Ireland cricketers Paul Stirling and Shane Getkate will not travel from the United States with the rest of the team to Jamaica for the upcoming series against the West Indies after testing positive for Covid-19.

Following a final round of PCR tests ahead of the team’s departure on Friday, the duo returned positive tests and will undergo a period of 10 days of isolation.  As a result, it is likely that the pair will not join up with the rest of the team until January 9, depending on the status of follow-up procedures.

The West Indies are scheduled to play Ireland in three One Day Internationals and a one-off T20 match, beginning on January 8.

Richard Holdsworth, High-Performance Director for Cricket Ireland, admits that the period continues to be challenging, particularly when trying to balance the physical health of players with their mental well-being.

"It is a challenging time for all, but the players have responded very well to operating within the Managed Environment over the last two weeks. A Managed Environment is different to a bio-bubble, and is an approach being used currently to try and find that balance between risk mitigation from the virus and impacts of sustained periods of isolation on the mental and physical health needs of players and staff.”

The Cricket West Indies (CWI) interim selection panel has announced the squads for the upcoming series against Ireland and England.

Captain Kieron Pollard is fit again and returns to lead both the ODI and T20 sides that will battle the Irish in three ODIs and one T20I at Sabina Park, in Jamaica, starting January 8.

The CG Insurance ODI Series between West Indies and Ireland will form part of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League, in which the top seven teams can secure automatic qualification for the 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup in India.

The West Indies are currently eighth in those standings with 40 points, while Ireland sits fourth with 50.

The Caribbean side will then play five T20 Internationals against England, in Barbados, beginning on January 22.

“We have tried to maintain the general make-up of the squads from the Pakistan tour before Christmas, with the captain and some senior players coming back in. The challenges in the next couple of months are getting the young players in both squads to not only improve on their skills but maintain the attitude and desire we saw in Pakistan,” said West Indies coach Phil Simmons.

Simmons also emphasized the need for his team to start the year on a good note.

“We do need to start the year on a high. We know both Ireland and England have very good teams so we expect a very strong challenge as we look to improve our chances of automatic qualification for the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2023 and building the team for the ICC T20 World Cup in 2022,” Simmons added.

ODI squad for the Ireland Series: Kieron Pollard (captain), Shai Hope (vice-captain), Shamarh Brooks, Roston Chase, Justin Greaves, Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Gudakesh Motie, Jayden Seales, Nicholas Pooran, Romario Shepherd, Odean Smith, Devon Thomas, and the COVID-19 reserves are Keacy Carty and Sheldon Cottrell.

T20I squad for Ireland and England Series: Kieron Pollard (captain), Nicholas Pooran (vice-captain), Fabian Allen (England T20Is only), Darren Bravo (England T20Is only), Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell, Dominic Drakes, Shai Hope, Akeal Hosein, Jason Holder, Brandon King, Kyle Mayers, Rovman Powell, Romario Shepherd, Odean Smith, Hayden Walsh Jr, and the COVID-19 reserves are Jayden Seales, Alzarri Joseph, and Devon Thomas.

Fabian Allen is fully recovered from an ankle injury but is unavailable for the Ireland series after a positive COVID-19 test.

South Africa Under-19s secured a one-wicket win over West Indies Under-19s to take a 2-1 series lead in their four-match Youth ODI Series in St. Vincent, on Thursday, thanks to a solid all-round effort from Liam Alder.

In the match played at the Cumberland Playing Field, West Indies Under 19s won the toss for the third consecutive game and chose to bat after electing to field in the two previous matches.

They struggled throughout their innings, eventually capitulating for 106 in 38.3 overs.

Opener Shaqkere Parris top-scored for the young Windies with 27 and the only other batsmen to reach double figures were Teddy Bishop, who got 26, and vice-captain Giovonte Depeiza who got 22.

Hardus Coetzer and Dewald Brevis each took three wickets for the South Africans while Asakhe Tsaka and Alder took two apiece.

The South Africans then made a meal of their modest target of 107, being 90-8 at one stage before getting to 113-9 in 18.3 overs to win by one wicket thanks to 24 not out from Alder, batting at number nine, which included two sixes.

Opener Ethan Cunningham top-scored with 25 for South Africa U19s.

Off-spinner Onaje Amory almost produced a match-winning spell with 4 for 8 from his four overs, while Johann Layne and Matthew Nandu got two wickets each.

