Former West Indies T20 captain, Darren Sammy, has insisted he has not yet given up on the idea of once again representing the West Indies.

The 36-year-old successfully captained the regional team to two T20 World Cup titles in the 2012 and 2016 tournaments.  The player has, however, not represented the regional team since a Pakistan versus World-XI match in 2017.  On that occasion, several players opted not to take part in the tournament.

After criticism of the then West Indies Cricket Board in 2016, following the end of the tournament, Sammy was dropped from the team as well as relieved of the captaincy.

“The main focus is to do well for the Zouks, and that will raise eyebrows in terms of West Indies selection,” Sammy told members of the media.

“I am in a very good place mentally. I am not under any pressure to perform and keep my spot, so I am just here to elevate the youngsters, and I think I am closer to the end,” he added.

Sammy will represent the St Lucia Zouks at this season's Caribbean Premier League (CPL) tournament, as the team looks to claim a maiden title. T20 star Chris Gayle had been expected to boost those hopes after signing for the Zouks earlier this year, but later opted out of the tournament.

 

 

The West Indies will be among four teams that will tour New Zealand during the home season, according to media reports. The Caribbean side is scheduled to play Tests and T20 Internationals in line with the Future Tours Programme.

 David White, CEO of New Zealand Cricket said the tours would go ahead despite the ongoing pandemic, saying that managed isolation arrangements are being worked out for the visiting teams.

"We are making tremendous progress. I was just on the phone to the West Indies, they're confirmed, Pakistan is confirmed, Australia and Bangladesh... so 37 days of international cricket," White told reporters in Auckland.

However, CWI CEO Johnny Grave told Sportsmax.TV that nothing has been confirmed for the Caribbean side to visit New Zealand where there were no reported COVID-19 infections for more than three months.

The West Indies recently returned from their three-Test bio-secure #Raisethebat series in England. The hosts won the series 2-1.

No one can question Andy Roberts’ passion for West Indies cricket. After an outstanding career for the West Indies where he took 202 wickets as part of a battery of fast bowlers, who terrorised teams for more than a decade, the no-nonsense Antiguan has for the last two decades has had to watch with despair and disdain while batting line ups have taken our bowling attacks apart almost at will.

I would imagine it would be even more frustrating for him to watch as West Indies’ batsmen, more often than not, seem incapable of batting for time in a Test match.

This was evident in the last two Test matches the West Indies lost to England at Old Trafford last month.

Therefore, it was no surprise to hear Roberts speak passionately about the team’s failures during an interview with Andrew Mason last week. Responding to comments regarding the lack of technological infrastructure that puts the West Indies at a disadvantage when compared to England, Roberts was quick to rubbish those claims, instead choosing to throw the blame squarely at the feet of the players.

“Infrastructure will not make you a better player.  You have to make yourself a better player and I don’t think the commitment is there from a lot of West Indies players,” he said.

“It’s not just the Test players but a lot of people who play cricket in the West Indies. I don’t think they commit themselves enough.  If you did, you would not be averaging 30 in first-class cricket and that is what we are getting.”

On the issue of commitment, I believe he makes a strong point. My perspective is that when you watch a West Indian batsman bat these days, you see a couple of things right away.

You see the deficiencies in technique but what you also see is how those weaknesses persist over time. I remember when Ronnie Sarwan just came into the West Indies. He was in love either with cutting balls that were close to or on his off stump.

Consequently, he would constantly get out by either playing on, being caught behind or snapped up somewhere between gully and point. However, over time he was more selective when choosing to play the shot and went on to have a successful career.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul adjusted his batting stance that allowed him to achieve incredible things like bat for 25 hours in a Test series between dismissals and face 1050 consecutive deliveries without losing his wicket.

This is something he did repeatedly – in 2002, 2004, and 2007 - all because he learned from his previous errors and adjusted.

I have yet to see this from any of the current players – a clear lack of commitment to improve, satisfied with mediocrity instead of striving for excellence.

