A grand send-off for legendary Windies T20 star, Chris Gayle, will be played in front of an empty Sabina Park as the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) was not granted permission to allow spectators for the event by the Jamaican government.

With the recent surge in coronavirus infections, and particularly with the threat posed by the new omicron strain, the government under the Disaster Risk Management act, has continued to restrict gatherings.

Gayle, the leading runs scorer in the history of T20 cricket and widely regarded as one of the format’s greatest players was widely expected to retire following the team’s disappointing showing at this year’s T20 World Cup.  However, following the conclusion of the tournament, the player announced that it was possible that he would feature in one more match, which would serve as a farewell event. 

A few weeks ago, Cricket West Indies (CWI) confirmed that the player would be a part of the T20 squad for the upcoming match against Ireland at Sabina Park.  As such, CWI and the JCA were hoping to have fans present for the event.  Gayle has been part of two World Cup-winning teams for the West Indies.   

Cricket West Indies (CWI) Director from Barbados, Calvin Hope, believes the decision to sack the Richard Pybus-led coaching unit just weeks ahead of the 2019 ICC World Cup remains one of the ‘worst decisions made in recent times.’

In 2019, only a few weeks after replacing the Dave Cameron administration, the Ricky Skerritt-led regime controversially decided to sack Pybus and his entire coaching staff, with the ICC tournament less than a month away.

The move raised even more eyebrows at the time, because it came after the team had, very much against heavy odds, defeated a higher-ranked touring England 2-1 in a Test series, only weeks prior and tied top-ranked England 2-2 in a subsequent One Day International series.

On the back of several disappointing performances in recent months the decision has, on occasion, come back under the microscope and to the fore for discussion.

“It was not even bad, it was one of the worst decisions to have even been made in recent times in West Indies cricket,” Hope told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“Here you were, you had just begun to see some green shoots in the performance of a team.  It doesn’t matter who was in charge before or anything like that and it was basically a political decision,” he added.

The West Indies finished 9th at the ICC World after winning just 2 matches and losing 6.

Hope and Guyana’s Anand Sanasie were part of a two-man team that challenged Skerritt and vice-president Kishore Shallow for the leadership of CWI last year.

 

Left-arm spinner Jaden Carmichael claimed figures of 3 for 25 as the West Indies U-19s coasted to a comfortable 8-wicket win to level the series against South Africa U-19s on Tuesday.

Sent to bat first, the South Africans found very little answers at the crease as they were dismissed for just 103 off 31.3 overs.  In response, the West Indies eased to 104-2 off 24.2 overs, to level the four-match series at 1-1.  The South Africans had claimed the opening match of the series by 18 runs.

Carmichael had solid support from fellow left-arm spinner Anderson Mahase (2-34) and pace bowlers McKenny Clarke (2-12) and Johan Layne (2-14).  During the West Indies' time at the crease, it was opener Matthew Nandu who anchored a routine run chase.

The left-hander struck a patient unbeaten 42 from 75 balls and added 58 for the second wicket with Teddy Bishop (25).  He was then part of a 42-run unbeaten stand for the third wicket with captain Ackeem Auguste who made 28 not out.

For South Africa, it was Michael Copeland who top-scored with 24 from 52 balls, but he was one of only two top-order batsmen to reach double figures and the only one to pass 20 for South Africa.

 

West Indies T20 batsman Chris Gayle will join Fortune Barishal for the upcoming season of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL).

The 42-year-old will be returning to Barishal having last represented the Rangpur Riders in 2018.  The stint will be the left-handers third at the franchise who were called the Barishal Burners when he began taking part in the competition in 2012.  Gayle also played for the franchise in 2015 when they were known as the Bulls.  He represented the Chittagong Vikings at the 2016 edition.

The veteran batsman will be joined at the franchise by Shakib Al Hasan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, and compatriot, pace bowler Alzarri Joseph.

In the meantime, spinner Sunil Narine will suit up for Cumilla Victorians alongside pace bowler O’Shane Thomas, while the trio of Kennar Lewis, Chadwick Walton, and Rayad Emrit will represent the Chattogram Challengers.

