West Indies vice-captain, Nicholas Pooran, believes his performance against England was enhanced by a certain clarity of thought regarding what needed to be accomplished for the team.

Rovman Powell may have stolen the headlines with his sensational knock of 107, but Pooran played just as critical a role in providing the backbone that the 20-run win for the West Indies was built on. As a pair, they combined to frustrate the England bowlers after adding 122 runs for the third wicket.

Pooran, who admits he is still working on adapting to batting at the unfamiliar position of three, scored a crucial 70 off 43 balls.

“For me it was simple. The last couple of games, even from Pakistan I got the opportunity to bat at number 3 and I’m trying to figure out how I should bat at number three. Today I just felt like I had to be clear. Today was about being clear and just executing. If I said I wanted to look for a single for example, I looked for a single and picked the gap. I just tried to put the ego away for me it was all about staying in the moment, playing the situations well. Trying to play things as well as I can."

The team was also forced to put in a strong effort in the field as led by 75 from Tom Banton, England made a good effort of chasing the target before falling short at 204 for 9.

"For me the extra 22 runs at the end was key. In saying that England batted well but we knew if we could string a couple good overs together we would have a good chance. It seems like they played more bowlers today, so that was also a big help for us."

West Indies captain Kieron Pollard has pointed to the importance of putting egos aside in selecting the right team, following a stunning display from returning batsman Rovman Powell against England.

The Windies crept ahead in the five-match T20 International series, on Wednesday, on the back of a brilliant century from Powell.  The batsman, who was playing his first match in the series, came into the line-up at four and smashed a stunning 107 a knock that included 10 towering sixes.

Ahead of the match, some considered it to be somewhat of a controversial decision to add Powell to the line-up at the expense of Odean Smith, who has also shown plenty of promise in recent innings.  The result, however, spoke for itself.  The captain believes it speaks to the versatility of the unit.

“It vindicated the team selection, obviously, it was a good game of cricket we batted first, and we batted well, kudos to Rovman.  He came in having been out for the first two games and took his chance,” Pollard said after the match.

“We have a versatile team.  Sometimes you have to take the ego out of it and give the opportunity to the guys who have the form and the confidence that’s what we did today, so kudos to the management team and to the players who went out and played a fantastic game,” he added.

Equally important was Powell’s pairing with West Indies vice-captain Nicholas Pooran who went into the line-up at the unfamiliar position of three and scored 70 from 43 deliveries.  The pair put on 122 for the third wicket.

West Indies century-maker Rovman Powell admits he has spent the last few months away from the team working out a susceptibility to wrist spin.

The 28-year-old returned to the regional squad with a bang on Wednesday, blasting the first T20I century of his career, and third for a West Indian player, with 107 in a 20-runs win against England.  The crucial innings, along with 70 from vice-captain Nicholas Pooran anchored the team’s effort in taking a 2-1 series lead.

In the batsman’s previous appearance, against Pakistan, he averaged 16.5 in three games where he had real issues navigating wrist spinner Shadab Khan.

“I think it’s been overall improvement, I can strike the ball well but I also have a little problem with wrist spin.  Every time I start my innings they come and bowl wrist spin.

I went away and for the last six, seven months and I’ve been working on wrist spin and trying to open up the offside and I think that showed today," Powell said after the game.

Powell played a watchful innings in seeing off dangerous England spinner Adil Rashid, who claimed 2 for 24 in the previous match of the series.

“We know Rashid is the most threatening of all the bowlers, so all we did is see if we can get 24 or 30 off him, that’s good, just to limit his wicket count and take our chances against the other bowlers for the other 16 overs.”

West Indies all-rounder Jason Holder believes he could be getting back to approaching his best form, partly due to a change in mentality, after a tumultuous past year of cricket.

The 30-year-old was replaced as captain of the team, in March, before finding himself controversially left out of the 15-man squad for the team to last year’s World Cup.  Despite the turmoil, the player has, however, managed to put in consistent performance, particularly with the ball.

Against England, Holder recently achieved a new milestone after taking career-best figures of 4 for 7 against in the ongoing series.  In two matches, he has taken six wickets and looked an assured presence for the team on the field.  The all-rounder admits, these days, he is in a different frame of mind.

