Jayden Seales signalled a return to form with tidy figures of three for 26, which assisted Trinidad and Tobago Red Force to take charge of their West Indies Championship contest against West Indies Academy at Conaree Sports Club, in St Kitts.

Seales, who recently returned from injury, only required nine overs to secure his figures, which includes two maidens, on Wednesday’s opening day. The 22-year-old was assisted by fellow seamer Anderson Phillip, who took 3-63, and spinner Khary Pierre, with 2-16, in bowling West Indies Academy over for a paltry 163.

Teddy Bishop led West Indies Academy’s batting with 65, while Joshua Bishop, with an unbeaten 32, and Johann Layne (27), also offered some resistance.

Meanwhile, Vikash Mohan (54) gave Red Force a promising start, before they lost wickets in quick succession to end at 128-3. Jyd Goolie, on 15, and Amir Jangoo, on 24, will resume batting on Thursday, as Red Force are 35 runs away from first innings honours, with seven wickets intact.

Scores: West Indies Academy 163 all out (39 overs); Trinidad and Tobago Red Force 128-3 (48 overs) trail by 35 runs

After opting to bat first, West Indies Academy captain Nyeem Young, might have regretted the decision, as they lost their top order, as Seales and Phillip ripped through the top order with mere eight runs on the board.

Phillip accounted for Rashawn Worrell and Mbeki Joseph, both for naught, while Seales removed Kadeem Alleyne (eight). Teddy Bishop staged a fightback, as he smashed 12 boundaries in his 74-ball innings, and after watching wickets fall around him, he too eventually went, trapped in front by Pierre.

Joshua Bishop, with five boundaries in his unbeaten 50-ball 32, got some assistance from Layne, whose 23-ball cameo includes three maximums.

Red Force’s response started steadily, as Mohan and Cooper patiently got into their rhythm, before both were undone by the spin of Joshua Bishop. Mohan had 10 boundaries in his knock, and Cooper four.

Jason Mohammed failed to follow up his century in the first round, adding only five to the total before he was bowled by Ashmead Nedd, as the Academy bowlers made inroads into the innings. However, Goolie and Jangoo ensured there was no late excitement on the day.

Ryan John continued his impressive run of form at the top of the West Indies Championship, as his four-wicket haul, backed by a solid opening partnership between Jeremy Solozano and Kimani Melius, placed Windward Islands Volcanoes in the early ascendancy on the opening day of their encounter against Barbados Pride on Wednesday.

With both teams coming off handsome victories over Jamaica Scorpions and Combined Campuses and Colleges Marooners respectively, this was expected to be an entertaining clash, and it has so far delivered accordingly at Kensington Park, in Jamaica.

John, who took a five-wicket haul in his match figures of 6-64 against the Scorpions, grabbed 4-47 in 16 overs to restrict Barbados Pride to 214 in just under 50 overs. Kevin Wickham, who scored 139 in Pride’s first round win, was again atop the batting chart with 74 off 104 balls, including 10 fours.

Solozano, unbeaten on 63 off 110 balls, including eight fours and captain Melius, unbeaten on 52 off 114 balls, including four boundaries, then guided Volcanoes to 123, 91 runs away from first innings honours with all 10 wickets still intact.

Scores: Barbados Pride 214 all out (49.5 overs); Windward Islands Volcanoes 123 without loss (37.0 overs) trail by 91 runs.

Barbados Pride’s batting performance was a stark contrast of their rendition against CCC Marooners, as the top-order, which includes captain Kraigg Brathwaite, failed to impress after being asked to take first strike.

Brathwaite (two), Zachary McCaskie (five) and Shayne Moseley (six), all went cheaply, as John knocked down the stumps of McCaskie and Moseley. Jonathan Drakes tried to repair the innings with Wickham, but was run out for 12, while Roshon Primus (12), also had a brief stay in the middle.

Wickham eventually got some assistance from wicketkeeper/batsman Shane Dorwich (37) to gradually repair the damage, before John and Darel Cyrus accounted for both.

Jomel Warrican with a 23-ball 21, was the next best scorer of the Pride’s topsy-turvy innings.

John’s four-wicket haul was supported by Cyrus and Shamar Springer, who ended with 2-41 and 2-61 respectively.

It seems there was nothing the Volcanoes could do wrong on the day and their turn at bat demonstrated just that. The left-hand, right-hand combination of Solozano and Melius frustrated the Pride bowlers, as both patiently and skillfully constructed their innings and, more importantly, laid a solid platform on which they can build, on Thursday’s second day.

Organizers of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 recently held high-level meetings with various stakeholders as the preparations for the global sporting event intensify. Officials from regional organizations – The Caribbean Community Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (CARICOM IMPACS), The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), and the Organization of American States (OAS) were just some of the main agencies in attendance, in addition to the Chief Medical Officers and Commissioners of Police from CARICOM member states hosting the historic cricket event.