Pace bowler Kesrick Williams will represent the Sylhet Sunrisers.

The competition will take place between Jan 21 – Feb 18.

 

 Full BPL squads

Khulna Tigers: Mushfiqur Rahim, Thisara Perera, Naveen Ul Huq, Bhanuka Rajapakse, Soumya Sarkar, Seekugge Prasanna, Sikandar Raza, Farhad Reza, Rony Talukdar, Khaled Ahmed, Jaker Ali Anik, Nabil Samad

Chattogram Challengers: Nasum Ahmed, Benny Howell, Kennar Lewis, Afif Hossain, Chadwick Walton, Rayad Emrit, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Rejaur Rahman, Sabbir Rahman, Mrittunjoy Chowdhury, Mehidy Hasan Miraz, Akbar Ali, Naeem Islam,

Dhaka: Mahmudullah, Tamim Iqbal, Rubel Hossain, Mashrafe Mortaza, Mohammad Shahzad, Mohammad Naim, Arafat Sunny, Imranuzzaman, Shafiul Islam, Jahurul Islam, Shamsur Rahman, Ebadat Hossain. 

Fortune Barishal: Shakib Al Hasan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Danushka Gunathilaka, Chris Gayle, Nurul Hasan, Obed McCoy, Alzarri Joseph, Towhid Hridoy, Ziaur Rahman, Shafiqul Islam, Saikat Ali, Niroshan Dickwella, Nayeem Hasan, Taijul Islam, Sarwar Hossain, Irfan Sukkur,

Cumilla Victorians: Mustafizur Rahman, Faf du Plessis, Sunil Narine, Moeen Ali, Liton Das, Shohidul Islam, Kusal Mendis, Oshane Thomas, Ariful Haque, Nahidul Islam, Mahmudul Hasan Joy, Sumon Khan, Mominul Haque, Mahidul Islam, Parvez Hossain, Abu Hider

Sylhet Sunrisers: Taskin Ahmed, Dinesh Chandimal, Kesrick Williams, Colin Alexander, Mosaddek Hossain, Mohammad Mithun, Ravi Bopara, Angelo Perera, Anamul Haque, Sohag Gazi, Alok Kapali, Muktar Ali, Siraj Ahmed, Mizanur Rahman, Nadif Chowdhury, Jubair Hossain, Shafiul Hayat, Sunzamul Islam

Former cricket executive and businessman Christopher Dehring has admitted to being disheartened by the stark difference in the sport’s infrastructure between the West Indies and developed nations.

The Caribbean team dominated the sport for the better part of 20-years, during that time routinely beating some of the world’s top teams was commonplace.  In recent times, however, the Windies have found it difficult to even remain competitive when facing the likes of Australia, England, and India.  One major reason suggested for the decline is the level of investment in the sport, particularly as it relates to youth development and infrastructure.  According to Dehring, the harsh reality was laid bare after working in South Africa during the cricket World Cup.

“I always knew the Australias, the Englands of this World had incredible facilities and such an incredible professional cricket structure that I knew the days were numbered.  But when I went to South Africa and saw what they had in place, even their high schools, your heart sank,” Dehring said recently on the Mason and Guest radio program.

Currently, the West Indies are ranked 8th in the world in Test cricket, the same in One Day Internationals, and despite claiming two T20 World titles, are 9th in that format, on the back of a disastrous showing at this year’s World Cup.

“We have some talented youngsters in the Caribbean, but we just do not have the professional structure to develop it, own it and churn it out year after year,” he added.

“You see the fruit of that vine now, it’s very inconsistent…there’s no West Indies team that when they step out on the field they don’t look like the athletes of the day.  That’s just from a visual aesthetic perspective, we were the athletes…We were the athletic reservoir people would pay to come and see.”

Despite, the introduction of the Yo-Yo Intermittent Test a few years ago, questions have constantly been asked regarding the team’s level of fitness, with some players notably overweight.

Former West Indies wicketkeeper, Deryck Murray, believes drastic structural changes must be implemented in order for the team to have any hope of regaining its place among the elites of international cricket.

