The West Indies white-ball tour is at risk of being cancelled after five additional members of the touring party tested positive for Covid-19 during PCR tests administered by the Pakistan Cricket Board on Wednesday.

Shai Hope, Akeal Hosein, Justin Greaves as well as Assistant Coach Roddy Estwick and team physician Dr Akshai Mansingh all returned positive results and will now undergo a period of self-isolation. Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell, and Kyle Mayers had tested positive prior to the start of the series are also in isolation.

With a total of six players now ruled out of the tour due to COVID-19 and a finger injury to Devon Thomas (sustained in the 1st T20I), CWI and PCB Officials met Thursday morning, after all members of the touring party were tested again, to determine whether the tour can continue.

According to sources, it was decided that the final T20 will be played but the ODI series could be called off if there is a further outbreak among the West Indies players.

The West Indies trail 0-2 in the T20 having lost the first match on December 13 by 63 runs and the second on December 14, by nine runs.

 

West Indies T20 captain, Nicholas Pooran, said he is unable to explain why his players, himself included, continue to make mistakes that prove to be costly in matches. Pooran was speaking with the media in the wake of his team’s narrow loss in the second of three T20 Internationals in Karachi on Tuesday.

The issue of Andre Russell’s loyalty to West Indies cricket was up for discussion on the Mason&Guest talk show in Barbados on Tuesday night and it sparked a contentious conversation between the show’s host Andrew Mason and CWI West Indies Vice-President Kishore Shallow.

Mason believes the CWI is seemingly willing to bend over backwards to accommodate the players’ fancies.

Russell had declared himself unavailable for the West Indies tour of Pakistan for three T20 Internationals citing personal reasons. A relatively inexperienced West Indies team has so far lost two of the three matches with one match to go on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Russell signed on to represent the Melbourne Stars in Australia’s Big Bash League. On the weekend, he scored an unbeaten 42 from 21 balls and was named Man of the Match in the Stars’ six-wicket win over the Sydney Thunder.

On Tuesday, Dr Shallow sought to explain why Russell was in Australia and not in Pakistan helping the West Indies.

“Russell indicated to the lead selector that he was mentally fatigued in the bubble and in the Big Bash League, where he is now, he would be required to be in a bubble,” Dr Shallow said. “That was the rationale provided to the lead selector.”

An obviously exasperated Mason was unable to contain his displeasure at the situation where certain players only choose to represent the West Indies when it suits them to.

“Yes, Dr Shallow, they have got to get the opportunity to make money but there is a word called ‘sacrifice’,” Mason declared, adding that such situations are almost unique to the West Indies.
“The other players don’t do it to their countries, and I am sure Russell is going to be ready to play for us in the world cup and we are going to pick him.

“We cannot continue with the foolishness with these guys.”

Sir Andy Roberts also weighed in on Dr Shallow’s explanation, suggesting that the players seem to make their decisions based on money only.

“These guys just don’t want to play for the West Indies because the fees ain't that high,” said the long-retired fast bowler. “I am not saying that they should not be allowed to go but they should only go if the West Indies do not require their services.”

This is not the first time Russell has faced criticism over his decisions on when to represent the West Indies.

In December 2020, the iconic Antiguan fast bowler publicly criticized Andre Russell, who declined an invitation to play for the West Indies against New Zealand but later went to play in the Sri Lanka Premier League T20.

Chief selector Roger Harper told media that Russell declined the West Indies invitation citing the need to clear his mind after being in quarantine lockdown for both the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) in Trinidad and Tobago where he played for the Jamaica Tallawahs franchise and then, the Indian Premier League (IPL) in Abu Dhabi where he played for the Kolkata Knight Riders.

“Because he wants to clear his head for a while to get his mind together, I have no problem with that because cricket is a high-pressure game,” Ambrose said then.