The fourth and final game of the series will be played on Monday at Arnos Vale.

 

Australian batsman Travis Head has been ruled out of the fourth Ashes Test and returning a positive test for Covid-19.

Cricket Australia confirmed that the 28-year-old is asymptomatic and will not fly with the squad to Sydney on Friday for the fourth Ashes Test due to start at the SCG on January 5.

The remainder of the Australian squad, their families and the team's support staff have undergone PCR and RAT tests on Friday and are still planning to travel to Sydney on Friday.

A Cricket Australia spokesperson said: “As part of our testing procedures, we are PCR testing players, their families and our support staff daily. Unfortunately, Travis returned a positive Covid-19 result earlier today. Thankfully, he is asymptomatic at this stage. We anticipate that he will be available to play in the fifth men’s Ashes Test in Hobart.

“We are grateful to our exceptional medical staff for all the work they have done throughout this series and we will continue to work with and support the players, their families and staff from both teams.”

Mitchell Marsh, Nic Maddinson and Josh Inglis have joined the Australian squad as additional cover as a precautionary measure, although Usman Khawaja appears most likely to replace Head in the XI.

On Friday, there was a huge jump in confirmed Covid-19 cases in Sydney, were the fourth Test will be played, with 21,151 infections diagnosed up from 12,226 on Thursday.

The Boxing Day Test earlier this week was jeopardized after positive cases within the England camp, while Third Test match referee David Boon tested positive on Thursday.

Australia captain Pat Cummins missed the second Test in Adelaide after being a close contact of a confirmed Covid-19 case.

Head becomes the first player to miss a Test in the Ashes series due to testing positive as Covid-19 closes in on the series.

West Indies Women’s all-rounder, Hayley Matthews, is part of a three-woman shortlist nominated for the ICC One Day International (ODI) Female Cricket of the Year award.

The past year saw the talented 23-year-old put in brilliant performances with both the bat and ball.  In 14 matches Matthews scored 380 runs at an average of 29.23, with one century and one half-century.  She claimed 18 wickets at an average of 22.44 and had an economy rate of 3.33.

Matthews was named Player of the Series when the West Indies Women faced Pakistan in a five-match ODI series in July.  She scored 168 runs, which included a century, and took seven wickets in a series that the Caribbean team won 3-2.

The player was not as impressive against South Africa but returned to full form in the following series against Pakistan.  Matthews started the series with a half-century and three wickets in the first ODI and followed that up with a four-wicket haul in the second game.  The all-rounder ended the series with a knock of 49 in the final match, which helped her side complete a whitewash.

Also in contention for the award are Pakistan’s Fatima Sana, and England’s Tammy Beaumont.

The Ashes series match referee David Boon has tested positive for COVID-19, Cricket Australia has confirmed.

Boon will now miss the fourth Test, starting on January 5, but is expected to return to take charge of the fifth Test nine days later.

The official is fully vaccinated – including a booster shot – and is asymptomatic. He will quarantine in Melbourne for 10 days before travelling to Hobart, where the final Test is set to be held.

Steve Bernard will serve as the referee in Boon's absence.

Boon is not the only person to miss out on the fourth Test, with England coach Chris Silverwood finding himself in the same position after a close contact contracted coronavirus.

There were four positive COVID-19 cases in the England camp on the second day of the third Test, but none of the players were affected.

Australia have already secured the Ashes, having won each of the first three Tests comfortably to move into an unassailable 3-0 series lead.

A grand send-off for legendary Windies T20 star, Chris Gayle, will be played in front of an empty Sabina Park as the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) was not granted permission to allow spectators for the event by the Jamaican government.

With the recent surge in coronavirus infections, and particularly with the threat posed by the new omicron strain, the government under the Disaster Risk Management act, has continued to restrict gatherings.

Gayle, the leading runs scorer in the history of T20 cricket and widely regarded as one of the format’s greatest players was widely expected to retire following the team’s disappointing showing at this year’s T20 World Cup.  However, following the conclusion of the tournament, the player announced that it was possible that he would feature in one more match, which would serve as a farewell event. 

A few weeks ago, Cricket West Indies (CWI) confirmed that the player would be a part of the T20 squad for the upcoming match against Ireland at Sabina Park.  As such, CWI and the JCA were hoping to have fans present for the event.  Gayle has been part of two World Cup-winning teams for the West Indies.   

