Sunil Ambris, captain of the Windward Islands Volcanoes is not overly concerned about the team’s current form going into tomorrow’s semi-finals of the CG Insurance Super 50 against the Guyana Jaguars. However, he said he is expecting his team to be better with the bat if they are to avenge their defeat earlier this week to the Jaguars.

When the teams met on Monday, the final match of the preliminary round, the Jaguars walloped the Volcanoes, who plunged to a nine-wicket defeat. However, Ambris said his team is ready to dust itself off and go to battle once again.

“We started off (the season) really well. I think we played two really poor matches but the camaraderie in the team is still pretty good, the guys are still high-spirited and looking forward to the semi-finals,” he said, adding that he wants the team to get off to a better start with the bat, something that we have been struggling with throughout the season.

“That’s something that we definitely need to address,” he said.

The Volcanoes will be strengthened by the inclusion of Kavem Hodge and Ambris is delighted to have him in the team for the must-win encounter.

“He brings a lot. He is one of the better players in the team. He is an all-rounder. He is more than likely give us 10 overs and he is one of the better batters in the team and he has a lot of experience being a part of the Windward Islands team for the longest while and he knows what it feels like to win a championship, so he will definitely bring a lot to the team,” he said.

Former West Indies batting coach, Toby Radford, has suggested calls to replace all-rounder Jason Holder are an overreaction and would stick with the current captain, despite the success of Kraigg Brathwaite in Bangladesh.

Brathwaite was widely commended for his role in leading an understrength team to a 2-0 win away to Bangladesh earlier this month. Holder, on the other hand, was one of 12 players to pull out of the tour after citing health and safety concerns.

Holder had, however, also pointed to feeling some level of fatigue having had to deal with quarantine situations in both the West Indies prior tours of England and New Zealand.  However, in addition, aspects of the team’s performance on those tours had also put Holder and his captaincy under the microscope.

While admitting that the team had performed exceptionally well in Bangladesh, Radford, however, sees no reason to replace Holder as the man in charge for the upcoming Sri Lanka series.

“I think they surprised everybody not least of all Bangladesh, probably their own supporters as well.  They performed really well.  But it’s very easy to get carried away, isn’t it? You have a couple of big wins like that and then suddenly we have done it because Kraigg Brathwaite is captain and Jason Holder wasn’t captain,” Radford told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“Who’s to know if Jason was captain whether you would have had the two wins anyway,” he added.

“There were a lot of very good individual performances and because individuals play well and you win two matches, to me, that isn’t down to captaincy.”

In supporting his decision to stick with Holder, Radford pointed to the example of the incident with India captain Virat Kolhi, which occurred during the Asian team's big win over Australia.

“It was raised the other day, someone mentioned Virat Kohli.  They (India) lost the game in Australia, he went home for the birth of his child.  They went suddenly and won a couple of games.  When they started the Test series against England, in India, nobody questioned whether Kohli should captain the team. He came back in because he was captain.”

   

India ended the opening day of the third Test against England firmly on top despite losing Virat Kohli in the final over, closing on 99-3 having bowled out their opponents for 112.

The day-night contest at the newly named Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad was viewed in the build-up as a chance for the seam bowlers to take centre stage, with the four-match series between the teams delicately poised at 1-1.

However, it was India's spinners who once again dominated proceedings, Axar Patel claiming career-best figures of 6-38 to continue his outstanding start in Test cricket. Ravichandran Ashwin - one of the star performers for India as they won the second Test in Chennai - offered superb support, taking 3-26. 

Johnny Bairstow was the first of several players to be undone by deliveries that failed to turn at all, though, as his return to the team saw him trapped lbw for a duck, leaving the tourists at 27-2 after opting to bat first. 

Zak Crawley (53) countered impressively, playing some glorious shots off the front foot in particular as he and Joe Root added 47, only for England to then suffer a stunning collapse, their final eight wickets going down for just 38 runs.

Ashwin had Root lbw for 17 – despite the England captain attempting to get a reprieve through a review – before Crawley's fluent half-century came to an end when he fell in similar fashion to Axar. 