“So if you want to clear your head for a while, take your mind off cricket I have no issues with that, but if you are going to reject playing for your nation, your country, and then two weeks later you’re playing for somebody else, that to me is a no-no.”

In a later interview, Ambrose provided further clarity.

“The game has evolved. There is a lot more cricket being played now and many different T20 tournaments around the globe and there’s lots more money as well, so guys are going to go where the money is and I have no issues with that,” Ambrose said.

“A cricket career can be a very short one, once you have an injury it could be all over for you so with guys going around plying their trade with different franchises making money to set themselves up financially, I have no issues with it.

“However, I think it needs to strike a balance somewhere because most of these guys who are playing their trade around the world, it’s because they played for the West Indies team why people saw them and gave them contracts.

So for me, you need to find a balance somewhere where you can give back to West Indies cricket. You need to give back to West Indies cricket at some point as opposed to abandoning West Indies

West Indies batting legend Brian Lara has been named a brand ambassador for Indian consumer deliverables company USHA International.

A Man of the Match performance from Shadab Khan helped Pakistan take an unassailable 2-0 series lead against the West Indies after a nine-run win in the second T20 International in Karachi today.

A late cameo of 28 from 12 balls by Shadab Khan propelled Pakistan to a respectable 172-8 off their 20 overs in the second T20 international against West Indies in Karachi Tuesday.

Pakistan won the toss and chose to bat first.

After getting to 14 without loss in the second over, Mohammed Rizwan and captain Babar Azam inexplicably went for a single that resulted in the Pakistan captain being run out for seven.

Rizwan and new batsman Fakhar Zaman attempted to steady the ship with a 19-run fourth over off Oshane Thomas to take the score to 38-1. The partnership was broken by Akeal Hosein, who had Zaman stumped for 10.

That wicket brought together, Rizwan and Haider Ali, who on Monday scored half-centuries in Pakistan's 63-run win over the visitors. Together, they guided the hosts to 50-2 at the end of the first powerplay.

Hosein bowled his four overs within the first seven and was once again excellent with figures of 1-16 to follow up his 1-19 performance Monday.

Pakistan were still only 2 wickets down at the halfway mark as Rizwan and Ali played sensibly to take the score to 73-2. The partnership was broken in the 12th over when Odean Smith had Rizwan caught at short cover for 38 from 30 balls. Smith got his second wicket of the day when Haider was caught at deep point by Shamarh Brooks for 31 on the last ball of the 14th over.

Hayden Walsh Jr got his first wicket in the very next over, removing Mohammad Nawaz, who was caught at deep mid-wicket for one.

Pakistan ended the 15th over 113-5 with Iftikhar Ahmed at the crease on 14 and Asif Ali on two.

Rovman Powell took an excellent catch off the bowling of Romario Shepherd to remove Ali for nine off the second ball of the 17th over to reduce Pakistan to 124-6.

Iftikhar hit two sixes off Thomas in the 18th over but was then dismissed caught behind off the last ball for a well-played 32 from 19 balls.

Shadab Khan brought up Pakistan’s 150 with a straight six off Dominic Drakes off the second ball of the 19th over.

Mohammad Wasim Jr was run out on the second to last ball of the innings for five.

Pakistan finished their 20 overs 172-8 with Mohammad Rizwan top-scoring with 38 and Iftikhar Ahmed getting 32.

Odean Smith and Akeal Hosein were the best performers for the West Indies with the ball with 2-24 from 3 overs and 1-16 from four overs, respectively.

The West Indies lost the first T20 International against Pakistan by 63 runs in Karachi on Monday. Chasing 201 for victory, the Caribbean men folded for 137 in 19 overs.

The West Indies lost too many wickets early with Brandon King (1), Nicholas Pooran (18) and Devon Thomas (2) all back in the hutch within the first six overs. It would only get worse for the visitors, who slumped to 60-5 after losing Shai Hope for 31 and Shamarh Brooks for five within three balls of the 10th over bowled by Shabad Khan.

