Former West Indies batsman Suruj Ragoonath insists that he would leave both veteran players Chris Gayle and Sunil Narine out of a squad for the T20 World Cup, but very for different reasons.

With the World Cup just a few months away, the debate has raged on regarding the most effective composition of the squad.  Experienced players like Gayle, Narine, and Dwayne Bravo, who all have world titles under their belts, remain eligible for selection.  Some have called for the selection panel to look past the players.

Recently, the selection of veteran players Fidel Edwards and Gayle, for the West Indies series against Sri Lanka, set off vigorous debate around the region.  While some endorsed the decision the Cricket West Indies (CWI) selection panel’s decision to add experience to the World Cup squad.  Some argued that Gayle being 41 and Edwards 39, the CWI should be invested in selecting promising youth players.

 In the meantime, top spinner Narine is only 32 but has not appeared for the West Indies since 2019 and prior to that had not played consistently.

“I don’t think that Sunil Narine is interested in going to World Cup, to be honest, given the challenges he had,” Ragoonath told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“Dwayne Bravo is showing that he is still capable and Chris Gayle for me is a big question mark.  For the first time, I’ve seen Chris Gayle actually dive around in a match.  The last game they played (Punjab King’s XI).  He looks a little fitter, but at the same time, I am not inclined to taking Chris Gayle to a World Cup at this stage,” he added.

Gayle struggled to make an impact against Sri Lanka in March, scoring just 29 runs in three matches.  Since the start of this season’s IPL, the batsman has been solid, if not spectacular for Punjab Kings XI after scoring 165 runs from seven matches.

“Of the three, I would love to have Sunil Narine on my side, but psychologically Sunil is not half the player he used to be and so Bravo is the only one I would give serious consideration to.”

Legendary former West Indies captain, Clive Lloyd, has called for a redoubling of efforts to get regional bowlers to achieve peak fitness levels as part of realizing ambitions to consistently challenge the world’s best.

In assessing the difference between the fitness levels of some of the current crop of bowlers and those who dominated oppositions in his time, Lloyd admitted that the players of yesteryear had the advantage of much heavier involvement in English County Cricket.

“Joel Garner was a big fellow, but he was terribly fit.  Walsh was a big fellow, tall fellow, but he was fit.  Those guys were accustomed to playing in County cricket, where you would have to bowl four spells a day and travel the next day and start again.  They got accustomed to that, our guys are not accustomed to that,” Lloyd told the Mason and Guest radio program.

He, however, insists there should be no excuses when it comes to athletes being in the very best physical shape for cricket.

“We should have our young men fit, we have the climate and we have the coaches.  You should have fitness guys there who are strong, mentally, like Dennis Waite.  When he says run four laps, you have to run four laps,” he added.

“We don’t do enough of that.  I think that is why our players are not bowling as many overs as they should.  You ask Malcolm Marshal at 4:30 in the afternoon ‘Malcolm I’d like four overs from you’.  He would say ‘no skip, I will give you six’.  That’s the sort of thing you need, Walsh wanting to bowl, Crofty you can’t get the ball out of his hands.  We have to get that kind of hunger again.”

 

 

 

  

 

 

Former West Indies spinner and Jamaica captain, Nehemiah Perry, has called on delegates of his home country to put the interest of the sport first and not pursue what he described as a ‘separate agenda’ than wanting the best for the game.

Although an election date is yet to set, Jamaica Cricket Association president (JCA) Wilford Billy Heaven is expected to run unopposed for a fourth two-year team when the annual general meeting is held. 

He has successfully held off two challenges, winning by only four votes on the last occasion, but many in the country’s local cricketing circles believe he would still emerge victorious if confronted by any opposition in the 2021 election.

Perry, however, sees the continued re-election of the official and his slate, unchallenged, or being re-elected by big margins as incongruous when juxtaposed against the current state of the game on the island.

“I think we definitely need change.  I cannot understand why it is that we have not won anything over the years, we have been last, second to last, we’ve only won one trophy out of 30-odd, and at the end of the day the administration is winning by a landslide,” Perry told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“Something is wrong if people keep voting for persons who are not delivering.  I don’t believe you should be there because at the end of the day we need positive results.  We need the team to be doing well, we need to produce a lot of Test cricketers and a lot of first-class cricketers,” he added.

“I’m not only saying Billy Heaven should be removed but that the delegates who continue to vote for a particular board need to examine themselves.  At the end of the day, if cricket is what you are really there for and you are not getting the results then why is it that you continue to put those persons to lead.  You don’t have the cricket at heart, somehow you have some sort of agenda.”  

