The Cricket West Indies (CWI) Selection Panel today announced the West Indies squad for the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Men’s T20 World Cup, 2021. The panel named fifteen (15) players and four (4) travelling reserves for the marquee event which will be played in the United Arab Emirates and Oman from October 17 to November 14, 2021.
West Indies are the defending world champions and only two-time winners of the ICC T20 World Cup, winning in 2012 against Sri Lanka at the Premadasa in Colombo then four years later in 2016 against England in Kolkata. The West Indies now have the opportunity to create further history by becoming the first team to win a hat-trick of ICC T20 World Cup victories.
Experienced bowler Ravi Rampaul, a member of the 2012 winning World Cup squad, has been recalled for the first time since 2015. All-rounder Roston Chase is called up to the West Indies T20I squad for the first time.
Roger Harper, CWI’s Lead Selector said:
“The squad is one with good depth and strength in all departments. There is tremendous T20 experience along with World Cup winning experience which should stand the team in good stead. This squad is made up of many world-beating players who, once knitted into a world-beating team, will be extremely difficult to beat. I expect the team to do very well and with the ‘rub of the green’ I think the team has a good chance of defending the title.”
“Ravi Rampaul is a highly experienced bowler who performed well in the last CG Insurance Super50 Cup and the current Hero CPL to date. He will boost the team’s wicket-taking options in the power-play and the middle phase and will provide another option for the death overs. Roston Chase has shown that he is a very capable T20 player. He performed well in the CPL in 2020 and has been outstanding in the 2021 edition so far. He has shown the ability to knit the innings together while still scoring at a fast rate with a low dot-ball percentage. He will be an excellent foil for the explosive players in the team.”
West Indies have been drawn in Group 1 and will play five group games against England, South Africa and Australia along with the winner of Round 1 Group A (Sri Lanka, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Namibia) and the runner-up from Round 1 Group B (Bangladesh, Scotland, Papua New Guinea, and Oman). West Indies’ first group game will be against England in Dubai on October 23.
Group A: Sri Lanka, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Namibia Group B: Bangladesh, Scotland, Papua New Guinea, and Oman
(Top two teams from each group advance to Super 12s)
Group 1: England, Australia, South Africa, West Indies, A1 and B2.
Group 2: India, Pakistan, New Zealand, Afghanistan, A2 and B1.
(Top two teams from each group advance to the semi-finals)
West Indies Match Schedule
October 23: v England in Dubai (6pm UAE time, 10am Eastern Caribbean/9am Jamaica)
October 26: v South Africa in Dubai (2pm UAE time, 6am Eastern Caribbean/5am Jamaica)
October 29: v B2 in Sharjah (2pm UAE time, 8am Eastern Caribbean/7am Jamaica)
November 4: v A1, in Abu Dhabi (6pm UAE time, 10am Eastern Caribbean/9am Jamaica)
November 6: v Australia in Abu Dhabi (2pm UAE time, 6am Eastern Caribbean/5am Jamaica)
November 10: Group 1 winner v Group 1 second in Abu Dhabi (6pm UAE time, 10am Eastern Caribbean/9am Jamaica)
November 11: Group B winner v Group A second in Dubai (6pm UAE time, 10am Eastern Caribbean/9am Jamaica)
November14: Final in Dubai (6pm UAE time, 10am Eastern Caribbean/9am Jamaica)
A team of officials representing the International Cricket Council (ICC) and Cricket West Indies (CWI) visited Guyana over the past weekend to inspect venues ahead of the ICC Under-19 World Cup 2022. Guyana, through Hon. Minister Charles Ramson had submitted a bid to host the initial stage of the ICC Under-19 World Cup. The venue inspection was aimed at determining Guyana’s readiness for this major international event.
The ICC team included a number of planning experts in Ben Leaver, Joanna Taylor, Andy Atkinson, Ruchika Rana, Hamish Roberts and Roberto Almansa. The CWI representatives were Tournament Director Fawwaz Baksh, Event Manager KJ Singh, Head Curator Kent Crafton, and representatives Krystal Jean-Baptiste and Marcus Francis. They were joined by GCB’s officials: Hon. Secretary Ronald Williams, Chief Executive Officer/Public Relation Officer Claude Raphael, Assistant Secretary Devteerth Anandjit, Technocrat on Marketing and Financing Anil Beharry and Territorial Development Officer Colin Stuart. Experienced Venue Manager Sabrina Panday was also present.
