Brian Lara to assist Cricket West Indies as Performance Mentor

Cricket West Indies (CWI) today announced that former West Indies Captain and batting legend, Brian Lara, has agreed to assist CWI as a Performance Mentor – working across all international Teams and with input into the West Indies Academy.

Lara’s new role will be to support the various Head Coaches in providing players with tactical advice and improving their game sense, as well as working closely with the Director of Cricket on ICC World Cup Tournament strategic planning.

Jimmy Adams, CWI Director of Cricket said, “I am really looking forward to Brian making a significant contribution to our cricket system by providing invaluable guidance and advice to our players and coaches. We are confident that Brian will help to improve our high-performance mindset and strategic culture that will bring us more success on the field across all formats. Everyone is excited to have Brian involved in supporting our players.”

Brian Lara said, “Having spent time with the players and coaches in Australia and in discussions with CWI, I really believe that I can help the players with their mental approach to the game and with their tactics to be more successful. I’m looking forward to joining the group in Zimbabwe and the opportunity to work with other West Indies teams later in the year.”

Lara’s first assignment will be with the West Indies Test squad. He has joined the Test squad in Zimbabwe where he will assist in the team’s preparations ahead of the first Test Match in Bulawayo on 4 February 2023.

Defending Champions Barbados to face Guyana in WI Championship opener

Cricket West Indies (CWI) today announced the match schedule and venues for the first two rounds of the West Indies Championship, the region’s first-class four-day red ball tournament, which will be played in Antigua and Grenada. The tournament will open with the Windward Islands Volcanoes hosting the Trinidad & Tobago Red Force at the Grenada National Stadium (GNS). This match will start on 31 January and will continue on 1 to 3 February.

In Antigua, defending champions the Barbados Pride will start their bid for a third straight title when they face Guyana Harpy Eagles in the feature match at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium (SVRS) on 1 to 4 February. The third contest will see the Leeward Islands Hurricanes hosting the Jamaica Scorpions at the Coolidge Cricket Ground (CCG) from 1 to 4 February.

The second round will be played from 8 to 11 February when the Barbados Pride will meet the Jamaica Scorpions at CCG; Trinidad & Tobago Red Force travel to face the Leeward Islands Hurricanes at the SVRS, and the Guyana Harpy Eagles take on the Windward Islands Volcanoes at the GNS.

The third round of the West Indies Championship resumes on 15 March with the final round concluding on 1 April when the 2023 Champions will be crowned and presented with the Headley Weekes Trophy. The final three rounds will all be played in Trinidad and the venues will be announced at a later date.

Roland Holder, CWI’s Manager of Cricket Operations said: “We are happy to announce the match schedule and venues for the first two rounds of the West Indies Championship, our flagship regional tournament on the annual calendar. The six teams have been preparing diligently for the upcoming season and we expect to see keen competition this year as they battle for the Headley Weekes trophy. From the tournament, the best performers also have the reward of playing for Team Weekes and Team Headley in the new tournament announced by CWI scheduled for April and May.”

The new Headley Weekes Series will follow the West Indies Championship and will feature three matches and three teams. Team Headley and Team Weekes will select from the best performers in the 2023 West Indies Championship and players outside the starting West Indies Test XI. The new West Indies Academy will provide the third team in the new Series.

Team Headley and Team Weekes are named in honour of West Indies pioneers and legendary batting greats George Headley and Sir Everton Weekes, whose names are also honoured on the Trophy for the winners of the West Indies Championship. All three matches will be played from 18 April to 6 May at CCG in Antigua.

Every West Indies Championship match will be streamed live on the Windies Cricket YouTube channel. Fans can follow each and every game from their mobile devices, computers or connected TVs, including access to live ball-by-ball scoring on the Windiescricket.com live match centre.

2023 WEST INDIES CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH SCHEDULE

All matches start at 10am Eastern Caribbean time (9am Jamaica time)

GNS – Grenada National Stadium, Grenada

SVRS – Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, Antigua

CCG – Coolidge Cricket Ground, Antigua

ROUND 1:

31 January to 3 February – Grenada

Windward Islands Volcanoes v Trinidad & Tobago Red Force at GNS

1 to 4 February – Antigua

Barbados Pride v Guyana Harpy Eagles at SVRS

Leeward Islands Hurricanes v Jamaica Scorpions at CCG

ROUND 2:

