Cricket West Indies (CWI) chief selector Roger Harper insists he is keeping a watchful eye on the situation surrounding all-rounder Andre Russell after the player decided to spurn the team’s invitation to tour New Zealand because he needed time to ‘clear his head.’   

The 32-year-old’s choice could be looked upon as quite a reasonable one given his recent struggles, particularly in this season’s Indian Premier League (IPL).  According to reports, however, Russell was recently drafted to take part in the Lankan Premier League, which will begin on November 21 and roughly take part at the same time as the team’s tour of New Zealand.

 When pressed on the issue, Harper insisted he could not draw any conclusions and could only rely on what he had been told.

“Andre said he needed some time to clear his head.  He wasn’t handling a situation very well, that’s what he said.  How he chooses to clear his head, I can’t determine that,” Harper told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“I don’t know what decision he has made.  Where he is playing or if he is playing.  I can only look and see what he had told me and then look at what happens subsequently,” he added.

“He is free to make those decisions.  We will look to see what the situation is, how it develops, and take it from there,” Harper said.

“What I will say is that it gives a younger player an opportunity and hopefully that player can make the most of it and really do us proud.”

West Indies batsman Nicholas Pooran will have the chance to show off his Test cricket credentials in upcoming First-Class matches during the tour of New Zealand.

Recently, calls have grown louder for the 25-year-old batsman to be included in the team for the game’s longest format.  Pooran has put together a string of impressive performances in both the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and Indian Premier League (IPL) convincing some, including legendary West Indian batsman Viv Richards, that some of that success can be translated to the four-day format.

The batsman was not picked on the Test squad for next month’s tour but was named as part of the team’s T20 squad.  Despite that, Cricket West Indies (CWI) chief of selectors Roger Harper recently revealed that the matter was being given some serious thought.

“There was a lot of consideration given to Nicholas Pooran; we are still looking at it and I am sure as we move forward, Pooran will have an opportunity as well,” Harper said.

The pair of First-Class matches are expected to take place at the same time as the Test match.  The first Test is scheduled for Hamilton, between December 3-7, with the second booked for Wellington from December 11-15.  Harper indicated that the team will consist of some of the T20 players and Test reserves.

"He is in the T20 squad and he has expressed willingness to play in four-day games that will be available during the tour," Harper said.

So far, Pooran has only played three First-Class matches and he has a top score of 55.  In One Day Internationals (ODIs) he is considered as one of the most talented young batsmen. In 25 matches Pooran has scored 932 runs at an average of 49 with one century and seven fifties. In T20 cricket, he has 14 fifties and one hundred in 146 global matches.

Injury, concerns over safety and a need for a clear head are the reasons behind Evin Lewis, Lendl Simmons and Andre Russell’s decisions not to accept invitations to join the West Indies’ tour of New Zealand starting next month.

The West Indies on Friday named a 14-man squad that is expected to play three T20 Internationals in New Zealand later this year that included Andre Fletcher who was making a return to the squad after a two-year absence as well as Shimron Hetmyer and Darren Bravo. However, it was noticeable that Russell, Lewis and Simmons were absent.

Chief selector Roger Harper explained during a press conference Friday morning that the three batsman gave different reasons why they opted out.

Simmons, he said, decided against travelling after discussions with his family. Lewis, he said, also discussed the issue with family but was also concerned about a injury that needed more time to heal.

Russell, who is currently playing for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League, said he needed time to clear his head after being in quarantine situations in the Caribbean Premier League and IPL competitions.

“Lendl Simmons and Andre Russell are two very experienced T20 players who performed very well on the last tour of Sri Lanka and their absence will surely be noted,” Harper said in a release from CWI.

However, the respective decisions to decline the invitations to tour will not factor in the selection process to future teams, CWI said.

 

West Indies lead selector Roger Harper said West Indies head coach Phil Simmons and coaches in Barbados are to design a programme that they hope will help Shai Hope rediscover his form and live up to his potential.

Jason Holder and Kieron Pollard are to captain West Indies Test and T20 teams, respectively, while Shai Hope has been dropped for the upcoming tour of New Zealand.

Meanwhile, Andre Russell, Lendl Simmons and Evin Lewis have declined invitations to the T20 squad that has been selected for the tour.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) announced a short while ago, the two squads for the proposed tour of New Zealand which will feature three T20 Internationals and two Test matches from November 27 to December 15.

Details of the tour were ratified by CWI’s Board of Directors during a teleconference on Thursday. The Board agreed to the tour in principle, subject to final details on medical and logistical protocols of CWI, New Zealand Cricket and Government of New Zealand.

