England’s early exit from the World Cup is already guaranteed but assistant coach Carl Hopkinson insists their bottom-of-the-table clash against the Netherlands is no “dead rubber”.

As the tournament finally edges towards the business end, the defending champions have long since become an afterthought in the wider context of the competition.

They have lost six of their seven games and saw their last mathematical chance of a miracle wiped off the table by rivals Australia in Ahmedabad last week.

The best they can hope for now is avoiding a first ever ODI defeat to the Dutch, the only associate nation competing in India, and keep their prospects of reaching the 2025 Champions Trophy alive.

They need a top-eight finish to book their spot, meaning there is no leeway for wallowing in their dreadful form when they take the field in Pune on Wednesday.

The appearance of Hopkinson, a low-key member of the backroom team responsible primarily for fielding, suggested the squad were not keen on issuing their own public call to arms, but he has no qualms about their motivation.

“I don’t think there’s ever a dead rubber when you play for England, to be honest. I think the lads are completely up for it,” he said.

“We’ve got two games in which we need to win both to qualify for the Champions Trophy, so I think that’s there for everybody to see. The guys are going to be obviously up for it and I think we’ll be good.

“We need to win and win well to qualify for the Champions Trophy, which is what we need to do.”

On his unexpected role as carrier of the England message, he added: “I’m not quite sure why I’m the man to explain, (but) I’m an assistant coach with the England team and I’m more than happy to come out and speak about our campaign so far.”

England have named an unchanged side for the last three games, losing emphatically to Sri Lanka, India and Australia, and could belatedly mix things up.

Harry Brook is on hand to add ballast to a badly under-performing top six, but could be added in place of all-rounder Liam Livingstone rather than one of the specialist batters.

Livingstone adds an extra spin option but has not been able to carry his share of the run-scoring load, with just 60 runs in six innings.

Pace bowler Mark Wood, who has been managing a sore knee, could also miss out with Brydon Carse and Gus Atkinson snapping at his heels for a chance.

Wood is the fastest seamer in the squad by a distance, consistently clearing 90mph, but has struggled to keep a lid on his economy rate and has only six wickets at 58.16.

Carse and Atkinson are both likely to form part of England’s white-ball future, leaving captain Jos Buttler and coach Matthew Mott to decide whether now is the time to blood them in a game with live stakes.

Ben Stokes’ fitness was under observation on the eve of the match, with the Test captain carrying various niggles. He missed the first three games here with a hip problem and is set to undergo surgery on his long-standing left-knee injury when he gets back to England.

Former England quick Steve Harmison told the PA news agency this week that the team management should instruct Stokes to leave the camp and go home early in a bid to fast-track his recovery for the new-year Test series in India.

But Hopkinson suggested that idea was not under consideration.

“Knowing Ben, he’ll want to try and play the next game in front of him and try and win that for England,” he said.

“He’s about winning games of cricket for England, so I’d imagine that’s what he’ll be thinking about first and foremost.

“Once he’s obviously made that decision to have the operation, that’s obviously booked in and that’s what he’s going to do, but it’s not before this tournament finishes.”

Sri Lanka’s Angelo Mathews has criticised opponents Bangladesh for the appeal that led to him becoming the first player to be timed out in 146 years of international cricket during their World Cup clash in Delhi.

Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan appealed to the umpire for the batter’s wicket as Mathews, who had called for a replacement helmet after appearing to notice his strap was broken, was not ready to face his first ball within the two minutes required by the competition rules.

Bangladesh went on to record a three-wicket win that eliminated Sri Lanka from the competition and Mathews said at a post-match press conference: “It is obviously disgraceful from Shakib and Bangladesh.

“If they want to play cricket like that and stoop down to that level, there’s something wrong, drastically. Up to today I had the utmost respect for him and the Bangladesh team.”

Shakib stood by his decision, insisting that it was within the rules of the game. He said in a post-match interview: “One of our fielders came to me and said that if I appealed, he would be out.

“The umpire asked me if I was serious. It’s in the laws, I don’t know if it’s right or wrong.”

Smiling, Shakib continued: “I felt like I was at war. Whatever I had to do, I did it. There will be debates. Today that (the time out) helped, I won’t deny that.”

After much deliberation and no withdrawal of the appeal, Mathews was forced to walk off the field having not faced a ball.

The World Cup rules state that “after the fall of a wicket or the retirement of a batter, the incoming batter must, unless time has been called, be ready to receive the ball or for the other batter to be ready to receive the next ball within two minutes of the dismissal or retirement. If this requirement is not met, the incoming batter will be out, timed out.”

Former Pakistan captain Waqar Younis was disappointed with the events he saw on the field.

He said on Sky Sports: “I didn’t enjoy what I saw out there.

