Former West Indies batsman Suruj Ragoonath insists that he would leave both veteran players Chris Gayle and Sunil Narine out of a squad for the T20 World Cup, but very for different reasons.

With the World Cup just a few months away, the debate has raged on regarding the most effective composition of the squad.  Experienced players like Gayle, Narine, and Dwayne Bravo, who all have world titles under their belts, remain eligible for selection.  Some have called for the selection panel to look past the players.

Recently, the selection of veteran players Fidel Edwards and Gayle, for the West Indies series against Sri Lanka, set off vigorous debate around the region.  While some endorsed the decision the Cricket West Indies (CWI) selection panel’s decision to add experience to the World Cup squad.  Some argued that Gayle being 41 and Edwards 39, the CWI should be invested in selecting promising youth players.

 In the meantime, top spinner Narine is only 32 but has not appeared for the West Indies since 2019 and prior to that had not played consistently.

“I don’t think that Sunil Narine is interested in going to World Cup, to be honest, given the challenges he had,” Ragoonath told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“Dwayne Bravo is showing that he is still capable and Chris Gayle for me is a big question mark.  For the first time, I’ve seen Chris Gayle actually dive around in a match.  The last game they played (Punjab King’s XI).  He looks a little fitter, but at the same time, I am not inclined to taking Chris Gayle to a World Cup at this stage,” he added.

Gayle struggled to make an impact against Sri Lanka in March, scoring just 29 runs in three matches.  Since the start of this season’s IPL, the batsman has been solid, if not spectacular for Punjab Kings XI after scoring 165 runs from seven matches.

“Of the three, I would love to have Sunil Narine on my side, but psychologically Sunil is not half the player he used to be and so Bravo is the only one I would give serious consideration to.”

Former Indian cricketer, Pragyan Ojha, believes the Punjab Kings XI are heaping unnecessary pressure onto batsmen Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran, due to the team's approach to structuring its innings.

Pooran has struggled to make an impact in six matches so far this season, managing just a high score of 19 and failing to score on three occasions.  Gayle has had more of a mixed performance, scoring 40 plus on two occasions but also had a series of low scores, including a golden duck in the team’s last encounter against Kolkata Knightriders.

Ojha, however, believes that the team’s top two KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal might be thinking about scoring too quickly and posting too big a target too early in the innings.

"They should think about 160-170 at first. But if you start thinking from the beginning that we have a very good batting line-up with Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran and we should aim 180-190 then you are putting undue pressure on (them),” Ojha told Cricbuzz.

"You can only think about a big score once you have got a good start. So you have to change your plans accordingly. You can't think that you have big names and they will always score runs. You have the look at the kind of form they are in too. Can't plan based on past glory," Ojha added.

 West Indies Indies T20 star, Chris Gayle, insists he is feeling fit and at the top of his game after a decisive performance for Punjab Kings XI, in a win against defending champions Mumbai Indians, in the Indian Premier Leauge (IPL) on Friday.

Gayle made a steady 43 from 35 deliveries, and along with KL Rahul, who added 60 from 52, anchored Kings XI to an 8-wicket win. 

The batsman’s innings was, however, uncharacteristically devoid of massive slogs over the boundary as he hit only two sixes.  The 41-year-old did gather quite a few runs darting for quick singles, which has not been a part of his game in recent years.

The veteran batsman had come under criticism in recent days following a string of low scores and a 1-3 start for Punjab.  Gayle, however, insists he is feeling in excellent shape and was happy for the result.

"I am feeling very good, a bit relieved. We wanted this win badly, playing against the defending champions was always going to be tough. They played four games, to actually get this win is fantastic for the team and the Universe Boss as well.

“I was looking pretty good, running between the wickets, I am feeling fit and good about myself. I am enjoying it, I am looking after my body, getting a lot of massages so I can move freely, humidity here in Chennai also kind of lets the blood flow so I am on top of my game," Gayle told the official IPL website.