 

 

West Indies and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) all-rounder, Andre Russell, has crossed the threshold of 6000 runs in T20 cricket during an IPL match against the Delhi Capitals.

The big hitter became the sixth West Indian to reach the mark behind the likes of Dwayne Bravo, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Smith, Kieron Pollard on top run-getter Chris Gayle.  Russell is, however, the youngest West Indian player to reach the total.

Russell, who was celebrating his birthday, reached the milestone with a double in the 16th over of the match.  He went on to blast an unbeaten 45 from 27 deliveries but Delhi won the match by 7 runs.

Overall, Russell has played 80 matches in the Indian Premier League, scoring 1635 runs at an average of 29.68 with a strike rate of 179.67 and a high score of 88*.  He has also taken 68 wickets in IPL so far, at an economy rate of 9.08 and an average of 26.86.

 This season the player is off to a strong start for Kolkata, scoring 118 runs in six matches at a solid strike rate of 151. He has also claimed seven wickets in six games.  Things have, however, not gone well for KKR who have lost four of their first 6 games.

Former Indian cricketer, Pragyan Ojha, believes the Punjab Kings XI are heaping unnecessary pressure onto batsmen Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran, due to the team's approach to structuring its innings.

Pooran has struggled to make an impact in six matches so far this season, managing just a high score of 19 and failing to score on three occasions.  Gayle has had more of a mixed performance, scoring 40 plus on two occasions but also had a series of low scores, including a golden duck in the team’s last encounter against Kolkata Knightriders.

Ojha, however, believes that the team’s top two KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal might be thinking about scoring too quickly and posting too big a target too early in the innings.

"They should think about 160-170 at first. But if you start thinking from the beginning that we have a very good batting line-up with Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran and we should aim 180-190 then you are putting undue pressure on (them),” Ojha told Cricbuzz.

"You can only think about a big score once you have got a good start. So you have to change your plans accordingly. You can't think that you have big names and they will always score runs. You have the look at the kind of form they are in too. Can't plan based on past glory," Ojha added.

The upcoming edition of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) set to be held entirely on the island of St Kitts & Nevis and bowls off on August 28.

Due to the threat posed by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the entire 2020 edition of the tournament was held in Trinidad and Tobago, under strict COVID-19 protocols.

In several respects, the tournament was a success with the event successfully being delivered to a record audience of over 500 million.  The Trinbago Knightriders were eventually crowned champions on their own patch.

St Kitts and Nevis’ Warner Park has been the scene of some of the most iconic matches in Hero CPL history.  Fans were treated to Chris Gayle’s brilliant hundred against the Jamaica Tallawahs in 2019 and Andre Russell’s even more explosive century against the Trinbago Knight Riders in 2016. There have also been some amazing matches, not least the game that went to a Super Over finish between St Kitts & Nevis Patriots and the Knight Riders in 2019.

This year’s tournament takes on extra significance with it taking place in the lead up to the ICC T20 World Cup and both West Indies and overseas players will be using the opportunity to push for selection for their international teams.

 “We are delighted to be able to announce that we will be having the Hero CPL in St Kitts & Nevis in 2021 and we would like to thank those involved in welcoming the tournament to this wonderful country,” Pete Russell, Hero CPL’s COO, said.

“As was demonstrated during the 2020 tournament the CPL is a massive boost for the host country with US$51.5million delivered in sponsorship value for Trinidad & Tobago. We are really looking forward to giving St Kitts & Nevis the exposure they deserve.”

 

 West Indies Indies T20 star, Chris Gayle, insists he is feeling fit and at the top of his game after a decisive performance for Punjab Kings XI, in a win against defending champions Mumbai Indians, in the Indian Premier Leauge (IPL) on Friday.

Gayle made a steady 43 from 35 deliveries, and along with KL Rahul, who added 60 from 52, anchored Kings XI to an 8-wicket win. 

The batsman’s innings was, however, uncharacteristically devoid of massive slogs over the boundary as he hit only two sixes.  The 41-year-old did gather quite a few runs darting for quick singles, which has not been a part of his game in recent years.

The veteran batsman had come under criticism in recent days following a string of low scores and a 1-3 start for Punjab.  Gayle, however, insists he is feeling in excellent shape and was happy for the result.

"I am feeling very good, a bit relieved. We wanted this win badly, playing against the defending champions was always going to be tough. They played four games, to actually get this win is fantastic for the team and the Universe Boss as well.

