West Indies Captain Kieron Pollard is tired of inconsistencies in his side and has, in not so many words, told his top-order batsmen they will have to shape up or ship out.

“So sometimes you might have to make tough decisions in certain scenarios,” said Pollard after a lower-order fightback and some luck gave his team a one-wicket victory over Ireland and a series win in their Colonial Medical Insurance One-Day International series at the Kensington Oval in Barbados on Thursday.

Batting first, Ireland had scored 237-9 from their 50 overs and should have had an uphill task to stave of a series defeat in the second game.

However, there was to be no joy for the West Indies’ powerful top order with only Shai Hope, 25, getting into double figures.

Evin Lewis, 7, Shimron Hetmyer, 6, and Brandon King, 0, all falling cheaply.

It took Nicholas Pooran, 52, and Pollard, 40, to stage a sort of comeback that was finished by lower-order batsmen Khary Pierre (18), Hayden Walsh Jr, 46 not out, Alzarri Joseph (16) and Sheldon Cottrell, 7 not out.

The group would score more than 90 runs among them to take the West Indies over the line in a thriller that ended with the penultimate ball of the West Indies innings inching over the ropes thanks to Cottrell’s lofted cover drive.

Pollard was not happy.

“Thank God for small mercies. It took a total team effort for us to get to 237 so, again, we take the win but again we didn’t tick many of the boxes that we spoke about,” said Pollard.

The skipper did like some things about the game though, praising Alzarri Joseph for his four-wicket haul, Cottrell for his three, and Romario Shepherd for keeping the pressure on, despite it being his debut.

Pollard was also happy with the way the team fought to stay in the game for long enough to benefit from what was a lucky final few deliveries.

“Nicholas [Pooran], he got a pretty decent delivery and you can’t fault him but there were some very soft dismissals in our top order and when you look at it you see where we talk about it and guys keep giving it away,” said Pollard.

“A lot of conversations need to take place. At the end of the day we came up with the victory but again, still not happy,” said Pollard.

“We can’t continue to just give away our hand just like that when you have form and confidence because it will come back to bite you,” said Pollard.

Most egregious of the men who gave it away at the top of the order was, once again, Shimron Hetmyer, who went for a pull shot off the bowling of Barry McCarthy having faced just six balls. There was a little extra bounce and Hetmyer, not yet sure what was happening with the pitch, could only manage to top edge the delivery for a grateful Lorcan Tucker.

According to Pollard, there can be no excuses for the top order, bearing in mind the way the lower order approached the game.

“That innings from young Walsh, new in international cricket, and the mettle that he showed in that partnership with Khary Pierre and then Alzarri Joseph, those couple of fours, these guys sticking in there and I hope each and every one of us, the guys that got out before, watch how the lower order went about it. It was a simple case of occupying the crease and playing high-percentage cricket. These are conversations we are trying to have and if the lower order can do it, then the top order has no excuses,” said the skipper.

“A lot of conversations need to take place. At the end of the day, we came up with the victory but again, still not happy.”

West Indies white-ball cricket captain, Kieron Pollard is not paying attention to the difference in ranking between his side and India who are currently locked at a win apiece in their three-match T20i series.

West Indies batsman Nicholas Pooran, by all accounts, is a very talented player, who could do great things on the international scene, and his 38 not out to help his side to an 8-wicket win over India in the second T20 between the two in Thiruvanthapuram on Sunday is evidence of that fact.

According to Pooran though, his talent isn’t enough to help him do well for the West Indies or even keep his place, and that he has to work hard.

“I work very hard and happy it's finally paid off. I believe in my processes and glad it's coming off,” said Pooran, who came to the crease with the West Indies on 112-2 in chase of India’s 170 in the 14th over.

Six overs later it was all over, as Pooran took over from Lendl Simmons, who scored a classy 67 from 45 deliveries, slamming four boundaries and two sixes in 18 balls to take the West Indies to 173-2

That type of innings, Pooran said, was not difficult, because the hard work has already been done.