“The spirit of the game, I always believe in that and the appeal and whole drama, I thought it was a bit too much for my liking.

“He came at the crease and he was standing there when he tried to pull that strap and the strap came off and he was just asking for another helmet.

“Yes, he came out a little bit late and in the law of the game he is out, but spirit of the game, I didn’t like it.”

Fourth umpire Adrian Holdstock explained the decision making and revealed Mathews had already gone beyond two minutes before he realised his helmet strap was broken.

He said: “When it comes to timed out, the incoming batter has to be in position and ready to receive a ball within two minutes and we have certain protocols where the TV umpire at a fall of the wicket monitors the two minutes and he will relay the message on to the on-field umpires.

“In the instance this afternoon, the batter wasn’t ready to receive the ball within those two minutes, even before the strap became an issue.

“The fielding captain initiated the appeal to Marais Erasmus that he wanted to appeal for timed out.”

Bangladesh went on to take their second victory of the tournament with a three-wicket win.

Charith Asalanka’s second one-day international century proved to be in vain as he helped Sri Lanka reach 279.

In reply, a key partnership between Najmul Hossain Shanto (90) and Shakib (82) took the game away from Sri Lanka as Bangladesh picked up their first win since their opening fixture against Afghanistan.

India added to the list of huge winning margins at this year’s Cricket World Cup while Virat Kohli made individual history in Sunday’s rout of South Africa.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the statistical significance of the result.

India win big again

Four of the World Cup’s top 10 winning margins by runs have come in this year’s tournament, with hosts India now ranking second and joint-seventh on that list.

Sunday’s 243-run success – Kohli’s hundred setting up a total of 326 for five before the Proteas were skittled for 83 – followed three days after they beat Sri Lanka by 302 runs.

That was only the second win by 300-plus runs in World Cup history, the first coming just over a week earlier when Australia beat the Netherlands by a record 309 after scoring 399 for eight.

The 2015 tournament saw Australia win by 275 runs against Afghanistan while South Africa beat the West Indies by 257, matching India’s win over Bermuda in 2007.

Australia beat Namibia by 256 in 2003 while India’s win over South Africa matched Sri Lanka’s margin against beleaguered Bermuda in 2007.

South Africa beat the Netherlands by 231 in 2011 and their 229-run success against England this year matched Australia, against the Dutch in 2007, for 10th place.

Teams batting first have not had it all their own way this year, with New Zealand beating England by nine wickets while there have been four eight-wicket margins and five by seven wickets.

Kohli matches Sachin

Kohli’s 101 not out at Eden Gardens was significant beyond just the immediate contest with the Proteas.

His 49th one-day international century matched the record set by his illustrious compatriot Sachin Tendulkar for the most in the format.

The “Little Master” played a record 463 ODIs between 1989 and 2012 and scored 18,426 runs at an average of 44.83 in his 452 innings.

Kohli has got there in just 289 games and 277 innings, scoring 13,626 runs in total with his average of 58.48 – over 13 runs higher than Tendulkar’s.

The latter does still have more half-centuries, 96 to Kohli’s 70, as well as the higher individual innings with an unbeaten 200 against South Africa in 2010.

That is the 10th-highest score in ODI history and makes Tendulkar one of only eight men with a double-century in the format – current India captain Rohit Sharma has three to his name including a record 264 against Sri Lanka in 2014. The feat has also been achieved twice in women’s cricket, by New Zealand’s Amelia Kerr and Australia’s Belinda Clark.

Kohli’s best is 183 against Pakistan in 2012, ranking 22nd on the all-time list.

Steve Harmison has called on England to send Ben Stokes home from the World Cup or risk losing their Test captain for the start of their forthcoming series in India.

Stokes has revealed he will undergo surgery on his longstanding left knee injury once England’s tournament is over but, with the defending champions no longer able to reach the semi-finals, they could decide to cut their losses and bring things forward.

The first Test of a major five-match series starts in Hyderabad on January 25, with a training camp in Dubai beginning two weeks earlier, meaning Stokes is already on a tight recovery schedule for a major operation.

The 32-year-old’s instincts will be to see a grim campaign through to the bitter end, with games against the Netherlands in Pune and Pakistan in Kolkata still to come, but former England quick Harmison feels decisive action is needed to take the decision out of his hands.

“I am amazed Ben is still in the country, I don’t see any point in him being there,” Harmison told the PA news agency.

“I’m sure that conversation has been had but it needs strong leadership. It needs someone to say, ‘Ben, you’re going home. Here’s a ticket, there’s the plane, get on it’.

“I think Rob Key, as director of cricket, should probably take that decision and if I was (Test coach) Brendon McCullum I’d be doing everything I could to encourage him. I’ve got a good relationship with Ben and I know for a fact he won’t thank me for saying this, but I’m saying it because it’s what is best for the England cricket team.