The two-day summit was held at the Hilton Trinidad & Conference Centre on February 7 and 8, with over 60 delegates discussing and contributing to the primary topics of security, safety, medical and public health for the world event, in addition to related areas of accreditation, logistics, venue preparedness, technology, cyber-security, and match-day management.

Based on the outcomes from the summit, the partnerships between medical, health, safety, and security will be crucial elements towards the successful hosting of the tournament which will be played from June 1-29.  Fans from around the world will be in attendance for what will be the biggest event ever staged in the region.

K.J Singh, Head of Operations for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 in the West Indies and USA, said he was extremely pleased with the level of participation, information sharing, and commitments made by national, regional, and international agencies, which will be left as a legacy not only for the hosting of cricket but other major events in the region.

“This will be the biggest event the region has ever undertaken, and to ensure its success it will require the collaboration and operational integration of many key regional and international agencies, especially since the tournament is being hosted for the first time jointly between two regions in the southern hemisphere. The key objective of the summit was to bring the main security, safety, medical, and health stakeholders together, with a focus on sharing information, insight, experiences, best practices, and resources,” Singh said.
 

“Coming out of the summit, we are all unified on what is required and next steps to be taken to ensure that we meet all the minimum requirements to host this mega event. Commitments have been garnered by the host nations and supporting regional and international agencies to provide essential resources, joint training exercises, and other collaborative preparedness initiatives to host member countries and tournament stakeholders. With these next steps and commitments in place, we are confident that the region will be ready to deliver international-standard safety, care, and service to all tournament contingents, including the thousands of spectators, both visiting and local, positioned to attend the match at this historic world cricket event," he added.

West Indies, who hosted the event in 2010, will hold matches at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium (Antigua and Barbuda), Kensington Oval (Barbados), Guyana National Stadium (Guyana), Daren Sammy Cricket Ground (Saint Lucia), Arnos Vale (Saint Vincent and The Grenadines) and Brian Lara Cricket Academy (Trinidad and Tobago).

Cricket West Indies is the official host of the event, with an entity T20 World Cup Inc. established to administer local delivery within the USA to support the growth of the sport in the country.

This year's ICC Men’s T20 World Cup will be the largest in the tournament’s history, with 20 international teams playing 55 matches across nine host locations. It is the first time USA will host matches at a T20 World Cup, with 16 First Round matches split between Nassau County International Cricket Stadium (New York), Grand Prairie Cricket Stadium (Dallas), and Broward County Stadium (Lauderhill).

West Indies fast bowler Shamar Joseph has been lauded by Cricket West Indies (CWI) for being named the International Cricket Council (ICC) Player of the Month for January, earning recognition for his outstanding performances in the two-match drawn Test Series against Australia.

Miles Bascombe, Cricket West Indies (CWI) Director of Cricket, extended congratulations to the Guyanese player on receiving the prestigious award, stating, "On behalf of Cricket West Indies, I wish to congratulate Shamar on this award, may it be the first of many in what is hopefully a long career in maroon."

The recognition from the ICC reflects Joseph's significant contributions to West Indies cricket and marks a memorable moment in his promising career

In the first Test at the Adelaide Oval, Joseph showcased his prowess with both bat and ball. He contributed a valuable 36 runs off 41 balls, including three fours and a six, facing the formidable Australian pace attack. Moreover, he impressed with a remarkable five-wicket haul, making a stunning debut in Test cricket. Notably, Joseph dismissed Steve Smith with his very first delivery and went on to claim the wickets of Marnus Labuschagne, Cameron Green, Mitchell Starc, and Nathan Lyon.

Undeterred by challenges, Joseph continued to make an impact in the second Test at the Gabba, Brisbane. Despite facing an injury setback, being hit flush in the toe by a yorker from Mitchell Starc, Joseph displayed resilience. In the first innings, he secured one wicket and retired hurt at the end of Day 3.

However, Day 4 saw a historic performance from Joseph. Despite entering the field late due to a uniform issue, he bowled an incredible spell of 11.5 overs, taking seven wickets. Joseph's stellar performance led West Indies to their first Test match victory in Australia in 27 years, ultimately tying the series.

 

India all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja believes navigating England’s attacking style under Ben Stokes and Brendon McCullum has become “easier” after a period of adjustment.

Jadeja is poised to return for India after a hamstring injury led to him missing their victory in the second Test in Visakhapatnam a couple of weeks ago, leaving the series evenly poised at 1-1.

There have been some suggestions of England unsettling India after handing them their fourth Test loss at home since 2013 in Hyderabad and bullishly attempting to chase 399 in Vizag before coming up short.

