On the evidence of their two warm-up matches, the West Indies, the defending ICC T20 World Cup champions, will be limping into their opening match against England on Saturday, following their 56-run loss to Afghanistan on Wednesday.

The Cricket West Indies (CWI) Selection Panel today announced that left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein has been named as the replacement for spinner all-rounder Fabian Allen in the 15-member squad for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. Allen was ruled out of the ICC tournament due to an unhealed right ankle injury which he sustained during the recently concluded IPL. 

The change to the West Indies squad has been approved by the ICC tournament’s technical committee.

Hosein, who was originally named as a travelling reserve, now joins the official squad. Another exciting young left-arm spinner, Gudakesh Motie, has been called up by the West Indies selectors as a reserve player. Motie is due to fly to the UAE where he will be able to join the West Indies squad as a reserve, once he has completed the six days of mandatory quarantine with the required negative COVID-19 test results.

“I know Fabian was really looking forward to playing in this World Cup, so it is very disappointing that he is forced to miss out. His all-round capabilities will be missed by the team. I would like to wish him a full and speedy recovery and look forward to him being available for squad selection in the near future,” said CWI Chief Selector Roger Harper.

“I take the opportunity to congratulate Akeal on being drafted into the 15-member squad and look forward to him continuing the good form he displayed throughout the year. I also congratulate Gudakesh Motie whose performances in CG Insurance Super50 and CPL have resulted in him being added to the reserves as spin bowling cover.”

CWI selectors have also requested that Dominic Drakes and Odean Smith stay back in the UAE following their recent IPL engagements. The two young fast bowlers will train with the West Indies squad as net bowlers during the squad’s preparations this week.

West Indies are two-time and defending ICC T20 World Cup Champions and will be going in search of an unprecedented third title and back-to-back T20 World Cup Tournament wins. West Indies first match is on Saturday, October 23 against England at the Dubai International Stadium in the first of West Indies’ Group games in the Super12 stage of the tournament.

FULL SQUAD: Kieron Pollard (Captain), Nicholas Pooran (Vice-Captain), Dwayne Bravo, Roston Chase, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Shimron Hetmyer, Akeal Hosein, Evin Lewis, Obed McCoy, Ravi Rampaul, Andre Russell, Lendl Simmons, Oshane Thomas and Hayden Walsh Jr.

Travelling Reserves: Darren Bravo, Sheldon Cottrell, Jason Holder and Gudakesh Motie.

 

 

Australia fast bowler James Pattinson has retired from international cricket less than two months before the start of the Ashes.

The 31-year-old's start to the season has been delayed by COVID-19 lockdowns and an injury and the quick has decided to call time on representing his country.

Pattinson played for Australia 40 times and had been expected to add to his 21 Test appearances in the upcoming series against England, which is due to start at The Gabba on December 8.

"Leading into pre-season I really wanted to give the Ashes a crack but in the end, I haven't had the preparation I would have liked heading into the coming season," Pattinson said in a statement.

"If I was to be part of the Ashes I would need to do myself and my team-mates justice. I didn't want to be in a position of battling with my body when you need to be 100 per cent fit and ready to go at any time. That would not be fair to myself or the team.

"It was then I felt that instead of trying to play at the very highest level, knowing I have only got three or four years of cricket left, I would focus more on Victoria, helping the young guys develop, perhaps some cricket in England and spending more time with my family."

Pattinson made his Test comeback against England in 2019 following three-and-a-half years out of the side, having undergone surgery on a serious back injury.

He claimed 81 Test wickets at an average of 26.33, picking up four five-wicket hauls.

England will join the West Indies in kneeling ahead of the team’s opening fixture of the ICC World T20 on Saturday.

The symbolic gesture has been used by sports teams around the world to take a stand against racism and discrimination.  However, some teams, for various reasons, have chosen not to adopt the action. 

The England teams took part in the anti-racism gesture ahead of each of the three Tests that were played in England last summer and for a limited-overs series against Ireland soon after.  The team was, however, later criticised for not continuing the gesture in subsequent series.  The team’s captain Eion Morgan has confirmed that England would join the West Indies ahead of the opener and would continue further discussion with the ICC.

  “We have heard from the West Indies that they will be taking a knee and we will be joining them for the first game,” Morgan said on Tuesday.

