Brendon McCullum is the "perfect person" to turn around England's Test fortunes, according to Andrew Strauss, who was a part of the selection panel for the new men's head coach.

England have won just one of their last 17 Tests, leading to the resignation of captain Joe Root, with Ben Stokes stepping up as skipper in April.

Former opener Rob Key was also appointed as managing director of men's cricket and was tasked with reshaping the faltering structure to make England competitive once more in the five-day game.

As well as confirming Stokes as captain, a decision was made to hire separate coaches for the red ball and limited-overs sides, with McCullum announced as Test coach on Thursday.

The decision represents somewhat of a gamble as New Zealand legend McCullum has only ever coached T20 franchises in the form of Indian Premier League side Kolkata Knight Riders and their Caribbean Premier League affiliate Trinbago Knight Riders.

However, McCullum played 101 Tests for New Zealand and captained the side through a transformative period, and Strauss believes the 40-year-old is a great appointment by England.

"I'm delighted and I'm excited. He blew us away with his clarity of thinking and his simple approach," the England and Wales Cricket Board's strategic adviser Strauss told Sky Sports.

"He's a very positive guy with a very clear mindset and he will embed that in the Test team at a time when confidence is a bit low and people need a bit of clarity and direction.

"He's an impressive guy. He can't wait to start and, quite frankly, I can't wait for him to start.

"[As a player] he was incredibly ambitious, he used to run down the wicket against some of the quickest bowlers in the world.

"He always took the positive option, he wasn't scared of failing, he wasn't scared of making mistakes and I think that is what this Test team needs at the moment.

"They need someone to back them, to give them confidence and inspire them, and they need to break the shackles and realise how good they are. I think he's the perfect person to do that."

McCullum's first task will see England host his country of birth, New Zealand, in a three-Test series that starts at Lord's on June 2.

Former England captain Michael Atherton has praised the "bold and imaginative" appointment of Brendon McCullum by England.

McCullum was named England's new Test head coach on Thursday, replacing Chris Silverwood after his dismissal in the wake of the 4-0 Ashes defeat in Australia.

Rob Key decided to bring in separate Test and white-ball head coaches after he was appointed as managing director of England men's cricket last month and chose McCullum for the longer form of the game.

"I think it's a very bold and imaginative choice, and an inspiring choice from Rob Key," Atherton told Sky Sports.

"Giving Ben Stokes the captaincy was the obvious choice and so his first big decision was to give Brendon McCullum the Test job.

"A week or so ago I don't think that was on anybody's radars, so he's not made the obvious choice here, but I think it's a very bold choice."

McCullum captained New Zealand and has coached in limited overs cricket in the Caribbean and Indian Premier Leagues, but this is his first coaching job in Test cricket.

Atherton does not think that lack of experience is a problem, however.

"I don't think it's a concern. Some other people within the professional coaching environment may think so," the former Lancashire batsman said.

"His limited coaching experience has come in the IPL with the Kolkata Knight Riders and in the CPL with their sister team. But he did play 100 Tests, scored a Test match triple hundred and he was very significant in Test cricket in his own right.

"As captain, he really led New Zealand into a brave new era, from the moment he took over – in Cape Town 2013 – the very first innings New Zealand were bowled out for 45. It was a really low ebb and a very difficult transition from Ross Taylor.

"But after that, he led boldly and fearlessly, and transformed that New Zealand team to the point which he laid the foundations for Kane Williamson's team that became World Test champions and have been very significant players in ICC events. So as a captain and as a leader, he's got plenty of experience in Test cricket."

Atherton also believes the relationship between McCullum and new England skipper Ben Stokes should thrive given both have similar aggressive approaches to the game.

"He's a nice fit with Stokes, they both approach the game and play the game in a similar manner and they'll look to give very clear message, captain and coach, and show they're singing from the same hymn sheet to a team you now expect to be given a bit of freedom and licence to play," he said.

"Neither Stokes nor McCullum are shy characters when it comes to playing the game of cricket, they like to take the game on and play it aggressively.

"One assumes that McCullum as a coach is going to be very similar to McCullum as a player and captain."