“In the recent past…I’ve probably been overthinking it too much.  I’ve been working on some things technically as well from both the batting and bowling standpoint.  Honestly speaking, I would have studied it a little too much in the game and not been as clear as I wanted to be,” Holder told members of the media on Tuesday.   

“So, I’ve tried to iron out a few things mentally and trying to be a lot more focused and committed to what I want to do on a given day and try not to focus on just having a perfect technique,” he added.

The former captain believes it has been a difficult period for the entire group.

“There’s been a lot on my mind in the last year.  I’m just trying to find ways to shut some of it out and try to narrow in and focus on what’s needed.  I think the group has that challenge as well, we are working hard.  Anybody that says we are not working hard enough, I would always challenge that, but there is a lot more to cricket and sport than just working hard.”

India captain Rohit Sharma has been passed fit to lead the team for the upcoming series against the West Indies in February.

The 34-year-old batsman is only just recovering from injury, having missed out on the team’s most recent tour of South Africa, which ended in a disappointing 3-0 loss.

According to reports, the batsman is already back in training and will be ready to go for the T20 and perhaps ODI series.  The series will get underway on February 6th, while the T20 series gets underway on February 16th.  Rohit is recovering from a left hamstring injury.  In the past, the player has captained India vs the West Indies in three matches in 2018.  India won the series 3-0.  Overall, in 17 T20Is India has won 10 and lost 6.

"Rohit is fit and available for the series against the West Indies," a BCCI source was quoted as saying.

"By the time the West Indies series starts, it will be more than seven and half weeks of rehabilitation and recuperation for Rohit.

The West Indies are expected to head to India immediately after the England tour.

 

 

West Indies Women opened their tour of South Africa on a winning note when they defeated a South Africa Women's XI by 53 runs in a warm-up match at the Imperial Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg.

Batting first, West Indies Women posted 202 all out from 46.5 overs. Shemaine Campbelle top-scored with 42 off 48 deliveries, which included 5-fours, followed by Rashada Williams with 30 off 73, inclusive of 3-fours. Nadine de Klerk returned the best bowling figures for the South Africa Women's XI with 7-0-27-3, followed by Tumi Sekhukhune with 5-1-20-2.

Tazmin Brits and Delmari Tucker top-scored for the South Africa Women's XI, with 32 and 24 respectively. Bowling for West Indies Women, Cherry Ann Fraser caused a middle-order collapse in her spell, finishing with 4-0-11-3, While Shamilia Connell wrapped up the innings with 2-0-13-2 and a direct-hit run-out.

West Indies Women's Head Coach Courtney Walsh was pleased with the performance but says the preparations are not completed with a win.

"I thought the girls did well, it was good to get out in the middle and play today. We haven't played a lot of cricket of late so even though it was a practice match, the atmosphere and the execution went pretty well. Most of the girls had decent knocks and a decent bowl as well. What I was most impressed was the two Super-Over practice scenarios we had as well, with how precise and good the execution was. This win will give us confidence going into the series (yes) but also for the World Cup."

West Indies will return to the Imperial Wanderers Stadium on Friday, for the first of four One Day Internationals against South Africa Women. It is a day/night fixture with first ball at 2 pm (8 am Eastern Caribbean/7 am Jamaica).

 

West Indies T20 vice-captain, Nicholas Pooran, has hailed the mammoth effort put in by lower-order batsmen Akeal Hosein and Romario Shepherd albeit coming in a losing effort against England on Sunday.

The English levelled the series after a narrow 1-run win, at the Kensington Oval, but early on in the West Indies run chase, after the visitors had scored 171, the result seemed a mere formality.

After a slow start from the hosts, tight bowling from England during the middle overs, spearheaded by Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid, saw the West Indies tumble from 47 for 2 to 65 for 7 but a superb display of power hitting from Hosein and Shepherd, in the end, left the team just short of the target.

Shepherd blasted 44 from 28, a tally which included 5 sixes, while Hosein put in 44 from 16, including a flurry of boundaries to close out the match.

“Akeal and Shepherd have been working really hard on their batting.  We have a long list of hitters in our team and tonight we saw something special from Akeal and Shepherd, kudos go to them, they didn’t give up at all,” Pooran said.

“It just shows the strength in our team, tonight was their night, we lost the game by two runs but another night someone else will turn up to the party,” he added.