On September Saturday 4, 2021 the team visited the Guyana National Stadium, Providence, the GCB’s LBI Facility, Malteenoes Sports Club, Guyana Defence Force Ground and Enmore Community Centre. Similar inspections were conducted on Sunday, September 5, 2021 at Demerara Cricket Club (DCC), Georgetown Cricket Club (GCC), Everest Cricket Club and Police Sports Club.
The President of the GCB Bissoondyal Singh has expressed his satisfaction with the visit, positing that the ICC/CWI team was very professional in their approach. He opined that the forthcoming report on the inspection will indicate what standards were met and what measures need to be undertaken.
President Singh was also pleased that the ICC and CWI representatives were able to meet with Hon. Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport Charles Ramson. Further, President Singh expressed confidence that the GCB, with the invaluable support of Hon. Minister Charles Ramson and the Government of Guyana, will ensure that all venues assigned to tournament will meet the ICC standards by mid- November 2021 when another inspection is expected.
What’s with strong will and Guyanese batsmen?!? First, there was the iconic world cup winning captain Sir Clive Lloyd. Then, the ‘Tiger’ Shivnarine Chanderpaul- the messiah of many a batting effort going down the drain. A savior, truth be told who turned many perilous innings into a vehicle of stability. And subsequently, the understated legend turned huge underachiever- Carl Hooper- who could play the elegant shots as well as he could block deliveries that could rattle the best in the business.
Little wonder they called him the king, King Carl!
Now, a rising force from that part of the Caribbean that’s always contributed to the West Indies but has also remained undermined, on occasions, Sherfane Rutherford is Guyana’s rising force.
And who knows could well go onto become a recurring feature of the West Indies limited-overs cricket team.
Though, most important for Rutherford, all of 23, would be the ongoing CPL, where he’s only recently produced a startling knock that must surely have knocked on the selector’s doors.
For it’s the selectors he’d want to target for they are entrusted with the massive responsibility of establishing the final squad for the mother of all cricketing battles- the fast-approaching T20 World Cup.
A few hours ago, when much of the world was awaiting, perhaps with endless anticipation, the start of the India versus England 4th Test, one young man, miles away from England or India was doing his fair bit for the flourishing St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots.
In that format of the game where teams like Mumbai have given pride to all Indians, Sherfane Rutherford’s explosive batting has offered delight not just to the Guyanese people, but all ‘Patriots’ in the Caribbean.
Not a flash in the pan batsman where the 2021 season has shown, both the last two contests featuring the St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots have yielded wins, the chief architect of which has been none other than Sherfane Rutherford.
With match-winning fifties in both games, a 58 off just 34 against the Amazon Warriors followed by a 26-ball-50 against the Tallawahs, Rutherford’s bat been oozing fire of lately.
Of his 108 bravely powered runs, 60 have come by virtue of sixes, 10 in one contest and 4 in another.
With shots all around the ground, including the growingly familiar whack over long off for a huge hit, Rutherford is leaving bowlers rudderless at the moment.
Make no mistake for he’s not been pitted against regular pushovers; Fidel Edwards, Andre Russell, Imran Tahir and the likes aren’t the easiest to score against, forget plundering them for runs.
But the left-handed batsman has been on a different mission altogether in the 2021 edition of the CPL, ensuring that if the T20 league is the biggest party in the Caribbean then it’s his beats that produce the thudding sounds.
What these fifties and much-valuable match-winning knocks have done is that they’ve done a fair bit in elevating Sherfane Rutherford to a platform where his talent is being seen and hopefully noted even by the likes of a Kieron Pollard.
For remember, the Windies white-ball captain too will have some say in who gets to board the flight to the UAE in a few months’ time.
What would be truly fantastic is if in the next contest versus the Trinbago Knight Riders Rutherford can smash a few more runs, hopefully by virtue of big hits just the way he’s so beautifully been doing only so his future captain can take note and form a positive opinion.
At the same time, Rutherford’s fearlessness amplified by that vital 53, against Barbados Tridents, his first half-century this season, saw the leftie score runs against a probing attack featuring none other than Holder, Perera, Thomas and Amir.
While Oshane Thomas picked three wickets in the August 26 contest that his team won, Rutherford emerged as the top scorer, once again, standing head and shoulders above the others like the destructive Evin Lewis and even Chris Gayle.
Does he have Gaylestorm’s signature of approval as a future resource the Windies white-ball team could count on?
One wouldn’t deny that entirely.
But what’s also important to remember is that Rutherford has already demonstrated what he’s capable of at the international level well over a year ago when he hadn’t touched 22.