Former Indian bowler Ajit Agarkar believes an out of sorts Chris Gayle creates a tricky situation for Punjab Kings XI who may be hesitant to drop the player.

The 41-year-old game began the season on a good note, scoring 40 from 28 balls in the first match, a victory against Rajasthan Royals.  The veteran batsman has struggled to connect since then, scoring 10, 11, and 15 in the team’s next three games.  The Kings have lost all three for a 1-3 start to the season.

Agarkar believes at this age, the Kings must weigh closely the benefits of keeping Gayle in the line-up, if he is not scoring the required runs.

"I don't know, he started well. He got 40 in the first game. The challenge with Chris Gayle is that he did not play the first few games last season and then came back, and he was as good as ever. So, I can understand it is a difficult decision to sit him out," Agarkar told Espncricinfo.

"If he is it and when he has done well, you always want to accommodate him. How long can you go on if he is not firing, especially at this stage of his career?" he asked.

Last season, Gaye was left out of the line-up for the team’s first 6 games but returned to play a pivotal role in their run for a place in the play-offs, following another slow start.  Gayle is not the only West Indian struggling at the moment, however, as Nicholas Pooran, a standout performer last season has only scored 9 runs in fours games, including three ducks.

"Their problem is that Nicholas Pooran is not scoring run either, who they must have had high hopes from. It's a tricky one. I don't know how long they can keep playing Chris Gayle if he is not getting runs.”

Chris Gayle was among the runs as the Punjab Kings defeated the Rajasthan Royals by four runs in a thriller in Mumbai today.

Former West Indies captain, Daren Sammy, insists veteran batsman Chris Gayle would be a sure pick in his squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup as the player’s experience and explosive ability remain invaluable.

The recent decision by Cricket West Indies (CWI) to recall the batsman for the recent series against Sri Lanka was met with criticism in some quarters, with some believing the selectors should have opted for younger talent.  The player's struggles in the series did little to dispel that notion.

Sammy, the two-time T20 World Cup-winning captain, however, does not agree.

“After watching Chris Gayle play in the Pakistan Super League, the IPL late last year, and looking at his career, I think he should definitely go to the World Cup,” Sammy told Line and Length on SportsMax.

“Whether he plays in the final XI is a matter for the guys on tour because you will have Evin (Lewis) and (Lendl) Simmons, but Chris’ experience in India and what he brings to the team, I would have him with me,” he added.

“Chris is a batting leader! He has over 20 hundreds in T20s and the next person after that has eight or nine and his experience cannot be underrated so I would have him with me. He knows the big occasion and you bet he can still turn it on…. I will go with him,” said Sammy from his home in St. Lucia.

Gayle has played 31 T20s for the West Indies and scored two centuries and 13 half-centuries, with an average of 31.24 and a strike rate of 140.81. At the last World Cup, he scored an unbeaten 100 in the first match against England but ended the series with 113 runs from four innings.

Sammy, who was at the helm when the team won the T20 World Cup in Sri Lanka, in 2012, versus the hosts, and in 2016 against England, thinks that the West Indies can win again if they improve their bowling attack.

“We have the batting firepower, but we are missing two x-factor bowlers. Fidel is back and brings some pace, but I think our best chance will be chasing totals. We don’t have that Sunil Narine type of bowler and, to be honest, that’s the missing link. We can win but we need a couple of bowlers to put pressure on for eight overs,” explained Sammy.

 

Former West Indies wicketkeeper and noted administrator, Jackie Hendriks, has expressed surprise at the selection of veteran batsman Chris Gayle for the T20 series against Sri Lanka, indicating he believes the batsman could be past it at this point.

The selection of the veteran pair of Gayle and fast bowler Fidel Edwards sparked heated discussions around the region, with some insisting that the players should have been overlooked for younger talent.  The 41-year-old Gayle was recalled to the regional squad for the first time in two years, along with the 39-year-old Edwards, who had not played for the team since 2012.

