Vasbert Drakes says the pace of former sprinter Chemar Holder can make a fierce West Indies attack even more potent in the Test series against England.

Uncapped 22-year-old Holder was named in the touring party following some outstanding domestic performances for Barbados Pride in the West Indies Championship.

The Barbadian gave a demonstration of his huge potential back in 2016 when the Windies won the Under-19 Cricket World Cup and could make his senior debut during a three-match series in England, which starts behind closed doors at the Ageas Bowl next Wednesday.

Former West Indies fast bowler and assistant coach Drakes has helped to nurture Holder's talent and thinks he can cause England problems if he is given an opportunity.

Drakes told Stats Perform News: "I've known Chemar from a young age, he went to school with my son, Dominic, and they have come through the system together and been part of the group of West Indies Emerging Players.

"I have done some one-to-one coaching work with him and he's got some good attributes, good skill sets. He's a hard worker and used to be a sprinter, he was a 400 metres runner and also competed in the 1500 metres.

"When he gets it right, he's consistently in the high 80s [miles per hour]. The only way to find out if he's ready is to throw him in at the deep end against England.

"He would have played against England A team last year and would have gone to England the year before that as part of the Emerging Players group, so he would have had the experience of bowling in those conditions."

Kemar Roach was among 12 members of the Windies squad who Drakes worked with before they flew out to England for the first international cricket since the coronavirus pandemic brought the vast majority of sport to a halt.

Roach was man of the series when West Indies won a Test series against England in the Caribbean last year and Drakes, who was assistant coach for that 2-1 triumph, says he can make a big impact again.

Asked if Roach will be the spearhead of the attack, he replied: "Absolutely. One of the things he did well last year was he took early wickets.

"Without giving away too much methodology in how to deconstruct the opposition gameplan and counter them, Kemar Roach has the ability to take early wickets, releasing the ball from wide of the crease and moving away from batsmen - particularly the right-handers.

"His track record against left-handers is phenomenal and England have some left-handers. Kemar and Jason [captain Holder], they set the tone along with [Alzarri] Joseph and Shannon Gabriel can be a threat with his pace and uncertainty he creates.

"It will be interesting to see if that combination can work as it did in the Caribbean."

England all-rounder Sam Curran will return to training this weekend after testing negative for COVID-19.

Curran pulled out of an intra-squad practice match in Southampton, which ends on Friday, as he was suffering from sickness and diarrhoea.

The 22-year-old was tested for coronavirus on Thursday and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) revealed he has been given the all-clear.

Curran has been self-isolating in his hotel room at the Ageas Bowl but is set to re-join his team-mates ahead of the first Test against West Indies, which starts next Wednesday.

He will be tested for COVID-19 again on Sunday along with the rest of the England team and management group.

Regional cricket analyst Fazeer Mohammed has taken exception to recent comments made by Windies coach Roddy Estwick, who recently compared the current bowling unit to the famed West Indies pace attack of the past.

The bowling unit of Kemar Roach, Jason Holder and Shannon Gabriel and on occasion Alzarri Joseph has done well for the West Indies in recent series, leading an excited Estwick's claim that the West Indies were ‘beginning to get blessed again with fast bowlers’ and that 'the current crop was the best group since the great days.’

While agreeing that the unit did possess some amount of talent, Mohammed insisted Estwick’s comparison was a bit over the top.

“I think there is too much being made about the quality of our fast bowling.  Roddy Estwick made the point that this is our best fast bowling unit since the great era, that is complete nonsense,” Mohammed told the Mason and Guest Radio program.

“These four fast bowlers are really good and show tremendous talent, but I think Roddy is getting a little carried away, there is no way this quartet compares with the like of Roberts, Malcolm, Croft, and Garner,” he added.

In addition to the afore mention trio, however, the current crop is also able to call on the likes of bowlers Chemar Holder and O’shane Thomas who have plenty of pace, if not the necessary experience.

Kyle Mayers missed out on a century on the final day of the West Indies’ four-day intra-squad match at the Emirates Old Trafford in Manchester, running out of partners, while Shannon Gabriel picked up four wickets in a low-scoring draw.

