Legendary West Indies captain Clive Lloyd was knighted by the British Royal Federation, on Wednesday, after the ceremony was previously postponed due to Covid-19.

Lloyd the former two-time World Cup-winning captain was honoured with a CBEs (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) for his services to the sport of cricket.

The Guyana-born batsman played for the English County cricket club of Lancashire between 1968 until 1986.  During that time the team won two One-Day League titles in 1969 and 1970 and four Friends Provident Trophy titles between 1970 and 1975.

Lloyd captained the West Indies between 1974 and 1985 and is one of the most successful Test captains in the sport’s history. During his captaincy, the team had a run of 27 matches without defeat, which included 11 wins in a row.  Lloyd was also named Wisden’s Cricketer of the Year in 1979.

After retiring from the sport, Lloyd went on to manage the West Indies in the late 1990s and also served as a member of the team's panel of selectors.  For his exploits, Lloyd was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame.

 

 

 

Australia hold a perfect Ashes day-night record and England will have to put up another huge fight to prevent them from ending the series with a win in the historic Test in Hobart.

The tourists avoided a whitewash when they batted out a draw on a tense final day at the Sydney Cricket Ground last week, James Anderson and Stuart Broad preventing Australia from taking the one wicket they needed to go 4-0 up.

They will start a first-ever Ashes Test in Hobart on Friday with Pat Cummins' side strong favourites to make it three Test wins out of three over England under the lights.

The series finale was due to be staged in Perth, but was moved due to Western Australia's border restrictions.

England have not won a Test in Australia since they came out on top at the SCG 11 years ago and they have never looked like ending that drought during this one-sided series.

Blundstone Arena has been a happy hunting ground for Australia, the hosts nine out of 13 Tests in Hobart – that 69 per cent win rate being their best at any home ground where they face played more than twice in the longest format.

A draw stopped the rot for the tourists, but they are winless in seven away Tests. It is their longest run without a victory on their travels since a 13-match barren spell from October 2016 to March 2018.

Both sides face selection dilemmas for what Australia hope will be their 150th Test victory over their fierce rivals. Their next best winning record is against West Indies (58 victories).

England, meanwhile, will simply be hoping for a win to at least take some positives from what has been a miserable tour. However, in both day-night meetings between these sides to dates, Australia have triumphed by 120 runs (in December 2017 and December 2021).

Head return leaves Harris vulnerable

Usman Khawaja could not have wished to make a bigger impact after getting the nod at the SCG, scoring a century in both innings of his first Test since August 2019.

Khawaja became the first player to plunder a ton in each innings of an SCG Test since former Australia captain Ricky Ponting 

The experienced left-hander replaced Travis Head, who missed out after testing positive for coronavirus.

Head is fit for the fifth Test and averages 62 in the series, so he is set to come back into the side. Khawaja believed he was unlikely to retain his place despite his brilliance in Sydney, though there is a possibility the 35-year-old could find himself opening, with Marcus Harris potentially making way. 

Josh Hazlewood is still unavailable due to a side injury, while Mitchell Starc says he does not need a rest and that is no surprise given his outstanding record in day-night Tests.

Billings set for Test bow

Sam Billings is poised to make his Test debut for England after Jos Buttler flew home with a broken finger.

Billings drove over 500 miles to answer an England SOS call, having been in Queensland playing for Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash League.

Ben Stokes (side) and Jonny Bairstow (thumb) batted through the pain barrier in Sydney and will be checked on, with the vice-captain possibly playing only as a batter.

Rory Burns could be recalled in place of a struggling Haseeb Hameed, while Ollie Robinson will be hoping to come back into the team and head coach Chris Silverwood is back with the touring party after missing the fourth Test due to coronavirus.

Captain Joe Root (23) is one away from recording the outright second most hundreds for England in men's Tests, while he has scored 847 runs in the red-ball format in Australia – the second-most by any non-Australian player without having scored a century in the country.

Broad, meanwhile, is only four wickets shy of becoming England's second all-time leading wicket taker against Australia in men's Tests. The paceman is on 125 as it stands, three behind the late Bob Willis (128), with Ian Botham the record holder with 148.

Jasprit Bumrah starred with the ball as India ended day two of the third Test against South Africa with a somewhat surprising lead.

