Despite losing by 90 runs to Australia in their warm-up match on the weekend, West Indies Women Captain Stafanie Taylor remains optimistic about how well her team will perform during the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup campaign.

That said, she opined that she doesn’t mind if the 2016 champions are considered underdogs this time around, saying that the team is a good space and is focused on the task at hand and that they won’t be letting anything distract them from taking the tournament one game at a time.

“I think we're in a really good space at the moment. The two practice games are for us to focus on ourselves and work on ourselves before the first official game against New Zealand,” Taylor said.

“We don't mind being underdogs. It’s good that we don’t get too ahead of ourselves, and some people don't look at us being a 50-over team, but I’ve seen us getting better and better so that's a plus for us.”

The West Indies Women will take on India in the second of their two warm-up games at the Rangiora Oval in Christchurch on Tuesday.

England opener Zak Crawley insists he never feared for his Test career despite enduring a "horrible" run of form in 2021.

Crawley was dropped for parts of a year that saw him register just 173 runs at an average of 10.81.

A 77 in Sydney against Australia in January helped England to salvage draw in the fourth Ashes Test and avoid a series whitewash.

Crawley, who turned 24 this month, is hoping to build on that as England play West Indies in three Test matches with a new-look group after eight players were dropped.

"No, I didn't fear it was finished," Crawley told Sky Sports when asked if he was worried about his Test career. "I knew I was young and I always believed in myself.

"It was a horrible year last year in terms of the stats, but I thought it was a bit misleading actually – I felt like I was a bit unlucky with conditions in some places when I got a chance.

"So now when conditions are hopefully in my favour I need to make sure I cash in and make up for that

"You learn a lot more from your failures than your successes and I learned an awful lot about myself last year.

"I think I'm a lot better player for it – there are no certainties in life but I feel good about my game at the moment and hopefully I’ll score good runs in this series

"It still wasn't the runs I wanted but the way that I played [against Australia], I was pleased with. It's given me a platform to kick on from. I feel I understand my game a lot more now, after having a tough year.

"You create your own luck. Obviously, people trusted in me again and I'm looking to repay them and score a lot of runs for them this year and for England in general.

"I think we're going to have a good year and hopefully I can be a big part of that."

The first Test at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium starts on March 8.

England will be led by interim coach Paul Collingwood after Chris Silverwood was dismissed in the wake of the 4-0 Ashes loss.

"There's a lot of excitement about this series, we're loving being here in the Caribbean – it's a great place to travel to and play," added Crawley.

"We're really looking forward to the series and we're a positive group at the moment.

"It's pretty easy [to put the Ashes behind you]. We know what when wrong, we've analysed what we did wrong and we're looking to move forwards now. 

"You learn a lot in general from losing actually and it gives you a chance to bounce back strongly. I think we will during this series and in the coming year."

Cricket West Indies President Ricky Skerritt has paid tribute to Sonny Ramadhin, the legendary spin bowler who passed away at age 92.

Ramadhin was an outstanding match-winner and formed a famous partnership with left-arm spinner Alf Valentine throughout their careers. They were a crucial part of the team which led West Indies to a famous 3-1 series win against England in 1950. Ramadhin had remarkable match figures of 11 wickets for 152 runs in the historic win at Lords – West Indies first Test match win in England.

“On behalf of CWI, I want to express our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Sonny Ramadhin, one of the great pioneers of West Indies cricket. Mr Ramadhin made an impact from the moment he first stepped onto the field of World Cricket,” Skerritt said.

“Many stories are told of his tremendous feats on the 1950 tour when he combined with Alf Valentine to form cricket’s ‘spin twins’ as West Indies conquered England away from home for the first time. This iconic tour is part of our rich cricket legacy, which was pioneered by Mr Ramadhin and others of his generation.

“His English exploit was celebrated in a famous calypso – and is still remembered more than 70 years later. Today we salute Sonny Ramadhin for his outstanding contribution to West Indies cricket.”

Ramadhin was born in Trinidad on May 1, 1929. He made his Test debut against England at Old Trafford in 1950 in the team alongside the legendary Three Ws, Sir Frank Worrell, Sir Everton Weekes and Sir Clyde Walcott.

