West Indies bowling coach, Roddy Estwick, insists the team must do more than just occupy the crease if it is to be successful against Sri Lanka in the upcoming series and in One Day Internal cricket overall.

Conventional wisdom has at times suggested that a team’s best chance of doing well in the format is for batsmen to spend as much time out in the middle as possible.  With ball change rules, shorter boundaries, better bats, and more attacking-minded batsmen ODI scores in the last decade and a half have risen steadily.  Scores in the region of 350 have become more commonplace.  In fact, the top five highest scores in ODI cricket have all come in the last 14 years.

As such, Estwick points out that just occupying the crease will not be enough and the team must find a way to score runs.

“It’s hard to say you are going to bat time, you still need to make sure you get around 300 runs.  We can’t just say we will sit back and bat time,” Estwick told members of the media via a Zoom press conference call on Tuesday.

“We got to come up with better game plans, we have to execute better.  You know that you have a certain strike rate and certain runs per over to go at in ODI cricket,” he added.

“To be safe these days you have to make around 340, 350.  It might not be that much in this series but remember we are preparing for 2023 that is when the World Cup is.”

Fabian Allen credits his confidence for his stand out performance against Sri Lanka on Sunday night that helped the West Indies win the third and final match of the T20 series by three wickets and subsequently take the series 2-1.

Fabian Allen smashed three sixes off the penultimate over of the match to hand the West Indies a hard-fought three-wicket win over Sri Lanka at the Coolidge Cricket Ground this evening.

The West Indies, who took the series 2-1, was staring possible defeat in the face at 105-7 after 17 overs, needing 27 from the last 18 balls but with only Kevin Sinclair and Obed McCoy to come. With Jason Holder at the other end and the West Indies needing 20 from the last two overs, Allen hit the first ball of the 19th over bowled by Akila Dananjaya for six and then ran two leg byes off the second.

He then smashed the third ball for six and then took a single off the fourth. Holder took a single from the fifth, leaving Allen to face the last ball of the over with four runs needed for victory. Allen duly obliged with his third six of the over to end unbeaten on 21 off just six balls.

Holder was not out on 14.

Chasing 132 for victory, the West Indies were put in a spin by Hasaranga de Silva 2-13 and Lakshan Sandakan 3-29, who threatened to take the match away from the home side. The former removed Evin Lewis for 21 and Lendl Simmons for 26, both batsmen playing injudicious shots to the bowler, who prior to the start, had planned to see off.

Sandakan and Dushmantha Chameera (2-23) then combined to rip the heart out of the West Indies middle order. Sandakan bowled Chris Gayle for 13 early in the piece and then returned to bowl Rovman Powell for seven and then getting Dwayne Bravo caught at short fine leg for a golden duck from consecutive deliveries as the match headed towards a thrilling climax.  

Chameera had Kieron Pollard caught behind for a duck and then bowled Nicholas Pooran for 23 to leave the West Indies in a spot of bother at 95 for 5.

Dananjaya ended with regrettable figures of 0-53 from his four overs.

Earlier, an unbeaten fifth-wicket partnership of 85 from 63 balls between Dinesh Chandimal and Ashen Bandara helped take Sri Lanka from 46 for 4, after the West Indies bowlers had combined to restrict the visitors to 46 for 4 mid-way the 10th over.

The pair took 13 off Dwayne Bravo’s final over to push the score to produce the highest fifth-wicket partnership for Sri Lanka to reach 131 for 4.

Chandimal’s unbeaten score of 54 came off 46 balls. He only hit three fours as he and his fellow batsmen were made to work hard by the West Indies bowlers, who produced a disciplined display.

Bandara’s 44 not out came from 35 balls hitting three fours and two sixes.

So restrictive was the home side’s attack they limited Sri Lanka to only eight fours and two sixes over the course of the 20-over allotment.

