Despite a 100-run fourth-wicket partnership between Nicholas Pooran and Rovman Powell, the West Indies lost the second T20 International against India by eight runs at Eden Gardens on Friday. The loss means India takes an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

Windies vice-captain Nicholas Pooran insists the team must find a coherent strategy to deal with India’s spinners after being caught in two minds in the opening match of the T20 series.

In the end, the West Indies were comfortably beaten by six wickets but at one point seemed set for a higher total than the 157 for 7 that the team eventually posted.  At 72 for 2, at the start of the 10th over, the West Indies had a set Pooran and Roston Chase at the crease and seemed set to build on a solid enough foundation.

 The introduction of leg-spinner Ravi Bishnoi, however, threw a wrench into those plans as he immediately removed Chase who struggled to come to grips with the spinner before being dismissed for lbw.  Bishnoi, who ended with 2 for 17, then removed the dangerous Rovman Powell later in the over.  The debutant was the chief but not the team’s only issue as Yuzvendra Chahal had also proven difficult to get away on occasion.

“We played the spinners ok today, we would want to continue that and continue to build partnerships,” Pooran told members of the media following the match.

“We still need to negotiate the spinners a bit better, I think today we were caught in two minds how to go about them.  Whether to attack them or keep them out of the game and we got caught in both minds there.”

Pooran top-scored for the Windies with 65.

 

India have taken a 1-0 T20I series lead over the West Indies after a six-wicket victory in Wednesday's first test in Kolkata.

It was not always plain sailing for India, but in the end they closed out a comfortable victory that owed much to captain Rohit Sharma, debutant Ravi Bishnoi and Suryakumar Yadav.

West Indies had earlier reached 157-7 over their 20 overs, an innings that began poorly as Brandon King fell for just four to Bhuvneshwar Kumar (1-31) in the first over – though Kyle Mayers (31) and Nicholas Pooran (61) soon found the tourists some momentum.

After their respective wickets, West Indies really struggled to build up a head of steam again. Bishnoi (2-17) claimed the scalps of Roston Chase (four) and Rovman Powell (two) as the 21-year-old enjoyed a miserly outing on his debut.

Kieron Pollard (24 not out) at least restored a little dignity, but he had little help around him, thus setting India a reachable target.

Rohit's 40 off 19 gave India the start they needed, and Ishan Kishan (35 off 42) proved a solid – if pragmatic – partner until both were undone by Chase's (2-14) bowling.

Fabian Allen (1-23) and Sheldon Cottrell (1-35) then saw to Virat Kohli (17) and Rishabh Pant (eight), respectively, with both batsmen feeling somewhat aggrieved by the decisions.

But any suggestion of West Indies still having a chance were emphatically washed away by Suryakumar (34 not out) and Venkatesh Iyer (24 not out), who eased the hosts over the line at 162-4 with seven balls to spare.

Bishnoi makes his mark

Bishnoi initially looked nervous, throwing three wides in his first over. But he quickly adjusted his focus, posting impressive numbers as he dismissed Chase and Powell.

Speaking afterwards, he said: "The nerves are settled now. I was feeling very good, it's everyone's dream to play for India and I was feeling good. West Indies is one of the best T20 teams and I got the chance to play against them. I'll try to cut down on the wides in the next match!"

Pooran's efforts in vain

Were it not for Pooran's efforts, this would have been an even worse start to the three-match series for the Windies. His 61 with the bat was undoubtedly the highlight of their innings, with Pollard very aware that his side were otherwise disappointing.

Pollard said: "Getting down to the 19th over was good on the part of the bowlers. If I'm being honest, between overs six to 15 we scored too few runs. We were 15-20 runs short."

Rohit Sharma declared "experimentation is overrated" ahead of India's three-match T20 International series against West Indies.

With another T20 World Cup on the horizon in Australia this year, India and the Windies are determined to show what they are capable of after failing in the 2021 tournament.

Rohit led India to a 3-0 ODI clean sweep of West Indies this month and their expectant supporters will be demanding another whitewash.

India have won eight of their past nine matches against the Windies in the shortest format heading into the series-opener at Eden Gardens on Wednesday.

Washington Sundar and KL Rahul miss out due to hamstring injuries, while Axar Patel will not feature in the series as he is in the final stage of his rehabilitation after recently recovering from coronavirus.

Skipper Rohit is no mood to experiment as he looks to continue the white-ball momentum.