 He played 43 Test matches and took 158 wickets at an average of 28.98 each. His best bowling figures were 7-49 against England at Edgbaston in 1957. Overall, he played 184 first-class matches and captured 758 wickets at 20.24 each.

 

-ENDS-

Former West Indies spinner Sonny Ramadhin has died aged 92, Cricket West Indies President Ricky Skerritt has confirmed. He was living in England at the time of his death.

Between 1950 and 1961, Ramadhin played 43 Tests for the West Indies taking 158 wickets at 28.98.

Born in Esperance Village in Trinidad and Tobago, in 1929, Ramadhin was introduced to cricket at the Canadian Mission School in Duncan Village.

His trials for the West Indian team were two first-class matches bowling for Trinidad versus Jamaica, where he took 12 wickets at an average of 19.25. The performance led to his selection for the 1950 tour to England at the age of 20.

During the 1950 series between West Indies and England, Ramadhin and fellow spinner Alf Valentine dominated the English batting taking 59 wickets between them.

West Indies won the series 3-1, which was their first series victory in England. When England returned to the West Indies in early 1954, Ramadhin took 13 wickets in the first two Tests and was instrumental in West Indies' victory.

West Indies Women suffered a 90-run defeat to Australia in their first warm-up match of the ICC Women's Cricket World Cup played at Lincoln Green.

West Indies Women’s captain, Stafanie Taylor, is confident the team is an improving force in One Day International cricket, ahead of the start of the ICC Women's Cricket World Cup, which bowls off in under a week’s time.

The West Indies, who briefly took part in the qualifiers, will get their campaign underway against host New Zealand on Friday, with few having the team among the favourites to win the title.  For one, the West Indies have never won the tournament with their best result coming in 2013 when they finished runners-up to Australia.

Nor is the team’s record in the format particularly impressive.  Over the last five years, the team has won just 3 of the last 14 series.  In that run of games, they played 46 matches, winning 15, drawing 2, and losing 27 with 2 no results.  Taylor, however, believes the team has shown improvement in recent months, with two of those wins coming in the last year.

“I think we're making strides (in the ODI format),” Taylor told members of the media.

"For us, it is more about improving every time and getting better at that,” she added.

The team has, however, never beaten New Zealand with their last encounter ending in a chastening 205 runs defeat to close out a 3-0 series defeat in 2018.

“We’re pretty excited about that. You probably wouldn't want to play the hosts in the first game but it is what it is,” Taylor said.

“I think for us, we have to go out there and play to the best of our abilities. You can see New Zealand doing pretty well, we've had a lot of cricket to look at, so hopefully we could get one over them."

Leeward Island Hurricanes batsman Devon Thomas has earmarked the upcoming West Indies President’s XI match as another opportunity to showcase his ability with improved consistency.

The 32-year-old top-order batsman has been one of the outstanding players in the West Indies Championship so far.  After two rounds, the player’s 242 runs scored at an average of 80.66 puts him second behind West Indies red ball captain Kraigg Brathwaite, who has scored 341 so far.

The Leeward Hurricanes have won one match and lost one match so far, his highest score of 112 critical in a fightback against Barbados.  Despite his exploits, he was not named to the West Indies squad to face England in the first Test but did find his name among those taking part in a 12-man President’s XI squad.

“I’m just looking at it as getting the opportunity to play some cricket, so I give thanks for that. I was motivated since last year during the 2020/21 season and I just (took) it over into 2022 and try to do a lot better and be a bit more consistent. I am trying to stay in the moment and trying to be more consistent,” Thomas told the Antigua Observer.

“I had a goal before the match where I was looking for 150 runs, but I got a bit close to that. It could have been more, but I was pleased at the end of the day. I think we had good performances in both games but we were short of a player in the first game when Jerimiah Louis came down with a sickness and we played with 10 men throughout the whole game.”

The CWI President’s XI squad will play England in a four-day warm-up match at the Coolidge Cricket Ground (CCG) starting March 1.

West Indies pace bowler Shannon Gabriel remains very much a part of the plans of the new Desmond Haynes-led selection panel despite not being selected in the squad for the first Test against England.