“He has the chance to get a 10-day head start and it’s common sense to take it. You never know what they are going to find with a big op, or what the rehab looks like. So give yourself the extra time because it could be the difference between being fully fit for the first Test or the third.”

Despite his fitness struggles, Stokes has led England in all 18 games since he took over the red-ball reins from Joe Root. His bold, aggressive captaincy style has helped rebuild the side in a completely fresh image and Harmison cannot imagine taking on India in their own back yard without him at the vanguard.

“The single most important person in that Test setup is Ben Stokes. They need their leader and that’s why he has to go home,” said Harmison, who is commentating in India for Star Sports.

“This tour is going to be twice as hard as the Ashes given the conditions, so he’s going to be more important than ever.”

Harmison also called on England to put their faith in Harry Brook for the last two games of the World Cup, with the rising star bafflingly kept on the sidelines for the last three games despite repeated batting failures.

“I struggle to understand how Brook doesn’t get on. I know we’ve been picking world champions but they’re not playing at a champions’ level,” he said.

“England should have been brave enough to say, ‘this bloke needs to play’. We are talking about someone who is the best we’ve produced in a long time. He’s not the finished article by any means but he probably makes our best XI.

“The problem is England are picking names who haven’t performed and hoping it gets better. One bad game turns to two, two turns to three. It needs leadership and a bit of bravery to make a big decision.”

Sri Lanka’s Angelo Mathews became the first player to be timed out in 146 years of international cricket during a controversial World Cup clash with Bangladesh.

After Sadeera Samarawickrama was caught on the deep mid-wicket boundary with Sri Lanka on 135 for four, Mathews walked to the crease with the bat in hand but appeared to notice his helmet strap was broken before marking his guard.

The Sri Lankan number six signalled for a new helmet before facing a ball and Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan then appealed to the umpire for the batter’s wicket, as he was not ready to face his first ball within the two minutes required by the competition rules.

After much deliberation and no withdrawal of the appeal, Mathews was forced to walk off the field having not faced a ball.

While within the laws of the game, questions will be asked over whether the dismissal is also within its spirit.

The World Cup rules state that “after the fall of a wicket or the retirement of a batter, the incoming batter must, unless time has been called, be ready to receive the ball or for the other batter to be ready to receive the next ball within two minutes of the dismissal or retirement. If this requirement is not met, the incoming batter will be out, timed out.”

Netherlands all-rounder Bas de Leede is eyeing a “massive opportunity” to edge England for a place in the Champions Trophy, insisting the pressure is all on Jos Buttler’s men.

While the 2019 champions have endured a miserable World Cup, sitting rock bottom in 10th place after seven games, the only associate nation at the competition have exceeded expectations with victory over Bangladesh and a famous upset of South Africa.

They meet in Pune on Wednesday with qualification for the next global 50-over tournament potentially on the line – something England would have taken for granted just weeks ago before their campaign crumbled.

Breaking into the Champions Trophy would be a striking achievement for the Dutch and one De Leede, who plays for Durham, believes is within their grasp if England succumb to the tension of their situation.

“As a title-defending team there is a huge pressure on you straight away, especially when you don’t get a great start, and I’m sure there is added pressure for them now on this game,” he told the PA news agency.

“For us it’s a privilege to be playing for a spot in the Champions Trophy, for them it’s an expectation to finish at least in the top eight.

“It’s a massive opportunity, 100 per cent. It’s in the back of our heads that if we do manage to win this game it would help enormously to qualify and that would be huge for Dutch cricket.

“Of course England are a dangerous side, they have such quality in the batting and bowling departments, but two wins in this campaign is pretty good for us and we feel as a group there is more out there for us.

“The proof is there in the South Africa game. To see what we have been practising come off against a team like that was great to see and gave us a lot of confidence as a team.”

De Leede, who has taken more wickets than any English bowler with 11 so far, is also embracing the chance to strike a blow against a system that frequently cuts out those who do not have full member status as ICC level.

The abandonment of the World Cup Super League format means the Netherlands no longer have mandatory games against the biggest names and will instead slip back into a structure that pits them against the likes of Namibia, Nepal, Scotland and Canada.

“Getting games against the bigger nations is very hard for us. It’s hard to get teams to play us so we’ve got to force them to, that’s the only way,” he said.

“If we did qualify for the Champions Trophy it would secure another seven games against the best teams. That how we keep progressing as a national team and it’s in our hands.

“We kind of felt like we were gate-crashing here so to come through would be massive.”

A brilliant unbeaten century from Darren Bravo and incisive spin bowling from Sunil Narine and Akeal Hosein were key factors in the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force’s emphatic 78-run victory over the Barbados Pride in their CG United Insurance Super50 match at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba on Sunday.

