Solid half-centuries from opener Devon Smith and Alick Athanaze ensured that Guyana Harpy Eagles spent the day toiling in the field as Windward Volcanoes posted 278 for 9 on day one of the West Indies Championship at Queens Park Oval.

The team was, however, also bolstered by staunch lower-order resistance to close the day, with the unbeaten last-wicket partnership of 62 between Preston McSween and Sherman Lewis continuing to frustrate the Jaguars.

After winning the toss and choosing to bat, the Windwards found themselves in early trouble when opener Kimani Melius was struck on the helmet by a delivery from Clinton Pestano and forced to leave the field without scoring.

Smith began in shaky fashion but dominated an early partnership with Kavem Hodge, who came in after Melius.  Hodge was dismissed for 10 after being caught by Leon Johnson off the bowling of Keemo Paul, while Smith went on to record his 64th First-Class half-century.  It was Paul who also brought that innings to an end with the batsman on 52.

Smith and Athanaze had produced a partnership of 49 before the former was dismissed.  Athanaze then kept a productive middle-order going after next pairing with Keron Cottoy to put on 63 for the third wicket.  The partnership ended when Cottoy was caught by Johnson off the bowling of Paul and Athanaze, who looked in good shape for triple figures, departed after unsuccessfully attempting to reverse sweep Veerasammy Permaul and being adjudged lbw on 68.

From 190-4, the Volcanoes quickly slipped to 195-6. Melius was dismissed for three following his return to the pitch.  With Kenneth Dember dismissed on 6 and the team struggling at 215, in the 73rd over, the innings looked set to be over, but McSween went on the attack against the bowler with some clean hits late on.

Guyana spinners Gudakesh Motie (3-61) and Permaul (3-5) have managed a combined six wickets for far, while Paul claimed 3-64.

West Indies vice-captain Nicholas Pooran has lamented the team’s inability to put together quality partnerships, following a 44-run loss to India in the second One Day International on Wednesday.

For the fourth straight ODI, the West Indies struggled to occupy the crease for any significant period, this time around in pursuit of India’s of 237, which could hardly be considered as overwhelming in most circumstances.

However, as has become the norm, the team struggled early on at the top of the order, with the first three batsmen combining for 46 runs.  Shamar Brooks and Akeal Hosein managed to put 42 on the board in the middle of the innings and Odean Smith added 24 late on, but chasing even such a modest target would have required plenty more stability and application, particularly at the top of the order.

Pooran, who himself made 9 from 13, insists the team needs to be much better at occupying the crease and carrying on to make notable scores.

“We kept losing wickets after developing partnerships.  Especially losing soft wickets,” Pooran said following the match.

“Every time someone is set, we got out at the wrong time.  The top five top six batsmen did not put up our hands tonight,” he added.

The team headed into the ODI series against India on the back of a particularly rough patch of form, having lost to Ireland for the first time in the format last month.  The Windies will look to avoid a sweep when they face India in the final match on Friday.

 

Jamaica Scorpions head coach, Andre Coley, has backed the team to improve its output at the crease for the new season of the Regional Four Day Competition, with the addition of new blood.

The franchise which has not won the tournament since the 2011-2012 season, has struggled to find consistency in recent editions, particularly at the crease.

“We have gone for younger investment at the top of the order to partner John and we have brought in young wicketkeeper-batsman Romaine Morris with the intention of strengthening the batting,” Coley told members of the media on Tuesday.

“The discussion that we have had with our senior batters is if they can even replicate or do better than what they did last year, along with some production from the younger guys then we should have more consistency in our batting,” he added.

Led by Jermaine Blackwood’s 768 runs, the team had a fair showing at the crease at the last edition of the tournament and scored the second-most in the competition with 3730.  The tally saw the Scorpions finish in third spot overall behind Trinidad and Tobago and champions Barbados.  Morris has been selected ahead of Aldane Thomas to partner with the team captain Campbell at the top of the order.  The Scorpions will bowl things off against the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force on Wednesday.

President of the Jamaica Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation, Chris Stoke, insists the team will now shift all its attention into competition mode following an unsuccessful appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) on behalf of the country’s two-woman team.

On Monday, a CAS panel rejected an appeal filed by woman bobsledder Jazmine Fenlator-Victorian who had called for a recalculation of the point rankings for the Beijing 2022 Quota Allocation for the two-woman event, based only on races that actually took place. 

The appeal was based on the decision made by the Olympic organisers after inclement weather had led to the cancelation of a meet scheduled for Germany on December 4.  According to the filing, the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation instead counted a December 5 competition twice, which allowed a sled piloted by France’s Margot Boch to qualify for the final spot in the two-woman bobsled competition at the Olympics. The decision meant Audra Segree, Fenlator-Victorian's brakewoman, missed out on a spot via a tiebreak.  The court, however, rejected the appeal.

While insisting it was important to air their grouses, Stokes insists the team is ready to move on.

