The International Cricket Council (ICC) has taken the decision to abandon the ICC Women's Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2021, which had been taking place in Zimbabwe due to uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus.

Global concerns regarding the emergence of the new Omicron variant of Covid-19 has seen travel restrictions imposed for several African countries, including Zimbabwe.  Those conditions would make travel difficult for players involved in the event.

The tournament was expected to provide the final three spots for the ICC Women's World Cup in New Zealand next year as and also decide the remaining two spots for the next cycle of the ICC Women's Championship.

The places will now be decided based on team rankings, in keeping with the tournament's playing conditions.

As a result, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and the West Indies will now progress to the ICC Women's Cricket World Cup in New Zealand, with Sri Lanka and Ireland occupying the other slots for the 2022-25 cycle of the ICC Women's Championship.

On Saturday, the scheduled games were already underway with Zimbabwe facing Pakistan and USA taking on Thailand.  The West Indies were scheduled to face Sri Lanka but that game was called off after a member of the Sri Lanka support staff tested positive for the virus.  The event was later abandoned.  In their first encounter, the Windies Women cruised to a six-wicket win over Ireland.

West Indies T20 star Chris Gayle believes some of the format’s openers have taken some of the excitement out of the game in recent times, after what he believes has been a more cautious approach to the powerplay.

The towering left-hander has made his name at the top of the batting order by taking apart opposition bowlers.  As such, the batsman’s feats in the shortest format are unequalled, having racked up a world-leading 14,000 plus runs in an explosive career.  In recent years, however, strategic adjustments have seen a few batsmen opt for a more considered approach to the innings.

Gayle believes such adjustments have made T20 cricket less explosive in the first six overs and as such less entertaining.    

''I think, with T10 cricket, that's how T20 cricket started. From the first over, batters used to go but T20 cricket has slowed down dramatically and T10 cricket has now raised the bar a bit,'' Gayle, who is currently taking part in the Abu Dhabi T10 League,” said.

''They're killing the entertainment in T20 cricket, straight up, because in those first six overs, we can get more as openers but guys are taking their own time,” he added.

''Sometimes they bat to get a score and they take away from the fire they should be bringing to the batting department in the first six overs, but T10 is spot on and hopefully, we'll see more T10 coming around.''

Cricket commentator and analyst, Fazeer Mohammed, believes using an official international fixture to bid farewell to legendary T20 batsman Chris Gayle could set a bad precedent.

The 42-year-old batsman was widely expected to call time on his career following an unsuccessful ICC T20 World Cup campaign.  Following the team’s elimination from the tournament, however, the big-hitting left-hander suggested that he may be given one more game, at Sabina Park, in his home country of Jamaica, to bid a final farewell to international cricket.

The suggestion has divided opinion.  While some believe that paying tribute to a player who has scored the most runs ever in the format, with 14,321, others believe he should simply have moved on following the end of the tournament.  In the past, the regional board has been accused of not honouring players that have made a huge mark for the West Indies, but some insist an exception should not be made for Gayle if his form does not merit a place in the squad.  Mohammed, however, believes the solution could lie somewhere in-between.

“It’s another thing to see a situation where a player has basically called for a farewell, called for an opportunity to play a final match,” Mohammed told the Mason and Guest radio show.

“Gayle also wanted to play a last Test in Jamaica thankfully that was not granted because I think that is going down a road where players of a certain stature are making demands, which I don’t think should be entertained as far as the international structure of cricket,” he added.

“Are you saying somebody is going to be left out on merit to accommodate somebody’s farewell? Give him a testimonial, in the same way, you see in other countries…but I think it’s a dangerous precedent where someone is allowed to play an official international match as a farewell if they don’t deserve that place on merit.”

 

West Indies middle-order batsman, Nkrumah Bonner, admits the team is disappointed with another poor showing at the crease but believes it remains possible to escape the current predicament.

Heading into the final day, the Windies are 52 for 6 and chasing a massive total of 296.  Bonner (18) and Joshua Da Silva (15) are the batsmen currently at the crease and will both be hoping to be the start of an unlikely recovery.

Earlier, in pursuit of Sri Lanka’s second innings total of 191 for 4 declared, the West Indies experienced a shocking top-order capitulation that left them struggling at 18 for 6 after just 13 overs.

Spin bowling continued to be the major issue for the batsmen with Shai Hope, Roston Chase, Kyle Mayer, and Jason Holder all failing to pick the straighter deliveries.  Similar to the first innings, it was the loopy offspin of Mendis that the team continued to struggle to negotiate, as he claimed four in the second innings to take his tally to seven.

“I think everyone is disappointed but it’s the nature of the sport.  People will get out in cricket, that will happen.  It’s just up to me and Josh and the rest of the batters to get the job done,” Bonner said.

The West Indies had also found themselves in trouble in the first innings before a 62 runs late innings partnership between Jason Holder and Kyle Mayers brought some stability to the innings.

“We have about 640 balls to bat tomorrow.  If me and Josh can face the majority of the balls.  Obviously, we want to play each ball on its merit, respect the bowler.”

