West Indies middle-order batsman, Darren Bravo, has sought to assure fans of the regional team that the unit is striving to achieve consistency and has backed them to eventually accomplish it.

Spirits have been high, both for the West Indies team and many of its supporters, as the team followed up a surprise win away to Bangladesh with home wins over Sri Lanka and in both the T20 and One Day International series.

The fans will, however, be wary of celebrating a return to headier times too soon as the team has on several occasions given signs of turning the proverbial corner, so to speak, which they hope will be a crucial step to once again becoming a dominant force in world cricket.  Bravo, who scored a century in the ODI series, has explained that while things have not always quite gone to plan, the team is working to make the fans happy.

“To be honest, I don’t think it’s a situation where we have to try to be perfect because you will never ever be perfect.  It’s more about striving to be consistent in all facets of the game, whether it be bowling batting, or fielding,” Bravo told members of the media via a Zoom press conference call on Monday.

“I think as long as we strive for consistency then that is where you are going to see improvement.  If you try to be perfect, you fall short here and there.  As a team we are striving for consistency, the guys are working hard and I’m sure we are going to get it right.”

 

West Indies opener Evin Lewis has admitted it was hurtful to miss out on playing for the squad due to fitness concerns and reveals he took steps to ensure the incident did not repeat itself.

The 29-year-old was surprisingly left out of the squad last February, ahead of the team’s tour of Sri Lanka, after failing to meet Cricket West Indies' minimum fitness requirements.  Later in the year, the player turned down the opportunity to tour New Zealand citing injury and safety concerns.

A few months later, however, and Lewis has emerged from his time off in solid form.  The opener’s century, his fourth in One Day International (ODI cricket), against Sri Lanka in the second ODI, and blossoming partnership with left-hander Shai Hope was one of the highlights in a series which the West Indies dominated.

“I’ve been doing a lot of gym work and running. Due to the last (CWI) fitness test, before this series, I failed it. It hurt, to be doing so well and knowing my fitness was the problem,” Lewis told members of the media via a Zoom press conference.

“So, I went back home and did a lot of running and a lot of gym… Straight down until after the Bangladesh series, I’ve been training hard. I’m hungrier for it (WI selection) right now,” he said.

Ahead of the Sri Lanka series batsmen Shimron and all-rounder Roston Chase, along with pace bowlers  Sheldon Cottrell and Oshane Thomas all failed to meet the minimum fitness requirement for selection.  Chase and Hetmyer later passed the tests.

 

Former West Indies wicketkeeper and noted administrator, Jackie Hendriks, has expressed surprise at the selection of veteran batsman Chris Gayle for the T20 series against Sri Lanka, indicating he believes the batsman could be past it at this point.

The selection of the veteran pair of Gayle and fast bowler Fidel Edwards sparked heated discussions around the region, with some insisting that the players should have been overlooked for younger talent.  The 41-year-old Gayle was recalled to the regional squad for the first time in two years, along with the 39-year-old Edwards, who had not played for the team since 2012.

Neither player had a particularly strong series but have been playing in T20 leagues around the globe since last year, Gayle notably having a strong showing at the Indian Premier League (IPL), while Edwards showed up well for the Abu Dhabi T10 tournament.  For the Sri Lanka series, Gayle averaged 9 over three matches, with a high score of 16 in the second T20 match.  Edwards, in the meantime, took one wicket over the first two games but did not play the third.

Hendriks, while expressing confidence in the regional selectors, admits he was somewhat taken aback by both selections.

 “I was a little surprised that Chris was brought into the team at this stage,” said Hendriks, a former Jamaica Cricket Association president, told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“I wondered what the reason was but of course he has been a tremendous player over the years but it’s just his age in life I was a little surprised,” he added.

“I don’t know what things went on in their minds. I don’t know. I certainly would’ve thought he was a little past it at this stage and having youngsters around, I would’ve gone for them. But of course, selectors are on the spot and they know what they’re doing. “[Edwards was] another question mark in my books. I would’ve thought that was a little stretch but again, the selectors must’ve had some good reason for that.”

A century from Darren Bravo and half-centuries from Shai Hope and Kieron Pollard led the West Indies to a five-wicket win with nine balls to spare, and a sweep of Sri Lanka in the CG Insurance ODI series that concluded at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua today.

Man of the Match Bravo scored 102 and shared in two crucial partnerships - a 109-run third-wicket partnership with Hope, who made 64, and a fourth-wicket partnership with Pollard that set up the West Indies for a third consecutive victory. The captain remained unbeaten on 53 at the end.

Chasing 275, after Sri Lanka made 274 for 6, their best score of the series, the West Indies had their worse start of the series. After stands of 143 and 192, respectively, in the first two matches, Evin Lewis and Hope managed only 24 runs on this occasion.