Cricket West Indies (CWI) Director from Barbados, Calvin Hope, believes the decision to sack the Richard Pybus-led coaching unit just weeks ahead of the 2019 ICC World Cup remains one of the ‘worst decisions made in recent times.’

In 2019, only a few weeks after replacing the Dave Cameron administration, the Ricky Skerritt-led regime controversially decided to sack Pybus and his entire coaching staff, with the ICC tournament less than a month away.

The move raised even more eyebrows at the time, because it came after the team had, very much against heavy odds, defeated a higher-ranked touring England 2-1 in a Test series, only weeks prior and tied top-ranked England 2-2 in a subsequent One Day International series.

On the back of several disappointing performances in recent months the decision has, on occasion, come back under the microscope and to the fore for discussion.

“It was not even bad, it was one of the worst decisions to have even been made in recent times in West Indies cricket,” Hope told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“Here you were, you had just begun to see some green shoots in the performance of a team.  It doesn’t matter who was in charge before or anything like that and it was basically a political decision,” he added.

The West Indies finished 9th at the ICC World after winning just 2 matches and losing 6.

Hope and Guyana’s Anand Sanasie were part of a two-man team that challenged Skerritt and vice-president Kishore Shallow for the leadership of CWI last year.

 

England coach Chris Silverwood will miss the fourth Ashes Test after a family member of the touring party tested positive for coronavirus.

Silverwood's position has come under question after England's dismal form in Australia, with the hosts having already retained the urn by racing into a 3-0 series lead.

Defeats in Brisbane and Adelaide were followed by a capitulation in Melbourne this week, with the third Test not even lasting three days.

Silverwood will be unable to be in attendance for the fourth match of the Tour in Sydney, as England desperately search for a result in order to avoid a whitewash.

A family member who travelled to Australia has tested positive for COVID-19 in the latest round of PCR tests administered to the touring party, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) confirmed.

Silverwood will therefore have to isolate for 10 days, along with his family, in Melbourne. Another round of PCR tests will take place on Thursday.

The fourth Test is due to start at Sydney Cricket Ground on January 5, with the series finishing in Hobart after coronavirus regulations in Western Australia meant Perth was unable to host the final match.

Left-arm spinner Jaden Carmichael claimed figures of 3 for 25 as the West Indies U-19s coasted to a comfortable 8-wicket win to level the series against South Africa U-19s on Tuesday.

Sent to bat first, the South Africans found very little answers at the crease as they were dismissed for just 103 off 31.3 overs.  In response, the West Indies eased to 104-2 off 24.2 overs, to level the four-match series at 1-1.  The South Africans had claimed the opening match of the series by 18 runs.

Carmichael had solid support from fellow left-arm spinner Anderson Mahase (2-34) and pace bowlers McKenny Clarke (2-12) and Johan Layne (2-14).  During the West Indies' time at the crease, it was opener Matthew Nandu who anchored a routine run chase.

The left-hander struck a patient unbeaten 42 from 75 balls and added 58 for the second wicket with Teddy Bishop (25).  He was then part of a 42-run unbeaten stand for the third wicket with captain Ackeem Auguste who made 28 not out.

For South Africa, it was Michael Copeland who top-scored with 24 from 52 balls, but he was one of only two top-order batsmen to reach double figures and the only one to pass 20 for South Africa.

 

Chris Woakes has given his support to Joe Root amid growing calls for England's star batsman to step down as captain following a chastening Ashes defeat in Australia.

The hosts took an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series after winning by an innings and 14 runs in the third Test at the MCG on Tuesday, skittling England for just 68 in their second innings, after which Root said it was "too soon to look at things."

The 30-year-old has been England's Test captain since 2017 after taking over from Sir Alastair Cook, and will lead his side out for a record 60th time in the fourth Test in Sydney, overtaking Cook's previous record of 59.

Speaking to BBC Sport, Woakes expressed his backing for Root, saying: "Joe is a great cricketer with a great cricket brain. Hopefully he can continue [as captain].

"We haven't been able to bat well around him. You'd expect us to probably put in a lot stronger performances than we have.

"I'm sure Joe will have many more years like he's already had and hopefully we can bat better around him."

England have averaged just 187.5 with the bat in six innings, failing to score more than 300 in any of the first three Tests down under.