Fabian Allen, who returned figures of 1-13 from his four overs, took the first Sri Lankan wicket when he took a brilliant return catch to dismiss Danushka Gunathilaka for nine with only 10 runs on the board.

Nirsoshan Dickwella provided Kevin Sinclair (1-19) with his second wicket of the series caught by Jason Holder at wide mid-on for four as Sri Lanka crept to 15 for 2 in the fourth over.

Sinclair returned the favour when he took Pathum Nissanka at mid-off of Holder’s (1-27) short-of-a-length delivery for five to leave Sri Lanka struggling at 27 for 3.

Chandimal and Captain Angelo Matthews began to repair the damage with a stand of 19 when Matthews was caught behind off an Obed McCoy (1-29) delivery for 11. However, his dismissal opened the door to the record stand that took Sri Lanka’s to a competitive total at the Coolidge Cricket Ground.

The West Indies will now turn their attention to the ODI Series set to begin at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium at North Sound on March 10, 2021.

 

 

 

West Indies coach, Phil Simmons, believes batsmen must avoid the temptation of being too tentative in looking to navigate the Sri Lanka spin attack, as the team looks to bounce back in the third and decisive T20 international, on Sunday.

The Windies took the opening match of the series with a comfortable four-wicket win, with 41 balls remaining.  On Friday, however, Sri Lanka came roaring back to claim the second match after a star performance from the team’s spinners.

Lakshan Sandakan and Wanidu Hasaranga proved particularly hard to negotiate, each claiming three wickets, with Sandakan boasting a miserly economy rate of 2.73.  In pursuit of Sri Lanka’s 160 for 6, the Windies were restricted before being bundled out of 116.  Things had not gone smoothly against the spin in the first match, despite the result, with Akila Danajaya claiming a four-for, including a third over hat-trick before being taken apart by Windies captain Kieron Pollard who smashed 6 sixes off his over.  The coach believes a similar approach could pay dividends in the decider.

“The key is playing them in the right way.  You can’t be too tentative when you are playing against good spinners,” Simmons told members of the media via a Zoom press conference on Saturday.

“We have to still go out there and look to score against them and playing cricket how we know how to play cricket,” he added.

“All the guys who played IPL would have played against these spinners or even better spinners and done well, so that is what we have to make sure we do tomorrow.”

West Indies captain, Kieron Pollard, insists he is not surprised by a fierce response from Sri Lanka as the tourist levelled the T20 series at 1-1 following a 43-run win on Friday night.

After setting a fair target of 160 for 6, the Sri Lanka spinners, led by Lakshan Sandakan and Wanindu Hasaranga, spun a restrictive web that eventually had the Windies all out for 117.

On Tuesday, chasing a smaller target, the Windies had been able to smash through thanks in large part to a fierce 38 from Pollard.  This time, however, it was the Sri Lanka spinners who took centre stage.  Particularly Hasaranga, who accounted for Gayle and Simmons, in his 3 for 17, Sandakan accounted for Pollard.

The captain, however, had special commendation for the bowling unit who restricted Sri Lanka late in the innings after a fast start.  Danushka Gunathilaka, who top-scored with 56, partnered with Pathum Nissanka to put on a blistering 94 off the first 10 overs.

“If you told us we were going to bowl them out for 160 today, we would have taken that.  I just know that we did not assess the situation quickly and we had a couple of soft dismissals," Pollard said following the match.

“They got off to a flyer and scored 90 odd in the first 10 overs, but these things happen.  You don’t expect them to come and lie down and just roll over.  I thought the guys came back in the last 10 overs and really executed with the yorkers and slower balls, using the dimensions of the pitch and the ground,” he added.

 

Leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga led a withering spin attack which left the West Indies scratching their heads as the host pulled level with a 43-run win in the second T20 international on Friday.

Batting first, anchored by a resilient half-century from Danushka Gunathilaka (56), the Sri Lankans posted a creditable 160 for 6 after winning the toss and choosing to bat first.  Gunathilaka and Pathum Nissanka put on a blistering 94 off the first 10 overs.