The 33-year-old pace bowler, who has been playing for Trinidad and Tobago Red Force in the West Indies Championship, was not named among the 15-man squad for the first Test or Presidents XI.  His omission is, however, due to sustaining a hamstring injury.

“Shannon was injured in the game that he played in Trinidad.  We were told by the medical panel that he is having a bit of a problem with his hamstring and would not be fit for selection,” Haynes told members of the media on Wednesday.

“Shannon did very well against England the last tour here.  He’s probably our fastest bowler and we are hoping to get him fit so that he can be on the park."

Overall Gabriel has taken 37 wickets against England in 11 matches and took 5 for 25 and overall figures of 9 for 137 when he face England in 2020.  The English went on to win the series 2-1.  Concerns have been raised over the player’s workload in recent times after the fast bowler has found himself sidelined by a few injuries.

Out-of-favour West Indies opening batsman Kieran Powell has admitted it was a disappointment to not at least be considered for the CWI President’s XI squad ahead of the upcoming four-match Test series against England.

The 31-year-old left-hander missed out on a chance under the new selection panel, after being skipped over in favour of Jamaica batsman John Campbell.  Powell, who last played for the West Indies last August against Pakistan, has scored 144 runs in two matches for the Leeward Islands in the West Indies Championship, the seventh-best so far.

Campbell has in the meantime scored 213.  With performances, the batsman believes there could also have been some consideration for Leewards no. 3 Devon Thomas who has scored 242, the second most behind West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite, who has 341.

“I definitely thought that if I didn’t make the Test squad I would make the President’s XI based on the performances, but I saw Devon Thomas batting the way that nobody else in the Caribbean batted in those two games and if the team is going to be selected on performances, the way that he has played is second to none so you would like to think that he would have gotten into this squad,” Powell told the Mason and Guest radio show.

Despite not making the squad, however, Powell was pleased with his start to the season and expressed disappointment at the competition going on a break during the England tour.

“I’m pretty happy with where I was able to get to.  I’m very disappointed the season was halted after two matches because you would have seen cricket not being played for two years and guys were so excited to get back out there and the level of cricket the Leewards played in those games, we had some tough decisions against Barbados and a few things could have gone our way.”

 

Former West Indies batsman, Carlisle Best, insists he does not understand the reluctance by Cricket West Indies (CWI) to part ways with team captain Kieron Pollard and coach Phil Simmons given the team’s recent poor run of performances.

Simmons, who was appointed a coach of the team in 2019, and Pollard, who was appointed West Indies white-ball captain that same year, have come under immense pressure in recent months, following a string of bad results and poor performances.

An aging Windies squad put in a poorly, lackluster showing at last year’s T20 World Cup, where they exited meekly, and followed that up with a historical One Day International series loss to Ireland and 3-0 T20 series sweep at the hands of Pakistan.

The team rallied to beat England 3-2 in a T20 series against England last month but were defeated 6-0 overall, 3-0 (ODI), 3-0 (T20I), in their most recent tour of India.  In particular,  the batting form of the team has been lambasted with many believing there to be an overall lack of concentration or engagement.  Best believes given the results the leaders of the squad have to be judged on what they have accomplished to date.

“What kind of leader is not going to be accountable for the results that occur under his stewardship,” Best told the Mason and Guest radio show. 

“If we are going forward, we have to focus primarily on performances and those performances have to be result oriented…Do we want a winning team and can we find that winning formula, certainly we do not have that formula now with either captain Pollard or coach Simmons. It’s as simple as that,” he added.

“The writing was on the wall a long time ago when he made the comment publicly that IPL and Trinidad came before West Indies cricket that is well documented and yet he finds himself as a Putin of West Indies cricket.”

England captain Joe Root believes there is still a way back for Stuart Broad and James Anderson, and admitted that he is grateful to have maintained his own position after a dire Ashes series.

Anderson and Broad have been outspoken about their omissions from the squad for the upcoming tour of the West Indies, with the latter also criticising the fact that he was only informed of the decision via a brief phone call with Interim managing director of cricket Andrew Strauss.

Strauss selected the 16-man squad along with interim coach Paul Collingwood and head scout James Taylor, after a 4-0 Ashes defeat led to the departure of England head coach Chris Silverwood.