Root has scored 1,708 runs in 2021, which equates to 26 per cent of his team's overall total, the highest proportion of any player for their respective team in Test cricket.

When asked if Root still has the backing of the team, Woakes said: "Absolutely."

The Warwickshire all-rounder was left out of the team for the third Test having taken a combined 3-228 with the ball in the first two Tests, although his batting average of 26.25 is England's third highest of the series behind only Root (42.16) and Dawid Malan (33.66).

The future of Chris Silverwood has also been called into question with the former England bowler winning just one of his last 12 Tests as coach.

"It's hard for us to focus on people," Woakes added when asked about Silverwood's position. "Who am I to talk about people's futures other than my own?"

Veteran Australian opener David Warner has set his sights on one last crack at the Ashes on English soil in 2023 as he looks to bury his demons from 2019.

The 35-year-old left-handed batsman has defied his age with the third most runs in this Ashes series after being Player of the Series as Australia lifted last month's T20 World Cup.

Warner was part of losing Australian touring Ashes parties in 2013 and 2015 and was tormented by Stuart Broad in 2019 when he was dismissed by the seamer seven times in 10 knocks, managing only 95 runs across the series which finished 2-2 with the visitors retaining the urn.

"James Anderson sets the benchmark for older guys these days, we look up to him getting on in our days," Warner told reporters.

"Winning the Ashes here was obviously a big one. We still haven't beaten India in India, that would be nice to do.

"And England away, we had a drawn series but hopefully if I manage to get that opportunity, I might think about going back."

The 89-Test veteran has scored 7,551 runs with 24 centuries but battled during the 2019 Ashes in England.

"In terms of 2019, it was obviously in England so he [Broad] was able to get the ball to come back into us and away from us," Warner said.

"For me it was one of those tours where I didn’t back my game plan and I went too defensive, and I didn’t attack. That was my fault, and he bowled really well.

"Out here, they have obviously picked Ollie Robinson for a reason ... he’s averaging 21 with the ball, he’s had some success in England, he bowls a good line and length. I wouldn’t say I was surprised, they’ve done it before in Australia.

"They haven’t played both of them [Broad and James Anderson] too often here – you might see him [Broad] play next game, and maybe Jimmy misses it. I can’t worry what they’re doing, but from our perspective I think it’s great he [Broad] is not playing."

Warner also backed under-pressure opening partner Marcus Harris who scored a game-high 76 in the third Test at the MCG after managing only 38 runs in his previous four innings.

“His courage to keep fighting and working ways out to score runs when bowlers are bowling good lines and lengths, he fought it out really well and I’m really pleased for him," Warner said.

West Indies T20 batsman Chris Gayle will join Fortune Barishal for the upcoming season of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL).

The 42-year-old will be returning to Barishal having last represented the Rangpur Riders in 2018.  The stint will be the left-handers third at the franchise who were called the Barishal Burners when he began taking part in the competition in 2012.  Gayle also played for the franchise in 2015 when they were known as the Bulls.  He represented the Chittagong Vikings at the 2016 edition.

The veteran batsman will be joined at the franchise by Shakib Al Hasan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, and compatriot, pace bowler Alzarri Joseph.

In the meantime, spinner Sunil Narine will suit up for Cumilla Victorians alongside pace bowler O’Shane Thomas, while the trio of Kennar Lewis, Chadwick Walton, and Rayad Emrit will represent the Chattogram Challengers.

Pace bowler Kesrick Williams will represent the Sylhet Sunrisers.

The competition will take place between Jan 21 – Feb 18.

 

 Full BPL squads

Khulna Tigers: Mushfiqur Rahim, Thisara Perera, Naveen Ul Huq, Bhanuka Rajapakse, Soumya Sarkar, Seekugge Prasanna, Sikandar Raza, Farhad Reza, Rony Talukdar, Khaled Ahmed, Jaker Ali Anik, Nabil Samad

Chattogram Challengers: Nasum Ahmed, Benny Howell, Kennar Lewis, Afif Hossain, Chadwick Walton, Rayad Emrit, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Rejaur Rahman, Sabbir Rahman, Mrittunjoy Chowdhury, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Akbar Ali, Naeem Islam,

Dhaka: Mahmudullah, Tamim Iqbal, Rubel Hossain, Mashrafe Mortaza, Mohammad Shahzad, Mohammad Naim, Arafat Sunny, Imranuzzaman, Shafiul Islam, Jahurul Islam, Shamsur Rahman, Ebadat Hossain. 

