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  • Ramdin seals return to Red Force with hundred

    BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – Denesh Ramdin announced his return to the Regional 4-Day Championship with a languid, 13th first-class career hundred that was the cornerstone of Trinidad & Tobago Red Force’s batting against Barbados Pride on Friday here.

    The former West Indies captain hardly placed a foot wrong, gathering 101 that was the rock upon which the Red Force built a first innings total of 300 on the second day of their rain-affected first round match at Kensington Oval.

    Ewart Nicholson made an enterprising 74 and left-handed opener Jeremy Solozano scored a boundary-studded 54 to beef up the Red Force batting.

    Left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican was the pick of the Pride bowlers, snaring 4-67 from 27.1 overs, fast-medium bowler Justin Greaves had identical figures off 18 overs and Pride captain Kevin Stoute took 2-27 off 10 overs.

    In reply, Pride reached 42 for one at the close with Anthony Alleyne, not out on 22, and fellow left-hander Mario Rampersaud, not out on one.

    Left-arm medium-fast bowler Daniel St. Clair gave Red Force an early scalp, when he bowled debutant Pride left-handed opener Shayne Moseley for three.

    Earlier, Ramdin, playing a first-class match for the first time in close two years and three years for Red Force, chopped a delivery from left-arm spinner Jomel Warrican to square third man for the last of his 14 fours to reach his landmark from 159 balls before he was dismissed next ball.

    He also passed the milestone of 6,000 first-class career runs, when he reached 50 with a slog/sweep to deep mid-wicket off the same bowler.

    Ramdin shared 126 for the fourth wicket with Nicholson, following a rapid-fire opening stand of 62 between Solozano and fellow left-hander Amir Jangoo, but there was little else about which the Red Force could write back to Port-of-Spain.

    Starting the day on nought without loss after just four balls were possible on the previous day, the Red Force made hay while the sun shone during the first period, reaching 174 for three from just 37 overs.

    Jangoo and Solozano beat ball early before Stoute struck with successive deliveries to leave the visitors on 62 for two.

    Stoute had Jangoo caught at second slip for 26 playing forward and trapped Isaiah Rajah lbw for a first-ball duck.

    Solozano stuck around long enough to get 50 and take the Red Force to 100 before Greaves had him caught behind flirting outside off-stump.

    Either side of the first interval, Nicholson and Ramdin gradually asserted themselves, and built the foundation for the Red Force innings, benefitting from loose bowling from the Pride attack.

    Just when it looked like they would break the spirit of the Pride, Warrican made the breakthrough, when Nicholson was caught at deep backward square leg. He struck eight fours and three sixes from 142 balls.

    Three wickets to Greaves in the space of 14 balls slowed the Red Force train, leaving them on 244 for seven, but Ramdin and Marlon Richards carried them to 262 without further loss at the second interval.

    After the break, the two shared 45 for the eighth wicket, as Ramdin sauntered to his hundred before he was caught at long-on off Warrican. He hit 14 boundaries from 160 balls.

    Warrican added the scalp of Bryan Charles caught at short mid-wicket for two, but St. Clair came to the crease and with Richards, the Red Force captain last year when they beat the Pride in the corresponding fixture also under the lights, stayed to usher the visitors to 300.

    Warrican wrapped up the innings, when he trapped Richards lbw for 23 playing back and across.

    RED FORCE 1st Innings

    (overnight nought without loss)

    +A Jangoo c Carter b Stoute 26

    J Solozano c wkpr Rampersaud b Greaves 54

    I Rajah lbw b Stoute 0

    E Nicholson c Williams b Warrican 74

    *D Ramdin c Nurse b Warrican 101

    T Webster c wkpr Rampersaud b Greaves 2

    R Primus c wkpr Rampersaud b Greaves 4

    I KLhan c Nurse b Greaves 1

    M Richards lbw b Warrican 23

    B Charles c Stoute b Warrican 2

    D St Clair not out 0

    Extras (b7, lb3, w3) 13

    TOTAL (all out, 81.1 overs) 300

    Fall of wickets: 1-62, 2-62, 3-100, 4-225, 5-228, 6-241, 7-243, 8-289, 9-297

    Bowling: Greaves 18-2-67-4 (nb1); Clarke 7-0-62-0 (nb1); Stoute 10-4-27-2 (nb1); Nurse 9-1-31-0; Warrican 27.1-7-67-4; Carter 9-3-23-0; Williams 1-0-13-0

    PRIDE 1st Innings

    A Alleyne not out 29

    S Moseley b St Clair 3

    +M Rampersaud not out 1

    Extras (b4, lb1, nb4) 9

    TOTAL (1 wkt, 14 overs) 42

    A Jones, J Carter, K Williams, *K Stoute, J Greaves, A Nurse, J Warrican, S Clarke to bat

    Fall of wickets: 1-32

    Bowling: Richards 4-1-18-0; St Clair 6-4-4-1 (nb1); Primus 3-1-14-0 (nb3); Charles 1-0-1-0

    Position: Pride trail by 258 with nine first innings wickets standing

    Umpires: L Reifer Jr, J Williams (Jamaica)

    Match referee: S Proverbs

    Reserve umpire: K Sisnett

  • Hughes, Carty anchor Leewards to the brink – 2nd day, 1st round

    ST GEORGE’S, Grenada, CMC – Half-centuries from openers Chesney Hughes and Keacy Carty laid the foundation for Leeward Islands Hurricanes to get within touching distance of a lead over Windward Islands Volcanoes in the Regional 4-Day Championship on Friday here.