Earlier this week regional cricket governing body Cricket West Indies (CWI) announced the decision to replace lead selector Roger Harper and Miles Bascombe, following a disastrous showing at the ICC T20 World Cup earlier this year, and subsequent fruitless tours of Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

 For Murray, however, the decisions may not run deep enough in tackling the substance of the issue.

“Yeah, they’re going to change the selectors, but are they going to exchange some for others or is it going to be a real radical change in the way West Indies cricket is run,” Murray queried on the Mason and Guest radio program.

“If our cricket is ever going to improve, the first thing to do is to get the board structure right.  The way the board is constituted now, at least three reports have been absolutely clear, The Patterson report, the Caricom Report, and the Wehby report all have said exactly the same thing, the structure, and composition of the West Indies board has to change,” he added.

“The way it’s constructed at the moment, all you are going to get is people vying to get people picked who are their friends or come from the same territories and we’re not going anywhere.”

Fourteen years ago, former Jamaica Prime Minister PJ Patterson, Sir Alister McIntyre, and Dr. Ian McDonald produced a Governance Report, which listed 65 recommendations to improve West Indies cricket.  At the time, the document was dismissed as not relevant by the then administration.  In 2015, a Caricom Governance of Cricket report was submitted by a panel chaired by Professor V Eudine Barriteau, which included former President of the Caribbean Court of Justice Sir Denis Byron, Murray, Warren Smith, and Dwain Gill. 

Two years ago, another report, conducted by an independent task force led by former Jamaica Senator Don Wehby, which also included Sir Hilary Beckles, O.K Melhado, Charles Wilkin QC, and Murray, produced 36-pages of recommedations that also pointed to the need for structural reforms.  The majority of the recommendations from any of the three documents are yet to be implemented.

Former New Zealand bowler turned commentator, Danny Morrison, has named West Indies captain Kieron Pollard as one of the most overrated players of the current generation.

The 35-year-old is typically one of the sport’s most widely regarded players, having amassed an impressive 11,326 runs in 573 matches.  The tally is surpassed only by compatriot Chris Gayle who is the top runs scorer in the format.

In addition, the player, who has spent 11-years at India Premier League (IPL) club Mumbai Indians, has played for the franchise and played a key role in capturing five IPL titles.  Recently, Mumbai Director of Cricket Operations Zaheer Khan hailed the player’s leadership and influence, also branding him as one of the strongest finishers in the game. 

The West Indian was one of only one four players retained, along with Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, and Suryakumar Yadav.  Speaking with Sportskeeda in a recent question and answer styled interview, the commentator singled out Pollard as a player he believed was overrated.  In the same breath, Morrison listed Indian wicketkeeper-batsman Ishan Kishan as one of the most underrated.

West Indies captain, Kraigg Brathwaite, admits a recurring problem is the team's ability to spend longer at the crease, on the back of a dismal performance against Sri Lanka in the recently concluded tour.

With very few exceptions, the Windies batsmen struggled to make an impact against a crafty Sri Lanka spin attack, which anchored a dominant 2-0 series win for the hosts in Galle.  A closer look at the team’s batting statistics did not make for good reading. 

In two matches, only three batsmen managed a combined total of over 100 runs.  Nkrumah Bonner was the team’s most successful batsman putting up a total of 148, over the two matches, with a high score of 68 and an average of 49.33.  Brathwaite was next with 119, his average working out to 29.75, with a high score of 72.  Jermaine Blackwood was the third batsman to reach triple figures after totalling 109, averaging 27.25 and getting a high score of 44.

By comparison, Sri Lanka had five players total over 100 over both Tests, with two, Dhananjaya de Silva and Dimuth Karunaratne, getting over 200 runs.

When it comes to partnerships, the West Indies had only one that was worth 100 runs, which took place between Bonner and Da Silva in 44 overs.  By comparison, Sri Lanka achieved the feat 6 times.

“Batting-wise we let ourselves down, we just didn’t get big enough totals to cause any pressure on Sri Lanka,” Brathwaite said, following the match.

With the West Indies set to face England in January of next year, the captain believes the team must find ways to work on its concentration if things are to improve.