Lewis, who has been in ominous form with scores of 65 and 103 in the two previous matches, was bowled by Suranga Lakmal for 13 at the end of the fifth over. The West Indies crawled to 39 for 1 in the 10th over when Jason Mohammed was bowled by Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva, who was getting his first wicket of the ODI series.

His dismissal brought Hope and Bravo together for the first of the two instrumental partnerships of the West Indies innings. However, after keeping the scoreboard ticking over at close to five runs an over, the pair got bogged down by the tight bowling. By the start of the 32nd over the pair had taken the score to 148 when Hope got out trying to slog Thisara Perera first ball only be caught by Suranga Lakmal running in from long-on.

Hope had made 64, his third consecutive score of 50 or more in the series and on the sixth consecutive occasion overall. Nicholas Pooran came intending to push the score along hitting two sixes in what was to be a brief stay at the crease. Three overs later he was back in the pavilion out lbw to Danuska Gunathilaka for 15 to leave the West Indies in a spot of bother at 169 for 3, still needing 106 from 78 balls.

Pollard arrived at the crease intent on pushing the scoring rate without unnecessary risk. He knocked balls into the gaps, running singles and twos, sprinkling four fours in between. Bravo soon followed suit and together they put on 80 runs while bringing the run rate down from near eight an over to near six and which took the West Indies within sight of their target.

By the time Bravo got out trying to hit Lakmal over extra cover, the West Indies needed 25 from 23 balls. Bravo hit five fours and four sixes.

Holder joined Pollard and together began a steady run toward the required runs.

Pollard hit one six in his 42-ball innings and it was perhaps the most important one of the innings.

It came from the last ball of the 48th over bowled by Asitha Fernando that yielded 14 runs, resulting in the West Indies needing nine from 12 balls.

After missing with an almighty swipe from the first ball of the 49th over bowled by Lakmal, Jason Holder finished the job hitting a four and a six off the next two balls to finish the job unbeaten on 14.

Lakmal, who gave up the winning runs, finished with 2-56 from 9.3 overs.

Earlier, Sri Lanka, who had been put in to bat, only managed their competitive score of 274 for 6, due to an unbroken seventh-wicket stand of 123 from 111 balls between Hasaranga and Ashen Bandara.

Hasaranga who should have been run out for 42, hit seven fours and three sixes on his way to his best ODI score of 80 that came off just 60 balls while Bandara was unbeaten on 55 that included three fours and six.

They had taken the score from 151 for 6 sliding from 68 without loss.

Gunathilaka made 36 before he lost his wicket to Alzarri Joseph. Seven balls later and two balls later Dimuth Karunaratne was bowled by Mohammed for 31. It was the start of a trend wherein the Sri Lankan batsmen would all get starts and then got out.

Akeal Hossein took 3-33 taking the wickets of Pathum Nissanka for 24, Dinesh Chandimal for 16 and Dashun Sanaka for 24. The latter two getting out in a similar fashion playing across the line to faster straight deliveries and getting bowled.

By that time, Sri Lanka was struggling at 143 for 5 in the 31st over.

When Perera was run out by a direct hit from Nicholas Pooran seven balls later, Sri Lanka was slipping fast at 151 for 6 before Hasaranga and Bandara pulled out their rescue act.

For his scores of 102, 84 and 64, Shai Hope was named Player of the Series.

Both teams will now turn their attention to the Test series that begins on March 21.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

West Indies white-ball opening batsman Evin Lewis said he is mulling playing Test cricket in the near future but concedes that he needs to play more four-day cricket before he can make that step.

Ishan Kishan enjoyed a stellar India debut as his brilliant 56 helped Virat Kohli's side to a seven-wicket triumph over England in the second Twenty20 International.

Hunting a record-setting, seventh successive oversees T20 victory, England were put in to bat in front of a vociferous, 70,000-strong crowd in Ahmedabad, where Jason Roy's 46 was not followed up as the tourists managed a relatively modest 164-6

Ishan took the chance to shine, the 22-year-old carrying his IPL form onto the international stage with a superb innings which included five fours and four sixes.

Rishabh Pant offered a great cameo of 26 from 13, before Kohli (73), who survived a lengthy stumping review, guided India to a convincing win that ties the series at 1-1.

The captain's decision-making paid off from the outset as he bowled first and Bhuvneshwar Kumar pinned Jos Buttler leg before three deliveries in, yet cool shots from Dawid Malan (24) and Roy put England on the front foot.

With Malan going lbw on review, Bhuvneshwar took a good catch on the boundary to send Roy packing four short of his half-century, before Jonny Bairstow looped to Suryakumar Yadav.