Brendon McCullum's appointment as England's Test head coach is "good news" for James Anderson and Stuart Broad, according to former New Zealand bowler Simon Doull.

McCullum was confirmed on Thursday as the successor to Chris Silverwood, taking up his first coaching role at international level.

The former Black Caps captain will step down from his role as head coach of Indian Premier League franchise Kolkata Knight Riders at the end of the season, having also previously coached similarly named Caribbean Premier League team, Trinbago Knight Riders.

Speaking to Sky Sports News, Doull believes McCullum's loyalty will mean England's two leading Test wicket takers will have no concerns about being left out of the squad again, after both were overlooked for the recent Test series against West Indies.

When asked if it would be good news or bad news for Anderson and Broad shortly before the official confirmation, Doull replied: "Good news. Absolute good news.

"Not only is [McCullum] an astute cricketer and an astute cricket brain, he's also quite a loyal bloke and I think there is a little bit of cricket left in both those guys, and probably a little bit more in Stuart Broad than some might think, so I would imagine it'll be very good news for those gentlemen."

Doull also said he thinks McCullum will get on well with Stokes, who was appointed as Joe Root's replacement as England's Test captain last month.

"I think there's a huge amount of respect already," he said. "I'd like to think [Stokes] would be the sort of captain who would want to own that team, and I don't think Brendon will have a problem with that whatsoever.

"He will do everything he can to get the best out of what is, outside of Joe Root, England's best cricketer... He knows as well as a captain [with New Zealand], he kind of ran that team. [Former head coach] Mike Hesson facilitated, he coached from the periphery... but Brendon basically ran that team and I would imagine he'll look for Ben Stokes to do the same thing.

Doull – who made 32 Test appearances for the Black Caps, taking 98 wickets – was also keen to back McCullum, in particular suggesting that he will want England to play their own style, rather than trying to adopt another.

"[McCullum's] best qualities? Very simple as far as his philosophies are concerned," he added.

"He turned New Zealand around completely [as captain], just because he wanted a New Zealand way to play and maybe that's something he'll look to do with England as well. Play the England style of cricket rather than trying to play like someone else, or invent a style that's not really suitable for English players.

"He's a straight talker... there's no airs and graces about Brendon. He's a South Island boy brought up pretty hard, pretty tough, and he played his cricket exactly that way.

"He will have enormous respect from the players... and he's obviously already had good conversations with Ben Stokes and [England managing director] Rob Key.

"So communication, tough but honest, and he will find a philosophy, I think, that works. Those will be his key things." 

New Zealand centre Anton Lienert-Brown will be out for around six months after undergoing shoulder surgery.

The midfielder was injured during the Chiefs' 25-0 Super Rugby Pacific defeat to the Blues on Saturday.

Lienert-Brown will go under the knife this week and is facing a long spell on the sidelines.

The Chiefs said: "It has been confirmed that Anton will require surgery on his shoulder that was injured last Saturday. He is expected to return to rugby after approximately 6 months.

"The Chiefs Rugby Club wish Anton all the best for a speedy recovery."

Lienert-Brown posted on Instagram: "Shoulder is going to need a bit more work than I was hoping, going under the knife this week which will put me out for 6 months.

"A bump in the road, but the journey continues. I'll be back. Appreciate all the support."

Lienert-Brown damaged the same shoulder during New Zealand's defeat to Ireland in Dublin last November, ruling him out of a loss to France. 

Ross Taylor was given a guard of honour by Netherlands players but there was no dream final New Zealand innings for the legendary batter at Seddon Park on Monday.

There was a standing ovation for Taylor as he walked out to the crease in Hamilton and the tourists lined up to show their appreciation for his brilliant career during the third and final ODI of the series.

The 38-year-old was caught and bowled by Logan van Beek for only 14 before departing to another standing ovation.

Taylor later led New Zealand out onto the field before Netherlands started their pursuit of a huge target of 334 for a consolation victory.

The former Black Caps captain's children joined him on the pitch for the pre-match national anthems prior to his international swansong.

