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  • No holding back Samuels, says skipper Holder

    MANCHESTER, England, CMC – Captain Jason Holder has no plans on keeping combative Marlon Samuels on a leash during the five-match One-Day International series starting here Tuesday, but has urged the experienced stroke-maker not to get carried away in his rivalry with all-rounder Ben Stokes.

    While the West Indies chase an improbable series clean sweep to achieve direct qualification for the 2019 Cricket World Cup, the spotlight will likely also fall on the long-running duel between Samuels and England’s Stokes.

    The pair clashed during their last meeting at the Twenty20 World Cup in India last year and many expect a continuation during the upcoming series.

    “We’re just looking to play the game as a normal cricket game. Hopefully those two can stay out of trouble and we can have a smooth sailing series,” Holder told reporters here Monday.

    “If it helps Marlon, I do enjoy it. If it doesn’t [help him], then I don’t. It’s a whole team we have here and we’re not focussing on those two going after one another. We’re focussing primarily on winning this series and what we need to do to win this series.”

    The feud between Samuels and Stokes burst to life during the third day of the second Test of England’s tour of the Caribbean two years ago, when the Jamaican sent his nemesis on his way with a sarcastic salute after the Englishman was dismissed.

    And in a tense T20 World Cup final last year, Samuels and Stokes became embroiled in a war of words as the West Indies batsman carried his side to an unprecedented title with a brilliant Man-of-the-Match performance.

    Earlier this month, Samuels set the stage for the upcoming series by warning Stokes to “stay on the boundary when I’m batting, as far away as possible.”

    Holder said hopefully the rivalry would remain in good taste and not detract from an important series.

    “Once it is well within the spirit of the game and it doesn’t go too overboard, I think it is ideal for the game,” he stressed.

    “I think with the whole demerit points system around, you don’t really want to be getting yourself in trouble and racking up demerit points.

    “That’s something all players have to be mindful of so hopefully he can keep it within the spirit of the game and play a really competitive series.”

    England captain Eoin Morgan said he expected Stokes to be up for the fight.

    “”I want Ben to be himself. I want him to get into the contest of a game. It’s part and parcel of his character … and getting the best out of Ben Stokes.”

  • Bowlers take Windies to 21-run victory over England

    CHESTER-LE-STREET, England, CMC — West Indies bowlers — led by their captain Carlos Brathwaite, the irrepressible Kesrick Williams and the clever Sunil Narine — defied cold, wet conditions and proved their adaptability to usher their side to a 21-run victory over England in their Twenty20 International on Saturday.

    Brathwaite snared 3-20 from 3.3 overs, Williams took 3-35 from his allotted four overs and Narine, later named Player-of-the-Match, grabbed 2-15 from his four overs, as England were dismissed for 155 in pursuit of a victory target of 177 in the weather-affected match at the Riverside Stadium.

    The Windies overcame a slippery outfield that almost forced umpires Martin Gough and Tim Robinson to abandon the England chase in the fifth over, an Alex Hales 39-ball blitz for a top score of 43, and a rearguard from Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow to clinch their 11th victory over England in 15 matches in this format.

    Using a number of variations in the second half of the chase, the visitors made it difficult for the home team to lift the tempo late in the chase, as the last six wickets fell for 37 in the space of 36 balls.

    The embattled Brathwaite formalised the result with three balls remaining when he went past Liam Plunkett’s ugly swipe and bowled the England fast bowler to cap one of his better bowling performances in maroon since he was controversially elevated to captain last year.

    West Indies had failed to build upon a typically explosive start from Chris Gayle and fellow opener Evin Lewis, and were restricted to 176 for nine from their allocation of 20 overs, after they were sent in to bat under cloudy skies.

    Lewis led the way with 51 off 28 balls that included six fours and three sixes and Gayle smote three fours and four sixes in 40 from 21 balls in an opening stand of 77.

    After Gayle was run out in the seventh over, failing to beat Jason Roy’s throw from square leg to bowler Liam Plunkett in the seventh over, the rest of the innings lacked the same intensity and momentum.

