The Cricket West Indies (CWI) interim selection panel has announced the squads for the upcoming series against Ireland and England.

Captain Kieron Pollard is fit again and returns to lead both the ODI and T20 sides that will battle the Irish in three ODIs and one T20I at Sabina Park, in Jamaica, starting January 8.

The CG Insurance ODI Series between West Indies and Ireland will form part of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League, in which the top seven teams can secure automatic qualification for the 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup in India.

The West Indies are currently eighth in those standings with 40 points, while Ireland sits fourth with 50.

The Caribbean side will then play five T20 Internationals against England, in Barbados, beginning on January 22.

“We have tried to maintain the general make-up of the squads from the Pakistan tour before Christmas, with the captain and some senior players coming back in. The challenges in the next couple of months are getting the young players in both squads to not only improve on their skills but maintain the attitude and desire we saw in Pakistan,” said West Indies coach Phil Simmons.

Simmons also emphasized the need for his team to start the year on a good note.

“We do need to start the year on a high. We know both Ireland and England have very good teams so we expect a very strong challenge as we look to improve our chances of automatic qualification for the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2023 and building the team for the ICC T20 World Cup in 2022,” Simmons added.

ODI squad for the Ireland Series: Kieron Pollard (captain), Shai Hope (vice-captain), Shamarh Brooks, Roston Chase, Justin Greaves, Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Gudakesh Motie, Jayden Seales, Nicholas Pooran, Romario Shepherd, Odean Smith, Devon Thomas, and the COVID-19 reserves are Keacy Carty and Sheldon Cottrell.

T20I squad for Ireland and England Series: Kieron Pollard (captain), Nicholas Pooran (vice-captain), Fabian Allen (England T20Is only), Darren Bravo (England T20Is only), Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell, Dominic Drakes, Shai Hope, Akeal Hosein, Jason Holder, Brandon King, Kyle Mayers, Rovman Powell, Romario Shepherd, Odean Smith, Hayden Walsh Jr, and the COVID-19 reserves are Jayden Seales, Alzarri Joseph, and Devon Thomas.

Fabian Allen is fully recovered from an ankle injury but is unavailable for the Ireland series after a positive COVID-19 test.

West Indies Women’s all-rounder, Hayley Matthews, is part of a three-woman shortlist nominated for the ICC One Day International (ODI) Female Cricket of the Year award.

The past year saw the talented 23-year-old put in brilliant performances with both the bat and ball.  In 14 matches Matthews scored 380 runs at an average of 29.23, with one century and one half-century.  She claimed 18 wickets at an average of 22.44 and had an economy rate of 3.33.

Matthews was named Player of the Series when the West Indies Women faced Pakistan in a five-match ODI series in July.  She scored 168 runs, which included a century, and took seven wickets in a series that the Caribbean team won 3-2.

The player was not as impressive against South Africa but returned to full form in the following series against Pakistan.  Matthews started the series with a half-century and three wickets in the first ODI and followed that up with a four-wicket haul in the second game.  The all-rounder ended the series with a knock of 49 in the final match, which helped her side complete a whitewash.

Also in contention for the award are Pakistan’s Fatima Sana, and England’s Tammy Beaumont.

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.

Barbados and West Indies wicketkeeper-batsman Shane Dowrich has retained an attorney as he seeks redress over the process used by Cricket West Indies to deny him a renewal of his contract.

The matter came to light earlier this week when Barbados Cricket Association President Conde Riley revealed that he had received a letter from the player’s attorney on the Mason and Guest sports talk show.

In May 2021, Cricket West Indies announced the players who had been retained for the next cycle and Dowrich was not among them. Dowrich, 30, last played in a Test for the West Indies from December 2-5, 2020, against New Zealand.

In the early stages of that tour, Dowrich suffered a finger injury but later asked to be released from the tour citing personal reasons. However, according to his lawyer Philip Nichols, after being given leave from the West Indies, CWI then claims that he was not offered a new retainer contract because he had not played the requisite number of games to qualify for the said contract.

This is the bone of contention for the player, who at the time when he left New Zealand, was the first-choice wicketkeeper/batsman for the West Indies.

Dowrich was subsequently replaced by Trinidad and Tobago’s Joshua da Silva, who has, for the most part, acquitted himself well representing the West Indies as its wicketkeeper/batsman.

Following the New Zealand tour, CWI failed to follow up with the player to determine whether he had managed to put his ‘personal issues' behind him and was now ready to return to representing the regional side.

Nichols tells Sportsmax.TV that his client hopes to have the matter resolved amicably as it is not his intention for the matter to end up in court.

Dowrich has played 35 Tests for the West Indies scoring 1507 runs at an average of 29.07. He has scored three hundreds and nine fifties in that time.

 

Eoin Morgan will lead a 16-strong T20I squad in England's tour of the West Indies.

The five-match series takes place in Barbados from January 22 to 30, with the first match scheduled only four days after the final Ashes Test is due to end.

Therefore, none of England's Ashes squad have been considered for selection, while Paul Collingwood will stand in for Chris Silverwood as coach.

Morgan's squad still includes 11 players who travelled to the T20 World Cup, with England reaching the semi-finals, only to lose to New Zealand.