Taylor retires as New Zealand's highest ODI run-scorer with 8,593 at an average of 47.73, while he has also scored the most hundreds (21) and half-centuries (51) for his country in the 50-over format.

The Blacks Caps great racked up 7,683 runs in 112 Tests and 1,909 in 102 T20 Internationals.

Only one batter scored more than 200 runs in seven matches, they dropped more than 20 catches and had the worst catching efficiency of all the teams, and they crashed out in ignominious fashion losing by 157 runs to Australia on Tuesday night but West Indies Women Captain Stafanie Taylor believes the team played well in the 2022 ICC Women’s World Cup.

In what could rank as one of their poorest performances of the World Cup, West Indies Women were bowled out for 148 chasing a target of 306, losing by 157 runs via Duckworth/Lewis method in the rain-shortened game.

Only Taylor (48), Matthews (34) and Dottin (34) made any score of note as the West Indies Women wilted under the pressure of the chase and incisive bowling from the Australian attack.

Notwithstanding, the abject performance in the match and in the tournament where after opening with scores of 259-9 and 225-6, the West Indies Women failed to score 200 runs or more for the remainder of the tournament, Taylor was hopeful for the future.

“No one expected us to win the first two games and to be in the semi-finals,” she said after the ended world cup campaign.

“I think the way we played throughout the tournament had been really good. We had some ups and downs and that happens but it’s about learning and I believe we are still learning and I am proud of the way we played. We still have more to go and you’ll see us around again.”

Matthews, who opened the tournament with a brilliant 119 against hosts New Zealand, was the leading scorer for the WIW with 260 runs at an average of 37.14. Shemaine Campbell with an aggregate of 185 runs had the next best average of 30.83.

Deandra Dottin scored 199 runs but averaged just 28.42 while Taylor averaged 21.57 from an aggregate of 151 runs during the tournament.

Matthews was also the leading wicket-taker with 10 wickets in the tournament and was the only West Indies Women bowler in double figures.

 

 

 

West Indies all-rounder Hayley Matthews says all the pressure is on Australia ahead of their ICC Women’s World Cup semi-final clash in Wellington on Tuesday.

The West Indies Women are in the semi-finals of the 2022 ICC Women's World Cup after Lady Luck worked in their favour on Saturday night.

The West Indies Women, on seven points from their seven games, following no-result against South Africa on Wednesday, March 23, needed either Bangladesh to defeat England or South Africa to defeat India for them to advance.

England crushed Bangladesh by 100 runs earlier Saturday, which meant that the West Indies Women were dependent on a positive result from the South Africa versus India encounter.

The situation looked grim when India posted 274-7 in their 50 overs thanks to half centuries of 71 from Smriti Mandhana, 53 from Shafali Verma, 68 from Captain Mithali Raj as well as Harmanpreet Kaur's 48.

However, Laura Woolvardt smashed 80, Laura Goodall scored 49 and Mignon du Preez an unbeaten 52 as South Africa scored 275-7, the winning run coming off the last ball of the match.

The South African victory set off wild celebrations among the West Indies Women, whose members had gathered to watch the match.

They will now face unbeaten Australia in the semi-final on Tuesday.

The West Indies now have two wins and two losses at the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup after suffering a crushing seven-wicket loss to favourites Australia in Wellington on Monday.

The Caribbean side won the toss and elected to bat first on a pitch that seemed to offer both batters and bowlers an opportunity to shine.

Unfortunately, the Windies innings never got out of first gear after losing both Hayley Matthews (0) and Deandra Dottin (16) early.

Captain Stafanie Taylor did her best to bring stability to the innings with a trying 50 off 91 balls but her dismissal in the 41st over signalled the end of the West Indies resistance as they were swiftly bowled out for 131 after 46 overs.

Ellyse Perry was the pick of the Aussie bowlers with 3-22 off eight overs, while Ashleigh Gardner took 3-25 off 10.

Australia then coasted to their fourth straight win, getting to 132-3 off 30.2 overs with Rachel Haynes finishing not out on 83.

The West Indies now find themselves fifth on the points table with four points from four games, while Australia are first with a perfect eight points from their four encounters.

The West Indies will next tackle Bangladesh on Thursday.

