West Indies pace bowler Sheldon Cottrell did not make his debut for Kings XI Punjab in the team's Indian Premier League (IPL) opener but received a warm reception nonetheless after being given his cap by none other than T20 legend Chris Gayle.

In typically flamboyant style, Gayle welcomed his countryman to the team with a short march and salute.  The celebration style has been made popular by the fast bowler who treats fans to the salute every time that he takes a wicket.

The 31-year-old former soldier was bought for a whopping INR 8.5 crore ($US1,156,239) by Punjab during the IPL 2020 auction.  The player joined the IPL after taking part in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL).  It was not smooth sailing for Kings XI on debut.   Chasing 158, Kings XI needed 13 from the last over bowled by Australia Marcus Stoinis. Mayank Agarwal started the over with a six followed by a couple and a four, thereby equalling the score.

Now, the KL Rahul-led side required just one run to win off three balls. But in a significant twist, Punjab failed to score. The game went to the Super Over where DC successfully defeated KXIP.  Gayle was also not a part of the team picked for the opener.

West Indies batsman Nicholas Pooran will head into the new Indian Premier League (IPL) season in a record-breaking mood as he looks to topple either the fastest 100 or fastest 50 competition record.

Such marks will, however, not be easy to eclipse.  India batsman K.L. Rahul currently holds the record for the fastest 50, achieved in a meagre 14 balls, in 2018.  The fastest century was smacked by no other than legendary West Indian batsman Chris Gayle who reached the mark, in 2013, in just 30 deliveries.

Pooran has, however, looked in good form recently.  Just last month, he cracked 10 sixes in a 45-ball epic worth 100 runs for Guyana Amazon Warriors in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL).

"Any. Fastest fifty or the fastest hundred,” Pooran replied when asked which record, he would like to break in a recent Espn Cricinfo interview.

The player, however, also reflected on his performance in the IPL, which he believes could have been better.

 "I don't think that I've too many great IPL performances. I had a couple of scores last year and the one against the KKR (Kolkata Knight Riders) was good."

The batsman represented Kings XI Punjab in the IPL last season.

 

 

Former Australia bowler Brad Hogg has admitted to being left afraid of the awesome hitting power of Kieron Pollard when the two came face to face in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

After a successful Caribbean Premier League (CPL) campaign, where he captained the Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) to the title, the West Indies skipper is currently preparing for a tenth IPL season with Mumbai Indians.

With 2755 runs and a healthy strike rate of 146.8, displays of Pollards awesome hitting powerful have been plentiful in the IPL.  Hogg, however, got a firsthand demonstration, while playing for the Rajasthan Royal in 2012.

“It was game 12 in the IPL 2012 and we were playing the Mumbai Indians in the Wankhede Stadium. Rayudu and Pollard had been building a partnership and I had been brought into the attack. I was concerned about Pollard’s big muscles and the power with which he hits straight down the ground,” Hogg recalled on his Podcast.

  “I didn’t want to overpitch because I wanted to preserve my body.  So, I just wanted to bowl back of a length and use the wrong-un to beat the outside edge.  Well, I was a little too short and he pulled me through midwicket for four,” he added.

So, I’m going, get those courage pills, go fuller with the wrong-un because you know he is susceptible to it.  So, I did, came in a little fuller, a little overpitched, and Kieron Pollard absolutely loved it.  He got on top of it and smashed it straight back down the ground head height down the wicket.  Instead of coming to me, it went to his mate Rayudu who was backing up. He’s put his bat up to preserve his body. It’s come off the bat, I’m there backtracking because I’m afraid of the power of this shot.  The ball just drops right in front of me, I could have caught it.”

Pollard went on to make a half-century as Mumbai won the game.

West Indies T20 star Chris Gayle could become the first batsman to hit 1000 T20 sixes if his uncanny obsession for clearing the boundary rope continues in the upcoming IPL season.