In response, the Windies were also off to a strong start at 45-1 before losing five wickets for just 21 runs.

 Chris Gayle, who made a first-ball duck on Wednesday in his first appearance in two years, didn’t comfortable in making 16 before falling to a catch by Ashen Bandara off Hasaranga.

Opener Lendl Simmons (21) was next out, lbw failing to pick a Hasaranga googly.

 Nicholas Pooran, Jason Holder, and Dwayne Bravo all followed quickly for single-figure scores.

Hasaranga ended with 3-17, off-break bowler Akila Dananjaya, who was the victim of Kieron Pollard's midweek assault claimed 1-13.  Wrist spinner Lakshan Sandakan took 3-10, including accounting for Pollard who made just 13.

Dananjaya earlier accounted for Evin Lewis who made six.  Hasaranga added Fabian Allan to his list of victims with the West Indies then struggling on 89-7 in the 16th over.

With more than 22 an over required, Sandakan then got the wicket of Pollard, who was caught in the deep for just 13 having surprisingly opted to bat at number seven.

The final match of the series is on Sunday.

 

Former West Indies opener turned pundit, Philo Wallace, believes the poor performance of the Barbados Pride in the recent regional Super50 tournament provides even more evidence that selectors should stick with Kraigg Brathwaite as captain for the upcoming Test series against Sri Lanka, as Jason Holder has ‘lost the art of captaincy.’  

Brathwaite received plenty of plaudits for leading an understrength Windies squad to an unexpected 2-0 Test victory in Bangladesh earlier this year.  Brathwaite, who had been axed as vice-captain the series before, was put in charge of the squad after regular captain Holder was one of 12 players to opt-out of the tour after citing health and safety concerns.

Since then, the debate has raged fiercely on both sides regarding whether the panel of selectors should return Holder to his original position or stick with the momentum achieved by Brathwaite in the unexpected win.  Wallace falls firmly in the camp supporting the latter.

“I believe that there is a shift with what Brathwaite did in Bangladesh, something happened in Bangladesh that brought a 2-0 victory for the West Indies and 2-0 defeat for Bangladesh at home,” Wallace told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“Kraigg Brathwaite and that management team did something right.  The head coach said he saw a difference in attitude.  He saw a different type of vibe with the guys.  Are we going to kill that vibe as we return to Antigua? Or are we going to rekindle that vibe and take it into the Sri Lanka series,” he added.

“Jason has lost the art of captaincy.  There are no tactical moves.  We just saw a Super50 competition he captained six games and we lost 5.  We had a team 87 for 8 and we could not crush them.  The captain who is 6ft 6’ could not take up the ball and bowl three devastating yorkers and bowl out the team for under 120.  That is what we call leadership, you take it up and you do it yourself.”

 

West Indies T20 captain, Kieron Pollard, insists the team will resist the impulse to chop and change without giving players enough opportunity to showcase their ability.

The regional team ending up beating Sri Lanka in the first T20 by a fairly comfortable margin, in the end, but things did not always look so straightforward.  Overall, a few of the players did not have the expected impact straight out of the gate for the Windies.  This was particularly the case with the batting line-up where three players, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran and Fabian Allen were dismissed for ducks.

In pursuit of the modest target of 131 for 9, the Windies were rocked in the third over by an Akila Dananjaya spell, which saw the dismissal of Evin Lewis, Gayle, and Pooran.  Gayle was batting in the unfamiliar third spot, which worked well during this season’s IPL campaign.

Pollard is adamant he is, however, in no hurry to change things around, particularly after one game.  In fact, he believes the practice is one that has hurt the team in the past.

“If we are honest with ourselves, that’s one of the problems that has plagued us over the years, the constant chopping and changing when things don’t go right after one or two games,” Pollard told members of the media via a Zoom press conference on Thursday.

