The Indian Premier League is the most popular T20 franchise league in the world and many cricketers across the globe dream about playing in it one day.

West Indies all-rounder Romario Shepherd is no different.

The Guyanese fast bowler and right-handed batsman, who dazzled with the bat with an unbeaten 44 in the second T20 international between the West Indies and England yesterday, has put his name in the last three IPL auctions but is yet to be awarded a contract.

Speaking in a press conference today, Shepherd says the dream, which at this point is very close to reality, is still alive.

“It’s a great platform for any youngster. Many people dream to go to the IPL and I’m no different. It’s something that I’ve dreamed about for a very long time. My name was in the draft for the last three years so this year I’m definitely looking forward to it,” he said.

In the midst of a five-match T20I series with England at the moment, Shepherd says his full focus is on helping the West Indies win.

“I’m trying my best to get there but, at the same time, trying my best to help us win this series. I try to focus on what is at hand right now and try to put my all in there. Eventually, if an IPL contract comes that would be great for me but I try not to think about it while in the game,” Shepherd said.

Shepherd has so far played 11 T20 Internationals with 100 runs and eight wickets to his name.

The IPL player auction is scheduled to take place on February 12 and 13 and he will have another opportunity to enhance his reputation when the West Indies and England square off in the third of five T20 internationals in Barbados on Wednesday.

 

 

 

West Indies T20 star Chris Gayle has made himself unavailable for the upcoming season of the Indian Premier League, which could signal an end to his time at the tournament.

The 42-year-old has played in the world’s premier T20 tournament for the past 13 seasons, where he has played a total of 142 matches since making his debut in 2009.  Gayle has represented the Punjab Kings, Kolkata Knight Riders, and Royal Challengers Bangalore.

After experiencing inconsistent playing time during the last edition, for Punjab, and leaving the tournament early to prepare for the T20 World, questions had been raised regarding the player’s future.

The batsman has been one of the league’s most iconic players and is its seventh-highest runs scorer, having scored 4,965 runs at an average of 39.72 and with a strike rate of 148.96.  Gayle tops the list with the most centuries (6) and also holds the record for hitting the highest number of sixes (357).  The West Indian has, however, never managed to win a title.

On the back of a disappointing World Cup, Gayle was expected to retire from international cricket but has registered to play for Fortune Barishal in this year’s Bangladesh Premier League (BPL).  The BPL got underway yesterday, but Gayle is not expected to join the squad until later in the season.

Indian Premier League franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad has brought West Indies batting legend, Brian Lara, onboard ahead of the coming season.

Jamaican track and field legend, Usain Bolt, has decided to try out cricket as a new profession and wants to play in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

The eight-time Olympic champion has often spoken about his love for the sport of cricket and how he originally wanted to be a cricketer before his father suggested that he should focus on track and field, a wise decision looking back.

“My father is a huge cricket fan. When I got to higher secondary, I had two options-cricket or athletics. My dad said because of the system in Jamaica; it would be better to take up athletics. You just have to run fast in athletics while it’s tougher to get into the national cricket team,” said Bolt speaking during a promotional visit to India in 2014.

In a recent interview with Hindustan Times, Bolt expressed his desire to be involved in the Indian Premier League at some point.

“Definitely. I will get my training on. I’ll get fit and get ready,” he said.

The 11-time World Championship gold medallist also spoke about how he got into cricket when he was younger.

“The two main sports in Jamaica at the time were football and cricket. I was a massive fan of cricket because my dad was a fan of it. He watched it every day, every chance you get, you would watch all the teams play so I grew up watching cricket,” added Bolt.

He cited Pakistani great, Waqar Younis, as one of his favorite bowlers to watch growing up.

“When I was really small, I loved the Pakistan cricket team. Waqar Younis was one of the greatest Pakistan bowlers ever, and I was a bowler, so I really enjoyed watching him. I was a big Pakistan fan until I got older when I noticed that I should actually support my home team,” said Bolt.

 

 

The trio of Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, and Nicholas Pooran led a list of 9 West Indies players not retained by their respective Indian Premier League (IPL) teams ahead of the upcoming mega auction.

The 38-year-old Bravo, who has been with Chennai Super Kings since 2018, and previously spent four years with the franchise between 2011–2015, was a part of the team’s IPL-winning run last season.  Retention policies, however, forced the team to shed a few of the team’s veteran players.