Neither player had a particularly strong series but have been playing in T20 leagues around the globe since last year, Gayle notably having a strong showing at the Indian Premier League (IPL), while Edwards showed up well for the Abu Dhabi T10 tournament.  For the Sri Lanka series, Gayle averaged 9 over three matches, with a high score of 16 in the second T20 match.  Edwards, in the meantime, took one wicket over the first two games but did not play the third.

Hendriks, while expressing confidence in the regional selectors, admits he was somewhat taken aback by both selections.

 “I was a little surprised that Chris was brought into the team at this stage,” said Hendriks, a former Jamaica Cricket Association president, told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“I wondered what the reason was but of course he has been a tremendous player over the years but it’s just his age in life I was a little surprised,” he added.

“I don’t know what things went on in their minds. I don’t know. I certainly would’ve thought he was a little past it at this stage and having youngsters around, I would’ve gone for them. But of course, selectors are on the spot and they know what they’re doing. “[Edwards was] another question mark in my books. I would’ve thought that was a little stretch but again, the selectors must’ve had some good reason for that.”

 West Indies and Jamaica star batsman, Chris Gayle, has admitted to some amount of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy and would not want to take the medication if given a choice.

With the disease having a devastating impact on normal life over the last year, countries around the globe have already launched various campaigns to stop the spread of COVID-19 in a bid to halt its devastating impact on those most vulnerable to its effects. 

According to research, the majority of the vaccines have efficacy rates between 80 and 100 percent when it comes to preventing serious illness and deaths for those who contract the virus.  Despite the evidence of clinical trials, however, some have questioned the safety of the vaccines.  Last week, Jamaican World Champion Yohan Blake stated that he would rather not compete at the Olympics than take the vaccine.

“If I don’t have to take it, I wouldn’t want to take it. I wouldn’t want to take any vaccine at all, to be honest, because I am naturally living fine. So, I don’t want anything being injected inside of me,” Gayle told the Antigua Radio program Good Morning Jojo Radio Show.

So far, no sport has mandated that athletes looking to compete at any event be vaccinated.  Gayle, however, believes that in the future it could be a requirement for those wishing to compete.

“Down the road, there is a possibility they are going to slow you down from your earnings and say if you don’t take it you can’t do this or you can’t do that and you can’t earn. So, it’s a situation where they might hold you ransom at some stage, but for me, if I don’t have to take it, I don’t want to,” he added.

“I am sure that at some stage they are going to hold everybody ransom by saying you can’t travel, you can’t play in a particular tournament or you can’t fly on a particular airline, but I am not up for it. I’ve been tested maybe over 60 times, 70 times since I’ve been flying and playing and being in a bubble and knock wood because I haven’t caught the Covid.”

West Indies T20 captain, Kieron Pollard, insists the team will resist the impulse to chop and change without giving players enough opportunity to showcase their ability.

The regional team ending up beating Sri Lanka in the first T20 by a fairly comfortable margin, in the end, but things did not always look so straightforward.  Overall, a few of the players did not have the expected impact straight out of the gate for the Windies.  This was particularly the case with the batting line-up where three players, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran and Fabian Allen were dismissed for ducks.

In pursuit of the modest target of 131 for 9, the Windies were rocked in the third over by an Akila Dananjaya spell, which saw the dismissal of Evin Lewis, Gayle, and Pooran.  Gayle was batting in the unfamiliar third spot, which worked well during this season’s IPL campaign.

Pollard is adamant he is, however, in no hurry to change things around, particularly after one game.  In fact, he believes the practice is one that has hurt the team in the past.

“If we are honest with ourselves, that’s one of the problems that has plagued us over the years, the constant chopping and changing when things don’t go right after one or two games,” Pollard told members of the media via a Zoom press conference on Thursday.

“We don’t expect miracles from people.  Sometimes you have to give them a chance and opportunities to fulfil what they are trying to achieve and after a period of time you can make a judgment call,” he added.