    The Windies reached 106 for one at the halfway stage, but Plunkett and leg-spinner Adil Rashid grabbed three wickets apiece to undermine their batting in the second half of the innings.

    Jerome Taylor then gave West Indies the perfect start and silenced the capacity crowd, when he had Roy caught at backward point with the first ball of the chase.

    But Taylor and new ball partner Williams failed to find further consistency, and Hales made the most of an early reprieve to give the England chase early legs, putting on 64 for the second wicket with Root.

    Brathwaite made the breakthrough when he bowled Hales with the penultimate delivery in the final over of the Power Play to put England in a tailspin that saw them plunge to 68 for four in the eighth over.

    West Indies met further defiance from Buttler and Bairstow when they put on 50 for the fifth wicket with sensible batting, but with the scoring rate steadily increasing chances needed to be taken and the bottom half of the England batting failed to spark, as the Windies bowlers cleverly offered up a variety of cutters and change of pace deliveries.

    WEST INDIES (maximum 20 overs)

    C Gayle run out (Roy/Plunkett) 40

    E Lewis c Root b Plunkett 51

    M Samuels c Root b Plunkett 10

    +C Walton c Willey b Rashid 13

    K Pollard c Curran b Plunkett 6

    R Powell c Jordan b Curran 28

    *C Brathwaite b Rashid 2

    S Narine lbw b Rashid 2

    A Nurse not out 13

    J Taylor lbw b Jordan 1

    K Williams not out 2

    Extras (w7, lb1) 8

    TOTAL (9 wkts, 20 overs) 176

    Fall of wickets: 1-77 (Gayle, 6.3 overs); 2-106 (Lewis, 10.1); 3-115 (Samuels, 10.5); 4-123 (Pollard, 12.2); 5-127 (Walton, 13.4); 6-138 (Brathwaite, 15.1); 7-142 (Narine, 15.6); 8-165 (Powell, 18.3); 9-167 (Taylor, 19.2)

    Bowling: Willey 2-0-20-0 (w1); Root 2-0-11-0 (w2); Curran 4-0-46-1 (w1); Jordan 4-0-46-1 (w2); Plunkett 4-0-27-3 (w1); Rashid 4-0-25-3

    ENGLAND (target: 177 off 20 overs)

    J Roy c Lewis b Taylor 0

    A Hales b Brathwaite 43

    J Root c Brathwaite b Nurse 17

    *E Morgan c Lewis b Narine 2

    +J Buttler c Powell b Williams 30

    J Bairstow c (sub) Mohammed b Mohammed 27

    A Rashid c wkpr Walton b Williams 1

    D Willey st Walton b Narine 1

    L Plunkett b Brathwaite 18

    C Jordan c Brathwaite b Williams 6

    T Curran not out 1

    Extras (lb4, w5) 9

    TOTAL (all out, 19.3 overs) 155

    Fall of wickets: 1-0 (Roy, 0.1 overs); 2-64 (Hales, 5.5); 3-66 (Root, 6.3); 4-68 (Morgan, 7.4); 5-118 (Buttler, 14.1); 6124 (Rashid, 14.6); 7-127 (Willey, 15.5); 8-129 (Bairstow, 16.2); 9-148 (Jordan, 18.2)

    Bowling: Taylor 3-0-20-1; Williams 4-0-35-3 (w3); Brathwaite 3.3-0-20-3; Narine 4-0-15-2; Nurse 3-0-23-1 (w1); Pollard 2-0-17-0

    Result: West Indies won by 21 runs

    Series: West Indies win one-off match

    Toss: England

    Player-of-the-Match: S Narine (West Indies)

    Umpires: M Gough, T Robinson

    TV umpire: R Bailey

    Match referee: J Srinath (India)

    Reserve umpire: A Wharf

  • England win toss, fielding vs Windies

    CHESTER-LE-STREET, England, CMC — England won the toss and chose to field against West Indies in their Twenty20 International on Saturday at the Riverside Stadium.