“Cricket's all about having fun. I've put in a lot of hard work, so now is time for having fun,” he said.

Pooran explained after the game that places in the middle order of the West Indies side comes at a premium with the type of talent that lies in it but that was good for the team.

“There's a bit of competition in the middle order, but we all want to do good, that's all,” he said.

Earlier Evin Lewis had scored 40 and Shimron Hetmyer, 23, in a bid to chase down India’s 170, which they were restricted to thanks to Hayden Walsh Jr’s 2-28 and Kesrick Williams’ 2-30.

Those bowling figures, along with the start from Lewis and Simmons, meant there was no pressure for Pooran.

“To be honest, we had no pressure. Tried not to panic, tried to build partnerships.”

The West Indies will benefit from the return of Fabian Allen and Denesh Ramdin when they go to India for a T20I series.

Allen is said to be fully recovered from a hamstring strain which put him out of the West Indies 2-1 loss to Afghanistan in Lucknow, India recently.

Ramdin played part of the series as well but had to be replaced by Shai Hope after he also went down due to hamstring issues.

The Kieron Pollard-led squad has retained newcomers Hayden Walsh Jr. and Brandon King, with an eye firmly on the T20 World Cup next year.

Andre Russell continues to be missing from both the ODI and T20I squads although the allrounder, plagued with knee injuries, was fit enough to play in the Abu Dhabi T10 recently.

According to West Indies coach Phil Simmons, who marked his return to the post with successful series against Afghanistan, India is expected to provide more of a challenge than did Afghanistan and is a good way to continue to test the ‘newbies’ in lieu of the T20 World next year.

"We have three matches in each format, so we wanted to give each squad a chance to compete against India," said Simmons.

"No disrespect to Afghanistan, but facing India will be a more difficult series. Our players really got the hang of things, with the 3-0 series win in the ODIs [against Afghanistan], and I believe we will move from strength to strength," he added.

According to Simmons, the battle for places in the T20i squad will heat up and everybody should be given a fair chance to show what they are made of.

"In the T20s this will be another chance for them to play and develop, and again, with no disrespect to Afghanistan, this should be a stronger T20 country and we will look to see how they perform against India. The next ICC T20 World Cup is in Australia and the one after that is here in India so there is a lot of preparation to be done for first for Australia. We have given the players here a chance in this series and we know we have players outside who may be coming in later on as well, so it's good to give those here another opportunity."

The T20I series begins in Hyderabad on December 6. There are two further T20Is, in Thiruvananthapuram and Mumbai, before three ODIs in Chennai, Vizag and Cuttack.

T20I squad: Fabian Allen, Sheldon Cottrell, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder, Brandon King, Evin Lewis, Keemo Paul, Khary Pierre, Kieron Pollard (capt), Nicholas Pooran, Denesh Ramdin, Sherfane Rutherford, Lendl Simmons, Hayden Walsh Jr, Kesrick Williams

ODI squad: Sunil Ambris, Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Brandon King, Evin Lewis, Keemo Paul, Khary Pierre, Kieron Pollard (capt), Nicholas Pooran, Romario Shepherd, Hayden Walsh Jr.

Former West Indies captain and legendary batsman, Sir Vivian Richards, believes Hayden Walsh Jr, can reap more success than did the world’s foremost T20 bowler at one time,Samuel Badree.

Badree, once known as the number-one leg spinner in T20 cricket, came into the West Indies line-up in similar fashion to Walsh Jr.

Walsh claimed 22 wickets in the recently concluded Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL), to lead all wickettakers and earn a debut callup to the West Indies.

Sir Viv, just like Walsh Jr is from Antigua and believes the achievement, especially coming from one of the smaller islands, is remarkable, saying he wished the Leeward Islands had picked him more often.

“I think at that particular point, that particular achievement of him getting the most wickets as a spinner and to be coming from these parts, I am wondering what would have happened earlier for him not to have been utilized by the Leewards a little bit more,” Sir Viv pondered.