Ollie Pope (1) and Ben Stokes (6) both perished with the score stuck on 81, England's batsmen left bamboozled once more on a turning surface to leave a long tail exposed. 

Axar claimed three of the final four wickets to go down, wrapping up the innings when Ben Foakes was bowled for 12. England had lasted just 48.2 overs, posting their lowest first-innings score in India. 

Following a superb century in the previous match, the in-form Rohit Sharma led India's reply with an unbeaten 57 that included nine fours.

Fellow opener Shubman Gill found it tougher going as he made only 11, while Cheteshwar Pujara departed for a four-ball duck to Jack Leach. The left-arm spinner also struck late to give his team renewed hope, Kohli chopping on for 27, but the hosts undoubtedly were the happier team at stumps.

Super start continues for Axar 

Axar is the first Indian spinner to take a five-wicket haul in a day-night Test, while only the sixth slow bowler to do so in such fixtures with the pink ball. 

Having missed the series opener through injury - a game England won convincingly - he has now taken 13 wickets in the series at an average of 10.61, stunning numbers for a player who has had to wait patiently for his chance in the format. 

Zak back, but England topple quickly 

With Crawley and Root together, England appeared to have overcome two early setbacks to reach 74-2 just prior to the first break in proceedings on Wednesday. The former justified the decision to pick him over Rory Burns, hitting 10 fours to at times silence the 40,000-strong crowd present. 

Yet the right-hander was not alone in falling into the trap of playing for spin that was simply not there, hit on the front pad by a delivery from Axar that instead of turning went straight on.

 

Notwithstanding the Guyana Jaguars’ crushing nine-wicket victory over the Windward Islands Volcanoes in the final preliminary round match on Monday, Captain Leon Johnson says he has no intention of underestimating their opponents when the two teams meet again in the second semi-final tomorrow.

West Indies star batsman, Chris Gayle, will return to the Caribbean to take part in the upcoming series against Sri Lanka, interrupting his ongoing participation in the Pakistan Super League.

With the T20I World Cup just a few months away, the talismanic batsman, who has indicated a desire to suit up for the Caribbean team for the tournament, could return to the team for the first time in over a year.  Gayle last played the West Indies in August of 2019, when he played an ODI against India.  

On that occasion, the player had received a standing ovation as many had thought the game was his final in international cricket, after previously announcing his attention to retire.

The West Indies will play Sri Lanka in three T20 series, three One Day International (ODI) series, and a two-Test series.  Gayle is expected to take part in the T20I series between March 3 and March 7 before returning to the PSL to compete for the Quetta Gladiators.

The arrangement was made prior to the season, with Faf du Plessis expected to replace Gayle for the matches in which he will be absent.  The World Cup is due to take place in India in October-November.  The Caribbean team won the last edition of the tournament, also in India, in 2016.

Lawyers for Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) Secretary Anand Sanasie have written strong objections to the decision of Guyana Culture, Youth, and Sports Minister Charles Ramson Jr to appoint Attorney Kamal Ramkarran as cricket Ombudsman.

In two letters, one to Ramson and the other to Ramkarran, the attorney’s pointed out that they deemed the appointment, made in accordance with Section 17 of the Guyana Cricket Administration Act, Chapter 21:03, Laws of Guyana, to be illegal, based on the fact that it was carried out more than once.

In addition to vehemently disputing Ramson’s claims that the Cricket West Indies (CWI) board was consulted, the letters pointed out that a 7-day period for holding the proposed elections was unreasonable.

“This is the third such appointment to be made by a Minister of Sport. The first person appointed under that section was Professor Winston McGowan. He served in the office for some time and then resigned. The Minister is only once required to exercise his power to appoint a Cricket Ombudsman. The Minister claims to have “just” consulted with CWI in his Notice appointing you as Cricket Ombudsman, which was published on the 19th February 2021,” the document read.

“We are instructed that the Minister did not meaningfully or at all consult with CWI. There has been no meeting with CWI convened for this purpose. Our client is aware that the Minister shares a close relationship with the current President of CWI and supports his re-election as President of CWI in elections slated for March 2021. Our client is his challenger for the post of President at the upcoming CWI elections.”