8 to 11 February – Grenada and Antigua

Windward Islands Volcanoes v Guyana Harpy Eagles at GNS

Leeward Islands Hurricanes v Trinidad and Tobago Red Force at SVRS

Jamaica Scorpions v Barbados Pride at CCG

ROUND 3:

15 to 18 March in Trinidad – Venues to be confirmed

Trinidad and Tobago Red Force v Guyana Harpy Eagles

Jamaica Scorpions v Windward Islands Volcanoes

Leeward Islands Hurricanes v Barbados Pride

ROUND 4:

22 to 25 March in Trinidad – Venues to be confirmed

Trinidad & Tobago Red Force v Barbados Pride

Guyana Harpy Eagles vs Jamaica Scorpions

Leeward Islands Hurricanes v Windward Islands Volcanoes

ROUND 5:

29 March to 1 April in Trinidad – Venues to be confirmed

Trinidad & Tobago Red Force v Jamaica Scorpions

Guyana Harpy Eagles v Leeward Islands Hurricanes

Barbados Pride v Windward Islands Volcanoes

Headley Weekes Tri-Series

All matches to be played at CCG, Antigua

Match 1: 19 to 22 April: Team Headley v West Indies Academy

Match 2: 26 to 29 April: Team Weekes v West Indies Academy

Match 3: 3 to 6 May: Team Weekes v Team Headley

Nedd, Savoury, Joseph & Nandu earn Guyana Harpy Eagles call-up

The Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) has announced a 13-man squad for the first and second rounds of the West Indies Championship, 2023. The squad sees four newcomers in promising young opener Matthew Nandu, wicket-keeper/batsman Kemol Savoury, exciting young fast bowler Shamar Joseph and spinner Ashmead Nedd. On the flipside, there is a notable absentee in experienced middle-order batsman Vishaul Singh.

The Guyana Harpy Eagles will play Barbados Pride at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua, from February 1 to February 4, and Windward Islands Volcanoes at the National Stadium in Grenada from February 8 to February 11.

Ashmead Nedd

The Guyana Harpy Eagles squad is: Leon Johnson (Captain), Veerasammy Permaul (Vice Captain), Chandrapaul Hemraj, Matthew Nandu, Kemol Savory, Tevin Imlach, Anthony Bramble, Kevin Sinclair, Nial Smith, Ronsford Beaton, Akshaya Persaud, Ashmead Nedd and Shamar Joseph.

The Manager is Albert Clements, Head Coach Ryan Hercules, Assistant Coach Garvin Nedd, Cricket Analyst Keshava Ramphal and Physiotherapist Angelica Holder.

Shamar Joseph

Reserves: Mavindra Dindyal, Kevlon Anderson, Demetri Cameron, Richie Looknauth and Antony Adams.

Prior to the expected Guyana Harpy Eagles departure on Sunday, January 29, the squad and reserves will be engaged in training sessions from Monday (January 23) to Friday(January 27) at the Guyana National Stadium, Providence.

Guyana Harpy Eagles Practice Match: Sinclair’s all-round brilliance hands Imlach’s XI big win!

After a quiet 1st innings with both bat and ball, all-rounder Kevin Sinclair produced the goods (74 & 4/54) to help the Tevin Imlach XI to a 143-run victory over Gudakesh Motie’s XI.

Resuming day 3 on 167/4, Imlach’s XI lost a further 2 wickets quickly before Sinclair entered the fray and together with Akshaya Persaud, the duo put on an 88-run partnership before the latter fell for 31. Sinclair followed shortly for a well played 74, from there, wickets tumbled cheaply and Imlach XI were eventually all out for 300.

Needing a challenging 310 to win, Motie’s XI never quite got going with Anthony Bramble providing the only spark of resistance with a well-played 55 while opener Rampertab Ramnauth got a start (35) but couldn’t kick on. Sinclair along with Anthony Adams (4/25) ran through the batting line-up as the Motie XI could only muster up 167 before being bowled out, 143 runs behind the required target.

Scores: Tevin Imlach XI 1st Innings 226 (Nandu 50, Motie 3/8), Motie XI 216 (Dindyal 43, Permaul 5/8), Tevin Imlach XI 2nd Innings 300 (Sinclair 74, Looknauth 4/87), Motie XI 2nd Innings 167 (Bramble 55, Adams 4/25)

Imlach & Hemraj half-centuries hand Imlach’s XI a healthy lead on day 2

With day 3 of the 2nd Guyana Harpy Eagles practice match set to be played today, Tevin Imlach’s XI enjoys a healthy lead of 177 runs in their 2nd innings. When play resumed yesterday at the Providence National Stadium, Gudakesh Motie’s XI were 46/2, 180 runs adrift of Imlach XI’s 1st Innings total of 226 and were eventually bowled out for 216.