Walsh Jr’s limited selection in the Leeward Islands side is something Sir Viv believes begs bigger questions about the way the team is selected and their ability to spot talent.

“And so, all these questions need to be asked but I think that certainly, he has thrown his hands in the ring for the next T20 World Cup. I personally believe that he has done well enough to be considered and to be part of that particular unit,” Sir Viv had said before Walsh Jr’s selection to te West Indies’ white ball squads.

Making the comparison to Badree, Sir Viv said:

“And especially with this last performance in terms of being on the winning team with the most wickets, this is how I think Samuel Badree came into contention for the West Indies … I think he came in and he had some success … I don’t think he was as successful as what Hayden Walsh would have [been].”

According to Sir Viv, Walsh Jr can offer more to the West Indies than did Badree because he has other attributes.

To be fair as well, too, he brings so much as well, especially as a spinner; his athleticism in the field. Everything is so brilliant about him, you need some sort of an individual like that for those sort of tournaments,” he said.

Few would have heard of the 27-year-old Antiguan-American before the start of this season but it's safe to say his whirlwind leg break bowling took the competition by storm.  His 22 wickets in 9 matches representing a tournament-high that earned him the Hero Player of the Tournament award.

Twice this season the spinner proved completely unplayable for the opposition, claiming five wickets against the Trinbago Knight Riders and four against the St Lucia Zouks to help catapult the then-struggling team into the playoffs. 

Eventually, it set the stage for one of the biggest upsets in the competition's history with a win over the previously unbeaten Guyana Amazon Warriors in the final.  

Perhaps even fewer would remember the bowler’s forgettable CPL debut season for St Kitts and Nevis Patriots in 2018 where his two overs in just two matches went for a costly 54, with no wickets to show. 

For Walsh, the gentle placing of the CPL crown on a head once plagued with uneasiness, surely once again proved the old adage, the price of success is hard work.

Windies chairman of selectors Roger Harper believes newly drafted spinner Hayden Walsh Jr’s ability to take wickets could be a missing component for the regional team.

The Windies ineffectiveness with the ball during the middle overs of One Day Internationals has been an issue that has come to the fore in recent years.  The problem was recently laid bare at the ICC World Cup. 

Making good use of pace bowlers to open the innings, the team often managed to prise out openers with quick deliveries and variable bounce.  The Windies would often lose any early momentum, however, with an inability to keep taking wickets. 

On the back of a successful CPL campaign, where he claimed 22 wickets with crafty spin bowling, Harper believes the bowler could eventually make a big difference.  

“During CPL he excited everyone with his performances and given the direction white-ball cricket has gone, we realize the need for bowlers capable of taking wickets,” Harper said.

“Walsh has proven he is a wicket-taker and I think he will have a great impact on the team, especially in middle overs so that we won’t be drifting through but can keep control of games.”

The Antiguan-American Walsh previously represented the United States but is now clear to represent the West Indies.

A visibly emotional Hayden Walsh Jr took time to reflect on the merits of hard work and the immense contribution of his late father as he basked in the glory of a first and in many ways unexpected Caribbean Premier League (CPL) title with the Barbados Tridents.

Few would have heard of the 27-year-old Antiguan-American before the start of this season but it's safe to say his whirlwind leg break bowling took the competition by storm.  His 22 wickets in 9 matches representing a tournament-high that earned him the Hero Player of the Tournament award. 

Twice this season the spinner proved completely unplayable for the opposition, claiming five wickets against the Trinbago Knightriders and four against the St Lucia Zouks to help catapult the team into the then-struggling team into the playoffs.  Eventually, it set the stage for one of the biggest upsets in the competition's history with a win over the previously unbeaten Guyana Amazon Warriors in the final.   

Perhaps even fewer would remember the bowler’s forgettable CPL debut season for St Kitts and Nevis Patriots in 2018 where his two overs in just two matches went for a costly 54, with no wickets to show.  For Walsh, the gentle placing of the CPL crown on a head once plagued with uneasiness, surely once again proved the old adage, the price of success is hard work.