Should Sanasie be defeated in the election, he would be ineligible to challenge Skerritt for the post of CWI president.

“The consultation which was critical to the validity of your appointment was improper for the foregoing reasons and was motivated by an improper purpose and was taken in furtherance of the interest of the current President, Mr. Ricky Skerritt who did not raise the issue of the Cricket Ombudsman of Guyana with the Board as is required by the Cricket Administration Act.

Meaningful consultation could not in the circumstances take place by a phone call between the Minister and a single member of the Board of CWI. Your appointment is, therefore, illegal and we call upon you to decline the appointment and/or resign. The Minister has fixed a time frame of less than seven (7) days with which you are to fulfil your obligations of the establishment and verification of a Register of Clubs.”

The attorneys have demanded Ramkarran resign from the post or legal proceedings would begin to quash the appointment.

 

Joe Root said England will aim to exploit any self-doubt from India's 36 all-out collapse in their last pink-ball outing as the third Test gets under way on Wednesday.

India claimed a 2-1 series win on the road against Australia in January but were beaten in the opener, falling to their record low score in just 21.2 overs in their second innings.

India quickly recovered from that humiliation, and the hosts also bounced back from an opening Test loss to England to tie this series at 1-1 ahead of the third test in Ahmedabad.

Root, who earned man-of-the-match honours in the series opener after scoring a double-century in his 100th Test, hinted India's nightmare in Adelaide may play on the minds of the hosts when under the lights.

"If we can exploit that [events in Adelaide] then that's something we will look to do," Root said.

"But you have to earn the right, make early inroads, build pressure for periods of time and put balls in good areas, challenging defences.

"That will be our focus; [36 all out] is more for them to worry about, for it to be in the back of their minds."

The 30-year-old insists the tourists are in a strong position with the series tied heading into a day-night Test in the world's largest cricket venue, Sardar Patel Stadium.

In India's only previous home day-night Test, against Bangladesh in Kolkata in 2019, seam bowlers dominated and Root is hoping that similar conditions this week could play into England's advantage.

"We are 1-1 with a pink-ball game two days away," Root added. "It's a great position to be in from our perspective. It's a very exciting prospect for the group.

"Playing against India in the subcontinent you expect the ball to spin and I'm sure at some point it will.

"But if conditions are more seam-orientated, then the experience of growing up in English conditions should be in our favour.

"It's about handling those conditions as best we can and try to exploit them with ball in hand."

The Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board are throwing their support for the current leadership of Cricket West Indies in the lead up to the virtual Annual General Meeting set for March 28.

Shimron Hetmyer scored his second half-century of the CG Insurance Super50 competition earlier today as Guyana Jaguars romped to a nine-wicket victory over the Windward Islands Volcanoes in the final match of the preliminary round at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium.

Hetmyer scored an unbeaten 67 off 59 balls, hitting three fours and four sixes, as he partnered with Tevin Imlach for an unbroken second-wicket stand of 93 to helped propel Guyana to 155 for 1 from 28.4 overs in reply to the Windwards’ 153 all out.

 Imlach, who scored an unbeaten 37, shared an opening stand of 62 with Chanderpaul Hemaj, who made 41.

Alick Athanaze was the lone wicket-taker for the Windwards with 1-130 from his seven overs.

Earlier, Man-of-the-Match Keon Joseph took 4-24 and Hemraj 2-11 as the Windwards were bundled out for 153 in 45 overs.

Only Kevin Stoute, who scored 41 and Emmanuel Stewart 46 offered any real resistance to the Guyana bowling attack.

Stoute and Stewart put on 60 for the fifth wicket after which Stewart and Kevin Cottoy mounted a 39-run stand for the sixth. Cottoy made 27.

The teams will meet again in the second semi-final on Thursday.

He has only played three Test matches for the West Indies but wicketkeeper/batsman Joshua Da Silva believes he has made great strides in his development as a batsman since he made his debut in New Zealand in December 2020.

Failing with the bat was all the motivation Andre McCarthy needed to inspire him to a match-winning performance with the ball against the Barbados Pride on Sunday.