In the series decider, the hosts were thrilled with their efforts to reduce the tourists to 223 all-out in their first innings, but could manage only 210 themselves thanks in large parts to the expert bowling of Bumrah.

South Africa began on 17-1 and Bumrah soon had his first wicket of the day and second of the innings as he bowled Aiden Markram for just eight.

Keshav Maharaj (25) was bowled by Umesh Yadav to leave the Proteas 45-3, only partnerships between Keegan Petersen and Rassie van der Dussen, and then Petersen and Temba Bavuma, to give the hosts a good chance of eventually establishing a lead themselves.

Things looked to be going against India when Virat Kohli dropped Bavuma on 17, but he atoned to with a catch off Mohammed Shami's bowling.

Shami forced an edge from Kyle Verreynne (0) just two balls later to reduce South Africa to 159-6, before Bumrah took centre stage again as he bowled Marco Jansen (seven) with the last ball before tea and removed Petersen, who managed an impressive knock of 72, shortly after the start of the third session.

Shardul Thakur saw off Kagiso Rabada (15), before Bumrah closed the innings by dismissing Lungi Ngidi (3) to clinch his five-for.

With India starting their second innings with a 13-run lead, South Africa responded well – openers KL Rahul (10) and Mayank Agarwal (seven) both gone in the first six overs – though Cheteshwar Pujara and Kohli steadied the ship in the closing stages to finish the day on 57-2, 70 ahead.

Bumrah the man of the moment

Bumrah had bowled an excellent spell at the end of day one, managing 23 dot balls and taking the wicket of Dean Elgar in a short session before stumps and he started day two in similar fashion.

His figures of 5-42 from 23.3 overs put his team in a much stronger position than they likely would have expected and could prove decisive in this winner-takes-all Test.

Petersen the lone resistance

In just his eighth Tests innings, Petersen hit his highest score to date, which was made all the more impressive considering the quality of bowling he was up against and the regularity with which his team-mates were being sent back into the pavilion.

Kohli's 79 in India's first innings is the only other half century achieved in the match so far, and Petersen's came with a better strike rate (43.37 compared to 39.30).

Joe Root plans to give Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow as much time as possible to be fit for a fifth and final Ashes Test in which he challenged England to show "fight" and "desire" from "ball one".

Star all-rounder Stokes has already confirmed in his column for The Mirror that he will not be able to bowl in the day-night Test in Hobart having suffered a "low grade tear" in his side during the gritty draw in Sydney that ensured Australia cannot secure a 5-0 series whitewash.

Jonny Bairstow scored a gutsy first-innings century in that match but was forced to play through the pain barrier after receiving a hefty blow on the thumb from Pat Cummins, an injury that meant he could not regain the gloves from Jos Buttler, who has travelled home with a broken thumb, in the second innings.

Captain Root said both men will be assessed over the next couple of days before a decision is made.

"We've got to just see where they're at over the next couple of days, see what their bodies can handle and then assess from there," Root told a news conference on Wednesday.

"Certainly you can pick Ben as a bat, Jonny too. We have to see where they are at, what their bodies can handle.

"You have to trust the medical advice. Those guys work tirelessly to make sure we are in the best possible position to go and win games and sometimes that is making some difficult calls.

"I think they need to make sure they feel like they're physically in a place where they can get through five days of hard cricket, whatever Australia throw at them, and they're in a position where they can go out and play and firstly, get through the game, but also, most importantly put in a performance as they managed to last week as well. 

"It's alright being fit to play but you've got to be fit to perform and I think that's what we've got to work out."

Stokes made two half centuries in Sydney, while Bairstow made a hard-earned 41 in the second to add to his century with both men proving crucial as England bravely fought for a draw after being heavily beaten in each of the first three Tests.

England were still largely outplayed by the hosts and had to dig deep to avoid defeat. Root wants to see the same kind of guts throughout the duration of the contest in Hobart.

"On the back of three very difficult games where we underperformed, to come back and get something from the last game showed a great amount of character," he added.

"There was an element of relief managing to get through those last few overs but the desire, the fight and the pride that everyone showed on that last day is something we have to harness.

"We have to play like that more frequently through the five days, not just on the last day when everything is on the line, but from ball one. We've proved to ourselves that we can do it, now can we take it a step further?

"Can we make sure we do it in a winning cause rather than just trying to save a Test match? We have something to build on – that’s what we have to take from the last game and into this one."