Currently, the 40-year-old big hitter has tallied a total of 978 sixes in T20 cricket so far.  If he can add another 22 to his 326 IPL sixes, the batsman will repeat the all too familiar habit of writing his name in the T20 cricket record books.

Gayle will be odds on favourite to achieve the feat as well.  In 11 seasons of IPL cricket to date, he has never failed to hit 22 sixes.  Last season he cleared the boundary rope 34 times and 27 times in the previous season.  Should he reach the tally it would only add to an already impressive resume racked up for the format.

Gayle has scored the most runs in T20 cricket (13,296), has the highest score (175), most sixes in an innings (18), and the fastest 100.  He has also hit the most fours with 1,026.

The West Indian is currently in training camp in Dubai, where he is preparing to face the new IPL season with Kings XI Punjab.  The batsman had been slated to take part in the recently concluded Caribbean Premier League (CPL) for beaten finalist, St Lucia Zouks, but pulled out of the competition due to personal reasons.

West Indies all-rounder, Dwayne Bravo, has cautioned against judging a cricketer’s ability and capability to make valuable contributions to teams just based on their age alone.

The much-travelled 36-year-old T20 specialist made history earlier this week after capturing his 500th wicket in the format while competing in the Caribbean Premier League for Trinbago Knight Riders.  As far as the CPL goes, the historic achievement marked his 100th in the competition.

In 12-years, Bravo has played for numerous T20 franchises around the world, including playing a major role in two T20 World Cup titles for the West Indies.  Though not quite at the absolute top of his game these days, he remains an impact player for any team he represents.  With pressure often placed on players to retire, once they approach 40, Bravo has insisted he feels in great shape.

”Anyone who challenges or questions our age – I don’t think anyone of us, our performance has dipped or dropped because of our age,” Bravo recently told EspnCricinfo.

“As a matter of fact, most of us even perform just as good or even better. Age is just a number. Don’t judge a player by his age but judge him by his performance and his ability to continue to play.”

The likes of Chris Gayle, Shoaib Malik, Imran Tahir, and Bravo have all defied age, performing brilliantly for their franchises all over the world.

 

West Indies T20 star Chris Gayle is free to join the Kings XI Punjab training camp, ahead of the new IPL season, after twice testing negative for the coronavirus.

The 41-year-old may have had cause for concern after reports suggested that he attended the celebrity-filled birthday party of sprint star Usain Bolt last week.  Bolt tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday.

"Couple days ago. 1st COVID-19 test...Before travel I need 2 negative test," Gayle's Instagram feed read. In another post, he wrote, "The last one went a bit too far in my nose. Phew. Result was negative."

"I'm going to stay home for 2020... not gonna travel again...nah sah! Tan a mi yard!! Keep the change! Excuse me!" he added.

The player will, however, be subject to more testing once he arrives in the UAE, where the Indian Premier League (IPL) will be staged this year.

On arrival, Gayle will receive a test at the airport, followed by six days of isolation.  During that period, he will be tested on days one, three and five.  Players and all personnel that will be part of this year’s competition must be cleared before they can enter the biosecure bubble.  Gayle had been expected to take part in this season’s Caribbean Premier League (CPL), where he would have represented the St Lucia Zouks, but opted out of the competition.

 

 

 

West Indies fast bowler, Sheldon Cottrell, has admitted he was too nervous to keep watching the IPL draft bidding process, once it landed on his name, but is now eager to give it his all in a first season with Kings XI Punjab.

The Mohali-based franchise splashed out a handsome Rs 8.5 crore (US$1,139,160.65) for the fast bowler who has become known as much for his blistering pace as his Rockstar-style army salute.  During the draft, however, the former army man admits that he had simply hoped to be selected and could not stand to watch for the figure the gavel would eventually rest at.