Two uncapped players – George Garton and David Payne – were also named.

Dawid Malan is out in Australia with Joe Root's struggling red-ball side, while seamers Jofra Archer, Sam Curran and Tom Curran are out injured.

Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler are also playing Down Under, as is Ben Stokes, who missed the T20 World Cup to focus on his mental wellbeing.

Tom Banton and Saqib Mahmood are the other players to have been called up who were not involved in the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

The series marks the continuation of England's preparations for the 2022 T20 World Cup, which will be held in Australia.

"We have selected a strong squad with some serious batting power and a balanced attack as we begin preparations ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia," said Collingwood.

"The [T20] World Cup is less than a year away and there will be increased opportunities for the squad in the absence of those players who are with the Ashes squad.

"I have good memories winning a World Cup in Barbados and I'm really looking forward to going back there with this squad to face a very good West Indies who will test all aspects of our skills."

England squad in full:

Eoin Morgan (captain), Moeen Ali, Tom Banton, Sam Billings, Liam Dawson, George Garton, Chris Jordan, Liam Livingstone, Saqib Mahmood, Tymal Mill, David Payne, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, Phil Salt, Reece Topley, James Vince.

Businessman Chris Dehring believes the lack of professionalism among West Indies cricketers is hurting the region’s chances of becoming a force in world cricket once more.

The Roger Harper-led West Indies selection panel has been relieved of its duties.

Pakistan achieved their highest ever successful run chase in T20 Internationals on Friday to complete a 3-0 series sweep of the West Indies in Karachi.

The home side made 208-3 from 18.5 overs to win by seven wickets.

The Pakistan opening pair of Mohammad Rizwan and Captain Babar Azam were comfortable throughout the first powerplay, taking 60 from the six overs with Rizwan on 32 and Babar on 27.

The pair raced to 98-0 after 10 overs with Rizwan bringing up a half century, his second of the series, on the last ball of the 10th over, and Babar on 46.

A boundary off the first ball of the 11th over bowled by Oshane Thomas made Mohammad Rizwan the first batsman ever to score 2000 T20 runs in a calendar year.

Babar achieved his 50 off 40 balls in the 12th over.

Rizwan and Babar brought up their 150-run partnership in the 15th over, which ended with Pakistan 158-0, still needing a further 50 from 30 balls to secure the sweep.

Babar was finally dismissed for 79 on the first ball of the 16th over bowled by Odean Smith.

Rizwan’s brilliant innings of 87 from 45 balls was finally ended in the 18th over when he was caught off the bowling of Dominic Drakes leaving Pakistan on 184-2 needing 24 off 16 balls to win.

Fakhar Zaman was the next Pakistan batsman to go, caught in the 19th over off the bowling Romario Shepherd for 12 to leave them 195-3.

Pakistan got to their target off 18.5 overs thanks to a late cameo of 21 from seven balls from Asif Ali.

Earlier, The West Indies won the toss and elected to bat, posting an excellent 207-3 thanks to 64 from captain Nicholas Pooran.

He was well supported by Shamarh Brooks who got 49 and Brandon King who scored 43.

Shahnawaz Dahani was Pakistan's best bowler on the day with 1-23 from his four overs.

Mohammad Rizwan was named Man of the Match and, after his brilliant 203 runs in three matches, was also named Man of the Series.

The West Indies have set Pakistan a target of 208 to win the third and final T20 in Karachi thanks to 64 from Captain Nicholas Pooran, his highest T20 International score.

Darren Bravo and Gudakesh Motie replaced Shai Hope and Akeal Hosein in the team for this game as Hope and Hosein were among the five additional members of the touring party to test positive for COVID-19 during PCR tests administered by the Pakistan Cricket Board on Wednesday.

With Hope missing, Shamarh Brooks joined regular opener, Brandon King, at the top of the innings. Together they brought up 50 in the fifth over with King going well on 37 and Brooks on 11.

King was dismissed on the last ball of the powerplay by Mohammed Wasim Jr for a well-played 43 to leave the team 66-1 after six overs.

Pooran came to the crease to join Brooks who was on 21.

Brooks narrowly missed out on a maiden T20 International 50 when he was dismissed for 49 by Shahnawaz Dahani in the 10th over to leave the West Indies 99-2.

After 15 overs the West indies were 153-2 with Pooran on 37 and Bravo on 16. Pooran brought up his fourth T20 International 50 in the 17th over off 31 balls.

He was eventually dismissed by Wasim Jr for 64 from 37 balls to leave his team 192-3 in the 18th over.

The 200 came up in the 19th over with Bravo on 30 and Rovman Powell on four.

The West Indies eventually ended their turn at the crease on 207-3 with Darren Bravo finishing not out on 34 from 27 balls and Rovman Powell not out on six.

Pacer Shahnawaz Dahani was the pick of the Pakistan bowlers with 1-23 from his four overs.

 

The ODI series between Pakistan and the West Indies have been postponed due to an outbreak of the Covid-19 virus among the visiting delegation. Five additional members of the touring party tested positive for the virus after PCR tests conducted by the Pakistan Cricket Board on Wednesday.

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