England still looked in a strong position, yet Eoin Morgan (28) and Ben Stokes (24) failed to capitalise on sluggish bowling late on.

KL Rahul's early dismissal then represented a promising start with the ball for England, but Ishan subsequently came to the fore.

With Kohli at the other end, the debutant set about dismantling England's attack, the pair's 16 from the final over of the powerplay putting the hosts in the driving seat.

Dropped by Stokes on 40, Ishan made England pay, surpassing 50 with successive sixes off Adil Rashid, although his magnificent innings came to an end when he was trapped lbw later in the same over.

Pant picked up where Ishan left off, lashing Rashid deep into the crowd before he sent Chris Jordan for 10 from two deliveries, only to pick out Bairstow with the next ball.

Having allowed the supporting cast their moments in the spotlight, Kohli picked his time to shine, moving onto 53 with a sublime lift over the long-off boundary.

Kohli was lucky to survive after smart work from Buttler behind the stumps, but there was no doubt India deserved their success and the skipper's supreme six wrapped things up in style.
 

India's faith in youth rewarded

After suffering a comprehensive defeat in the first match, India needed a response, and in the form of Ishan, who averaged 57.33 in the IPL last year, they may well have found their next T20 superstar.

Ishan is just the second India player to score a half-century on their T20 debut, after Ajinkya Rahane, who amassed 61 against England in Manchester in 2011.

Another landmark for clinical Kohli

Kohli's record in run chases is exceptional and, while Ishan will enjoy the limelight of a special debut, India's captain ensured he was not totally outdone.

He ultimately finished as the top scorer, and his composure and clinical shot selection was displayed in all its glory by a nonchalant, flick of the wrists for a six which not only confirmed victory, but also brought up his 3,000th T20I run.

Anderson Phillip, the 24-year-old fast bowler from Trinidad and Tobago has been called to the West Indies squad for today’s final ODI match against Sri Lanka.

He might no longer by the captain of the West Indies but Jason Holder still has a lot to contribute to the success of the team going forward.

Kirk Edwards had a top score of 46 and Brian Lara scored an unbeaten 31 to spur West Indies Legends to their first win, a five-wicket victory over Bangladesh Legends in the Road Safety World Series Friday night.

Evin Lewis scored his fourth ODI century that helped lay the platform for the West Indies’ five-wicket victory over Sri Lanka with two balls to spare at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium earlier today.

Man-of-the-Match Lewis scored 103 and shared in a record 192-run first-wicket partnership with Shai Hope, who made 84, as the West Indies took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series. It was the best-ever first-wicket stand at the stadium.

Chasing a challenging total of 274, after Sri Lanka made 273 for 8 in their 50 overs, Lewis and Hope kept the Sri Lankan bowling attack at bay for 37.2 overs that seemed destined to take the home side to another comfortable victory. However, they almost threw it away.

Lewis’ 103 came off 121 balls and hit eight fours and four sixes before getting out to stumped to the bowling of Lakshan Sandakan.

His dismissal seemed to lift the Sri Lankans’ spirits and they responded by tightening up on the West Indies, who managed to squeeze two runs from the next nine balls. The pressure continued to build and it yielded the desired results. At 194 for one, Hope got out caught at deep cover trying to push the scoring rate.

As a measure of how much Sri Lanka had slowed the scoring rate, the first 50 for the West Indies came up in just 54 balls, the second in 53 while the third 50 came up in 55 balls. The fourth 50 for the West Indies was made from 81 balls.

In this phase of the game, the West Indies lost the wickets of Darren Bravo for 10 and Kieron Pollard and Fabian Allen 15 each over the next 57 balls from which they managed 55 runs as they tried to rein in the escalating run-rate that had ballooned to 10 runs an over.

With Jason Holder at the other end, it was left to Nicholas Pooran to play hero and swing the match back in favour of the West Indies.

Allen had hit a six off Nuwan Pradeep to start the 48th over. He was dismissed next ball holing out to deep midwicket. However, the batsmen crossed leaving Pooran to face the next four balls from which the West Indies took 11 runs, 10 coming from Pooran’s bat via two fours and running two.

The little Trinidadian would finish the job in the final over off the same bowler with the West Indies needing nine from six balls.

After missing the first ball that was bowled wide of the off-stump, Pooran hit consecutive fours before clipping off his legs for the winning single. He would finish unbeaten on 35 while Holder, who faced four balls and was two not out.

Pradeep finished with 2-66 off 9.4 overs. Thisara Perera claimed the wickets of Hope and Bravo to return 2-45 from seven while Lakshan Sandakan finished with 1-36.

Earlier, Sri Lanka posted what turned out to be a competitive score, the foundation of which was laid by Danushka Gunathilaka, who scored a run-a-ball 96 that rescued Sri Lanka from 50 for 3 after Alzarri Joseph had removed Dimuth Karunaratne and Pathum Nissanka for one and 10, respectively within the first seven overs.