During Ireland’s tour of West Indies, in the 1st T20I, the only contest Ireland one on a dismal outing where West Indian heavy-hitting mowed down the visitors, Sherfane Rutherford had an early say in the series.
A 13-ball-26 was more than a cameo at number 6; it was an exhibition of clean hitting of a high class, the brave batter wasting no time whatsoever in carving Barry McCarthy for consecutive sixes, of which one was a literal one-handed swat over deep mid wicket fence for half a dozen.
Even Lara, known for his inclination toward executing one-handed sixes, on occasions, would have been proud at the shot that deserved to have been counted as the stroke of the T20I series that saw a tied result (1-1 with rain swallowing one game).
What was most interesting, however, during the 15 Jan, 2020 contest was the fact that the recent makeshift T20I captain and regular vice-captain, Pooran was at the other end observing Rutherford clawing at the Irish.
In the course of the imminent future, Sherfane Rutherford will have a few more opportunities to go out there and express himself and his backers would want nothing less than the bright talent to do exactly that fearlessly so, much like what one’s gotten around to see in 2021.
May the force be with Rutherford as also a possible chance to fly to the UAE!
The match belonged to Guyana Amazon Warriors’ Romario Shepherd. He first took 3 for 24 to restrict Trinbago Knight Riders to 138 for 9, then hit a nine-ball 18 to take Amazon Warriors to the same total, and finally conceded just four runs in the Super Over to help his side do the league-stage double over the defending champions.
Defending six runs in the Super Over, Shepherd first had Knight Riders captain Kieron Pollard hole out first ball. Then he did not allow Colin Munro or Tim Seifert to hit a boundary off the other five balls. His all-round effort justifiably earned him a Player-of-the-Match award too.
Nicholas Pooran’s Amazon Warriors needed just 139 to win after Shepherd and offspinner Mohammad Hafeez picked three wickets each to restrict Knight Riders to a below-par total. Shepherd made the most damage in the first innings’ death overs removing Pollard, Denesh Ramdin and Isuru Udana. Hafeez had made the early inroads by dismissing opener Sunil Narine, No. 3 Tion Webster and an off-colour Tim Seifert.
Colin Munro, who struggled with a 47-ball 40 in his team’s last CPL match found his form to anchor the innings with a 28-ball 32. However regular wickets never allowed the Knight Riders to push for a big total, and if it wasn’t for Udana’s nine-ball 21 in the slog overs, the Amazon Warriors might have been chasing a much lower total.
However, the Knight Riders fought back with the ball in the second innings powerplay. Chandrapaul Hemraj and Odean Smith fell in the first two overs to Ravi Rampaul’s deliveries that had a tendency to snake into the stump line after pitching. Shimron Hetmyer and Hafeez then began a rescue act, but the Pakistan international eventually perished for a 16-ball 30. Narine then had Hetmyer and Shoaib Malik caught behind in quick succession, and after Rampaul picked off Pooran and Brandon King in consecutive balls, it looked like the Knight Riders were going to win the contest.
It however needed the Amazon Warriors’ Nos. 9 and 10 to take them to a tie. Shepherd tonked two sixes and a four to score 18, and then Naveen-Ul-Haq hit a five-ball 13. Amazon Warriors needed two off the final ball to seal a one-wicket win, but a run out while searching for the double dragged the game to overtime.
Guyana Amazon Warriors 138 for 9 (Pooran 27, Rampaul 4-29, Narine 2-9) tied with Trinbago Knight Riders 138 for 9 (Munro 32, Hafeez 3-18, Shepherd 3-24) Guyana Amazon Warriors win the one-over eliminator
Of the current eleven taking on the visiting Pakistan, only five West Indies batsmen, out of the eight, speaking purely of batsmen, have previously played against the sub-continent force.
While to the leadership contingent of the team- comprising present captain and vice captain, as well as the former captain, Kraigg Brathwaite, Jermaine Blackwood, and Jason Holder, respectively, Pakistan aren’t an unfamiliar opponent, to the likes of Kyle Mayers, Nkrumah Bonner and Joshua Da Silva, this is a team they’ve only seen video footage of or read about; but haven’t locked horns previously before.
Gladly, West Indies’ opener Kieran Powell, currently in his second wind in the game, which he left following a brief Baseball stint in the USA, Pakistan isn’t an unfamiliar opponent as well.
Ditto for Roston Chase, the bedrock of the lower order.
And yet, from what one saw in the last Test, a contest the hosts won in a nail-biting fashion, none of the current lot inspire a great deal of confidence playing the opponent.
