West Indies opener, Brandon King, is looking to keep things simple on his return to international cricket after recently returning to the team.

King was named as part of the Windies T20 squad who will play against England in the upcoming five-match series.  The batsman looked in solid form after returning to the team against Pakistan last month, after more than a year away from the team.  He scored 111 runs in three matches, with an average of 37 and a high score of 67.

On the back of another controlled showing against a BCA President's XI in a warm-up match at Kensington Oval, on Tuesday, King will be looking to provide solidity against the English for a Windies team that has struggled as of late.

“For me mentally, I play my best cricket when I am keeping things simple out there while I am batting.  I just try and play the situation as it is and that has really helped me to do better out there,” King said of his form since returning to the team.

Despite the World Cup coming up later this year, however, and the West Indies in rebuilding mode, he insists he is not looking too far ahead in terms of regular selection.

“I try to focus on the things that I can control.  For me, that is just every game that presents itself I just try and do my best and perform.  Selection and those other aspects I don’t have any control over it but I just try and put myself in a position to be in the conversation.”

 

West Indies senior Men’s head coach Phil Simmons says players must be more aware of situations ahead of the Betway T20 International Series against England.

“Each game has a situation. Every ball is a situation in the game, and we’ve got to be able to assess that situation and know how we have to play in that game. If you’re 20-3 you play differently than if you’re 40-0. These are the little situations that we need to highlight and win and that will take us to winning the game,” he said in a press conference on Tuesday.

Simmons also explained that the return of the West Indies to the pinnacle of world cricket will only come with a focus on development at all levels.

“Definitely things need to be changed at different levels. You don’t become bad batsmen at this level,” he said.

He continued on, saying that responsibility lies with coaches at all levels to see to the development of players in the region.

“You come up here thinking you are able to play up here, but things are not going the way they should do so there must be some sort of responsibility taken from the levels before us and that’s something that has to be addressed, generally, as an organization,” Simmons added.

With that said, Simmons also acknowledged that once players get to the international level, they also have a part to play.

“In saying that, the guys, when they come up here, need to fight harder. They need to put more effort into wanting to be the best in the world when they come up here,” he added.

The West Indies will play five T20 Internationals against England in Barbados starting on January 22.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The West Indies suffered a historic loss at the hands of Ireland after the visitors secured a two-wicket win to claim a 2-1 series win at Sabina Park on Sunday.

The win was not just the Irish team’s first triumph over the West Indies in an ODI series, but the come-from-behind victory was only the second over a full member team. Prior to that, the team defeated Zimbabwe at home in 2019.

After dismissing the West Indies for just 212, the Irish survived a late-game wobble but still had enough to get over the line after getting to 214-8 in the 45th over.

The effort was anchored by half-centuries from Andy McBrine and Harry Tector.

Earlier, the West Indies were off to a fast with Shai Hope cracking 53 from just 39 balls at the top of the innings, as he did the majority of the scoring in an opening stand of 72 in 11 overs with Justin Greaves.  However, things fell apart when he and Greaves were caught off the bowling of Craig Young in quick succession.  The hosts went on to lose the next three wickets for just four runs as the middle order collapsed when Nicholas Pooran, Shamarh Brooks, and skipper Kieron Pollard all spent very little time at the crease.

Jason Holder ensured at least a competitive score with an impressive 44 but was run out, with West Indies all out for 212.  Odean Smith remained unbeaten on 20 from 10 balls.

 

The key to the West Indies winning their CG Insurance One-Day International series against Ireland will be the ability to maintain wickets in hand in order to launch at the back-end of the innings, according to opening batsman and vice-captain Shai Hope.

The West Indies top-order batsmen have experienced difficulties with the moisture on the Sabina Park pitch, in the first two games of the series, after losing the toss and being asked to bat by Ireland on both occasions.

“We all know that in the morning time, there’s a lot of moisture in the pitch and it’s just unfortunate that we didn’t get to win the toss in the first two games,” he said.

Still, Hope emphasized the importance of trying to battle through the conditions, regardless of the result of the toss.

“Whether we win the toss or not, we have to do whatever we do, first, to the best of our ability. The key is to make sure we do it better this game because we know it is a series decider,” Hope added.

