Legendary fast bowler WI Andy Roberts is convinced the Cricket West Indies panel of selectors made a grave error by omitting all-rounder Jason Holder from the final 15-man World Cup squad.

Despite being better known for his exploits in the red-ball format, Holder’s exclusion from the first-team squad and selection as a reserve for the tournament caused shock and dismay across the Caribbean following the announcement of the final squad next week.

In international T20 cricket to date, Holder has managed 27 matches with an average of 16.75 in 18 innings, added to that he has claimed 22 wickets.  In the Indian Premier League last season, however, he put on several strong performances during his time with Sunrisers Hyderabad and also had a strong showing against Sri Lanka in the series of practice games but struggled against Pakistan.  Holder also struggled to make an impact in the CPL.

“I was shocked because he is the best cricketer we have in the region, bar none,” Roberts told the Mason and Guest radio show.

“I’d pick him as one of the first choices for the World Cup, what is he doing in the reserves.  It embarrassing to us to see how we could treat our best cricketer, Jason Holder is our best cricketer.”

Holder has been consistently ranked as the top, or second-best Test cricket all-rounder for the last couple of years but has not displayed that kind of dominance over the shorter formats.

 

 

Michael Holding, the feared tear-away fast bowler turned respected cricket commentator has announced his retirement from the commentary booth.

Pace trio Andel Gordon, Johann Layne, and Isai Thorne bowled superbly to push the fifth Youth ODI down to the wire, despite West Indies surrendering the Royal London U19 series to England on Tuesday.

This was the second agonizing one-wicket defeat in the series, following a similar result on the second Youth ODI in Beckenham.

Left-arm quick Gordon, who claimed 3 for 37, stood out bowling with good pace and swing, highlighted by his dismissal of England opener William Luxton, clean bowled in the first over. He was well supported by his right-arm pace duo compatriots Layne, 3 for 40, and Isai Thorne, 2 for 40, as they kept West Indies in the contest by regularly taking wickets.

When Layne dismissed tail end batters Nathan Barnwell caught behind and Joshua Boyden comprehensively bowled in the space of two overs, West Indies were on the verge of pulling off a thrilling fightback win with England still needing 12 runs. However, George Bell, who had an unbeaten half-century of 60 from 115 balls, held his nerve alongside the number 11 batter Sonny Baker to take the home side over the line.

Earlier, Matthew Nandu (51) became the second West Indies batsman to score a half-century on tour alongside Teddy Bishop. His 57-run third-wicket partnership with Ackeem Auguste 32 had West Indies solidly placed at one stage on 101 for 2. But the innings never kicked on, with captain on the day Giovonte Depeiza (34) being the only other major contributor.

The two teams will return to the same venue on Friday for the series finale. First ball is 10:30 am (5:30 Eastern Caribbean/4:30 am Jamaica).

 

 Cricket West Indies chief of selectors Roger Harper is hopeful the region will see the best of fast bowler Oshane Thomas following his selection to the T20 World Cup squad.

The 24-year-old pace bowler was once considered one of the hottest prospects in regional cricket after bursting on the scene with fiery spells for Caribbean Premier League (CPL) team Jamaica Tallawahs during the 2016 season.

However, despite going on to play in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for the last two seasons and 17 T20 international matches for the West Indies, Thomas is yet to quite hit the heights his talent promised early on.

In-between indifferent spells of forms and fitness issues, the player has taken 19 wickets for the team.  Thomas has, however, looked lively in the CPL this season taking 4 wickets in six games.  The player’s rejuvenated look has been enough to attract the attention of the selectors and Harper hopes the decision pays rich dividends come next month.

“Oshane brings that sort of x-factor to the team, we know when Oshane is at his best he is a real force,” Harper told members of the media on Thursday.

“We haven’t seen him at his best for a while, but we saw him coming to that point in this tournament (CPL).  A lot of work has been done in the various T20 series, behind the scenes with Oshane,” he added.

“When he played, we didn’t see exactly what we were looking for, but now we see a bit of the Oshane that we know in this tournament (CPL) and will feel that if he keeps improving he will be the sort of bowler that could make a difference for us in the right condition.  Hsis extra pace, his extra bounce, and when he is on song he gets the ball to swing at that pace as well.  So, we think he could make a big difference in the team.”

 

 

In-form batsman Sherfane Rutherford and spinner Sunil Narine were among a few players not eligible for selection to the World Cup squad after failing fitness standards, chief of selectors Roger Harper has confirmed.

In the ongoing Caribbean Premier League (CPL), Rutherford has been one of the most outstanding players so far, scoring 201 runs in 7 matches, with an average of 40.20 and a strike rate of 136.73.  Speculation had linked the player with a late consideration for a space in the West Indies World Cup squad but, as it has for other players in the recent past, it turns out his fitness level was an issue. 