    Hughes made 89 and Carty stroked 72 before the Volcanoes hit back to restrict the Hurricanes to 231 for four in their first innings at the close – trailing by just two runs – on the second day of the first round match at the National Cricket Stadium.

    Hughes, the big left-handed Anguillan with a number of years’ experience in the English County Championship, struck three fours and five sixes from 179 balls in close to four hours of batting.

    Carty, a tall, elegant right-hander from St. Maarten, whose half-century sealed the 2016 ICC Youth World Cup for Windies Under-19, collected six fours and one six from 148 balls in just under three hours at the crease.

    Hughes and Carty put on 151 for the first wicket, but they were wiped away, as the Volcanoes claimed four wickets for 30 runs in the space of 79 deliveries – two to hometown fast bowler Sherman Lewis – to take the wind out of the Hurricanes.

    Jamaica-born Nkrumah Bonner, not out on 19, and Jacques Taylor, not out on 24, batted through the remainder of the day however, putting on 47 – unbroken – for the fifth wicket to carry the visitors to the verge of the lead.

    Starting the day on 220 for seven, the Volcanoes failed to make much further headway when play resumed and were bowled out for 232 inside the first half-hour.

    Jeremiah Louis captured the last three wickets and was the Hurricanes’ most successful bowler with 4-36 from 18.1 overs.

    Mervyn Matthew, the former Volcanoes fast-medium bowler, ended with 3-30.

    VOLCANOES 1st Innings

    (overnight 220 for seven)

    D Smith c wkpr Thomas b Louis 16

    *T Theophile run out 23

    K Edwards lbw b Matthew 35

    R Cato c Carty b Matthew 90

    K Hodge c Taylor b Tonge 41

    L Sebastien lbw b Warde 3

    +G Benjamin c wkpr Thomas b Matthew 2

    S Shillingford b Louis 2

    A Alexander c Thomas b Louis 6

    D Johnson c Tonge b Louis 2

    S Lewis not out 2

    Extras (b3, lb2, nb6) 11

    TOTAL (all out, 93.2 overs) 233

    Fall of wickets: 1-25, 2-58, 3-105, 4-213, 5-213, 6-217, 7-218, 8-226, 9-228

    Bowling: Matthew 19-6-30-3 (nb2); Louis 18.1-7-36-4 (nb4); Tonge 10-5-23-1; Campbell 15-3-35-0; Bonner 12-1-45-0; Taylor 11-0-35-0; Warde 8-1-24-1

    HURRICANES 1st Innings

    C Hughes lbw b Lewis 89

    K Carty b Johnson 74

    A Saunders lbw b Saunders 6

    *+D Thomas c Alexander b Shillingford 4

    N Bonner not out 19

    J Taylor not out 24

    Extras (b8, nb7) 15

    TOTAL (4 wkts, 81 overs) 231

    J Campbell, J Louis, M Matthew, G Tonge, T Warde to bat

    Fall of wickets: 1-151, 2-175, 3-184, 4-184

    Bowling: Johnson 7-2-14-1; Lewis 14-4-29-2; Shillingford 25-6-66-1; Sebastien 15-0-49-0 (nb1); Alexander 18-1-55-0 (nb6); Hodge 2-0-10-0

    Position: Hurricanes trail by two with six first innings wickets standing

    Umpires: J Blades (Barbados), J Wilson (Trinidad & Tobago)

    Match referee: C Felix

    Reserve umpire: R Davis

  • Permaul spins Jaguars into the lead

    PROVIDENCE, Guyana, CMC – A typically destructive spell from Veerasammy Permaul gave three-time reigning champions Guyana Jaguars the upper hand over Jamaica Scorpions in the Regional 4-Day Championship on Friday.

    The jockey-sized, left-arm spinner captured 6-29 from 19.5 overs, as the Scorpions were bowled out for 99 to surrender a 167-run, first-innings lead on the second day of their first-round match at the Guyana National Stadium.

    It was an extra-special moment for Permaul, when he dismissed Derval Green to bring the Scorpions’ innings to a close, claiming his 400th first-class wicket.

    The Scorpions bounced back before the close, but they were still in the hole, as the Jaguars reached 106 for four in their second innings – for an overall lead of 273 – with their captain Leon Johnson not out on 11 and Bhaskar Yadram yet to score.

    After Rajendra Chandika made 35 and Tagenarine Chanderpaul scored 33 in an opening stand of 58, the Scorpions grabbed a cluster of wickets to lift their spirits.

    Dennis Bulli made the breakthrough, when he had Chandrika caught behind, and also claimed the scalp of night-watchman Gudakesh Motie for nine via the same method to finish the day with 2-33 from seven overs.

    In between, Fabian Allen trapped Chanderpaul lbw and off-spinner Damani Sewell bowled Chanderpaul Hemraj for 17.

    Earlier, the new-ball pair of Romario Shepherd and Keemo Paul gave the Jaguars a bright start, when they removed openers Garth Garvey for a first-ball duck and Guyana-born Trevon Griffith for five respectively, both lbw, to leave the Scorpions seven for two in the fourth over.