He said: "I feel the word experimentation is overrated, in my terms. We are trying to find those holes that are there in the squad and try and fill that gap. So whatever it takes, we will try and do that.

"All these guys [the fringe players] are very young and haven't played a lot of cricket. We need to give them the assurity and the game time.

"Once we have that, then we can try out things. Until then, whatever little holes we have in our squad, we have to try and fill that."

The Windies were outplayed in the 50-over format, but beat England 3-2 in a thrilling T20I series on home soil last month and named an unchanged squad to face India.

 

Rohit backs Kohli 

It is over two years since Virat Kohli score an international hundred, but Rohit says the former captain should not be questioned. 

The opener said: "If you guys [the media] can keep quiet for a while, I think he'll be alright. We don't need to do too much talking from your side, then everything will be taken care of. He is in a great mental space from whatever I see of him.

"He has been part of this international team for more than a decade. If someone has spent that much time in international cricket, they know how to handle the pressure situations, the environment, everything. It all starts from you guys. If you guys can keep it quiet for a bit, then everything will fall into place."

Pollard fit to lead tourists

Kieron Pollard was an injury doubt after suffering a niggle in the ODI series, but the captain confirmed he will be fit for the start of this series.

Pollard will be hoping former skipper Jason Holder can conjure up more heroics after his stunning exploits with the ball in the decider against England in Barbados last month.

The all-rounder took four wickets in as many balls in the final over to finish with figure of 5-27.

West Indies captain Kieron Pollard insists the team is nowhere close to being ready to give up on talented batsman Shimron Hetmyer, despite the player’s recently well-documented struggles with fitness.

The 25-year-old batsman was left out of the West Indies' previous series against Ireland and England and also failed to be included in the squad for the ongoing India tour.  The issue stemmed from the fact that the player failed to achieve the basic fitness standards required to be eligible for selection.

It was not the first time Hetmyer had been plagued by the issue as he also failed to get a passing mark in 2020, ahead of the team’s tour of Sri Lanka, and then again later that same year during Sri Lanka’s tour of the West Indies.  The Windies skipper, however, backs the player to get things right in the near future.

"I think the coaches have spoken on their assessment of Shimron. I miss Shimron when he is not around. He is a young player and a superstar in his own right. He will get it right and get back to the West Indies squad pretty soon. I will be looking forward to having him," Pollard told members of the media, ahead of the team’s first T20I against India.

"We know what he can do as an individual and he has a bright future. You can never write off a guy who is 25. My love for Shimron is paramount, and he knows that and we all know that. It is a matter of time for him to do all that is necessary to get back to the team. We will welcome him with open arms."

In January, after Romario Shepherd smashed an unbeaten 44 from just 28 balls to take the West Indies within one run of England’s total of 171, he revealed that he hoped his heroics would get him noticed for the upcoming IPL Mega Auction that was held this weekend.

For the past three years, Shepherd had registered for the draft in the richest T20 league in the world but there were no takers. However, he never gave up hope.

"Eventually, if an IPL contract comes, that would be great for me. I'm not saying that I don't think about it - I do think about it, but I try not to think about it during a game,” he said then.

"It's a great platform. For any youngster, it's their dream to go to the IPL and I'm no different. I'm trying my best to get myself in there. It's something that I've dreamed about for a very long time. My name was in the [auction] for the last three years, so this year, I'm looking forward to it."

That dream became reality on Sunday when during the second day of the auction, he was sold to the Sunrisers Hyderabad for a whopping US$1.03 million dollars.

His was the highest bid for a West Indies player on the second day when several Caribbean players were the beneficiaries of six-figure contracts for the 2022 season of the Indian Premier League.

The big-hitting allrounder Odean Smith, who also made an impression during the series against England, was sold to the Punjab Kings for approximately US$798,000 while Rovman Powell was sold to the Delhi Capitals for US$345,000.

Evin Lewis, who missed the series was sold to the Lucknow Super Giants for US$266,000. Dominic Drakes was told to the Gujarat Titans for US$146,000 and Sherfane Rutherford will join the Royal Challengers Bangalore for US$133,000.

Fabian Allen went for US$99,000 to the Mumbai Indians.

 

 

West Indies coach Phil Simmons has admitted the team's persistent and obvious struggles with the bat are hurtful, particularly as he believes the unit had started to show improvement last year.