“I was in a hotel room with Evin Lewis. So, I watched everyone’s auction before me and I was comfortable watching it. But then when my turn came, I was like ‘oh man!’. And when I was heard the first bid on me, I just went to the balcony and I was like ‘yes!’. I didn’t want to see it anymore, I wanted to see just one bid, to be honest. ‘Yes, I am going to play in the IPL!’. But then two minutes after the bidding was still going, I took a peek and Evin Lewis was more excited than I was. I was just nervous. But yes, it was a great feeling. I can never forget that feeling and moment ever in my life,” Cottrell said in a recent interview with WION.

The onset of the COVID-19 epidemic, however, put the player's dream debut on hold.  With the tournament, which will now be held in the United Arab Emirates, scheduled to bowl off next month, Cottrell is shifting into competition mode.

“I am really looking forward to it. I have been waiting for this for all my cricketing career, to tell you the truth. But more eagerly in the past four to five months. I have been ready mentally and physically. Even with the lockdown, I have been keeping myself in shape, ready, just in case the call comes. So I am totally ready and can’t wait to go onto the park with the Kings XI Punjab.”

Former India opening batsman turned cricket pundit Aakash Chopra has excluded West Indies batsman Chris Gayle from an All-time XI IPL squad, opting in favour of a more ‘consistent’ David Warner.

Gayle, the big Windies left-hander, has his name etched on a host of IPL records and accomplishments at the top of the order in the IPL.  The opening batsman has the tournament’s highest individual score (175), most sixes (326), fastest century and the most 100s (6).  The Australian, however, has 222 more runs overall, in one more match than Gayle, and has also scored the most 50s with 44.

While acknowledging Gayle’s explosiveness as an opener, Chopra explains he chose Warner based on consistency.

“My first pick is David Warner, the first overseas player as an opener. You will also think of Chris Gayle, but he is not more consistent than David Warner,” Chopra said on his YouTube channel.

“He [Gayle] has been explosive but Warner is not behind anyone. So, Warner as one of the overseas players. He has been one of the most consistent batsmen ever.”

Mystery spinner and sometimes pinch hitter Sunil Narine was the only West Indian to make Chopra’s XI, with the former opener also finding no place for another big hitter and fan favourite Andre Russell.

 

Aakash Chopra’s All-time IPL XI

  1. David Warner
  2. Rohit Sharma

       3. Virat Kohli

  1. Suresh Raina
  2. AB de Villiers
  3. MS Dhoni
  4. Sunil Narine
  5. Harbhajan Singh

      9. Bhuvneshwar Kumar

  1. Lasith Malinga
  2. Jasprit Bumrah

Former West Indies captain Darren Sammy had every right to be angry with former Sunrisers Hyderabad teammates after their use of a racial slur to refer to him, even in jest, someone’s ‘blackness’ should never be the butt of a joke.

As such, it was a major disappointment to see some fans of the sport, not only accuse the player of seeking attention but also going on to further insultingly claim that he has no right to be upset.

The word used to describe the West Indian, Kalu, by one of its definitions on a list of ethnic slurs is itemized as literally meaning ‘blackie, generally used for black-skinned people in India, can also have racist overtone when referring to Africans.’ 

In a region with a long history of racial discrimination, it's hard to buy the excuse that the use of ‘blackie’ to refer to a black West Indian was used as a term of endearment. In all likelihood, it might have been used mockingly and in jest but why should that be accepted as normal or ok, how can the colour of a person’s skin be a source of even casual, 'harmless' ridicule.

If there were a bunch of roses would it be funny that one rose was redder than the rest?  It sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?  Of course, it does.  Perhaps the reason Sammy is being told to lighten up may come from the fact that some of us, at some deep subconscious level, believe being darker than someone else is somehow misfortune. 

To some Asian and Caribbean societies that have had their mentalities warped by the negative effects of slavery and/or by the oppressive regime of colonialism, perhaps such a thing seems casual or normal. The time is right though to call some of these things what they are, even if we don’t expect them to change, or are not necessarily offended by them. Let us not insist that someone else does not have the right to do so.