“After one game I don’t think we are even thinking of doing any changes or anything like that.  We need to get away from the fact that if a guy doesn’t perform, not exclusively using Chris for example, but any individual that has played one or two games, thinking they are not good enough and just be looking to discard them."

West Indies star batsman, Chris Gayle, has admitted he contemplated retirement from international cricket but could not turn down the call to don the colours of the regional team once again.

Gayle, now 41, had initially announced his intention to retire following the 2019 ICC World Cup.  The player then targeted the One Day International series against India, shortly after the World Cup, as possibly his final hurrah.  Following a standing ovation received following the series, the batsman seemed to have a change of heart.

Two years later, however, the batsman has found himself in fine form and, on the back of an outstanding IPL campaign for Punjab Kings, could once again prove a major force for the West Indies with the ICC World T20 tournament on the horizon.  As such, the player was recalled to the T20 squad as the team begins a series of matches that will lead up to defending its title in India.

“Back then I thought about actually walking away from the game and people said, no, don’t do it, stay and play for as long as possible.  I decided I would actually continue playing the game of cricket,” Gayle told members of the media via a Zoom press conference on Tuesday.

“I wasn’t looking down this road.  I thought of playing franchise cricket and exploiting my talent to entertain the people as much as possible.  When I got the call and they asked if I was willing and interested, I said yes. Once I’m playing for the West Indies that’s where my heart is.  I’m never going to turn down anything pertaining to West Indies cricket,” he added.

“I decided I was full-on, I was actually in a tournament and they said ‘you know Chris this is the structure we have in place, so we need you to be a part of it, we need you to fit into what is basically set for the team, so I basically agreed to it.  I came back from Pakistan to be part of the set-up leading into the World Cup.”   

West Indies T20 captain, Kieron Pollard, has pointed to the fact that the senior players recalled to the team have consistently proven their value with high-level performances, which has not always been the case with younger players who got the opportunity.

The recent recall of veteran players Chris Gayle and Fidel Edwards, who are 41 and 39, respectively, caused consternation in some quarters.  Some argue the selection of such senior players may have taken opportunities away from younger players looking to secure places in the World Cup squad.

Pollard, however, insists that several players have been given an opportunity in recent years and have failed to consistently provide what the team has needed.  With the reigning World Champions currently ranked at 10th in the ICC rankings and the World Cup just a few months away, Pollard believes it’s time to prioritise winning games.

“Some of the guys have gotten opportunities when we started off in 2019, I believe, and it hasn’t produced the results that we might have wanted on a consistent basis.  Guys were still in and out for non-cricketing reasons and stuff like that,” Pollard told members of the media via a Zoom press conference on Tuesday.

“These guys (Gayle and Edwards) continue to perform despite their age and one thing that has been said throughout is that the door is open to each and every individual, once you show that you can perform at the highest level,” he added.

“We need to start winning cricket matches, we need to win series…so we have to strike a balance.  We are the defending champions of the T20 World Cup and we have to get into that winning habit.  If it’s the case that we have a couple of extra senior guys to start that process, so be it.”

 

 

 

West Indies and Jamaica batsman, Chris Gayle, has expressed concern regarding the state of cricket in his home country.

In its most recent campaign, the team crashed out of the Regional Super50 competition after being comprehensively beaten in the semi-finals by eventual champions Trinidad and Tobago.  The result ended yet another poor run of form in the competition, which the team has not won since the 2011-2012 season.  In fact, since that time Jamaica has only managed just one final appearance.

Jamaica’s poor form isn’t limited to just the Super50 competition.  In the regional four-day competition, despite having 12 titles, the team also not won since the 2011-2012 season.  Jamaica’s franchise has fared better in the shortest format, the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) T20 but even then has not won that competition since 2016 when Gayle himself played a crucial role in lifting the trophy.  For his part, the batsman does not believe the country has been making full use of its talent pool.