You also see an inability to concentrate for extended periods. Watch any West Indies batsman in the current team. If they last more than an hour at the crease, you can literally see them struggling to maintain the high levels of concentration.

It manifests in bizarre shots unexpectedly as well as retreating into a defensive mode before eventually giving his wicket away.

You would never see that happen to Tiger because of how he practised.

Australian opener David Warner shared a story about how in 2011 Chanderpaul revealed to him the secret of how to occupy the crease for long periods.

“He batted on the bowling machine for six hours. I said, ‘This is ridiculous, how can you do this?’ And he said, ‘If you’re going to bat for six hours in a game you might as well practise it.’”

When you watch the current batsmen in the West Indies set up, I am sure none of them spends two hours batting in the nets let alone six.

This is the commitment needed and which Roberts believes is missing.

However, I do believe that improved structures would help the players improve.

Better facilities, better equipment, better coaches help deliver more information to players and in most cases lead to better performances even if marginal.

Better infrastructure allows players, regardless of the sport, to perform at a higher level. Think of it this way.

If you go to work each day in a rundown building where you don’t have access to the most basic of equipment; the copier doesn’t work, the air-conditioning makes you sick, and you have to take the stairs instead of an elevator, wouldn’t you feel demotivated?

To make matters worse every time you visit another office where the basics are in abundance, it depresses you. Eventually, the quality of your work deteriorates without you even realizing it.

It is the same with athletes.

If an athlete is not comfortable with his training environment, his or her ability to learn can be impacted. Like everyone else, athletes need to feel motivated in order to improve.

Modern facilities encourage athletes to work harder and hence improve..

 

 

 

 

 

Former West Indies fast bowler turned pundit Ian Bishop has lamented somewhat of a tumultuous introduction to global T20 cricket in the Caribbean, which he believes has set the region back.  

The shortest format of the game, which began to gain prominence in the mid-2000s, initially had a bumpy introduction to the region as leagues clashed with the schedule of international cricket. 

The scheduling clash, combined with the rules of the then administration, saw several of the team’s top players unable to take part in the longer formats of ODI and Test cricket.  The discrepancy saw an experienced West Indies team claim two T20 World Championships but continue to struggle in the other formats.

Bishop believes the availability of the likes of Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, Sunil Narine, and Kieron Pollard, during the period, could have added much-needed experience and firepower to the Windies line-up.

 “In the West Indies initially, there was a bad effect on the game since the administrators did not know the value of T20 cricket and the ability of a player as a sole contractor where they had to choose when they wanted to play. We did not handle that well. We lost a few significant players from West Indies cricket for a period of time I wish did not happen,” Bishop told the Hindustan Times.

“And it’s only now when we see England allowing their players to go and play in the IPL. The West Indies have taken a different view now under their leadership that they need to allow their players to earn their living but when they were available, we will have a compromise. But we have missed so many important players. I think it’s set back West Indies cricket a little bit.”

Legendary West Indian fast bowler Sir Andy Roberts has pointed to a poor work ethic on the part of the region’s batsmen as a major factor in the team’s inability to take a step up to the next level.

Following the promising start but a disastrous end to the tour of England, a lot of discussions surrounding how to improve the team’s performance focused on increased technological infrastructure around the region.

The typically fiery former pace bowler was, however, quick to point out that such investment is unlikely to make a difference if the attitude and work ethics of the batsmen do not improve.

“Infrastructure will not make you a better player.  You have to make yourself a better player and I don’t think the commitment is there from a lot of West Indies players,” Roberts told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“It’s not just the Test players but a lot of people who play cricket in the West Indies, I don’t think they commit themselves enough.  If you did, you would not be averaging 30 in first-class cricket and that is what we are getting.”

In the recently concluded series, it was Jermaine Blackwood that averaged the most for the team with 35.17 but he was the only one to get to 30.  Overall, for the series, the team averaged closer to 20.  In fact, 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.