In addition to Bravo, Faf du Plessis, Josh Hazlewood, Suresh Raina, and Cheteshwar Pujara were also among those released.  In the meantime, the team retained MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Moeen Ali, and Ruturaj Gaikwad.

Gayle, Pooran, and Fabian Allen, in the meantime, all played for Punjab King’s XI with Gayle and Pooran having seasons to forget.  Gayle averaged 21.44 in 10 games, while Pooran averaged a measly 7.72 in 12 games.  Punjab retained only Mayank Agarwal and Arshdeep Singh and will have a hefty purse for the auction.

In the meantime, only three West Indies players were retained. The Kolkata Knight Riders kept all-rounder Andre Russell and mystery spinner Sunil Narine, while the Mumbai Indians have kept a hold of Kieron Pollard.  Other Windies players released include;

Shimron Hetmyer (Delhi Capitals), Evin Lewis, Oshane Thomas (Rajasthan Royals), Jason Holder, Sherfane Rutherford  (Sunrisers Hyderabad).

Barbados all-rounder Dominic Drakes is to join the Chennai Super Kings as a replacement for England’s Sam Curran, who is out of the Indian Premier League (IPL) with a back injury.

The 23-year-old hero for 2021 Caribbean Premier League champions, St Kitts and Nevis Patriots will reunite with his CPL captain Dwayne Bravo ahead of their last league match against the Punjab Kings on Thursday, October 7.

Drakes took 16 wickets in 11 matches for the SKN Patriots during the CPL season and won the tournament with his bat when he scored an unbeaten 48 from 24 balls in the final against St Lucia Kings and was named the Player of the Match.

In 19 T20s so far, he has picked 20 wickets and has scored 153 runs at a strike rate of 159.37.

Kolkata Knight Riders captain Eoin Morgan insists the franchise is monitoring the fitness of West Indies star Andre Russell on a day-by-day basic but remains unsure of exactly when the player will return to action.

The bit-hitting all-rounder was forced to leave the field after making a good save on the mid-wicket boundary and jumped himself off the field as soon as he threw back the ball.  The 33-year-old did not feature for the team against the Dehli Capitals, or Friday’s encounter against the Punjab Kings XI.

Despite Russell missing the second game in a row, Morgan did not shed any more light on the player’s current injury status.

“Lockie and Russell are being monitored day by day. They have to rehab extremely well in order to be fit,” Morgan said.

Earlier, David Hussey, KKR’s team mentor, had described Russell’s injury as a hamstring injury but expressed hope that the player could return to the line-up soon,

“He said he felt something pop in his leg, his hamstring. We’ve got the best medical staff in the business so they’ll tend to him and hopefully, it’s nothing too serious, because he’s a key part of our team,” Hussey said.

In addition to the Knight Riders, the West Indies will also be closely monitoring the situation, with the player expected to line up for the World T20 later this month.

 

 

The Universe Boss Chris Gayle has left the IPL bubble citing bubble fatigue and a need to stay fresh for next month’s ICC T20 World Cup.

At 34-years-old, West Indies big-hitter Kieron Pollard admits these days there is great satisfaction in showing younger players he has plenty left in the tank, despite the realization that time is slowly catching up to him.

On Monday, the West Indian captain became the first player in history to take 300 wickets and 10,000 runs in T20s, after taking two wickets and making 15 runs for Indian Premier League team Mumbai Indians.

Over an outstanding career, the all-rounder is now second behind Chris Gayle on the all-time list with 11,217 runs and 8th on the all-time bowling list in terms of wickets taken.  Perhaps fitting Gayle was among one of the wickets he claimed on the way to the special milestone.  While proud of what he has accomplished in the sport, the dynamic player is keenly aware of a new generation of cricketers eager to make their own mark on the sport.

“Age is catching up with me because (there are) young guys in the dressing room, so I have to continue to show them that, ‘listen, I still got it,” Pollard said after the game.

“So, most of the time, it’s just to show these young guys what I can do,” he added.

“For me, you are just supposed to do what the team requires. As an individual, I know what I can do in all the facets of the game, and whenever I get the opportunity just try to do my best.”

West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell appeared to have suffered a hamstring injury during the Kolkata Knight Riders’ two-wicket loss to the Chennai Super Kings in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.