Despite seeing his experienced team-mates dropped, Root claimed there could be a way back into the fold for the duo.

"I've spoken both to Stuart and Jimmy and they're obviously disappointed and angry. Stuart in particular has voiced that quite publicly," Root said, as reported via The Telegraph.

"You'd expect that. I've got a huge amount of respect for both of them. It's been made very clear, no one is saying this is the end for them. 

"If we're in a position where [Broad and Anderson] can come back into this team, then great, that's only going to strengthen things. No-one's been told that it's the end of the road."

Anderson and Broad have taken a combined 1,177 Test wickets, ranking as the country's two most prolific bowlers of all time in the longest format.

With a number of regulars, such as Jos Buttler and Rory Burns, missing the Windies tour, Root acknowledged he was thankful to keep his place, though he has never lost faith in his own ability.

Indeed, despite England's poor display as a team Down Under, Root enjoyed a stellar 2021, scoring 1,708 runs across 29 Test innings.

 

"It's never nice when you see people that you've worked closely with for a long period of time lose their jobs," Root continued.

"Clearly it was a disappointing tour [in Australia] and we massively underperformed. As Straussy mentioned, [we need] a bit of a reset, and a real chance to take things forward. I'm very grateful that I've got the opportunity to do that as captain.

"It's a real opportunity that we've got to take with both hands. It's obviously a very new-looking squad, and it's a real chance for the guys to step up and really take the chances that are presented to them – me included.

"I didn't waver. I'm very passionate about trying to take this team forward. I'm grateful I've got that opportunity, I really am."

Root posted a batting average of just 32.2 throughout England's third consecutive series defeat in Australia, well down on his career Test average of 49.23, but will now attempt bounce back by leading England to just their second series win in the Caribbean since 1968.

James Anderson insists he still has "a lot left to offer" after speaking for the first time since being surprisingly left out of England's squad for the upcoming Test series against West Indies, from which Stuart Broad is also absent.

Both have been left out of the squad for next month's tour after a dismal Ashes series led to the departure of head coach Chris Silverwood.

Interim managing director of cricket Andrew Strauss – who replaced the outgoing Ashley Giles – as well as interim coach Paul Collingwood and head scout James Taylor made up a three-man selection committee ahead of the series, which begins in Antigua on March 8.

Strauss insists there remains a way back for both bowlers, who have taken 1,177 Test wickets between them.

However, Anderson – who turns 40 in July – said on the Tailenders podcast: "I'm praying this isn't the end.

"But if I never play for England again, I know I've got amazing people around me to support me and that's really important."

He confirmed his intention to perform for Lancashire when the County Championship starts in April, with the aim of working his way back into England reckoning.

"I've got one more go at digging deep," Anderson added. "I've got a lot left to offer – I've still got the hunger and passion to play.

"It was a shock and a disappointment to get that call but having processed it, it's important I try to focus on stuff I can control and that's showing people what I can do with the ball in my hand."

Anderson is England's record Test wicket-taker with 640 to his name in 169 matches at an average of 26.58, and has taken five wickets in an innings 31 times, more than any other England bowler.

 

Broad had previously hit out at his own omission, writing in the Daily Mail earlier this month: "I am waking up more confused and angrier with each passing day. I feel gutted. 

"Do I need to prove myself again? In my mind, I've nothing to prove. I am a proven performer, so it is now about the English cricketing summer and targeting the home series against New Zealand in June."

West Indies women’s team head coach Courtney Walsh is convinced the team heading to ICC Women’s World next month is a well-balanced one.

On Monday, Cricket West Indies announced the naming of a 15-man squad, which as expected will be led by Windies Women captain Stephanie Taylor and feature several other experienced players.  Joining the likes of Taylor will be the experienced Deandra Dottin, Shemaine Campbell, and Anisa Mohammed who will be headed to her fourth World Cup.

The team, however, will also feature a host of younger players and two uncapped players Kaysia Schultz and Jannellia Glasgow in the reserves.  Walsh believes the team’s combination is suited to performing well in all areas.