Left-handed batsmen Darren Bravo and Shimron Hetmyer have been recalled to the Test team, as well as all-rounder Keemo Paul. Bravo’s highest Test score of 218 came at the University Oval in Dunedin in 2013.

“The return of Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer and Keemo Paul will bolster the team, I expect that Darren will solidify the top-order, hopefully making it more productive, while Shimron gives the squad more options in the middle-order and it is another opportunity for him to show how good a player he is.  Keemo provides another wicket taking seam option,” said Chief Selector Roger Harper.

“The Test team has an opportunity to put into practice the learnings from the tour of England earlier this year.  The team has good all-round depth and I expect them be very competitive. New Zealand is a very good team especially in New Zealand, so we need to be on the top of our game.”

A group of reserves will also travel to help prepare the Test squad during the quarantine period and training camp as well as cover for injuries.

Meanwhile, Andre Fletcher, the experienced wicket-keeper/batsman has been named in the T20I squad for the first time since 2018. There is also a maiden call-up in this format for Kyle Mayers, the all-rounder, who performed well in last month’s Caribbean Premier League (CPL).

“Lendl Simmons and Andre Russell are two very experienced T20 players who performed very well on the last tour of Sri Lanka and their absence will surely be noted.  However, Andre Fletcher has another opportunity to show us what he can do and what he brings to the table,” Harper said.

“The T20I Team is now getting back into the groove after a nine-month absence from international competition. Fortunately, a number of players have been involved in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and before that the CPL, so they have had some competitive cricket leading up to this tour. The structure of the tour with the COVID-19 quarantine period, does not give the team any real opportunity for match practice as a team but there are a number of experienced players in the team so, hopefully, they can adapt quickly. 

“In the build-up to the ICC T20 World Cup, every T20I series is an important opportunity to fine tune the team, to get our personnel, our compositions and combinations right. For our players to become more attuned to their roles and the team to have a greater understanding of what works best in each situation. So, this is a very important series for us from that perspective and also in an effort to improve our rankings.”

The T20Is will be the start of an 11-month schedule of matches building up to the ICC T20 World Cup, rescheduled for October 2021 in India. The proposed schedule for this tour of New Zealand has the defending T20 World Cup champions starting at Eden Park in Auckland under lights.

The CWI Selection Panel indicated that this upcoming series will form part of the overall planning towards defending the ICC World T20 title. The panel outlined that they will continue to monitor closely the progress of spin bowler Sunil Narine and all other players in the lead-up to the global event.

 Test Squad:

Jason Holder (captain), Jermaine Blackwood, Kraigg Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Shamarh Brooks, John Campbell, Roston Chase, Rahkeem Cornwall, Shane Dowrich, Shannon Gabriel, Shimron Hetmyer, Chemar Holder, Alzarri Joseph, Keemo Paul and Kemar Roach.

 Test Reserves:

Nkrumah Bonner, Joshua DaSilva, Preston McSween, Shayne Moseley, Raymon Reifer, and Jayden Seales.

 T20 International Squad:

Kieron Pollard (captain), Fabian Allen, Dwayne Bravo, Sheldon Cottrell, Andre Fletcher, Shimron Hetmyer, Brandon King, Kyle Mayers, Rovman Powell, Keemo Paul, Nicholas Pooran, Oshane Thomas, Hayden Walsh Jr, and Kesrick Williams.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) chief of selectors, Roger Harper, expects the team’s batting to once again be placed under the microscope when its tour of New Zealand begins next month.

The team’s batsmen faced plenty of criticism in a 2-1 loss to England, earlier this year, and a quick look at the recent batting statistics suggests they may well deserve it.  For the series, the team averaged close to 27.86 and it was one of the best batting performances in a series in recent years.

In fact, it is the fourth-best for the West Indies’ batsmen among all the series consisting of two or more matches since 2017.  Their highest batting average in a Test series consisting of at least two matches since 2017 is 34.66; which came in Zimbabwe in 2017.  Harper knows they will need to do much better to have a chance against the Blackcaps.

  “New Zealand are very competitive, in their own backyard especially.  They play very well as a team.  They plan well and they execute well. We have to be at the top of our game,” Harper told the Mason and Guest radio show.

“Again, a lot of questions will be asked of our batting and that’s the department that needs to step up for us in order for us to have a real chance of getting a positive result in the series,” he added.