Chasing 294 for victory, Barbados were bowled out for 215 in 47.2 overs.

Bravo’s 139 not out that included nine fours and seven majestic sixes, was the foundation on which Trinidad and Tobago built their score of 293 for 6 from their 50 overs. Opener Kjorn Ottley and Tion Webster made invaluable contributions with scores of 36 and 28, respectively, but the bulk of the runs came from Bravo’s bat as no other batter got past 20 runs against the Barbados bowling attack.

Roston Chase was the best of the Barbados bowlers taking 3-50 from his 10 overs while Kemar Smith took 2-46.

Needing 294 for victory, Barbados never really got going. Their batters were beguiled at first by Hosein who dismissed Kyle Mayers for 12 and Zachary McCaskie for 19.  He also dismissed the dangerous Shai Hope for just 18 to finish with figures of 3-31.

Shannon Gabriel had Shamarh Brooks out caught for 33 before Narine took over snaring the wickets of Chase for 48, Roshon Primus for one, Kemar Smith without scoring and Dominic Drakes for nine to return the impressive figures of 4-13 from his 10 overs.

Akeem Jordan in partnership with Jomel Warrican played an entertaining cameo bludgeoning Trinidad’s bowlers for four fours and three sixes before he was bowled by Khary Pierre for a well-played 40 from 47 balls.

Yanic Cariah put the cap on the proceedings when he dismissed Jair McAllister for one, leaving Warrican not out on 19 in the end.

 

Vice-captain Moeen Ali has urged England to rebuild their ageing team after the World Cup, claiming “the writing was on the wall and we just didn’t see it”.

Moeen was part of a golden generation who became world champions on home soil in 2019 and are likely to go down as the country’s best ever white-ball side, but their story is ending in disarray.

After arriving in India with genuine hopes of defending their crown, they have crashed out of the competition in humiliating fashion with six defeats from their seven matches so far.

Ashes rivals Australia became the latest side to turn them over on Sunday, finally confirming the early exit that had long been on the cards, joining New Zealand, Afghanistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and India in a growing list.

For the last three games England have fielded a side comprised entirely of over-thirties and prospects of a radical overhaul will surely prove irresistible. Back in 2015 Eoin Morgan led a similar renewal, strikingly calling time on the vastly experienced James Anderson and Stuart Broad.

And Moeen, the oldest player in the squad at 36, realises that time has caught up with them.

“I just think everything good comes to an end at some point,” he said.

“Maybe the writing was on the wall and we just didn’t see it as players because we thought we’d be performing well.

“I think if I was in charge I’d play the younger guys, I’d just start again and I’m sure they’re going to do that. It’s common sense more than anything. You want that fearless approach and it’s a great time to start again.”

Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root are among the stalwarts who have publicly said they want to carry on in 50-over cricket, but Moeen appears ready to step away with no grudges.

“I’m obviously going to speak to Jos Buttler and Motty (head coach Matthew Mott) and see what they want from me, whether they want me around or whatever,” he said.

“I don’t know. If they say, ‘look we’re going to go with younger players and start again’ then I’m more than happy. I get it, I understand and like I said, everything good comes to an end at some point.”

England could choose to start the regeneration process immediately, with Harry Brook (24), Sam Curran (25), Gus Atkinson (25) and Brydon Carse (28) all waiting in the wings in the current squad.

Bringing Brook back into a top six that has repeatedly fallen short appears the most obvious move but England may find it hard to shrug off their conservatism by making wholesale changes against the Netherlands on Wednesday.

The game in Pune is not only a must-win in terms of basic pride but also critical if England are to keep alive their hopes of finishing in the top eight and securing a place in the Champions Trophy in 2025.

Buttler said he would need time to “digest” the latest defeat before making a call on team selection, but did not rule out another show of faith in the old guard.

“The guys who we were selecting have been top players for a long time and time kind of says that at some point they’ll get back to being the best,” he said.

Moeen, despite his readiness to slip into the shadows, stands ready to play if required.

“Like always, you pick the best players who you think are going to win the game,” he said.

“We obviously haven’t been playing well and I’m sure they’re going to talk and decide on who they want to play. We’ve got to turn up properly as players. These are two massive games coming up.

“I know how important the Champions Trophy is in terms of experience at a world event because you get that experience for the next World Cup, especially with potentially younger players coming in. It’s very important we as players make sure we qualify.”

 Sunil Narine is retiring from international cricket. The Trinidadian mystery spinner announced an end to his eight-year international career on Instagram on Sunday.

"I appreciate it has been over four years since I last played for West Indies but today I am announcing my retirement from international cricket," said the 35-year-old Narine who last played for the West Indies in 2019.

“Publicly I am a man of few words but privately there are a few people who have given me unwavering support throughout my career and helped me realize my dream of representing West Indies and to you I express my deepest gratitude."

