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  • Afghanistan half-century up there with the best, says Samuels

    BASSETERRE, St Kitts, CMC – Veteran Marlon Samuels says he rates his career-best unbeaten half-century in Monday’s final Twenty20 International highly, even though it came against ICC Associate side Afghanistan.

    The stylish right-hander was at his sublime best, carving out an 89 off 66 deliveries to help West Indies to a comfortable seven-wicket victory at Warner Park and a clean sweep of the three-match series against the minnows.

    “As I always say, making a 90 and the team wins is very important. It means a lot to me,” the Jamaican said afterwards.

    “I think I’ll rate it at the top regardless of the team I’m playing against because I [made] 80, 85 against better teams but I’ll still put it at the top because given the situation if I had gotten out you never know what could have happened.”

    With West Indies set 147 for victory, Samuels found himself at the crease as early as the first over of the innings after Chadwick Walton was dismissed off the second ball without scoring.

    The 36-year-old punched nine fours and three sixes, adding 61 for the second wicket with opener Evin Lewis (19) before putting on a further 65 in an unbroken fourth wicket stand with Jason Mohammed who ended unbeaten on 23.

    Samuels said with the loss of the early wicket, his role had become even more pivotal in the innings.

    “I’ve been batting well, playing the role the team requires and the teams asks me to play,” he explained.

    “[If we lose] early wickets, [I have] go out there and build a partnership, bring [the innings] back together. Get a good start, go out there and step on the gas a little bit and still control the innings.

    “It worked out good for us in the end and it’s just for me to continue to play a mature innings in the middle for the team.”

    Samuels, voted Man-of-the-Match and Man-of-the-Series, said the series win was also important for the side especially since it now comprised some inexperienced players.

    “We are still the World champions – two times,” he said.

    “We’ve got some new players but nevertheless they are coming through and learning fast and it’s good that some of them are getting the opportunity to know that T20s are like regardless of it’s against South Africa or Afghanistan whichever team.”

  • Browne wants players’ form, consistency

    rsz_16116925237_506b5f5bd4_oBRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – Chairman of selectors, Courtney Browne, has urged regional players to make their mark in the upcoming Regional Super50 in order to force their way into the West Indies squad.

    He said West Indies were expected to have a heavy One-Day International schedule this year, and with preparations already in train for the 2019 World Cup, it was crucial players took advantage of every opportunity in the January 24 to February 18 tournament.

    “We’re definitely looking forward to the Super50 to see that the incumbents go on and continue their good work,” the former Test wicketkeeper told Massy United Insurance Line and Length.

    “Then there are a lot of other young players who are challenging for places and we have a lot of ODI cricket coming up this year so it is important – obviously we’re building them up towards the World Cup – that all the players coming in and get their runs, get their wickets, play tough and hard cricket and really show us they have the attitude, not only to be part of the team, but the attitude that we are looking for that makes West Indian people really proud.”

    Browne emphasized, however, that while it was important players performed, they needed to show consistency beyond the tournament.

    “People just need to perform, that’s the most important [thing] and perform consistently,” said Browne, who replaced legendary former West Indies captain, Clive Lloyd, in the position last year.

    “What we are trying to do is look at players over at least three seasons. One of the things that we are trying not to do is to pick players after just one season.

    “At times that will happen but if you can get a guy performing over three years consistently or over two years consistently, then we know he’s deserving of an opportunity at the senior level, or at least be considered for an opportunity at the senior level.”

    Browne noted that the Windies one-day side was at a young stage of their development, and singled out the unit which recently campaigned in the Tri-Nations Series in Zimbabwe.

    He said the young players who had made their mark on that tour needed to reiterate that form in the Regional Super50.

    “This is going to be very important for us because coming off the Zimbabwe Tri-Series, we saw some good signs there,” the Barbadian pointed out.

    “Obviously we have a very young team where our captain Jason Holder he’s played about just over 50 ODIs (49) and the next person would have played about 20 or 22, and then all the others [on the Tri-Nations squad] were somewhere in the teens or actually there quite a number of people below ten ODIs.”

    Trinidad and Tobago Red Force are defending Regional Super50 champions and will do battle in Zone A alongside Leeward Islands Hurricanes, Windward Islands Volcanoes, West Indies Under-19s and English county side, Kent Spitfires.

    Zone B comrprises last year’s runners-up Barbados Pride, Jamaica Scorpions, Guyana Jaguars, Combined Campuses & Colleges Marooners and ICC Americas team.

    Players must make themselves available for the tournament in order to be eligible for selection to the ODI format.