West Indies T20 captain, Nicholas Pooran, said he is unable to explain why his players, himself included, continue to make mistakes that prove to be costly in matches. Pooran was speaking with the media in the wake of his team’s narrow loss in the second of three T20 Internationals in Karachi on Tuesday.

Nicholas Pooran, West Indies T20 captain for the tour of Pakistan that begins on Monday, believes the absence of Kyle Mayers, Sheldon Cottrell and Roston Chase for the series, presents opportunities for other players to show what they are worth.

The three players tested positive for Covid-19 on arrival in Pakistan last week and have been ruled out of the tour that involves three T20 internationals and three ODI’s from December 13 to 22. 

While describing the situation as being ‘unfortunate’, the Trinidadian, who is leading the team in the absence of the injured Kieron Pollard, said that while the unavailability of the three players will disrupt their initial plans, he believes it presents a chance for others to take advantage.

“(The) selectors and coaches had original plans on what the 11 would look like, who was going to play, who wasn’t going to play,” Pooran told members of the media Sunday.

“When saying that, other guys are going to get the opportunity to showcase their talent and abilities, so we are looking forward to seeing those guys take their opportunity.”

The three players out with Covid is expected to have a major impact on the team that is already without several of its senior players including Andre Russell, Jason Holder, Shimron Hetmyer and Evin Lewis.

In their absence players like Odean Smith, Gudakesh Motie, Dominic Drakes, Justin Greaves and Shamarh Brooks, are among those aiming to cement a place in the team that has begun a process of rebuilding following a disastrous ICC T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates where the West Indies was eliminated in the group stage after winning only one of their five matches.

Pooran said he is excited to see what the new players will bring to the team.

“It’s obviously a new rebuilding stage for us now. It is unfortunate that we don’t have other senior players here but when saying that I am very excited to see this new crop of players get onto that cricket field,” he said.

“I believe that there are a lot of talented players here, a lot of special players, especially when it comes to the shorter form of the game so I am very excited to see what’s going to happen on the cricket field. I am looking forward to seeing us play together, sticking to our plans as much as possible and being hungry for success.”

 

 

 

Injury has forced Kieron Pollard out of the West Indies’ white-ball tour of Pakistan later this month. Pollard suffered the injury during the recent ICC T20 World Cup and has not sufficiently recovered in time for the tour that runs from December 13-22.

West Indies white-ball vice-captain Nicholas Pooran and explosive opener Evin Lewis have paid tribute to retired all-rounder Dwayne Bravo and soon-to-be-retired, who have both played in their last ICC T20 World Cup tournament.

The 38-year-old Bravo announced his retirement from international cricket last Thursday after the West Indies lost to Sri Lanka by 20 runs effectively ending their world cup campaign.

"I think the time has come," Bravo said. "I've had a very good career. To represent the West Indies for 18 years, had some ups and downs, but as I look back at it I'm very grateful to represent the region and the Caribbean people for so long.”

Gayle, meanwhile, is holding off talk of retirement for the time being as he has hopes of donning West Indies colours at least once more before he calls time on his record-breaking career.

"It's been a phenomenal career. I didn't announce any retirement but they actually give me one game in Jamaica to go in front of my home crowd, then I can say 'hey guys, thank you so much. Let's see. If not, I'll announce it a long time and then I'll be joining DJ Bravo in the backend and say thanks to each and everyone but I can't say that as yet," Gayle said prior to the West Indies’ eight-wicket loss to Australia on Saturday.

Notwithstanding Gayle’s comments, there can be no doubting the fact that his days in international cricket are numbered, a reality that prompted Pooran to pay tribute to both players, who have inspired him.

“Personally, I've witnessed (ed) two gentlemen who have left it all out on the cricket field, from being super excited to reach home fast from school to see @chrisgayle333 smash it all over the park and then see @djbravo47 defend basically less to nothing in a last over and then do his dance celebrations, to then playing with them in their last world cup game, that was something special,” Pooran posted in Instagram on Saturday.

“Seeing you guys walk away today put tears to my eyes but very pleasing at the same time knowing you guys have achieved so much in your careers. So from me to you guys, thank you for my childhood and all the best in whatever you do in the future!”

Meanwhile, Lewis, who opened with Gayle for the West Indies on several occasions, wished the two departing well.

“Words can’t describe. I’m a person of few words but it’s been an honour watching you guys on TV then sharing the same dressing room. Go well champs @djbravo47 @chrisgayle333,” said the power-hitting Trinidadian.

Pooran, perhaps the man to lead the West Indies into a new era, apologized for the team’s poor performances in the world cup and promised that even as two of the game’s greats ride into the sunset of their careers, the West Indies has the talent bounce back stronger than before.

“To our fans all over the world and back home, we know we have disappointed you guys, but let's not forget what we have accomplished in the last nine years winning two titles. It has been a wonderful era, but we will rise again,” he said.