Gunathilaka, who was controversially given out for obstructing the field in the opening match on Wednesday, and Dinesh Chandimal put on 100 for the fourth wicket. He looked set for a hundred when Jason Mohammed bowled him with one that kept low to claim the first of his three wickets.

In fact, Mohammed claimed the next two wickets to fall - Ashan Bandara for 18 and then Chandimal for 71 - as Sri Lanka struggled to force the rate of scoring and seemed likely to score a little more than the 232 they scored in their eight-wicket loss on Wednesday.

However, a blazing cameo of 47 from 31 balls from Hasaranga de Silva propelled Sri Lanka well past the 250-run mark and with a little help from Perera, who made 19 before he was last man out run out for 19.

Mohammed had his career-best figures of 3-48 while Joseph took 2-42. There was a wicket each for Jason Holder and Akeal Hosein.

The final match of the series is scheduled for the same venue on Sunday.

 

 

 

 

England's bowlers produced an outstanding performance to lay the platform for an emphatic eight-wicket win in the first Twenty20 International against India.

The tourists were bamboozled by spin to lose the Test series but found a pitch much more to their liking at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, a venue where they twice suffered heavy defeats to go down 3-1 in the longest format.

Jofra Archer led the way with figures of 3-23 as India – who host the ICC T20 World Cup later this year – were restricted to 124-7 after being put in by visiting captain Eoin Morgan.

England had no such problems in their reply, Jason Roy smashing 49 off 32 deliveries to help wrap up victory with 27 balls to spare. 

Jos Buttler contributed 28 in an opening partnership worth 72 with Roy, who hit three sixes before being trapped lbw by Washington Sundar, one of three frontline spinners selected by the hosts for the opener in a five-match series. 

By contrast, England fielded a solitary slow bowler in their XI. Leg-spinner Adil Rashid (1-14) claimed the prized scalp of Virat Kohli for a duck having opened the bowling in a T20 at international level for the first time. 

Archer and Mark Wood (1-20) also struck early blows as India limped along to 22-3 by the end of the batting powerplay. Shreyas Iyer led a recovery of sorts, top-scoring with 67, but their final total never appeared enough at the halfway point. 

Rishabh Pant (21) thrilled the crowd with an outrageous reverse sweep off Archer that went for six, yet could only pick out Jonny Bairstow when he flicked a full delivery from Ben Stokes into the deep. 

Iyer and Hardik Pandya (19) shared a half-century stand having come together at 48-4, only for the latter to become the first of two wickets in as many deliveries from the excellent Archer. 

England made sure there were no complications in the chase with a powerplay onslaught from their openers, allowing Dawid Malan and Bairstow to ease them to their paltry target, the duo finishing unbeaten on 24 and 26 not out respectively. 

Jason Holder and Darren Bravo have been recalled to the West Indies squad for the first Test against Sri Lanka set for March 21-25, 2021.

If the West Indies do a better job of rotating the strike, combining that with their power-hitting would result in the team posting much higher scores. That is the belief of Shai Hope, who scored his 10th ODI century in the West Indies’ eight-wicket win over Sri Lanka on Wednesday.

Chasing a relatively modest target of 233, the West Indies eased to 236 for 2 with 18 balls to spare. Hope hit 12 fours and a six while scoring 110 runs from only 133 balls at a strike rate of 82.71.

In the opening stand between Hope and Evin Lewis of 143 runs, the effort to rotate the strike was more evident than in the recent past. The first 50 came up in just 53 balls and while the scoring rate slowed a bit, the 100-run partnership took only 134 balls.

However, according to the Barbadian batsman, the West Indies can do a lot better.

“There is definitely a lot of improvements that can be made,” said Hope during a press conference on Thursday on the eve of the second match against Sri Lanka at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua.

“We always look at ourselves as power hitters, ball beaters, but there is so much more to our game.

“If we can merge the two together, limit the dot balls along with the boundary balls that will come along, then we can consistently get big totals.”

He revealed that doing a better job rotating the strike is something that the team has been working on behind the scenes, but conceded that there is still a long way to go.

“WE have been working on picking up these singles, working on our singles options, making sure we have a clear mind on how we are going to play a particular bowler to get those singles to keep the scoreboard ticking over,” he said.

“It’s a work in progress but we are going to get there.”

 

 

Opening batsman Kraigg Brathwaite has replaced Jason Holder as West Indies Test captain, Cricket West Indies confirmed tonight.

Shai Hope celebrated his return to international cricket on Wednesday with his 10th ODI century that helped the West Indies cruise to a crushing eight-wicket victory over Sri Lanka at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua.

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