The historic England tour ended on a bit of a sour note for the regional team, not only because of a 2-1 loss to the hosts but the manner of the defeat, which represented somewhat of a collapse by the Jason Holder-led unit. Things began brightly with the team putting in a strong all-around performance to secure a four-wicket win in the first Test.

“I’m looking for the team to build on its performance in England.  Winning away Test matches hasn’t been something we have done consistently.  We won one in England and we were positioned to really draw that series comfortably, if not win it, and I’m looking for us to build on that in New Zealand.”

In recent times, the West Indies have not had the best of fortune in New Zealand, where they have lost three of the last four T20 series, with one draw, while losing four of the last five-Test series again managing one draw.

Convener of selectors, Roger Harper, has revealed that Jason Holder will retain the captaincy of the West Indies team for the coming tour New Zealand.

The West Indies will play two Tests against New Zealand in November and according to Harper, there is no reason for a change in the captaincy.

“We have discussed a lot of things and all of those things (leadership) we discussed but I think at this point we’re not thinking of changing the captaincy at all,” Harper said of Holder.

West Indies have won seven of their last 20 Tests and are eighth in the ICC Test rankings. The team was beaten 2-1 in their three-Test series against England in July.

However, Harper said Holder remained the first choice captain since there was a dearth of leadership qualities not only throughout the ranks of the Test side but across the regional game.

“I looked at a lot of the four-day championships. I had the opportunity to see most of the captains on show and I think that there are some decent captains out there but there is also a lot of improvement that can be made,” he said.

“I think some of our captains need to know when to attack, when not to attack, how to defend and how to put pressure on the opposing batsmen and those sort of things. These are the areas we need to improve on.”

Cricket West Indies’ chief selector Roger Harper said that after discussing the upcoming tour of New Zealand with players, there has been no indication that they are not interested.

Harper was responding to questions regarding the upcoming tour that is to run from November 27 to December 15 on i95FM Sports.

During the three-Test tour of England in July, Shimron Hetmyer, Keemo Paul and Darren Bravo declined invitations over concerns about their safety. However, since the tour was successful and the players returned safely, it is likely that all players selected will take up the chance to travel to New Zealand next month.

“There was a briefing recently where the players were informed of what is taking place, what measures have been put in place, what protocols will obtain during the tour,” Harper said. “And when we look at finalizing the squad, we’ll discuss with them whether they are willing to tour or not. At this point, we’ve not had a definite indication from anyone that they’re not interested.”

Harper revealed that the selection process for the squads will begin sometime next week for the three T20 matches and two Tests the West Indies are scheduled to play.

“There’ll be a T20 International team and, of course, the Test team and as usual now, we’ll be taking some reserve players on tour which will serve to provide backup players if needed during the tour as well as provide practice players,” Harper said.

“What is likely to happen because of scheduling, is the Test team is likely to go out first and have an early camp and some of the T20 players who are in the region will travel with that Test team and the T20 players who are involved in the IPL will join the team later.”

Cricket West Indies chief of selectors Roger Harper has admitted the panel hoped to see more ‘sensible’ batting from players under the microscope at the ongoing Caribbean Premier League (CPL) tournament.

The tournament, being staged in a biosecure atmosphere in Trinidad and Tobago, due to the ongoing threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, has been widely panned for poor batting performances and low scoring.

Statistically, the average score per innings has fallen some 27 runs behind last season, which had an innings average of around 151, as compared to this season’s average of 122.  Perhaps even more instructive, is the fact that in completed matches this season teams have failed to reach double digits on eight occasions as opposed to just once last season.

A lot of speculation has surfaced regarding the reason for the diminished performances to date.  Among them is the fact that players have not played for months, due to the pandemic, and the condition of the pitch.  It has also been suggested that possible quarantine fatigue might be affecting some players who took part in the England series.  It has, however, also been suggested that a lot of it is simply down to irresponsible batting.  To a large extent, Harper concurs.

“I think that yes we expected to have some better cricket.  I think at times a lot of power play was put in and not enough brain play,” Harper told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“We are happy to have some cricket but yes we expected to have some better performances generally, particularly on the batting side of things,” he added.

“Ideally you would like to have pitches more conducive to stroke play from the get-go.  But the batsmen that have generally succeeded have adapted very well.  They have given themselves some time to get in and then capitalised later.  Some players have not gotten that memo as yet, some teams are still trying to score all the runs upfront, when all the runs are scored at the back end.”

 

West Indies chief of selectors Roger Harper believes it is critical for the team’s batsmen to improve their first-class cricket performances and raise the current standards of selection, in order to truly compete at the top level.