West Indies batsman, Nicholas Pooran, is adamant that the team completely trusts captain Kieron Pollard and backs him to make the correct decisions in a crucial World Cup clash against Bangladesh on Friday.

The defending champions are off to a poor start to the tournament after facing crushing losses at the hands of England and South Africa.  With only two teams advancing to the semi-finals from the group a loss against Bangladesh would officially eliminate the struggling West Indies from contention.

Outside of the poor form of several batsmen, the team’s leadership and decision-making have also come under the spotlight in recent days.  Both captain Pollard and coach Phil Simmons have faced scrutiny after a batting line-up change against South Africa, in the second match, backfired and seemed to be far more disruptive than beneficial.

Inside the dressing room, however, Pooran, the vice-captain, insists there are no doubts regarding decisions taken by the team’s leader.

"We have a wonderful captain. He knows what he's doing," said Pooran told members of the media in a pre-match press conference.

"Whatever he says goes, and we back him to make some really good decisions for us tomorrow to be successful,” he added.

Pooran is one of a handful of West Indies impact players who have struggled to find form, managing just 13 runs in the two matches so far.

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.

West Indies T20 vice-captain Nicholas Pooran has heaped praises on under pressure batsman Chris Gayle, insisting the veteran remains a valuable part of the team ahead of its attempted World Cup title defence.

The 42-year-old Gayle has found himself in the crosshairs of critics in recent months, with many insisting the player should have been overlooked in favour of younger talent.  The batsman'ss recent form will not have helped matters.  In the last year, Gayle has played a total of 16 matches, scored a total of 227 runs with an average of 17.46 and strike rate of 117.61, well down from his career average of 139.18.

Criticism of the batsman recently came to a head when he took exception to comments made by former fast bowler Curtly Ambrose who suggested that Gayle was not the same player he used to be.  Pooran is, however, certain of the value the player brings to the team.

“As much as everyone has questioned it, 14,000 runs doesn’t come about just like that.  Not many people know how to win T20 matches and T20 leagues and that sort of experience is invaluable,” Pooran told members of the media on Wednesday.

“The experience batting out in the middle, talking about intent, talking about taking on players when to go when not to go, you just don’t get experience like that,” he added.

“We are very happy to have him, even off the pitch he is someone who supports you 100 percent, someone who backs you 100 percent.  You talk about positivity, he is one of the most positive guys we have on the team, in the Caribbean.

“He’s a special human being.  Only when you play cricket with him or against him you’d know what it feels like to have him around.”

 

West Indies vice-captain Nicholas Pooran insists the team has looked to address well-noted concerns regarding the rotation of the strike but believes it is important to stick to its strengths, with the World Cup on the horizon.

Known internationally for their flamboyant, swashbuckling style, the Caribbean team will head into next week's tournament as defending champions.  However, despite having captured the global title on two occasions, questions have been raised in recent times regarding the team’s batting approach.

With a batting line-up filled with heavy hitters, the problematic issue stems from the tendency to soak up too many dot balls.  Pooran admits that it has been a focus but in the grand scheme of things the team intends to stay true to its style as it has delivered success in the past.

“We have net sessions and we as a group have spoken about it, we have players to play certain roles, honestly.  As a batting group, we want to get better, we want to improve, and getting singles is a part of that game as well, but our focus is not so much on singles,” Pooran told members of the media on Tuesday.

“We won two World Cups with the same problems, to be honest, not getting singles.  I don’t think the emphasis is so much on it, but on intent and playing smart cricket.  There are times that we know that will have to put our egos aside and grind for the team and if that means pushing a dot ball and getting singles, we’ll do that.”

Nicholas Pooran said he is not worried about his form and expects to be back to scoring runs once the T20 World Cup begins later this month.

West Indies T20 captain, Kieron Pollard, insists he remains unperturbed by the indifferent form of some players heading into the ICC T20 World Cup as there is still enough time to get things right.

With the start of the tournament just a few days away, there has been some concern raised regarding the form of a few of the team’s potential match-winners based on their performances in lead-up tournaments this year, most recently the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and Indian Premier League (IPL).

Falling into that category and of primary concern would be the form of high-impact pair Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran, whose IPL form this season best illustrates the point.  The duo set the IPL alight for Punjab Kings XI last season and such form would have been welcome heading into next week.

In 2020, Pooran played 14 matches scoring 353 runs at an average of 35.30, by comparison, the player’s most recent campaign has ended with 85 runs at an average of 7.72, in 12 games.  For Gayle, 2020 saw him score 288 runs and average a healthy 41.14 in 7 games, however, this time around he could only manage 193 runs at an average of 21.44 in 10 games. 

Pollard, however, believes players who might not be in form still have plenty of time to kick into gear for the global showpiece, where they will start as defending champions.