“I have no words right now.  I’ve worked so hard and all I have to do is give the almighty God thanks for bringing me this far,” Walsh Jr said after the match.

“I’ve been working for years.  I’ve been getting tips all over but I think this is the time it has started to pay off,” he added.

Despite certainly having a claim to being Leeward islands cricketing royalty, his uncle Vaughn Walsh a pace bowler and father Hayden, a gritty opener who played for the region in the 90s, the journey has been a long one for the young Walsh.

He came through the ranks but often failed to find favour with the selectors of the sub-regional group.  The spinner, as a result, went on to represent the United States at the senior level.  The player was forced to overcome perhaps his biggest obstacle when his father, who introduced him to the game and served as his mentor for several years, died of a heart attack in 2010.

“I think about him every day,” a teary-eyed Walsh said.

For his breakout exploits, the bowler was named the Hero Player of the Tournament. 

 

The Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) have announced the team of the tournament. This has been selected by Tom Moody, Hero CPL’s Director – International Cricket, along with the commentary team – Mark Butcher, Danny Morrison, Dirk Nannes, Ian Bishop and Daren Ganga.

The team will be captained by Shoaib Malik (313 runs at 78.25) who successfully led the Guyana Amazon Warriors to a record 10 victories in the group stages to leave his team unbeaten in the tournament thus far. He is joined by fellow Amazon Warriors, Brandon King (453 runs at 56.62) and Imran Tahir (15 wickets at 11.53) who have both played an integral part in the Guyana franchise’s record breaking tournament.

The sole representative from the Jamaica Tallawahs is Glenn Phillips (374 runs at 37.40) who will also be the wicket keeper for the team. Phillips was the leading light for the Tallawahs who had a tricky season, but the Kiwi ‘keeper-batsman did brilliantly at the top of the order.

The Trinbago Knight Riders have two players in the team, Lendl Simmons and Kieron Pollard. Simmons (429 runs at 42.90) was a late replacement in the Knight Riders squad but has done a superb job at the top or the order as his team made the playoffs once again. Pollard (349 runs at 58.16 and 6 wickets at 29.66) stepped up to the captaincy after Dwayne Bravo pulled out of the tournament through injury and has led from the front with both bat and ball.

The Barbados Tridents have three players who make the team. Jason Holder (14 wickets at 23.07) and Harry Gurney (10 wickets at 16.3) both getting the nod. Holder and Gurney have been superb with the new ball for the Tridents as their team finished second in the points table. The other member of the Tridents who is selected is Hayden Walsh Jr (21 wickets a 12.19) who has claimed five wickets in one innings and four in another as the USA spinner had a breakout season.

The St Kitts & Nevis Patriots have representation from Fabian Allen (218 runs at 27.25) and Sheldon Cottrell (12 wickets at 19.25). Allen has scored his runs at a remarkable strike rate of 177.23 during the 2019 Hero CPL and has also been one of the fielders of the tournament. Cottrell has been saluting his way to success once again as he starred with the new ball and at the death for the Patriots.

The Head Coach of the year is Johan Botha who has taken Guyana Amazon Warriors into the CPL final with 11 straight wins. The 12th and 13th men are also from Amazon Warriors, with Chris Green (13 wickets at 20) and Chandrapaul Hemraj (298 runs at 27.09, 5 wickets at 17.2) making up the rest of the squad.