“You can’t beat any quality team with that type of average.  So, our guys first have to stand up in front of the mirror and think what am I doing to improve myself, because, until our players improve their batting we are not going to score runs against a strong team.”

 

 Cricket West Indies (CWI) is in receipt of the comprehensive and detailed report prepared by the Independent Task Force for Corporate Governance Reform.

The Report recognised the enormous cricket talent in the region and the need to harness that talent and promote its growth and presented the way in which improved governance will contribute to the process.

The Task Force also conducted case studies of cricket governance models among major cricket nations and considered it important, in the exercise of their mandate, to highlight those principles of modern corporate governance, which in their opinion, should apply to the Board of Directors of CWI as a corporate entity carrying out a public function.

The objectives of the Governance Task Force included the need to undertake a review of the corporate governance framework, standards and practices of CWI and to recommend changes “to enhance stakeholder trust and ensure more transparency and accountability in line with modern best practices for corporate governance.

The objectives also included reviewing the roles of president and vice president, the structure and role of CWI’s Board of Directors and the committee framework of the Board of Directors.

Overall, the report noted that reform was needed to ensure the sustainability of CWI, highlighting the “need to foster the rebuilding of trust and a common purpose between CWI and the other stakeholders, especially with regional governments”.

Also among their recommendations were the comprehensive reform of the governance structure using key principles of modern governance to provide greater accountability and transparency. They also recommended that the membership of the Board of Directors reflect a wide cross-section of skills and competencies, and a smaller and more balanced Board of 12 (currently 18) in the immediate instance, with an eventual reducing to nine including at least two women.

Other key recommendations also included the redefining of the roles of president and vice president to be more Board specific and non-executive as well as the establishment of a nominations committee to identify and evaluate potential directors and to nominate future directors and committee members.

The reduction in CWI Committee structure from 12 to five (5) Committees was also recommended.

Jamaican Senator Don Wehby headed the Task Force, which also included Sir Hilary Beckles, Mr Deryck Murray, Mr O.K Melhado and Mr Charles Wilkin QC.  The Task Force consulted extensively within CWI, the region and internationally; and the 36-page report drew from a wide cross-section of expertise – from knowledgeable stakeholders in the West Indies as well as in the global game.

 “I would like to take this opportunity to thank the members of my Task Force for their selfless dedication to the completion of this project, over the past year. Their time, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, has made the finalisation of this report a reality. We would also like to commend CWI President Ricky Skerritt and his Board of Directors for seeing the need for governance reform and giving us the opportunity to make a contribution to the sport we love, and for which we wish the utmost best,” said Wehby.

“Our Task Force has met formally 16 times over the period and we have spent many hours preparing the report submitted (the Wehby Report). We are positive that, if implemented, the recommendations of the Wehby Report will improve the governance of CWI and result in positive effects on team performance.

“The principal roles and responsibilities of the Board are organisational and financial planning and reporting, decisions on investments and capital projects, preserving the assets of the company, establishing policy, selecting the executive, general oversight of the executive and exercising other powers given to it by the constituent documents of the company. The membership of the Board should reflect a wide cross-section of the skills and competencies required for carrying out its roles and responsibilities.”

CWI President Skerritt said reform was key to the success of West Indies cricket and was the basis for their campaign that led to victory in the CWI elections of March 2019.

“Governance reform is one of the important promises Vice President Kishore Shallow and myself made prior to our election last year. When all is said and done, we expect that the Wehby Report will be seriously considered by the Directors and member representatives,” Skerritt said.

“The task force and stakeholders can be assured that we will do all we can to ensure the implementation of this report.”

An aggressive batsman, with a penchant to clear the boundary with ease, he relies on hitting the ball out of the park. He is a little susceptible against spinners and often gets out to them, unable to pick which way it is going.