“We don’t expect miracles from people.  Sometimes you have to give them a chance and opportunities to fulfil what they are trying to achieve and after a period of time you can make a judgment call,” he added.

“After one game I don’t think we are even thinking of doing any changes or anything like that.  We need to get away from the fact that if a guy doesn’t perform, not exclusively using Chris for example, but any individual that has played one or two games, thinking they are not good enough and just be looking to discard them."

West Indies T20 captain, Kieron Pollard, hailed the role of the team’s experienced players in a four-wicket win over Sri Lanka, in the opening game of the three-match series on Wednesday.

In the end, the West Indies coasted to the line, in fairly comfortable fashion, with some 41 balls left, but at times the result had not always seemed like a foregone conclusion. 

With the ball, the team put in a dominant performance and restricted Sri Lanka to 131 for 9 at the end of 20 overs.  In response, things also got off to a flyer with openers Evin Lewis (28) and Lendl Simmons (18) putting on 52 for the first wicket.  However, following the dismissal of Lewis, by Akila Dananjaya, in the third over, the team found itself in a real instance of concern with a flurry of lost wickets.  Dananjaya took a sensational hat-trick removing big hitters Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran for ducks.  Simmons departed the very next over to leave the West Indies struggling at 62 for 4.  /a captain’s innings from Pollard (38), which included a savage 6 sixes off Dananjaya, however, went a long way to restoring the situation.  Jason Holder, who added a resilient, unbeaten 29 from 24 balls, safely carried the team over the line following Pollard's dismissal. 

“The objective was to win the game and we did that, obviously there’s a couple of kinks to iron out, we have not played T20 cricket in a while. We had a couple of guys coming back into the set-up as well so we’ll take the win and have discussions about how we want to continue playing," Pollard said.

“In terms of the batting collapse we have had, we have seen that but what is good is that this time around we got over the line with the experienced guys like Jason, using all his Test experience, Bravo using his experience as well.  Having said that, well done to the openers for the start that they gave us, so we were able to cruise on the back end.”

 

 

West Indies T20 captain, Kieron Pollard, believes the team's current mix of youth and experience is an ideal balance and should be a blueprint going forward.

With the return of veteran batsman Chris Gayle and pace bowler Fidel Edwards, along with the likes of Dwayne Bravo, Lendl Simmons, Jason Holder, and Pollard himself, to call upon, the West Indies has plenty of firepower to begin the series against Sri Lanka and build-up to the ICC World Cup, which will be held in India, in October.

With many of the above players forming parts of World Cup-winning teams, in the case of Simmons, Bravo, and Gayle on multiple occasions, the team has an unrivaled amount of title-winning know-how.

Added to the firepower of a younger generation, led by the likes of the explosive Nicholas Pooran, Fabian Allen, and Andre Fletcher the two-time World Champions could have the perfect ingredients for another powder keg.  With Gayle being the oldest members of the squad to face Sri Lanka, at 41, and Kevin Sinclair the youngest at 21, the average age of the squad is around 30.

“We’re excited to have certain individuals back.  We excited as well to have the younger players trying to get an opportunity as well.  I think the way to go forward is having that sort of mix,” Pollard told members of the media via a Zoom press conference on Tuesday.

“In the team, we have youth and experience.  The youthful guys can learn from the experienced guys.  These are some of the things that have been missing throughout, from 2016 till now, can we say we have put out our best T20 team to go to any series or anything like that.  There was always different things happening in the midst of it.”

 Shimron Hetmyer and Roston Chase are now available for selection to the West Indies teams after both players passed fitness tests during the past few days, Cricket West Indies Director of Cricket Jimmy Adams announced today.

“We had done a press conference very recently and we had explained that there were some players that had missed the minimum fitness standard for selection, two of those players have since met that standard, that’s Roston Chase and Shimron Hetmyer,” Adams said earlier today.

“They would now be available for selection for the next selection meeting around the Test matches coming up later in March.”