 

West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite has admitted it was a tough situation for debutant Jeremy Solozano who was forced out of the opening Test after sustaining an injury.

Solozano, who was expected to partner Brathwaite at the top of the order, had to be stretchered off on the first day of the opening Test after being hit flush on the helmet by a pull shot from Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne.

The young batsman was taken to the hospital for scans and remained overnight for observation, but the tests showed no further damage.  The player will, however, remain on concussion protocol for the next few days.  Solozano was replaced in the line-up by Shai Hope.

“It was a tough situation, but at least we heard he’s doing good, his scans came back good, and we’ll be supporting him 100 percent,” Brathwaite said.

As per CWI’s concussion policy, Solozano is expected to miss a minimum of seven (7) days. During this time, he will be monitored and evaluated before he can return.  The second match between the teams will take place between November 28 and December 3.

 

 

West Indies debutant Jeremy Solozano was taken to the hospital after receiving a blow on the helmet while fielding during the opening day of the Test series against Sri Lanka.

The 26-year-old had to be stretchered off the field after being struck by a pull shot from Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne.  The incident happened during the fourth delivery off spinner Roston Chase’s over that had seen the player deployed at the short-leg position.

Shai Hope was brought in as the replacement after the injured player left the pitch.  Solozano was reportedly responsive while being taken to the hospital and is currently undergoing scans.  Cricket West Indies has promised to give further news on the player’s condition as soon as it becomes available.

After winning the toss and choosing to bat first Sri Lanka were 163 for 1 at the end of the second session.  Pace bowler Shannon Gabriel claimed the team’s only wicket so far after dismissing Pathum Nissanka.

West Indies middle-order batsman Jermaine Blackwood will be looking to score heavily during the team’s upcoming series against Sri Lanka and believes the rest of the team is in a similar mindset.

The last time the batsman was in Sri Lanka for a Test series was in 2015 where he fell just short of a century with 92 in Galle.  His performance was not good when the teams met earlier in the Caribbean this year but believes he can set things right on a ground where he will have good memories.

“To be honest, I try to stick to my strengths.  Now, I’m starting to understand my game a lot better than I did in the past.  I really know my game inside out now,” Blackwood told members of the media.

“The last time I played there I played more attacking to be honest because I was batting at a proper level.  This time around if I get a chance I can bat longer for the team and score more runs.  I not looking to just score a century or a half-century, I’ll be looking to push it beyond that.  So, hopefully, if I get in on this track, I can score a lot of runs for the team.”

In four series to date, the West Indies are yet to win a  match in Sri Lanka.

West Indies newcomer Jeremy Solozano insists the focus will be on ensuring he contributes to the team rather than worry about cementing a spot in the squad, with a potential debut against Sri Lanka on the cards.

The 26-year-old is tipped to make his debut as an opener against Sri Lanka when the series gets underway on Saturday.  The position at the top of the order has been a problematic one for the Caribbean team in recent years.  The struggle has been to find a consistent partner for captain Kraigg Brathwaite. 

The likes of John Campbell, Kieran Powell, Devon Smith, and briefly Shai Hope have all played in the position but failed to deliver the required performances.

With neither Powell nor Campbell in the squad and Hope unlikely to be tried in the slot again it appears to be a golden opportunity for the young opener to stake his claim.  For the moment, however, it isn’t a primary focus.

“I’m feeling confident.  Once given the opportunity I will do my best for the West Indies,” Solozano told members of the media on Friday.

“There’s not really any pressure with the environment I’m in, it’s about going out there to enjoy the game.  I believe once you enjoy your game and training and everything, everything will fall into place,” he added.

A debut against Sri Lanka could be a steep step up for Solozano who has managed just 40 first-class matches with an average of 23.41.

“Once given the opportunity I’ll contribute to the team as much as possible, doing what the team requires in the given situation.”

 

 

 

West Indies Test captain Kraigg Brathwaite claims the team is eager to buck the trend of typically poor performances in Sri Lanka when the teams meet in Galle later this week.

Since 1994, the teams have played 10 series between them, with the West Indies winning two and Sri Lanka winning three.  The rest have ended in draws.  None of the West Indies wins have come in Sri Lanka.  In fact, the West Indies are yet to win a match in Sri Lanka and suffered a 2-0 loss on their last visit in 2016.

Brathwaite believes the current squad, who did experience some success on the continent in February with a win over Bangladesh, is capable of finally breaking this long-running trend.

“I was here in 2016, my first series here and we lost both matches.  As a youngster it didn’t feel good just coming into the team.  Now I’m looking forward to these games, I think we have a very good team,” Brathwaite told members of the media on Thursday.

“This team is ready to go, and we are ready to break the shackles and win some games in Sri Lanka this time around,” he added.

The West Indies face Sri Lanka in a two-Test series in the Caribbean earlier this year, which ended in a 0-0 draw.

 

 

Legendary fast bowler, Curtly Ambrose, does not believe Shimron Hetmyer is ready to be captain of the West Indies team as the batsman still has areas of his individual game to develop.