Despite commendable performances from its bowling line-up, the Windies batting line-up continued to struggle for yet another series after going down 3-0 to India on Thursday.  At the crease, in South Asia, the team at times looked ill-prepared or unable to find the resolve or technical ability needed to put partnerships together at crucial times or cope with the India bowlers for any prolonged period.

Similar to its performance against Ireland last month, where they lost an ODI series against that opponent for the first time, the Windies looked, perhaps more than ever, susceptible to losing wickets in huge clusters, which made it impossible to chase even modest targets.  In three matches, the team failed to reach 200 with its highest score of 193 coming in an all-out effort in the second match, in pursuit of 237 for 9.

For the batsmen, it was Jason Holder who led the way with a modest 65 over three matches, followed by Nicholas Pooran with 61, while lower-order all-rounder Odean Smith had 60.  By comparison, India’s top three featured Kuldeep Yadav who made 104 in three matches, Rishabh Pant made 85, while Shreyas Iyer made 80 in just one match.  Overall, the India batting line-up, which chased a low target in the first match, outscored the West Indies line-up by 148 runs.

“This is difficult, the last six games have been difficult in this format.  We started putting things together last year when we played Sri Lanka, it was difficult against Australia, but we started putting things together.  For this (type of performance) to come now, it’s hard to take, it’s hard to take from the batsmen,” Simmons told members of the media on Thursday.

“It’s not outwardly showing, but it’s hurtful and the players know that.  We have to make sure that we do the right things moving forward to get this batting line-up or whoever the batting line-up is to function as a batting line-up, to have big partnerships and assess the thing properly.”

The team’s highest partnership of the series was a 78 run seventh-wicket stand between Fabian Allen and Jason Holder.  Overall, the majority of the team’s biggest partnerships came from batting places below the 5th wicket.

“The mode of dismissals is the biggest issue.  If we are assessing the situation and we are playing according to the situation, and you get out then that’s execution.  But not assessing the situation and knowing what you want to do in the situations and the modes of dismissal it’s hurtful, and it doesn’t make for good watching as we’ve seen.  It’s something the players have to sit and get right as soon as possible.  We can’t keep going like this.”

 

The West Indies just played three One-Day Internationals against India and failed to make 200 runs in any of them.

176, 193 and 169 were the scores the Caribbean side managed to put up during the series and Head Coach Phil Simmons, speaking in the post-series press conference on Friday, says this trend is concerning.

“It needs urgent attention. It cost us the last two games. If you bowl India out for 230 and 260, you expect to chase it,” he said.

The West Indies, not too long ago, showed improvement in their batting performances in ODIs, particularly in Sri Lanka’s tour of the West Indies in early 2021 which saw the regional side make scores of 236-2, 274-5 and 276-5 in the three matches.

“Just under a year ago, we were cruising to 280 and 290 against Sri Lanka who has similar spinners so the batting is a huge concern and people have got to stand up now as we go into our next set of ODIs in June,” Simmons added.

On a more positive note, Simmons praised the performance of his bowlers in the series.

“I think a positive is that the bowlers have done what we’ve asked of them. We’ve kept a strong India batting line-up to 230 and 260 and I think that’s a huge positive. The way how we’ve gone about our task on the field when bowling and fielding have been a huge positive all-round,” he added.

The West Indies will play India in three T20Is beginning on Wednesday while their next ODI assignment will be a three-match tour of the Netherlands in June.

 

 

 

The West Indies struggles in One-Day International cricket continue after suffering a 96-run loss in the third ODI against India, in Ahmedabad on Friday, suffering a 3-0 series sweep in the process.

The hosts, who won the toss and chose to bat first, suffered a poor start after losing captain Rohit Sharma (13), Shikhar Dhawan (10) and Virat Kohli (0) in the first 10 overs.

With the Indians teetering at 42-3, Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant rescued the innings with a partnership of 110 before Pant was dismissed for 56 in the 30th over to leave the Indians 152-4.

Shreyas eventually got to a top score of 80 off 111 balls, including nine fours, before he was dismissed in the 38th over to leave India 187-6.

A crucial 53-run seventh-wicket partnership between Deepak Chahar (38) and Washington Sundar (33) ensured that India eventually posted a respectable 265 all out off their 50 overs, a score they would’ve been very happy with based on the start they had.

Jason Holder was outstanding for the West Indies with 4-34 off eight overs while Alzarri Joseph and Hayden Walsh supported well with two wickets each.