 “Jamaica cricket needs help.  We need help and there is a lot of talent there and we don’t really want to lose them.  We have lost a lot of talent in Jamaica already,” Gayle said.

“We need to try and keep the players happy and then we can try and rebuild Jamaica cricket as well,” he added.

“I will offer whatever (help) I can offer in terms of Jamaica cricket, but a lot of structure needs to be put in place.”

 

West Indies talismanic batsman, Chris Gayle, has stressed the massive importance of talented players like Shimron Hetmyer to the regional set-up and vowed to speak to the young batsman regarding staying focused on achieving his full potential.

The 24-year-old Hetmyer will miss the upcoming T20 and One Day International (ODI) matches against Sri Lanka after disqualifying himself from selection because of a failed fitness test.  The player, who recently took part in the Regional Super50 competition, will return to the team for the Test squad after subsequently passing another fitness test, along with Roston Chase.

Of concern, however, is the fact that Hetmyer also failed a fitness test administered at around the same time last year and a result missed out on some matches of an away series to the same opponents.

“It’s very unfortunate that he is out of the squad for fitness reasons but there is a protocol and things put in place.  It is beyond my control but it is up to him if he really wants to represent the West Indies and to really help West Indies cricket because he is such a talent,” Gayle told members of the media via a Zoom press conference on Monday.

“West Indies cricket needs that type of talent, it’s just unfortunate and hopefully things work out and these guys take it seriously.  These guys are the future.  A guy like Hetmyer, with his talent, he is the future.  We need him, we definitely need his talent,” he added.

“We don’t want to lose such a talent, so if I see Hetmyer I will try and have a talk with him.  I’ve spoken to him before and I will do so if I get the chance again.”

 

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 trending issues and I will share them with you. Welcome to #INCASEYOUMISSEDIT the 2021 edition with Mariah

 Big names in Windies T20 and ODI squads; execution will be the key.

Last Friday, West Indies named T20I and ODI squads as they get ready for the upcoming series against Sri Lanka beginning on March 3 in Antigua. These matches will serve as preparation for the team that hopes to successfully defend the ICC T20 World Cup title in India later this year. On paper, the team looks strong. However, teamwork will be among the keys to success for Kieron Pollard’s men.

The recall of Chris Gayle and Fidel Edwards did not come as a surprise as the selectors believe both still have a lot to offer. The 41-year-old Gayle last played for the Windies in 2019 when he scored 72 against India in Port of Spain, Trinidad.

The Universe Boss is heading into the series against Sri Lanka in good form. Before he returned to the Caribbean, Gayle had scores of 39 and 68, playing for the Quetta Gladiators against the Karachi Kings and Lahore Qualanders, respectively.

Gayle’s experience will prove invaluable to the West Indies having scored 13,691 runs in T20I with 22 hundreds. His influence in the dressing room is also expected to be a significant factor.

Edwards returns to the team after an absence of nine years but at 39, he is still able to generate 90mph deliveries that CWI will hope he uses to add to his 26 T20I scalps.

Experience aside, the selectors have included a number of younger players who are expecting to make their debuts during the series. Guyana’s Kevin Sinclair and Trinidad’s Akeal Hosein impressed with recent performances in Bangladesh and during the CG Insurance Super 50 competition.

Both players played in the finals of the Super 50 tournament on which the 21-year-old Sinclair picked up five wickets and scored 47 runs for the Guyana Jaguars. Hosein impressed for the Trinidad Red Force taking eight wickets at a miserly economy rate of 4.18.

The mixture of youth and experience will need a strong leader and the West Indies are blessed with that in the form of Kieron Pollard, who in recent months, won the CPL and the Super50 and had a leadership role in the Mumbai Indians winning the IPL late last year.

His wisdom, experience and will to win will be key to any success the Windies have against the Sri Lankans and future series.