With the first day and a part of the second a wash-out, the West Indies intra-squad game came down to a one-inning affair and by necessity, a draw.

There were two points of interest with the bat, none of them coming from the usual suspects.

On day three Joshua Da Silva scored an unbeaten 133 as Jason Holder’s XI recovered from 120-5 on Tuesday to post 272 against the bowling of Preston McSween, 3-28, and Chemar Holder, 2-35.

There was also a wicket apiece for Oshane Thomas, 1-24, Keon Harding, 1-69, Markino Mindley, 1-32, Anderson Phillip, 1-16, and Rahkeem Cornwall, 1-32.

Da Silva formed good partnerships with Raymon Reifer, who scored 22, and Alzarri Joseph, who scored 38. On Wednesday, only Sunil Ambris, with 25 managed a score in the double digits.

In fact, the next best scorer for Holder’s XI, who faced a team led by his vice-captain Kraigg Brathwaite, was the extras column, with 43 runs going a-begging.

In reply, Brathwaite’s XI scored a paltry 178 all out, the only bright element of the innings coming from Kyle Mayers, who scored an unbeaten 74, running out of partners before he could get to three figures.

But Mayers failure to get to three figures wasn't for a lack of effort. He was savage, scoring his 74 from just 56 deliveries in which he clubbed three sixes and nine fours.

Shannon Gabriel was the pick of the bowlers for Holder’s XI, showing himself to be somewhere back to full fitness with an impressive bowling performance of 4-42.

Kemar Roach, 2-25, Holder, 1-21, Joseph, 2-64, and Reifer, 1-21, also got in on the action.

The West Indies are in preparation mode for the #RaisetheBat series against England, with the first match of a three-Test affair slated to begin on July 8 at the Rose Bowl in South Hampton.

The team will then play in two games at their Old Trafford base on July 16 and 24.

West Indies fast bowler Shannon Gabriel has been included in the Test squad for the upcoming series against England.

Initially, the 32-year-old quick was included as a reserve, having recovered from an ankle injury in the past several months.  With no competitive cricket available to the player during the COVID-19 pandemic, doubts had surfaced regarding his fitness.

Gabriel has, however, proven himself match fit over the last couple of weeks and is expected to return to the bowling line-up.  In the warm-up matches, the bowler has claimed eight wickets at an average of just over 15.

Thursday was the last day of the West Indies' second and final warm-up game.  The team’s coach Phil Simmons returned to the bench after his latest negative coronavirus test.

West Indies captain Jason Holder, who has struggled for form with the bat, tried to gain more time in the middle by promoting himself up the order to open the batting for his team, against the Kraigg Brathwaite XI.  The all-rounder could only manage two off 15 deliveries, for a total of just seven runs in the warm-up games.

Gabriel was much better as he took four for 42 as Brathwaite's XI were bowled out for 178 in a drawn encounter, after resuming on 112 for seven.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) yesterday paid tribute to Sir Everton Weekes, the legendary West Indies batsman and pioneer. Sir Everton was one of the most significant figures in the history of the sport – as a batsman of the highest quality, he played alongside other forefathers of West Indies cricket for a decade at the international level.

He was part of the famous Three Ws – alongside Sir Frank Worrell and Sir Clyde Walcott. He was also a highly respected coach, a knowledgeable analyst on the game for the regional and international media, as well as a former Team Manager, Match Referee for the International Cricket Council, and a member of the ICC Hall of Fame.

He passed away on Wednesday at the age of 95.

Ricky Skerritt, President of CWI said: “On behalf of CWI I want to publicly express our deepest sympathy to the family of this remarkable Iconic sportsman and gentleman, who passed away earlier today [yesterday]. I also send condolences to former CWI President Sir Wes Hall, and his family, who were all extremely close to Sir Everton. I never had the opportunity to see Sir Everton bat, but I had the opportunity to get to know him a little in his later years. I learned about his incredible career by reading about him and looking at old videos when I could. His performance stats were excellent as he set tremendously high standards for his time.