“In all these years, whichever team has come they have not found it easy to come to India, play on the Indian wickets and win in Indian conditions,” Jadeja said.

“It is not that England are difficult to beat but they play with a different style and it takes some time to understand that. Once you understand that, it becomes easier what to do.

“That is their style. We need to have a plan B and set fields accordingly and bowl to it. We have to do the opposite to what they are doing.”

With Virat Kohli now confirmed to be out of the series due to personal reasons and KL Rahul and Shreyas Iyer injured and dropped respectively, India look set to hand an international debut to Sarfaraz Khan.

Despite being uncapped, Sarfaraz averages 69.85 in first-class cricket to bolster a middle-order light on experience, with Jadeja expected to slot back in at number six on his home ground.

Paceman Mohammed Siraj is poised to return after being rested last time out, while Ravichandran Ashwin sits just one wicket away from becoming the ninth bowler to reach 500 Test dismissals.

“He will definitely complete his 500 wickets on this ground,” Jadeja added.

“I am very excited because I have been playing with him for 12 or 13 years and to achieve this milestone of completing 500 Test wickets is a really big thing.

“I thought he would complete it in the first Test but it’s OK, it is written in destiny he will complete his 500 wickets in Rajkot, in my hometown.”

Mark Wood replaces Shoaib Bashir in England’s only change for the third Test against India starting in Rajkot on Thursday.

The England selectors have opted for Wood’s pace ahead of Bashir’s off-spin and the PA news agency understands Rehan Ahmed’s visa issue has now been resolved.

The teenage leg-spinner’s single-entrance visa expired the moment he left for England’s mid-series break in the United Arab Emirates and he was initially red-flagged upon the team’s return to India on Monday. He was granted an emergency two-day visa.

England go into the test with the series level at 1-1 after the opening two Tests in Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam.

Rehan Ahmed remains in limbo in India although England are certain the teenage leg-spinner’s visa problem will be sorted out on Wednesday ahead of the third Test in Rajkot.

Ahmed’s single-entrance visa expired the moment he left for England’s mid-series break in the United Arab Emirates and the 19-year-old was initially red-flagged upon the team’s return to India on Monday.

England captain Ben Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum waited with Ahmed at Hirasar Rajkot Airport as an emergency two-day visa was granted before the trio got to the team hotel separately to the group.

Ahmed trained with his team-mates at the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium on Tuesday morning and – while there is yet to be a resolution -, England seem convinced the issuing of a new visa is a formality.

“It’s not a concern,” Stokes said. “The guys who dealt with it at the airport did a really good job, given where we found ourselves. I’m confident that will be sorted.”

It is unclear whether the issue will hinder Ahmed’s chances as he tries to retain his England spot when the series, which is currently deadlocked at 1-1 after two gripping instalments, resumes on Thursday.

But it has occurred just a couple of weeks after off-spinner Shoaib Bashir was forced to miss the first Test in Hyderabad because of a paperwork snag as his Pakistani heritage led to extended checks.

Ahmed, like Bashir, was born in the UK and is of Pakistani heritage but this is a separate matter owing to an oversight on the part of the England and Wales Cricket Board.

Ahmed was already in possession of an Indian visa after being placed on standby for England’s 50-over World Cup campaign in October and November but it was not activated then because he was not required to travel.

England’s players travel on electronic visas which are not stamped in passports so the situation with Ahmed only came to light in Rajkot following England’s six-day breather in Abu Dhabi.

Ahmed – who is England’s youngest cricketer in all three formats – has taken eight wickets in the series at a respectable average of 36.37 so far and also contributed 70 runs, including a cameo 23 after being bumped up to number three in the batting order as the so-called ‘nighthawk’ in the second Test.

England’s spin options have already been hard hit by Jack Leach’s series-ending knee injury, leaving Ahmed, Bashir and Tom Hartley as the three specialist spinners, boasting six Test caps between them, with Joe Root’s part-time off-breaks becoming increasingly called upon.

“We were advised, on returning to India, that there was paperwork discrepancy with Rehan Ahmed’s visa,” an England team spokesperson said.

“The local authorities at Rajkot Airport were supportive, enabling Rehan entry on a temporary visa. The correct visa should be processed and issued in the coming days.

“He will continue to prepare with the rest of the squad ahead of the third Test.”

England captain Ben Stokes downplayed his landmark appearance against India in Rajkot this week, insisting that joining the prestigious 100 Test club was “just a number”.

Stokes is set to become the 16th Englishman to three figures on Thursday a little over a decade on from his Adelaide debut, where he memorably had a testy exchange with Australia wicketkeeper Brad Haddin.

That combative nature has been a constant in a career of stratospheric highs and crushing lows, but he is naturally averse to celebrating personal milestones, as evidenced most acutely at Headingley in 2019.

