Curran trapped him leg before for 12. Opener Kraigg Brathwaite, 6, and Joseph, the night watchman, 14, are the batsmen at the crease, with the West Indies 32-1.

“Most teams being out there for 160-odd overs you would begin to see the tiredness and the lines and lengths start to go wrong, but we didn’t let it get away from us. We still kept the run rate to under three and that was our aim from the beginning,” said Chase.

A large part of that were the 32 overs bowled by Roach. The pacer went at a miserly 1.76 runs per over even though he didn’t get among the wickets til late in the day when he had Stokes caught behind attempting a reverse sweep, and Woakes caught at slip with a peach of a delivery with the very next ball.

“We didn’t get wickets in clusters or really fast like we did in the first game but we stuck to the game plan and stuck to the task,” said Chase.

The West Indies were in for a surprise after believing they could get the most out of the wicket on day one under gloomy skies and with some moisture from rainy days still affecting the pitch.

“I thought the conditions played a big role in us deciding to bowl first. Outside was very overcast and dark, the lights were on before play even started, and having the success we had in the first game as well, everyone was down for the decision to bowl first. But as I said, the English batters played tremendously so kudos to them,” said Chase.

There were a few instances when things looked to be falling apart for the West Indies toward the end of the England innings.

Roach dropped a catch, pushing his effort over the ropes for six, Shannon Gabriel missed an easy run out, having caught the return but failed to make contact with the stumps, as well as a couple of other misfields.

Those instances, though, Chase explained are bound to occur after such a long time in the field.

We made a few blunders in the field which is going to happen when you’re out there for that long because your body is under tremendous strain but all in all I think it was a good effort from the guys,” said Chase.

Centuries from Dom Sibley and Ben Stokes Friday helped England press home their advantage over the West Indies by tea on day two of the second Test at Old Trafford.

England were 264-3 at the end of a wicketless first session in which the hosts added 57 runs in 26 overs — the kind of rate that took Test cricket back to the old days.

Sibley beat Stokes in their painstaking crawls to the milestone, bringing up his second Test hundred with a straight drive for three runs about 10 minutes before lunch. The opener gave a big fist pump to celebrate his 312-ball century, England's fifth slowest since 1990.

Sibley would hole out to Roston Chase for 120 in the second session as he tried to push the scoring.

Stokes, in the meantime, had stepped on the accelerator after lunch when he went to three figures. By tea, Stokes was 172 and England were 378-5.

Again it was Chase who moved the needle for the West Indies, trapping Ollie Pope for just seven.

At the crease with Stokes is Jos Buttler on 12.

Chase now has figures of 4-106, while the West Indies had to do without Alzarri Joseph, the other wicket-taker, for part of the day after the pacer complained of tri-cep pain. Joseph has figures of 1-70.

Key Windies strike bowler Kemar Roach believes young pace bowler Alzarri Joseph can have a decisive impact against England in the upcoming Test series.

Roach and Joseph are expected to form part of a four-pronged bowling attack that also includes the returning Shannon Gabriel and West Indies captain Jason Holder.  The quartet did well on home soil last year when the team secured a 2-1 win over England and the Wisden trophy.

On that occasion, it was Roach that played a starring role with the ball, but Joseph provided plenty of support with a 10-wicket haul for the series and gave the England batsman plenty to think about.  Ahead of the upcoming series, Roach believes his young teammate is even better this time around.

“Once he sticks to his game plan and has confidence in himself, I don’t see why he can’t do very well in this series,” Roach told members of the media.

“He’s a fantastic talent and we all know what he is capable of,” he added.

“At a young age, he is enthusiastic, very good, and always willing to learn.  He has improved significantly in my eyes and I think he has a great future for the West Indies.”

The 23-year-old Joseph made his debut for the West Indies as a 19-year-old against India in 2016.  He has since then, however, been plagued by injury issues but heads into the England Test in good shape.

“I’m looking forward to playing with him and in years to come, i’ll probably be at home and watching him lead the West Indies bowling attack.  So, I think he has a great future and I’m looking forward to seeing what he can produce.”