“The decision has come down as dismissed, we accept that wholeheartedly.  Winning is one thing but the more important thing is to speak up and I’m very proud of Jazmine for speaking up,” Stokes said.

“We maintain that it is better sports results be determined on the field of play and not in administration but we put that behind us and we are now in a high-performance zone and we are getting ready for competition.”

Fenlator-Victorian will compete in the Women’s Monobob, which gets underway on February 11.  Jamaica’s men’s team will compete in both the Two-Man and Four-Man events, which get underway a few days later.

West Indies T20 star Chris Gayle stroked an unbeaten half-century and was backed up by stingy death bowling from Dwayne Bravo as Fortune Barishal eased to a 12-run win over Sylhet Sunrisers in the Bangladesh Premier League on Tuesday.

Gayle’s 51 from 45 balls provided the backbone for Fortune, who posted a formidable 199 for 4 after being sent in to bat.  The team was off to a solid start after the big left-hander formed part of an opening stand with Munim Shahriar to put 72 on the board.  The partnership was broken after Shahriar was bowled by Sohag Gazi for 51.

Wicketkeeper Nurul Hasan then joined Gayle at the crease but was dismissed after just four balls for 2.  Barishal captain Shakib Al Hasan then joined the West Indian to push the score along, adding 38 from just 19 balls before being caught off Alauddin Babu.

Towhid Hridoy added 10 before Bravo joined Gayle at the crease and added an unbeaten 34 off 13, as the two put on 42 for the last wicket.

In response, the Sunrisers made a game of the total after opener Collin Ingram put on a brilliant 90 from 49.  Bravo, however, continued to feature prominently throughout the match, claiming a catch at long-on off Najmul Hossain Shanto to dismiss Ingram and ending the late innings resistance of Mosaddek Hossain, who had 34 from 21, in the final over.  Bravo successfully defended 24 for the last over.

The win was the 6th for Barishal who top the table with 13 points.

The West Indies will head back to the silence of an empty stadium for part of its tour of India following the announcement that the upcoming One Day International series will be played behind closed doors.

In addition to the cricket, the West Indies most recently concluded series against England looked like a rollicking good time.  Vaccinated spectators were allowed to enter the Kensington Oval and added plenty to the atmosphere.

The team’s tour of India will begin with three One Day International’s at the Narendra Modi Stadium, scheduled between February 6 to 11.  The Gujarat Cricket Association, however, confirmed that due to the current situation with the Covid-19 pandemic the match will be played behind closed doors.

“We are all set to host West Indies Tour of India ODI Series 2022. 1st ODI on 6th of Feb will be a very special and historic match as India will be playing it’s 1000th ODI. The Indian team will be the first cricket team in the world to achieve this feat. @BCCI #INDvsWI #teamindia,” the GCA said via its official Twitter account.

“Considering the current situation, all the matches will be played behind the closed doors,” the state cricket body said in another tweet.

Following the ODI series, the teams will play a three-match T20 International series in Kolkata, for which the West Bengal government has allowed 75 percent crowd attendance.

Windies skipper Kieron Pollard had plenty of reasons to strike an unmistakably defiant tone after a hard-fought series win over England at the Kensington Oval on Sunday.

The victory will have gone some way in easing the pressure faced by both the captain and the team itself following an anemic performance at the T20 World Cup and a shock loss to Ireland in its most recent One Day International series.

During the England series, the West Indies were once again put in a negative spotlight as rumours of player victimization, pertaining to fast bowler Odean Smith came to the surface.

A performance against world number one England, albeit an understrength unit, and particularly one where so many players put in exceptional performances, was timely.  The fact did not escape Pollard.

“Every single one in the dressing room, we rallied together through everything.  Every time we won a game there was something negative against us, but we came out and the guys really won it,” Pollard said after briefly opening with his own rendition of a verse from the popular Jamaica dancehall artist.

“Empty vessels make the most noise.  The guys have worked tirelessly, when we came back from Jamaica our heads were down.  We had conversations in the dressing room regarding how we wanted to play the cricket and I think the guys bounced back pretty well,” he added.

“It’s one series but we have been on the losing end of a lot of series and a lot of games and you have to take this one.  The guys needed an opportunity to just free up themselves and enjoy themselves for a couple of games.”

Particularly pleasing for the team would have been the performance of former captain Jason Holder who claimed man of the series following a virtuoso performance just months after being controversially left out of the 15-man T20 World Cup starting team.

West Indies captain, Kieron Pollard, did not put too much blame on the shoulders of all-rounder Jason Holder after an expensive 18th over led to the ballooning of England’s first innings total.

On Saturday, England leveled the series on the back of a stroke-filled 64 from the team’s captain Moeen Ali, which bankrolled the team’s first innings score of 193 for 6.