West Indies Women Head Coach Courtney Walsh has revealed that confidence is high among his players but warns against complacency as the team prepares for its upcoming clash against India on Friday.

The West Indies Women went into the tournament as underdogs but defeated New Zealand and defending champions England in their first two matches to put themselves in a great position to advance to the next round of the competition.

According to Walsh, who spoke with the media on Wednesday, the ladies are feeling good about themselves.

“The girls are very happy. They are in a very good place with those two wins,” Walsh revealed.

“When you beat New Zealand in New Zealand for the first time and then a win against England for the first time in a World Cup game and they are two teams that are ranked above us, obviously you must take some pride in that, so the ladies are very happy with that.”

However, he warned that there is no place for overconfidence so they must work to keep themselves grounded.

“They really worked hard to achieve those victories and it’s going to give us a lot of confidence. The one thing we want to try and do now is to ensure that we don’t get too complacent, just take each game as it comes but we will go into every game with a lot more self-belief and giving it everything that we have,” he said.

Walsh will be hoping his words find fertile ground among his players as they will be coming up against a talented Indian team still smarting from their 62-run defeat to New Zealand on Thursday.

New Zealand sealed back-to-back victories after a disciplined bowling performance helped them bowl out India for 198, after setting them a target of 261 to chase.

It was a slow start for the Indian openers Yastika Bhatia and Smriti Mandhana, with runs hard to come by.  The pressure paid off as Jess Kerr dismissed Mandhana for 6, with the opener chipping it straight to cover. Deepti Sharma also couldn't last long, with Lea Tahuhu trapping her lbw for 5 in what turned out to be a successful review as India slipped to 26/2.

Bhatia, joined by Mithali Raj, failed to up the tempo as the hosts kept up the disciplined line and length. Bhatia would finally perish for 28, with a leading-edge to cover, as Tahuhu celebrated her second scalp. Raj would be joined by Harmanpreet Kaur, with a tall task ahead for the two veteran Indian batters.

After 25 overs, India were 75/3 in their chase of 261, with a mountain to climb. 

As Raj started to up the ante, she was outfoxed by a tossed-up delivery by Amelia Kerr, with the Indian skipper walking back for 31 off 56 deliveries. The very next delivery from Kerr would reap the wicket of Richa Ghosh for a duck – a beautiful wrong'un bowling the Indian batter. 

India would stutter along for the next few overs, with Harmanpreet and Sneh Rana failing to accelerate, as the required rate kept on climbing up. Tahuhu would scalp her third in 37th over, sending Rana packing for 18 with a short delivery. Vastrakar also couldn't contribute much with the bat, perishing against Hannah Rowe for 6.

With the match all but slipped away, Harmanpreet started unleashing a flurry of shots, bringing up her half-century. There were a couple of massive hits before she went for one too many, holing out to long-off after an entertaining knock of 71 off only 63 deliveries.

Jhulan Goswami and Meghna Singh would open up their arms and clear the boundaries, but it was a case of too little and too late for India. They would be bowled out for 198, losing the match by 62 runs. The result gave New Zealand another crucial two points, making it two wins in three for the White Ferns.

At the backend of their bowling innings, India fought back brilliantly after Amy Satterthwaite with a half-century had given the White Ferns a perfect platform. The left-hander was joined by wicket-keeper Katey Martin, promoted to No.6 to launch at the backend of the innings. Satterthwaite took 60 balls to reach fifty, also ticking over a fifty partnership with Maddy Green in the process.

Alongside Martin, Satterthwaite would stitch another crucial 49-run stand as New Zealand etched closer to mounting a big score on the board.

Martin got a second life as Pooja Vastrakar spilled a simple catch off the bowling of Rajeshwari Gayakwad in the 42nd over, but she made up for it in the very next over, dismissing Satterthwaite who was trying to chip the ball with an on-drive, Satterthwaite could only find Mithali Raj at mid-wicket. This brought to an end a brilliant knock of 75 in 84 deliveries. 

The wicket helped India mount a late fightback in the death overs. Hayley Jensen would depart, failing in her attempt to sweep Gayakwad and getting her off-stump knocked over. 