    Paul, a member of the successful 2016 West Indies Under-19 World Cup squad, struck again, when he removed the highly-touted Brandon King for 10 in the 10th over, wobbling the Scorpions on 19 for three.

    Scorpions captain Paul Palmer and Guyana-born left-hander Assad Fudadin came to the rescue of the visitors with a 57-run stand for the fourth wicket.

    At this stage, Permaul seemed hardly a threat, but he had Palmer caught at deep mid-wicket for 31, and four overs later, trapped Fudadin lbw for the top score of 39 to put the Scorpions in a spin on 87 for five.

    After this, there was token resistance from the rest of the Scorpions’ batting which collapsed for 12 in the space of the next 100 deliveries, as Permaul weaved his web around timid batsmen.

    Starting the day on 258 for eight, the Jaguars failed to script a rearguard action and were bowled out for 266 in their first innings.

    Green grabbed the last two scalps of Permaul caught behind for three and batting bunny Gudakesh Motie caught close to the wicket for a duck, and was the most successful Scorpions bowler, ending with 4-63 from 21 overs.

    Jaguars have won their last six matches against Scorpions and Permaul has put them in a position to make it seven out of seven.

    JAGUARS 1st Innings

    (overnight 258 for eight)

    T Chanderpaul c Palmer b Bulli 14

    R Chandrika c wkpr Morrison b Green 25

    C Hemraj c Garvey b Sewell 60

    *L Johnson b Sewell 20

    B Yadram b Bulli 0

    +A Bramble c Fudadin b Dawes 62

    K Paul c wkpr Morrison b Green 12

    S Rutherford b Sewell 45

    R Shepherd not out 22

    V Permaul c wkpr Morrison b Green 3

    G Motie c Garvey b Green 0

    Extras (b1, w1, nb1) 3

    TOTAL (all out, 96 overs) 266

    Fall of wickets: 1-38, 2-51, 3-96, 4-101, 5-133, 6-150, 7-233, 8-251, 9-266

    Bowling: Dawes 16-7-37-1; Green 21-3-63-4 (nb1, w1); Sewell 28-9-69-3; Bulli 17.4-2-45-2; Palmer 1-0-7-0; Allen 12-0-41-0; Fudadin 0.2-0-3-0

    SCORPIONS 1st Innings

    T Griffith lbw b Paul 5

    G Garvey lbw b Shepherd 0

    A Fudadin lbw b Permaul 39

    B King c T Chanderpaul b Paul 10

    *P Palmer c T Chanderpaul b Permaul 31

    F Allen lbw b Permaul 0

    +R Morrison b Permaul 0

    D Bulli c wkpr Bramble b Motie 2

    D Sewell lbw b Permaul 6

    D Green c Rutherford b Permaul 4

    J Dawes not out 0

    Extras (w1, nb1) 2

    TOTAL (all out, 50.5 overs) 99

    Fall of wickets: 1-1, 2-7, 3-19, 4-76, 5-87, 6-87, 7-88, 8-94, 9-99

    Bowling: Shepherd 9-2-29-1; Paul 6-0-20-2 (nb1); Permaul 19.5-10-29-6; Rutherford 7-2-14-0 (w1); Motie 9-7-7-1

    JAGUARS 2nd Innings

    T Chanderpaul lbw b Allen 33

    R Chandrika c wkpr Morrison b Bulli 35

    C Hemraj b Sewell 17

    *L Johnson not out 11

    G Motie c wkpr Morrison b Bulli 9

    B Yadram not out 0

    Extras (b1) 1

    TOTAL (4 wkts, 31 overs) 106

    Fall of wickets: 1-53, 2-85, 3-89, 4-106

    Bowling: Dawes 3-1-6-0; Green 4-0-21-0; Garvey 3-0-6-0; Sewell 12-5-35-1; Bulli 7-0-33-2; Allen 2-0-4-1

    Position: Jaguars lead by 273 with six first innings wickets standing

    Umpires: N Duguid, D Ramdhanie (Trinidad & Tobago)

    Match referee: C Stuart

    Reserve umpire: N Shivsankar

  • Focussed Hope expecting Queens spin trial to continue

    BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, CMC – In-form batsman Shai Hope is expecting little different from the spin-friendly Queens Sports Club track, when the second Test bowls off here Sunday.

    The wicket proved a challenge from the opening day, providing generous turn from the opening session, and Hope said he was already bracing for similar conditions, as West Indies went in search of a series sweep.

    “I do think it’s going to respond the same way as the first game. The pitch is even drier than the first game but it’s about trusting your process again,” the elegant right-hander said.

    “You have your individual game plans and as a team we have to make sure we are precise with those game plans and make sure we can combat anything they bring to us.”

    West Indies buckled cheaply for 219 in their first innings as leg-spinner Graeme Cremer and left-arm spinner Sean Williams accounted for the majority of wickets.

    But after securing a 60-run lead, West Indies compiled 373 in their second innings to take command of the game and force a 117-run victory late on the fourth day last Tuesday.

    “I must commend our guys for the display of batting we showed, especially Roston (Chase),” Hope said of his counterpart who scored 95 in the second innings.

    “He came out and scored freely as if it wasn’t turning so credit must go to him and the batting team in general. We played well, we responded to their spin attack and we just need to do the same in the second Test.”

    Hope was also among the runs, stroking a superb unbeaten 90 in the first innings and following up with 44 in the second.

