Former New Zealand bowler turned commentator, Danny Morrison, has named West Indies captain Kieron Pollard as one of the most overrated players of the current generation.

The 35-year-old is typically one of the sport’s most widely regarded players, having amassed an impressive 11,326 runs in 573 matches.  The tally is surpassed only by compatriot Chris Gayle who is the top runs scorer in the format.

In addition, the player, who has spent 11-years at India Premier League (IPL) club Mumbai Indians, has played for the franchise and played a key role in capturing five IPL titles.  Recently, Mumbai Director of Cricket Operations Zaheer Khan hailed the player’s leadership and influence, also branding him as one of the strongest finishers in the game. 

The West Indian was one of only one four players retained, along with Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, and Suryakumar Yadav.  Speaking with Sportskeeda in a recent question and answer styled interview, the commentator singled out Pollard as a player he believed was overrated.  In the same breath, Morrison listed Indian wicketkeeper-batsman Ishan Kishan as one of the most underrated.

The West Indies will host Ireland for three CG Insurance One-Day Internationals (ODI) and a one-off T20 International (T20I) at Sabina Park, Jamaica from Saturday, January 8 to Sunday, January 16, Cricket West Indies confirmed today.

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 captain, Kraigg Brathwaite, admits a recurring problem is the team's ability to spend longer at the crease, on the back of a dismal performance against Sri Lanka in the recently concluded tour.

With very few exceptions, the Windies batsmen struggled to make an impact against a crafty Sri Lanka spin attack, which anchored a dominant 2-0 series win for the hosts in Galle.  A closer look at the team’s batting statistics did not make for good reading. 

In two matches, only three batsmen managed a combined total of over 100 runs.  Nkrumah Bonner was the team’s most successful batsman putting up a total of 148, over the two matches, with a high score of 68 and an average of 49.33.  Brathwaite was next with 119, his average working out to 29.75, with a high score of 72.  Jermaine Blackwood was the third batsman to reach triple figures after totalling 109, averaging 27.25 and getting a high score of 44.

By comparison, Sri Lanka had five players total over 100 over both Tests, with two, Dhananjaya de Silva and Dimuth Karunaratne, getting over 200 runs.

When it comes to partnerships, the West Indies had only one that was worth 100 runs, which took place between Bonner and Da Silva in 44 overs.  By comparison, Sri Lanka achieved the feat 6 times.

“Batting-wise we let ourselves down, we just didn’t get big enough totals to cause any pressure on Sri Lanka,” Brathwaite said, following the match.

With the West Indies set to face England in January of next year, the captain believes the team must find ways to work on its concentration if things are to improve.

“Really and truly it all boils down to having the discipline and doing it for long periods.  I don’t think it will change in terms of spin-friendly conditions or batting in the Caribbean,” he added. 

“Wherever you may play, it’s about having that discipline throughout to bat for longer periods, I think that’s what we need.  We are showing that we can do it, but we are not doing it for long enough.”

 

Sri Lanka completed a series sweep of the West Indies Friday winning the second Test by 164 runs at Galle. Needing to make 297 or bat out 93 overs on the final day, the West Indies folded for 132 all out in 56.1 overs.

West Indies head coach, Phil Simmons, says Sri Lanka’s resistance on the penultimate day of the second Test match in Galle will make it difficult for the West Indies to level the two-match series.

An unbroken ninth-wicket partnership of 107 between Dhananjaya de Silva and Lasith Embuldeniya put Sri Lanka in control on the penultimate day of the second Test against the West Indies at Galle on Thursday.

At stumps, Sri Lanka are 328-8, a lead of 279 with two wickets still remaining. De Silva is 153 not out while Embuldeniya is on 25. Together they took Sri Lanka from 221-8 after the West Indies had threatened to restrict the home side to a lead below 200 runs, having trailed by 49 on first innings.

Resuming on 46-2, still three runs behind on first innings, Sri Lanka lost their third wicket at 73 when Veerasammy Permaul had Charith Asalanka caught at short leg for 19. Pathum Nissanka, 21, overnight, and de Silva stitched together a stand of 78 that was broken when the former got out lbw to Roston Chase for 66.

It was then 151-4.

At 157, Chase had Dinesh Chandimal out caught and bowled for two and the Sri Lankan lead was now only 108 with five wickets left.

However, de Silva forged a partnership of 51 with Ramesh Mendis, who made 25. Permaul then dismissed Suranga Lakmal for seven and the injured Angelo Matthews for 1 as Sri Lanka slipped to 221-8, a lead of 172.

It was the last success the West Indies would enjoy.

Permaul, who took 5-35 in the first innings, has so far taken 3-100 while Chase has figures of 2-82.

Scores in the match: Sri Lanka 204 and 328-8; West Indies 253.