“Games going on from there, we’ve been speaking to the ICC about the potential moment of unity before the game that we’ve been doing as part of our own piece at home,” Morgan added.

“It hasn’t been cleared up whether that’s a possibility yet.”

Bangladesh avoided an early exit after their shock opening-day defeat by Scotland, beating Oman by 26 runs despite a late wobble.

The team ranked sixth in the world were bowled out by Oman for 153 from the final ball of their innings, recording just eight wickets for 52 runs in the last seven overs.

Bangladesh had started well, with Mohammad Naim managing 64 runs from 50 balls and Shakib Al Hasan registering 42 from 29, but the team crumbled after the latter's exit.

Oman were unable to capitalise, however, collapsing late on themselves with five wickets from five overs and ending on 127-9, having been 81-2.

The day's early game saw Scotland survive a scare of their own to earn their second victory of the tournament and move within one win of qualifying for the Super 12s stage.

Scotland beat Papua New Guinea by 17 runs, making 165-9 as Richie Berrington hit a half-century that included three sixes – one being the longest of the tournament at 97metres – as well as six fours.

However, the 14th-ranked side in the world fell apart after he and Callum McLeod exited in the 19th over, seeing three wickets fall from the final three balls.

Papua New Guinea were bowled out for 148 in the last over, though, falling to their second defeat of the competition after losing to Oman in their opening match.

Elaine Thompson-Herah, the fastest woman and alive, said she will use the inspiration of being conferred with the Order of Distinction to help motivate women and young girls to strive without limits.

Thompson-Herah, who rebounded from five years of disappointment, to become the first woman to win both 100m and 200m titles in consecutive Olympic Games at the Tokyo Games in August, was among several sports personalities to receive national honours at the Ceremony of Investiture and Presentation of National Honours and Awards on Monday.

Thompson-Herah, who ran 10.54 on Usain Bolt’s birthday, August 21, 2021, to become the fastest woman alive and the second-fastest of all time at the Diamond League’s Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon, said the recognition has motivated her to inspire others.

“I have been inspired and motivated by powerful women around the world, powerful women from my island home Jamaica,” she said on Instagram.

“I feel so honoured and overjoyed to be given this Order of Distinction (Commander Class) by my nation. I now use this classification to help motivate and uplift women and young girls to strive without limits.”

The five-time Olympic gold medalist was among three Jamaican sprint queens to be conferred with OD’s in the Commander Class. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the 100m silver medalist in Tokyo, and Jackie Pusey, who at 16, represented Jamaica at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, Canada were also awarded.

Former West Indies captain Jimmy Adams received the Order of Distinction (Officer Class) for his contribution to the sport of cricket.

The late Jamaican striker, Luton Shelton, Jamaica’s leading male scorer, was posthumously awarded the OD (Officer Class) for his contribution to football.  Shelton died in January 2021 from Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

He played for Jamaica on 75 occasions scoring 35 goals.

Meanwhile, Dr Praimanand Mongal Beharry Singh received the Order of Distinction for outstanding dedication and service to the field of sports.

Sri Lanka eased to a straightforward seven-wicket victory over Namibia in their opening match of the T20 World Cup on Monday.

Namibia were dismissed for just 96 runs after being put into bat first, and Sri Lanka ultimately eclipsed that total as early as the 14th over.

Maheesh Theekshana was a key part of the Sri Lanka attack, taking Stephan Baard on his first delivery, before also claiming the scalps of Zane Green and Jan Frylinck, ending the day at 3-25.

Craig Williams (29) was the only Namibian to get more than 20, though his haul was hardly emphatic given it came off 36 balls and included just two boundaries.

Sri Lanka's innings did not start particularly impressively given they were 26-3 after the first ball of the sixth over, but Avishka Fernando (30 not out) and Bhanuka Rajapaksa (42 not out) had a steadying impact as they got them over the line at 100-3.

The day's early Group A match saw Ireland win in similarly comprehensive fashion against the Netherlands, with the bowlers again having the decisive impact during a seven-wicket victory.

Curtis Campher (4-26) incredibly took all four of his wickets in succession to leave the Dutch in disarray, becoming only the third man after Lasith Malinga and Rashid Khan to achieve the feat in a T20I, while Mark Adair was even more efficient with figures of 3-9 in his four overs.