While victory at Sabina Park a week back was indicative of a huge positive, the hosts having taken an unassailable lead in the ongoing series, that the win didn’t come at the expense of batsmen but at the behest of a tail stitching a rescue operation, Roach and Seales taking the team over the line, should drive home an important lesson.
Even if the West Indies are in the driver’s seat, their batsmen aren’t pushing the throttle!
The possible exception being Kraigg Brathwaite, whose 97 showed the captain’s patience and diligence, an act where the leader led by an example.
While captain Brathwaite’s composed 221-ball stay at the wicket led the way to West Indies scoring a fine 253 on a difficult-to-score surface, that his next five batsmen produced 3 ducks and 43 collective runs offers glaring evidence of the problem.
And the problem, unless you aspire to investigate it wearing the Sherlock attire whilst smoking the pipe, just for the kicks, isn’t an undecipherable one.
It’s that they don’t have any problem whatsoever in white-ball cricket, which the West Indies have been playing for quite some time in the recent weeks, especially a format in which they’re considered kings: the T20Is.
But where it comes to Test cricket, the batsmen’s woes are clearly evidenced by their failure to stick to the wicket, stitching stands and converting starts into scores worthy of giving attention.
So is this a cruel declaration muttered in vile banter or is there evidence to support the claim?
One look at the recent Tests featuring South Africa suggests where the problem lies.
Not once in four separate innings did the West Indies put on even a 200-odd total on board.
Suffering massive defeats to a side that had toured the Caribbean for the first time in a little over a decade wasn’t the only hurting issue; it’s the fact that the West Indies began their maiden Test outing versus the Proteas this year with a score where they failed to touch the three-figure mark on the board.
Remember the name is what they say when you do something popular in the Caribbean.
But the hurt fan was compelled to ask his cricketers in whom he sees light and a reason to watch the sport- Remember the 97 all out at St. Lucia?
What’s more, in the fourth inning of the Second and Final Test, when all the West Indies could’ve done was to have batted the game for a draw, if a win wasn’t coming, they were bundled out for 165.
Similarly, a few days ago when the Windies took a settled approach at Sabina Park, in stark contrast to their woeful Proteas performance, they ended up scoring 253. But what might have happened if Kraigg Brathwaite’s fifty not have led to 97 of those runs alone?
While victory in the end thanks to a nerve-wracking fourth-inning display got them home, did it do enough to hide what the top order managed?
Let’s cut some slack to the captain, who could make no more than 2. But that Powell and Bonner collectively made 9 runs with Chase making no more than 22 offered where it is the batsmen are getting it wrong.
Moreover, while Roston Chase, from the two innings collected 43 runs, including a broken inning repairing first-inning stand with his captain, he’s hardly looked the Roston Chase of 2017, when Misbah and Younis’ team were slaughtered with 2 magnificent hundreds.
In here lies a key issue captain Brathwaite would want his batsmen to rectify. The requirement of modern cricket is such that one must immediately adapt provided one wishes to leave behind an indelible mark in the game.
There’s little excuse for Powell to underperform, who the team are posing faith in, having found little results from Campbell. So the otherwise studious left-hander cannot hide under the excuse of having not faced Abbas, Yasir, Afridi before.
Well, none of his contemporaries in the playing eleven have! Add to that, the fact that the role of an opener is to score not return after an 11-ball-stay at the wicket.
That’s never going to leave the incoming number three, Bonner, any comfortable. Lest it is forgotten, he’s yet to fully recover from the concussion hit (suffered at the hands of Nortje) + the inexperience of playing against this Pakistani attack.
It’s an exhilarating site when the tail-enders forge a rescue operation. But really, is that what the West Indies with established and premier batsmen like Brathwaite, Blackwood, Holder and others want to do? What are the batsmen in the team, after all? Luckily, they have two full opportunities in this Final Test to make do for their last chances. And sadly, there’s not a Test cricket going to be played after this tour. So ideally, those who missed out have time to step in the bus and take the fans to a joy ride!
Every generation needs a hero. Someone who can both inspire and keep their nation’s flag fluttering with pride- isn’t that what we all seek? Perhaps more so in sport where you get a chance to blaze a trail for others to follow. Yet, there are some heroes who never truly get the credit they so deserve. Heroes who don’t get talked about often, winners you don’t hear salutations sung for despite doing everything in their might and ability to contribute.
One such hero, where it comes to the sport that unifies the Caribbean like no other, is Shivnarine Chanderpaul.