Heading into the series, the team’s top batsmen averaged in their 30s, their average performance during the series has not even lived up to that.  The batting average of the Windies’ batsmen in the series was 27.86 and, shockingly, stands out as one of the best for a series in the past several years.

In fact, it is the fourth-best for the team’s batsmen among all the series consisting of two or more matches since 2017.

The team’s highest batting average in a Test series consisting of at least two matches since 2017 is 34.66 and that was against Zimbabwe in 2017.  For Harper, the improvement needed must begin at home, with improved performances in first-class cricket.

“As far as our first-class game is concerned it is important for us to set standards for our players.  I don’t think we can continue to be content with picking players averaging 30 in first-class cricket that has to change,” Harper told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“Our international batsmen have to understand that when they get to our regional competition they have to dominate and average 50 and 55.  That’s what happens in the other international territories.  Players looking to break into the team that’s what they have to be aiming for," he added.

“If we keep rewarding players for mediocrity we are going to get mediocre performances.”

Cricket West Indies Chief Selector Roger Harper is suggesting that the structure of the West Indies team now in England for a three-Test series starting next month, and the expected playing conditions there, precluded the selection of Guyanese spinner Veerasammy Permaul.

Permaul, the 30-year-old slow left-arm orthodox spinner from Guyana, snared 50 wickets during the West Indies Championships that ended in March at an excellent average of 12.98. Speaking with Sportsmax.TV shortly after the season ended, he said he felt that the success he enjoyed would have put him closer to selection to the West Indies senior squad.

“Playing for the West Indies is always my goal every season I play,” he said, “but I wasn’t finding favour with the West Indies selectors. I don’t know how close I am to making the West Indies team, I would think after an excellent season like this one I am not far from playing for the West Indies again.”

However, according to Harper, a fellow Guyanese, Permaul’s success did not get him close enough.

“If you look at the structure of the team; the Test squad and the reserves, you realize that there are not many spinners in the party,” Harper said while speaking on the Mason and Guest talk show in Barbados on Tuesday.

“In England, we looked at the conditions you are likely to face there and the sort of bowlers we will need in the squad and (Rahkeem) Cornwall was selected as a spinner in the squad from his performance in his last Test match.

“Looking at the reserves we thought we would look at a replacement for the positions in the Test team…the panel went for the incumbent who was on the last tour.”

The decision to exclude Permaul did not go down well with Hilbert Foster President of the Berbice Cricket Board in Guyana. Permaul plays his domestic cricket in Berbice.

“The BCB would like to condemn in the strongest possible way the sick treatment being handed out to this outstanding son of Berbice and would like for an explanation to been given on his non-selection," Foster said.

"Has a decision been taken that Permaul's career is over at just 30 years old? Is there another unknown factor for his non-selection? Is he indisciplined? Is he considered just a regional bowler or is he too old?

"We deserve to know as the BCB is, without doubt, the hardest working cricket board in the Caribbean and we would not sit back and watch our cricketers being treated like a second class when they deserve better."

Had Marva Holder been alive she would have been a very proud grandmother.

On Wednesday, her grandson, Chemar Holder, received a call from Cricket West Indies for his first tour with the men’s senior team that will play three Tests in England starting July 8.

For Holder, the leading pace bowler in the West Indies Championships that concluded in March, it was a dream come true.

“It was a good feeling yesterday (Wednesday) when I got the call to know that I was included in the 15. It was something that I was always looking forward to and now I have got the opportunity to represent my country,” he said.

Holder, 22, took 36 wickets at a healthy average of 18.91 during the championships that was ended with two rounds to go because of the Coronavirus pandemic, leaving him just four wickets shy of the target he had set at the start of the season.

Nonetheless, the West Indies selectors rewarded him with a place in the senior squad that is set to play the ‘bio-secure’ Tests series.

“Chemar Holder is an exciting young fast bowling talent who is coming off an excellent domestic First-Class season. He should enjoy bowling in English conditions. He could prove a real asset to the team in England,” said Roger Harper, Cricket West Indies Chief Selector.

Coming from a cricket-loving family, Holder has always enjoyed their support.

“If things are not going well, they all talk to me, tell me to keep my head up, everything is not going to be the same,” he said. “So I always get support from them, especially my grandmother, who passed away. She was always my big supporter.

“She stayed up all night and watched me during the U19 World Cup. Every time I play I remember her so she would be happy to find out this news if she was alive today.”

Marva Holder passed away in 2016 at the age of 72.