 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Ben Stokes (@stokesy)

 

On that occasion, Stokes barely acknowledged his hundred and only celebrated after hauling England to a famous victory and he stayed true to type when asked to talk up his 100th Test match.

“I guess it’s a sign of longevity,” he said, almost apologetically. “It’s just a number. Every Test is just as important as the next one. Then there’s the next one, which will be 101 – it’s just one more.

“I don’t want it to sound like I’m not thankful for the opportunities I’ve had. There will be a time when I can (reflect on what he has achieved) a bit more.

“But milestones and stuff like that – it’s not done until it’s done.

“While I’m still playing and wanting to achieve a lot, driving the team, giving individuals what I think is the best platform for them to be successful is where all my thoughts are at the moment.”

Another character trait that has been evident in Stokes the captain is his eagerness to roll the dice and risk defeat in pursuit of victory, largely paying off with six of the former and 14 of the latter.

He is therefore highly unlikely to find himself in the same situation Sir Alastair Cook did in England’s last visit to the Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in November 2016, when the tourists received some criticism for declaring too late and setting India 310 to win in a minimum of 49 overs.

With this series deadlocked at 1-1, the temptation could be to avoid defeat at all costs after losing last time out but Stokes was having none of it.

“I don’t get that much pleasure out of a draw,” Stokes said. “I’d much rather lose trying to win. But not winning doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. Everything is just aimed towards what can we do.

“Losing always sucks but we’ve lost all (six) games trying to win them. We’ll never go to the grave not knowing if we could have done something a bit different.”

Stokes’ immediate thoughts are on whether to stick with James Anderson and a trio of callow spinners or reintroduce Mark Wood and go with two specialist fast bowlers for the first time on this tour of India.

While Wood was wicketless in the win at Hyderabad and made way for Anderson in the Visakhapatnam defeat, his express pace offers an extra dimension on a pitch renowned for being batter-friendly.

“If we were to go with two seamers the reasons why we would look at Jimmy and Woody would be I just like to have a point of difference,” Stokes said. “And India is never a three-seamer option.”

Even though Jack Leach is out of the last three Tests, Stokes will stick to his pledge not to bowl in this series following surgery on a longstanding left knee injury 11 weeks ago.

Stokes, who last bowled competitively in July last year, sent down three overs in training on Tuesday morning at what he estimated was about 70 per cent intensity.

“It’s little and often now,” the 32-year-old said. “We don’t have a plan with where I go with my intensity. It’s just how I feel at the time, but also not getting too far ahead. It was another step forward.

“But I’ve pinky promised my physio I won’t be loosening up to bowl even if everything is feeling well because that would just be a risk that’s not worth it.”

The Windward Islands Volcanoes are sitting atop the points table at the end of Round 1 of the West Indies Championship, after their 9-wicket victory over the Jamaica Scorpions at Sabina Park.

With a total of 21.4 points, 9.4 of which came from bowling points, as they picked up 3 points for surpassing 300 runs in the first innings and then bowling the Scorpions out in both innings.

Not far behind are the Barbados Pride with 19 points, having picked up 3 batting points and 4 bowling points. The West Indies Academy victory over the Leeward Islands Hurricanes have them sitting third on the table, while the rest of the table reads as follows Guyana Harpy Eagles with 5.5 points, Jamaica Scorpions 4.4, Trinidad and Tobago Red Force 3 and Combined Campuses and Colleges at eighth with 3 points.

Three teams have made player changes to their teams heading into Round 2 which starts tomorrow.

Guyana Harpy Eagles have replaced Ronsford Beaton with Isai Thorne who returned from competing with the West Indies Men’s Under 19 team at the recently concluded ICC Men’s Under-19 World Cup in South Africa. Beaton was suspended for an illegal bowling action in his team’s first round clash with the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force at Conaree Cricket Centre.

The West Indies Academy have made two changes with to their squad with Jordan Johnson and Teddy Bishop replacing Kelvin Pitman and Ramon Simmonds. Johnson returned from competing with the West Indies Men’s Under 19 team at the recently concluded ICC Men’s Under-19 World Cup in South Africa, and Bishop returned from Australia where he was a member of the West Indies Men’s Senior team for the ODI series against Australia.

Gilson Tyson will replace Shermon Lewis in the Windward Islands Volcanoes team, as Lewis has been ruled out of the next two rounds of the competition due to injury. Kavem Hodge who also returned from Test and ODI duties with the West Indies Senior Men’s team in Australia, will replace Keron Cottoy.

Guyana Harpy Eagles and Trinidad and Tobago Red Force had their first-round match at the Conaree Cricket Centre end with no result due to seepage of water onto the pitch from a 24-hour persistent rainfall. Jamaica Scorpions, Leeward Islands Hurricanes and Combined Campuses and Colleges all suffered defeats to the Windward Islands Volcanoes, the West Indies Academy and Barbados Pride respectively.