A dibbly-dobbly medium-pacer, he often rolls his fingers over the ball and bowls his leg cutters on a consistent basis. As a fielder, Pollard is one of the best in the world and has taken some unbelievable catches. An all-round fielder who can field at any position, he uses his long reach to good effect.

Pollard is also the second batsman to score more than 10,000 T20 runs, and the first to play more than 500 games in the format.

His experience and ability to analyze the game, in addition to his aggression made him the perfect candidate for West Indies white-ball captain. Pollard has led a West Indies resurgence in the formats.

 

Career Statistics (2006-present)

Full name: Kieron Adrian Pollard

Born: May 12, 1987 (33), Tacarigua, Trinidad

Major teams: West Indies, Adelaide Strikers, Australian Cricketers Association All-Stars, Barbados Tridents, Bravo XI, Cape Cobras, Deccan Gladiators, Dhaka Dynamites, Dhaka Gladiators, Karachi Kings, Kerala Kings, Melbourne Renegades, Multan Sultans, Mumbai Indians, PCA Masters XI, Peshawar Zalmi, Pollard XI, RR Sarwan's XI, SC Joseph's XI, Somerset, South Australia, St Lucia Stars, Stanford Superstars, Toronto Nationals, Trinbago Knight Riders, Trinidad, Trinidad & Tobago, Trinidad & Tobago XI, West Indies Under-19s, WICB President's Celebrity XI

Playing role: Allrounder

Batting style: Right-hand bat

Bowling style: Right-arm medium

 

T20I Career - West Indies (Batting)

Mat   Inns NO    Runs         HS    Ave   BF         SR    100 50         4s     6s     Ct         St

73    60    12    1123         68    23.39         849 132.27         0      4      73         66    36    0

T20 Career – Batting

Mat   Inns NO    Runs         HS    Ave   BF         SR    100 50         4s     6s     Ct         St

501 450 126         10000      104         30.86       6641         150.57     1         49    647 652         288 0

 

T20I Career- West Indies (Bowling)

Mat   Inns Balls Runs         Wkts BBI   BBM         Ave   Econ SR         4w    5w    10w

73    48    654 919         35    4/25         4/25        26.25         8.43 18.6 1         0      0

T20 Career (Bowling)

Mat   Inns Balls Runs         Wkts BBI   BBM         Ave   Econ SR         4w    5w    10w

501 322 4974         6798        279         4/15        4/15         24.36       8.20         17.8 6      0         0

 

Career Highlights

  • Made 1123 T20I runs in 73 matches at 23.40
  • Has taken 35 T20I wickets at 26.26
  • First cricketer to play in 500 T20 matches
  • 2nd most runs in T20 matches (10,000)
  • One of 2 players to reach 10,000+ T20 runs

West Indies legend Sir Curtly Ambrose has admitted to some level of disappointment with the performance of young fast bowler Alzarri Joseph in the recently concluded series loss to England.

The 23-year-old was tipped for a breakthrough performance ahead of the England series, but that promised failed to materialise.  Joseph had several bright spells of bowling when the teams met in the Caribbean last year, but in the rematch on English soil, these were few and far between.

Joseph claimed figures of 2 for 98 in the first Test, before getting 1 for 84 in the second Test.  He was replaced in the final Test by off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall.

Ambrose, himself once one of the world’s premier fast bowlers, believes the young West Indian may have been guilty of being too passive.

“I was a little bit disappointed with the performance of Alzarri Joseph.  The pitches they played on, obviously, they were not the quickest, but as a fast bowler, you can’t be telling yourself that boy, it’s a slow pitch so I am just going to amble in and put it on a spot, no.  Whether a pitch is fast or slow, you as a fast bowler have to put out your best, and Alzarri, to me, he was bowling within himself and not looking to bowl fast,” Ambrose told the Antigua Observer.