Maybe it’s only just to ask a pertinent question as one of Guyana’s finest exports to cricket turns 47.
Whose loss is it that we didn’t celebrate Shivnarine Chanderpaul enough, a man who’s been a bowler grinder, run accumulator, holder of an unexplainable technique, whacker of crazy hundreds, amasser of boundless runs, and giver of hope to a team that back in those days badly needed some to merely contest in cricket, let alone win games?
That even after half a decade of the left-hander’s retirement, the revered ICC has still not found it relevant to induct one of cricket’s most disciplined, consistent, and selfless cricketers into its ‘Hall of Fame,’ is something as baffling and pitiable as the situation in present-day Afghanistan.
This, mind you, was a batsman who leveled up to Brian Charles Lara, of all willow-wielders, and had abysmal cricketing selection not intervened, would’ve gone on to surpass the “The Prince of Trinidad.”
In a sport where even if you don’t play for records, it is records, at the end of the day you end up conjuring, that Shinvarine Chanderpaul’s Test career got stalled merely 86 runs shy of Lara’s 11,953 is a sad story.
Moreover, it speaks of a brazen disregard with which some of the sport’s leading lights are often treated.
To suggest the simplest of examples, back in the cricket-obsessed land called India, the likes of VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid never got a farewell Test, the kind of privilege modern masters like Tendulkar were afforded.
Similarly, in the present conception of cricket, one doesn’t quite know if Faf du Plessis, a tireless gatherer of runs for a South Africa often deflated by runs, and often stymied by politics, will get to play a farewell game.
Though in Chanderpaul’s case, the only low-scoring event, which led to his final appearance in Test cricket, circa 2015, wherein he averaged 18, saw a giant of the sport pushed to a corner, when his had been a career replete with runs doggedly collected for no fewer than 22-long years.
That we never quite gave attention to the man whose maiden season in international cricket- 2004- produced runs at the average of 50 is about as sad and absurd as overlooking the fact that the last three years prior to his departure from the game saw Chanderpaul produce runs averaging 71, 58, and- believe it or not- 98 (2014, 2013, 2012, respectively).
To many, Shiv Chanderpaul was the last remaining pillar of assurance to the West Indies that, at least, something was right about a team whose glory days belonged to the remnants of the past.
Moreover, there are sufficient examples of it, whether one speaks of his final-over six against Sri Lanka in an ODI with Vaas and Murali bowling or his 203 unbeaten runs against a Proteas pumped up with a Dale Styen bowling at peak pace.
To many others, Shiv Chanderpaul, was an old-fashioned, “bat-out-time” and “grind-the-bowlers,” batsman.
Truth, however, is, Shivnarine Chanderpaul- 125 fifties and 41 international centuries (Tests+ ODIs)- was an anomaly of sorts in the art of batting.
He was a reminder that for as long as one had the mental strength and values like discipline and toughness, often tagged ‘old world qualities,’ nothing else mattered, not even a batting stance that can only be imitated for a few laughs, not something that can be taught at a coaching clinic.
Today, when we regard the Wall of Dravid, a lot it is down to the fact that the famous right-hander, who stayed up for long periods of time, faced 31,258 deliveries.
Though, little is held to appreciate Chanderpaul, who faced not less than 27,395 deliveries, which are way more than what Carl Hooper, Sir Viv or even the great Brian Lara faced in Tests.
Although, a majority of these deliveries blasted at Chanderpaul’s watertight technique by some of the finest exponents of both spin and pace, including Lee, Shoaib, Donald, McGrath, Gillespie, Bond, Waqar and Wasim succeeded only in meeting the dead end of the bat.
Yet, that he emerged with 20,600 plus international runs (Tests+ODIs) indicates the Guyanese was more than an immovable object on the crease who was left on the 22 yards to merely frustrate bowlers.
With an open-front stance, batting with a ‘V’ like structure, Chanderpaul’s batting, lest it is forgotten, had strokes on all sides of the wicket.
During one of his imperious Test tons, the 153 against Pakistan at the Kensington Oval, captain Chanderpaul caressed when Abdul Razaq bowled a little wide repeatedly at around the vacant area between third slip and first gully.
A batsman who lacked the flair but never the resolve, Chanderpaul changed gears when needed and suddenly so, much to the benefit of a side that often found itself licking its wounds having lost one wicket too many early into a game.
Picture the marathon partnership along with his famous contemporary Carl Hooper, during the 2nd ODI at South Africa, 1999.
Of West Indies’ 292 on the board, the only grace-saving win in a series where the visitors lost 6 dreadful games, Chanderpaul contributed 150, a career-best score, on his own.