“Really and truly it all boils down to having the discipline and doing it for long periods.  I don’t think it will change in terms of spin-friendly conditions or batting in the Caribbean,” he added. 

“Wherever you may play, it’s about having that discipline throughout to bat for longer periods, I think that’s what we need.  We are showing that we can do it, but we are not doing it for long enough.”

 

West Indies middle-order batsman, Kyle Mayers, insists the team must keep the pressure on Sri Lanka if they aim to stay in with a chance of levelling the series heading into the fourth day.

Mayers dug in to put on a useful 36 from 64 balls as the Windies secured a narrow lead over the hosts at the end of their first innings, on the third day.

Resuming the day at 69 for 1, the Windies had a strong morning session, but the Sri Lanka spinners struck back to claim the team’s last seven wickets for just 87 runs. 

The Windies began the second innings with a narrow lead of 49 but kept the pressure on by striking twice with two exceptional runouts to leave the hosts at 46 for 2, at the end of the day’s play.  Mayers, who did his part by dismissing the dangerous Dimuth Karunaratne, insists the team must keep that attitude heading into tomorrow.

“We need to keep down the run rate and keep up the pressure,” Mayers said, following the end of play.

“We are ahead in the game now, so if we can stop them from scoring, runs are crucial heading into the last day.  The least amount of runs they get is the better it is for us,” he added.

“So, if we can keep the pressure on and squeeze some wicket out early tomorrow, first hour, I think we will be good.”

The trio of Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, and Nicholas Pooran led a list of 9 West Indies players not retained by their respective Indian Premier League (IPL) teams ahead of the upcoming mega auction.

The 38-year-old Bravo, who has been with Chennai Super Kings since 2018, and previously spent four years with the franchise between 2011–2015, was a part of the team’s IPL-winning run last season.  Retention policies, however, forced the team to shed a few of the team’s veteran players.

In addition to Bravo, Faf du Plessis, Josh Hazlewood, Suresh Raina, and Cheteshwar Pujara were also among those released.  In the meantime, the team retained MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Moeen Ali, and Ruturaj Gaikwad.

Gayle, Pooran, and Fabian Allen, in the meantime, all played for Punjab King’s XI with Gayle and Pooran having seasons to forget.  Gayle averaged 21.44 in 10 games, while Pooran averaged a measly 7.72 in 12 games.  Punjab retained only Mayank Agarwal and Arshdeep Singh and will have a hefty purse for the auction.

In the meantime, only three West Indies players were retained. The Kolkata Knight Riders kept all-rounder Andre Russell and mystery spinner Sunil Narine, while the Mumbai Indians have kept a hold of Kieron Pollard.  Other Windies players released include;

Shimron Hetmyer (Delhi Capitals), Evin Lewis, Oshane Thomas (Rajasthan Royals), Jason Holder, Sherfane Rutherford  (Sunrisers Hyderabad).

A five-wicket haul from spinner Veerasammy Permaul hobbled Sri Lanka to give the West Indies a slender advantage at the close of a rain-affected second day, in Galle, on Tuesday.

Resuming the score with a comfortable overnight total of 113 for 1, the Sri Lankans were 204 all-out just before lunch.  The decision to use left-arm spinners Permaul and Jomel Warrican proved to be a masterstroke that paid rich dividends for the visitors.

Permaul, ended with overall figures of 5 for 35, while Warrican took 4 for 50.  With the other wicket going to Roston Chase on the first day, it was only the fourth time the typically pace-dependent Windies saw their spinners claim 10 wickets in an innings.

In response, the West Indies came up with an all-around solid batting display and put 69 for 1 on the board, leaving the visitor trailing by 135 runs. Jermaine Blackwood, who put 44 on the board from 91 balls was the lone casualty before the rains came.  Blackwood was dismissed lbw after misjudging a Praveen Jayawickrama arm ball. Kraig Brathwaite was unbeaten on 22 off 77 deliveries, and alongside him was Nkrumah Bonner on 1 at the close of play.

 

West Indies left-arm spinner, Veerasammy Permaul, was delighted after taking a maiden five-wicket haul in his 7th match in Test cricket.