    His performances saw him make yet another leap in the ICC batting rankings where he now lies 24th, as the second highest-ranked Windies player behind opener Kraigg Brathwaite at 18th.

    “I just want to keep growing. As a batter, you got to this level playing decent cricket and now you have to trust your ability, trust your game,” the 23-year-old pointed out.

    “You know you have the strength to get over the line to play decent quality bowlers. You have to trust your process. You work hard in the nets to go out there and do a job and you make sure you do that when you go out there.”

    He added: “It’s just doing whatever you can for the team. In this format, my aim is to bat as long as possible and get big totals for the team so those things (rankings) come secondary. You see them but you don’t really go out there with those things in mind.”

  • Four Windies Women in latest ICC ODI and T20I rankings

    ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Cricket West Indies congratulates the Windies Women players who have been included in the latest ICC ODI and T20I player rankings.

    Hayley Matthews leads the T20I bowling and all-rounder categories with 631 and 288 points respectively. Stafanie Taylor with 286 and Deandra Dottin 278 points respectively, round out the top three in the all-rounder category. Anisa Mohammed was fourth in the bowling rankings with 608 points.

    Skipper Taylor topped the T20I batting rankings with 678 points, while Dottin was fourth with 622 points. Taylor was once again featured in the ODI rankings. She is fourth in bowling with 626 points and second in the all-rounder category with 377 points.

    The Windies Women just completed a clean sweep against Sri Lanka with series wins in the ODIs and T20Is at home. Next on the agenda for the Women will a tour of New Zealand next March. Both teams will do battle in three ODIs and five T20Is.

    The full schedule is:

    1st ODI – March 4 Bert Sutcliffe Oval, Lincoln University.

    2nd ODI – March 8, Bert Sutcliffe Oval, Lincoln University.

    3rd ODI – March 11, Hagley Oval, Christchurch.

    1st T20I – March 14, 2pm, Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui.

    2nd T20I – March 16, Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui.

    3rd T20I – March 20 2pm, Pukekura Park, New Plymouth.

    4th T20I – March 22, Pukekura Park, New Plymouth.

    5th T20I – March 25, Seddon Park, Hamilton.

    The full list of rankings may be viewed at this link https://www.icc-cricket.com/rankings/womens/overview

  • Jaguars, Volcanoes make hay, as rain curtails pink-ball match

    ST. JOHN’S, Antigua – Three-time reigning champions Guyana Jaguars made a steady start, a promising, young batsman fell short of a maiden first-class hundred and rain dealt a blow to the pink-ball match when the 2017-18 Digicel Regional 4-Day Championship opened on Thursday.

    • For “live” scores of the matches, visit the Match Centre on the Cricket West Indies website

    Half-centuries from Anthony Bramble and Chanderpaul Hemraj led the Jaguars to 258 for eight in the first innings at the close against Jamaica Scorpions at the Guyana National Stadium.

    Hometown boy Roland Cato led the way with 90, as he anchored Windward Islands Volcanoes to 220 for seven in their first innings against Leeward Islands Hurricanes at the National Cricket Stadium.

    And wet conditions caused by rain curtailed play at Kensington Oval, where fierce regional rivals Barbados Pride and Trinidad & Tobago Force were playing under the lights.

    In Providence, Guyana: Hemraj made 60 to hold the top half of the Jaguars’ batting together before they crashed from 96 for three to 150 for six.

    But Bramble struck six fours in 62 from 122 balls and all-rounder Sherfane Rutherford supported with 45, sharing 83 for the seventh wicket to revive the Jaguars.

    They however, were both dismissed in the final hour, as the Scorpions fought back late in the day, with off-spinner Damani Sewell ending the day with 3-69 from 28 overs.

    In St. George’s, Grenada: Cato struck five fours and one six from 154 balls and shared two successive stands that propped up the Volcanoes’ batting.

    He shared 50 with former Windies vice-captain Kirk Edwards for the third wicket, and followed up with a 105-run stand with Kavem Hodge for the fourth wicket before the Hurricanes too, made a late grab of four wickets for five runs in the space off 26 balls.

    Familiarity bred success for Mervyn Matthew, the former Volcanoes fast-medium bowler, as he was the pick of the Hurricanes’ bowlers with 3-22 from 15 overs.

    In Bridgetown, Barbados: Just four balls were possible, as Red Force reached nought without loss in their first innings before rain and soggy conditions curtailed the rest of play.

    The start had been delayed by an hour, due to wet patches on the outfield caused by rain in the island overnight and during the morning period.

    Just two minutes into play, the rain interrupted and following several inspections by the umpire the decision was taken about half-hour before the scheduled close.

    Play on the remaining days is scheduled to start at 1:30 pm local time.

  • West spells out Windies “A” game plan for final “Test”

    KINGSTON, Jamaica – Windies “A” Team head coach Graeme West said his players needed to revisit the blueprint for winning the first “Test” against Sri Lanka “A” to find the formula for winning the final match of their series, starting tomorrow under the lights at Sabina Park.

    The three-match series is level 1-1, after Windies “A” won the first “Test” by an innings and 13 runs at the Trelawny Multiplex on the Jamaica north coast two Saturdays ago, and Sri Lanka “A” recovered to win the second “Test” by 280 at the same venue a week later.

    West said his side had done a number of things correctly in the first “Test”, but they had failed to maintain the good habits in the second match, leading to their downfall, and now faces a major challenge to win the final game to achieve their goal of a series victory over competitive opponents on home soil.