“As well as he has been performing he is one of a few players who did not meet our fitness criteria, so he was not eligible for selection,” Harper told members of the media, in explaining the player’s omission.

Narine, once the top-ranked spinner in the world, has recently shown versatility at the top of the order as a pinch-hitter and could have been a weapon for the team at the tournament. 

“Sunil Narine is a great miss for a team like this in a tournament like this.  Any team would miss having a bowler of that quality in the team but as I mentioned with Rutherford and some of the others Sunil also did not make our fitness standards,” Harper said.

Based on standards implemented by Cricket West Indies (CWI), in 2019, players must achieve a mark of 40 in the Yo-Yo Endurance Test unless given a medical exemption by the CWI medical committee.  Another player that has shown plenty of promise during the CPL campaign, but did also did not meet the fitness standards, was fast bowler Odean Smith.

West Indies chief of selector Roger Harper admits it was a difficult choice to relegate talented all-rounder Jason Holder to a reserve position, following the unveiling of the 15-member T20 World Cup squad on Thursday.

Many were left astonished after Holder, who has had a few standout stints in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and international T20 cricket in recent months, was only named among four reserve players.

“Leaving a player of the standard and quality of Jason out of our final 15 was a difficult decision and it provoked a lot of debate,” Harper told members of the media via an online press conference.

“When we look at the type of composition we wanted, considering the all-rounders that we had and the balance, he was unfortunate not to make it,” he added.

“It was a 15-man squad, everyone couldn’t make it, different things were taken into consideration and Jason just missed out, but with a player of his stature and quality it was a difficult decision and one we didn’t take lightly.”

In 10 matches and three series against Pakistan, South Africa, and Sri Lanka, Holder totalled 90 runs, had an average of 30, and claimed 9 wickets.  He, however, struggled in the team’s most recent series against Pakistan totalling just 2 runs and 4wickets in four matches.

 

Lizelle Lee produced another match-winning performance as South Africa Women earned a comfortable victory in the opening match of the CG Insurance One-Day International Series. The powerful opener top-scored with a purposeful 91 not out as the Proteas easily reached 157-2 off 39.3 overs. This was in reply to West Indies 153 off 46.4 overs.

Lee’s innings earned her the CG Insurance Player of the Match award following up on her CG Insurance Player of the Series award in the recent T20 Internationals. The experienced opener made her 21st half-century at this level and laid the perfect platform for the run-chase as she faced 127 balls and hit 10 fours and a six. She added 88 in 22 overs with Laura Wolvaardt who again looked in good touch before she was bowled by Anisa Mohammed for 35, which came off 65 deliveries.

The West Indies had one other success when Sune Luus was trapped leg-before wicket to left-arm spinner Qiana Joseph without scoring.

In the first half of the match, West Indies found the going challenging. Left-hander Kycia Knight top-scored with 39 off 78 balls, but was run out by a superb throw from Mignon duPreez at deep square leg.

Deandra Dottin, looked set for a significant score as she raced to 38 off 36 balls, but was well caught at long-off by duPreez, which gave leg-spinner Dane van Niekerk her first wicket. The South Africa skipper ended with 2-23 off her 10 overs to put pressure on the West Indies middle and lower order.

 The two teams will return to the same venue on Friday for the second match of the five-match rubber. First ball is 10 am (9 am Jamaica Time).

Bowler Isai Thorne claimed a three-for on debut, while Andel Gordon and McKenny Clarke took two each but the Windies U-19s found few answers to their English counterparts in a 166 runs loss in the first match of the Rising Stars U19 ODI tour of England.

After winning the toss and choosing to field, England posted 289-9 in their allotted 50 overs. The total was built around half-centuries by captain Jacob Bethell (69), James Rew (59) and wicket-keeper Alex Horton (53).

Bethell and Rew added 87 for the third wicket before the partnership was broken by the 16-year-old Thomas, who bowled with good pace throughout his 10-over spell. He later returned to get the wicket of Horton, who played a late cameo which included four fours and a six, as England scored 85 runs in the last 10 overs.

In reply, the West Indies total of 123 had its main contributions from openers Anderson Amurdan (33) and Matthew Nandu (21) who gave the West Indies a 46 run opening stand in the initial 10 over power play. Amurdan faced 47 balls and hit five boundaries, while left-hander Nandu faced 28 balls and hit two fours. But led by a five-wicket haul from off-spinner Tom Prest (6-2-18-5), who was well supported by the leg-spin of Rehan Ahmed (3-22) and left-arm orthodox Fateh Singh (1-28), they combined effectively to bowl out the visitors in the 30th over.

Legendary West Indies wicketkeeper Jeffrey Dujon believes the Test team will be forced to continue its search for an opening batsman as the current selections have not produced a great many positive results to date.