“I was looking pretty good, running between the wickets, I am feeling fit and good about myself. I am enjoying it, I am looking after my body, getting a lot of massages so I can move freely, humidity here in Chennai also kind of lets the blood flow so I am on top of my game," Gayle told the official IPL website.

 West Indies bowler, Alzarri Joseph, added a tidy two-wicket haul to a maiden half-century to help put English County club Worcestershire in a commanding position against Nottinghamshire at New Road.

Chasing a sizeable first innings score of 436, Nottinghamshire crumbled for 276, despite 111 from opener Haseeb Hameed and not losing their first wicket until they had put 115 runs on the board.

Charlie Morris had the best bowling figures for Worcestershire, after taking 3 for 30 but Joseph chipped in with 2 for 33.  The West Indies accounted for top-order batsman Ben Duckett and Nottinghamshire were then forced to follow on still some 160 runs short of the target.

In the first innings, Joseph was part of a staunch lower-order effort that ballooned the tally late on.  Joseph recorded his first half-century in the competition with 61, Ed Barnard added 58 and captain Joe Leach 84.

The total adds to Joseph’s debut innings of 46 from 55 against Derbyshire last week.  On that occasion, the bowler also chipped in with 3 wickets.

West Indies all-rounder, Andre Russell, has revealed he was too overcome with emotion to head straight back to the dressing room, after being bowled by Chennai Super Kings’ Sam Curran, in an 18 runs loss for Kolkatta Knight Riders on Wednesday.

The viral photo of a dejected Russell sitting on the steps did the rounds on social media, and the player has taken the time out to explain the emotions associated with the moment.

“Well, I was very emotional and I didn’t know how to go to the changing room and face all my teammates after leaving a ball and getting out bowled like that,” Russell told KKR.in.

“You know, the job is not complete, and I wanted to take the team over the line. So, I think the emotions got the best of me but staying strong,” he added.

KKR found themselves chasing a sizeable 221 for victory and in real trouble at 31 for 5. Russell and Dinesh Karthik had, however, started to lead the fightback. Russell hit 6 sixes and smashed a 21-ball fifty to give KKR hope and seemed set on delivering on one of his famous comeback specials.  He was, however, dismissed against the run of play, for 54, in the 12th over when he left a Curran delivery, which crashed into his leg stump.

 

South African and Chennai Super Kings fast bowler, Lungi Ngidi, has credited West Indies T20 star Dwayne Bravo with playing a pivotal role in his strong start to the 2021 IPL season.

The towering speedster earned widespread plaudits after putting together an extraordinarily economical 3 for 28, in a high-scoring encounter against Kolkata Knight Riders on Wednesday.

With some 422 runs scored in the match, Ngidi, who was tasked with death bowling duties after replacing Bravo in the line-up, had a solid economy rate of 7.00.  The South African’s skills and variations were on full display after he trapped an attacking Dinesh Karthik with a slower ball dismissal, a delivery that would surely have pleased his West Indian tutor.

“There was a lot of pressure, Bravo has been doing very well for CSK. So, I had to come in and fill his shoes,” Ngidi told the IPL’s official website.

“I have worked very closely with Bravo on the slower bowls at the death. One of the slower bowls he has been teaching me for a long time came off and got us a wicket.”

In the end, CSK won by 18 runs, in no small part thanks to Faf Du Plessis’ brutal, unbeaten 95 from 60 deliveries.  The 37-year-old Bravo was rested for the encounter, due to workload concerns.

 

West Indies fast bowler, Alzarri Joseph, put in another solid performance for English County Cricket club Worcestershire, against Nottinghamshire, at New Road One cricket ground on Thursday.

At the end of the first day, Joseph remained unbeaten on 46 from 81 balls and sharing in an eighth-wicket stand worth 89 runs with Ed Barnard.  The partnership took Worcestershire to 305 for 7, after looking in some trouble at 216 for 7 earlier on.

The total marks Joseph’s second 40+runs innings of the young season, having opened up with 46 from 55 against Derbyshire last week.  On that occasion, the bowler also chipped in with 3 wickets drawing commendation from Worcestershire coach, Alex Gidman, who praised the player's mentality.

When play resumes Joseph could be looking for his first half-century in the competition, having signed a seven-game deal with Worcestershire for the first part of the season a few weeks ago.

The 24-year-old has taken 37 wickets from 15 Tests and shown plenty of ability with the bat of late, scoring half-centuries on successive Test tours of New Zealand and Bangladesh.