Mitchell Starc is not putting his hand up for a rest ahead of the day-night fifth Ashes Test despite being Australia's only fast bowler to play all four matches this series.

Australia and England will resume hostilities in the final Ashes Test starting on Friday in Hobart with the hosts 3-0 up after the Sydney Test ended as a draw on Sunday.

Starc has impressed during this series with 15 wickets from four matches, behind only spinner Nathan Lyon (16), at an average of 26.6. He has also been commendable with the bat, contributing 151 runs at 75.5.

Jhye Richardson and Michael Neser are in contention after unluckily losing their spots following good displays in the second Test in Adelaide while Scott Boland is likely to be available despite hurting his ribs in Sydney, but Josh Hazlewood has been ruled out due to his ongoing side injury.

Left-armer Starc has bowled the most overs of any quick in the series, clocking up 134.1 overs but brushed aside speculation of a rest.

"It's purely up to the selectors. I'm not looking for a break," Starc told reporters on Wednesday.

"It's the last Test match of an Ashes series at home. It's the pink ball too. I'd very much like to play.

"It's in the hands of the selectors. I won't be asking for a rest."

Starc's ability to swing the pink ball makes him an enticing prospect for the day-night Test, which will be the first ever played in Hobart.

The 31-year-old paceman took 37-4 and 43-2 across both innings with the pink ball in the day-night Adelaide Test last month.

"I think we saw in Adelaide the pink ball didn’t swing anywhere near as much as we've seen in the past," Starc said.

"It's likely going to be very different in Hobart. I've not played with a pink ball here. We'll have to have a look at the wicket and see what that's like. There's a number of factors [on selection].

"We'll be trying to carry on the plan of attack that we had in Adelaide and hopefully that's a positive result for us here this week."

Antigua and Barbuda minister of sport, Daryll Matthew, insists the country’s preparations to host matches for the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup remains on track, despite concerns being raised in recent weeks.

The matches for the tournament will be played in Antigua, Guyana, Saint Kitts, and Trinidad.  Antigua has been earmarked to host the Super League quarter-finals, semi-finals the finals, in addition to the 3rd, 5th, and 7th place playoffs.

The main venues that will be used are the Coolidge Cricket Ground and the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium but there have been questions asked about the state of some of the practice grounds with the tournament set to bowl off on January 14.

 Two of the venues of concern are the Liberta Sports Club and the Police Recreation Ground.  At Liberta, issues were recently brought to the fore regarding the reconstruction of a section of the facility’s fencing and work for the bathrooms.

Matthew insists there is no need to worry, however, as the government fully intends to honour its commitment.

“I just want to assure the public of Antigua and Barbuda that all of the venues will be ready. We’re almost there in terms of our readiness to host what is probably the largest international cricket event on our shores and the nation will be proud,” Matthew told the Antigua Observer.

“The major area of work that needs to be done [in Liberta] is one part of the fencing and so you can be assured that those things will be completed because it is part of our hosting requirement and so we do not have the option to not do it,” he added. 

The ICC Under-19 World Cup will take place between 14 January – 5 February.

“We’re actually hosting the quarterfinals, semifinals, and the finals for the Under-19 World Cup, and immediately following that we will be hosting the Test series with England, the Richards-Botham series and so we will be hosting a four-day warm-up match and then go right into the first Test so for the next eight to 10 weeks we should be having a substantial amount of cricket here in Antigua and Barbuda.”

 West Indies all-rounder Keemo Paul has his heart set on a return to international cricket after closing in on peak physical condition.

Despite being one of the region’s top prospects, the 23-year-old has not played for the West Indies since 2020.  Paul opted out of the team’s tour of England in 2020 but appeared against New Zealand in T20 internationals at the end of that same year.  He has not been seen on the international stage since.

The player has, however, in the meantime taken part in a few T20 leagues and with the regional 4-day tournament looming on the horizon, Paul will be looking to make a statement.  According to reports, the player recently turned in excellent scores in a fitness test conducted in Guyana recently.

 “I am feeling excellent, I think I needed this to get back out there and bowl a few overs to get the feel of four-day cricket. My body is responding really well and for me personally, I am feeling really happy with where I am right now. I bowled a few overs on the trot, I was not feeling tired, I just wanted to put a few balls in the right area and it’s coming out really nice and I am happy with that,” Paul recently told the Guyana Times.