 

HERO CPL TEAM OF THE TOURNAMENT

 

  1. Lendl Simmons – Trinbago Knight Riders
  2. Brandon King – Guyana Amazon Warriors
  3. Glenn Phillips * (WK) – Jamaica Tallawahs
  4. Shoaib Malik * (C) – Guyana Amazon Warriors
  5. Fabian Allen – St Kitts & Nevis Patriots
  6. Kieron Pollard – Trinbago Knight Riders
  7. Jason Holder – Barbados Tridents
  8. Hayden Walsh Jr – Barbados Tridents
  9. Imran Tahir *– Guyana Amazon Warriors
  10. Harry Gurney * – Barbados Tridents
  11. Sheldon Cottrell – St Kitts & Nevis Patriots

 

12th man: Chris Green * – Guyana Amazon Warriors

13th man: Chandrapaul Hemraj – Guyana Amazon Warriors

Head Coach: Johan Botha – Guyana Amazon Warriors

 

* Overseas player

A truly sensational display of sustained hitting from JP Duminy and a ridiculously good bowling effort from Hayden Walsh Jr allowed Barbados Tridents to finally end their eight-match losing home run in the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) in fine style with a 63-run defeat of defending champions Trinbago Knight Riders.

Duminy scored the fastest ever Hero CPL half-century before Walsh Jr took three wickets in four balls on his way to the first five-wicket haul of the season as the Knight Riders came up well short in their pursuit of the Tridents’ 192/5.

The Tridents had been given a solid platform by openers Johnson Charles and Jonathan Carter, both men passing 50 in a first-wicket stand worth 110.

But they took almost 14 overs getting those runs and, when both openers and then Alex Hales all fell in quick succession, the Tridents innings appeared to be falling away.

Duminy had other ideas, blasting his way to 65 from just 20 balls – his 50 coming up in a Hero CPL record of just 15 – to propel his team to a winning total

Perhaps the most astonishing element of Duminy’s innings is that he had only 3 to his name after the first five balls he faced.

From that moment he faced 15 further deliveries. The 15th dismissed him. The second was bunted down the ground for a scampered two. The final balls of the 18th and 19th overs were deliberately knocked away for singles to retain the strike. The other 11 were sent to or over the boundary. There weren’t many mishits in there. Short balls, full balls, slower balls. All got the same treatment. The seven sixes all cleared the boundary with something to spare.

Ali Khan’s third over went for 24 – his three-over spell cost him 51 in all; James Neesham’s only over cost 25. In all, 76 came from the last five overs of the innings as the innings was brought dramatically back to life after the disappointment of the three quick wickets.

Carter’s half-century, his first in the Hero CPL, will certainly not live as long in the memory as Duminy’s but having been promoted up the order he did the job asked of him in providing a base from which his team-mates could launch with his 46-ball 51.

Charles was more fluent in his 58 from 39, striking the ball crisply and collecting eight fours.

But ultimately this was an innings about one man, even if he was only actually batting for around a quarter of it.

And he wasn’t finished. The Knight Riders had made a lightning start to their chase of 193 for victory despite losing openers Lendl Simmons and Sunil Narine to Harry Gurney and Jason Holder respectively.

Colin Munro had flown to 23 from 12 when a rare miscue sent the ball high into the sky but over the backpedaling Holder at mid-off.

While everyone else watched to see whether Holder could get back for a catch, Duminy screeched fully 40 yards around the boundary edge before diving and coming up with the ball to complete a stunning catch.

Walsh Jr then started his own contribution to the Tridents’ success as he bowled Denesh Ramdin for 11 from 14 balls.

Pollard, Neesham and Seekkuge all fell in his second over to leave the Knight Riders reeling at 83/7 and out of the contest, while Walsh Jr had the amazing figures of 2-0-4-4.

Darren Bravo took a four and a six off the leg-spinner to slightly dent those figures, but Walsh Jr was not to be denied for long. He teased Bravo into a miscue outside off stump to secure his fifth wicket and spark wild celebrations around the Kensington Oval.

For all Walsh Jr’s brilliance, it was still fitting that the final word should go to Duminy and sure enough he finished off a remarkable night’s work by dismissing Khary Pierre and Ali Khan to wrap up a thumping win that lifts the Tridents above St Lucia Zouks into the final playoff spot.

The Knight Riders remain second despite having now gone three matches without a victory after winning their first four.

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