West Indies batting great Brian Lara does not believe it would be a good idea to drop an out of form Chris Gayle at this point, despite the player’s struggles at the T20 World Cup thus far.

The 42-year-old batsman has faced heavy scrutiny in recent weeks and has managed just a total of 25 runs in two heavy losses for the Windies at the tournament so far.  The storm of criticism surrounding the batsman, however, extends beyond that.

Heading into the tournament, Gayle had struggled to look like anything close to the player who has scored over 14,000 runs in T20 cricket.  In the last 16 matches, the batsman has averaged 15.93 and scored 239 runs with a strike rate of 13.80, well below his career average of 138.46.

Despite that, however, Lara, considered one of the game’s greatest ever batsmen, believes the player could still have a role to play in the team and should remain a part of the line-up at this point in time.

 "Chris Gayle is already in the World Cup and his experience and the fact that he can pass on something to the younger players is key,” Lara said recently on Star Sports.

"I personally believe that Chris Gayle has to be given a proper send-off. This, I think, is his last tournament. Dismissing Chris Gayle at this stage of the tournament, I am not sure it's the right thing. I would like to see some sort of nice approach for the rest of the tournament. I think he can still make an impression on the younger players even if he doesn't score," he added.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) has congratulated West Indies cricket legends on recently being awarded honorary doctorates from the University of the West Indies (UWI).

Nkrumah Bonner scored an unbeaten 90 as Team (Jermaine) Blackwood reached 234-4 at the end of day one of the BestvBest match against Team Brathwaite at the Coolidge Cricket Ground in Antigua on Wednesday.

Former West Indies fast bowler Andy Roberts insists that based on his strengths and weakness, under pressure batsman Chris Gayle should not be picked for the team if batting below position number three.

The 42-year-old has typically opened for the Caribbean team but has featured at the number 3 position in the last couple of years.  Against South Africa, Gayle batted even further down the order after coming in at 4.  Overall, batting down the order has failed to really bear fruit for the batsman, in West Indies colours, to date.  Gayle had an impressive showing batting at number during the 2020 Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign for Punjab Kings XI but has not managed to replicate that kind of form this season or for the regional team.

In 17 matches batting at the number three position or below, for the West Indies, Gayle has managed a total of 239 runs, at an average of 15.93 and a strike rate of 113.80.  He has a high score of 67 runs.  At the World Cup, having played against England and South Africa so far, Gayle has scored 13 runs from 13 balls, against England, and 12 runs from 12 balls against South Africa.

“If Chris is going to bat below number three then he has no right to be in the team,” Roberts told the Mason and Guest radio show.

“What is he going to do when you need to rotate the strike more as the overs keep going.  Chris’s strong point is batting at the top of the order where he can set the pace by playing his natural game, which is hitting straight.

“If you watch the last few games that he played he tends to use up a lot of dot balls, and not just in the World Cup, that dates back a while.  He takes his time now to try and get in, instead of before from ball one, ball two, you would have to put the field back because he is timing the ball so well.  (Currently) He is struggling for timing.”

Quinton De Kock has apologised to his South Africa team-mates for refusing to take the knee and says he will now make the anti-racism gesture ahead of future matches.

South Africa were without their talismanic wicketkeeper-batsman for Tuesday's T20 World Cup opener with West Indies after he pulled out for "personal reasons".

That came after Cricket South Africa (CSA) agreed all Proteas should take the knee before their remaining World Cup games, as a consistent and united stance against racism.

CSA later confirmed De Kock was absent for the Group 1 match at Dubai International Stadium because of his refusal to follow the directive.

South Africa captain Bavuma said he was "taken aback" by De Kock's stance.

But De Kock has now attempted to resolve the row by releasing a wide-ranging statement following "emotional" talks with the CSA board on Wednesday.

"I would like to start by saying sorry to my team-mates, and the fans back home," the statement, released via CSA on Thursday, read.

"I never ever wanted to make this a Quinton issue. I understand the importance of standing against racism and the responsibility of us as players to set an example. 

