West Indies batsmen showing signs of improvement

By Mariah Ramharack April 04, 2021

On many a Sunday, I realize that people have looked at the stories they have 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.

 

 Positive signs for Windies batting

West Indies batting has been a matter of concern, especially in the Test format for some time.

As recently, as of July 2020 when West Indies faced England in three Tests, the Jamaica Observer newspaper blared the headline “West Indies bowlers undermined by batting woes” a sentiment shared by many newspapers in cricket-loving nations around the world.

After winning the first Test against England, the West Indies only survived 70.1 overs in the second innings of the second Test. It was even worse in the second innings of the third Test when they lasted a mere 37.1 overs as England completed a 269-run win in Manchester.

However, against Bangladesh and in the just concluded test series against Sri Lanka, the Windies have shown signs of improvement.

Generally speaking, West Indies batsmen do not face enough balls and hence give their wickets away cheaply. Against Sri Lanka, there was a refreshing change in attitude and application.

In the final Test, Captain Kraigg Brathwaite made 126 in the first innings- his ninth Test century, his first as captain and 85 in the second. In all, the skipper batted 813 minutes, the most in a Test for the Windies. In that time, he faced 507 balls, the joint-most by a West Indian in a Test match since Brian Lara's 400* off 582 balls against England in 2004.

Similarly, Kyle Mayers and Jason Holder each spent time at the crease while setting a 377-run target for Sri Lanka. Mayers faced 76 balls for his 55 while Holder scored 71 not out off 88 balls.

In the first Test, Nkrumah Bonner’s maiden century of 113* was an exercise in patience and determination. Batting at number three, the 32-year-old Jamaican faced 274 balls in more than seven hours at the crease.

 There is still a lot of work to be done but the early evidence suggests that the West Indies batsman might finally be on the right path.

 

 Sergio Aguero still has value

 It has been confirmed by Premier League club Manchester City that Sergio Aguero will leave when his contract expires at the end of the season.

However, this does not mean that his career has come to an end.

This season has been a challenging one for the striker, who has had to endure injury, Covid-19, and lack of game time. In his 14 appearances, he has started nine games and scored three goals.

Despite his struggles, he is arguably the best non-English striker to grace the Premier League and the numbers speak for themselves. Aguero is the fourth highest goal scorer in the Premier League history with 181 goals. He also leads the statistics in the rate of scoring in English top-flight football since 1992.

Aguero’s famous goal in injury time against QPR in 2012 when he clinched the club’s first English title in 44 years, is one for the books. Overall, he has helped The Citizens to four Premier League titles, one FA Cup and five League Cups.

Though slowed by age and injury, in Saturday’s game against Leicester City, he worked hard off the ball and contributed to his side’s win, something he has done constantly during his incredible career at Manchester City.

His boots will not be easily filled as was made clear by Pep Guardiola.

“I want to be clear. Maybe we'll find a new player to replace Sergio. In terms of numbers, he might be replaced, but in terms of what he means to the club, it is impossible.” 

 

Why are super teams an issue for some in the NBA?

The news of LaMarcus Aldridge joining the Brooklyn Nets did not sit well with many Los Angeles Lakers fans with many saying the Nets are so desperate for a championship they are buying one. Lakers superstar Le Bron James’ son Bronny also weighed in tweeting, “All this to stop a 36-year-old man in Year 18.”

LA Lakers CEO and owner Jeanie Buss, who sees the move as making the NBA a more compelling product said, “So, bring it on.”   

Personally, I see nothing wrong with the Nets creating a super team because LeBron has done the same many times in the past.

In fact, LeBron created his own super team with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami Heat in 2010-2011. He also helped assemble Kevin Love Kyrie Irving for the championship-winning Cleveland Cavaliers.

 And while the Nets signed the talented LeMarcus Aldridge it is important to note that the Lakers also recently signed two-time all-star centre Andre Drummond, who is averaging 17.5 points and 13.5 rebounds this season despite having not played since February 12.

 

Related items

  • Vote of confidence: Sir Viv Richards backs Windies to top upcoming T20 World Cup Vote of confidence: Sir Viv Richards backs Windies to top upcoming T20 World Cup

    Legendary West Indian batsman Sir Vivian Richards is backing the regional side to go all the way and claim a third ICC Men’s T20 World Cup title at the upcoming tournament.

    The Darren Sammy-coached and Rovman Powell-captained West Indies will square off against some of the world's best teams at the June 1-29 showpiece, which will be jointly hosted in the Caribbean and United States. West Indies won the 2012 and 2016 editions of the tournament.

    Richards gave the team a rousing vote of confidence as he spoke during the ongoing global trophy tour, which touched down in his homeland Antigua earlier this week.

    “It’s really exciting to see that one of the biggest sporting events on the global calendar will be coming to the West Indies and the USA and we will have matches right here in Antigua. For me, and my fellow Antiguans this is a tremendous event and we as absolutely delighted to host the world on our shores," Richards shared.

    “As I look ahead to the matches, I’m backing my West Indies team to deliver on the big day. We have a very good team, and they look united under Rovman Powell, so I’m throwing my full support behind my team. It would be great to win this ICC Men’s T20 World Cup on our home soil. We won twice before … those were way (in Sri Lanka in 2012 and India in 2016), so a third title would be great, and where better, than at home in front of our great West Indian fans to celebrate," he added.