Like Campher, Adair's treble came in a row and right at the end as the Netherlands could only set a target of 106.

Paul Stirling (30 not out) kept things ticking over throughout with a professional – if unspectacular – knock, but Gareth Delany (44) top scored for the Irish. By the time he was eventually stopped by Pieter Seelaar's yorker, Ireland only needed another 12 runs.

Elsewhere, several of the tournament favourites were in action in warm-up matches. India beat England by seven wickets with six balls remaining partly down to swift 50s by KL Rahul and Ishan Kishan, while Australia's 159-7 saw them defeat New Zealand with one ball left.

South Africa enjoyed a comfortable 41-run win over Afghanistan and Pakistan defeated the West Indies by seven wickets in a little over 15 overs.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) has announced the match schedule and venues for the much-anticipated England T20 International (T20I) and Test Tours of the West Indies in January and March 2022.

Babar Azam’s half-century for Pakistan helped condemn West Indies to a seven-wicket loss in their first warm-up match in Dubai on Monday.

Chris Greaves produced an instrumental performance to help Scotland deal an early dent to Bangladesh's hopes of progressing to the T20 World Cup Super 12 with a shock win.

A Scotland victory appeared extremely unlikely when they were reduced to 53-6 having been put into bat in Muscat.

However, Greaves' 28-ball 45 helped Scotland rebuild their innings, as they reached 140-9, in an innings that saw Shakib Al Hasan become the leading wicket-taker in T20 internationals, with two dismissals taking him to 108.

And Greaves was similarly key with ball in hand, his 2-19 comprising the key wickets of Shakib and Mushfiqur Rahim.

Greaves broke up that duo's 47-run third-wicket partnership by removing Shakib for 20 and then benefited as Mushfiqur misjudged a scoop on 38 and lost his leg stump.

Brad Wheal (3-24) took a starring role from there, dismissing Nural Hasan (2) and Bangladesh captain Mahmudullah (23) in the space of four 19th-over deliveries.

Bangladesh were left needing 24 off the last over and that proved too steep a challenge as Scotland prevailed by six runs.

The day's earlier Group B game saw Oman cruise to a 10-wicket win over Papua New Guinea thanks in part to Jatinder Singh's 73.

West Indies captain Kieron Pollard insists the team is backing talismanic batsman Chris Gayle to do well at the T20 World Cup despite not heading into the event in the best of form.

Heading into the tournament, the swashbuckling left-hander is 97 runs away from scoring the most runs in T20 World Cup history.  Based on the player's most recent run of form, however, there is no guarantee of him getting there.  In the 16 games, the player has only managed 227 runs at an average of 17.46.

In addition, the 42-year-old has faced criticism from a vocal section of the West Indian cricket fanbase who are adamant that he should have stepped aside for younger talent.  Gayle was recently involved in a war of words with bowling legend Sir Curtly Ambrose, who suggested that while the player was still capable of lighting up bowling attacks on his day, he was not at the same level as he was a few years ago.  For Pollard, however, the batsman has been and continues to be a very valuable asset to the team.

“Again, no words to describe what he has done for us in World Cups, in the T20 World Cups, and T20 cricket around the world as an individual," Pollard said during an interview with team captains' on Saturday in Dubai.

"For him, 97 runs away, but I don't think he will be looking at that. I think the main goal for us and him, is trying to win a World Cup and defend the title. He is looking forward to that. Hopefully, he can come and deliver for us. We back him to do well," he added.

 

West Indies fast bowler Ravi Rampaul is confident the experience of senior members of the team will be crucial in its effort to retain the ICC World Cup.

The 37-year old’s call up to the squad has been among the most controversial made by the Caribbean team, with some fans insisting the West Indies should have focused on selecting younger talent.  Rampaul’s effective showing the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), however, convinced selectors that he could be an asset for a team looking to successfully defend its title.

In 10 matches, Rampaul was the tournament’s leading scorer with 19 wickets at an economy rate of 7.96 and a best of 4 for 29.  The bowler is satisfied that the work put in merited selection to the team’s T20 World Cup squad.

