With players choosing to play in the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL) over representing their respective countries in Test cricket, West Indies batting legend Brian Lara is urging the International Cricket Council to take the necessary steps to address the vexing issue.

Over the past decade or so several West Indies players have dropped their ambitions of representing the West Indies at Test cricket for the IPL where they have earned millions of dollars. In more recent times, South Africa has been facing similar challenges.

Reports indicate that the Proteas could lose all their front line bowlers for the upcoming Tests against Bangladesh, increasing the prospect of Cricket South Africa fielding a much-weakened team for the series.

The situation has irked Lara, who played 131 Tests for the West Indies during which he scored 11,953 runs at a healthy average of 52.9. The Trinidadian believes a player’s country should take precedent.

“Playing for the country should come first,” said Lara, who is the strategic advisor and batting coach of the Indian Premier League franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad.

He was speaking during an interview with Sportstar when he also said Test cricket also provides chances for players to make a good living for players.

“Because I played for the West Indies, other opportunities opened up for me. It’s disappointing to see young cricketers leaving Test cricket. The ICC should come up with a rule stating a cricketer must play a certain number of games for his country before he can play in the Twenty20 leagues. Something needs to be done.”

Ever since Nicholas Pooran made his international debut against Pakistan in 2016, many admirers have been asking when will he suit up for Test cricket?

In an interview with ESPNCricinfo last Friday, the West Indies T20 vice-captain shed some light on how he feels about representing the region in the longest format of the game.

“Playing Test cricket is still in my plans, but as I say, everything happens at the right time. When it's my time to play Test cricket, I'm sure I will,” he said.

One way that Pooran could find his way into the West Indies Test team is by playing first-class cricket but that has proven to be logistically challenging.

“After the IPL finishes in May, West Indies have a few white-ball series, so I don't know when there's actually time for me to play first-class cricket or what the way forward is. It's a challenge,” he said.

“It's difficult, we don't really get much time off for ourselves. I believe there should be a compromise, but everyone sees it differently,” he added.

Since his debut in 2014, Pooran has only played five first-class matches with the last one being in December 2020 for the West Indies A against New Zealand A.

Pooran, who is set to represent the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL), said he has already had conversations with Desmond Haynes, the lead selector for the West Indies men’s senior team about his red-ball prospects.

“We had a small conversation. It went well actually, so let's see what happens in the future. Going forward, it's a conversation I need to have with the selectors and coach,” he said.

 

 

 Cricket West Indies (CWI) and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) today announced an expanded match schedule for England’s tour of the Caribbean in 2022.

The January 2022 Tour will now feature five T20 Internationals (T20Is) – increased from three matches – to be followed by England returning to the Caribbean for three Test matches in March – increased from the original two Test matches.

The Test series will be the first in which the two teams compete for the newly commissioned Richards-Botham Trophy, named in honour of West Indies’ batting icon Sir Vivian Richards and England’s great all-rounder Lord Ian Botham.

The T20I series will be the biggest series to date between the two teams in the shortest form of the game and will be part of the preparations building up to the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in Australia in October 2022.

“This expansion of next year’s England tour to the Caribbean is welcomed news for West Indies Cricket and for the region’s tourism economy. It has come about because of the special relationship that has been developed between our respective boards and we are looking forward to working with ECB Chair Ian Watmore, and CEO Tom Harrison, to expand our partnership even further into new areas of cooperation and support,” said CWI President Ricky Skerritt.

“We have already begun discussions on how the ECB can help us in our development programs and I am pleased that ECB has been showing so much appetite and goodwill to assist.”

Johnny Grave CWI CEO expressed his pleasure at the development.

“We are delighted that the ECB has agreed to increase the number of matches in their tour to the Caribbean next year,” he said.

“An England tour to the West Indies is a special event, so adding a third Test match and two T20Is to the original schedule it will enable more fans to watch the teams do battle and afford more of our countries the opportunity to host matches.”

Meanwhile, Ian Watmore, Chair, England and Wales Cricket Board said discussions between the two boards had been ongoing since the West Indies toured the UK in the summer of 2020.

"We hugely appreciated the support of Cricket West Indies, and all its men’s and women’s players, in helping us host a full season of international cricket in the summer of 2020. Following the conclusion of those tours to England we have been in discussions with CWI to understand how we can best support them moving forward and one way was to extend our existing England men’s tours to the Caribbean in 2022,” Watmore said.

Tom Harrison, Chief Executive Officer, England and Wales Cricket Board said they were thrilled to be able to expand the number of games for the respective formats.

"A tour to the Caribbean is one of the most iconic for both England players and fans alike. So, we are delighted to confirm that our England men’s team will play two additional IT20s and one more Test Match as part of their planned tours in January and March respectively,” Harrison said.

“The three Test-match series will form part of the next ICC World Test Championship, whilst the additional IT20s will provide our England men’s team with valuable preparation ahead of the ICC World T20, which takes place in Australia later that year."

The venues for the matches are expected to be announced by the end of April.

 

Proposed Match Schedule

Friday, January 28: 1st T20 International

Sunday, January 30: 2nd T20 International

Wednesday, February 2: 3rd T20 International

Friday, February 4: 4th T20 International

Saturday, February 5: 5th T20 International

Tuesday, March 1 to Friday, March 4: warm-up match

Tuesday, Mar 8 to Saturday, March 12: 1st Test Match

Wednesday, March 16 to Saturday, March 20: 2nd Test Match

Thursday, March 24 to Monday, March 28: 3rd Test Match

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