West Indies paceman Alzarri Joseph says he is a better bowler today than the one who faced England in England three years ago.

Joseph had a torrid time of the one Test he played in England during the 2017 Wisden Trophy, toiling for 22 overs without a wicket at a cost of 109 runs.

“I think I have made some improvements as a bowler. That was a big learning experience for me, my first time in England. So I have some experience here now so I know now how to bowl in these conditions in my second time around,” said Joseph.

According to Joseph, the key to bowling in England is making small adjustments to the increased movement in the ball.

“The ball does a bit more here in England than in the Caribbean. There are just some slight adjustments. Nothing too big,” the paceman said.

Joseph and the West Indies will be going into the second of their warm-up games ahead of the July 8 start to the battle for the Wisden Trophy.

In his first outing, a three-day encounter earlier this week, Joseph picked up 4-60 as a team captained by Jason Holder drew with another skippered by Kraigg Brathwaite.

Still, Joseph isn’t using the practice games to impress the coach into putting him in the final 11 for the July 8 series start, but rather, is ensuring he is ready if that happens to be the case.

“I see this as an opportunity to get some more overs under my belt, some more time out in the middle to get used to the conditions. I’m just looking to stay consistent. I think I bowled pretty well, so I am just looking to repeat what I did last game,” he said.

Joseph has had some trouble with injuries in recent times but feels he is fitter and stronger and more able to deal with the rigours of Test cricket.

“I put it down to a lot of hours on the training ground trying to improve my strength and my conditioning. Working on bowling consistently for longer periods,” he said of his recovery.

As far as fitting into a four-pronged pace attack which is expected to give England some trouble, Joseph is banking on the element of surprise.

Obviously those three [Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel, JasonHolder] guys have a lot more experience than I do, so more often than not, teams may see me as the weak link,” said Joseph.

“I can use that as an advantage for me because I know my abilities. They might not know but once I get in on the day and get the job done I know I can get on top of any opponent.”

Half-centuries from Kraigg Brathwaite and Shai Hope carried a Brathwaite XI team to 275 all out at stumps on day one of the West Indies’ three-day warm-up match against Jason Holder’s XI at the Emirates, Old Trafford on Tuesday.

West Indies bowling coach Roddy Estwick is confident that the bowling unit’s steady improvement over the past several years means they are now a match for any team in the world.

The Windies are currently preparing for a return to international cricket with the upcoming tour of England, after a globally enforced break due to the coronavirus pandemic.  Ahead of the series, the regional team is likely to be encouraged by the fact that it once again has a full complement of first choice strike bowlers. The likes of Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel, and Alzarri Joseph are all available having recovered from injury.  The regional team’s bowling attack has on occasion shown that they can be a handful for even top batting line-ups.  Against England, in the Caribbean last year, Roach and Holder both claimed four-wicket hauls, with Gabriel and Joseph getting among the wickets as well.  Estwick believes a major difference that has boosted the team's bowling performance in recent years is its level of fitness.

“What we’ve done is to improve our fitness,  now we can sustain pressure,” Estwick said via a news conference.

“If you look back in the 80s, that’s one thing the fast bowlers had, it’s fitness.  Another thing is that they (current players) are now understanding fast bowling.  They have got to that age, Kemar and Shannon they are leading the charge and they are very experienced,” he added.

 “Jason Holder has become a much better Test match bowler in the last two years and Alzarri Joseph is now beginning to show his potential.  So were have four fast bowlers where we can challenge any team in the world.”

The St Kitts & Nevis Patriots have retained or sign seven Caribbean players including Evin Lewis, Fabien Allen and Sheldon Cottrell ahead of the 2020 CPL draft.

Jermaine Blackwood scored most runs but fast bowler Alzarri Joseph topped the batting averages during the recently concluded West Indies Championships.

West Indies batting legend, Brian Lara sees quite a bit of talent in the Windies squads currently hunting for a resurgence in world cricket but there is still work to be done.

Lara, speaking to ESPN Cricinfo, for instance, believes talented 23-year-old Shimron Hetmyer has personal issues like his fitness that he needs to deal with before he is quite ready to take the world by storm.