After all, we haven’t heard about any nicknames given to Brendan Taylor, Dale Steyn and Aaron Finch some of the white teammates who would have been on the squad with Sammy.  If there was, I stand corrected but would love to hear the light-hearted or playful joke or nicknames for how ‘white’ they were. If it is that jokes about standing out for having different colour skin is funny or is deserving of cuddly nicknames, then it should surely fall on both sides of the colour spectrum.

It is also disingenuous to suggest that because the West Indian captain has referred to himself as black, then it shouldn’t be a problem.  

Surely we don’t mean to associate Sammy’s reference to himself as a proud or confident black man with being called the equivalent of a ‘blackie’.

What would have been more hurtful for the player was the fact that he even laughed along with it, only to find out later on that he was in fact, the subject of the joke.

Coming out in support of Sammy, however, former West Indies teammate Chris Gayle rightly pointed out ‘it’s never too late to fight for the right cause’.  In this case, Sammy is well within his right to demand an apology and he should get one.

 

West Indies T20 star Dwayne Bravo has joined the growing throng of celebrity voices calling for an end to racism, saying all people of colour want is equality.

West Indies star Chris Gayle has come out in defense of former captain Darren Sammy who recently expressed anger and frustration with incidents that might have been deemed racist during his time India Premier League (IPL) club Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Sammy recently accused several of his former teammates of a racist gesture after realizing the nickname he given, ‘kalu’ did not mean what he thought.  The West Indian cricketer has insisted he believes the world meant strong and admits he was hurt that he later called himself by that name and expressed hope that he had not been the butt of a joke.

 By various definitions the term literally means blackie and is on occasion used to describe black-skinned people in India.  Although the incident happened in 2014, Gayle insisted that it was never too late to right a wrong.

It's never too late to fight for the right cause or what you've experienced over the years! So much more to your story, Darren Sammy. Like I said, it's in the game," tweeted Gayle who has played for Kolkata Knight Riders, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kings XI Punjab in the IPL.

 Both Gayle and Sammy have spoken out in support of the racial injustice protests currently sweeping across the globe.

A few cricket fans on social media have criticised former West Indies captain Darren Sammy for what they believe is some amount of hypocrisy, over recent accusations of racism leveled against IPL team Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Earlier this week, Sammy reacted with anger after finding out a word he was referred to by his teammates, during his time at the club, kalu, did not mean what he thought.

"I just learnt what that kalu meant. When I played for Sunrisers in the IPL, they called me and Perera by that name,” Sammy said in a tweet over the weekend.

"I thought it meant strong Stallion. My previous post tells me something different and I am angry."

The West Indies star later explained in the video, posted on Monday, that he was later told the term was not one of endearment.

"I was listening to Hasan Minhaj talking about how some of the people in his culture view or describe black people,” Sammy said.

"Instantly I remembered when I played for Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2013 and 2014, I was being called the exact same word that he described.

"I will be messaging those people - you guys know who you are. I must admit, at the time in which I was being called that, I did not know what it meant.

"Me being a team man, I thought, hey, team-mates are happy, it must be something funny. You can understand my frustration and my anger when it was pointed out to me that it wasn't funny at all, it was degrading.

"So, I'm going to be texting you guys, and asking you guys, when you repeatedly called me that word over and over again to the point that I was even saying that's my name, did you all mean it in any way, shape or form as a degrading word to me.”

Some, however, insisted that the player knew what the word meant after referencing a 2014 tweet in which he called himself ‘Dark Kalu’.  Others insisted the term simply meant black and had no negative connotations, while others pointed to Sammy tweeting ‘Black Bros’ followed by the fire emoji on his IG page.  Others wanted to know why it was not ok for the Ishant Sharma to refer to Sammy as kalu, when he often referred to himself as black.

Interestingly there was no mention as to whether there were skin colour references or nicknames for Dale Steyn, Brendan Taylor or Aaron Finch, white teammates of Sammy who represented the club at the time.