The players were among four that the West Indies selectors said were not named to the T20 and ODI squads to face Sri Lanka starting March 3 because they had failed fitness tests.

Hetmyer’s omission, especially, caused a bit of a stir regionally, considering that the news of his non-selection came against the backdrop of him scoring a century for the Guyana Jaguars in the semi-final of the CG Insurance Super50 semi-final against the Windward Islands Volcanoes last week Thursday.

During a press conference last Saturday, Adams, in response to questions regarding whether the selectors would consider overlooking Hetmyer’s fitness considering his current form, said that was not likely to happen.

 “The policy asks for a minimum standard in certain aspects of fitness testing.  So on the yo-yo intermittent test, that minimum standard is 40 and for a couple of years we have had selection tied to the achievement of that minimum standard,” Adams said.

“It’s pretty simple and all the players are aware of it.  Failure to get to 40 makes them unavailable for selection. So when the panel sits, the first thing that they will consider, before looking at the teams and the squads they want to put together, is who are the players that are available through achieving that minimum standard.”

Barbadian umpire Gregory Brathwaite is likely to stand in a Test between the West Indies and Sri Lanka later this month, media reports say.

The West Indies have named 26 players to participate in a “Best v Best” four-day practice match in preparation for the upcoming Test series against Sri Lanka.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) Director of Cricket, Jimmy Adams, has reiterated the fact that special consideration is given to players who could have physiological limitations or chronic conditions when fitness assessment tests or conducted, as is often the case in standard international practice.

In the light of the omission of batsman Shimron Hetmyer from the West Indies squad, ahead of the tour of Sri Lanka, based on the player failing to meet the requisite fitness standards, critics have pointed fingers towards other members of the team they doubt are able to meet the requirements.

While a few expressed doubts about legendary batsman Chris Gayle’s fitness level, the majority pointed to the continued inclusion of Rahkeem Cornwall.  The off-spinner is listed as 6’ 7” and 308 pounds but has performed creditably for the West Indies on a few occasions, most recently against Bangladesh.

“As is best practice around the world, there are going to be times when players for different reasons might be unable or incapable of achieving minimum standards either across the whole battery of tests or certain aspects of it,” Adams told members of the media via a Zoom press conference call.

“There are exemptions that are given to these players and the four main areas that are considered for these exemptions would be the player’s age, individual physiological limitations, their injury history, and also their training history.  This is standard across many high-performance environments and we are no different,” he added.

“There are quite a few players that have been exempted under one of these four headings and it is something that I think maintains robustness about the situation.  If I go back and look at an Indian spinner in the 70s who had a withered arm, if he were to have an upper-body strength test he would not be able to complete that test and therefore in that area he would have to have an exemption,” Adams said.

“It is there ensuring that we do not discriminate against players that have issues, injuries, long-standing chronic things that might prevent them from completing some of these tests.”

 

Top class West Indies talent, Shimron Hetmyer, has been left out of the squad for the upcoming Sri Lanka tour after failing to meet the required fitness standard for the second time in just around one year.

The exclusion due to falling short of the fitness requirement is a repeat such issue for Hetmyer, who also missed out on selection in February of last year for a tour match against the same opponents.  The 24-year-old Guyanese batsman has been in splendid form of late, only yesterday, crafting a masterful century to push Guyana Jaguars to the semi-final of the Regional Super50 competition.

According to Cricket West Indies (CWI) stipulations, players must pass a battery of tests that measure stamina and endurance, called the Yoyo test, before being eligible for selection.

The test is, however, not without controversy as some players who do not make the 40 grade in the yoyo test are given exemptions, at times much to the annoyance of those players who fail to meet the grade.

Hetmyer will be joined on the sidelines by fast bowlers Sheldon Cottrell and Oshane Thomas, along with West Indies vice-captain and all-rounder Roston Chase.  Cottrell and Hetmyer were among 12 players who declined to take part in the team’s tour of Bangladesh earlier this month, after citing health and safety concerns.

 

 

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