In-form T20 batsman Sherfane Rutherford has returned home to his native Guyana from the IPL following the death of his father, the Sunrisers Hyderabad Indian Premier League franchise announced on Thursday.

Orin Rutherford, 58, died Thursday, after testing positive for the Covid-19 virus on September 5. He was being treated at the Intensive Care Unit of the Infectious Diseases Hospital in Liliendaal Hospital in Georgetown. He was reportedly unvaccinated.

"The SRH family conveys its heartfelt condolences to Sherfane Rutherford and his family on the passing away of his father. Sherfane will be leaving the IPL bio-bubble to be with his family in this difficult hour," SRH posted on Twitter.

Following a successful season with newly-crowned Caribbean Premier League champions St Kitts and Nevis Patriots, Rutherford was looking forward to his maiden season with SRH.

It always feels good to come to a new franchise. It’s always good coming to something new. I look to learn, gather as much information as I can to work on my game and in the best way I can to help the team,” he said shortly after his arrival in India.

Rutherford, who almost inexplicably missed on being selected to represent the West Indies at next month’s ICC T20 World Cup, was called up by SRH to replace England’s Jonny Bairstow.

He last played in the IPL for Delhi Capitals in 2019.

Andre Russell and Varan Chakravarthy combined to destroy the Royal Challengers Bangalore’s batting on the way to a comprehensive nine-wicket win for the Kolkata Knight Riders with 10 overs to spare on Monday.

Russell, who bowled 18 balls, took the remarkable figures of 3-9 that included the wicket of the dangerous AB de Villiers for a first-ball duck as RCB plunged to 92 all out in 19 overs in Abu Dhabi. Chakravarthy was equally destructive with figures of 3-13 during his four-over spell in which he got the prized wicket Virat Kohli for five.

Of the RCB batsmen, only Devdutt Padikkal, who top-scored with 22, Srikar Bharat, 16, Glen Maxwell, 10 and Harshel Patel, 12, managed to get into double figures against the stifling and penetrative KKR bowling attack. Lockie Ferguson also got his piece of the action with 2-24.

In reply, Shubman Gill and Ventakesh Iyer scored at better than eight runs an over putting on 82 for the first wicket. The partnership was broken when Yuzvendra Chahal dismissed Gill for 48 first ball of the tenth over.

Andre Russell, who replaced Gill, did not face a single delivery as Iyer hit fours from Chahal’s third, fifth and sixth deliveries to complete the commanding win.

 

West Indies opener Evin Lewis and fast bowler Oshane Thomas have been signed by the Rajasthan Royals for the second leg of the Indian Premier League set to run from September 19 to October 15 in the United Arab Emirates.

Lewis, who is currently playing for CPL leaders St Kitts and Nevis Patriots, and Thomas who suits up for the Barbados Royals will be the English duo, Jos Butler and Ben Stokes. The 29-year-old Trinidadian opener will be having his second stint in the IPL having played for the Mumbai Indians in 2018 and 2019.

Thomas represented the Royals in 2019 when he played four games for the franchise.

International players who miss the resumption of the India Premier League (IPL) could face salary reductions and pro-rata payments from their various franchises.

The IPL was suspended in early May after four players in the biosecure bubble tested positive for Covid-19.  The competition is now expected to take place in the September-October window later this year in the UAE.

With a packed international schedule, however, that decision has not found favour with some countries that have players taking part in the competition.  England and Bangladesh players have been prohibited from taking part in the rescheduled IPL 2021. 

With the ICC T20 World Cup scheduled for October, the timing of the IPL could interfere with the teams' preparation for the World Cup.  This season, nine West Indian players were taking part in the competition before it was postponed.

Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran (Punjab Kings) Andre Russell (Kolkata Knight Riders) Dwayne Bravo (Chennai Super Kings) Sunil Narine (Kolkata Knight Riders), Shimron Hetmyer - Delhi Capitals, and Fabian Allen - Punjab Kings.  There is no indication as of yet, whether IPL resumption will clash with plans of Cricket West Indies (CWI). The West Indies are expected to tackle Pakistan in August. 

“In case they (foreign players) can’t make it to UAE for IPL, franchises will be within their right to cut their salaries and pay them only on a pro-rata basis,” a Board of Cricket Control India (BCCI) member told Inside Sports.

 

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