“In every team, you want to play for, you have to put a performance out there and I know I needed to work hard and show the selectors I could still take wickets and compete at a level.  I needed to put the performance out there and show them I could take wickets at the CPL stage,” Rampaul told members of the media on Saturday.

Despite the criticism aimed towards the age of some members of the squad, Rampaul believes the experience of the team will be critical in the bid to retain the trophy.

“Going into big World Cup games you need experience and the team that was selected is a lot of experienced guys and a lot of young guys as well, guys that play around the world in different conditions.  We know games come quick and fast and the experienced guys will know how to manage themselves.”

The West Indies will bow into action with a match against England on October 23rd.

The Chennai Super Kings won their fourth Indian Premier League title after victory in an enthralling final against the Kolkata Knight Riders.

A brilliant batting display led by Faf du Plessis's superb 86 saw MS Dhoni's men reach 192-3 in the first innings in Dubai.

KKR, who had won both of their previous IPL finals in 2012 and 2014, made a decent fight of a forlorn-looking chase but finished 27 runs short on 165-9.

Du Plessis and Ruturaj Gaikwad (32), the top-scoring batsman of the IPL season, put up an opening stand of 61 before the latter was caught by Shivam Mari off a delivery from Sunil Narine (2-26).

Du Plessis was unperturbed, blunting the Knight Riders' attack with ruthless efficiency in a stellar knock. Robin Uthappa also scored 31 off just 15 balls before being trapped lbw and Moeen Ali kept up the impeccable standards with 37.

By the time Du Plessis was caught by Mari at long-on off the final ball of the innings, KKR's hopes were already looking slim, although they still mustered a creditable challenge.

Dhoni, in his 300th match as a captain in T20 cricket, dropped what looked a routine catch in the second over and Venkatesh Iyer took full advantage as he raced to a half-century.

It looked as though his stand with Shubman Gill (51) was finally over at 79-0 when Ambati Rayudu got a fine running catch, but Gill was granted a dead-ball reprieve after it struck one of the spider-cam cables on its way down.

Iyer was not so fortunate when he sent another ball from Shardul Thakur (3-38) high into the sky, Ravindra Jadeja grasping it in outstretched fingers as Kolkata's hopes took a major blow.

Du Plessis caught Nitish Rana for a first-ball duck and Narine holed out to Jadeja four deliveries later, as the middle order began to collapse.

Gill (51) was struck flush on the pad as he tried an ambitious scoop shot before Dinesh Karthik, Shakib Al Hasan and Rahul Tripathi were out for 11 runs combined.

Captain Eoin Morgan fell five runs short of reaching 1,000 in the IPL, Deepak Chahar taking a brilliant boundary catch, as the party started among the yellow shirts in the stands long before the fireworks flared after the final ball.

 

Four-midables

The Super Kings have now beaten the Knight Riders in six of their past seven IPL meetings, including the previous four in a row.

This was their ninth final, at least three more than any other side has reached, but they had only won three of the previous eight and were beaten by Kolkata in the showpiece nine years ago.

Yet their batting display was of a quality worthy of champions, Du Plessis in particular showing power and poise as he hit seven fours and three sixes en route to a third IPL title with the franchise.

Luckless Lockie

Before this match, Kolkata had a bowling dot-ball figure of 40 per cent, the best of any side in the competition. Here, they had little answer to the Super Kings' batting excellence.

Lockie Ferguson endured an especially tough time, posting figures of 0-56 and giving up nine boundaries and two wide balls from just four overs.

The Master Blaster, Sir Vivian Richards is siding with Sir Curtly Ambrose in the latter’s public spat with the Universe Boss Chris Gayle.

After a COVID-19 enforced postponement, the T20 World Cup will finally get underway on Sunday.

Initially scheduled to take place in Australia last year, and then India following the postponement, the competition will now take place in the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

A first round featuring eight teams, including debutants Namibia and Papua New Guinea as well as 2014 champions Sri Lanka (who have reached three T20 World Cup finals, more than any other side), gets the tournament up and running, with four teams progressing into the Super 12 stage.

The West Indies are aiming to defend their title, having edged out England in the 2016 edition. Eoin Morgan's team, who have the world's top T20 batsman in their ranks, are sure to be one of the main challengers for the Windies' crown.