Earlier this week, former Cricket West Indies (CWI) president Dave Cameron was reported as saying that Hetmyer should replace Pollard as the team’s new white-ball captain.  In further clarifying the issue, however, Cameron has since explained that he believes his administration would have done more to groom the player to take over the post by now.

With Hetmyer plagued by issues of inconsistency and fitness over the last few years, however, Ambrose does not believe having to handle the pressure of the captaincy would be the right move for the batsman at this time.

“I certainly wouldn't (make him captain).  Hetmyer is a young man and could be a future captain in the making but I think Hetmyer needs to get his game in order first,” Ambrose told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“He needs to get his game in order.  It’s too big a responsibility for the young man at this moment when he’s not playing as well,” he added.

“For me, I would like to see Hetmyer focus on his batting.  First and foremost get it right and then who knows what can happen a few years later but I wouldn’t give it to him now, being the captain is added pressure.”

In ODI cricket, Hetmyer is currently averaging 35.29 and has played 47 matches for the regional team.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) president Ricky Skerritt has expressed delight with a decision that will see the West Indies serve as joint hosts of the 2024 T20 World Cup along with the United States.

The West Indies will be hosting a World Cup-type event for the fourth time, with the US set to make history with its first.  In addition, the 2024 edition will be the first T20 World Cup to feature 20 teams.

Based on the fixtures, approximately two-thirds of the 55 matches will be held in the Caribbean, with the World Cup venues being drawn from the 13 established international cricket grounds in the West Indies.  The United States will host the remaining one-third of the matches where they will be played at five venues.

“The CWI welcomes this historic announcement by the ICC.  It means that the Caribbean has been handed another opportunity in 2024 to host a premiere world cricket event

“We’ve done this before and I’m very sure we are going to do very well doing this again.  This time its historic because we are partnering with our neighbours from the north USA Cricket.  We know that strategic partnership has helped with accepting our bid and we must soon get to work to make this exciting historic decision a truly successful one for all concerned.”

Emerging young West Indies fast bowler Jayden Seales is looking to build on a promising start to his Test cricket career when the team faces Sri Lanka in its upcoming series.

The 20-year-old has been a revelation for the regional team, since making his debut against South Africa earlier this year.  In four games so far, the young bowler has claimed 16 wickets, including a five-for against Pakistan in August.

On debut, Seales impressed with his ability to swing the ball at pace and also the consistency and quality of his length deliveries. 

“I was satisfied with my performances in my debut series and the series after that but it just for me to look to build on those performances now and try to improve in the areas that I can improve in,” Seales told members of the media on Saturday.

On his first overseas tour, the bowler faces unfamiliar conditions on the subcontinent, which typically favours spin bowlers, but he remains determined to try and make an impact.

“For me it’s just about trying to go out there and execute my plans as best as I can, to try and work with the conditions and see what I can get done for the team.”

West Indies batsman Jermaine Blackwood will be looking to impact the upcoming series against Sri Lanka perhaps even by taking a with a ball.

The middle-order batsman’s previous encounter against the Sri Lankans earlier this year did go quite to plan after managing just 42 runs in two matches with a high score of 18.  Ahead of the upcoming series Blackwood who admits to being a better frame of mind this time around is determined to set things right.

“To be honest, the last time I played Sri Lanka my mind wasn’t right at that time, but now my mind is fully there, so, I’m looking forward to a very good series,” Blackwood told Windies cricket.

Despite not typically being a threat with the ball, Blackwood believes he might even be able to make an impact with the ball, should the surfaces in Sri Lanka live up to their usual reputation of being more friendly to slower bowling.

“I always tell the skipper that I want to bowl a few overs because I have the golden arm.  As you can see, I always get one of the wickets.  So it will be very interesting this series if I can get a few overs.”

West Indies Test captain Kraigg Brathwaite is expecting a strong performance from the team’s pace bowlers in Sri Lanka, despite conditions on the subcontinent tending to favour spin bowlers.

The last time the regional team faced Sri Lanka away, in 2015, it was the part-time spin of Brathwaite that stole of as the batsman claimed six wickets in an innings.  The frontline pace bowlers Kemar Roach (2), Jason Holder (3), Shannon Gabriel (1) failed to have a huge impact on the series, with the exception of Jerome Taylor who claimed 6 over two games.

Although the captain admits the surface is likely to favour spinners, Brathwaite is confident the Windies quicks will have a big role to play.

We haven’t been there as yet to see the surface but there’s always a role for the fast bowlers.  Shannon Gabriel really led the way in Bangladesh in the first Test, bowling with some good pace, then Kemar Roach getting an early wicket in the morning was very crucial.  Obviously, Jason wasn’t there but is always crucial.  So, I do believe that possibly there being spin-friendly pitches, I think the pace bowlers will do well.

“I can see them getting wickets.  It’s really about building pressure but seamers are very important and obviously, Shannon will bring some aggression and I look forward to seeing the guys operating.”

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