 

West Indies middle-order batsman, Kyle Mayers, insists the team must keep the pressure on Sri Lanka if they aim to stay in with a chance of levelling the series heading into the fourth day.

Mayers dug in to put on a useful 36 from 64 balls as the Windies secured a narrow lead over the hosts at the end of their first innings, on the third day.

Resuming the day at 69 for 1, the Windies had a strong morning session, but the Sri Lanka spinners struck back to claim the team’s last seven wickets for just 87 runs. 

The Windies began the second innings with a narrow lead of 49 but kept the pressure on by striking twice with two exceptional runouts to leave the hosts at 46 for 2, at the end of the day’s play.  Mayers, who did his part by dismissing the dangerous Dimuth Karunaratne, insists the team must keep that attitude heading into tomorrow.

“We need to keep down the run rate and keep up the pressure,” Mayers said, following the end of play.

“We are ahead in the game now, so if we can stop them from scoring, runs are crucial heading into the last day.  The least amount of runs they get is the better it is for us,” he added.

“So, if we can keep the pressure on and squeeze some wicket out early tomorrow, first hour, I think we will be good.”

Sri Lanka are 46-2 at the end of the third day of the second Test against the West Indies at Galle on Wednesday, still three runs behind the visitors in a match that is delicately poised heading into Thursday’s fourth day.

The trio of Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, and Nicholas Pooran led a list of 9 West Indies players not retained by their respective Indian Premier League (IPL) teams ahead of the upcoming mega auction.

The 38-year-old Bravo, who has been with Chennai Super Kings since 2018, and previously spent four years with the franchise between 2011–2015, was a part of the team’s IPL-winning run last season.  Retention policies, however, forced the team to shed a few of the team’s veteran players.

In addition to Bravo, Faf du Plessis, Josh Hazlewood, Suresh Raina, and Cheteshwar Pujara were also among those released.  In the meantime, the team retained MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Moeen Ali, and Ruturaj Gaikwad.

Gayle, Pooran, and Fabian Allen, in the meantime, all played for Punjab King’s XI with Gayle and Pooran having seasons to forget.  Gayle averaged 21.44 in 10 games, while Pooran averaged a measly 7.72 in 12 games.  Punjab retained only Mayank Agarwal and Arshdeep Singh and will have a hefty purse for the auction.

In the meantime, only three West Indies players were retained. The Kolkata Knight Riders kept all-rounder Andre Russell and mystery spinner Sunil Narine, while the Mumbai Indians have kept a hold of Kieron Pollard.  Other Windies players released include;

Shimron Hetmyer (Delhi Capitals), Evin Lewis, Oshane Thomas (Rajasthan Royals), Jason Holder, Sherfane Rutherford  (Sunrisers Hyderabad).

A five-wicket haul from spinner Veerasammy Permaul hobbled Sri Lanka to give the West Indies a slender advantage at the close of a rain-affected second day, in Galle, on Tuesday.

Resuming the score with a comfortable overnight total of 113 for 1, the Sri Lankans were 204 all-out just before lunch.  The decision to use left-arm spinners Permaul and Jomel Warrican proved to be a masterstroke that paid rich dividends for the visitors.

Permaul, ended with overall figures of 5 for 35, while Warrican took 4 for 50.  With the other wicket going to Roston Chase on the first day, it was only the fourth time the typically pace-dependent Windies saw their spinners claim 10 wickets in an innings.

In response, the West Indies came up with an all-around solid batting display and put 69 for 1 on the board, leaving the visitor trailing by 135 runs. Jermaine Blackwood, who put 44 on the board from 91 balls was the lone casualty before the rains came.  Blackwood was dismissed lbw after misjudging a Praveen Jayawickrama arm ball. Kraig Brathwaite was unbeaten on 22 off 77 deliveries, and alongside him was Nkrumah Bonner on 1 at the close of play.

 

West Indies left-arm spinner, Veerasammy Permaul, was delighted after taking a maiden five-wicket haul in his 7th match in Test cricket.

Permaul took 5-35 from his 13 overs to help restrict Sri Lanka to 204 all out on day two of the second Test in Galle.

The Guyanese bowler, who is playing in his first Test match since 2015, reacted joyously to his achievement.

“First of all, I’d like to thank God for giving me strength. I’m very overwhelmed. Over the years I’ve been working really hard to get back into the team and now it is paying off,” he said.

Permaul said trying to spin the ball as much as possible served him well in the Sri Lankan conditions.

“I tried to adjust to the conditions and see what pace is good for the wicket. I also tried to spin the ball as much as possible and I think that is what brought me success,” he said.

He also referred to the bowling partnership between himself and fellow left-arm spinner, Barbadian Jomel Warrican, who took 4-50 from his 18.3 overs.

“I think Warrican bowled really well. He was the one that was controlling the scoring rate. He was bowling tight at one end and I was attacking at the other end and that is the key to a good bowling partnership,” he said.