"If me taking a knee helps to educate others, and makes the lives of others better, I am more than happy to do so. I did not, in any way, mean to disrespect anyone by not playing against West Indies, especially the West Indian team themselves. 

"Maybe some people don't understand that we were just hit with this on Tuesday morning, on the way to a game. I am deeply sorry for all the hurt, confusion and anger that I have caused."

De Kock has previously been quiet on his decision to not show support for the anti-racism gesture, but he has now explained his reasons why.
 
"For those who don't know, I come from a mixed race family. My half-sisters are coloured and my step mom is black," he said.

"For me, Black lives have mattered since I was born. Not just because there was an international movement. 

"The rights and equality of all people is more important than any individual. I was raised to understand that we all have rights, and they are important. 

"I felt like my rights were taken away when I was told what we had to do in the way that we were told. 

"Since our chat with the board last night, which was very emotional, I think we all have a better understanding of their intentions as well."

He added: "I wish this had happened sooner, because what happened on match day could have been avoided. I know I have an example to set. We were previously told we had the choice to do what we felt we wanted to do.

"I chose to keep my thoughts to myself, and thought of the pride of playing for my family and my country. I didn't understand why I had to prove it with a gesture, when I live and learn and love people from all walks of life every day. 

"When you are told what to do, with no discussion, I felt like it takes away the meaning. If I was racist, I could easily have taken the knee and lied, which is wrong and doesn’t build a better society.  

"Those who have grown up with me and played with me, know what type of person I am. I've been called a lot of things as a cricketer. Doff. Stupid. Selfish. Immature. But those didn't hurt.

"Being called a racist because of a misunderstanding hurts me deeply. It hurts my family. It hurts my pregnant wife. I am not a racist. In my heart of hearts, I know that. And I think those who know me know that. 

"I know I'm not great with words, but I've tried my best to explain how truly sorry I am for making like this is about me. It is not.

"I won't lie, I was shocked that we were told on the way to an important match that there was an instruction that we had to follow, with a perceived 'or else'. 

"I don't think I was the only one. We had camps. We had sessions. We had Zoom meetings. We know where we all stand. And that is together. 

"I love every one of my team-mates, and I love nothing more than playing cricket for South Africa. I think it would have been better for everyone concerned if we had sorted this out before the tournament started.

"Then we could have focused on our job, to win cricket matches for our country. There always seems to be a drama when we go to World Cups. That isn't fair."

De Kock concluded his statement by praising the leadership of Bavuma, who is South Africa's first permanent black captain.

"I just want to thank my team-mates for their support, especially my captain, Temba," he said. "People might not recognise, but he is a flipping amazing leader. 

"If he and the team, and South Africa, will have me, I would love nothing more than to play cricket for my country again."

Legendary West Indies captain Clive Lloyd has questioned the team’s level of planning, particularly when it comes to its batting line-up on the back of two dismal performances to start the T20 World Cup.

The defending champions have been handed back-to-back losses at the hand of England and then South Africa.  Both losses were underpinned by underwhelming performances at the crease, which first saw the West Indies dismissed for 55 and then in the second match collapsed to 143 for 8 all-out after a promising start at 73 for 1.

Following its substandard showing against England, the team tinkered with its batting line-up promoting Nicholas Pooran up the order while pushing Chris Gayle and Shimron Hetmyer further down.

“I think the planning season to be all over the place,” Lloyd said in assessing the team’s performances thus far, on the Mason and Guest radio program.

“I think if you look at what has happened.  Fifty-five runs, we are much better than that.  Our planning seems to be terrible. (Against South Africa) We had a wonderful start, and we didn’t promote people in the proper order,” he added.

“You expect the captain to come up when you are going at 9 an over, to continue, but you send Pooran who hasn’t been batting well and you have Hetmyer who has been batting well and making very good scores.  So, the batting order seems to be all over the place.”

Lloyd believes that for the team to be successful someone has to take control of the batting order.