    “First, the bowlers need to continue doing what they have been doing,” he told CWI Media. “The pace bowlers have been aggressive, but they have also maintained good lines and lengths, and the spinners have been probing and when the conditions have allowed, they have been able to attack, so we need a lot more of the same there.

    “In the field, we need to be a little bit sharper with our close catching. In front and behind the wicket, we missed a number of half chances, but they do make a difference. But it’s the batting, we need to go back to the first game, where he had a hundred, half-centuries and hundred partnerships, and players make solid contributions down the order.

    “The first innings is going to be crucial for us to be able to set up the game, whether we bat first or second, and we need to make 300 runs-plus in the first innings to get ourselves into a good position in the game. I have now been involved in eight games with Sri Lanka “A” in four-day matches and the two in which we have been successful are the two in which we made more than 300 in an innings, so that’s a good indication of what we need to do.”

    On the failure in the second “Test”, West said: “To their credit, the bowlers performed pretty well in line with the first game, but the Sri Lankan batsmen applied themselves a little bit more. We had to work harder for our wickets, but our batting unit let the side down in both innings, particularly the first innings.

    “In four-day matches, the first innings is always important and having dismissed Sri Lanka “A” for under 300 on a reasonably good pitch, we batted way below where we needed to be and put ourselves under a lot of pressure, and it was downhill from there.

    “It was a little unusual the way we batted. We lost many of our wickets in the first innings playing defensively and we lost most of our wickets in the second innings playing attacking shots, so clearly we failed to find the right balance of a good defence and making good decisions about when to take on the bowling, particularly Malinda Pushpakumara.

    Our method of trying to play Pushpakumara is something we had to go back and revisit because he dominated pretty much every time he came on to bowl. If we are going to be competitive and eventually successful in the third game, this is an area with which we will have to handle.”

    On what has excited him most about his side’s performance, West said: “It was exciting to see Oshane Thomas bowl in only his second first-class match. He bowled with pace, but given his lack of experience, he dealt very well with the conditions and the batsmen against whom he played.

    “Also, Oshane’s ability to bowl quite a long spell in the second innings was a huge credit to him. With the right support, he is someone that could really progress.

    “Rahkeem Cornwall is getting better with every game that he plays. He’s coming off a period of shorter form matches and he is beginning once again to develop that ability to bowl long spells, sustain pressure and take wickets at the same time.

    “Sunil Ambris has also handled himself very well with the bat in both matches. He has looked accomplished and a level above most of the batting that has been on display in the games.”

    SQUAD

    Shamarh Brooks (Captain)

    Vishaul Singh (Vice-Captain)

    Sunil Ambris

    John Campbell

    Yannic Cariah

    Rahkeem Cornwall

    Sheldon Cottrell

    Jahmar Hamilton

    Montcin Hodge

    Damion Jacobs

    Keon Joseph

    Reynard Leveridge

    Oshane Thomas

    Team Management Unit

    Graeme West (Head Coach)

    Dwain Gill (Team Operations Manager)

    Corey Collymore (Assistant Coach)

    Khevyn Williams (Physiotherapist)

    Zephrynus Nicholas (Fitness Coordinator)

    Dinesh Mahabir (Video Data Analyst)

  • More patience required to achieve series win: Cornwall

    KINGSTON, Jamaica, CMC – Bowling all-rounder Rahkeem Cornwall says West Indies A will need to exhibit more patience against Sri Lanka A’s spin attack, in order to win the decisive third four-day “Test” starting here Thursday.

    In the second “Test” last week, the hosts failed to come to grips with left-arm spinner Malinda Pushpakumara who finished with a 12-wicket haul, and collapsed to a 280-run defeat inside three days at the Trelawny Multi-Purpose Stadium.

    The result left the series level 1-1 following Windies A’s innings victory a week earlier at the same venue, and Cornwall said a series win would now require a higher level of commitment from the batsmen.

    “Our performance was not up to standard. We did not bat well enough to keep the Sri Lankans out of the game and win the series in the second match,” the 24-year-old said.

    “The pitch was spin-bowling friendly. I got seven wickets and [Pushpakumara)] got 12, so the result hinged on whichever team batted the spin well – Sri Lanka did it and we did not, so they won.

    “We have the final ‘Test’ coming up and this will be played under the lights, which will be a challenge in itself, so it is important that we prepare well and get everything ready and right for that game because once we play to our potential there is no doubt that we can win the series.”

    Despite the recent defeat, Cornwall remained consistent, collecting a seven-wicket haul with his sharp of-spin and move his aggregate for the series to 13 wickets.

    He also top-scored in the West Indies A first innings with a brisk 45-ball 45 to continue to reiterate his claim as a genuine all-rounder.

    Cornwall, who took 23 wickets on a similar three-match “Test” tour of Sri Lanka last year, said patience had been key to his all-round success.

    “My bowling is getting back there. I have been out of the game for a little bit. I went to the United States to work on my fitness and so I am working on getting my bowling back to where it was previously,” the Antiguan explained.

    “My success in the two matches so far has all been about being patience and putting the ball in the right areas, and also in my batting, using the patient approach, playing as straight as possible, playing in the ‘V’ and when they come into your areas, look to score.”

    He added: “Being patient enough to consistently put the ball in the right areas is also important because it leaves the batsman to either make the mistake or a good ball to take a wicket.”