 

 

Former Indian bowler Ajit Agarkar believes an out of sorts Chris Gayle creates a tricky situation for Punjab Kings XI who may be hesitant to drop the player.

The 41-year-old game began the season on a good note, scoring 40 from 28 balls in the first match, a victory against Rajasthan Royals.  The veteran batsman has struggled to connect since then, scoring 10, 11, and 15 in the team’s next three games.  The Kings have lost all three for a 1-3 start to the season.

Agarkar believes at this age, the Kings must weigh closely the benefits of keeping Gayle in the line-up, if he is not scoring the required runs.

"I don't know, he started well. He got 40 in the first game. The challenge with Chris Gayle is that he did not play the first few games last season and then came back, and he was as good as ever. So, I can understand it is a difficult decision to sit him out," Agarkar told Espncricinfo.

"If he is it and when he has done well, you always want to accommodate him. How long can you go on if he is not firing, especially at this stage of his career?" he asked.

Last season, Gaye was left out of the line-up for the team’s first 6 games but returned to play a pivotal role in their run for a place in the play-offs, following another slow start.  Gayle is not the only West Indian struggling at the moment, however, as Nicholas Pooran, a standout performer last season has only scored 9 runs in fours games, including three ducks.

"Their problem is that Nicholas Pooran is not scoring run either, who they must have had high hopes from. It's a tricky one. I don't know how long they can keep playing Chris Gayle if he is not getting runs.”

A wretched start to the Indian Premier League (IPL) continued for Windies and Punjab Kings XI batsman, Nicholas Pooran, as he was dismissed for a third duck in just four games against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Wednesday.

Last season, Pooran lit up the tournament as one of the competition’s most in-form players, scoring an impressive 353 runs in 14 games, with an average of 35.  He clearly has not started this campaign at a similar pace.

In four matches so far, the batsman has scored just nine runs, and that was in one match.  In the others, he has left the crease much too quickly to trouble the tally.

In addition to just the wretched run of form, however, some fans have poked fun at the order of the player’s scoreless dismissals. 

He was dismissed for a two balls duck against the Rajasthan Royals in his side's first game. He was then out for a first-ball duck against the Chennai Super Kings.  On Wednesday, Pooran got out for a diamond duck, without even facing a ball as he was run out as soon as he came to the crease.  Punjab Kings XI, who could muster only 120 runs in their 20 overs, lost the match by eight wickets and have recorded one win in their first four games.

 

West Indies legend Brian Lara has tipped for T20 captain, Jason Holder, as the Windies player who could shine most brightly in the India Premier League (IPL) this season.

 The all-rounder was retained by Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) for the new campaign, after only coming in as a substitute for Australian Mitchell Marsh last season.

Holder went on to score 66 runs, in seven matches, at an average of 33, and claimed 14 wickets, the third most on the team despite playing less than half the games.  Lara, who is part of a commentary panel for this season’s tournament, has tipped the player to carry on in the same vein.

“Jason Holder could do pretty well. He ended up replacing Mitchell Marsh in the 2020 IPL, so I expect him to maybe come up with trumps this year,” Lara told StarSports.

“The tracks are not so favourable to the pace where he is playing at present, but he is such a good all-round player that I hope he can maintain his play and really show that the West Indians are here to stay,” he added.

Holder could, however, have plenty of competition for the top West Indian player with the likes of Kieron Pollard, Chris Gayle, Andre Russell, and Nicholas Pooran also taking part in this season’s competition.

 

 

A yet-to-be-settled dispute currently roiling South Africa cricket threatens to scupper the team’s chances of touring the West Indies later this year.

The Proteas have been tentatively scheduled to tour the Caribbean in June of this year, most likely in Trinidad and Tobago, but a dispute between Cricket South Africa (CSA) and the government could lead to its cancellation.

The issue stems from the government's request that Cricket South Africa (CSA) adopt a new constitution for cricket administration in the country.  In a recent meeting, however, CSA voted against adopting the measure.  The country’s sports minister is as a result said to be considering taking serious measures against the board.

One option could be to take away the body’s right to designate itself as the official national representative of the country.  As such, CSA could not then select a national team for the tour of the Caribbean.

South Africa is one of several countries that are lined up to tour the Caribbean this year, as the region looks to recover from the financial setback of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Sri Lanka toured the region last month and Australia and Pakistan are also expected to tour the Caribbean later this year.  The South Africa series was previously reported to consist of two Tests and five T20s.

 

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