“I was in the Sri Lankan Premier League, it was not the best of tournaments for me, but it is always a learning experience for me; you go to these different leagues in the different continents and you play on different pitches, you gain a lot of experience so that was a major learning curve for me,” he added.

“My body is starting to feel like where it was when I first started playing. I am in the gym and I am trying not to worry about injuries. I just want to try and enjoy my cricket as best as I can. I want to represent my country and hopefully, back to the West Indies team sometime soon.”

In the 2018-2019 season, his last full season in the four-day competition Paul claimed 42 wickets in 10 matches, while scoring 260 runs.

 

Kagiso Rabada and Virat Kohli enjoyed a thrilling personal tussle as South Africa got the better of India on day one of the final Test in their three-match series.

It is winner takes all in the series decider, and India put themselves in after winning the toss for the third straight time. However, in overcast conditions in Cape Town, South Africa's quicks thrived as the tourists were bowled out for 223.

Making his 50th Test appearance, Rabada (4-73) led their attack brilliantly, dismissing Mayank Agarwal (15), Ajinkya Rahane (9) and Jasprit Bumrah (0) before he finally came out on top in his battle with India's captain.

Playing his 99th Test, Kohli was the only India batsman to score above 50 as he showed his class with a patiently crafted 79, with support from Cheteshwar Pujara (43) and Rishabh Pant (27), both of whom fell to Marco Jansen, who finished with 3-55.

Kohli changed tack after Pant's dismissal, getting on the front foot to propel India over 200, though Rabada got his man when India's skipper – who had survived a South Africa review earlier in the innings – pushed at a ball outside off stump.

Lungi Ngidi got a deserved wicket to finish off India's innings, giving the hosts chance to take to the crease in the final session, with the cloud cover having made way for sunshine.

Proteas captain Deal Elgar was drawn into an edge by Jasprit Bumrah (1-0), giving India a boost, but Keshav Maharaj (6) and Aiden Markram (8) guided South Africa to 17-1 at stumps.

Restrained Kohli goes up against rampant Rabada

Kohli came out in the 13th over with his side at 33-2, and provided just the tonic to South Africa's rapid start, leaving 65 of the first 100 deliveries that were outside his off stump.

Over the last five years of Test matches, just four batters have shown more restraint and patience, while his contest with Rabada was fascinating, particularly between the 47th and 49th overs, when Kohli was beaten twice and edged just short of second slip.

Rabada came up with the goods in a final session that saw six India wickets fall, though Kohli's stand could just have kept India in this Test after a dreadful start. It is just a shame no fans could be at Newlands to witness it.

Brilliant Bumrah hits back

South Africa had to face eight overs in the final half-hour of play, and four of those came from the quite sensational Bumrah, who bowled 23 dot balls and took the wicket of Elgar to boot.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) and Cricket Ireland (CI) have confirmed changes to the match schedule for the ongoing CG Insurance One-Day International Series.

The second CG Insurance ODI will now be played on Thursday, January 13 with the third and final CG Insurance ODI on Sunday 16 January at Sabina Park.

Both matches will begin 9:30 am Jamaica time.

The rescheduling occurred following five COVID-19 positive cases, as well as injuries in the Ireland camp leaving the Ireland squad depleted ahead of the 2nd CG Insurance ODI which was originally was scheduled for Tuesday, January 11.

As a consequence, the one-off CG Insurance T20 International has been cancelled to allow for this revised schedule and to avoid impact on the teams’ travel plans and subsequent fixtures.

These ODI matches form part of the ICC ODI Super League with both teams having the opportunity to win points and become one of the top seven teams, excluding hosts India, to gain automatic qualification for the 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup.

In the standings, last updated on September 13, 2021, Ireland sit fourth with 50 points while the West Indies are eight with 40 points.

West Indies lead the three-match series 1-0 following their 24-run victory in the first CG Insurance ODI on Saturday.

 

Cricket West Indies (CWI) and Cricket Ireland (CI) issued a joint statement today announcing the postponement of the second CG Insurance One-Day International scheduled for January 11 between the two teams.

They came to the decision after two further positive COVID-19 cases were reported in the Ireland camp following recent testing, as well as two players being ruled out due to injury, resulting in Ireland having a severely depleted squad.