“At one stage the prediction was 174 and we were down to so, but somewhere along the line, we feel like this game is about hitting sixes.  We are getting caught on the boundary, it’s a big ground.  If I’m at 58, I’m looking to get to 80 or 90, get more runs and take the game away from the opposition.”

Former West Indies captain has been included in the West Indies T20 World Cup squad as a replacement for injured left-arm fast bowler Obed McCoy.

Namibia made a winning start to their T20 World Cup Super 12 campaign with a four-wicket victory over Scotland at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

Scotland were bowled out for just 60 in their heavy loss to Afghanistan in their first Group 2 match but they at least got over the 100 mark on this occasion as they set Namibia a target of 110.

After losing George Munsey to the very first ball, Calum MacLeod and Richie Berrington followed soon after to the bowling of Ruben Trumpelmann without adding any runs to Scotland's tally.

With wickets falling fast, Michael Leask at least gave Scotland something to bat for with 44 runs off 27 balls as they reached 109-8.

Michael van Lingen made a positive start to Namibia's innings with 18 runs before being bowled out by Safyaan Sharif – making his 50th T20I appearance for Scotland – and Zane Green (9) was not far behind.

Craig Williams (23) and David Wiese (16) piled on further scores and, while Scotland did manage to take the game to the final over, JJ Smit (32 not out) got Namibia over the line with five balls to spare.

Namibia play their trump card

The writing was on the wall for Scotland when they lost three wickets for two runs in the first over, with player of the match Trumpelmann responsible for each of those.

He finished with 3-17 and watched on as his team-mates batted to victory with four wickets left to play with.

A new Leask of life

Scotland had just a glimmer of hope as a couple of Namibia wickets fell towards the end, but even that glimpse of a win would never have been possible if not for the earlier batting of Leask.

His stint was ended by Smit, who perhaps appropriately went on to seal the victory for Namibia with a six over point as the African minnows reached 115-6.

England romped to another impressive win at the T20 World Cup as they beat Bangladesh by eight wickets at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

Jason Roy starred as he plundered 61 from 38 balls, helping his team ease to the 125-run target set by their opponents for victory with almost six overs remaining.

Bangladesh won the toss and chose to bat first. They got off to a promising start, putting 10 runs on the board in the first over, with Liton Das hitting Moeen Ali for two boundaries.

However, things soon turned as Moeen (2-18) took two wickets in two balls in the third over, and from there the runs dried up as the wickets steadily fell.

Chris Woakes (1-12) and Liam Livingstone (2-15) impressed with the ball, and the only moment that resembled a fightback from Bangladesh was in the 19th over when Adil Rashid (0-35) was hit for 17, including the only two sixes of the innings from Nasum Ahmed (19).

A solid final over with the ball from Tymal Mills (3-27) saw just four runs scored, with two wickets coming in the final two balls of the innings to leave Bangladesh on 124-9 from their 20 overs, a total England comfortably reached.

Roy sets tone for England reply

Roy smashed the first ball of the innings for four and Jos Buttler hit 18 from 18 balls before falling to Nasum (1-26).

Dawid Malan (28 not out) continued the England momentum but it was five fours and three sixes from Roy in exactly an hour at the crease which did most of the heavy lifting for England.

The opener was out before the end when he hit a Shoriful Islam (1-26) ball into the hands of Nasum, allowing Jonny Bairstow (eight not out) to see his team home with 35 balls still remaining, giving Eoin Morgan's side their second win in as many games in the tournament.

Moeen makes swift progress

Bangladesh had not had a display of Roy's ilk in their own top order thanks to the exploits of Moeen with the ball. Quickly recovering from a potentially damaging first over, the spinner mopped up Das and Mohammad Naim from consecutive balls to reduce Bangladesh to 14-2.

Those were Moeen's third and fourth power play wickets at this World Cup, only trailing Maheesh Theekshana (five) in that regard. Despite the initial wobble, he has also managed an economy rate of 5.5 and a dot ball rate of 64 per cent in this period.

West Indies captain Kieron Pollard has not given up hope on the team advancing to the T20 World Cup semi-finals but has called on the unit to dig deep following a horrendous start to the tournament.