Round 2 starts on Wednesday 14 February-17 February in Jamaica at Sabina Park and Kensington Cricket Club and in St. Kitts at Warner Park and Conaree Cricket Centre. All matches start at 10am local time.

Every West Indies Championship match will be streamed live on the Windies Cricket YouTube channel. Fans can follow every game from their mobile devices, computers, or connected TVs, including access to live ball-by-ball scoring on the Windiescricket.com live match center. 

TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE

West Indies Championship 2024

Round 1

7 to 10 February: 

Jamaica Scorpions vs Windward Islands Volcanoes - Sabina Park, Jamaica- Volcanoes won by 9 wickets

CCC vs Barbados Pride - Chedwin Park, Jamaica- Pride won by 9 wickets

Leeward Islands Hurricanes vs West Indies Academy - Warner Park, St. Kitts- Academy won by 5 wickets

Guyana Harpy Eagles vs Trinidad & Tobago Red Force - Conaree Cricket Centre, St. Kitts- No Result

Round 2

14 to 17 February: 

Jamaica Scorpions vs CCC - Sabina Park, Jamaica

Barbados Pride vs Windward Islands Volcanoes - Kensington Cricket Club, Jamaica

Leeward Islands Hurricanes vs Guyana Harpy Eagles - Warner Park, St. Kitts

Trinidad &Tobago Red Force vs West Indies Academy - Conaree Cricket Centre, St. Kitts

Round 3

21 to 24 February: 

Jamaica Scorpions vs Barbados Pride - Sabina Park, Jamaica

Windward Islands Volcanoes vs CCC - Chedwin Park, Jamaica

Leeward Islands Hurricanes vs Trinidad &Tobago Red Force - Warner Park, St. Kitts

West Indies Academy vs Guyana Harpy Eagles - Coolidge Cricket Ground (CCG), Antigua

Round 4

13 to 16 March:

Trinidad &Tobago Red Force vs Windward Islands Volcanoes - Queen’s Park Oval, Trinidad

CCC vs Leeward Islands Hurricanes - Diego Martin Regional Complex, Trinidad

Guyana Harpy Eagles vs Barbados Pride - Sir Frank Worrell Cricket Ground at UWI Spec (UWI SPEC), Trinidad

West Indies Academy vs Jamaica Scorpions - CCG, Antigua

Round 5

20 March to 23 March: 

Trinidad &Tobago Red Force vs Barbados Pride - Queen’s Park Oval, Trinidad

Leeward Islands Hurricanes vs Jamaica Scorpions - Diego Martin Regional Complex, Trinidad

Guyana Harpy Eagles vs Windward Islands Volcanoes - UWI SPEC, Trinidad

West Indies Academy vs CCC - CCG, Antigua

Round 6

10 to 13 April:

Jamaica Scorpions vs Guyana Harpy Eagles - Sabina Park, Jamaica

CCC vs Trinidad &Tobago Red Force - Chedwin Park, Jamaica

Leeward Hurricanes vs Barbados Pride - UWI SPEC, Trinidad

West Indies Academy vs Windward Islands Volcanoes - CCG, Antigua

Round 7

17 to 20 April:

Jamaica Scorpions vs Trinidad &Tobago Red Force - Sabina Park, Jamaica

CCC vs Guyana Harpy Eagles - Kensington Cricket Club, Jamaica

Leeward Islands Hurricanes vs Windward Islands Volcanoes - UWI SPEC, Trinidad

West Indies Academy vs Barbados Pride - CCG, Antigua

 

A record sixth-wicket stand between Andre Russell and Sherfane Rutherford was backed by a dazzling spell of spin bowling by Roston Chase, as West Indies salvaged some pride with a 37-run win over Australia to end their three-match Twenty20 (T20) series on a high, on Tuesday.

While Australia took the series 2-1, the consolation win and, by extension the performances of Russell and Rutherford in a 139-run stand, provides a solid platform on which West Indies at can continue to build in their charge towards the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup later this year.

With West Indies in trouble at 79-5, after Rovman Powell opted to bat first, Russell and Rutherford took Australia’s bowlers to task, as they combined for 12 sixes in the record stand that propelled the Caribbean side to a competitive 220-6 at Optus Stadium.

Russell was particularly destructive, as the Jamaican utilized only 29 balls for his 71, which included seven maximums and four fours, while Rutherford’s unbeaten 40-ball 67, included five maximums and five fours.

David Warner, who struck nine fours and three sixes in a 49-ball 81, briefly threatened to overhaul the total, but Australia suffered a mini collapse after his dismissal, as West Indies bowlers came up trumps on this occasion. Tim David with a quickfire 19-ball 41, was Australia's next best scorer. His unbeaten knock had two fours and four sixes. 