Not even the in-form Rovman Powell could rescue the West Indies. Powell hit a four and two sixes before he, too, fell to Khan for 23 off 15 balls.

His was the seventh-wicket to fall after Dominic Drakes had been dismissed by Haris Rauf for five.

Romario Shepherd and Odean Smith provided some rearguard resistance with a partnership of 46 that was eventually broken when Shaheen Shah Afridi bowled Smith for 24 with the West Indies still needing 67 from the last two overs.

Romario Shepherd went next ball, bowled for 21 by Mohammad Wasim, who would later bowl Oshane Thomas for one, to finish with 4-40.

Shabad Khan took 3-17 from his four overs.

Earlier, half-centuries from Mohammad Rizwan and Man-of-the-Match Haider Ali had steered Pakistan to 200-6 off their 20 overs after Nicholas Pooran won the toss and sent the home team to bat.

The visitors had immediate success when Babar Azam was dismissed in the first over bowled by Akeal Hosein, who got the Pakistan captain to nick one into the gloves of Shai Hope behind the stumps.

The West Indies had further success in the fifth over when Fahkar Azam skied a Romario Shepherd delivery and was caught by Shamarh Brooks for 10 to have Pakistan at 35-2.

Despite the loss of those two wickets, Pakistan maintained a healthy strike rate with Rizwan and Ali putting together a stand of 105 in 62 balls before Rizwan was caught in the deep by Odean Smith, who gifted Shepherd with his second wicket of the match.

Rizwan ran well between the wickets and hit 10 fours in his score of 78 from 52 balls.

The West Indies fought back with the wickets of Asif Ali removed by Oshane Thomas for 1 and Iftikhar Ahmed dismissed by Smith for seven as Pakistan slipped from 140-3 to 161-5.

However, Ali and Mohammad Nawaz, kept Pakistan above nine an over, the latter being rather brutal hitting three fours and two sixes in his unbeaten 10-ball 30.

Between them, they scored 30 from 11 balls before Ali was the last man out for 68 in the 20th over bowled by Dominic Drakes.

Drakes ended with figures of 1-43 from his four overs. Smith proved expensive with 1-52 from his four while Shepherd was the best of the bowlers with 2-43. Twenty-one of those runs came off his last over, the 19th of the innings.

 

Half-centuries from Mohammad Rizwan and Haider Ali steered Pakistan to 200-6 off their 20 overs in the first of their three T20 internationals against a new-look West Indies team in Karachi on Monday.

Nicholas Pooran, West Indies T20 captain for the tour of Pakistan that begins on Monday, believes the absence of Kyle Mayers, Sheldon Cottrell and Roston Chase for the series, presents opportunities for other players to show what they are worth.

The three players tested positive for Covid-19 on arrival in Pakistan last week and have been ruled out of the tour that involves three T20 internationals and three ODI’s from December 13 to 22. 

While describing the situation as being ‘unfortunate’, the Trinidadian, who is leading the team in the absence of the injured Kieron Pollard, said that while the unavailability of the three players will disrupt their initial plans, he believes it presents a chance for others to take advantage.

“(The) selectors and coaches had original plans on what the 11 would look like, who was going to play, who wasn’t going to play,” Pooran told members of the media Sunday.

“When saying that, other guys are going to get the opportunity to showcase their talent and abilities, so we are looking forward to seeing those guys take their opportunity.”

The three players out with Covid is expected to have a major impact on the team that is already without several of its senior players including Andre Russell, Jason Holder, Shimron Hetmyer and Evin Lewis.

In their absence players like Odean Smith, Gudakesh Motie, Dominic Drakes, Justin Greaves and Shamarh Brooks, are among those aiming to cement a place in the team that has begun a process of rebuilding following a disastrous ICC T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates where the West Indies was eliminated in the group stage after winning only one of their five matches.

Pooran said he is excited to see what the new players will bring to the team.