The Caribbean team, who are the defending champions, was routed by England in the first match where they lost by six wickets after being bowled out for 55.  In the second encounter against South Africa, on Tuesday. after a promising start the team was dismissed for a subpar 143, which the Proteas easily chased down to win by 8 wickets.

The loss leave the West Indies rooted at the bottom of the six-team table, with a net run rate of -2.550.  With only the top two teams set to advance to the final four, the Windies are already facing an uphill battle to move on to the next round.  

“Well, we just have to do what it takes,” a dejected Pollard said following the team’s loss to South Africa.

“We have to dig deeper as a team. We have to dig deeper as a batting unit,” he added.

“We have to get wins on the board now. We’ve put ourselves in a position whereas from a run rate perspective that’s pretty low, and from a win percentage we haven’t won any games.

“So we have to win the next three games. We just have to take it one at a time and try to improve each and every time.”

The West Indies will next face Bangladesh on Friday at 5:00 am.

 

West Indies captain Kieron Pollard did not speculate on Quinton de Kock's refusal to take the knee, but suggested education is a major issue when it comes to the gesture.

South Africa were without their talismanic wicketkeeper-batsman for Tuesday's T20 World Cup match, which they still won despite De Kock's absence.

The Cricket South Africa (CSA) board on Monday decided that all players must take the knee before their remaining World Cup games, as a consistent and united stance against racism.

De Kock has previously declined to make the gesture and opted not to play against the Windies at Dubai International Stadium on Tuesday following the demand from CSA.

Proteas captain Temba Bavuma said South Africa players were "taken aback" by De Kock's decision, with the batsman unsure whether the former skipper will play any further part in the World Cup.

Asked about the incident following the Windies' eight-wicket defeat, Bavuma's opposite number Pollard told reporters: "Me personally, I don't know of any player who didn't want to take it. I'm not aware of that.

"So this is sort of news to us or to me. But you know, you guys know our thoughts on this matter. It's something that we feel strongly about as a team and as a people, as well, and we will continue to do it.

"Each and everyone has their own opinions on it, but as I've always said, once you're educated, and you understand, we will understand you doing it, but I think education sort of is the key, and we don't want anyone doing it for us in solitude or to feel sorry for us.

"I'm not aware of which individual you speak about, but I'm guessing afterwards someone will increase my knowledge capacity on what actually transpired."

Pollard was then informed it was De Kock who had withdrawn his participation in the game and was asked if he believes conversations should be held with the South Africa star to educate him on the issue.

"Again, I can't speak on something that I don't know," Pollard replied. "I guess you guys know more than me.

"If I sit here, I'm going to speculate as to what actually transpired in all honesty. Again, if it's an educational thing, I guess then there's persons are wrong to educate.

"I don't think it's my job at this present time to educate. I think I have a lot more on my plate in terms of leading our team, and we're in a position where we need to win cricket games. I don't think that's my forte at the minute."

Pollard hit three boundaries, including a six, in a knock of 26 from 20 deliveries against South Africa, as well as going for nine off the only over he bowled as holders the Windies slumped to a second defeat of the Super 12 after their capitulation against England.

Temba Bavuma says South Africa players were "taken aback" that Quinton de Kock refused an order to take the knee and made himself unavailable to face West Indies in the T20 World Cup.

The Cricket South Africa (CSA) board on Monday decided that all players must take the knee before their remaining World Cup games, as a consistent and united stance against racism.

De Kock has previously declined to make the gesture and opted not to play against the Windies at Dubai International Stadium on Tuesday following the demand from CSA.

Proteas captain Bavuma revealed he was only told wicketkeeper-batsman De Kock would be absent for the eight-wicket victory over the defending champions in the changing room beforehand and was surprised by his decision.

The batsman is unsure whether former captain De Kock will play any further part in the tournament.

He said in a news conference: "I think obviously as a team we're obviously surprised and taken aback by the news.

"Obviously Quinton is a big player for the team, not just with the bat, but the role he plays from a senior point of view and from an experience point of view, and not having that at my disposal as a captain was obviously something I wasn't looking forward to.