“People have challenges in different ways and Hetmyer, obviously, is a very talented cricketer, someone who plays all forms of the game for the West Indies. If he is unfit, he has to see it as a personal challenge. Fitness levels are so very important. So if fitness is his problem, I would like to see him face that challenge himself, and he’ll be a much better cricketer,” said Lara.

Lara though, has much more immediate hopes for others in the West Indies squad like Shai Hope, Nicholas Pooran and Alzarri Joseph.

According to the former Windies captain, Pooran understands his role in the team, while the West Indies can find Hope’s stability useful, even in the T20 form of the game, while Joseph is a gamechanger with his ability to take wickets.

“I like Nicholas Pooran, he’s settling down and understanding his responsibilities more now. Shai Hope could play a part in the T20 World Cup, being that solid guy with a great technique that can hold the innings together. Those are the three players I’m really looking forward to seeing. Alzarri Joseph is someone who I look at and say ‘this guy has got potential, he’s a wicket-taker’. He is someone who I’d like to see do well,” said Lara.

Lara, as he has said before, believes the team can learn much from the example of Virat Kohli.

Kohli, he said, has worked hard on his fitness and that, Lara explained, is the perfect lead for Hetmyer to follow.

The Jamaica Scorpions, with a lead of 167 and just four second-innings wickets to get, are on the verge of a big victory against the Leeward Islands Hurricanes heading into the final day of their 2020 West Indies Championship game at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua & Barbuda.

Scores in the game so far, the Leeward Islands Hurricanes, 260 and 134-6, against the Jamaica Scorpions, 561-9 declared.

After a first-innings performance with the ball that restricted the Hurricanes to 260, thanks to Marquino Mindley’s 5-65 and Derval Green’s 4-84.

The Scorpions responded brilliantly courtesy of 248 from discarded West Indies batsman Jermaine Blackwood, who slammed 248, and by opener John Campbell, who scored his fifth first-class century, this time scoring 112.

Nkrumah Bonner, 48, and Jamie Merchant, 50 not out, played good supporting roles in helping the Scorpions rack up 561.

On Saturday, despite Montcin Hodge’s unbeaten 60, Green’s 2-49, Mindley’s 1-39, and 3-12 from Jamie Merchant, left the Hurricanes struggling at 134, still some 167 runs away from making the Scorpions bat again.

There may be some light at the end of the tunnel for the Hurricanes with Alzarri Joseph and Jeremiah Louis yet to bat. Joseph scored 89 in the first innings, while Louis also notched a half century, getting to 75 before he was last man out.

Hayden Walsh Jr is also still at the crease with Hodge on 18.

Ireland captain Andy Balbirnie has admitted that the team is distraught after coming up just short against the Windies in a low-scoring thriller at Kensington Oval on Friday.

In the end, pace bowler Sheldon Cottrell smashed a six off the penultimate over of the match to give the hosts a one-wicket win.  However, at several points during the match the Irish seemed on the verge of securing a rare win over the Windies, with the hosts struggling at 3 for 24, 4 for 76 and 7 for 148 before heroics from Khary Pierre, Alzarri Joseph and Cottrell lifted the team to 242 for 9.

Before Cottrell’s heroics, the big pacer only narrowly just avoided being run out at the bowler’s end.  Cottrell was a long way short of his ground when but was given a reprieve after the third umpire determined Mark Adair failed broke the stumps with his hand before the ball actually hit the wicket.

The drama in the final over was not yet over with Cottrell finding himself stranded three-fourth of the way down the pitch after Hayden Walsh failed to take a second run but luckily, the return throw went to the wrong end and Cottrell, despite slipping on his way back, managed to return to the striker's end safely.

“I can’t really fault guys now, they’re all distraught now actually.  We have thrown everything into the game and come up short and that will definitely haunt us today,”  Balbirnie said.

“We’ve lost a game of cricket, which is usually disappointing…I backed the bowlers to keep their heads, we have skillful enough bowlers.  Garry Wilson came up with an outstanding bit of fielding that almost won us the game but like I said I can’t fault our bowlers.  We have put in two really good efforts with ball and in the field and hopefully, we can come up better in the third ODI.”