    Cornwall has been named in an unchanged 13-man squad for the final “Test” bowling off at Sabina Park at 2 pm.

  • Hope surges towards top-20 in latest rankings

    LONDON, CMC – In-form Shai Hope continued his surge in the International Cricket Council batting rankings, jumping another seven places to move even closer to the top-20 in the world.

    The 23-year-old was installed 24th in the latest rankings released on Wednesday, following his good form in the opening Test against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo which saw him garner scores of 90 not out and 44.

    Hope has enjoyed a rich vein of form ever since his breakthrough hundred in the second Test against Headingley last August, scoring 490 runs at an average of 122.

    That form has seen the elegant right-hander make massive strides especially since starting the three-Test tour of England 99th in the batting rankings.

    Hope can now break into the top-20 in the rankings with another strong performance in the second Test against Zimbabwe starting Sunday, as he is only eight points behind 20th-ranked Usman Khawaja of Australia.

    Hope’s teammate, Roston Chase, also enjoyed progress, rising four places to 37th, following scores of 31 and 95 at in the opening Test.

    However, there was bad news for Jermaine Blackwood who plunged nine spots to 51st following his twin failure and for wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich who slipped eight places to fall to 100th.

    Opener Kraigg Brathwaite, who scored 86 in the second innings in Bulawayo, is the highest ranked West Indies batsman and the only one in the top-20 at 18th.

    Meanwhile, leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo leapt seven places to become the highest-ranked Caribbean side bowler at a career-best 21st in the rankings.

    The 31-year-old collected a nine-wicket match haul against Zimbabwe on Tuesday to bowl West Indies to 117-run win on the fourth day of the first Test.

    He surpassed fast bowler Shannon Gabriel who slid four places to 25th, and is now on the cusp of entering the top-20.

  • Aspiring Windies players keen for season opening

    ST. JOHN’S, Antigua – A number of regular faces will be missing and several young players are set to make their first-class debuts, when the 2017-18 Digicel Regional 4-Day Championship opens tomorrow.

    Several aspiring Windies players will be looking to lay early claim for higher recognition, as the battle for regional supremacy begins across the Caribbean.

    The ongoing Windies Test Tour of Zimbabwe, and the home series between Windies “A” and Sri Lanka “A” means that all of the teams and fans will get a glimpse of the depth of strength of the game in the region.

    Six of the teams will be under new leadership with Tyrone Theophile being the only completely new captain, having been put in charge of the Windward Islands Volcanoes.

    Some of the teams are also under new direction with former West Indies fast bowler Winston Benjamin appointed to head the support staff of the Leeward Islands Hurricanes and hoping to transform the fortunes of the sub-regional side.

    Jimmy Adams, the Cricket West Indies director of cricket, has termed this season an opportunity for players and Courtney Browne, the chairman of the CWI selection panel, has indicated that he and his crew will have a keen eye for consistent batsmen and tear-away fast bowlers to make it into the West Indies set-up.

    Here’s how the teams match-up for the first round of matches. . .

    Guyana Jaguars vs Jamaica Scorpions at the Guyana National Stadium in Providence, Guyana

    Reigning three-time champions Jaguars could not have chosen a better opponent against whom to start the season.

    The Jaguars have won the last six contests against the Scorpions in the Cricket West Indies Professional Cricket League era (2014-15 onwards) which should increase their level of confidence entering their opening match, but they may have to temper this excitement.

    The hosts are without six players that have played key roles in their championship sweep over the last three seasons.

    Ageless, veteran former West Indies batsman Shivnarine Chanderpaul misses the first game due to personal commitments; leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo, left-handed opener Shimron Hetymer and left-arm, all-rounder Raymond Reifer are part of the Windies Test side in Zimbabwe; and left-hander Vishaul Singh and fast bowler Keon Joseph are on duty with Windies “A” against Sri Lanka.

    Akshaya Persaud is the only uncapped player named in the Leon Johnson-led, 13-member squad, gaining the nod approval following his prolific scoring in the recently-concluded Jaguars Franchise League for West Demerara.

    Johnson, Rajindra Chandrika and wicketkeeper/batsman Anthony Bramble are expected to be at the heart of the batting, vice-captain Veerasammy Permaul and fellow left-arm spinner Gudakesh Motie will be the main bowling weapons, with a number of senior regional sophomores filling other key roles.

    On the opening match, Johnson said: “It’s good to start the season playing the Scorpions at the Guyana National Stadium, where we have had a good record over the last three seasons. It’s a new season and we have a number of inexperienced players, so we are not looking to get ahead of ourselves.”

    On missing key players, he said: “The players in the squad with the experience will have to step up and do well, not only in this game, but throughout the competition, but I am looking at it in a positive way – this is an opportunity for the inexperienced players.

    “These players have done pretty well over the last year or two years in our domestic franchise league, and they deserve a chance. They just need to grab their chance and put some pressure on the selectors and the same guys they are replacing.”

    On the four-peat, Johnson said: “I can’t say. I can’t say. We would love it to be four out of four. Every team has zero points entering the competition and it depends on how well you play in the competition. Ask me that question again at the halfway stage.

    “If we play well enough, it will be four out of four. If we don’t, but we tick certain boxes throughout the season, I think that would be satisfactory.”

