Will returning stars make a difference for West Indies against Sri Lanka ?

By Mariah Ramharack February 28, 2021

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 trending issues and I will share them with you. Welcome to #INCASEYOUMISSEDIT the 2021 edition with Mariah

 Big names in Windies T20 and ODI squads; execution will be the key.

Last Friday, West Indies named T20I and ODI squads as they get ready for the upcoming series against Sri Lanka beginning on March 3 in Antigua. These matches will serve as preparation for the team that hopes to successfully defend the ICC T20 World Cup title in India later this year. On paper, the team looks strong. However, teamwork will be among the keys to success for Kieron Pollard’s men.

The recall of Chris Gayle and Fidel Edwards did not come as a surprise as the selectors believe both still have a lot to offer. The 41-year-old Gayle last played for the Windies in 2019 when he scored 72 against India in Port of Spain, Trinidad.

The Universe Boss is heading into the series against Sri Lanka in good form. Before he returned to the Caribbean, Gayle had scores of 39 and 68, playing for the Quetta Gladiators against the Karachi Kings and Lahore Qualanders, respectively.

Gayle’s experience will prove invaluable to the West Indies having scored 13,691 runs in T20I with 22 hundreds. His influence in the dressing room is also expected to be a significant factor.

Edwards returns to the team after an absence of nine years but at 39, he is still able to generate 90mph deliveries that CWI will hope he uses to add to his 26 T20I scalps.

Experience aside, the selectors have included a number of younger players who are expecting to make their debuts during the series. Guyana’s Kevin Sinclair and Trinidad’s Akeal Hosein impressed with recent performances in Bangladesh and during the CG Insurance Super 50 competition.

Both players played in the finals of the Super 50 tournament on which the 21-year-old Sinclair picked up five wickets and scored 47 runs for the Guyana Jaguars. Hosein impressed for the Trinidad Red Force taking eight wickets at a miserly economy rate of 4.18.

The mixture of youth and experience will need a strong leader and the West Indies are blessed with that in the form of Kieron Pollard, who in recent months, won the CPL and the Super50 and had a leadership role in the Mumbai Indians winning the IPL late last year.

His wisdom, experience and will to win will be key to any success the Windies have against the Sri Lankans and future series.

“Winning is the only thing,” he said after claiming the Super50 title on Saturday. It is imperative his team believes that as well.

 

 Red Force too hot to handle!

The Trinidad and Tobago Red Force won all seven of their matches to lift the Sir Clive Lloyd Trophy on Saturday after smashing the Guyana Jaguars by 152 runs in the final at the Coolidge Cricket Ground.

The aptly named Red Force scored an imposing 362-5 and then restricted Jaguars to 210 from 43.5 overs.

It was an all-around team effort that resulted in the domination of a strong Jaguars team.

Lendl Simmons saved his best performance with the bat for the final scoring 146, the highest score in a 50-over final and he was supported by Evin Lewis’ 57, 47 from Dwayne Bravo and a quick-fire 39 from Nicholas Pooran.

Their bowlers, led by Ravi Rampaul’s 4-52 and Jayden Seales, who picked up 3-40 and Anderson Phillip 2-40 decimated the opponent’s batting notwithstanding a courageous unbeaten 97 from Raymon Reifer.

The team’s dominance came down to the consistency of each member. Jason Mohammed was the highest run-scorer with 327. He scored a century (122) and averaged an excellent 81.75 for the tournament. Lewis, who had a high score of 107, was the second-highest run-scorer with 318 at an average of 45.42.

Simmons was also among the top-five run-scorer for the 2020 champions and was the only batsman with more than one century in the tournament.

The veteran Ravi Rampaul’s 14 wickets were the second-best haul for the tournament, just three behind fellow finalist Gudakesh Motie’s 17 for the Jaguars.  However, all their bowlers contributed to the team’s success this season.

Leave the NBA logo as it is else change it to Michael Jordan!

The NBA logo is a timeless classic, a representation of love and respect for the game. It remains a silhouette of Lakers great Jerry West since 1969.

However, in recent times, Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving has called for it to be changed to an image of late Laker great Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash in January 2020, and whose contributions to the game cannot be accurately quantified.

“Gotta Happen, idc what anyone says,” Irving said on Instagram.

Irving’s call has been endorsed by Bryant’s widow Vanessa.

 While I understand the call for the change, it must be noted the G.O.A.T discussion in the NBA starts and ends with Michael Jordan, a person who Kobe admired greatly.  Having played 15 seasons and winning six championships with the Bulls, he should be considered as the logo replacement.

Apart from the statistics which are compelling - 11 All-Star teams, 5 MVP awards, 10 scoring titles – Jordan’s killer instinct and obsession with winning are qualities that embody the NBA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • Hail King: Stand-in captain's 79 guides Windies to 28-run win over SA on successful return to Sabina Park Hail King: Stand-in captain's 79 guides Windies to 28-run win over SA on successful return to Sabina Park

    It was a welcome return of international cricket to Sabina Park, even moreso for stand-in captain Brandon King, who led from the front as West Indies downed South Africa by 28 runs in the first of their three Twenty20 (T20) warm-up encounters on Thursday.