When asked about the average batting performance in the series so far, Hope once again pointed to difficult conditions.

“I think anyone who understands cricket can see that conditions aren’t conducive to stroke-play. It’s not a free-flowing wicket, especially in the morning at Sabina Park. It’s just important for us as batters to adapt to that as fast as we can. It’s not easy but we still have to find a way,” Hope added.

Finally, he offered possible solutions for the West Indies' batting woes.

“It’s just important for us to find a way, whether it’s putting the bowlers under more pressure or trying to run more singles in the middle period. I also think it’s important for us to maintain wickets in the middle so we can launch at the back-end because, at the end of the innings, the wicket tends to get a lot better,” Hope said.

The third and final CG Insurance ODI between The West Indies and Ireland takes place on Sunday at Sabina Park at 9:15 am Jamaica Time.

The series is currently locked at 1-1.

 

Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago (SPORTT) Douglas Camacho is confident the country will benefit from hosting the ICC U19 World Cup, despite spectators not being allowed to attend matches.

The tournament, which will get underway on Friday will be played across the Caribbean territories of St Kitts, Antigua, and Guyana, in addition to T&T.

With case numbers for the Covid-19 pandemic remaining high, however, the T&T venues, Queen’s Park Oval, Brian Lara Cricket Academy, and Diego Martin Sporting Complex will only be occupied by players and officials.

Despite that fact, however, Camacho expects the tournament to be a success.

 “We wouldn’t be able to have spectators at attendance. While this is a downer for some, I don’t think this will impact upon the quality of the tournament itself or on the organisation that has been put in place,” Camacho said.

“The facilities, both for training and competitive matches, are world-renowned, world-class and the best of the best,” he added.

 “We are very confident that all the players, officials, attendees will have a wonderful experience, that would be to the benefit of Trinidad and Tobago.”

The tournament will get underway at the  

Providence Stadium, in Guyana, on Friday, with the West Indies playing against Australia.

Ireland secured a five-wicket win via the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method to tie their 3-match One-Day International series with the West Indies 1-1 at Sabina Park on Thursday.

Ireland’s opening pair of William Porterfield and Paul Stirling got off to a strong start reaching 37 off 4.5 overs before Stirling was dismissed for 21 by Akeal Hosein.

Ireland brought up their 50 in the eighth over with Porterfield on 22 and Andy McBrine yet to score.

Roston Chase removed Porterfield with the final ball of the 10th over for 26 to leave the Irish on 60-2.

McBrine and Harry Tector formed a decent partnership and brought Ireland’s score past 100 before McBrine was dismissed by Romario Shepherd to become the third wicket to fall for a well-played 35, in the 20th over, to leave Ireland at 104-3.

Tector (46) and Curtis Campher (11) were the batsmen at the crease when Ireland brought up their 150 in the 29th over.

Tector brought up his sixth ODI 50 and second in the series off 69 balls in the 31st over but in the same over was bowled by Hosein.  Curtis Campher was dismissed for 12 to leave the score on 157-4 with Ireland needing 73 more runs to win from 115 balls.

A long rain delay during the 32nd over meant that upon the resumption of the game, Ireland only needed 11 more runs to win off 28 balls after the overs were reduced from 50 to 36 by the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern method.

Kieron Pollard removed George Dockrell in the 33rd over for five, with the Irish needing just three more runs to win before Gareth Delaney hit the winning runs off Pollard to close the innings at 168-5.

Harry Tector finished 54 not out for the Irish against Akeal Hosein’s 2-51 off eight overs.

Earlier, the West Indies recovered from being 111-7 to be bowled out for 229 in 48 overs thanks to a well-made 50 from Romario Shepherd and an aggressive 46 off 19 balls from Odean Smith against a four-wicket haul from Andy McBrine, who was voted man of the match, and a three-wicket haul from Craig Young.

The third and final ODI will take place on Sunday at 9:15 AM Jamaica time at the same venue.

Out-of-favour Windies batsman Shimron Hetmyer has targeted putting together longer spells at the crease, as opposed to a typically stroke-filled but risky approach that has long been his trademark.