Permaul took 5-35 from his 13 overs to help restrict Sri Lanka to 204 all out on day two of the second Test in Galle.

The Guyanese bowler, who is playing in his first Test match since 2015, reacted joyously to his achievement.

“First of all, I’d like to thank God for giving me strength. I’m very overwhelmed. Over the years I’ve been working really hard to get back into the team and now it is paying off,” he said.

Permaul said trying to spin the ball as much as possible served him well in the Sri Lankan conditions.

“I tried to adjust to the conditions and see what pace is good for the wicket. I also tried to spin the ball as much as possible and I think that is what brought me success,” he said.

He also referred to the bowling partnership between himself and fellow left-arm spinner, Barbadian Jomel Warrican, who took 4-50 from his 18.3 overs.

“I think Warrican bowled really well. He was the one that was controlling the scoring rate. He was bowling tight at one end and I was attacking at the other end and that is the key to a good bowling partnership,” he said.

When asked how the Windies bowling performance can carry over into future encounters, Permaul said consistency is key.

“Moving forward, it’s very important that we stay consistent as a bowling unit. Be patient and don’t look for wickets. Try to create opportunities rather than experimenting,” he said.

The West Indies ended day two on 69-1 in their first innings reply to Sri Lanka’s 204 all out with captain, Kraigg Brathwaite, at the crease on 22 and Nkrumah Bonner on one.

Jermaine Blackwood is the only batsman out so far for 44.

 

West Indies middle-order batsman, Nkrumah Bonner, says the team’s batting line-up must find a way to get stuck in against Sri Lanka, particularly the spinners if they are to find a way to be compete in the ongoing series.

The Caribbean team is currently 1-0 down after suffering a lop-sided defeat to Sri Lanka in the first Test.  In the end, the regional team lost by 187 runs, but that could have been even worse were it not for a 100-run partnership between Bonner and Joshua Da Silva.  The duo were the only ones to get above the half-century mark and to say the majority of other batsmen found the going difficult would be an understatement.

 Sri Lanka’s spinners were aggressive throughout, with left-arm orthodox Praveen Jayawickrama (4 for 40 runs) and off-spinner Ramesh Mendis (3 for 75) doing the damage in the first innings. In the second innings, it was left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya who grabbed an impressive 5 for 46 and Mendis (4 for 64) and Jayawickrama (1 for 28) also doing more damage.

Bonner, who looked much more comfortable after making an adjustment for the second innings, after being dismissed for just 1 from 11 balls in the first, believes that coping with the spinners comes down to better footwork.

"These are small things we need work on if we want to be more sure in our defense, and when we attack,” Bonner said.

"It's difficult when players don't get a start. In the first innings, the ball was holding and spinning. It was a different challenge in the second innings when the ball was sliding at times, and spinning too. We have to come up with smart tactics in order to play all the left-arm spinners."

The West Indies and Sri Lanka will face off in the second Test, beginning on Sunday.

West Indies T20 star Chris Gayle plans to be at the ICC Cricket World Cup next year, but this time around more than likely as a spectator in the stands.

The 42-year-old ball-smasher was widely expected to retire following last month’s failed ICC T20 World Cup campaign but announced on that occasion that plans might have been underway for a farewell fixture, in his home country Jamaica, at Sabina Park.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) has since confirmed that the match will come during the upcoming series against Ireland in January.  Gayle, the format’s top runs scorer and holder of more than a few records, admits he is looking forward to the game.

"It's doubtful you will see me playing for West Indies again in international cricket. We have something planned against Ireland. I am just waiting for the board to finalise things. And once we get a date, we would find out what it is. It should be back home in Jamaica, Sabina Park. Final international run so I’m looking forward to it," Gayle told EspnCricinfo.

Following the team’s unceremonious exit from the World Cup the player had mused about wanting to go to another tournament, it appears that might still very much be in the plans.

 "I will be in Australia one way or the other next year.  I will be there because I haven’t been there in some time. The World Cup will be in Australia so I would be there. You know, it might take some extra effort. Sit in the stands, have a cold one and says ‘Hi guys, I’m here. I ain’t leaving. So yeah, I am looking forward to it."

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.

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