    Teams:

    ENGLAND: Eoin Morgan (captain), Alex Hales, Jason Roy, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler (wicketkeeper), Adil Rashid, David Willey, Liam Plunkett, Chris Jordan, Tom Curran

    WEST INDIES: Carlos Brathwaite (captain), Chris Gayle, Evin Lewis, Marlon Samuels, Chadwick Walton (wicketkeeper), Kieron Pollard, Rovman Powell, Sunil Narine, Ashley Nurse, Jerome Taylor, Kesrick Williams

    UMPIRES: Michael Gough, Tim Robinson

    TV UMPIRE: Rob Bailey

    MATCH REFEREE: Javagal Srinath (India)

    RESERVE UMPIRE: Alex Wharf

  • Windies Under-19 training squad announced

    ST. JOHN’S, Antigua – The Selection Panel of Cricket West Indies has announced a 21-member Windies Under-19 squad for a two-week training camp from December 5 to 20 in Barbados and Antigua:

    SQUAD

    Alick Athanaze

    Brad Barnes

    Joshua Bishop

    Cephas Cooper

    Kishan Graham

    Jarion Hoyte

    Kirstan Kallicharran

    Mikyle Louis

    Aaron Maniram

    Kimani Melius

    Ashmeade Nedd

    Darron Nedd

    Kian Pemberton

    Raymond Perez

    Joshua Persaud

    Jeavor Royal

    Keegan Simmons

    Javier Spencer

    Emmanuel Stewart

    Bhaskar Yadram

    Nyeem Young

    All but two of the players that were part of the successful trip to southern Africa in July have been included in the squad which also includes seven players whose performances during the recent Regional Under-19 Tournament in St. Kitts enhanced their claims for consideration.

    The new inclusions are: Brad Barnes, Kishawn Graham, Jarion Hoyte, Aaron Maniram, Kimani Melius, Regional U19 3-Day Most Valuable Player Ashmeade Nedd and Regional U19 Super50 MVP Raymond Perez.

    On the squad, Courtney Browne, chairman of the CWI selection panel, said: “As the build up to the 2018 ICC Youth World Cup continues, the development of our Under-19 players is paramount.

    “The upcoming strategic camp will again give the coaching staff another opportunity to enhance and fine-tune the players’ skills and focus on team work, as we set out on our quest to defend the ICC Youth World Cup title.”

    Browne added: “The addition of players from the recent Regional U19 Tournament to the camp squad will complement the team that was so successful two months ago in South Africa and Zimbabwe.

    “These additional players were chosen to strengthen those positions in the squad that we felt needed attention.”

    The players will assemble in Barbados, where they will undergo fitness testing, before travelling to Antigua in order to complete the training programme using the Coolidge Cricket Ground. 

    It will be their final preparation in the Caribbean before travelling to the ICC Youth World Cup to be staged from January 13 to February 3 next year in New Zealand.

    Windies Under-19s are the defending ICC Youth World Cup champions, having lifted the title for the first time ever last year in Bangladesh, under the leadership of Shimron Hetmyer and guidance of head coach Graeme West.

  • Holder laments missed opportunity but buoyant ahead of England meeting

    BELFAST, Ireland, CMC – West Indies captain, Jason Holder, has rued the washed out One-Day International against Ireland, which robbed the Caribbean side of valuable match practice ahead of the upcoming five-match series against England.

    A wet outfield caused by heavy overnight rain had initially delayed the toss on Wednesday at the Civil Service Cricket Club but the rains eventually returned before a scheduled 1:30 pm (8:30 am Eastern Caribbean time) inspection, forcing officials to call off the contest.

    “I don’t think it was close to playable. The outfield was pretty saturated,” Holder said in reference to the ground.

    “The umpires always had a concern about how wet it was and they felt it would have been a lot of slipping and sliding and didn’t want to take the risk. I couldn’t really disagree with them too much but hopefully we can go into England with some confidence.”