The 25-year-old was left out of the ongoing West Indies series against Ireland, after failing a fitness test a few weeks ago.  Since then, the player has been working on the issue in his home country Guyana.  In the meantime, the batsman has been preparing for the upcoming season of the Regional 4-day competition with the Guyana Harpy Eagles.

Recently, the player spent 300-minutes plus at the crease during the team’s Best of Best 4-Day trial match at Albion last week.  According to reports, in addition to the typical stroke play and skill, the player did plenty of running between the wickets for his knock of 149.  He is hoping to put together similar performances at the highest level.

“I just got out there and tried to bat as long as I possibly could, and try to help my team to win in whatever way possible. I try to accumulate, and just to be there as long as possible. It is really something I am trying to bring into my game, instead of playing that flashy innings and just batting a couple of balls,” Hetmyer told the Guyana Times.

“I just try to be there as long as possible, and just help my team. Even if we cannot win it, I can try to draw it. That is basically along the lines I am thinking right now,” he added.

Over the last few years, Hetmyer has been known for his exploits in the shorter formats.  The batsman has not played Test cricket since 2019 and last appeared in the regional four-day tournament in 2020.

The West Indies have set Ireland 230 to win the second ODI at Sabina Park thanks to crucial late knocks from Romario Shepherd and Odean Smith.

West Indies played the same eleven as the first ODI for the second match, while Ireland made two changes with Paul Stirling and Neil Rock coming in for regular captain Andrew Balbirnie and wicketkeeper/batsman Lorcan Tucker who both returned positive COVID-19 tests on Tuesday.

Ireland won the toss and chose to field and the West Indies opening pair of Shai Hope and Justin Greaves battled difficult conditions on the Sabina Park pitch to still be at the crease in the 10th over before Hope was dismissed by Craig Young for 17 to leave the Windies at 38-1.

After the first powerplay, the West Indies were 39-1 with Greaves not out on eight and Nicholas Pooran yet to score.

Young got his second wicket in the 12th over with a beauty to remove Justin Greaves for 10 to leave the score on 42-2 off 11.2 overs.

The West Indies troubles escalated when Pooran became Young’s third victim in the 14th over, for one, to leave the home team on 43-3 off 13.5 overs.

After 20 overs, the West Indies were 58-3 with Roston Chase (6) and Shamarh Brooks (10) attempting to rebuild the innings.

Chase was next to go for 13 after a brilliant catch by acting captain Paul Stirling off the bowling of Andy McBrine to leave the West Indies on 91-4 after 26 overs.

The West Indies lost their fifth wicket soon after as captain Kieron Pollard was dismissed for one by McBrine to leave the score at 93-5 after 27.1 overs.

Shamarh Brooks (36) and Jason Holder (2) were the batsmen at the crease when the West Indies brought up their hundred in the 30th over, ending that over on 103-5.

Jason Holder became the sixth wicket to fall for three off the bowling of Josh Little in the 31st over to leave the score 104-6.

Brooks followed up his 93 from the first ODI with a well-played 43 before he was dismissed in the 34th over by George Dockrell, to leave the West Indies struggling at 111-7.

Akeal Hosein was the eighth wicket to fall, going caught on the boundary off the bowling of McBrine for 11 to leave the West Indies on 143-8 after 39.4 overs.

Smith came to the crease and hit back-to-back sixes off McBrine to help the West Indies get to 155-8 after 40 overs with Smith on 12 and Shepherd on 22.

A brilliant partnership from Smith (46) and Shepherd (28) allowed West Indies to bring up their 200 in the 44th over.

Smith’s innings came to an end at the start of the 45th over when he was dismissed by Josh Little for 46 off just 19 balls to leave the West Indies 201-9.

Shepherd brought up a wonderful 50 off 40 balls in the 48th over before he was dismissed off the very next ball to end the innings with the West Indies being bowled out for 229 in 48 overs.

Andy McBrine was the pick of the Irish bowlers with 4-36 off his 10 overs and he was well supported by Craig Young who took 3-42 off eight overs.

 

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.

 

 

 

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.

 

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?

 

 

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.

  

 

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