“Alzarri Joseph is not a put-on-a-spot, hold-up-one-end type of bowler.  Jason Holder, the captain, can do that.  He can’t really bowl fast, but he can come at one end and put it on a spot and swing it around, seam it around and get a couple of wickets, but Alzarri is a guy who has to run in and bowl fast, look to rough up batsmen.  He will look to get wickets obviously, but rough batsmen up and let them know that ‘I am here’.”

 

 

 On many a Sunday, I realize that people have looked at the stories they've seen throughout the week with different lenses. I have my own personal take on some of these issues and I will share them with you. Welcome to #INCASEYOUMISSEDIT

  

Mental exhaustion or not enough effort on the field?

  England beat the West Indies by 269 runs and took the series 2-1 to reclaim the Wisden Trophy forever. Windies captain Jason Holder, speaking at the end of the third Test, said, “It’s been challenging, it’s been really challenging, mentally some of the guys are a bit worn out.”

Though I agree it is difficult to play any sport during a pandemic and acknowledge the upheaval, surrounding social injustice issues, taking place, to simply attribute the Windies poor result to these issues is unacceptable. I agree the current climate is different than what anyone has ever experienced before but the Windies loss was brought about by a lack of team effort on the field.

Holder went on to say, “It could be this way for a little while, so we’ve got to find ways to make it work. Hopefully, things could ease up throughout the world and probably guys can get out of the hotel a little bit more, but it has been challenging for sure.”

 Each match was played behind closed doors with players unable to feed off the crowd’s energy.  While I agree that the conditions in which they played were not ideal, as professional athletes they knew the job at hand was to retain the Wisden trophy and play smart cricket. 

The Windies made a great start to their tour with a win, at the Rose Bowl, but England found form in Manchester. The shortcomings of the Windies batsmen in English conditions were exposed numerous times. They conceded first-innings leads of 182 in the second test and 172 in the series decider. The most discouraging factor was the batsmen's inability to capitalize on the numerous starts that they got as a few of the batsmen did make half-centuries. The key difference between both squads was when England got opportunities, they went big, for example, Ben Stokes and Dom Sibley.

England’s bowlers were fresh and eager throughout and that ensured their dominance of the series. A key factor in England’s success was the class of bowlers that were available to choose from as well as the effective rotation of those bowlers. It was useful that none of England’s bowlers bowled in more than two matches – not even Ben Stokes and Dom Bess, who played every game but were not required to bowl.  In the case of the Windies, our bowlers were overworked and two of our key bowlers most notably, Shannon Gabriel and Jason Holder, were struggling with niggles.

Though the mental strain of being away from their families and playing the game during the pandemic may have affected the Windies players’ performance, I don’t believe is it the main reason they lost the series.

 

Arsenal has aced the recipe for FA Cup success

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is hoping the FA Cup victory on Saturday will convince captain Pierre Emerick Aubameyang to stay at the club after they beat Chelsea 2-1. The Gunners captain scored twice to seal the win, taking his team to a 14th FA Cup success. Aubameyang has less than a year left on his contract and his future at the club has been a topic of discussion.

On Saturday, when Aubameyang dropped the trophy before raising it above his head, Arteta joked, “He needs more experience with trophies, we can get him more used to that.” Chelsea’s manager Frank Lampard also commended Aubameyang on his match-winning performance. The North Londoners have now landed a spot in UEFA’s second-tier competition next season. 

This triumph has rectified some of the problems Arsenal had this season, especially after finishing 8th in the Premier League.

 

 The TKR captaincy fits Polly

Kieron Pollard will continue to lead the Trinbago Knight Riders for CPL 2020. Last year, Pollard replaced Dwayne Bravo as captain after he was ruled out with a finger injury.  The decision was a beneficial one and a team with a fit Bravo and Pollard can yield success.

Bravo, who led the team to three CPL titles previously, expressed to the owner that he would rather focus on his game, while Pollard leads the team. I think it is a perfect fit for the team as Pollard and Bravo are great friends and a healthy Bravo with Pollard at the helm puts TKR in a position to win another CPL title.