“We were just trying to get the best combination we thought for the World Cup, so all the tours we had, the camps and thing.  All those things were taken into consideration in trying to get as balance an attack as we can in terms of batting, bowling, and fielding as well,” Walsh said.

“We wanted the complete package with regards to batting, bowling, and fielding. The 18 players that we have here is what we as the selectors thought was the best balanced 18, we could take. We have an adequate backup should there be any injuries.”

West Indies lead selector, Desmond Haynes, insists fixing the squad’s issues at the top of the order will be a priority for the new panel.

The team’s struggles, particularly at the top of the order, have been well documented in recent times.  The issue of finding a consistent partner for team captain Kraigg Brathwaite is one of the primary concerns.

Over the last five years, Brathwaite, who has scored 2188 in 40 matches during that time, has been consistent but it has proven to be somewhat of a carousel in terms of finding an opening pairing with Kieron Powell, John Campbell, and Shai Hope all being trailed for the spot at various times.

In November, Jeremy Solozano was also set to be trialed in the position, against Sri Lanka, but did not get the opportunity after being struck on the helmet while fielding.  Ahead of the England series, Haynes and the selectors have decided to turn back to Campbell who was dropped from the team in June of last year.

The batsman has had a strong start to the West Indies Championship after scoring 213 runs in two matches so far.  Since 2019, Campbell has played 15 matches for the West Indies scoring 640 runs.

“There was good discussion regarding the opening.  That in itself is something we want to resolve shortly.  I think in all the good teams you find they have good opening batsmen so we are hoping to get our opening batsmen some confidence and make sure they can do the job for us,” Haynes told members of the media on Tuesday.

“I think we went with Campbell not just because he got the 100 but talking to the captain and him batting with Campbell in the games that he has played, we had a bit of success there,” he added.

“It was a bit unfortunate for Jeremy but we decided we would put him in the president’s XI’s game where the selectors could have another look at him because it was a bit unfortunate because after being struck on the head he didn’t get a chance to play in Sri Lanka.  

The Cricket West Indies (CWI) Selection Panel on Tuesday named the West Indies Men’s squad for the first Apex Test match against England, as well as the CWI President’s XI squad for the four-day warm-up match.

The first Apex Test will be played at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium from March 8-12, following the warm-up match at the Coolidge Cricket Ground (CCG) from March 1-4.

In the West Indies Test squad, there is a maiden call-up for fast bowler Anderson Phillip and a recall for opener John Campbell. Both players were impressive in the first two rounds of the current West Indies Championship, with 25-year-old Phillip from Trinidad & Tobago Red Force, taking 12 wickets at an average of 14.25 per wicket, with best figures of 5-82 against Jamaica Scorpions and 28-year-old Campbell from Jamaica Scorpions hitting 213 runs at an average of 53.25, including 127 against Barbados Pride.

The West Indies squad will assemble in Antigua from February 25 for a training camp ahead of the Apex Test Series.

Shane Dowrich, the experienced wicketkeeper/batsman has been named as captain of the CWI President’s XI with Raymon Reifer, the left-handed allrounder as the vice-captain.

“Anderson Phillip bowled extremely well and was very impressive in the first two rounds of the West Indies Championship and we decided to give him an opportunity in the Test squad to face England. He has been around the squad before in white-ball cricket, so he has some experience at the international level,” lead selector Desmond Haynes said.

“I expect us to be very competitive against England. This should be a very exciting series, with a lot of players who are out to make their mark. We have a squad that has some experienced players, as well as some exciting young players and we expect them to equip themselves well and do the job,” he added.

West Indies Test Squad: Kraigg Brathwaite (Captain), Jermaine Blackwood (Vice-Captain), Nkrumah Bonner, Shamarh Brooks, John Campbell, Joshua Da Silva, Jason Holder, Alzarri Joseph, Kyle Mayers, Veerasammy Permaul, Anderson Phillip, Kemar Roach, Jayden Seales

CWI President’s XI Squad: Shane Dowrich (Captain), Raymon Reifer (Vice-Captain), Colin Archibald, Alick Athanaze, Keacy Carty, Bryan Charles, Shermon Lewis, Preston McSween, Shayne Moseley, Jeremy Solozano, Shamar Springer, Devon Thomas

 

 

 

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