Things had looked far more controlled at the start of the 18th over, with England on 134 for 3.  Holder, who had put together a tidy spell to that point, was the target of a savage attack from Ali who launched four consecutive sixes and eventually milk 28 off it.  The following over for Romario Shepherd also proved costly as it ended up adding another 18 to England’s tally.  Pollard admitted the expensive final overs were likely where the game turned.  

“That’s the nature of T20 cricket all it takes is six balls or a couple hits to get you away from where you want to be,” Pollard said following the match.

“We were looking at around at around 160, 170, a total that would have been chasable but them getting to 190 put that extra 20 runs out of our reach,” he added.

“I thought right until then, and even when we started to bat, we had a very good chance.  We slowed up in the middle not losing wickets but we were a little slow.”  

A crucial 45 from Windies T20 star, Chris Gayle, and brilliant death bowling from Mehedi Hasan Rana led Fortune Barisal to their second win of the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), over Khulna Tigers, on Saturday.

Sent in to bat, Barishal struggled to put partnerships together but managed to get to 141 on the back of Gayle’s solid innings.  The West Indian was deployed at the top of the order where he struck six fours and two sixes in amassing his total.

He was, however, caught off Thisara Perera just five runs shy of a maiden fifty in this year’s BPL.

In response, Khulna battled back from early trouble, with Mushfiqur Rahim and Yasir Ali adding a crucial 46 runs for the fifth wicket.

In fact, Khulna seemed well on their way to a win, needing just 20 runs from the second to last over, but left-arm pace bowler Rana claimed three wickets, including that of dangerman Rahim. Rana finished with career-best figures of 4 for 17.  In support, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Jake Lintott took two wickets apiece. Shafiqul Islam and Shakib Al Hasan also took one each.

Barishal took the last five Khulna wickets for 16 runs in the space of 16 deliveries.

Former Windies skipper, Darren Sammy, believes the team has the potential to do well on the upcoming tour of India, particularly with some of the talents on display during the England series.

The Caribbean team will head to South Asia immediately following the conclusion of the ongoing series against England, where they are currently leading 2-1.  The series has featured a number of standout performances so far, with the likes of Akeal Hosein, Romario Shepherd, and some of the more commonly known names like Rovman Powell and Nicholas Pooran all putting together noteworthy performances during the series so far.

 “They have got some really good one-day players, but we have unearthed some new talents in the ongoing series against England,” Sammy said of the team’s chances for the upcoming series.

“I think the West Indies would do well, but you would need the guys to take the wickets with the new ball.”

The former captain also believes the team’s cause could be helped by the knowledge of current captain Kieron Pollard.

“He has been playing in India for so long (at the IPL) and knows the conditions very well,” Sammy said. “Hopefully that experience and knowledge he could bring on to the field.”

 

West Indies head coach Phil Simmons is pleased to see vice-captain Nicholas Pooran slotting comfortably into the number three role in the team’s recent T20 win against England.

Partnered with man-of-the-match Rovman Powell, Pooran put on a near-perfect display, a combination of power-hitting, game management, and finesse.  The batsman put together a crucial 70 from 43 deliveries, which formed part of a match-winning 122 partnership for the third wicket.

Simmons admits the knock was a good illustration of the type of role the team envisions the batsman is capable of playing.

“It’s been a plan since World Cup.  As we saw, he is understanding his role better and better and yesterday (Wednesday) just showed exactly how we see him controlling the innings,” Simmons told members of the media on Wednesday.

“His communication and control with Rovman was a big plus yesterday,” he added.

Pooran came to the crease following the departure of Brandon King and was part of a 37-run partnership with Shai Hope before joining forces with Powell.

In total, Pooran has played 14 matches batting at the number three position, scoring a total of 356 runs, and has averaged 32.36 so far.

 

 

 

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.”

Jamaica Reggae Boy interim head coach, Paul Hall, was in a bullish mood ahead of Thursday’s crucial World Cup qualifiers against Mexico at the National Stadium.

The match will be the second fixture but the first World Cup qualifier for Hall, who stepped in to replaced Theodore Whitmore in December of last year.  With the team adrift in sixth place and 7 points behind the qualifying positions, it seems safe to say only a win will do for the Reggae Boyz against a typically dangerous opponent.

Hall is aware of the challenge at hand but feels confident the team can find a way to pull off the crucial result.

"We got to make sure we stay focussed and motivated with the task at hand and if we can do that and get into the game and find our rhythm and be expressive with our play then we will be ok," Hall said.

“They won’t want to lose they are probably going to have the same attitude as ourselves, so I feel it will be a tight affair,” he added.

“We will respect the Mexicans and what they bring and I would ask my team to make sure that Mexico respects what we bring, with our energy, with our rhythm, and with our desire,” he added.

The Mexicans, who will be without key players Hirving Lozano and Raul Jiminez, are currently third in the standings, on 14, the same number of points as Panama.  In the reverse fixture, the Mexicans scored late to win 2-1.  The Jamaicans will play Panama three days later before hosting Costa Rica.  All teams are directly above them in the table.  

 

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