At the same time, Pooran admits that the team could have gotten a bit more contribution from the top order.  Pooran scored 24 himself and Darren Bravo 23, but both openers Brandon King (0) and Shai Hope (2) went for peanuts.

“I think Kingy (Brandon King) had a tough decision, but we have to accept those things and Hope was a bit unfortunate, the wrong decision maybe at that time.  That set us back in the powerplay but having said that (Reece) Topley bowled really well in the powerplay.”

 

Legendary West Indies fast bowler, Sir Andy Roberts, insists all of the team’s shortcomings at the crease should not be blamed on coaches at the senior team level, as overall, more work needs to be put into developing the region’s young players.

On the back of a historic shock loss to Ireland in their most recent international One Day International (ODI) series, the team’s performances have come under the microscope even more than usual, particularly as it relates to the patchy performance of the batting line-up.

Against Ireland, the batsmen seemed technically incapable of dealing with either the moist conditions on the pitch or the craft of the Irish bowlers.  The team’s struggles have led some to question the work of head coach Phil Simmons and the team’s batting coaches, but while admitting that more needed to be done by the coach, Roberts insists the team’s troubles run a lot deeper.

“For what it is now, I don’t think I would blame the coach alone because of the (low) quality of our players coming out of the region,” Roberts told the Mason and Guest radio show.

“We have to put some emphasis on the coaches from our lower levels coming up because that is where you learn the skills of batting because most focus today is on batting.  I read where the captain said that the West Indies has a batting problem but we’ve been having a batting problem for years… we want to blame others at the top when this is a problem that comes from the lower level.”

 

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.

Former Ireland batsman turned commentator, Nyle O’Brien, believes the West Indies batsmen have become caught-up playing an old fashion type of cricket, which has little chance of success in the modern game.

The Caribbean side was beaten by Ireland, in a One Day International series, for the first time in their history earlier this week.  The team had a poor showing all-around but as has become custom in recent times their substandard display at the crease was noticeable.

The team struggled to come to grips with not just the surface, but also the Irish bowlers, particularly Andy McBrine who took 10 wickets over the three games. O’Brien believes a major part of the issues at the crease stems from the batting unit’s outdated philosophy of run-scoring.

“The West Indies, they’re playing a very old school type of cricket.  They just stand around in the crease and either block or try to hit the ball for four or six.  Unfortunately, when you are playing international cricket that doesn’t happen very often.  Very rarely do you see a West Indies batter come down the pitch, using their feet, knock it to long-on, or long-off for singles, rotate the strike, or manipulate the field.  We saw very few sweeps, when Shamarh Brooks did play a sweep he was out lbw,” O'Brien told the Mason and Guest radio show.

“When you’re a batter if you’re going to stand in the crease waiting for a bad ball, this is international cricket, the bad balls don’t come very often…It’s a technical thing, it’s a tactical thing…it’s something for West Indies cricket, it’s been a pattern for many, many years they don’t play spin very well.  They really on their brute force and teams are getting more clever with how to go about that.”

 

 

Legendary West Indies batsman, Viv Richards, has once again decried what he believes to be the role of poorly prepared playing surfaces in the underdevelopment of both the region’s batsman and bowlers.

The regional team is in the grips of a particularly bad spell, after suffering a 2-1 defeat to Ireland in the most recent One Day International series.  The series was the first the Irish have won again them and sent shockwaves around the region.

The team’s batsmen were in particularly woeful form with only Sharmarh Brooks, Shai Hope, and Odean Smith managing to average over 30.  Albeit on a pitch that held moisture early on, and losing the toss three times, the West Indies only managed to make over 250 runs in the first match, well short of the total typically required for a good innings in modern ODI cricket.

With many of the batsmen continuing to look out of sorts, despite often putting in strong spells in regional cricket, Richards believes substandard pitches are partially to blame for the situation.

“I don’t think there is enough preparation being put into wickets, and wickets play a huge part because sometimes you get some individuals who would be selected because of some good performances on some dodgy tracks,” Richards told Antigua’s Good Morning Jojo Radio program.

“So, when you get to the bigger picture or they take a step up, then you find individuals are found wanting because these wickets are rather inferior on either sides of the coin, whether it’s batting or bowling. We need to pay a little more attention to having proper wickets that can be quite competitive for bat and ball,” he added.

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.”

 

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.

 

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.

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.

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