    Richards was joined by former Antigua and West Indies greats Sir Andy Roberts, Sir Richie Ricardson, and Sir Curtly Ambrose as they posed for photos and videos at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium. During the session, they also offered words of encouragement to several young cricketers who were specially selected to attend the event and were delighted to meet their heroes.

    The trophy tour made several other stops at iconic locations – Shirley Heights, Nelson Dockyard; and Heritage Quay, and the Antigua Recreation Ground in St John’s. It was also hosted by Governor General Sir Rodney Williams, Prime Minister Gaston Browne and Minister of Sports Daryll Matthew. ICC and CWI thanked the Government of Antigua and Barbuda for their tremendous support in hosting the trophy tour events and the upcoming tournament.

    West Indies have been drawn alongside Afghanistan, New Zealand, Uganda and Papua New Guinea in the opening round. They bowl off their title hunt against PNG on June 2, at the Guyana National Stadium, followed by a clash with newcomers Uganda at the same venue on June 8. From there they travel to Trinidad to face New Zealand at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy on June 12. Their final preliminary contest will be against the Afghans on June 17 at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground in Saint Lucia.

     
  • James not looking to past results ahead of Lakers-Nuggets rematch James not looking to past results ahead of Lakers-Nuggets rematch

    LeBron James believes the media are putting "too much emphasis" on the Los Angeles Lakers' recent history with the Denver Nuggets.

    The Lakers, after their win over the New Orleans Pelicans, will take on the Nuggets in the first round of the playoffs.

    Los Angeles lost to Denver in the 2023 Western Conference Finals, as the Nuggets went on to win the NBA championship.

    The Lakers, meanwhile, defeated the Nuggets en route to winning the championship in 2020.

    James, though, is not looking back at past results as an indicator of how this series might play out.

    "I think you're putting a little bit too much emphasis on it," James said. 

    "This is our first-round matchup. I mean, we're looking forward to the postseason. But I haven't been, like, looking forward to the rematch.

    "The game is played how it's being played, and this is the matchup. So we're looking forward to that challenge.

    "It shouldn't be personal at all. I think you allow yourself to get away from the game plan when you make it too personal.

    "We have a game plan. You go out there and execute it and you live with the results. I'm kind of the last person you should [ask that], I just stay even-keeled.

    "I've been in the postseason way too long in my career to know that you don't get too high off of Game 1 or get too high over whoever the matchup is. You got to just stay even-keeled."

    Lakers coach Darvin Ham did say his team can take lessons from last year's defeat, in particular when focusing on cutting out small errors.

    And James echoed the sentiment.

    "We just got to be better all around," he said. "Obviously, it's a great team that we're playing against. A team that won the championship, so they've been in a lot of big games and know what they want to get to late in games.

    "So we just have to be very disciplined and have our mind into throughout the course of 48 minutes or however long it takes.

    "It's going to be challenging but that's what the postseason is all about. It should be."

  • CWI's VP Bassarath joins efforts to secure Narine's return for T20 World Cup CWI's VP Bassarath joins efforts to secure Narine's return for T20 World Cup

    Cricket West Indies (CWI) vice president Azim Bassarath has declared his intentions to join the effort to possibly coerce spinner Sunil Narine to come out of international retirement for the upcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup to be hosted in the Caribbean and United States.

    Bassarath's declaration follows that of West Indies T20 captain Rovman Powell, who has led the charge of trying to get Narine back to the regional setup ahead of the June 1-29 global showpiece.

    Narine, 35, confirmed his retirement from the international game last November. However, after a stellar 56-ball 109 for Kolkota Knight Riders (KKR) against Rajasthan Royals in an IPL tie on April 16, Powell said he’s been trying to coax Narine to rejoin the squad for the past year “but he’s blocked out everyone.”

    At the same time, the Jamaican revealed that he sought the assistance of Nicholas Pooran and retired international stars Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo to convince their compatriot to return. Former maroon fast bowler Tony Gray also believes Narine would be a welcomed addition to Darren Sammy's side to challenge for a third T20 World Cup title.

    West Indies won the 2012 and 2016 editions of the tournament.

    After KKR's IPL win against the Lucknow Super Giants on April 14, Narine when asked about the possibility of returning to the West Indies team by former West Indies teammate Samuel Badree, pointed out that “I will be watching from home, Badree.”

    However, Narine in another interview on Tuesday, appeared to soften his stance about making the proverbial U-turn, when he said, “It is what it is, but we'll have to see what the future holds.”

    Bassarath explained that he has tried unsuccessfully to make contact with Narine, but he intends to keep at it.

    “I haven’t spoken to him [Narine], and he hasn’t spoken to me. Everybody is asking for him to change his mind and come represent West Indies, at least for this last chance. It is my intention to give him a shout, and if I have to beg him to come back and make himself available to play in this tournament. Because this is what the people need," he said in a T&T Newsday article.

    Bassarath, the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) president Bassarath also revealed that he reached out to Queen’s Park Cricket Club president Nigel Camacho – Narine’s domestic club – for help.

    “I have also spoken to the QPCC president, and he indicated to me that he will also reach out to Sunil to see if he can change his mind to come on board," he shared.

    West Indies are set to open their T20 World Cup campaign against Papa New Guinea in Guyana, on June 2.  Afghanistan, New Zealand, and Uganda are the other teams in the group.

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