Notwithstanding the announcement, Narine said he will end his international career by winning the ongoing Super50 league for the Trinbago Red Force. "I love representing Trinidad & Tobago, the country of my birth, and to add another title by winning the Super50 Cup will be the perfect send-off," he said.

Narine played 122 international matches, which included six Tests, 65 ODIs and 51 T20Is and was a member of the West Indies team that won the T20 World Cup in 2012. He has played for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League since 2012.

He will continue to play for KKR in the IPL, Abu Dhabi in the International League T20, Trinbago in the Caribbean Premier League and Los Angeles in Major League Cricket. He is also part of the Hundred men's competition with Oval Invincibles and also plays in the Big Bash League, Pakistan Super League and Bangladesh Premier League.

The year 1996 was a great year for sports. The cricket World Cup, Olympics Games, European football championships and Chicago Bulls produced a then NBA basketball record, winning 72 games that season.

Seeing all those 1996 sports events set off my path from sports fan to professionally in sports journalism and public relations.

I mention this to highlight that it’s 100 per cent clear to me that the modern “West Indies selection” trivialities are unique in global sports. It’s no longer a case where one can use the clichés; it's simply a case of selectors' opinion and Caribbean people can’t expect them to pick West Indies teams that attain full agreement.

 It’s very possible for myself and many astute sports fans to watch all teams in the NBA, English Premier League, other international cricket teams or at a FIFA World Cup and get a clear idea of the best starting XI or five.

 These teams still elicit media and fan discussion over player selection. However, it never descends to the current Windies selection malaise since the rise of T20 cricket leagues in 2009, where chosen teams never gets 90-100 per cent support from all stakeholders.

 As noted on another publication - https://m.cricbuzz.com/cricket-news/127188/has-the-time-come-to-end-the-west-indies-experiment - observing CWI internally from 2019-2023 after previously in sports media from 2010-2019, fundamentally leads me to believe due to the modern dynamics of international cricket, unfortunately, despite who is in charge, the “Caribbean cricket” ecosystem cannot be fixed, whether the quasi-national “West Indies” construct is maintained or broken up voluntarily or by market forces.

 However, doing the simple global sports concept of “picking your best team” should not be hard for West Indies cricket to accomplish.

 

What are the best West Indies XIs?

 The reality is that selectors don’t objectively know and can’t currently select West Indies teams that will gain unanimous media and fan support. These suggested hypothetical XIs across might have been universally accepted if things were perfect but erudite West Indies observers know there is no chance of these teams ever taking the field.

 T20

 King, Hope, Pooran (wicketkeeper), Hetmyer, Powell (captain), Holder, Russell, Narine, Hosein, Joseph, McCoy

 Reserves: Rutherford, Allen, Shepherd, Drakes

 ODI

Lewis, Hope (captain/wicketkeeper), King, Pooran, Hetmyer, Mayers, Holder, Shepherd, Hosein, Joseph, McCoy

Reserves: Carty, Paul, Motie, Seales

TEST

K Braithwaite (Captain), T Chanderpaul, Bravo, Hope, Hetmyer, Pooran (wicketkeeper), Holder, Hosein, Joseph, Roach, Seales

 Reserves: King, Mayers, Cornwall, Gabriel, Da Silva

  

General selection problems:

 The role of “selectors” no longer works in the unique dynamics of the West Indies cricket multi-national construct. The former Ricky Skerritt administration's “selection review” task force implementation regrettably hasn’t been able to cure this problem.

 That review outside of the five Governance task force documents since 1992 was arguably the most consequential administrative document in recent CWI history.

 Caribbean cricket media and fans can attest to the complete trust breakdown in West Indies selection process since 2009 and why such a task force, that no cricket board globally had done before, was needed.

 Since 2009 West Indies have tried two “legends' Clive Lloyd & Desmond Haynes, a highly respected player, Roger Harper, and two players who didn’t succeed at the international level in Clyde Butts and Courtney Brown, for the polarizing role of chairman of selectors. None led to the improvement in West Indies results.

 Given the long-standing issue of insularity, currently having two selectors from Barbados in Desmond Haynes and Roland Butcher is unsustainable. Despite the gentleman’s potential good intentions - their presence is exasperating insularity feelings and bias in selection, whether real or perceived.

 Roger Harper lost his job after the West Indies were eliminated from the 2021 T20 World Cup group stage - however Desmond Haynes still remains despite selecting teams that failed to qualify for the 2022 T20 and ongoing 50 overs World Cups.