“If we look too much into the past, then that is where sometimes we get ourselves into trouble,” Pollard told members of the media on Tuesday.

“Let’s deal with what we have in the present, the guys that have confidence, roll with them, the guys that don’t we try to get them into that zone with some practice sessions,” he added.

“We have a couple more games and then the big one, which is the World Cup, so from a perspective of being concerned, I know when it comes to the international stage it is about personal pride and individuals will want to show what they have to offer.”

 

      

 

West Indies head coach Phil Simmons says he is not concerned about the form of his vice-captain Nicholas Pooran as the team prepares to begin the defence of their ICC World T20 title later this month.

The West Indies, the only team to win the T20 title twice – in 2012 and 2016 – has seen their vice-captain struggle for form in the Indian Premier League where he batted in the middle order for the Punjab Kings with little success.

Coming off a fair campaign for the Guyana Amazon Warriors in the 2021 Hero CPL where in 10 innings he scored 263 runs at an average of 32.88 and strike rate of 163.35, Pooran who turned 26 on October 2, has experienced a precipitous dip in form in the IPL.

In 11 innings for the Punjab Kings, Pooran has only managed to score 85 runs at an anaemic average and strike rate of 7.72 and 111.84, respectively, numbers that have even him concerned.

“Definitely not the IPL season I wanted but the opportunity to be tested both mentally and physically was a great experience, one to learn from very fast,” the Trinidadian posted on Instagram this past weekend.

However, Simmons expressed faith in the player’s ability to return to form in time for the world cup in the United Arab Emirates where the West Indies will open their campaign against England on October 23.

“I am not too worried about Nicholas. I think Nicholas has been batting well,” said the head coach during a media session from the UAE on Monday. “In the CPL, he played well, there was a lot of pressure on him there and there is going to be more pressure here but I think he has been working hard enough. He is doing all that he has to do and sometimes it doesn’t come off, but it will come off so I am not worried about him.”

Since the start of the CPL in August, Pooran has had one score of over 50 runs in T20 matches, and that was an unbeaten 75 against the Jamaica Tallawahs on September 10.

 

 

Guyana Amazon Warriors have one foot in the 2021 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) semi-finals following a 46-run victory over the Jamaica Tallawahs 

The Amazon Warriors won the toss and elected to bat first and captain Nicholas Pooran led the way with a brutal 75 not out to set the Tallawahs 170 to win.

In reply, the Tallawahs succumbed to a heavy defeat as Odean Smith and Gudakesh Motie combined to bowl the Amazon Warriors to victory.

Guyana got their innings off to a steady start amassing 46 runs in the PowerPlay but they had to contend with the loss of Brandon King and Chandrapaul Hemraj in doing so.

Despite Shimron Hetmyer then running himself out, Nicholas Pooran and Shoaib Malik put together a partnership of 54 runs from 33 balls to place Guyana in a strong position with six overs to go.

Pooran then took on the responsibility of getting his side into a good position and his pyrotechnics at the back end of the innings ensured Guyana Amazon Warriors posted a very competitive 169/6.

The Tallawahs were able to keep pace with the required run rate in the early stages of their reply as Haider Ali and Kirk Mckenzie overcame the loss of Kennar Lewis to put on a 41-run partnership.

Odean Smith’s entry into the attack proved pivotal as his two wickets in two balls swung the pendulum back in Guyana’s favour and he wasn’t done there as he also got rid of Andre Russell in a wonderful wicket maiden over.

Alongside Smith, Gudakesh Motie spun a web as his three wickets helped ensure there was no chance of an unlikely win for the Tallawahs.

The victory for the Amazon Warriors means the Tallawahs will now have to win the return game to make the semi-finals. 

West Indies vice-captain Nicholas Pooran played a sizzling career-best knock while fast bowler Jason Holder took career-best bowling figures, but Pakistan's bowling attack did just enough to take them to victory in the second match on Saturday.

Pooran's explosive unbeaten 62 off 33 balls with six 6s and four 4s kept the West Indies in with a chance of overcoming the target, even to the final over when 20 runs were required to overhaul Pakistan's total of 157-8.

However, Shaheen Shah Afridi claimed the wicket of captain Kieron Pollard (13) and then denied the rampant Pooran the opportunity to swing freely and lustily at the next three deliveries to ensure the visitors came away with the win, with the hosts kept to 150-4 off 20 overs.

West Indies suffered a setback when opening batsman Evin Lewis retired hurt on 35 off 33 balls with two fours and two sixes mid-way through the innings.

Earlier in the match, it was Holder and Dwayne Bravo who combined to put the brakes on the Pakistan scoring rate. Holder returned the excellent figures of 4-26 while Bravo, the leading wicket-taker in all T20 cricket, claimed 2-24 as the tourists squandered a solid platform provided by Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan.