 

 

As was reported by Sportsmax.TV on Tuesday, Cricket West Indies' (CWI) selection panel named a 14-man Test squad for the proposed Sandals Tour of England 2020 that features newcomers Chemar Holder and Nkrumah Bonner.

The selectors have also named 11 reserves for the tour that includes fast bowlers Shannon Gabriel and Oshane Thomas.

The 22-year-old Holder – who is not related to captain Jason Holder – was the leading fast bowler in the West Indies Championship with 36 wickets in eight matches at 18.91 each, and was one of the successful ICC U-19 World Cup-winning side in 2016.

Bonner, 31, will be making his Test squad debut after being one of the leading batsmen in the 2020 West Indies Championship with 523 runs in seven matches at an average of 58.11.  He has previously represented the West Indies when he played two T20 Internationals back in 2011 and 2012.

Subject to the final approval of the UK Government, the West Indies will defend the Wisden Trophy in three back-to-back Test matches to be played behind closed doors,  starting on July 8.   The touring party that will all be tested for COVID-19 this week, is scheduled to fly to England on private charters on June 8.

According to CWI, the West Indies squad will live, train and play in a “bio-secure” environment during the seven weeks of the tour, as part of the comprehensive medical and operations plans to ensure player and staff safety.

The bio-secure protocols will restrict movement in and out of the venues, so the selection panel has also named a list of reserve players who will travel to train and help prepare the Test squad and ensure replacements are available in case of any injury.

Chief selector Roger Harper explained that the squad will have the time to get accustomed to the new norm in the UK but feels that they have selected a competitive squad.

“The new cricketing environment will take some getting used to. However, being in England and working together for four weeks before the first Test will give the squad the opportunity to get acclimatized and hopefully, mentally and technically adjusted to the demands of the new environment. Playing in July could be a blessing as the weather is likely to be warmer which will allow the squad more of an opportunity to play its best cricket,” he said.

“I think we have a squad that will be very competitive. More than half of the squad were involved in the victorious Test series against England in the Caribbean last year so they will bring that experience, that knowledge and belief with them and marry it to the enthusiasm and vitality of the newcomers.

“The experience of the players who toured England before in 2017 will also benefit the squad greatly. I expect that the bowling unit will once again provide a serious challenge for England and our batting will have to deliver. England is a tough team when playing in home conditions, however, I think the West Indies has a good chance of retaining the Wisden Trophy. We will have to bat consistently well to do so.”

Harper believes newcomers Holder and Bonner will benefit greatly from the tour.

“Chemar Holder is an exciting young fast bowling talent who is coming off an excellent domestic First-Class season. He should enjoy bowling in English conditions. He could prove a real asset to the team in England,” Harper said.

 “Nkrumah Bonner is an unflappable character. His ability to hold the innings together and bat through tight situations could serve the team very well.

“Jermaine Blackwood returns by sheer weight of performance in the domestic First-Class season. His patience and application were evident and that resulted in much greater consistency which I look forward to him taking back into the Test arena. His experience of playing Test cricket in England should stand him in good stead.”  

The chief selector also shed light on the inclusion of allrounder Raymon Reifer and Shannon Gabriel who is returning after undergoing surgery.

“Raymon Reifer has been around for a while and has proved to be a real competitor with both bat and ball – qualities that will add great value to the team. Shannon Gabriel is working his way back to full match fitness after his ankle operation last year.

“The four weeks leading up to the first Test will be of tremendous benefit to him. A fully fit and firing Shannon adds great potency to the bowling attack, so it is important to have him back at his best.”

West Indies are scheduled to arrive in Manchester on June 9 and will be based in Manchester for a three-week period before moving to Southampton for the first Test at the Ageas Bowl. They will then return to Manchester for the second and third matches at Emirates Old Trafford.  All these matches will be played behind closed doors and are still subject to UK Government approval.

The West Indies are scheduled to play the first Test at Ageas Bowl in Southampton from July 8-12.

The action will then move to the Emirates Old Trafford in Manchester for the second Test from July 16-20 as well as the third Test from July 24-28.

WEST INDIES TEST SQUAD: Jason Holder (Captain), Jermaine Blackwood, Nkrumah Bonner, Kraigg Brathwaite, Shamarh Brooks, John Campbell, Roston Chase, Rahkeem Cornwall, Shane Dowrich, Chemar Holder, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Raymon Reifer, and Kemar Roach.