That he took just 136 odd deliveries to go berserk against a Pollock and Kallis-led attack offered greater insight into the mind of a batsman some fans still admire as the ‘Tiger.’
At Bourda, in 2003, under Lara’s leadership, it was Chanderpaul, not Samuels, Jacobs, Ganga or the Prince himself, who took on the mighty Australians in a rampant century that came of just 69-deliveries, a world record in that to this day, it’s the sixth-fastest Test ton of all times.
Not that the batsman of Indian heritage or roots went quiet against India, against whom he fired 7 of his 30 centuries with gusto and application, routing a Kumble, Srinath, Prasad and Zaheer Khan-powered India with a fourth of his career tons (Tests).
His limited-overs game saw Chanderpaul offer the team’s call to take extra responsibility with much pleasure sans any complaints.
Often opening with Gayle, and on other occasions with Hinds or Jacobs, Chandepraul kept shouldering responsibilities, and tirelessly so, even as batsmen around him came and went.
However, little did this pendulum of consistency deviate from the end goal- which was to contribute to a team’s cause even as in events where giant celebrations came about, such as the 2004 Champion’s Trophy win or the Coca Cola Singapore Cup, the man would comfortably let others hold center-stage by retreating to the background.
And it’s here where Chanderpaul’s true essence as a tireless vigilante in the middle remains: do everything for the team being the prime batsman but retreat into isolation, eschewing limelight much like the Dark Knight did when one went into search for the hero who saved Gotham, time and again.
There’ll be many who’ll come and fire way more than Chanderpaul’s 30 Test hundreds. Some will score rapider than the southpaw so, some in larger magnitude of runs, but not everyone will have the delight of earning respect, whether from a Kallis, Sangakkara or Lara himself as being the man who held onto an end so that the others could do what they fancied from the other end.
For being the keeper of the flame that is West Indies cricket, we owe a lot to you Shivnarine Chanderpaul. Enjoy your 47th!
West Indies and Pakistan’s last Test match four years ago was a classic, and if the events of the second day at Sabina Park are anything to go by, we may be in for another one over the coming days.
On an attritional day of Test cricket that didn’t swing as much as it swayed in either direction, the teams go in at stumps in a Test that refuses to decisively tip one way or another just yet. Simple math would dictate the hosts have the edge, leading as they do by 34 runs with two wickets still to spare, but with Yasir Shah in the fourth innings a historically significant factor, all bets will be off.
Kraigg Brathwaite (97) dominated the day, surviving almost through to the end after having to settle nerves after the frenetic finish of last night. He saw off each of Pakistan’s pace bowlers, the first new ball, a dangerous middle order collapse, the introduction of Yasir and two full sessions. But soon after the most threatening partnership for West Indies, between the captain and Jason Holder (58), had been broken having added 95 runs, Brathwaite was eyeing up a personal three-figure score, too – ideally before the new ball in darkening conditions, with Mohammad Abbas warming up.
It is hard to say if that played a role in his decision to hare back for a couple down to fine leg, taking on Hasan Ali, whose direct hit caught the opener well short of his ground. He had departed three runs shy of what would have been a splendid hundred, with the wicket coming at a time when West Indies had firm control over the Test. Holder carried on after tea, playing with delightful fluidity as his side pushed past 150 and bore down on Pakistan’s first innings score ominously. Yasir, not nearly at his best, was dispatched to the boundary repeatedly, and soon enough, a backfoot punch off Hasan got Holder to his 11th half century.
Faheem Ashraf provided the all-important breakthrough, subtle seam movement drawing Holder into a push that resulted in a feather through to Mohammad Rizwan. Once Brathwaite fell, the visitors had a real opening, but wayward lines with the new ball, particularly from Shaheen Afridi, saw the lower order continue to eke out runs as Joshua Da Silva manipulated the strike intelligently. By the time the umpires began worrying about the light, West Indies already had a sizeable lead they will be keen to build on tomorrow.
In overcast conditions in the morning, Abbas had picked up exactly where he left off the previous day and was the pick of the bowlers, peppering the corridor of uncertainty between a good and full length. Roston Chase and Brathwaite had to be especially sure of their footwork, with the seam movement Abbas was generating an additional challenge.
Afridi let his high standards dip somewhat, beginning with two leg-side deliveries that trickled away for four leg-byes each. It settled West Indies’ nerves, and once Chase drove Abbas straight down the ground, the runs off the bat became more frequent. Before long, they had brought up a half-century stand.