“Winning is the only thing,” he said after claiming the Super50 title on Saturday. It is imperative his team believes that as well.

 

 Red Force too hot to handle!

The Trinidad and Tobago Red Force won all seven of their matches to lift the Sir Clive Lloyd Trophy on Saturday after smashing the Guyana Jaguars by 152 runs in the final at the Coolidge Cricket Ground.

The aptly named Red Force scored an imposing 362-5 and then restricted Jaguars to 210 from 43.5 overs.

It was an all-around team effort that resulted in the domination of a strong Jaguars team.

Lendl Simmons saved his best performance with the bat for the final scoring 146, the highest score in a 50-over final and he was supported by Evin Lewis’ 57, 47 from Dwayne Bravo and a quick-fire 39 from Nicholas Pooran.

Their bowlers, led by Ravi Rampaul’s 4-52 and Jayden Seales, who picked up 3-40 and Anderson Phillip 2-40 decimated the opponent’s batting notwithstanding a courageous unbeaten 97 from Raymon Reifer.

The team’s dominance came down to the consistency of each member. Jason Mohammed was the highest run-scorer with 327. He scored a century (122) and averaged an excellent 81.75 for the tournament. Lewis, who had a high score of 107, was the second-highest run-scorer with 318 at an average of 45.42.

Simmons was also among the top-five run-scorer for the 2020 champions and was the only batsman with more than one century in the tournament.

The veteran Ravi Rampaul’s 14 wickets were the second-best haul for the tournament, just three behind fellow finalist Gudakesh Motie’s 17 for the Jaguars.  However, all their bowlers contributed to the team’s success this season.

Leave the NBA logo as it is else change it to Michael Jordan!

The NBA logo is a timeless classic, a representation of love and respect for the game. It remains a silhouette of Lakers great Jerry West since 1969.

However, in recent times, Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving has called for it to be changed to an image of late Laker great Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash in January 2020, and whose contributions to the game cannot be accurately quantified.

“Gotta Happen, idc what anyone says,” Irving said on Instagram.

Irving’s call has been endorsed by Bryant’s widow Vanessa.

 While I understand the call for the change, it must be noted the G.O.A.T discussion in the NBA starts and ends with Michael Jordan, a person who Kobe admired greatly.  Having played 15 seasons and winning six championships with the Bulls, he should be considered as the logo replacement.

Apart from the statistics which are compelling - 11 All-Star teams, 5 MVP awards, 10 scoring titles – Jordan’s killer instinct and obsession with winning are qualities that embody the NBA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cricket West Indies (CWI) chief of selectors, Roger Harper, hopes the selection of veteran players like Chris Gayle and Fidel Edwards gives young players a good idea of the kind of standard required for selection heading into the team's World Cup title defense later this year.

The talismanic batsman, Gayle, who is 41-years-old, and Edwards, who is 39, were both selected as part of the T20I squad ahead of the team’s upcoming series against Sri Lanka.

 Despite being past the age many other players have retired from the sport, both men have expressed an interest in representing the team at the T20 World Cup, in India, in October.  On the back of an impressive IPL campaign, for Kings XI Punjab, few would have issues with Gayle suiting up.  Edwards would have been more of a question mark, however, as he was not available for selection, due to a Kolpak contract, for the last eight years.  The bowler recently showed he is still more than capable of hostile bowling at express pace.  In the recent Abu Dhabi T10 league final, Edwards was seen hurrying young in-form compatriot Nicholas Pooran.  According to Harper, despite the player’s age, he still brings exceptional quality to the team.

“I would hope it (selection) sends a message to the young players of the standards they need to attain,” Harper told members of the media via an online Zoom press conference.

“You would recall in some of the T20 games, for example in New Zealand, us losing some games and where we were deficient,” he added.

“I would hope the message that is sent is that these are the standards we need to attain and the sort of players that we need to have in these sort of teams; guys who will work harder at developing their skills to get to that level.”

 

 

 

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