RESERVE PLAYERS: Sunil Ambris, Joshua Da Silva, Shannon Gabriel, Keon Harding, Kyle Mayers, Preston McSween, Marquino Mindley, Shane Moseley, Anderson Phillip, Oshane Thomas, and Jomel Warrican.

 

 

 

A country blessed with elegant batsmen, picking an all-time best Guyana line-up has been the most difficult of all the countries to date.

While many of the other territories in our all-time West Indies Championship have been blessed with talent throughout, no other country, it seems, has as many talented batsmen on equal footing at the First-Class level.

That is a good problem for a coach to have and if you were coaching this Guyana outfit, it is hardly likely that you come up against a team who could manage a total your line-up could not overhaul.

As usual, we welcome your feedback on whether or not we got this Best XI right. Tell us who we should have kept or who we should not have included, leave a comment under the story on Facebook and we can have a good old-fashioned debate.

 

Guyana’s Best XI

 

 

Roy Fredericks

Roy Fredericks significant ability made him a mainstay in the West Indies side, batting first with another Guyanese opener in Steve Camacho before joining forces with Gordon Greenidge. At the First-Class level, Fredericks was a powerful batsman, relishing the challenge of attacking the most fearsome of pace bowlers of which the West Indies had many. Fredericks, a master of the cut and hook shots, was known at the international level for scoring quick 50s but not converting them to centuries. At the First-Class level, this wasn’t true as Fredericks slammed 40 centuries to his 80 half-centuries on his way to 16,384 career runs at a more-than-respectable average of 45.89. Fredericks would play two more innings after announcing his retirement in 1983, slamming 103 against Trinidad and 217 against Jamaica.

 

First-class career: 1963-1983

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs    HS     Ave       100s    50s    6s      Ct   

223     391      34     16384   250    45.89       40      80      177     0

 

 

Rohan Kanhai (wicketkeeping opener)

With such a dearth of batting in an all-time Guyana line-up, it is interesting that Rohan Kanhai, a lifelong number-three batsman, would be asked to open and wicketkeep, but a stacked middle-order which could take the batting down to eight or nine without much of a shift in quality means Kanhai gets to face the new ball with Fredericks. At the first-class level, Khanai was absolutely brilliant, scoring 86 centuries and 120 half-centuries in a 23-year-long career. Kanhai’s average of 45.89 after 421 games is no small feat, but more than the runs he accumulated, was the way he did it and when he did it. Kanhai was elegance personified but there was real power too. An ESPN Cricinfo article by noted poet, novelist and columnist in Georgetown, Guyana, Ian McDonald, summed it up best.

“You could feel it charge the air around him as he walked to the wicket. I do not know quite how to describe it. It was something that kept the heart beating hard with a special sort of excited fear all through a Kanhai innings, as if something marvellous or terrible or even sacred was about to happen.”

 

First-class career: 1954-1977

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs     HS     Ave    100s    50s      Ct       St

421      675     83     29250    256    49.40    86     120       325      7

 

 

Shivnarine Chanderpaul

The raw emotion of Fredericks’ batting along with the unequalled grace of Kanhai’s may best be tempered with the obdurate efforts of Shivnarine Chanderpaul. Unorthodox technique and all, Chanderpaul could bat for days without bothering himself too much about scoring and this patience made him into a legend of West Indies cricket. But he could get aggressive too when it called for it. On other days, when he was in the mood like the day he faced 478 deliveries against Jamaica in a Red Stripe Cup game at Sabina Park to score an unbeaten 303, he was impossible to remove from the wicket. That determination and those powers of concentration are a big reason behind his 53.17 average after 385 First-Class games. In all, Chanderpaul would notch a whopping 77 centuries and 144 half-centuries during a career lasting 27 years.

 

First-class career: 1991-2018

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs      HS      Ave    100s    50s         

385      626    108    27545     303*   53.17     77     144               

 

Basil Butcher

Very ‘wristy’ was one way to describe Basil Butcher, a batsman who was extremely reliable for both the West Indies and Guyana. His ability to turn deliveries around the ground belied his name, he certainly was no butcher, but rather thrived on the art of batsmanship. He was also notoriously good at blocking out his circumstances and there is a famous story about him opening a letter that told him of his wife’s miscarriage during a match against England at Lord’s. Butcher would go onto the field after reading the letter and while visibly upset, score a match-saving 133. For British Guiana in the first instance, and for Guyana in the second, innings like that became quite a bit of a staple for Butcher. In 169 matches he would score 31 centuries and 54 half-centuries. Australian commentator, without seeing his exploits at the First-Class level, described Butcher as the most difficult of all West Indians to get out. Butcher was also a competent leg spinner, taking 40 wickets in his career at an average of 30.42 and with a strike rate of 54.8.