But just as West Indies looked poised to take control, Pakistan struck. Hasan, who had been testing the pair in his first three overs, especially when they got on the front foot, coaxed an expansive front-foot drive from Chase that wasn’t really on. It produced a tickle through to Rizwan, with an anguished look from the batter revealing quite how ordinary the shot was.
The second session was a dogged, scrappy affair that – one sensational over from Afridi aside – West Indies negotiated with relative conviction. The problem for them, though, was that the session would be defined by four balls from Afridi more than anything any batter could manage.
Just after West Indies brought up the 100, Pakistan broke through with the wicket they had threatened before lunch. Jermaine Blackwood’s punchy counter-attacking knock might have been evocative of Rizwan’s cameo on the first day but it wasn’t nearly as assured, with all four of his boundaries coming off shots he wasn’t in control of. Afridi landed one in the slot for him to go after, but with the ball wobbling in the air, Blackwood only managed to toe-end it to Abbas at long-on. The very next ball, Kyle Mayers was struck full on the pad, and found himself departing for a golden duck.
It might have gotten worse for West Indies. Two balls later, the irrepressible Afridi had Holder trapped in front, with the umpire raising the finger. The allrounder would survive by the barest of margins, with the review showing the ball pitching just outside leg stump.
Holder understood the magnitude of the moment, and dug in. He did not score until a straight drive off his 12th delivery, and didn’t score again for 22 more balls. He knew the chance would eventually come, and a wayward Yasir over towards the back-end of the session allowed him to take three boundaries off it. Brathwaite, meanwhile, might as well be batting on a different surface.
His patience was exemplary, his shot selection immaculate. When Pakistan appeared to be having one of their purple patches, he had the awareness to retreat completely into his shell and place an even greater value on his wicket, and with Holder keeping the scoring ticking over at the other end, West Indies began to take control.
The quick departure of both let Pakistan back in, though, and it feels increasingly as if it might all come down to fine margins again. Just as it did in 2017.
StumpsWest Indies 251 for 8 (Brathwaite 97, Holder 58, Abbas 3-42) lead Pakistan 217 by 34 runs
Guyana Football Federation (GFF) President Wayne Forde has pledged to establish an Academy Training Centre (ATC) in Waramadong to boost hinterland football development, during a visit to the Region 7 community this week. The President also donated football equipment to the village sports council and offered to organise GFF training for coaches, referees and club administrators for the Region where, because of its difficult terrain and logistical challenges, some areas are not adequately served.
The Federation regularly undertakes outreach, equipment donations, and capacity building activities in hinterland communities that are not covered within the boundaries of the GFF’s nine Regional Associations, and Forde underscored the reason for this, “It is vital for the GFF – and for me, personally – to ensure that all corners of Guyana have access to football development resources and support, as our nine Regional Associations do not cover the entire geography of the country,” Forde said.
“My meetings this week with Waramadong village leaders and the sports council were extremely positive, and we look forward to working together to develop football and to give young people in the community the opportunities they deserve to reach their full potential,” he said.
Forde said the GFF Technical Department will begin work immediately on planning for the creation of a special Academy Training Centre in the village, which boasts one of the most successful school football teams in Guyana.
The GFF’s ATC programme is an elite youth development initiative for boys and girls, which provides professional-standard sessions delivered by trained GFF-affiliated coaches. The programme, which currently only covers the GFF’s Regional Associations, has been hailed by FIFA and Concacaf as a pioneering template for football development in the Caribbean region.
“We are determined to give all talent in Guyana a chance to reach our national teams, no matter where it is based,” said Forde, who also undertook an outreach to Mabaruma in Region 1 earlier this year. “We want to reward proactive and committed football communities. No Guyanese should have to miss out on the GFF’s national football pathway just because of the limitations of the regional association structure we inherited.”
“We know the past year has been challenging for all footballers across Guyana,” he said, “but, thanks to the national vaccination programme, there is now a light at the end of the tunnel. We continue to urge the football community to fully support the vaccination drive, so that we can move out of this pandemic, protect our loved ones, and return to play very soon.”
West Indies dominated the opening day of the first Test after Pakistan lost wickets in a hurry to be bowled out for 217. That, until Pakistan struck back fiercely in the third over as Mohammed Abbas sent back Kieran Powell and Nkrumah Bonner for ducks in successive deliveries to peg West Indies back. Bad light forced Pakistan an early close to Day 1 in Jamaica with the hosts ending the day on 2 for 2 in four overs.