    The fixture was an important one for Ireland who were only recently granted Test status by the International Cricket Council.

    Much of their recent competition has come against former fellow Associate nations and the fixture against West Indies was an opportunity to put their kills against a full ICC member side.

    Holder said he was aware of the importance of the fixture to the Irish and hoped the two teams could meet again soon.

    “It’s really disappointing. I’ve heard a lot of people say the Irish Cricket Board put a lot of money into this game and it’s really unfortunate that we weren’t able to put on a show for them but hopefully in the future we can be back here and spread some joy to the Irish people.”

    West Indies have had no limited overs practice as they prepare to face England in the first ODI at Old Trafford starting next Tuesday.

    They fly out on Thursday to prepare for the one-off Twenty20 International against England at Chester-le-Street on Saturday and Holder said his squad were looking forward to the next phase of the tour.

    “We move on to England now. It’s a quick turnover – we came in yesterday (Tuesday) and we’re flying out tomorrow over to Durham,” he said.

    “We start the T20 series there – it’s only a one-off T20 and then we’re into the five-match ODI series.”

  • Williams eyeing success against dangerous Irish

    BELFAST, Ireland, CMC – Seamer Kesrick Williams is looking forward to building on a solid start to his one-day career when West Indies take on Ireland in a one-off One-Day International here Wednesday.

    The 27-year-old, who made his ODI debut in June in the five-match series against India in the Caribbean, believes he can also make his mark against the Irish and stressed he would not be taking them lightly.

    “I don’t look at any team as being a lower class team. Cricket is cricket at the end of the day,” the Vincentian said.

    “I played against India and I had a good start to my ODI career. I didn’t get as many wickets as I intended but it was a good start to my ODI career and it’s just for me to continue.”

    Williams made his name in the shortest format after making his debut against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates, before making his way into the ODI squad.

    He has become known for his armoury of variations – slower balls and subtle changes in pace – and has managed to find success especially in the T20 format.

    Having previously enjoyed a stint of professional cricket in England, Williams said he was aware of what was required to be successful in the conditions.

    “I’ve played league cricket here before and I know what happens [with the ball] when you play in England so it’s just for us to put the ball in the right areas,” he noted.

    “I’ve been watching the Test matches and I have seen what can happen when you bowl in good areas on these wickets.”

    Williams was one of the leading bowlers in the just concluded Caribbean Premier League where he grabbed a franchise-high 15 wickets for dethroned champions Jamaica Tallawahs.

    But the Vincentian said it was important despite his recent success, that he now focussed on doing well for the Windies.

    “Cricket is cricket at the end of the day. I’m coming off a good CPL. I got the third most wickets or yet another year [and was] in the CPL [All-Star] XI yet another year. [It] is a great feeling,” he said.

    “My performances are up there and I’m doing well but that’s the past and that’s already gone. It’s just for me to look forward and look ahead and look to perform [again].”

    The Windies take on the dangerous Irish who stunned them at the 2015 World Cup in New Zealand, when they chased down 305 in Nelson.

    And with temperatures plummeting to 10 degrees Celsius on Tuesday, the Caribbean side were struggling to stay warm but Williams said there was a great spirit in the camp.

    “Against Ireland, it’s just for us to go out there and play as a group,” he stressed.

    “It’s good to see that the guys are pumped and ready to go – everybody’s in a good mood. It’s a little bit cold but it’s cricket and you have to be able to adjust to playing in any conditions.”

  • Holder hoping Brathwaite break paves way for Windies players

    LONDON, CMC – Test captain Jason Holder hopes Yorkshire’s acquisition of Kraigg Brathwaite for the two final games of the County Championship can lead to a breakthrough on the circuit for other West Indies players.

    Yorkshire turned to the 24-year-old opener after Australian Shaun Marsh was forced to return home early to honour domestic commitments.

    “I would love to see a lot more of our guys playing County cricket whenever the opportunity arises,” Holder said.