    King, who is leading the team for the first time on his home soil, gave the decent size crowd much to cheer about with a well-played 79 off 45 balls, which assisted the Caribbean side to 175-8 from their allotment, before Matthew Forde (3-27), Gudakesh Motie (3-25) and Obed McCoy (2-15), restricted South Africa to 147 in 19.5 overs.

    Despite the absence of the main scoreboard –which has been out for almost four years now –as well as an underprepared tabled press area, King and company ensured that the first international game at the venue since 2022, was a successful one.

    The 29-year-old, who is deputizing for compatriot Rovman Powell, attributed his Player-of-the-Match knock, which included six fours and six maximums, to the familiar conditions.

    “Obviously it is leading up to the World Cup so we want to be playing good cricket and we got the win today, so we are happy with that and I think we played well all around,” King said in a post-game interview.

    “I had the advantage of knowing the conditions well and I know that it is easiest to bat when it’s the new ball so I had to try and get a good start and I executed well. At the mid-way point I think we had 200-220 in mind as we had wickets in hand but it is a difficult wicket to bat on when the ball gets older, but we still managed to get a competitive total on this wicket,” he added.

    After being asked to take first strike, King started positively, but lost opening partner Johnson Charles (one) in the fourth over with the score at 36.

    However, he found another useful ally in Kyle Mayers, and the added a further 79 runs for the second wicket, with King, the aggressor raising his 10th international half-century off 27 balls in the sixth over when he drove a length delivery from Lungi Ngidi to the midwicket boundary.

    The skipper continued to take the South African bowlers to task, before he eventually went, reaching for one of Andile Phehlukwayo that came off the toe of the bat and was caught by his opposite number Rassie van der Dussen.

    Still, at 115-2 after 11 overs, West Indies remained on course for a massive total, but then came the familiar collapse as they lost three wickets in quick succession. Mayers was first to go for a 25-ball 34, including three sixes and a solitary four, with Andre Fletcher (one) and Fabian Allen (one) following.

    In fact, apart from vice-captain Roston Chase, who made a measured unbeaten 32 off 30 balls, which had two fours and a six, none of the batsmen got into double figures.

    Phehlukwayo (3-28) and Ottneil Baartman (3-26) did the damage for South Africa.

    In reply, South Africa started with Quinton De Cock driving Matthew Forde’s first ball, a full length delivery, straight down the ground. However, the 22-year-old Barbadian responded immediately as he served up another full length delivery, just around off stump, which forced de Kock into another drive, but the left-hander got a slight edge and Andre Fletcher made no mistakes behind the stumps.

    Debutant Ryan Rickelton (six) also had a brief stay in the middle, and from there, the visitors laboured, despite Reeza Hendricks making his 15th T20 international half-century. Hendricks, who was ninth man out with just two balls left of the innings, made a career-best 87 off 51 balls with six sixes and six fours.

    Captain Rassie van der Dussen (17) and Matthew Breetzke (19) were the only other South African batsmen to reach double figures.

    The second and third games of the series are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, at the same venue, ahead of the much-anticipated June-1-29 T20 World Cup hosted in the Caribbean and United States.

  • Last chance: discarded Windies, SA players gets shot at redemption as warm-up series bowls off Last chance: discarded Windies, SA players gets shot at redemption as warm-up series bowls off

    Half of their respective squads might be unavailable, but that doesn’t make the three-match warm-up series between West Indies and South Africa any less important, and both will be hoping to make a statement heading into the ICC Men’s Twenty20 (T20) World Cup.

    Rovman Powell, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Nicholas Pooran, Sherfane Rutherford, Jason Holder, Andre Russell and Alzarri Joseph are out for West Indies, while Aiden Markram, Heinrich Klaasen, Tristan Stubbs, David Miller, Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj and Kagiso Rabada for South Africa. Though all are not still engaged in the Indian Premier League (IPL), some, like Pooran and Hope, are being rested and others, like Rabada, are recovering from illness.

    Still, the upside to the contests is that discarded players, and those out-of-form players in the squad, now have an opportunity to convince their coaches –albeit for Thursday’s first game at Sabina Park – as the ICC expects all confirmed squads on Saturday, May 25.

    First ball is 2:00pm.

    Brandon King, who has been charged with leading the depleted West Indies side, knows that much and, as such, is expecting players to show their worth ahead of the June 1-29 global showpiece to be held in the Caribbean and United States.

    Kyle Mayers is one of those discarded players. The Barbadian scored no T20I fifties in 11 innings since touring South Africa in 2023 and was dropped thereafter, but made 243 runs in six innings at the BPL and boasts a T20 strike rate above 150 this year and above 143 from 40 matches last year. With power-hitting among the most talked-about attributes of top-order batters, this is his chance to show he still has it.

    Kyle Mayers showed some semblance of form in the BPL.

    From a bowling perspective, the likes of Obed McCoy, one of the highest wicket takers in T20Is this year, found no space in a squad that has Alzarri and Shamar Joseph, Russell, Holder and Shepherd. He has an opportunity to show what he can do in home conditions.