The only reason Pakistan got to a total of over 200 was thanks to Fawad Alam, who kept West Indies at bay with a more-than-handy 56 after his side were reduced to 123 for 5 at one stage. Faheem Ashraf and Alam settled into a sixth-wicket stand that was worth 85 keeping West Indies at bay. They scored at a quick pace with boundaries flowing at will. Anything pitched outside off, they put away as the pair revived Pakistan’s innings that seemed to be going nowhere. Ashraf fell against the run of play on 44 when he was caught short of his crease when going for a quick run as West Indies broke the resilient stand. Alam fell soon after and the rest followed as Pakistan lost their last five wickets for 31 runs.
The middle session was a drama-filled one in Jamaica with as many as six reviews taken in the 32 overs bowled after Lunch on Thursday (August 12) after West Indies opted to bowl. After an early lunch break was forced due to a rain interruption just 17 overs into the opening day’s play, West Indies’ bowlers continued where they left off and were right on the money after resumption. Just like they had bowled in the morning session with utmost discipline, they posed questions right from the first over after lunch when Azhar Ali was given out caught-behind, poking at one. The batsman reviewed it and with nothing on UltraEdge, the decision was reversed. He went on to add 47 runs with Babar Azam as the third-wicket duo steadied the Pakistan ship.
Azhar was on the edge once again when he was given out leg-before after shouldering arms to an in-seamer. He reviewed once again to find the ball going over the stumps. Jason Holder didn’t relent, once again going for a review for a leg-before call against the batsman, who was saved by the umpire’s call in terms of the impact despite the ball crashing into the stumps. Azhar survived his fourth LBW call with the ball found to be missing leg stump.
However, it was fifth time lucky for West Indies as Jayden Seales forced an outside edge off Azhar’s bat as the batsman fended an away-seamer. Pakistan once again, like in the first session, lost two wickets in successive overs as Roach then beat Babar on the inside edge off a sharp in-seamer. Babar was initially given not out, but West Indies reviewed as a spike was spotted on UltraEdge, forcing him to make the long walk back for 30.
Seales then thought he had Mohammed Rizwan leg-before but the impact was slightly outside off and saved the batsman as there was still no sign of spin. Rizwan, however, couldn’t make the most of his reprieve departing via a soft dismissal flicking a full delivery straight to Roston Chase stationed at square leg, ending a reviving fifth-wicket stand of 33 with Alam. Alam thereafter joined hands with the lower order to save Pakistan the blushes.
Brief scores: Pakistan217 (Babar Azam 30, Fawad Alam 56, Faheem Ashraf 44; Kemar Roach 2-47, Jayden Seales 3-70, Jason Holder 3-26)lead West Indies 2/2 (Mohammad Abbas 2-0) by 215 runs.
Cricket West Indies have named a 17-man squad for the upcoming two-test series against Pakistan, however, Guyanese batsman Shimron Hetmyer and spin maestro Veerasammy Permaul have once again been omitted from the side.
Permaul’s absence is notable since he picked up a 5-wicket haul in the recently concluded ‘Best vs Best’ 4-day match while Jomel Warrican who continues to feature in the test side has not had any standout performances which warrants his continued selection.
The panel have recalled fast bowler Chemar Holder and middle-order batsman Shamarh Brooks. Holder made his Test debut in New Zealand last year but has not featured since then. Brooks last played in New Zealand and has earned a recall following a polished century in the Best v Best four-day match last week. Additionally, two experienced players, left-hander Darren Bravo and fast bowler Shannon Gabriel will not feature in the upcoming two-match series.
Roger Harper, Lead Selector of the Senior Men’s Team said:
“Chemar Holder returns, having recovered from his injury. He will bolster the fast bowling department. Shamarh Brooks batted his way into the provisional squad by scoring an accomplished century. He will certainly add some depth to the squad’s batting.”
“Shannon Gabriel has been given time to rehab fully and build his conditioning, so he was not part of the preparations for the Test series against Pakistan, which included the Best v Best game. Darren Bravo has been part of the ‘bubble’ from the preparation camp leading into the Betway Test series against South Africa and has been given a break.” Harper added:
“I expect the team to be highly competitive in every department while playing with passion, purpose and determination. I look forward to the batsmen stepping up as they did in the series against Bangladesh and against Sri Lanka earlier this year in Antigua.”
The two-match Betway Test Series will be played at Sabina Park from August 12-16 and August 20-24. The Betway Test Series forms the first of six Series in the new cycle of the International Cricket Council World Test Championship to find the best Test match cricket team in the world.