    “There is so much cricket playing now in the world and people tend to go the T20 route but it’s good to see Kraigg hanging around and playing the last two games for Yorkshire.

    “Hopefully a lot more of our guys can get the opportunity to stay over here and play cricket and develop their trade. I think it is something that each member of the dressing room has spoken about as well so it’s good to see that young players are keen on playing County cricket.”

    The 24-year-old Brathwaite impressed in the second Test at Headingley – Yorkshire’s home ground – when he scored 134 and 95 to help West Indies stun England by five wickets two weeks ago.

    The performance put the Barbadian squarely in Yorkshire’s crosshairs, and the vaunted club will now be hoping for similar exploits in coming weeks.

    Holder pointed out that County cricket had been crucial in helping to develop legendary past West Indies players.

    “If you go back in the history of West Indies cricket, a number of guys who’ve done well on the international circuit have played County cricket for counties here,” the all-rounder said.

    “It is something in our West Indies culture and hopefully we can pick that back up here now [with] Kraigg starting it and more of our guys coming over to play.”

    Holder is also hoping to follow Brathwaite onto the County circuit and is hoping 2018 provides the opportunity.

    “I would love to come over and play County cricket here. It’s a childhood dream of mine and I think it would help my cricket as well,” he said.

    “For me, it’s just finding the window of opportunity to come over and play. In the past there have been one or two things that have come up but never really materialised because of the international schedule so we’ll see what next year holds. Hopefully I can come over and play some cricket in England.”

  • Windies bringing A-game against Irish, warns Estwick

    BELFAST, Ireland, CMC – Bowling coach Roddy Estwick has warned Ireland that West Indies will be playing at full throttle, when the two teams meet in the one-off One-Day International here Wednesday.

    The Caribbean side boast a side which includes the likes of superstar Chris Gayle and stroke-maker Marlon Samuels, and will face and Irish side with much to prove after recently attaining Test status.

    And even though West Indies will be more focussed on the five-match series against England starting in a week’s time, Estwick said the Ireland contest was of no lesser importance.

    “They (Irish) will see attacking cricket. We’re here to make a statement,” Estwick said.

    “We’re on a mission, we’re here to get enough points in this ODI and the five against England to help us qualify automatically for the World Cup so we’ve got to take this game very, very seriously.”

    He added: “We need points to move us forward in the 50-overs rankings … and all the boys are here so we’re looking forward to putting on a good show tomorrow.”

    West Indies are already in danger of failing to qualify automatically for the 2019 Cricket World Cup in England. They are currently ninth in the ODI rankings, with hosts England along with the remaining top seven teams, gaining automatic qualification.

    With eighth placed Sri Lanka swept 5-0 by India recently, West Indies now need to beat Ireland and then also trounce England 4-1 or better, in order to assume eighth spot in the rankings.

    West Indies will remember the humbling experience at the ICC World Cup two years ago when the Irish chased down 305 to comfortably win by four wickets, and Estwick said he expected a similarly tough encounter.

    “Obviously they are very competitive. They have been competitive for a number of years,” Eswick pointed out.

    “They’ve had good scalps against a lot of the Test-playing countries. They are a Test-playing country in their own right so we expect a competitive game. They will field well, they will be very, very disciplined and they will work hard.”

    The only survivors from that defeat to Ireland are Gayle, Samuels, captain Jason Holder and Jerome Taylor, with selectors since opting for youth in order to rebuild the unit.

    And with the likes of emerging Test star Shai Hope, Evin Lewis and Jason Mohammed set to feature, Estwick said the experience would further enhance the development.

    “[It will] help our young players to get an opportunity to play in these conditions. A lot of them haven’t played in conditions like this and I think as an international cricketer you’ve got to learn to play in all the various conditions. This would be another step in their development as well.”

    West Indies were presented with challenging weather on Tuesday as temperatures dipped to 10 degrees Celsius, accompanied by steady rain.