Vastrakar then delivered a cracking 47th over, in which she took consecutive wickets and was on a hat-trick. Tahuhu was first bowled by a brilliant yorker on 1. On the very next delivery, Vastrakar again delivered a sizzling yorker, with the ball deflecting off Jess Kerr's pads as she was bowled for a duck. Frances Mackay managed to dig the third yorker in a row out as Vastrakar missed out on a sensational feat. 

Katey Martin's valuable knock of 41 came to an end in the final over as Goswami knocked her over. With the wicket, Goswami became the joint-highest wicket-taker in Women's World Cup history, joining Lynette Ann Fullston at the top with 39 scalps. 

Goswami would only concede 5 in the final over as the New Zealand innings came to an end at 260/9. 

 

West Indies Women have defeated New Zealand and England in their first two matches in the ICC Women’s World Cup currently underway in New Zealand. They have done so without significant contributions with the bat from two of their big three – Captain Stafanie Taylor and Deandra Dottin.

In their opening match against the hosts on March 4, the West Indies scored 259-9 thanks mainly to Hayley Matthews’ sublime 119. However, Dottin who opened the innings with her, made only 12 while Taylor scored 30.

In the second match against England on March 9, Dottin made 31 and Taylor 0 as the West Indies made 225-6. In that match that the West Indies dramatically won by seven runs, it was Shemaine Campbelle’s 66 and Chedean Nation’s unbeaten 49 that spurred the West Indies to their winning total.

However, despite the relative lack of runs from two of the big three, Head Coach Courtney Walsh said he was not overly concerned about the misfiring duo expressing confidence that they will eventually come good.

“In the two games we have played we have gotten competitive scores. Obviously,  you would want to see Stafanie firing and a Diandra firing but if they can fire at the right time for us while Hayley and the others are carrying the batting, then that is good, so I am not much perturbed their chance will come and when it comes you want them to step up,” Walsh said during a media session Wednesday.

“So it’s good when the like of Campbelle and Nation can step up to the plate and prove their worth. I would like for Kycia Knight to get a decent score as well to give her some confidence. She came into the competition with some runs from the previous tour and in the warm-up games so I think she just needs a decent score to give her some confidence and if we can get that then the batting would be showing a lot more solidarity, but I am not overly concerned.”

What is troubling the fast-bowling great turned coach is the number of catches the West Indies Women have put down in their two matches so far. As many as nine catches have been floored by the Caribbean women, some of which have proved costly.

Chinelle Henry dropped New Zealand middle-order batter Sophie Devine early in her innings and the player capitalized in the best possible way scoring 108. Henry eventually redeemed herself when she caught Devine off her own bowling to pave the way for the West Indies' narrow three-run win.

Walsh admitted Wednesday that the number of dropped catches is a worry.

“I am a little more concerned about the number of dropped catches because can’t keep dropping so many catches, it might come back to haunt us and hurt us,” he said.

“We have taken some fantastic ones as well so we don’t want to write that off but I am a little more concerned about the catches we have been putting down; if it’s the conditions or we’re just not backing ourselves but I think the effort they have shown in yesterday’s game, even though we still put down a couple, it shows that they are still committed to trying to take these catches and I am happy with that.

“It might be a little bit cold on the fingers but we have to do what we have to do when we get out to play.”

 

 

 

A brilliant century from Hayley Matthews and miraculous death bowling from Deandra Dottin led the West Indies Women to a stunning 3-run victory over New Zealand to open the ICC Women’s World Cup at Mount Maunganui on Friday.

In a wonderful advert for women's cricket, the all-around entertaining affair got the thrilling ending it merited.  With the West Indies needing to defend just 6 runs in the last over, Dottin, who has hardly been seen with the ball over the last few months, stepped up to take 2 for 2, and also effected a run-out, to finally wrap up brave New Zealand resistance in her only over of the match. 

The result meant the West Indies had successfully defended 259 for 9, their third-highest total ever recorded at the tournament.