Pollard has scored 1759 runs in 70 matches, at a strike rate of 148.56. He is the 6th highest run-scorer in the history of the tournament. With the ball, Bravo is the leading wicket-taker with 97 scalps in 69 games. Together both players can use their individual achievements and personalities to get the best of the unit as they seek a 4th CPL title.

Former West Indies batting coach Toby Radford has spoken glowing of sacked interim coach Richard Pybus, insisting that he was a fan of the Englishman’s methods.

Pybus, a former Director of Cricket, served in the post from January to April of last year before being replaced by Floyd Reifer, a few weeks ahead of the 2019 World Cup.  Although his tenure was brief, Pybus is credited with orchestrating an outstanding performance from the West Indies cricket team that hosted England last year.

The Test team went on to reclaim the Wisden Trophy with a 2-1 series win over England and also matched up to the highly ranked tourists in the One Day International format where they secured a 2-2 draw.  For some critics, the performances had nothing to do with Pybus but was merely a case of the team beginning to discover its full potential.  Radford, who served as a member of Pybus’ staff, however, disagrees.

“I thought he was exceptional.  Where Richard Pybus was very good was setting the agenda of where he believed the team could go, and getting the players to buy into ‘this is where we were headed’ Cameron told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“I remember the way he drew up on a flip chart, ‘what does a world’s number one look like?’ ‘If you took the world’s best team what is it that they do in Test match cricket?’ He got the players to write down what they needed to deliver. ‘We have to bat for 120 overs. We have to get 350 plus.’  He had all these things and the players were coming up with it, so it gave the players ownership.  The players bought into this vision of what we were trying to deliver.  So there were clear targets,” he added.

‘Another thing he brilliantly did he put the list of 11 players up, he put the England 11 up and he started to do match-ups.  He would say ‘Shannon you have to take more wickets than Anderson’ and it was great there was competition for players with the opposition number.  He had all these kinds of things.  I think he was excellent as a manager and motivator.”

Former England fast bowler Gladstone Small has branded the inclusion of off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall, for the final Test match against England, as a useless change and evidence of a West Indies squad that was overly conservative.  

The off-spinner was brought into the squad at the expense of pace bowler Alzarri Joseph for the decisive Test.  He did not do terribly in terms of economy rate but never really troubled the batsmen.

With Roston Chase a batsman and off-spinner, who was already taking wickets, already included in the squad, Small believes Cornwall only offered more of the same.

“I thought the selection of that team for the third Test was negative and wrong,” Small said on the Mason and Guest radio program.

“Cornwall? What was that selection about? What did he bring to the table? You’ve already got an off-spinning batsman in Roston Chase in the team? What does Cornwall bring to that team?  You have got to have variety to take 20 wickets in a Test match," he added.

"Straight away I thought they were just playing for time here.  They wanted to just dry up runs and play for time knowing that the weather was bad.  When you start a game in a negative frame of mind it's very hard to come forward and play front-foot cricket.  You have to start off aiming to win a Test match and play your best cricket.”

Cornwall bowled 27 overs in the first innings, with an economy rate of 3.15, in the second has was given 19 and had an economy rate of 4.16.  He did not get a wicket.

Former Barbadian-born England fast bowler Gladstone Small has stamped a failing grade on the performance of West Indies batsmen, against England, and expressed dismay at their inability to make tactical adjustments.

The West Indies looked up to the task of being competitive after securing a convincing four-wicket win over England in the first Test.  The introduction of England pace bowler, Stuart Broad, who was omitted for the first Test, however, drastically changed the equation.  In the fourth evening of the second Test, with the West Indies enjoying some level of comfort, Broad took the new ball and claimed 3 for 14 in a devastating nine-over spell. 

He dominated the rest of the series, going on to claim 10 wickets in the third and final Test, for 16 overall, en route to man-of-the-series honours.