    Like their opponents, the Scorpions have been set back with the absence of a number of couple of regular players which will also be a chance to test the depth of their talent.

    The biggest blow is the loss to injury of veteran left-arm spinner and last season’s captain, Nikita Miller. He was the leading bowler overall in the Championship for the last two seasons and his wicket-taking ability, especially in tough or tight situations will be missed.

    Big-hitting wicketkeeper/batsman Chadwick Walton recently departed for the Bangladesh Premier League, while left-hander John Campbell, fellow batsman Andre McCarthy, as well as fast bowler rookie fast bowlers Reynard Leveridge and Oshane Thomas are part of Windies “A”.

    The Scorpions hope however, that Guyana-born left-hander Assad Fudadin, a familiar face to the Jaguars, will help to add some backbone to their batting, and others like fellow Guyana-born opener Trevon Griffith, captain Paul Palmer and Brandon King can elevate their game to give more punch.

    The bowling lacks experience with Jason Dawes the only recognisable face, but others like Derval Green and Dennis Bulli have had some regional exposure in recent seasons.

    On the opening match, Palmer said: “We are a young group of players, but we are looking forward to the challenge. Going into the match, we have to do our best to execute all of our plans – and this is always important on any day of the game.

    “Whichever side execute their plans the best, will come out victorious at the end of the match – and that’s what our focus is right now.”

    On missing key players, he said: “There is no way to replace a player like Nikita Miller. He’s the kind of player that you cannot replace overnight because he has done a lot and bowled us to victory many times previously.

    “We however, have to remain positive about what is before us and try not to focus his absence or the absence of other players. We still have a game to play and we will have to use our resources well to get the outcome we want.”

    Squads:

    JAGUARS (from) – Leon Johnson (captain), Anthony Adams, Anthony Bramble, Tagenarine Chanderpaul, Rajendra Chandrika, Chanderpaul Hemraj, Gudakesh Motie, Keemo Paul, Veerasammy Permaul, Akshaya Persaud, Sherfane Rutherford, Romario Shepherd, Bashkar Yadram

    SCORPIONS (from) – Paul Palmer (captain), Fabian Allen, Dennis Bulli, Jason Dawes, Assad Fudadin, Garth Garvey, Derval Green, Trevon Griffith, Paul Harrison, Brandon King, Romaine Morris, Damani Sewell, Keno Wallace

    UMPIRES – Nigel Duguid, Danesh Ramdhanie (Trinidad & Tobago)

    MATCH REFEREE – Colin Stuart

    RESERVE UMPIRE – Nandkumar Shivsankar

    Barbados Pride vs Trinidad & Tobago Red Force at Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados

    Two of Caribbean sport’s fiercest rivals begin the season under the lights with a point to prove.

    The Pride have been the dominant side in the PCL era of this match-up, winning three of the six contests, with rain spoiling two others.

    But the Red Force’s 130-run victory in the ninth round of last season at the same venue – a rare achievement for the T&T franchise – will stick in the craw of the hosts and this will be the motivation for both sides.

    The Pride will want to prove that result was a fluke, achieved due to a lack of regular playing personnel, and the Red Force will want to prove that it was not, coming through the dint of hard work.

    The Pride’s ranks have been decimated by the absence of practically their whole first squad, either playing for Windies in Zimbabwe or Windies “A” in Jamaica, but it’s something of which they have become accustomed in recent seasons.

    On playing the opening match under lights, Pride captain Kevin Stoute said: “They beat us in this corresponding fixture last year. It was also a day/night game and they bowled very well, but the team bowling in the night-time always has an advantage in these games, and it just seemed that every time we had to start batting in that game, it was during the night which is very difficult with the pink ball doing so much.  

    “But that’s how sport goes, you win some and you lose some. We will have to adapt ourselves to the challenge of the pink ball. We tried to get a few practice games under the lights, but the weather did not allow it. What we do have working for us however, is that we have been playing club matches for the last three to four months on weekends, so we had valuable match practice.”

    On missing key players, he said: “Most of those guys have been in and out over the last two seasons and we have still been able to come second, which I think it is a very good sign because it shows that we have a lot of depth when it comes to players who are capable of playing at the first-class level. We can’t dwell too much on it and must think about what we have to do as a team.”

    The return of Denesh Ramdin to the position of captain adds substance to the Red Force batting which has suffered in recent seasons from the lack of experience.

    Ramdin has not played a first-class match, since he played the last of his 74 Tests for Windies last January in Sydney, Australia. He will be at the helm of a squad packed with young, inexperienced players, as the Red Force look to make waves in a form of the game in which they have lacked consistent success in recent seasons.

    Ramdin will depend on players like leg-spinner Imran Khan, vice-captain Marlon Richards, sophomore Barbados-born all-rounder Roshon Primus, as well as emerging left-handed batmen Amir Jangoo and Jeremy Solozano to excel in their roles for Red Force to be competitive.

    On facing the Pride in the opening match, Ramdin said: “There is always big rivalry when we play them, but we are playing in their backyard which gives them an advantage, so it is important for us to play well. With a number of our senior players away, we have a number of young players, so it will be a good match-up.

    “It was very good for a young team to come last season and beat Barbados. It is still fresh in the memories of the players that played that game. I am looking forward to helping them do it again, so hopefully we can execute in our batting, bowling and fielding. Our batting needs to step up throughout the Championship because I think our bowlers have been getting the wickets, but the batting has not been putting the scores on the board.”