CWI and CI are in discussions to review the match schedule and are working to explore all possibilities for the series to be completed.

The five members of the Ireland team who have returned positive COVID-19 results remain in isolation under the care and supervision of the medical teams.

Further updates will be provided by CWI and CI as soon as possible.

West Indies are 1-0 up in the series after winning the first ODI by 24 runs on Saturday.

 

 

It has been an interesting start to the 2022 New Year for West Indies cricket.  The first days of 2022 have produced some exciting appointments to the West Indies Selections Panel, ongoing fitness concerns surrounding at least one key player, as well as a few very enlightening comments from head coach Phil Simmons.

Most West Indies cricket fans would have been excited by Cricket West Indies’ successive announcements of the appointments of the Rt. Hon. Dr. Desmond Haynes and Ramnaresh Sarwan, as the Selection Chairman and Member replacements for the recently deposed Roger Harper and Miles Bascombe.

The reputations of both Haynes and Sarwan, within both the Region and the wider cricketing world, as very well respected, knowledgeable, high calibre former West Indies players are undeniably solid.

The announcements of their respective appointments would have created a sense of optimism that some of the bizarre selection choices that were far too often characteristic of the previous panel, would now not be repeated. With the West Indies about to begin its all-important quest for qualification at two forthcoming World Cups, this year’s T20 as well as the 2023 50 overs, wisdom-guided selection of the best possible teams will be of immeasurable value.

The Haynes, Sarwan appointments also seem to be indicative of a Cricket West Indies decision to continue with the panel’s 3-person composition, with head coach Phil Simmons as the additional selector.  This despite the suggestion that had been made by several individuals including ourselves, that the process of selecting the very best West Indies teams would be much better served by a reversion to the former, far more successful, utilization of a five-member panel.

It will indeed be very interesting to see what the panel’s decided size will actually be. Regardless of its final membership size, one of the issues the new selection panel will have to address almost immediately is that of the continuing issues surrounding the fitness of West Indies cricketers.

Both Haynes and Sarwan would have been alarmed by the reported failure of two West Indies selection contention players, Chanderpaul Hemraj and Shimron Hetmeyer, to pass the Guyana Cricket Board’s (GCB) most recent fitness tests. The tests were administered during the first week of January 2022, as part of the Guyana National team’s preparation for its participation in the forthcoming Regional four-day competition. Kudos to Guyana’s head coach Esuan Crandon for having made those results public.

Given his encouraging performances at the recent 2021 ICC T20 World Cup, as well as his unquestionable potential to be one of the very brightest future stars of West Indies cricket, Hetmyer’s ongoing fitness challenges have long since become a matter of grave concern. Now still only a 25-year-old, Hetmeyer was West Indies' leading run-scorer in their disappointing 2021 T20 World Cup campaign. He has, however, now been left out of the West Indies ODI and T20 squads to play Ireland and England after failing the GCB fitness test.

Head Coach Phil Simmons’ reaction to Hetmeyer’s most recent fitness test failure was to describe it as a “heart-wrenching indication of his continuing inclination to be letting himself and his international team-mates down by paying insufficient attention to his physical fitness!” Hetmyer has now been omitted from several West Indies squads on fitness grounds, having also missed the recent tour of Pakistan due to personal reasons.

Prior to the Hetmyer exclusion, the former West Indies batting coach Toby Radford had, however, described the West Indies selection-related fitness testing protocols as being inconsistent. According to Radford, the existing policies are a convenient excuse for either omitting or excluding specific players.

“I do not think there is a consistency with the fitness testing and the way it has been used. It seems to me (that) if they want to pick a player, they give him a wavier! If on the other hand, they do not want to pick a certain player, they give the excuse that the guy is not fit. We have seen, with the T20 World Cup, (that) there were players who were selected that obviously did not pass any fitness test!

Radford has also advocated CWI’s adoption of an above-board, robust selection process with consistent fitness testing. 

 “Everyone has to be treated the same way and tested in an identical manner on the same day. At the moment, it is being used to select whoever they CWI want to have included in the respective teams,” Radford said.

We certainly agree wholeheartedly with Toby Radford’s comments. To those, we would now add the suggestion that the Desmond Haynes-led Panel should, as its very first order of business, announce the implementation of a new selection-related fitness policy.