The Windies reply never got out of first gear with only Odean Smith (36) and captain Nicholas Pooran (34) managing to pass 30.

Alzarri Joseph also contributed 29 in a disappointing batting effort which saw the West Indies bowled out for 169 after 37.1 overs.

Prasidh Krishna (3-27 off 8.1 overs) and Mohammed Siraj (3-29 off 9 overs) led the way for the Indians with the ball.

The two teams will now turn their attention to the three-match T20 International series which begins on Wednesday.

 

 

 

West Indies all-rounder Odean Smith insists he still has a lot to learn despite a number of positive performances for the men in maroon in recent matches.

On Wednesday, Smith was one of the few bright sparks as the West Indies crumbled in pursuit of a modest 237, set by India, in the second One Day International match between the teams.  The player put on a solid 24 runs from 20 deliveries at the tail of the innings, a figure made more impressive considering it was the third-highest score for the team on the day.

Prior to that, during India's turn at the crease, Smith had bowled with plenty of pace and hostility in claiming 2 for 29, removing both dangerous batsmen Rishabh Pant and Virat Kohli.  His figures were the best for a West Indies bowler on the day.  The player, however, insists he remains determined to better both his approach to the game and performances.

“I have a lot of work to do in both departments, bowling, and batting, so going forward I’m going to have to do a lot more work,” Smith said following the match.

“I was saying the batsmen should have tried more to bat time.  I should probably have done the same thing.  We needed 44 from four overs, it’s not a lot and if we had taken it to two overs it would have been a different game, instead of trying to get it (runs) as quick as possible,” he added.

“So, I have a lot of work to do, but everything comes with time.  It’s around my fifth ODI game, so, I think I have a lot of time to continue learning.”

West Indies vice-captain Nicholas Pooran has lamented the team’s inability to put together quality partnerships, following a 44-run loss to India in the second One Day International on Wednesday.

For the fourth straight ODI, the West Indies struggled to occupy the crease for any significant period, this time around in pursuit of India’s of 237, which could hardly be considered as overwhelming in most circumstances.

However, as has become the norm, the team struggled early on at the top of the order, with the first three batsmen combining for 46 runs.  Shamar Brooks and Akeal Hosein managed to put 42 on the board in the middle of the innings and Odean Smith added 24 late on, but chasing even such a modest target would have required plenty more stability and application, particularly at the top of the order.

Pooran, who himself made 9 from 13, insists the team needs to be much better at occupying the crease and carrying on to make notable scores.

“We kept losing wickets after developing partnerships.  Especially losing soft wickets,” Pooran said following the match.

“Every time someone is set, we got out at the wrong time.  The top five top six batsmen did not put up our hands tonight,” he added.

The team headed into the ODI series against India on the back of a particularly rough patch of form, having lost to Ireland for the first time in the format last month.  The Windies will look to avoid a sweep when they face India in the final match on Friday.

 

West Indies lost their second ODI against India at Ahmedabad by 44 runs on Wednesday and with it the three-match ODI series.

West Indies all-rounder Akeal Hosein has enjoyed a brilliant start to his international career.

The Trinidadian left-arm spinner has so far taken 21 wickets in 13 One-Day Internationals and 15 wickets in 18 T20 Internationals.

Hosein is currently representing the regional side in an ongoing white-ball tour of India in which the team finds itself 1-0 down in the three-match ODI series.

He took 1-46 from nine overs in the game the West Indies lost by six wickets.

Speaking in a press conference on Tuesday, ahead of the second ODI on Wednesday, Hosein, who is on his first tour of India, explained that figuring out the bowling in the conditions remains a work in progress.

“It's just about reading what type of pitch it is, what type of soil it is, and see what works on the day. Sometimes, you get information and it doesn’t really help you in the match so it’s definitely something that you have to go out there and feel for yourself and you can probably just keep that information at the back of your mind as well,” he said.

In their turn at the crease, in the first ODI, the West Indies batsmen were put into a blender by India’s spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar, who took seven wickets between them.  So the question remains, how do the Windies batsmen plan to manage the spin onslaught in the second ODI?

“I think more of that will be revealed tomorrow. We don’t know how the surface might play; it might play the same, it might play better, it might play worse. One game plan that we do have no matter what is to just be positive and get ourselves into proper positions.  To play strong scoring shots and I think that’s something we’re going to stick with, no matter the surface and conditions. The more we’re able to do those things, we’ll be able to get through it,” Hosein added.