 

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs     HS     Ave    100s     50s    

169      262    29      11628    209*  49.90     31       54   

 

 

Carl Hooper

Carl Hooper was a cool customer, rarely ever looking troubled at the crease. At the international level, this proved problematic because he would get out and it was rarely understandable how it happened. At the First-Class level though, those lapses of concentration that led to him ending with a 36.46 average were absent. Hooper scored 69 centuries at the First-Class level and was one of the most prolific West Indies batsmen of all time, more than 23,000 runs at an average of 47.68. He had 104 half-centuries to boot in a career that spanned 21 years. In those 21 years, Hooper also turned his arm over a few times, ending his career with 555 wickets at an average of 35.30.

 

First-class career (batting): 1984-2004

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs      HS      Ave      100s    50s         

339      535     52     23034     236*   47.68       69     104                     

 

First-class career (bowling): 1984-2004

Mat    Inns    Balls      Runs      Wkts    BBI     Ave      Econ   SR      5w     10w

339                46464    19595     555      7/93    35.30    2.53    83.7    18        0

 

 

Clive Lloyd

Standing at 6ft 5in, Clive Lloyd was a dominant figure in World Cricket, but as a First-Class cricketer, those 6 feet plus grew to at least 10. Averaging just south of 50, the hard-hitting former West Indies captain was a man for the moment. If you wanted to see Lloyd at his best, put his team in trouble and that would be an almost eventuality. Seventy-nine times Lloyd would pass the three-figure mark including a career-best 242 not out, and he would get to a half-century or more on 172 other occasions.

 

First-class career: 1963-1986

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs     HS      Ave    100s    50s         

490     730      96     31232    242*   49.26     79     172      

 

      

 

Alvin Kallicharran

Alvin Kallicharran could play all the shots in the book, but not only that, he could do it with a certain poise and grace almost unparalleled even today. Usually, with the kind of genius Kallicharran displayed, there comes episodes that may hinder that genius. There was none of that for Kallicharran who averaged 43.64 over the course of 505 first-class games. That average had been coming down as well, because Kallicharran, played long past the point where he was still at his best. He holds the record for the highest number of centuries from a Guyanese bat, the figure standing at 87, and 160 half-centuries to boot, with only Clive Lloyd having scored more. He would end his career with 32,650 first-class runs under his belt, again, another record for a Guyanese batsman.

 

First-class career: 1966-1990

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs      HS      Ave     100s    50s        

505      834     86     32650     243*   43.64      87     160           

 

Colin Croft

Colin Croft’s modus operandi was aggression and you couldn’t tell if he really meant to kill you after a vicious bouncer whizzed by your ear. With his very noticeable lean to the left side of the wicket, Croft would get the ball to angle towards a right-hander quite sharply before it would straighten off the pitch. That movement with pace and bounce was difficult to navigate for even the most proper of batsmen and only the very talented would survive for too long. In just 121 first-class matches, Croft would claim 428 scalps and some of those wickets were literally scalps, at the incredibly low average of 24.59. His strike rate of 49.3 makes him the most dangerous bowler Guyana has ever produced.

 

First-class career: 1971-1982

Mat    Inns     Balls      Wkts   BBI     Ave     Econ   SR       5w     10w

121     21101   10527    428     8/29    24.59   2.99    49.3     17        1

 

        

Roger Harper (allrounder)

With 567 wickets under his belt, Roger Harper is most decidedly a bowling allrounder. His average of 25.97 at a strike rate of 66.7 bares this truth out but he could also bat, having scored 10 centuries and 36 half-centuries in the 200 first-class matches he has played. Harper, like many allrounders, never wanted to be left out of the game and would make his presence felt in the field as well, picking up and throwing down the stumps all in one motion or cutting off a certain boundary. You couldn’t hit it in the air to him either because his buckets for hands would make no mistake. A tall offspinner, Harper turned the ball depending on the pitch he was bowling on but depended more on deception in flight to get him wickets. His height meant he could make a ball look like it was in the air for a long time when it really wasn’t, as well as he could spare in quick yorkers that would leave a batsman strangled for time to get his feet out of the way.