Sir Everton was, therefore, a most amazing pioneer in West Indies cricket; a gentleman and quite simply a wonderful human being. I got to spend a couple of hours with him last year just sitting at his home and talking with him, at a time when he was recovering from a serious illness. I have never known a more humble and gentle human being. I grew to appreciate his sense of humour and his love of people and witnessed the love and respect that so many held for him in Barbados and across the entire region. I am so privileged to have known this amazing West Indian Legend and gentleman. Sir Everton Weekes was truly one of the founding fathers of West Indies cricket excellence. May his soul rest in eternal peace.”

Born, Everton DeCourcey Weekes, he was a member of the famous Empire Club in Barbados, which was also home to several other legends of the game including Sir Frank Worrell, Sir Charlie Griffith and Sir Conrad Hunte.

He made his Test debut at age 22 against England at Kensington Oval in 1948 under the captaincy of George Headley. His final match was against Pakistan in Trinidad a decade later.

In his career, Sir Everton played 48 Test matches and made 4455 runs at an average of 58.61 per innings. This included a world record five consecutive centuries in 1948 – scores of 141 against England in Jamaica, followed by scores of 128, 194, 162 and 101 in India. In his next innings, he made 90.

His average of 58.61 runs means Sir Everton is one of two West Indies greats, along with George Headley, in the top 10 Test averages of all time. This average has been bettered by only four players in history to have scored more than 4000 runs. In all first-class cricket he played 152 matches and scored 12010 runs at an average of 55.34 with a top score of 304 not out.

West Indies interim batting coach Floyd Reifer has dismissed concerns about the team’s batting line-up, ahead of the Test series against England, insisting the unit is more than ready to adapt to difficult conditions.

Despite the team widely being acknowledged as having a potent bowling line-up heading into the series, many have raised concerns about how the Windies will fare at the crease against experienced English bowlers and potentially damp, cold conditions.

The absence of the talented duo of Shimron Hetmyer and Darren Bravo, who opted out of the tour for health reasons, have done little to assuage those fears but Reifer, who was recently returned to the coaching unit, insists the team’s hard work so far gives them a good chance of success for the upcoming series.

“I keep hearing everyone saying they are concerned about our batting.  We have some experienced guys here and the boys have been working really hard,” Brathwaite told the Mason and Guest Radio program.

“We understand the English conditions now. Young Hope and Brathwaite who were here before are now experienced players…” he added.

“What we have been working on is playing the ball late, in the Caribbean, our batters tend to go fairly hard at the ball but we are working on playing the ball as late as possible, and trying to leave alone as many deliveries as possible on top of the off-stump.  It’s important when the ball is moving around you try to play as little as possible and rotate the strike.  We have been having a lot of discussion on battling their spells and building innings.”

The Caribbean team will not need to look far for an example of its batting line-up struggling in English conditions than the first Test of the tour three years ago.  After England made 514, the West Indies were dismissed for 168 and 137.

England all-rounder Sam Curran was tested for COVID-19 on Thursday after pulling out of the team's practice match in Southampton.

Curran was taken ill with sickness and diarrhoea overnight and has been self-isolating in his room at the Ageas Bowl.

A statement released by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) reported Curran was feeling better as the day progressed but would play no further part in the intra-squad warm-up game being played between sides captained by Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler.

Curran scored 15 not out as Buttler's team posted 287-5 on Wednesday.

England are training and preparing at their Ageas Bowl "bubble" for the first of three behind-closed-doors Tests against West Indies, a series that begins next week.

Stokes will captain the hosts as skipper Joe Root attends the birth of his second child, with Curran's participation now a major doubt.

A left-arm swing bowler who also provides valuable lower-order runs, Curran played all six of England's away Tests in New Zealand and South Africa that comprised their 2019-20 winter schedule.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has offered its condolences following the death of former West Indies batsman Everton Weekes at the age of 95.

In a statement, ICC Chief Executive Manu Sawhney remembered ICC Cricket Hall of Famer Weekes as a top batsman of his era and one whose performances will be long remembered.

“Weekes is a distinguished name in cricket and he was an integral member of one of the best Test sides ever. We all know of the ‘The Three Ws’ that comprised Frank Worrell, Clyde Walcott and Weekes, and the reputation they had during the 1940s and 50s.