  • Ballance backs Windies opener Brathwaite to fire

    LONDON, CMC – Yorkshire captain Gary Ballance expects West Indies opener Kraigg Brathwaite to excel during his brief stint with the club in the English County Championship.

    The out-of-favour England batsman witnessed Brathwaite’s ability close up two years ago when the Barbadian right-hander carved out a century in the second Test of England’s tour of the Caribbean.

    And after the 24-year-old’s heroics at Headingley two weeks ago when he struck 134 and 95 as West Indies stunned England by five wickets on the final day of the second Test of the just concluded three-match tour, Ballance was left even more upbeat.

    “Kraigg’s a good player, a gutsy player. I think that will be good for us, especially in conditions here. He will put a massive price on his wicket. The bowler will have to get him out,” Ballance said.

    “It’s just been one of those years for us where a few lads have been out of form. We haven’t quite gelled, but we showed what we can do against Middlesex.

    “When we bat well as a unit, we can put scores on the board. Hopefully that will give us confidence for the rest of the season.”

    He added: “I played against him (Brathwaite) in the West Indies and he got runs there as well as a few at Headingley the other week. He’s an international player who has done very well at Test match level.”

    Brathwaite has emerged as one of the Windies leading batsmen in recent years, scoring six hundreds and averaging 36 in the opening slot.

    He also put his quality last year in the United Arab Emirates when he fashioned a brilliant unbeaten 142 and 60 not out, to propel West Indies by five wickets in the the third and final Test at Sharjah.

    Brathwaite will play the final two matches of the season, replacing Australian Shaun Marsh, and Ballance backed the player to make the most of the experience.

    “It’s so hard to get that calibre of player for a long period of time these days, so it would be nice to have someone like him around for longer,” said Ballance.

    “Hopefully he will go well like our other overseas players have. We’ve had some good experienced players, which has been helpful. It will be massive for him coming back to Headingley knowing he’s scored runs before. That always helps.

    “From watching him bat and playing against him, I know he’s a quality player. I’m sure he will do a good job for us.”

    Brathwaite’s first match will be against Warwickshire – Yorkshire’s final home fixture – which bowls off September 19.

  • Windies Women’s training squad announced

    ST. JOHN’S, Antigua – The Selection Panel of Cricket West Indies has announced an 18-member Windies Women’s squad for a training camp to be staged from September 25 to October 4 in Trinidad.

    All of the players that were chosen for the recent ICC Women’s World Cup in England, along with batsman Britney Cooper have been invited to the training camp which will be conducted under the direction of interim head coach Hendy Springer and interim assistant coach Gus Logie. 

    SQUAD

    Merissa Aguilleira

    Reniece Boyce

    Shamilia Connell

    Britney Cooper

    Shanel Daley

    Deandra Dottin

    Afy Fletcher

    Qiana Joseph

    Kycia Knight

    Kyshona Knight

    Hayley Matthews

    Anisa Mohammed

    Subrina Munroe

    Chedean Nation

    Akeira Peters

    Shakera Selman

    Stafanie Taylor

    Felicia Walters

    Commenting on the squad, Chairman of the CWI Selection Panel Courtney Browne said: “Our women’s player pool in the Caribbean is quite small compared to other countries, and our regional tournaments do not always produce the kind of consistent batting and bowling aggregates and averages we would relish. Hence, we rely on using strategic camps like this to give our high performance coaches time to help the players with their development.

    “Coming out of the camp, the Selection Panel expects keen competition for final selection, and will focus attention on players with a healthy attitude and willingness to work hard, improve fitness and team work, as we seek to restore confidence in our side following the disappointing results at the Women’s World Cup.”

    Browne also noted that the availability of Selman and Connell are subject to clearance from the CWI Medical Panel. The two Windies Women’s fast bowlers suffered tournament-ending injuries during the WWC.

    Selman was sidelined following a blow to the head while fielding against Australia Women at Taunton, where Connell also suffered a hip injury against India Women a few days later.

    The squad is preparing for an upcoming home series against Sri Lanka Women for which full details will be unveiled at a later date.