 A good example of this current case was when new white ball coach Darren Sammy, on appointment in May, saying he had in-depth conversations with Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Evin Lewis and Shimron Hetmyer about playing for West Indies.

https://www.espncricinfo.com/story/wi-coach-daren-sammy-wants-to-get-andre-russell-suni-narine-shimron-hetmyer-back-1378679

 However, only Hetmyer has returned and selector Haynes said in his last public press conference in July, that Russell and Narine, who had just shown their quality in TKR’s run to CPL final, were not in his conversations.

 https://x.com/caribcricket/status/1686128090324320257?s=46

 This is basic deja’ vu. Many will recall a similar coach clash over players with selectors/administrators. During Phil Simmons’ first stint as coach he was comically suspended in 2015 for simply saying he wanted to select the best players.

 https://www.espncricinfo.com/story/phil-simmons-suspended-as-west-indies-coach-924039

 Also at domestic level there isn’t a clear alignment in picking teams for West Indies in mind, but rather for national interest to win the four-day and 50 over’s tournaments.

 To highlight two quotes from Daren Ganga who called out this issue in Trinidad & Tobago via a public Facebook post a few months ago:

 “Please focus on using retainer contracts to develop and reward younger cricketers and stop using for senior players who are underperforming and have non contention to play for West Indies.”

 “West Indies cricket is declining and our national selectors are directly contributing to the further demise of the game.”

 https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=pfbid02ZNSqZ9WLosMX5bunaKvdfcXHHBRo3JLSLwF6xeyS5cwwLgxMRab3K2EfPZsxGjz9l&id=100028246136315

 Copying the English system:

 Since the rise of T20s in 2009 and the decline in domestic standards since the PCL revamp in 2014, West Indies selectors have erred more on the side of conservative selections. They have never truly been innovative in picking players away from statistical performances in a poor domestic system or picking players for Test cricket based on international limited overs form like other nations have attempted.

 That factor has led to the current predicament of having only two all-format players, Jason Holder and Alzarri Joseph. The West Indies talent pool isn’t big enough to allow further continuing of this systematic selection faux pas.

 The English strategy of empowering the coach to be a selector with scouts around nations assisting should be implemented. Under Director of Cricket Rob Key in April 2021, the ECB made the role of selector redundant for 19 months, overseeing a period where the much-hyped “Bazball” Test cricket was implemented and England winning the 2022 T20 World Cup.

 Afterwards, despite success Luke Wright was appointed selector in November 2022,

https://www.espncricinfo.com/story/england-cricket-ed-smith-s-tenure-ends-as-national-selector-as-role-is-made-redundant-1260049

 https://www.espncricinfo.com/story/luke-wright-named-as-england-men-s-new-selector-1345988

 That approach seems perfect for the West Indies, where the coach would have sole selection authority like a football manager with support of the captain and Caribbean-wide scouting network support system. Then Desmond Haynes and any of the “legends” can be used in a more productive role, rather than the outdated and impossible West Indies context job of “selector”.

  

Colin Benjamin was a Cricket West Indies communications officer from 2019-2023. He has covered West Indies cricket for more than a decade for other global and Caribbean publications.

England’s hopes of defending their World Cup title officially ended at the hands of Australia in Ahmedabad, a sixth defeat from seven games for Jos Buttler’s deposed champions.

Here, the PA news agency addresses some of the key questions around their troubled time in India.

When can they call it a day and come home?

Incredibly, given the protracted nature of their downfall, England still have two games to play before they can finally draw the curtain on this regrettable chapter. They face the Netherlands on Wednesday in Pune and Pakistan in Kolkata on November 11. Only then can they get a long-awaited flight back to familiar shores.

What is left to play for?

Traditional sporting cliches dictate that England are playing for pride or, failing that, ‘the shirt’. But things are a little more concrete than that. They are currently rooted to bottom spot in the table and need to somehow climb to eighth place to book their place in the 2025 Champions Trophy. Seen as a mini World Cup and an important staging post in the four-year ODI cycle, they cannot afford to miss out.

Is this the end of the World Cup-winning class of 2019?

In total eight of that triumphant squad survived to defend their achievement and it has seemed a stretch too far. Captain Eoin Morgan felt his forces fading and retired last year, while Jason Roy was axed at the eleventh hour. Both now seem preferable fates to what has played out over the past month. Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root have both stated that they do not plan to go anywhere but may yet conclude that 2027 is too distant a target. Ben Stokes seems certain to return to ODI retirement, Moeen Ali is the oldest member of the squad at 36 while Mark Wood and Chris Woakes may be better used in other formats. Adil Rashid does not play Test cricket and is still needed, but change is coming fast.

Are jobs on the line?