"In saying that, Quinton is an adult. He's a man in his own shoes. We respect his decision. We respect his convictions. I know that he'll be standing behind whatever decision that he's taken.

"From the team's point of view, unfortunately we still have to get the job done. There was still a game of cricket there for our country, and it was important, as much as everything was happening, that we found a way to get into the right mental space and take it home for our country.

"I don't know how far it's going to develop. I mean, the decision that he's taken is only today, so I can only speak about what has happened today. It wouldn't be my decision whether to replace Quinton or to get a substitute. That would be probably the coach and the selectors.

"But as far as we stand, Quinton is still one of the players. He's still one of the boys, so whatever support that he needs, whatever shoulder that he requires from his team-mates, we'll be there for him.

"If there's a need for further conversations to be had, I'm sure those will definitely happen amongst the guys."

New Zealand paceman Lockie Ferguson will miss the rest of the T20 World Cup after suffering a torn calf.

The Black Caps quick felt tightness in his right calf following a training session on Monday and went for a scan ahead of Tuesday's match against Pakistan at Sharjah Cricket Stadium.

Ferguson has sustained a grade two tear and will need up to four weeks to recover, so the 30-year-old will play no part in New Zealand's quest to be crowned world champions.

Adam Milne will replace Ferguson in the 15-man squad once his selection has been approved by the ICC.

New Zealand head coach Gary Stead said: "It's a real shame for Lockie to have this happen on the eve of the tournament and the entire team is really feeling for him right now.

"He's a massive part of our T20 side and as been in such good form - so to lose him at this time is a blow.

"However, we are fortunate to have a like for like replacement in the form of Adam who has been with the squad training for the past two weeks."

Ferguson has taken 24 wickets in 13 matches for his country in the shortest format an average of 13.16.

 

 

Jos Buttler promised England would take a united stand against racism before their T20 World Cup match against Bangladesh – after South Africa's Quinton de Kock refused to take the knee.

De Kock was conspicuous by his absence from South Africa's team for their victory against West Indies.

An initial announcement that he missed the game for personal reasons was followed by a fuller explanation, after it became abundantly clear why De Kock was playing no part.

Cricket South Africa had ordered their players to take the knee before the remainder of their games in the tournament, and such a demand did not sit right with the wicketkeeper-batsman. South Africa said the 28-year-old made himself unavailable.

The anti-racism gesture, linked to the Black Lives Matter movement, is one the England team have embraced previously, and Buttler said there would be a team-wide message sent out ahead of their next match too.

Asked about the De Kock situation, and whether England would be taking a knee on Wednesday, Buttler told a news conference: "Yeah, I think our position as a team is we stand against any form of discrimination.

"What we would like to do as a team is take a moment of unity which we did at times during our summer. We all need to reciprocate the opposition. West Indies like to take a knee, so we wanted to reciprocate that in the first game.

"But yeah, hopefully we can make some form at the start. But as a side and our culture as a team, we of course stand against any form of discrimination, and we are very passionate about that."

There is no suggestion De Kock has taken his stance for any reason other than believing there should be a right to choose how and when to oppose racism. He has in the past refused to take the knee, saying the reason for doing so was "my own personal opinion". He may be asked to expand on that in light of being absent from Tuesday's World Cup game.

Buttler was asked whether it was the job of cricket boards to impose such demands on players, and said: "I'm not sure, to be honest. I can only speak about myself and our team. I think it's something we feel strongly about. It's an important part of our culture as a team, and that's all I can say on that."

Former England captain Michael Vaughan said on Twitter that it should be "down to the individual" and that a player should not be kept out of games for refusing to engage with such movements.

Whether England take the knee or not against Bangladesh may depend on what stance the opposition consider most appropriate.

Asked whether he knew exactly what gesture England would make, Buttler said: "No, I don't. I think it's something we'd like to do as a team. I think you have to get some clearance from the ICC [International Cricket Council] for that, as well.

"It's something we would like to do as a team, but I don't know the specifics behind it at the moment."

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