Virat Kohli's India are among the favourites, while Pakistan will be hoping captain Babar Azam delivers. Australia and New Zealand (the most economic side when it came to bowling in 2016) cannot be discounted either, with South Africa also improving in recent years.

It promises to be a thrilling tournament and, with the help of Opta, Stats Perform looks at some of the key data points heading into the tournament.

 

Gayle on the record trail

The Windies have won two of the last three T20 World Cups, triumphing in 2016 and 2012 either side of Sri Lanka's success, and they remain the only team to have won the tournament on multiple occasions. Key to their sustained success has been Chris Gayle, who at 42, is still the face of the sport in the Caribbean.

He is just 80 runs away from becoming the second player to score 1,000 runs at the T20 World Cup. In fact, he needs only 97 runs to surpass Mahela Jayawardene's record tally of 1,016. Gayle already holds one competition record, for the number of sixes (60), while he averages 40 across 26 innings at the tournament, with a brilliant strike rate of 146.7.

New Zealand great Brendon McCullum (123) is the only player to have a higher T20 World Cup score than Gayle's 117, and you would not bet against the Windies talisman claiming that record either.

Gayle will have able support from the likes of Kieron Pollard (1,378 T20 runs), Dwayne Bravo (1,229) and Lendl Simmons (1,508), not to mention Nicholas Pooran.

Despite batting in the middle order, Pooran hit the second-highest number of sixes in this year's Caribbean Premier League (25). He also has form in the middle east, having struck 350 runs at a rate of 170 in the most recent edition of the Indian Premier League.

 

Malan and Livingstone to lead England

The Windies' first opponents in the Super 12 phase will be England, who will be out for revenge. They had a batting strike rate of 148 in 2016, the best of any team, but still fell short. Yet while the West Indies are now ninth in the ICC's T20I rankings, Morgan's men sit top of the pile.

Dawid Malan is the star batsman. He is ranked number one in the world in T20Is, with a rating of 841, way clear of second-placed Babar (819). Over 30 innings, he has amassed 1,123 runs at an average of 43.2 and a strike rate of 139.3.

Morgan, not shy of a big innings himself, is also able to call on Liam Livingstone, who has made a fantastic start to his T20I career. 

From seven innings, Livingstone has hit 206 runs with a strike rate of 167.5. His high score of 103 is the joint-highest in England's squad, level with Malan (103 not out).

As was the case at the 2019 World Cup, England's batting depth is exceptional, though they are shorn of Ben Stokes, who always seems to deliver when it matters most.

 

Kohli's last shot

Not too far behind Malan in the ICC's T20I batsman rankings is India star Kohli, who is stepping down as the captain in the shortest format of the game following the World Cup.

Winners of the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007, India have only reached one other final, back in 2014. Kohli was named player of the tournament, top-scoring with 319 runs, and as he prepares to bow out as captain, he will be determined to cap off his tenure on a high.

No player has made more half-centuries in the competition than the 32-year-old (level with Gayle on nine), though Kohli is yet to log a century.

Kohli's hopes may well rest on the shoulders of Rohit Sharma. The opener debuted with an unbeaten half-century back in 2007 and has made 111 T20I appearances, behind only Shoaib Malik (116) and Mohammed Hafeez (113).

Only Martin Guptill (147) has struck more sixes than Sharma (133) in the format, while over the last five years, India have won every time the batsman has scored 50+ runs.

 

Captain fantastic

Shahid Afridi has taken the most wickets of any player in T20 World Cup history (39). Indeed, Bangladesh's Shakib Al Hasan has taken the most wickets at the tournament of any player set to participate in this edition (30), which shows the void Pakistan are having to fill following Afridi's retirement.

They do, however, possess a supreme batsman in the form of captain Babar. 

Since his T20I bow in 2016, Babar has tallied up 2,204 runs. His average of 46.9 puts him third on the all-time T20I list (20+ innings), behind Kohli (52.7) and his fellow opener Mohammad Rizwan (48.4), who provides another string to Pakistan's bow.

Babar, who has only managed one century to date (122 from 59 balls against South Africa earlier this year) was the fastest player to 2,000 T20I runs (52 innings) beating Kohli's previous best of 56, and an enticing encounter between the sub-continental rivals takes place on October 24.

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