Scores: West Indies 220-6 (Russell 71, Rutherford 67 not out, Bartlett 2-37) beat Australia 183-5 (Warner 81, David 41 not out, Chase 2-19, Shepherd 2-31) by 37 runs

Having failed to chase down daunting totals when they lost the first two matches, West Indies captain Powell decided to switch strategies and bat first, but it almost seemed futile when the top-order failed to navigate the extra bounce. Johnson Charles (four), Kyle Mayers (11) and Nicholas Pooran (one), all fell cheaply, as West Indies slipped to 17-3 in the third over.

Powell and Chase restored some semblance of respectability to the innings with a 55-run fourth-wicket stand. But when Chase fell for 37 off 20 balls, including three fours and two sixes, Powell went soon after for a 14-ball 21 that had three boundaries, and West Indies were steering down the proverbial barrel at that point.

However, Russell and Rutherford were in defiant mood. The two slaughtered Australia’s bowlers and raised their half-centuries in 25 balls and 33 balls respectively, and inevitably pushed West Indies past the 200-run mark.

Much like he started his innings, Russell ended in explosive fashion, as he struck Adam Zampa for three-consecutive sixes in a penultimate over that yielded 28 runs, but later holed out in the last over and walked off the ground to a standing ovation from the over 17,000 crowd.

Xavier Bartlett was Australia’s most successful bowler with 2-37 from his four overs.

Knowing they required a solid start, Australia reshuffled their batting order, with captain Mitchell Marsh taking opening duties alongside Warner. But Marsh struggled for rhythm and was overshadowed by Warner, who overcame a rough start when a short delivery from Alzarri Joseph banged into the grill via his shoulder.

After Marsh fell for 17, wickets continued to tumble around Warner, who raced to a half-century off 25 balls. The left-hander seemed set for a second T20I century, but was overburdened in the middle overs, and eventually holed out to Russell off Chase.

From there, Australia’s innings fell apart, even with David's late burst, as Chase, who proved an inspired selection, ended with tidy figures of 2-19 from four overs. He was well supported by seamer Romario Shepherd, who had 2-31.

Rising fast bowler Shamar Joseph has dedicated his ICC Men’s Player of the Month for January award to his West Indies Test teammates and cricket fans at large, with a vow to continue working hard to deliver more memorable performances in what promises to be an exciting career.

Not many players have made a more impressive start to their international career than Joseph, who burst onto the scene during the Two-Test series against Australia and rose from relative obscurity to the cusp of stardom after just two matches. His pivotal role in West Indies’ historic second Test victory over the world champions, not only etched his name in the annals of the sport's history, but it also left an indelible impression on cricket fans around the world.

Joseph's introduction to international cricket was so eye-catching, that the right-arm bowler beat out strong opposition from England batter Ollie Pope and Australia seamer Josh Hazlewood to claim the first men's monthly award for the new calendar year.

“I am extremely delighted to win this award. To get such an award on the world stage feels special. I totally enjoyed every moment of that experience playing for West Indies in Australia, especially the magic of the final day at the Gabba. Taking the wicket to win the match was a dream," Joseph said shortly after ICC's announcement on Tuesday.

“It was a truly memorable moment for me, and I just want to continue to work hard and deliver more match-winning performances for the West Indies with the ball; and when required also with the bat," he added.

It didn't take long for Joseph to make his mark on debut in the first Test against Australia, as the 24-year-old revived memories of West Indies quicks of yesteryear, when he claimed the prized wicket of the world's number two-ranked batter Steve Smith with his very first delivery.

Joseph picked up another four Australian scalps on his way to sensational figures of 5-94 in his first Test appearance in Adelaide and he backed up the effort, with decent scores of 36 and 15 coming into bat for his side at number 11.

Somehow, Joseph produced an even better performance during the West Indies' upset victory over Australia in the second Test in Brisbane. He produced a spell for the ages to collect figures of 7-68 that helped the Caribbean side to their first Test triumph in Australia since 1997.

Through two Tests, Joseph collated 57 runs at a decent batting clip of 28.50, and also took 13 wickets at an imposing average of 17.30.

“I want to say special thanks to the teammates and support staff in Australia who backed me from the start to get the job done. I will be the one receiving the award, but this is also for the team, and all the fans of the West Indies as well," Joseph noted.

 

Ben Stokes joins the 100 Test club this week in the more unlikely surroundings of Rajkot as England get back to business in India following a week off.

A headline-grabbing career has brought more peaks than troughs and, here, the PA news agency looks at the England captain’s best Test moments ahead of his landmark appearance.