    On his return to the side, he said: “It feels a bit strange. I have not played a lot of four-day matches recently, so I have been working very hard in the nets, trying to leave alone a lot of balls, batting to time. Hopefully, I am able to spend a lot of time in the middle and it is a good season ahead and it is good to be around these young guys. They are working hard and want to do well.”

    Squads:

    PRIDE (from) – Kevin Stoute (captain), Anthony Alleyne, Jonathan Carter, Shakeem Clarke, Justin Greaves, Aaron Jones, Shayne Moseley, Ashley Nurse, Mario Rampersaud, Shamar Springer, Hayden Walsh, Jomel Warrican, Kenroy Williams

    RED FORCE (from) – Denesh Ramdin (captain), Bryan Charles, Akeal Cooper, Amir Jangoo, Imran Khan, Ewart Nicholson, Khary Pierre, Roshon Primus, Isaiah Rajah, Marlon Richards, Jeremy Solozano, Daniel St. Clair, Tion Webster

    UMPIRES – Leslie Reifer Jr, Jacqueline Williams (Jamaica)

    MATCH REFEREE – Stephen Proverbs

    RESERVE UMPIRE – Kevin Sisnett

    Windward Islands Volcanoes vs Leeward Islands Hurricanes at the National Cricket Stadium in St. George’s, Grenada

    Volcanoes are another side that should relish their opening match, also starting against a side they have dominated in the PCL era.

    Volcanoes have won five of the six matches the two sides have contested in the last three seasons and held the aces in the other match which ended in a rain-affected draw two seasons ago in the United States Virgin Island of St. Thomas.

    The home team’s preparations for the season were badly disrupted, due to the passage of Hurricane Maria, which dealt a devastating blow to their training base in Dominica.

    They subsequently moved to the Grenada capital to continue preparing and it will be intriguing to see how well the players have recovered from the natural disaster.

    A string of good results in the first phase of the Championship, starting this weekend, could well help to lift the collective mood of the people in Roseau and the rest of the sub-region.

    On how they managed to cope, Volcanoes captain Tyrone Theophile said: “Some of the players returned home, but we were able to re-assemble a few weeks ago for a camp here and things have been coming along.

    “We have been hampered a bit by the rain, but we were still able to squeeze in a practice match, and the batsmen worked on occupation of the crease and bowlers on hitting good lines and lengths. To be honest, I have been quite satisfied with what I have seen from the batsmen and bowlers going into the season, and looking forward to the start of play.”

    On rivalry with the Hurricanes, he said: “We do not take any team for granted. They will make us work for whatever result. We just want to play confidently. We just want to be positive whether we are batting, bowling or fielding, and the rest will work itself out.”

    On being elevated to the captaincy for the first time, Theophile said: “I am looking forward to the challenge. It is an opportunity. All I can do is to give of my best at all times and try to work hard, so that the team will be successful by the end of the season.”

    The visitors have quietly prepared for the season and they too, have had a bit of disruption to preparation, due to the passage of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

    As the last-placed side in the Championship over the last few seasons, they will want to reverse this trend and a strong opening performance could be an early motivating force.

    The key loss for the Hurricanes is the wicket-taking ability of off-spin all-rounder Rahkeem Cornwall on Windies “A” duty, as well as West Indies fast bowler Alzarri Joseph on the tour of Zimbabwe.

    Hurricanes batting looks strong on paper though, with Devon Thomas transferring from the Scorpions to be named captain, and the likes of Nkrumah Bonner, former West Indies Under-19 star Keacy Carty and Chesney Hughes at the heart.

    A familiar face will confront the Volcanoes, with Mervin Matthew having transferred to the Hurricanes and should form a testing new-ball attack with Gavin Tonge with Jeremiah Louis to offer further pace support, even though Cornwall’s spin bowling will be missing initially.

    On his return to the Hurricanes, Thomas said: “It’s great to be back around the players with whom I grew up playing. I have been away for two years, but I have got a lot more experience. We are looking to bring a lot of confidence into the first game, even though we know the Volcanoes have a decent group of players, but we just have to know our game and stick to our plans, and we will get the results for which we are looking.

    On missing key players: “We have got a few young players, some of whom will be making their debuts this season, and all we can hope is that they can take their opportunities and do their best. Our preparations were hampered a bit by the weather, but we still got in some valuable time, so now we are just looking forward to taking. Once we can identify our strengths and weaknesses quickly, and we can adapt, we can put everything in to play.”

    Squads:

    VOLCANOES (from) – Tyrone Theophile (captain), Audy Alexander, Gian Benjamin, Roland Cato, Kirk Edwards, Tarryck Gabriel, Kavem Hodge, Delorn Johnson, Sherman Lewis, Kyle Mayers, Obed McCoy, Liam Sebastien, Shane Shillingford

    HURRICANES (from) ­– Devon Thomas (captain), Elvin Berridge, Nkrumah Bonner, Jason Campbell, Keacy Carty, Chesney Hughes, Jeremiah Louis, Mervin Matthew, Akeem Saunders, Stanny Simon, Jacques Taylor, Gavin Tonge, Terrence Warde

    UMPIRES – Jonathan Blades (Barbados), Joel Wilson (Trinidad & Tobago)

    MATCH REFEREE – Carlyle Felix

    RESERVE UMPIRE – Roger Davis