Fortune Barishal: Shakib Al Hasan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Danushka Gunathilaka, Chris Gayle, Nurul Hasan, Obed McCoy, Alzarri Joseph, Towhid Hridoy, Ziaur Rahman, Shafiqul Islam, Saikat Ali, Niroshan Dickwella, Nayeem Hasan, Taijul Islam, Sarwar Hossain, Irfan Sukkur,

Cumilla Victorians: Mustafizur Rahman, Faf du Plessis, Sunil Narine, Moeen Ali, Liton Das, Shohidul Islam, Kusal Mendis, Oshane Thomas, Ariful Haque, Nahidul Islam, Mahmudul Hasan Joy, Sumon Khan, Mominul Haque, Mahidul Islam, Parvez Hossain, Abu Hider

Sylhet Sunrisers: Taskin Ahmed, Dinesh Chandimal, Kesrick Williams, Colin Alexander, Mosaddek Hossain, Mohammad Mithun, Ravi Bopara, Angelo Perera, Anamul Haque, Sohag Gazi, Alok Kapali, Muktar Ali, Siraj Ahmed, Mizanur Rahman, Nadif Chowdhury, Jubair Hossain, Shafiul Hayat, Sunzamul Islam

West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell’s three wickets were not enough as his Melbourne Stars suffered their second straight loss, a 24-run defeat at the hands of the Hobart Hurricanes in their Australian Big Bash encounter at the Bellerive Oval.

Winning the toss and choosing to bat first, the Hurricanes romped to 180 for six with opener Ben McDermott top-scoring with 67 off 43 balls and captain Matthew Wade chipping in with 39 from 27 balls.

Russell was expensive at the start of his spell but pulled it back to finish with figures of 3-48 from his four overs.

Australian Nathan Coulter-Nile took 2 for 22 from his four overs.

Russell’s Stars were then limited to 156 for nine off their 20 overs despite Joe Clarke’s 52 and Hilton Cartwright’s 26 with Russell managing only 12.

Pacers Riley Meredith and Tom Rogers each took three wickets for the Hurricanes.

With three defeats in their first five outings, the Stars are now one from the bottom of the eight-team standings on seven points, while Hurricanes now lie third on ten points, seven adrift of leaders Perth Scorchers.

 

 

Chris Silverwood believes England can take "positives" out of a humiliating MCG thrashing that ensured Australia retained the Ashes less than halfway through the series.

Scott Boland claimed astonishing figures of 6-7 as the tourists capitulated to 68 all out in the morning session on day three, suffering a chastening innings-and-14 run defeat.

England needed a victory to have any chance of regaining the urn, but suffered a third hammering of what has been a painful series for Joe Root's side.

James Anderson had given them hope by taking 4-33 as were Australia bowled out for 267 on day two, but their batting frailties were exposed yet again on Tuesday.

Yet head coach Silverwood says it is not all doom and gloom for England and believes he still has the players' backing.

Asked if the players are stilt responding to him as head coach, Silverwood told BT Sport: "I think they are.

"We had a good honest chat after the last game [the defeat at the Adelaide Oval]. We just have to put performances together and start pushing back.

"It is disappointing for us all and the lads will be feeling that in the dressing room.

"But I have to give credit to Australia, particularly Scott Boland on debut and Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc for their opening spell last night.

"We had a good honest chat after the last Test, we just have to couple those performances together and find a way of pushing back against this bowling attack and scoring runs.

"Yesterday we had a little bit of disruption in the morning [a positive COVID-19 test in the team's family group] and I think the way the guys applied themselves on the field and the way the bowling attack rallied and got us back into this game was a credit to them.

"The way we caught in the last innings was good as well and I think there are positives coming out of this."

Silverwood believes England can salvage some pride in the remainder of a series that was over so soon after it started.

"We want to take something away from this series and we want to come back and compete in the last two Test matches," he added.

"We do have some world-class players and some youngsters as well who are learning on the job constantly. What we have to do is try and give them some confidence, we know they have ability and we do back them.

"We have to give them the opportunity to come out and show what they can do in the last two Tests."

Boland's figures were the best innings figures by any Australian on Test debut in Australia since Albert Trott took 8-43 against England at the Adelaide Oval in January 1895. 

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