 

West Indies paceman Alzarri Joseph is not done with Ireland just yet, even though his Caribbean side took an unassailable 2-0 lead in their three-match Colonial Medical Insurance One-Day International Series being held in the region.

Joseph starred with the ball again but had a vital innings with the bat to help the West Indies pull off a one-wicket victory against Ireland at the Kensington Oval in Barbados on Thursday.

Choosing to bat first for the second game in a row, the first was a five-wicket loss, Ireland showed they can bat in posting a total of 237-9, thanks, in large part, to Paul Stirling’s 63 at the top of the order. In reply, the West Indies barely got over the line, scoring 242-9, getting to the target with one ball to go.

When Ireland batted, Joseph played chief tormentor for the second game in a row, bagging 4-32, to leave the potential for a big innings from the visitors in tatters.

Joseph was backed up by pace teammate, Sheldon Cottrell, who ended with 3-51.

Joseph was also good with the bat, scoring an important 16 before a mistimed pull off a slower ball from Mark Adair, ended his evening.

Despite the win, Joseph sent a subtle warning to the visitors.

“The win means a lot to everyone, but it's not finished, we have one game to go," said Joseph, after he was awarded his second man-of-the-match honour in as many games.

The young paceman said he was relieved to have come away from the game with a win, but for the first time in his fledgeling career, spoke, for the first time, about his batting.

“We wanted to bat sensibly and get to the score. When I went out to bat, there were a lot of balls to get there and I was looking to play every ball on merit,” said Joseph.

While Joseph is excited about his personal performance, he is also aware that there were others who stood up to be counted.

"Relieved about the win but it's a team game, we all put in the effort,” he said.

Joseph bowled a fuller length to the Irish in this game than he did in the first where he bagged 4-34, explaining that he had read something different from this pitch.

“The wicket was a bit more even than the first game, so I assessed early and bowled to the plan.”

When Joseph spoke about the four-wicket haul he enjoyed in the first ODI against Ireland, he alluded to how much work he had put into getting back to international cricket and his captain, Kieron Pollard, confirmed as much on Thursday, saying he was happy for the young man.

“Alzarri Joseph again the pick of the bowlers getting another four-wicket haul. He continues to show again, his hard work is paying off so congratulations to him,” said Pollard.

 

West Indies paceman Alzarri Joseph is happy to have started the year with a bang after his 4-32 helped the West Indies to a dominant performance in the first game of a three-match One-Day International series against Ireland in the Caribbean.

Joseph, who has been in and out of the West Indies team with injury and because of dips in form, led the attack for a West Indies side that would end up five-wicket winners in a game Ireland never got the handle of.

Choosing to bat, Ireland were in early trouble after Joseph removed the openers, Paul Stirling (15) and Gareth Delany (19) before returning to rip the heat of the middle order with the wickets of Kyle O’Brien (4) and Lorcan Tucket (31).

The visitors to the Kensington Oval in Barbados were eventually rolled for just 180 in 46.1 overs before an unbeaten 99 from opener Evin Lewis made victory secure for the West Indies, who scored 184-5 in just 33.2 overs.

"For me, it's a really good start to the year," said Joseph after receiving his man-of-the-match award on Tuesday.

According to Joseph, the coaching of former West Indies fast bowler Winston Benajmin has been instrumental to any improvement he has shown recently.

“Winston Benjamin, whenever I have something going on, I turn to him for advice,” said Joseph.

Despite the influence of Benjamin on his fledgeling career, Joseph is also very aware that there is something else that is key to his development as a consistently good bowler.

"It's just about putting in the hard work in training and doing the yards,” he said.

After the preparation is done, the actual execution may not be that interesting, as his captain, Kieron Pollard, has consistently said.

“Success is boring.”

“I kind of had an idea of how I wanted to bowl today, and I just kept it simple and bowled to my plans," explained Joseph.

Evin Lewis, Shai Hope and Carlos Brathwaite were among seven West Indies players who went unsold during the 2020 IPL Auction in Kolkata, India on Thursday.

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