“His attacking batting contributed in making the West Indies such an attractive side to watch. To be in that team itself was such a big honour, but there were times when Weekes really stood apart with his distinct style. On behalf of everyone at the ICC, I send our sincere condolences to his family and friends,” said Sawhney.

Weekes played 48 Test matches from 1947 to 1958, aggregating 4,455 runs at an average of 58.61. Known to show quick footwork and fluent stroke-play, Weekes slammed 15 centuries, which included a record five in consecutive innings in 1948.

One of those centuries came at home against England and four on a tour of India. He almost got a sixth consecutive century but was unlucky to be run out for 90 at Chennai.

Weekes’s cousin Bam Bam Weekes and son David Murray played international cricket while a few other relatives played first-class cricket.

Weekes officiated as an ICC match referee in three Tests and four One Day Internationals, all in 1994.

England will wear the Black Lives Matter logo on their shirts during the upcoming Test series against West Indies.

The Windies face England in behind closed doors games over the course of July, starting next Wednesday.

As a show of solidarity with the movement campaigning for racial equality, England's players will have "Black Lives Matter" displayed on the collar of their shirts throughout the three-match rubber after agreeing to do so with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

The emblem was designed by Alisha Hosannah, the partner of Watford captain Troy Deeney, and has been added to Premier League shirts for all games since the resumption of elite football in England last month.

West Indies' players will wear an identical logo on their shirts.

"It is important to show solidarity to the black community and to raise much-needed awareness around the topics of equality and justice," said England captain Joe Root, who will miss the first Test in Southampton due to the birth of his second child.

"The England players and management are unified in this approach and will use the platform of international cricket to fully support the objective of eradicating racial prejudice wherever it exists.

"There has to be equal opportunity and equal rights for all. We hope by making this stance we can play our part in standing shoulder-to-shoulder as a team and we hope that by continuing to raise awareness we can move towards a society in which the colour of your skin and your background has no bearing on your opportunities.

"It is very simple, we believe there is no room for racism or any form of discrimination, anywhere."

 

Heading into the final day of their four-day intra-squad match at the Emirates Old Trafford in Manchester, the West Indies have continued to find the going tough with the bat, with the exception of wicketkeeper-batsman Joshua Da Silva.

Da Silva scored an unbeaten 133 as Jason Holder’s XI recovered from 120-5 yesterday to post 272 against the bowling of Preston McSween, 3-28, and Chemar Holder, 2-35.

There was also a wicket apiece for Oshane Thomas, 1-24, Keon Harding, 1-69, Markino Mindley, 1-32, Anderson Phillip, 1-16, and Rahkeem Cornwall, 1-32.

Da Silva formed good partnerships with Raymon Reifer, who scored 22, and Alzarri Joseph, who scored 38. Yesterday, only Sunil Ambris, with 25 managed a score in the double digits.

In fact, the next best scorer for Holder’s XI, who are competing against a team led by his vice-captain Kraigg Brathwaite, was the extras column, with 43 runs going a-begging.

In reply, Brathwaite’s XI have found things just as difficult, with Kyle Mayers, on 43, and Mindley on nine, the batsmen at the crease with the score on 112-7 from just 25 overs.

Shannon Gabriel has been the pick of the bowlers for Holder’s XI with 3-34.

Kemar Roach, 1-14, Holder, 1-21, Joseph, 1-17, and Reifer, 1-21, have also got in on the action.

Earlier, Da Silva, batted for just over six hours, facing 248 deliveries for his tally and smacked 17 boundaries in a mature knock.

The West Indies are in preparation mode for the #RaisetheBat series against England, with the first match of a three-Test affair slated to begin on July 8 at the Rose Bowl in South Hampton.

The team will then play in two games at their Old Trafford base on July 16 and 24.

The last of the three Ws, Sir Everton Weekes has passed.

West Indies captain Jason Holder continues to struggle to shake off a bit of rust, or allay injury concerns, after being dismissed cheaply in the second and final intra-squad match at Emirates Old Trafford, on Tuesday.