“It’s obviously a new rebuilding stage for us now. It is unfortunate that we don’t have other senior players here but when saying that I am very excited to see this new crop of players get onto that cricket field,” he said.

“I believe that there are a lot of talented players here, a lot of special players, especially when it comes to the shorter form of the game so I am very excited to see what’s going to happen on the cricket field. I am looking forward to seeing us play together, sticking to our plans as much as possible and being hungry for success.”

 

 

 

There will be free entry to watch cricket’s future stars in the ICC Under 19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2022, starting on January 14.

Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell and Kyle Mayers are all unavailable for the West Indies T20 series against Pakistan after returning positive Covid-19 tests in Karachi.

West Indies head coach, Phil Simmons, says he’s looking for the young players to put their hands up during their white-ball tour of Pakistan starting December 13.

The West Indies will face Pakistan in three T20I and three ODIs during the tour that concludes on December 20 and Simmons is expecting members of the team to stand up and be counted.

“We’re looking to see who’s going to put their hand up to be a major player in this team. It’s about them putting up their hands and saying we want to go forward with this team. We want to do the things that are necessary to help this team win,” Simmons said.

Speaking in a press conference Friday after the team’s arrival in Pakistan, Simmons acknowledged that this is the team’s first white-ball assignment since the disastrous World Cup campaign and that it is time to move on from that.

“We know what happened in the World Cup and we’re not going to go back there. We’re looking to move forward and see who now wants to move forward with this team and our different ideas of how we want to play,” he said.

The former Ireland and Afghanistan coach also expressed that while many know what these players are capable of, it is time for them to show it in high-pressure situations.

“Yes, we have an idea of what they can deliver, but they’ve got to go out there and start showing us now that they can deliver under pressure. Playing against Pakistan in Pakistan is as much pressure as you can get,” said Simmons.

Simmons says he’s anticipating how the mental approach within the squad will change.

“We’re looking forward to seeing how things are going to change within this squad, not just from a cricketing point of view but also an attitude point of view,” Simmons said.

The West Indies coach also noted the threat of Pakistan left-arm pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi.

“He’s been brilliant for Pakistan and I’m sure he will continue to improve. Our batsmen will work on plans to of how to play him, how to score off him and we’ll see how their plans work out when the games come about,” said Simmons.

 

Former West Indies batsman, Philo Wallace, says the Caribbean side should look to the future instead of the past in order to return West Indies cricket to what it once was.

Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, The Honourable Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, has described West Indies Cricket as being in a state of crisis.

Speaking on Mason & Guest radio show in Barbados on Tuesday evening, Prime Minister Gonsalves said he based his assessment on a string of poor performances from the Caribbean side and an apparent lack of development.

“On the basis of the recent performances in the T20 World Cup, the abysmally poor outcome we have had in Sri Lanka and the very mediocre performance here in the Caribbean in recent times, I think it would be fair to say that the cricket is now in a state of crisis,” said Gonsalves, who went on to say that he believes a lack of ideas for a way forward from leaders of cricket around the region continues to be a contributing factor to the demise of the game.

“What we are having here is a full-blown crisis, not a crisis of governance so much, but a crisis in the performance which is connected to governance. I see a crisis as a condition in which the principals are innocent of the extent of the condition and have no credible bundle of ideas as to the way forward,” he said.

Gonsalves said he doesn’t believe those in charge of West Indies cricket truly understand the magnitude of the situation at hand.

“Every time I hear persons speak after a poor performance, you get commentary about how we didn’t do so badly; that there are bright spots and we keep looking for them as though we have to fool ourselves as to what is taking place. I don’t think we ought to fool ourselves and I’m not so sure from what I’ve been hearing that the persons who are in charge at different levels fully grasp what is here upon us,” Gonsalves said.

The West Indies next assignment will be a limited-overs tour of Pakistan consisting of three T20 Internationals and three ODIs beginning on December 13.

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.

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