“The conversation after the game was generally about not getting our heads down. Yes, we’ve lost the match and it’s a short series with only three matches but more around the positives we took from the game. Although we lost, there were still positives and it’s just about how we plan to bounce back and come back stronger in the second game,” he added.

His performances this year have certainly caught the eye of the now 10 lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises, with the auction for the 2022 season just a few days away but Hosein says his focus is on winning this series.

“These two games are very important for me because they will determine the series for us. I’m not really focused on the IPL. I’m focused on the task at hand right now. Yes, we know the IPL is the best league around but, having said that, I think once I do the right things and perform well for my team, other doors will open for me. The focus now is to try to win this ODI series,” he said.

The second ODI takes place on Wednesday.

 

 

 

 

 

Following Sunday's six-wicket defeat to India, fast bowler Alzarri Joseph believes the West Indies need to do a better job at the crease.

After batting first and posting a paltry 176 all out in just 43.5 overs, India needed just 28 overs to get to 178-4 and take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Pace bowler Alzarri Joseph, who was the best bowler on the day for the Windies with 2-45 from seven overs, said the nature of the pitch made bowling difficult.

“It was a pretty difficult wicket. It was slow and spin-friendly so there wasn’t really much in it for me. We had our team meetings and we had specific plans for specific batsmen so I was just bowling towards the plans. I just tried to put in my effort and put my best foot forward for the team,” he said.

A common theme in the West Indies batting over the years, Joseph lamented the lack of application during their innings.

“I just think we need to assess a bit better and spend some more time at the crease. As you see, Fabian and Jason gave us a good partnership and partnerships will give us a better total. We needed to score a bit more," the Antiguan said.

"I think maybe 240 or 250 would have been a more challenging total on that wicket but it’s our first game out and we have two more games to get back in the series so we’ll just go back to the drawing board and put our plans in. We have two days to go back and plan so we’ll have our post-match meetings and come up with plans to get to where we need to get.”

Joseph has had an excellent start to his ODI career with 66 wickets in 41 matches and his goal is to just keep improving.

“My goals are just improving as a cricketer every time I go out on the field. Year after year, month after month, week after week, day after day, I try to improve myself and be better than I was yesterday,” he said.

The second ODI takes place on Wednesday.

 

 

Rohit Sharma enjoyed a brilliant start to life as India's ODI captain in a dominant six-wicket defeat of West Indies on Sunday.

Rohit was named skipper in December but only now, in the series opener in Ahmedabad, has he been able to lead his side due to a hamstring injury.

It was worth the wait, however, as India cruised to victory in their 1,000th ODI, aided by 60 runs from 51 balls from Rohit.

That knock, which included 10 fours and a six, set the tone for a straightforward chase after West Indies had been bowled out for 176.

Even that modest total required some heavy lifting from Jason Holder, whose 57 improved markedly on a woeful 7-79 start after the Windies skipper survived a scare.

Holder could have been the victim of a hat-trick ball from Yuzvendra Chahal (4-49), but his inside edge fell short of short leg.

Chahal's fellow spinner Washington Sundar – returning for his second ODI more than four years after his first – finished with 3-30 to help ensure a straightforward target for Rohit and Co.

An opening partnership of 84 with Ishan Kishan took any jeopardy out of the situation, as India comfortably made 178-4 in 28 overs to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Holder reaches milestone in attempted rescue act...

A stunning spell from Chahal, whose four wickets took him to 103 in 60 ODIs (the fifth-fastest India bowler to 100), had West Indies in all sorts of trouble, but it also brought Holder out into the middle.

The captain led the way as the tourists belatedly showed some fight, making 57 to pass 2,000 ODI runs (2,011) and become the fifth West Indies player to reach that mark along with 100 wickets in this format. Holder has 141 ODI wickets but could not add to that tally.

But both innings belong to opposite number Rohit

There is little doubting Rohit's ability with the bat, and the opener's 60 took him past Sachin Tendulkar (1,573) onto 1,583 ODI runs against West Indies, with only Virat Kohli (now 2,243) scoring more for India.

The full-time captaincy role is a new one, however, and Rohit was just as impressive in that sense. Rewarded for putting his faith in the spinners, the skipper also had three successful reviews from three to account for Darren Bravo, Nicholas Pooran and Shamarh Brooks.

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