 

First-class career (batting): 1979-1997

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs     HS      Ave    100s    50s         

200      263     43     7480      234    34.00     10      36                      

 

First-class career (bowling): 1979-1997

Mat    Balls      Runs      Wkts    BBI     Ave     Econ    SR      5w     10w

200     37825    14726      567     6/24    25.97   2.33     66.7     28       3

 

 

Reon King

Reon King is quite possibly the most underrated bowler in the history of West Indies cricket, especially after fast-bowling royalty, Michael Holding, said he could neither bat, bowl nor field. King only played in 19 Tests for the West Indies but lost a yard of pace largely because of a niggling heel injury. Before that though, King generated good pace through an effortless run-up that some ironically likened to Holding’s. Before his career came to an end though, King managed 95 first-class games and 293 wickets at an average of 27.48. His figures, had he been able to remain fit may have surprised Holding. His 11 five-wicket hauls and one 10-wicket haul suggests he could turn a match.

 

First-class career: 1995-2007

Mat    Balls    Runs     wkts   BBI     Ave     Econ   SR     5w     10w

95      16120   8053      293    7/82    27.48   2.99    55.0    11       1

 

Lance Gibbs

Lance Gibbs is the most successful spinner in West Indies history, once holding the world record for most number of wickets in Test cricket history. He was no less of a standout in regional cricket. Generating immense spin with his long fingers, Gibbs was also accurate to a fault. More than a thousand batsmen at the first-class level found him impossible to deal with and his strike rate of 27.22 is proof positive of the danger he posed to them. But Gibbs’ ability to single-handedly turn a match was the real gift the spinner possessed, having taken five wickets in an innings on an unbelievable 50 occasions, and laying claim to ten 10-wicket hauls.

 

First-class career: 1953-1975

Mat    Balls    Runs      Wkts   BBI     Ave    Econ   SR      5w    10w

330     78430  27878     1024   8/37    27.22   2.13   76.5     50     10

Leeward Islands captain Kieran Powell has been left disappointed by his non-selection to the provisional 29-man squad for the West Indies tour of England which looks set to go ahead this summer.

Cricket West Indies announced the squad recently in lieu of agreements with the England and Wales Cricket Board about a tour that was scheduled for June but has now been postponed amid plans to make it safe despite the worldwide spread of COVID-19.

The squad had seen the return of pacer Shannon Gabriel, spinner Veerasammy Permaul and middle-order batsman Jermaine Blackwood.

There were also some new faces to the squad like Preston McSween, Paul Palmer, Shane Mosely and Keon Harding.

Powell, who last represented the West Indies on the 2018 tour of Bangladesh, was a notable absentee.

Since Powell’s exclusion from the West Indies set-up, he has scored fairly heavily in regional cricket, a fact that has elicited surprise at his non-selection.

“I haven’t really been as productive as I would like in the four-day format but I still managed to stand out above everyone else who played in the tournament so it’s disheartening for myself to learn that I hadn’t been selected based on the volume of runs I scored,” said Powell.

Despite leading the Caribbean in the Regional Super50 competition with 524 runs last year, Powell was not selected for series against India, Ireland and Sri Lanka.

There had been reports that Powell should have been a replacement for Evin Lewis in the Sri Lanka series. Lewis had failed a fitness test but the reports are suggesting Powell also failed that test.

“I don’t mind not being selected. This is part and parcel of being in West Indies cricket. It has been here long before me and I’m pretty sure it will be long after but communication is the most important thing,” Powell said regarding the failure of the fitness test.

According to Powell, he is yet to hear from CWI what aspects of the test he failed and what he needed to work on.

“Obviously there are more factors to it, which is what I am trying to ascertain. What are those standards, so I can work on whatever I need to work on so I can get my international career back off the ground?” he said.

While not calling names or suggesting this administration inclusive of coaches and board has anything more than the best interest of cricket at heart, Powell did point out that there was a certain stigma that has made his sojourn in West Indies cricket more difficult.

“I remember a coach of the West Indies team telling me that I don’t need to play for the West Indies team because I was financially good and that I should leave it for people who aren’t financially good and I didn’t understand,” said Powell.

According to the elegant left-hander, his finances should not be used to count against him playing for the region.

“No one would look at a LeBron James or a Cristiano Ronaldo, and so many others, that based on all the investments they have that they don’t need to play anymore. Obviously, we know the history of athletes going bankrupt,” he said.

Chief of selectors, Roger Harper, asked about the exclusion of Kieron Pollard, said the issue was one based completely on cricket and that there was no personal feeling toward Powell one way or the other.

“I don’t know of any problem with Powell. When we picked our squad, we picked what we thought was the best squad for those conditions,” said Harper.

The West Indies tour of England will see them fight to retain the Wisden Trophy they took from England last year.

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