Our suggested policy would require all CWI contracted players, as well as those others who are in contention for immediate selection to West Indies teams, to be tested by their respective Regional Boards, four times each year with all of the tests being conducted on the same day. Failure by any player to meet the established required, uniform standard would not only result in their exclusion from selection consideration but would also result in the immediate suspension of their contractual benefits. Such penalties would, however, only remain in effect until the affected player had improved their results to the required standard.

With the squads of the immediately forthcoming Ireland and England white-ball series having already been selected, West Indies cricket followers’ attention towards the Desmond Haynes led new selection panel should now be whether it does indeed issue any sort of definitive statement in terms of what its approach towards fitness will be. Attention should, however, also be focused on the actual performances of the selected players during the forthcoming series, and certainly in terms of their execution of the “still lacking basic skills,” according to Simmons.

Now more than halfway through his four-year contract, Simmons’ biggest current concern, as expressed during a most recent media conference, is the need for the players under his charge to do the small things better.

 “Running between the wickets is one aspect of the batting that has let us down, and it is an area that the team will be placing a lot of emphasis on going forward. Fielding is another key area in which we want to see improvement!”

More than two years into the job and our head and batting coaches are still seeking improvements in the most fundamental requirements of strike rotation and pressure fielding. Meanwhile, their associate in charge of the bowlers, Roddy Estwick, likewise speaks publicly of the need for those under his guidance to be more disciplined.

Isn’t this now the most glaringly damning evidence of their respective incompetences? If not, then surely the Pope cannot be Catholic!

A new year, fresh Selection Panel members but the same old coaching cadre! Should we now expect the results to be any better than those that were produced in 2021?

 

 

The West Indies U19s did not have the best showing ahead of the start of the ICC Under-19 50-over World Cup after suffering a heavy 108 loss to India U19s  team in their first official warm-up match on Sunday.

After being set a challenging target of 279 to win, the young Windies struggled to 170 all out in just 43 overs.  The team got off to a solid enough start when openers Matthew Nandu and Shaqkere Parris put on 30 in the opening overs.   Parris was, however, the first to go after being dismissed by fast bowler Garv Sangwan.  The other batters, unfortunately, followed in quick succession, with Teddy Bishop being dismissed ten balls later, and Sangwan going lbw with the score on 35.

Nandu managed another 30 with Jordan Johnson (10) before falling to the spin of Manav Parakh in the 18th over, with the total at 65 for three.

Windies skipper Akeem Auguste went for a duck after also being bowled by Parakh, Rivaldo Clarke (11), and vice-captain Giovonte Depeiza (10) were also gone midway through the innings.

Nandu eventually departed in the 33rd over with a top-score of 52 off 101 balls, after being a victim of left-arm spinner Aneeshwar Gautam, caught by Kaushal Tambe.  Off-spinner Tambe then wrapped up the innings with the wickets of Carlon Bowen-Tuckett (20), Anderson Mahase (1), and an attacking Johann Layne.

Earlier in the innings, the team set a furious pace after skipper Yash Dhull won the toss.  Things did not start well, however, as the team found themselves at 18 for two in the seventh after excellent work from Layne got rid of openers Harnoor Singh and Angkrish Raghuvanshi.

Dhull, however, led a strong revival with 52 off 67 balls and put on 85 for the third wicket with Shaik Rasheed.   Aradhya Yadav attacked the bowling and added 82 for the fifth wicket with top-scorer Nishant Sindhu, who lashed seven fours and three sixes in an unbeaten 78 off 76 balls, effectively putting the match out of reach.

Scores

India U-19s 278-6, 50 overs (Nishant Sindhu 78 n.o., Yash Dhull 52, Aradhya Yadav 42; Johann Layne 3/51)

 WI U-19s 170 all out, 43 overs (Matthew Nandu 52; Kaushal Tambe 3/30, Manav Parakh 3/34, Garv Sangwan 2/18, Aneeshwar Gautam 2/37). --India U-19s won by 108 runs.

 

Windies middle-order batsman, Shamarh Brooks, admits it was a crushing blow to narrowly miss out on a debut ODI century but insists it is just part of a learning curve.

Brooks put on a solid performance that proved the backbone of a close 24-run win in the opening match of the series on Sunday

Together with Windies skipper Kieron Pollard, Brooks put 155 runs on the board for the 5th wicket, which proved critical in stabilisng the team’s middle-order after floundering at 4 for 62.