    “Obviously, it is the last series leading up to the World Cup, so we're looking to implement how we want to play in the World Cup in these three games. So it's really about that and trying to finalize everybody's roles and responsibilities going into the World,” King said in a pre-game press conference at Sabina Park, on Wednesday.

    “I’ve had discussions with the coaches and with the other captain [Rovman Powell] and we have specific roles for each player that we would like them to go out and perform and, as I said, we're looking to start that in this series,” he added.

    Though it will be his first time leading the regional side on home soil, and the first international game at Sabina Park in a while, King said there is no added pressure.

    “Personally, I don't feel any added pressure, I like to be very positive thinking towards these things. It'll be a great memory looking back when you think about it. So, obviously we want to win the games for the fans, but it's just more excitement than pressure,” King declared.

    Obed McCoy one of the highest wicket takers in T20Is this year.

    “We've been preparing even before this series; we're coming from a training camp as well, so we've gotten a lot of volume in terms of training, so this is just to get some match practice leading up to the World Cup. The guys that are missing are also very experienced players, we've been playing series for the past two years, so their roles I don't think would have changed much and they will fit in when they come,” he shared.

    While West Indies came away 2-1 winners in the last three-match series between the two in South Africa, King is by no means expecting their opponents to be even more formidable on this occasion, as they too have much to prove.

    “They're a very good team. If you look at the players that they have on paper, it is a really solid eleven that they have, so, we have to be at the top of your game. It's not a team where you can relax or anything because they also play an aggressive brand of cricket, a very positive, confident brand of cricket.

    “So, I would say we're looking to exploit our home advantage in this series. The, last time we played in their conditions and we end up winning and so it would be even more positive playing at home,” King noted.

    That said, King pointed out that members of the team, like the many fans around the Caribbean and around the world, are eager to see what uncapped West Indies pacer Shamar Joseph has to offer in the game’s shortest version.

    The 24-year-old Guyanese rose to prominence after his heroics during the Test series against Australia earlier this year.

    “We're also very excited to see what he has. You'll definitely see him in this series at some point, but we're all excited to see what he has to offer,” King ended.

  • CANOC President Keith Joseph rallies support for West Indies ahead of ICC T20 World Cup CANOC President Keith Joseph rallies support for West Indies ahead of ICC T20 World Cup

    As teams for the ICC T20 Cricket World Cup begin arriving in the Caribbean and the USA for their final preparations, the Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees (CANOC) has thrown its full support behind the West Indies T20 cricket team. The tournament, set to bowl off on June 1, marks a significant moment in cricket history, coming on the heels of the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) decision to include cricket in the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

    Cricket fans across the Caribbean and the USA are eagerly anticipating the T20 World Cup, hopeful for a strong showing from the West Indies cricket team. CANOC President Keith Joseph emphasized the importance of rallying behind the team, stating, “Let’s put all of our energies in rallying around the West Indies.”

    Joseph highlighted the historic significance of this World Cup, noting its unique timing post the IOC's decision. “This year’s edition of the Cricket World Cup holds a special place in the history of the sport, if only because it comes after the decision of the IOC to agree to the request by the organizers of the Summer Olympics of 2028 to include cricket on the sports programme,” he remarked.

    The 2028 Olympic Games will feature cricket, but only teams entered by their respective National Olympic Committees (NOCs) will be eligible to participate. This excludes a unified West Indies team, as there is no West Indies Olympic Committee. Joseph acknowledged this challenge, drawing a parallel to the era of the West Indies Federation (1958-1962), which had unified participation in various sports.

    To address this, the ICC, Cricket West Indies, and CANOC have been in discussions with PanAm Sports and Centro Caribe Sports about including cricket in the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games and the Pan American Games of 2026 and 2027, respectively. Further discussions are planned with the organizers of the South American, Central American, and Caribbean Games to consider cricket's inclusion in their sports programs.

    Joseph urged cricket associations around the Caribbean to join their respective NOCs. He stated, “Our NOCs and cricket associations must work together to get it right.” While recognizing the challenges and increased expenses, he emphasized the significant opportunities. “There are immeasurable opportunities that would be open to those with whom the initiative would find favour,” Joseph added.

    Cricket has deep roots in the Caribbean, having been brought by colonizers and mastered by the region’s youth to achieve global excellence. Joseph called for the region to embrace this new era, saying, “Participation in multisport Games is another frontier whose barriers to inclusion have been broken by the organisers of LA2028 and which we in the Caribbean must all embrace.”

    An important starting point for this new era is the strong support for the ICC T20 Cricket World Cup. Regardless of the tournament's outcome, the collective energy and unity behind the West Indies team are crucial. Joseph concluded, “Let’s take the next compulsory steps to build the individual teams that will want to participate in LA2028.”

    As the T20 World Cup unfolds, the Caribbean community stands united, cheering for their team and looking forward to a bright future in cricket, both in regional competitions and on the Olympic stage. CANOC's support for the West Indies T20 team is not just about this World Cup but about embracing a future where Caribbean cricket can shine in every international arena.

     

     

     

     

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