120 v Australia – Perth, December 2013

England were getting mauled by moustachioed menace Mitchell Johnson et al on a calamitous 2013/14 Ashes tour but Stokes was undaunted. In his second Test on a WACA pitch bursting with deep, wide cracks, the then 22-year-old earned Australia’s grudging respect with a hard-nosed fourth-innings century. England lost but months after being told he was squandering his gifts by Andy Flower amid some indiscretions on a Lions tour, Stokes’ surreptitious “I’ll show you” response came to bear in extraordinary fashion.

101 v New Zealand – Lord’s, May 2015

In and out of the side due to injuries, under-performance and a lack of role clarity, Stokes rewarded the decision to elevate him to number six in the batting order with two buccaneering innings. Ten months on from a chastening pair at HQ, Stokes followed up a rescue-act 92 with an 85-ball hundred – the quickest ever at Lord’s – before snaring Kane Williamson and Brendon McCullum with successive balls in an England win. His place in any side when fit and available has never been in doubt since then.

Six for 36 v Australia – Trent Bridge, August 2015

Stuart Broad’s eight for 15 rightly lives longer in the memory but the ‘oh my Broad’ image that summed up the 2015 Ashes was largely down to Stokes’ one-handed leaping catch in the cordon to see off Adam Voges. In Australia’s second innings, with Broad having nothing like as much impact, Stokes channelled his inner James Anderson, finding some prodigious swing, to ultimately make sure England regained the urn. Remarkably, it is the only time in his career Stokes has been part of an Ashes-winning side.

135 not out v Australia – Headingley, August 2019

Stokes’ magnum opus came six weeks after his scarcely-credible heroics in the 2019 World Cup and a year and a week after being acquitted of affray in a Bristol court case that threatened to overshadow his career. After England were skittled for a miserly 67, Stokes, perhaps seeking to atone for his loose shot, first bowled himself into the ground to take three for 56 then roused the hosts in a then national record chase of 359. Watchful at first before exploding with just number 11 Jack Leach for company, Stokes kept the Ashes alive and sent Headingley into raptures with a knock for the ages.

103 v South Africa – Emirates Old Trafford, August 2022

Despite starting his reign as England Test skipper with four wins out of four, Stokes and the so-called ‘Bazball’ methods alongside McCullum came under scrutiny when they lost to South Africa at Lord’s. England also threatened to throw away a handy position in Manchester but measured tons from Stokes – his first since assuming the captaincy – and Ben Foakes quietened any criticism. Stokes also collected a couple of top-order wickets in both the Proteas’ innings to seal a resounding win.

Ben Stokes will become the 16th Englishman to win 100 Test caps when he captains his side in Thursday’s third Test against India.

Here, the PA news agency looks at England’s century club and Stokes’ record to date.

Century club

James Anderson will hope to add to his national-record 184 Tests in Rajkot, while team-mate Joe Root ranks fourth on the list on 137 behind Stuart Broad (167) and Sir Alastair Cook (161).

Alec Stewart, Ian Bell, Graham Gooch, David Gower, Michael Atherton, Colin Cowdrey, Sir Geoff Boycott, Kevin Pietersen, Lord Ian Botham, Sir Andrew Strauss and Graham Thorpe are England’s other centurions. Barring injury, the remainder of the India series will lift Stokes alongside Botham on 102 Tests.

Cook is England’s record Test run-scorer with 12,472, with Root just over 1,000 behind as he keeps up his pursuit, while Anderson leads the wickets column on 695.

Of those among the group to have taken more than one Test wicket, only Stokes, Botham and Root have achieved the distinction of a higher average batting than bowling.

Botham averaged 33.55 for his 5,200 runs and 28.40 for his 383 wickets – the latter figure places him third on England’s all-time wickets list behind Anderson and Broad (604).

Stokes, with over 1,000 runs more than Botham at an average nearly three runs higher at 36.34, has a strong claim as England’s greatest batting all-rounder – Root averages 49.65 with the bat but a hefty 43.88 with his off-spin.

Three more wickets, to add to his 197 at 32.07, will see Stokes join the illustrious club of 16 all-rounders to date with 3,000 runs and 200 wickets in Tests.

Broad, Botham, Andrew Flintoff and Moeen Ali have achieved that feat for England – Stokes has a better batting average than any of the quartet and will rank third in bowling average.

Setting the tone

Only 11 men have made a higher Test score for England than Stokes’ 258 against South Africa in 2016, with former captain Cook having done so on two occasions.

Coming in 198 balls at a strike rate of 130 with 30 fours and 11 sixes, it was the fastest score of 250-plus in Test history and England’s fastest double century – the next-highest England Test score recorded at over a run a ball is Zak Crawley’s 189 off 182 in last summer’s Ashes.

Stokes has 13 Test centuries in all, with four five-wicket hauls including a best of six for 22 against the West Indies in 2017.

As captain he has presided over 14 wins, six defeats and only one draw as he and coach Brendon McCullum have implemented a new aggressive style of play.