On 93 the player seemed destined to be only the second West Indian to make an ODI century on debut but was out lbw off the bowling of Mark Adair.

“Word can’t express (how disappointing it was) but at the end of the day it was still my first game and I’m still happy with the score that I got.  It’s just unfortunate to miss out on triple figures,” Brooks said.

“I wouldn’t say I panicked in the nervous 90s.  Some people would have been a little more cautious having been set but as we all know it’s a learning curve at this stage.  I’ll take this one on the chin and look to grow from strength to strength,” he added.

The West Indies and Ireland will face off again in the second match on Tuesday.

  

 

Veteran all-rounder Dwyane Bravo will join fellow West Indian Chris Gayle at Fortune Barishal for the upcoming Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) after replacing Sri Lanka's Danushka Gunathilaka.

Gunathilaka was forced to pull out of the tournament after he failed to receive a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC). 

In addition to Gayle, who will be playing for the franchise for the third time, the franchise has also added another two Caribbean players.  Pace bowlers Alzarri Joseph and Obed Mccoy will also be joining the team.

The 38-year-old Bravo, who retired from international cricket following the ICC T20 World Cup earlier this year, has previously represented the Chittagong Kings, Comilla Victorians, and Dhaka Dynamites in the BPL.

The competition, which is scheduled to bowl off on January 21, will be played across three cities and will feature 6 teams.

 

Australia captain Pat Cummins wishes the weather had been on his team's side after England frustrated their hosts to draw the fourth Ashes Test in Sydney.

James Anderson batted out the final over of the day – and the 102nd of England's second innings – at the Sydney Cricket Ground to ensure the tourists reached 270-9 at stumps and avoided a series whitewash.

With the Ashes already lost after a dismal opening three Tests, Joe Root's team performed resiliently to restore some pride heading into the final match in Hobart.

They relied on some good fortune, too. Rain delayed the restart in the second session on Sunday, further stalling Australia after they had clinched the important wicket of Zak Crawley (77), who became England's third-youngest opener to score a half-century in an away Ashes series, just before lunch. Rain also effected play earlier in the match.

Cummins, meanwhile, held on late to declare on day four despite Australia having built a towering lead, with Crawley and Haseeb Hameed only facing 35 minutes at the crease late on Saturday.

"Obviously, [we were] really keen [for the win]," Cummins said at the post-match presentation.

"But I think it was a great game of Test cricket, we got close. A bit less weather might have got us there but it was a really hard-fought match – that's why we all love it. We'd have loved to go up 4-0, but it was a good match.

"The weather forecasts are hopeless, I learned that this week. I think day four was meant to rain all day. I was ready to follow-on, we'd have had a full day of sunlight yesterday to bowl in."

Asked about his late declaration, Cummins added: "Being in a position to get up close to 400, I think we needed that.

"The wicket wasn't playing many tricks, we’ve got some class batters. Today was good fun, I felt really lucky to have genuine bowlers plus Smithy [Steve Smith] and Marnus [Labuschagne] to throw the ball to. It felt like we were right in with a shot."

Australia were led in the fourth Test by the magnificent Usman Khawaja, who marked his first appearance in their red-ball side since the 2019 Ashes series with a hundred in each innings.

He became just the third player to score a hundred in each innings of an SCG Test, and the first since former Australia captain Ricky Ponting in 2006, also against England.

"Two hundreds, no it can't [get much better]," Usman said.

"It was a terrific game. We'd have loved to win but it was a great game, a great fight from England, Test cricket at its best, right down to the wire. It could have gone either way – we couldn't ask for much more."

Khawaja has already said he does not expect to be in Australia's team for the final Test, with Travis Head expected to return from a coronavirus-enforced absence, but the 35-year-old knows he has a big role to play over the next 12 months.

"I'm enjoying the game, love the game. There's lots of ups and downs. I fully know I could go out next time I play and get two ducks, it's just the way this game is," he continued.

"That's why we love it. It's such a hard game. It's really satisfying. There's nothing harder that Test cricket, when you perform like that you know you've done something right.

"There's a lot of cricket coming up. Fingers crossed we stay healthy. The guys have played unbelievably before this game, 3-0 up. We couldn't have asked for much more from this series and hopefully the next game we can win that, and then win a few games away."

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