Devon Conway starred with the bat at Hagley Oval as New Zealand won the first of five Twenty20 clashes with Australia by 53 runs.

Conway was 99 not out, becoming the first New Zealand player to score five successive T20 half centuries, as the Black Caps posted 184-5.

A fine showing with the ball, led by Ish Sodhi's 4-28, limited Australia to 131 all out in reply as the hosts enjoyed a dominant victory in Christchurch, a city remembering the devastating earthquakes that struck 10 years ago.

Martin Guptill started this match needing 12 runs to surpass Brendon McCullum's record as the highest run-scorer in this fixture (228) but was dismissed for a duck, caught at backward point off the bowling of Daniel Sams.

New Zealand looked to be in serious trouble when captain Kane Williamson's departure in the fourth over left them on 19-3 and with a lot of work to do.

But Conway laid the foundations with a fine knock, which came up just shy of yielding a century despite 10 fours and three maximums.

Conway was on 88 when he got on strike with three balls left, sending the first for a six and the next one for four, but he could only manage a single off the final delivery.

Aaron Finch's side, having lost back-to-back series against England and India, toiled in response.

Finch himself fell inside the first over and that set the tone, with Australia languishing on 19-4 by the fifth over.

Sodhi was the tormentor-in-chief for the tourists' mid-to-lower order, accounting for Marcus Stoinis, Ashton Agar, Sams and Kane Richardson.

Jhye Richardson, who fetched a "life-changing" bid at the Indian Premier League auction, was the last man to fall in a substandard innings from Australia that was ended after 17.3 overs.

This was just the second home win for New Zealand over Australia in this format in six attempts, with the teams set to meet again on Thursday.

Andre McCarthy took six wickets including a hat-trick as the Jamaica Scorpions defeated the Barbados Pride by 51 runs at the Coolidge Cricket Ground and book a date with the Trinidad Red Force in the semi-finals of the CG Insurance Super50 on Wednesday.

Danielle Williams won the 60mh hurdles at the final American Track League meeting this evening in the third-fastest time in the world this year.

 Cricket West Indies and title sponsors CG Insurance have unveiled the sparkling new CG Insurance Super50 Cup Sir Clive Lloyd trophy, which will be presented to the winning team following the final on February 27.

CG Insurance has commissioned the new elegant and contemporary glass trophy, which incorporates CG’s company colours, as part of their long-term investment into West Indies cricket as official insurance partner which is focused on their title partnerships of all CG Insurance ODI Home Series and both Men’s and Women’s CG Insurance Super50 Cups. 

In a statement, CG Insurance said: “We wanted this year's trophy to embody the spirit of the islands and the spirit of the series. CG Insurance has offices in many of our Caribbean nations and we felt this trophy was an opportunity to showcase the water that unites us and the movement and excitement of the sport. We are thrilled with the outcome and congratulate the team who gets to take this trophy home.”

The CG Insurance Super50 trophy honours Sir Clive Lloyd’s captaincy of the West Indies teams winning back to back 50-over ICC World Cups in 1975 and 1979.

Sir Clive said he was proud to have the trophy named in his honour and said he hoped it would inspire the next generation of West Indies cricketers. He also said it is a celebration of 50-over cricket in the West Indies, dating back more than 45 years ago and a tribute to his teams which won the inaugural Cricket World Cup in 1975 and again four years later.

“It’s a very nice trophy and I’m very pleased. I have been watching the tournament and I am enjoying every moment of it. It is good to see we continue to produce cricketers in the region. It’s an excellent competition with the teams playing hard and fair and you can see the talent on display as we look to continue to improve and develop West Indies cricket,” he said.

“As a proud West Indian, I’m happy to have this honour. I also see it as not just for me but for all the members of the World Cup teams who played alongside me and won in 1975 and 1979. This trophy has my name on it but all the others who played with me should think they are part of it too.”

The CG Insurance Super50 bowled off on Sunday, February 7 and will climax on Saturday, February 27 with the grand final under lights at the Coolidge Cricket Ground. Fans across the region can watch the matches on ESPN Caribbean and also get LIVE radio coverage on stations via broadcast partner Vibes FM.

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