Jos Buttler has cut an increasingly forlorn figure as he fronts up to every fresh defeat with the same glassy-eyed stare, but he is keen to continue as captain. The support from his team-mates appears genuine and with the likely churn of personnel it is not easy to identify an obvious successor. Work on that should begin soon, though. As for head coach Matthew Mott, the terrain looks trickier. Despite being in charge for last year’s T20 World Cup win in his native Australia he is a relative newcomer and has less credit in the bank with England. His position was undermined somewhat by Morgan’s comments about an ‘unsettled’ dressing room but making him the fall guy at this stage would not reflect well on those who appointed him and odds are that he will get the chance to show he can oversee a refresh of the set-up.

What is next for the limited-overs team?

The comically congested international schedule waits for no-one. As such, England’s selectors are currently putting together their next squads for a white-ball tour of the West Indies in December. Expect plenty of fresh faces for the ODI leg, which should represent the first building blocks of England’s revamp, but a more familiar looking T20 group. England will be defending their T20 crown next summer in the Caribbean and USA and some of those who fell short this time are likely to have a shot at redemption. Stokes, meanwhile, is heading for surgery on his left knee as he focuses on his role as Test captain.

The Guyana Harpy Eagles are through to the semi-finals of the 2023 CG United Super50 Cup after a comfortable seven-wicket win over the Jamaica Scorpions at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy on Saturday.

In a game that was eventually reduced to 47 overs per side due to multiple rain delays, the Scorpions, after winning the toss, were bowled out for 181 with one ball to spare.

A number of Jamaica batsmen were able to get starts but none were able to carry on and get a big enough score to put pressure on the Harpy Eagles.

Brad Barnes was the highest scorer with 36 while Rovman Powell (33), Chadwick Walton (26), Andre McCarthy (23), Odean Smith (20) and Nkrumah Bonner (20) all got starts.

Nial Smith led the way with the ball for Guyana with 3-26 from 8.5 overs while Kevin Sinclair took 3-48 from 10 overs.

Guyana then needed only 39 overs to reach 184-3. The successful chase was led by half centuries from Tagenarine Chanderpaul and Shimron Hetmyer.

Chanderpaul led the way with 77 off 110 balls, his highest List A score, while Hetmyer finished not out on 62 off 53 balls including five fours and two sixes.

Captain Tevin Imlach provided good support with 30. Shalome Parnell took 2-26 off six overs for the Scorpions whose season now comes to an end with six losses and one no result in seven games.

The Harpy Eagles will now join the Leeward Islands Hurricanes, the Trinidad & Tobago Red Force and the Barbados Pride in the semi-finals.

Misfiring captain Jos Buttler questioned his own form as he admitted England had “let people down” with their dire World Cup defence.

The 2019 champions slumped to a sixth defeat in seven matches to finally end their dim and distant hopes of reaching the knockout stages, allowing rivals Australia to apply the killer blow in Ahmedabad.

Having already lost to New Zealand, Afghanistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka and India it was hardly a surprise to see England beaten by 33 runs. However, the continued downward spiral of a once-feared batting line-up continues to bemuse.

Here they were rounded up for 253 and have now lost 67 of a possible 69 wickets in the competition. While their bowling attack has raised its game in the past two games, the runs have dried up in alarming fashion, rendering England unable to compete.

And a forlorn Buttler, who appears to be finding his post-match appearances increasingly wearing, put his own poor returns front and centre on the list of problems.

He is widely considered one of the country’s best ever white-ball players but his tame dismissal for just one against Australia means he has now scored just 106 runs at an average of 15.14 at the World Cup.

“It’s a low point, it hurts a lot,” he said.

“We feel like we’ve let people down and you wear that on your own shoulders. You want to lead from the front as a captain.

“My own form has really hurt us. Obviously, I’ve had a pivotal position in the batting line-up, so to play as poorly as I have done has had a big effect on the team.

“Coming into the tournament I felt in fantastic form, as good as I’ve been in. So, to be sat here having had the tournament I’ve had is incredibly frustrating – but it doesn’t shake your belief.

“I’ve got to make sure I’m the last one that stops believing in myself. You guys (the media) will give up on me a lot earlier than I’ll give up on myself.”

England have two games left before they can finally put the campaign behind them, against the Netherlands and Pakistan, and know even back-to-back wins may not be enough to see them qualify for the next major 50-over tournament.

They need to finish in the top eight to seal a place at the Champions Trophy in 2025 and are currently an outside bet to do so.

So, while they would be forgiven for pining for the exit lounge, the stakes are too high.

“Exactly that,” Buttler added. “You know, the Champions Trophy is a tournament we want to be involved in and if we’re going to be involved in it, we need to win some games of cricket.

“We threatened today but it’s still not good enough.”

Australia’s Mitchell Starc took a jab at England in an interview with host broadcaster Star Sports, resurrecting a familiar theme from this summer’s Ashes series.

Nodding to the notion that England had edged the 2-2 drawn series thanks to their domination of the rain-ruined Old Trafford Test, he said: “We expected England to come out a bit more aggressive, but they can take the ‘moral victory’ from this.”