Since the team's successful tour of Bangladesh in February three players, John Campbell, Shai Hope, and Kieran Powell have been paired at the top of the innings with West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite.

To date, the pairing with the Brathwaite has not bred much success.  Campbell has averaged 18.5 in eight innings, Powell 14.57 in seven innings, and Hope 15 in the one match played so far.  The results have often left the team well short of a solid start that has not been a feature of its play in recent times.

“I still think we need to find another opener, we are still looking for an opener and one more top-class batsman in the middle,” Dujon told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“Right now we are not getting the results, we need good open partnerships and we have not been getting that,” he added.

Dujon believes that so far, the openers paired with Brathwaite have been plagued by shortcomings with playing the new ball.

“I just don’t get the feeling that he is playing down the right line, as an opening batsman playing a moving ball, I don’t think he gets down the wicket far enough,” he said of Powell.

Having only recently returned to the team, Hope has also been tried in the position.  While he certainly believes that Hope should have a spot in the team, Dujon is convinced it is not at the top of the innings.

“He’s a very good player but he is not an opener.  His style of play to open the batting in limited over cricket is fine.  He should be in this batting line-up but somewhere around four or so.”

 

 

Jamaica Tallawahs earned their second victory of the 2021 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) with a six-wicket victory over the Barbados Royals.

The Royals won the toss and opted to bat, with Azam Khan’s fluent 50 off just 30 balls taking them to 151 for 8. 

However, the Jamaica Tallawahs were able to chase the target in 17.4 overs through the sublime batting of Kennar Lewis, his innings of 89 the highest score of the tournament so far, supported by the graceful play of Sharmarh Brooks, who hit 47 not out off 26 balls. 

Barbados Royals had found themselves in early trouble, losing key batsmen Shai Hope and Kyle Mayers in successive balls in the Powerplay to Fidel Edwards, who was making his first appearance in this year’s Hero CPL. 
A recovery mission was led by Azam and Phillips; the pair putting on a partnership of 71 runs off 51 balls to build a foundation for the innings. Joshua Bishop then struck 18 off 8 balls at the back end of the innings to take his side to a respectable total. 

Migael Pretorius was the standout bowler for the Tallawahs, taking four wickets, while Rovman Powell led by example with three excellent catches in the field.  

Tallawahs response was led by Lewis, who powered the innings despite his team losing early wickets to the spin of Joshua Bishop, including captain Powell, who was dismissed by a superb piece of fielding as Jason Holder held on to his shot with one hand at long-off.  

Barbados Royals will count themselves unlucky as star bowler Mohammad Amir had to leave the field injured during the second innings. The win takes the Jamaica Tallawahs up to second in the Hero CPL standings.

 

Heavy rains forced the abandonment of the first CG Insurance T20 International between the West Indies Women and South Africa Women at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground.

Batting first Marizanne Kapp top-scored with 36 as the visitors put 135 for three on the board.  In pursuit, the Windies Women were off to a tough start, after losing Deandra Dottin to injury and Hayley Matthews for 8 before the rain intervened.  Despite not playing the full encounter West Indies stand-in captain Anisa Mohammed took positives from the encounter.

"I’m really happy with the way the girls bowled today. I think we had them good up until the 18th over but with wickets in hand, we expected them to come hard at us. Having said that I still believe that 135 was a good total for us to chase unfortunately the rain had other plans. We now have a day to refocus and fine-tune carrying through the consistency until the end of 20 overs,” Mohammed told CWI Media.

The second and third CG Insurance T20Is take place at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground on Thursday, September 02, and Saturday, September 04 respectively. The five CG Insurance ODIs will be played from September 7 to 19, with the first three matches being played at the Coolidge Cricket Ground (CCG) and the last two at the SVRCG.

Trinbago Knight Riders moved up to second in the 2021 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) table with a 27-run victory over the Saint Lucia Kings. 

The Kings won the toss and opted to field first and for the first half of the TKR innings, they had full control of the game. However, a late salvo from Kieron Pollard and Tim Seifert helped the Knight Riders to post a challenging total. 

In reply, Andre Fletcher played a fine lone hand for the Kings, but the team never got going as a disciplined Trinbago bowling attack kept a firm stranglehold on proceedings throughout.

The Knight Riders opened their innings with the familiar pair of Lendl Simmons and Sunil Narine and they put on a partnership of 23 from 18 balls before Wahab Riaz trapped the former plumb in front. 

It took the introduction of Tim Seifert for the Knight Riders innings to gain impetus after Tion Webster, Narine and Colin Munro had all fallen in consecutive overs.

Along with Kieron Pollard the pair put on 78 runs from 44 balls to help post a competitive total.

Just like the TKR innings, the Kings struggled to find any momentum in the first half of their reply amidst some exceptional and parsimonious bowling from Sunil Narine and Akeal Hosein that left them needing an unlikely 82 runs from 36 balls.