This time around, the West Indies skipper made it to five, with his innings lasting just 13 deliveries.  The disappointment at the crease followed on the all-rounder’s golden duck in the first internal match that ended in a draw last week.

In addition to time away from the pitch, Holder has recently been bothered by what is thought to be a mild ankle injury.  Despite claims that he has not been hampered by it, Holder has looked less than comfortable at the crease.  In fact, he could have departed a lot sooner had Preston McSween held on to a relatively straightforward chance when the Windies skipper nudged the second ball of his innings to midwicket.  Holder had yet to score at the time.

Earlier, intermittent showers had wiped out the first four sessions of the four-day fixture but eased in time to allow play to start at 2:20 pm under lights.  Holder and Jermaine Blackwood were, unfortunately, part of a top-order collapse that saw Holder's side go from 79-1 to 108-5 against a Kraigg Brathwaite-led XI, before ending the day 120-5 when bad light stopped play.

 

England have confirmed Ben Stokes will captain the Test side against West Indies next week as Joe Root will attend the birth of his second child. 

Regular skipper Root will leave the team's training camp on Wednesday to be with his wife, Carrie, who is expecting their child later this week.

Due to coronavirus protocol, Root will need to self-isolate for seven days once he leaves the hospital, meaning he will miss the start of the first Test, which begins on July 8.

All-rounder Stokes, who is normally the vice-captain, will therefore fill in for Root as the skipper for the first of the three Tests.

Root is due to return to the role for the second Test, which begins in Manchester on July 13.

In just his sixth Test, Jermaine Blackwood showed class in scoring a century against England all the way back in 2015.

Two and a half years later, Blackwood had been dropped, having never made the three-figure mark in another innings.

In those two and a half fairly barren years, nobody doubted Blackwood’s talent. But everybody doubted his temperament.

He seemed too willing to throw his wicket away. Now Blackwood is back with the West Indies squad and despite scoring a duck in the first practice game before his side again takes on the might of the English in England, the Jamaican swears by the changes he has made to his game.

“I want to add a little bit more to my game and bat time. I'm really pushing hard for that and I'm really putting the mental work as well in, to bat time, Blackwood has said.

Once I bat time, I will score runs

He has not played Test cricket for two and a half years but he says: “This opportunity has come out and I have to grab it with both hands. I have something to go out there and prove against all the best bowlers in the world, I want to score runs against them."

Back in 2015, on a final day North Sound pitch, Blackwood’s West Indies faced a first-innings total from England of 399 thanks in large part to Ian Bell’s 143, Joe Root’s 83 and Ben Stokes’ 79.

The West Indies would end up well short of that total, scoring 295 in their reply but Blackwood’s innings got them close and helped the hosts stay in the contest and eventually come out with a draw.

Uncharacteristically, Blackwood was measured in his approach to the innings, batting for more than five and a half hours and facing 220 deliveries for an unbeaten 112.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul, 46, Kraigg Brathwaite, 39, and Marlon Samuels, 33, were the only other batsmen who offered any resistance to a bowling attack that read James Anderson, 2-67, Stuart Broad, 2-67, Chris Jordan, 1-46 and James Tredwell, 4-47.

Despite the quality of the bowling attack, Blackwood was not troubled, navigating the bowlers with skill beyond his years. After all, this was just his sixth Test match.

It would take 14 boundaries and two sixes for Blackwood to bring up his tally, the most classy of which was a straight hit off the bowling of Stokes.

But the signs of Blackwood’s nature were there even in that innings. While he showed good patience for much of the innings, the day could have ended earlier, as Blackwood did have some fortune.

He was caught off a no-ball from Ben Stokes on 21 and dropped at slip on 43, granted that chance was tough.

He was also peppered with short balls and even hit on the forearm, but Blackwood would stay put throughout, emerging from long slumbers of defending to audacious moments of attack.

If only there were more moments like that when the diminutive Jamaican would find that which is most needed in Test cricket, balance. He says he understands what to do these days, let’s wait to see if there is more in him like he managed to pull out on those fateful first two days of Test cricket all the way back in 2015.

Page 1 of 26
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.