England have successfully chased five fourth-inning targets over 250 in that time, including a national-record 378 against India at Edgbaston in 2022 and three of their top eight chases of all time.

Somewhat surprisingly, that 258 is one of only two Stokes centuries at over a run a ball – he made 101 off 92 against New Zealand in 2015.

Ollie Pope gushed at how Ben Stokes has “changed the game” as the England captain gears up for his 100th Test this week.

England are back in India following a break in the United Arab Emirates between the second and third Tests, with Stokes set to make his landmark appearance in Rajkot in a match that starts on Thursday.

As well as being England’s ace in the hole and pulling out all the stops when the pressure is at its peak, Stokes’ dynamic style of leadership alongside Brendon McCullum has galvanised the national side.

Stokes boasts 14 victories from 21 Tests – no one who has captained England on 10 or more occasions in the format has a better win percentage (66.67) – and his revolutionary effect was recognised by Pope.

“It’s unbelievable,” England’s vice-captain said. “For anyone to play 100 Tests is an unbelievable achievement. He’s had his highs and lows but what he’s done since he’s been captain has been amazing.

“Stokesy is not someone who likes it being all about him. He doesn’t need those accolades but away from the ground I’m sure we’ll celebrate him, get around him and think of something to do.

“He’s changed the game in a lot of respects. He just has a way of bringing out the best in himself when the team needs him the most.

“There have been so many unbelievable memories and hopefully he can play 100 more. He’s been great to watch, great to be a part of and hopefully there’ll be many more special moments in his career.”

England are a bowler light for the final three Tests after deciding against naming a replacement for slow left-armer Jack Leach, who has travelled back to the UK following a series-ending knee injury.

The sight of Stokes bowling gently in the nets in England training on Tuesday morning left locals wondering whether the 32-year-old would spring a surprise and return to all-rounder status.

But Pope poured cold water on the theory, with Stokes, who has not bowled competitively since July last year, still feeling his way back after surgery to his left knee 11 weeks ago.

“He’s just getting back to bowling and getting his knee right,” Pope said. “That’s why he had surgery – just to make sure that when he is back bowling, he’s going to be bowling quickly and as well as he can.

“I’d be surprised and I guess you never know. But I think he’s just preparing as a batter.”

Following a gripping pair of Tests in Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam that has left the series evenly poised at 1-1, England have had a six-day breather in Abu Dhabi to decompress and go again.

“It’s a nice way just to refresh,” Pope added. “The guys are energised coming into these last three Tests.

“We’ve loved every bit of this tour so far. Two competitive games of cricket that have been awesome to play in. But it was a nicely timed break to recharge the batteries.”

Rehan Ahmed has become the latest England player to run into visa problems in India but the tourists are optimistic the teenage leg-spinner will be available for the third Test in Rajkot.

The 19-year-old was initially denied entry upon the England team returning to India on Monday after a mid-series break in the United Arab Emirates because he only held a single entrance electronic visa.

The issue is different to what Shoaib Bashir encountered last month and Ahmed was granted an emergency two-day visa, allowing him to train with his England team-mates in Rajkot on Tuesday morning.

Ahmed has now applied for a multi-entrance visa and England are confident the issue will be resolved before the series, currently deadlocked at 1-1, resumes on Thursday.

“We were advised, on returning to India, that there was paperwork discrepancy with Rehan Ahmed’s visa,” an England team spokesperson said.

“The local authorities at Rajkot Airport were supportive, enabling Rehan entry on a temporary visa. The correct visa should be processed and issued in the coming days.

“He will continue to prepare with the rest of the squad ahead of the third Test.”

Bashir’s arrival was delayed because of a unforeseen snag in his paperwork, with his Pakistani heritage leading to extended checks, and meant he missed the first Test win in Hyderabad last month.

Ahmed, like Bashir, was born in the UK and is of Pakistani heritage but he was already in possession of an Indian visa after being placed on standby for England’s 50-over World Cup campaign.

That was not activated because he was not required to travel but, with all of England’s team travelling on electronic visas which are not stamped on passports, any administrative issues are harder to spot.

Ahmed, England’s youngest cricketer in all three formats, entered India for the first time ahead of the start of the series and has featured in both Tests, taking eight wickets at a decent average of 36.37.

He has also contributed 70 runs, including a cameo 23 after being bumped up to number three in the batting order as the so-called ‘nighthawk’ in the second Test, before England departed for the UAE.

Only when Ahmed had his passport scanned after England arrived at Hirasar Rajkot Airport following a chartered flight from Abu Dhabi did the oversight emerge.

England captain Ben Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum remained with Ahmed while he was given his temporary stay and they arrived at the team hotel about an hour after the rest of the group.

Page 4 of 321
© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.