While Small was quick to acclaim Broad’s indisputable ability and the rest of the England bowling line-up for that matter, he insisted it was inexcusable that the West Indies batsmen made no adjustment’s in facing the bowler.

“If it was a school report after the series, the bowlers tried brilliantly, you would probably mark them with a B-.  They were big-hearted and kept going but three Test matches in three weeks is unrelenting,” Small told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“The batsmen, I can only see them getting an F.  Perhaps, I’m being generous,” he added.

“They faced good bowling, credit where credit is due.  England bowlers, obviously the records are there to show, Anderson, Broad…Woakes and obviously Jofra Archer, those English bowlers are brilliant in English conditions. With the new ball in hand, they are very tough. 

"The one thing you cannot do is play those guys on the backfoot, you can’t.  Broad and Anderson are fine bowlers but they’re not going to knock you over or intimidate you with pace.  You have to get on the front foot to nullify their movement.  To see your best batsman, well your most experienced batsman in the line-up, Kraigg Brathwaite, how many times did he get out on the backfoot, that for me is pure nonsense.  Big failure.”     

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.”

West Indies captain Jason Holder has hailed fast bowler Kemar Roach as one of the top 10 Windies fast bowlers of all-time, giving special commendation to the player’s attitude.

Roach reached the milestone of 200 Test wickets during day two of the third match against England.  In the process, the player became the first West Indian in 26 years and 9th overall to achieve the feat.  The list is headed by Courtney Walsh who once held the world record with 519 wickets.

“200 wickets, definitely in the top ten West Indies fast bowlers of all-time in terms of his stats,” Holder told members of the media via a Zoom hosted press conference on Tuesday.  The team captain was then quick to point out Roach’s exceptional attitude on the field.

“You just always see the effort he puts in on the cricket field.  I just can’t think of any time I’ve ever called on Kemar and he has said no, or he is not up for it.  He always keeps running in and giving it a massive effort.  I am not surprised Kemar has produced what he has so far,” he added.

The series began in difficult fashion for Roach.  The pace bowler, despite crafting excellent, economic spells, had failed to claim a wicket for the entire first Test. In fact, Roach’s dismissal of Ben Stokes, in the second Test, ended a wicket drought going back to August 31, 2019, and lasting 521 deliveries, or 86.5 overs.

 

List of top West Indies Test wicket-getters

(The 200 wickets club)

CA Walsh (132) 519

CEL Ambrose   (98) 405

MD Marshall (81) 376    

LR Gibbs (79) 309

J Garner (58) 259

MA Holding (60) 249

GS Sobers  (93) 235    

AME Roberts (90) 202

KAJ Roach (106) 201

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

West Indies captain Jason Holder is not certain the inclusion of batsmen Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer, and all-rounder Keemo Paul would have made a difference to the team’s fortunes, following a series loss to England.

The trio was invited to the tour but declined to participate due to concerns surrounding the spread of the coronavirus.  Despite not being in rich veins of form, Hetmyer and Bravo are considered to be two of the team’s most talented and dangerous batsmen and Paul a promising all-rounder.

Despite an average performance from the bowling line-up, the team on occasion found themselves well short of batting, particularly in the final Test where they could only manage 326 in both innings.  England, by comparison, made 369 in the first innings.  Based on the conditions Holder, however, does believe the batsmen’s inclusion would necessarily have helped the situation.

“I’m very happy with the team we brought up here.  The team we brought up here is a part of our Test team.  There is no guarantee that Bravo, Hetmyer or Paul would play,” Holder told members of the media via a Zoom press conference interview.

“The way we’ve gone as a batting unit, we haven’t had the consistency we have been looking for.  If you look at two of the three players they are batsmen so there is no guarantee and Paul was a back-up to what we had here so far,” Holder said.

“The squad we had here was the squad to do it.  I’m happy with the guys who came and the work we put in.  It’s unfortunate the way it turned out but there are still lots of positives,” he added.

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