Babar’s polished 51 off 58 balls with two sixes and four 4s was the top score of the innings. He put on 67 runs for the third wicket with Rizwan (46) after Sharjeel Khan and Rizwan had set the stage for a challenging target in putting on 56.

Pollard, who played the supporting role in a 70-run fourth-wicket partnership with Pooran to revive the West Indies chances, gave credit to the West Indies bowlers for limiting the visitors after he chose to put them in to bat.

 “We were staring down the barrel of a 170-plus total and I was really happy with the way the bowlers battled back in the latter half of their innings,” Pollard said.

“We had to try and explode towards the end, but it just didn't work out.”

Nicholas Pooran has guided West Indies to a series-levelling One Day International victory despite a scare in the run chase against Australia in Bridgetown on Saturday.

Akeal Hosein (30-3) and Alzarri Joseph (39-3) were exceptional in reducing Australia to 45-6 before the tourists rallied to 187.

But the West Indies stumbled in their chase, slumping to 72-5 before Pooran (59* from 75) combined with Jason Holder (52) for a decisive 93-run sixth-wicket stand.

Player of the Match Pooran was crucially dropped by Moises Henriques off Adam Zampa on 26, before making his eighth ODI half-century.

Mitchell Starc, who finished with 26-3 from 10 overs, had dismissed Evin Lewis (1) and Darren Bravo (duck), before trapping Holder LBW but Pooran guided the hosts home.

Earlier, Australia struggled with the bat, with Hosein dismissing Henriques, stand-in captain Alex Carey and Ashton Turner in an excellent spell.

Matthew Wade (36) and Adam Zampa (36) rallied for Australia, before an excellent late cameo from second-gamer Wes Agar (41 from 36).

POLLARD HAILS 'SCRATCHY' POORAN

West Indies captain Kieron Pollard said allowing Australia to reach 187 was disappointing but hailed Pooran's determination after a "scratchy" knock.

"What was good this time around was the fight by the guys, Nicholas Pooran getting that half-century and Jason Holder as well," Pollard said.

"Pooran has been looking like his old self again. He was a bit scratchy tonight but sometimes that's what you need in a game like this. You want someone to scrap and I think they both scrapped well for us to come through for a victory."

The West Indies avoided suffering back-to-back home defeats for the first time since August 2019.

Pooran's innings also took him past 1,000 ODI runs, becoming the 39th West Indian player to achieve the feat and the joint-third fastest for the side (Viv Richards – 21, Gordon Greenidge – 23, Ramnaresh Sarwan – 27).

AUSSIES STILL BULLISH AHEAD OF DECIDER

Australia are unbeaten in their past six ODI bilateral series (W4, D2) against West Indies and missed out on the opportunity to seal another victory but Carey remained bullish ahead of Monday's decider.

"Bring on game three," Carey said. "The batting group has a bit to prove to get a good score on the board for our quicks but our quicks and spinners are doing a great job."

The stand-in skipper bemoaned Australia's top-order batting, with none of the top six scoring more than 16.

"Obviously it doesn't help when you're five for not-a-lot," he said. "Wade and the bowlers did a great job to get us to a total and we were back in the game.

"We took some early wickets again and the belief was there. We created opportunities and we were in the game in the back end. Unfortunately we couldn't quite close it out and it proved we were 20 or 30 short."

Stand-in West Indies captain Nicholas Pooran insists he is not very bothered by his form, despite a difficult time at the crease in recent matches.

  The Windies currently lead their five-match T20 series against Australia, 3-1. So far, Pooran has made a total of 65 runs in three innings. He was run out in the first game for just 17 from 16 deliveries and did not bat in game 2.  He had a better game 3 when he scored a responsible 32 not out from 27 deliveries to build a partnership with Chris Gayle that led the Windies to the series victory.

Despite that good performance in the previous game, Pooran was dismissed cheaply once again in game 4. With the West Indies chasing 190 to win, he was caught off the bowling of Mitchell Marsh for just 16 from 15 deliveries.

Pooran’s lack of form has been a concern for many West Indies cricket fans and analysts since the IPL earlier this year. The left-hander, who represents the Punjab Kings, only managed 28 runs from 7 matches before the tournament was halted due to the rising COVID cases in India. He was dismissed for a duck 4 times out of his 6 innings with his highest score being 19.

“I’m not worried about myself to be honest. You know I’m getting starts which is very important. A couple of months ago (during the IPL), I wasn’t even getting starts at all so I’m very thankful, very happy to actually be getting starts. So, I’m not worried about myself in all honesty,” Pooran told members of the media during a press conference on Thursday.

  The West Indies will play the final game of their T20 series against Australia tonight at the Darren Sammy National Stadium in St Lucia. They will then move on to Barbados for a three-match ODI series.   

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