West Indies “A” Women defeated Thailand Women Emerging by five wickets in the second match of the T20 tri-series, played at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore on Saturday.

In the low-scoring game, West Indies Women A were brilliant with the ball, dismissing Thailand Emerging for just 46 in 14.2 overs after winning the toss. West Indies then got over the line in 13 overs, with five wickets to spare.

Qiana Joseph (11, 17b, 1x4), Shabika Gajnabi (10, 26b) and Trishan Holder (10, 13b, 1x4) chipped in with small contributions, which was enough to award West Indies victory. Thailand Emerging attempted to derail the chase by taking wickets in quick succession with Thipatcha Putthawong taking two wickets, while Phannita Maya, Sunida Chaturongrattana and Onnicha Kamchomphu getting a wicket each.

Earlier, all of the West Indies bowlers found success; left-arm spinner Qiana Joseph and right-arm pacer Jannillea Glasgow picked up three wickets each. Right-arm pacer Jahzara Claxton bagged two wickets, while off-spinner Sheneta Grimmond and fast bowler Cherry-Ann Fraser got a wicket apiece to their names.

Chaturongrattana was the only batter on the Thailand scorecard that got to double digits. She hit 12 from 26 balls, including one boundary.

Thailand Women Emerging play Pakistan Women A in the third match of the T20 tri-series on November 5.

 

England’s World Cup nightmare continued as their miniscule mathematical hopes of staying in the competition were finally extinguished by bitter rivals Australia.

After five defeats from their first six games the defending champions had long since given up hope of reaching the semi-finals, but officially bowing out at the hands of their Ashes foes with a 33-run defeat simply poured salt into open wounds.

Once again it was their batting that let them down, failing to get to grips with a manageable target after a spirited showing from the bowling unit left Australia 286 all out in the final over.

England were knocked over for 253 in response, Ben Stokes top-scoring with 64 but unable to pull his side out of the fire.

On the eve of the match Stokes had bluntly deemed England’s campaign as “crap” and as they sit rooted to the foot of the table, with qualification for the 2025 Champions Trophy now in serious doubt, it is hard to improve on that description.

England kept an unchanged XI for the third game in a row and their refusal to thrust their best young batter, Harry Brook, back into a top six that has repeatedly imploded looks increasingly eccentric.

Established names like Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root and captain Jos Buttler continued their dreadful sequence of scores, while all-rounder Liam Livingstone struggled to make a case with bat or ball. Keeping Brook waiting any longer would surely be madness.

England were back at Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi Stadium, the same ground where they were thrashed by New Zealand in the curtain-raiser a month ago, and they will be happy to see the back of the place.

Like their most recent defeat to India, England looked competitive at the halfway stage. Chris Woakes, player of the series in this summer’s Ashes, raised his game against the Australians again as he chimed in with four for 54 as he topped and tailed the innings.

He removed both openers in a controlled new ball spell, Travis Head steering to slip and David Warner chipping to midwicket. He also wrapped things up at the death with two wickets in the 50th over.

But Steve Smith (44), Marnus Labuschagne (71) and Cameron Green (47) all batted with enough care to drag their side up towards a par score. England leaned on Adil Rashid in the middle overs as he picked up two for 38, including Smith just as he was beginning to speed up, but Mark Wood was expensive again.

Given their fragile displays with the bat thus far, England desperately needed a steady start to their innings and a chance to feel their way into the contest.

What happened was the stuff of nightmares, Bairstow flicking the first ball of the innings from Mitchell Starc down leg and into Josh Inglis’ gloves.

That meant another early introduction for Root and, for the fifth game in a row, an exit before the end of the powerplay. He had already seen one catch go down, spilled at short cover by Marcus Stoinis, when he nicked Starc behind for 13.

Dawid Malan kept the scoreboard moving but Stokes dug out just nine runs from his first 32 balls and took 38 to bank his first boundary.

For a moment, as Stokes took the score past three figures with a straight six and Malan chalked off a no-frills 50, it looked as if things were heading in the right direction.

But it was an illusion, Malan skying Pat Cummins down fine-leg’s throat and Buttler lofting Adam Zampa straight to long-on with just a single to his name.

In his mind it must have seemed a statement of intent; in practice it was an abdication of responsibility.

At the 30-over mark England’s position was grave, 159 needed at an asking rate of 7.95. Stokes and Moeen Ali flickered into life, crashing 41 off the next five overs, but their riposte was short-lived as Zampa removed both on his way to an exemplary three for 21.

Stokes scooped to short fine-leg with 13 overs left and 113 still to get, ending on his knees and holding his hands out in despair, and Moeen holed out for 42. Carefree late-hitting from Woakes and Rashid tightened the margin but never came close to changing the result.

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