Despite Andre Fletcher’s unbeaten 81 from 55 balls, three wickets by the tournament’s top wicket-taker Ravi Rampaul ensured no one was able to stick with him to chase down the TKR total.

Barbados Royals got their first win of the 2021 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) with a comfortable 15 run victory over the Jamaica Tallawahs.

The Royals won the toss and opted to bat first and Glenn Phillips ensured that they put a competitive total on the board with an unbeaten 56 from 46 balls.

In reply, the Tallawahs chase was over before it really began as they lost four wickets in the PowerPlay and as a result never kept pace with the run rate.

The Royals opted to make a change to their opening pair – with Shai Hope partnering with Johnson Charles and it appeared to work with them putting on a 32-run partnership from 20 balls.

However, once Hope was dismissed it sparked a flurry of wickets that left Barbados teetering at 48 for 3 at the end of PowerPlay. It should have been even worse but Haider Ali dropped Glenn Phillips when he was on 2 runs.

 Phillips punished that mistake in the back end of the Barbados innings hitting a half-century with 56 runs from 46 balls and he was ably assisted by Raymon Reifer as they put on a partnership worth 79 runs.

161 always looked like 15 runs too many and the Tallawahs got their chase off to the worst possible start losing four wickets inside the PowerPlay.

Some good bowling and electric fielding by Hayden Walsh Jr had the Tallawahs on the back foot throughout.

Carlos Braithwaite and Shamarh Brooks threatened to bring them back into the game with a 66-run partnership but a double strike from Reifer got rid of Braithwaite and Andre Russell in the same over.

Despite some late blows from Miguel Pretorius that made the last few overs interesting there was always too much for the Tallawahs to do once Russell had departed.

A solid opening partnership between Evin Lewis and Devon Thomas helped St Kitts & Nevis Patriots make light work of an insufficient total from Guyana Amazon Warriors to secure an 8-wickets win at the 2021 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) on Saturday.

 Batting first, the Warrior put up 146 for 8 in their 20 overs, but in pursuit, the Patriots, who were anchored by a stunning opening stand of 113 between Lewis and Thomas, only lost two wickets to secure an easy second win.

The Warriors won the toss and elected to bat, but they struggled to get their innings underway in the face of some tidy bowling from the Patriots. Dominic Drakes was the star but there were excellent spells inside the PowerPlay from Sheldon Cottrell and Paul van Meekeren.

It was Cottrell who got the first breakthrough when he had Brandon King caught by Sherfane Rutherford off a leading edge. The Warriors once again pushed Odean Smith up the order as a pinch hitter but he didn’t have the same success as in the first game against the Knight Riders, falling for a seven-ball duck.

  Wickets continued to fall throughout the Warriors innings, and they found themselves 75 for 5 in the 12th over with Drakes finishing with 3 for 26 and Fawad Ahmed claiming 2 for 33.

However, some lusty blows from Nicholas Pooran and a measured innings from Mohammad Hafeez got them to a respectable total. 

In pursuit, Thomas and Lewis were in fine form, and they made the Guyana total look under par as they batted with controlled aggression to put the Patriots in complete control of the chase.

There were few stumbles for the Patriots as Evin Lewis top-scored with 62 from 39 balls, an innings that guided his team to an eight-wicket victory with eight balls to spare.

 

 Defending champions Trinbago Knight Riders got their 2021 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) campaign up and running with a six-wicket victory over the Barbados Royals.

The Royals won the toss and opted to bat first but the decision didn’t go their way as an excellent Trinbago bowling display, led by Isuru Udana’s 5 for 21, restricted them to 122 all out.

In reply Trinbago initially made hard work of the chase before the experienced duo of Kieron Pollard and Denesh Ramdin saw them home with ease.

The Royals had got off to a steady start reaching 37 runs at the end of the PowerPlay for the sole loss of Johnson Charles.

However, they could not build on the foundation as Udana’s double strike removed Jason Holder and Glenn Phillips in quick succession. 

A counter-attacking 30 runs from Azam Khan briefly threatened to help Barbados set an imposing target but Udana’s re-entry into the attack led to the dismissal of both Khan and Thisara Perera to complete the first five-wicket haul of the 2021 Hero CPL.

The remaining Royals wickets fell like dominoes to leave them on 122 all out.

Trinbago stuttered in their chase of the target losing three wickets in the PowerPlay as Mohammed Amir started his spell with laser-like accuracy and Oshane Thomas followed that up by getting Tim Seifert to top-edge a rising delivery to deep square leg.

At 38 for 4 the Knight Riders were in a perilous situation, but captain Pollard took on the responsibility to take the drama out of the chase with a brilliantly constructed 58 runs from 30 balls.

Along with the experienced Denesh Ramdin, the pair put on an 87-run partnership from 57 balls to see Trinbago home comfortably.

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