Earlier, a brilliant 119 of 128 from Matthews, who was named the player of the match, set the stage for the West Indies triumph.  Unexpectedly returning to the top of the order after Rashada Williams was ruled out of the match due to concussion protocol, Matthews hit 16 fours and a six, dispatching New Zealand’s bowlers to all parts of the ground while proving to be the stable catalyst the West Indies needed.

Dottin, who opened with Matthews, had promised a similar type of performance but was sent packing after hitting three fours and skying another attempt to Jess Kerr after playing across the line off Lea Tahuhu. 

With Kycia Knight then departing for just 5, Matthews formed a crucial 66-run partnership with captain Stafanie Taylor, which helped the West Indies reach 100 at a steady five runs an over.  The partnership was broken when Taylor was caught behind after clipping off Tahuhu. 

It was, however, one only of three partnerships Matthews would be involved in as she also paired with Shemaine Campbelle and Chedean Nation to glue the team’s innings together. 

Matthews was eventually dismissed going after Kerr as Hannah Rowe held on to the catch in the deep.  Nation's 46-ball 36 and then Anisa Mohammed's six-ball 11, however, added valuable runs for the team at the end of the innings.  Tahuhu was the pick of the New Zealand bowlers with 3 for 57, while Kerr claimed 2 for 43.

In pursuit, Sophie Devine struck a magnificent century to keep New Zealand's chase on track, for the most part, and Katey Martin and Kerr's quickfire 40-run partnership brought it down to run-a-ball for the last over before the timely intervention of Dottin.

The West Indies Women open their Women’s ICC World Cup campaign against New Zealand tonight in poor batting form and Captain Stafanie Taylor believes that if the team is to be competitive, they have to turn that form around and bat with better consistency.

In two warm-up matches against Australia and India, the West Indies Women failed to score 200 runs each time losing by 90 and 81 runs, respectively. And while Head Coach Courtney Walsh preferred to focus on the positives, the realities of the situation are that if they are to do well, they have to produce scores well above 200 runs consistently.

Those thoughts were communicated at a recent team meeting.

"We had our meeting and we said that to be competitive we have to be scoring over two hundred runs," Taylor said in a pre-match interview. "In the two games that we played, we didn't do so. So that's something that we've had a look at and, moving forward, that's something that we need to work at."

Taylor believes the players need to spend time at the crease building innings that will give the team opportunities to get big scores that will give them better chances against Australia, India and tonight’s opponents, New Zealand.

"When it comes down to the longer format, we just need to spend more time out there in the middle. That's an area that we've been falling down a lot in, rotating the strike and try to build more partnerships. We haven't been building a lot of partnerships so hence the reason why we keep falling down in that department," Taylor argued while acknowledging that there has been less dependence of batters like Deandra Dottin, Hayley Matthews and her, to get runs.

In recent times, players like Kycia Knight and Chedean Nation have been getting good scores but other batters still need to step up with greater frequency, Taylor said.

"The other batters are starting to contribute. What we need to do is be in that collective in each game, be consistent. That's something that I've talked about a lot, being consistent, not just one or two batters always performing and probably looking at how teams are playing, a lot more fifties, batters stepping up and taking that responsibility. As batters we have to do that more consistently," Taylor said.

West Indies suffered an 81-run loss to India in their second ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup warm-up match in Rangiora on Tuesday.

India won the toss and decided to bat first, getting to 258 all out from their 50 overs with Smriti Madhana top-scoring, with 66 off 67 balls, and Deepti Sharma getting 51 from 64 deliveries.

Cherry Ann-Fraser (2-24 off 5 overs), Karishma Ramharack (2-50 off 10 overs), and Hayley Matthews (2-47 off 8 overs) were the best bowlers for the Windies.

Despite a top score of 63 from Shemaine Campbelle and 44 from Hayley Matthews, the West Indies chase never got out of first gear and they were eventually restricted to 177-9 off their 50 overs.

Pooja Vastrakar was the pick of the Indian bowlers with 3-21 off seven overs while Meghna Smith, Deepti Sharma, and Rajeshwari Gayakwad all took two wickets each.

The West Indies will kick off their World Cup campaign on Thursday against hosts New Zealand at Mount Maunganui.

 

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