When asked how the Windies bowling performance can carry over into future encounters, Permaul said consistency is key.

“Moving forward, it’s very important that we stay consistent as a bowling unit. Be patient and don’t look for wickets. Try to create opportunities rather than experimenting,” he said.

The West Indies ended day two on 69-1 in their first innings reply to Sri Lanka’s 204 all out with captain, Kraigg Brathwaite, at the crease on 22 and Nkrumah Bonner on one.

Jermaine Blackwood is the only batsman out so far for 44.

 

West Indies bowling coach, Roddy Estwick, was pleased with the bowling performance of his team on Monday's rain-affected first day of their second Test match against Sri Lanka in Galle.

Sri Lanka ended the day on 113-1 from the 34.4 overs that were possible after rain washed out the entire first two sessions.

Pathum Nissanka and Oshada Fernando are the batsmen at the crease on 61 and two, respectively, while Roston Chase has so far taken 1-33 from 7.4 overs.

The West Indies made two changes to the team from the first test in the bowling department with Veerasammy Permaul and Kemar Roach playing instead of Rakheem Cornwall and Shannon Gabriel.

Estwick says the presence of a number of right-handers in the Sri Lankan batting line-up was the reason why Permaul, a left-arm spinner, came into the side at the expense of Cornwall, who bowls off-spin.

“When you look at the Sri Lankan batting line-up, they’re packed with right-handers. We felt that with Roston already bowling off-spin, it would be wiser to go with two left-arm spinners,” he said.

Meanwhile, according to Estwick Roach replacing Gabriel was due to the short turnaround between matches.

“You now have to manage your bowlers with the short turnaround. Before, you had eight or nine days between Test matches and that is a thing of the past. There’s three days between Test matches plus there’s been a lot of rain around Galle so the field is a bit heavy and that can be very taxing on the fast bowler’s body. Kemar didn’t play in the first test and that was planned to keep him fresh for this one,” he said.

Overall, Estwick was, for the most part, pleased with the bowling of his left arm spinners on the day.

“I thought Jomel Warrican, in the few overs he bowled this evening, looked threatening. He went past the bat a lot. Permaul, obviously coming back from being out of Test cricket for a while, I thought he looked good initially but then a change in (the) field, meant he went a little bit too wide. He needed to be on the stumps a bit more challenging both the outside and inside edges.,” he said.

He was also generally pleased with how the Caribbean side executed their plans on the day, especially to Sri Lankan captain, Dimuth Karunaratne, who got scores of 147 and 83 in the first test but who made 42 Monday.

“Obviously, their captain is in good form. I think we stuck to our plans well. We wanted to take the stumps out of the equation and make him hit the ball through the offside. I think we achieved that. If you look at it, he scored 42 off 90 balls so I thought that, all in all, we bowled well,” said Estwick.

Looking at what lies ahead in the match, Estwick emphasised cutting down on loose deliveries and being flexible with their tactics.

“We could have been better with maybe a little bit; too many boundary balls. We’ll come tomorrow and work hard, make sure we keep reviewing our plans and then try to go and execute them,” he said.

Day 2 begins at 11:30 pm.

Sri Lanka reached 113-1 at the end of a rain-shortened opening day of the second Test against the West Indies at Galle on Monday.

West Indies middle-order batsman, Nkrumah Bonner, says the team’s batting line-up must find a way to get stuck in against Sri Lanka, particularly the spinners if they are to find a way to be compete in the ongoing series.

The Caribbean team is currently 1-0 down after suffering a lop-sided defeat to Sri Lanka in the first Test.  In the end, the regional team lost by 187 runs, but that could have been even worse were it not for a 100-run partnership between Bonner and Joshua Da Silva.  The duo were the only ones to get above the half-century mark and to say the majority of other batsmen found the going difficult would be an understatement.

 Sri Lanka’s spinners were aggressive throughout, with left-arm orthodox Praveen Jayawickrama (4 for 40 runs) and off-spinner Ramesh Mendis (3 for 75) doing the damage in the first innings. In the second innings, it was left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya who grabbed an impressive 5 for 46 and Mendis (4 for 64) and Jayawickrama (1 for 28) also doing more damage.

Bonner, who looked much more comfortable after making an adjustment for the second innings, after being dismissed for just 1 from 11 balls in the first, believes that coping with the spinners comes down to better footwork.

"These are small things we need work on if we want to be more sure in our defense, and when we attack,” Bonner said.

"It's difficult when players don't get a start. In the first innings, the ball was holding and spinning. It was a different challenge in the second innings when the ball was sliding at times, and spinning too. We have to come up with smart tactics in order to play all the left-arm spinners."

The West Indies and Sri Lanka will face off in the second Test, beginning on Sunday.

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