Veteran left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul was ruthless enroute to yet another five-wicket haul, he snared the scalps of top-scorers Mavindra Dindyal (47) and Anthony Bramble (37) and ended with figures of 5/8 (7.5 overs). He was well supported by seamers Demitri Cameron (2/32), Shamar Joseph (2/49) and Clinton Pestano (1/40).

Batting a second time, Imlach’s XI suffered an early blow as 1st innings top scorer Matthew Nandu was caught behind off the bowling of Nial Smith for a duck, however Chandrapaul Hemraj and skipper Tevin Imlach (65) combined to steady the ship with a second wicket partnership of 116 before the latter fell caught off the bowling of Ashmeade Nedd.

Hemraj would follow shortly as he fell off the bowling of Motie for a typically aggressive 60 which included 14 boundaries. The only other casualty before the close of play was Leon Johnson who was bowled by Motie for 11.

When play resumes today, Imlach’s XI lead by 177 runs in their second innings with Kevlon Anderson on 18 and Akshaya Persaud yet to face a delivery.

Harpy Eagles Practice Match 2: Nandu & Motie performances highlight day 1

With play set to resume today, a patient half-century from young opening batsman Matthew Nandu and miserly figures of 3/8 (8.4 Overs) from Gudakesh Motie highlighted day one of the 2nd Guyana Harpy Eagles practice match at the Providence National Stadium.

Earlier yesterday, Tevin Imlach’s XI won the toss and elected to take first strike against the Gudakesh Motie XI. Nandu along with veteran Chandrapaul Hemraj got Imlach’s XI off to a flyer. Hemraj was the aggressor racing to 46 from 36 deliveries before he got out with the score at 72. From there on out, wickets fell at regular intervals as Imlach (11) and Kevlon Anderson (5) both came and went. The returning Leon Johnson joined Nandu and together they guided their side from 90/3 to 140 before Nandu fell for a well composed 50 courtesy of Ronaldo Mohamed-Ali.

Johnson (25) along with Akshaya Persaud (22) and Shamar Yearwood (37) were the only other batsmen to get scores worthy of note as all the others fell cheaply.

For the bowling side, Motie led from the front as the chief destroyer and was well supported by spinners Junior Sinclair (2/33) and Richie Looknauth (2/29) while Ashmeade Nedd, Mohamed-Ali and Nial Smith took a wicket apiece.

In response at stumps, Motie’s XI was trailing by 180 runs on 46/2 having lost opener Rampertab Ramnauth (24) and night watchman Ronsford Beaton (4). When play resumes today, Tagenarine Chanderpaul (12 not out) and Mavindra Dindyal (6 not out) will resume the innings.

Day 1: Imlach XI won the toss & elected to bat

Scores: Imlach XI 1st Innings- 226 All Out (Nandu 50, Motie 3/8)

(Close of Play) Gudakesh Motie X1: 46 for 2 (12 overs) trail by 180 runs

Motie, Gabriel & Warrican recalled to WI side for Zimbabwe tests

ST JOHN’S, Antigua – The Cricket West Indies’ (CWI) Men’s Selection Panel today announced the 15-member squad for the upcoming two-match Test Series in Zimbabwe, starting on 4 February. The Selection Panel recalled experienced fast bowler Shannon Gabriel, as well as left-arm spinners Gudakesh Motie and Jomel Warrican.

Gabriel has taken 161 wickets in 56 Tests, placing him joint 12th in the West Indies all-time wicket-takers list and more recently was the joint-leading wicket taker in the CG United Super50 Cup for the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force in November last year.

Gabriel’s last Test Match was against Sri Lanka in November 2021. Warrican’s last international appearance was also in Sri Lanka in December 2021 when he played in both matches in the Test Series. Motie made his Test debut for West Indies in Antigua in June 2022 in the first Test of the two-match Series victory against Bangladesh.

Jayden Seales is unavailable for selection following a knee injury and subsequent surgery; while Anderson Phillip is also unavailable due to injury.

Lead Selector, The Most Hon Dr Desmond Haynes said: “This is the start of the international calendar for 2023 and we will hope to start with a win. We appreciate it won’t be as easy assignment as Zimbabwe, like most other teams in world cricket, play very well on their home soil on pitches that will support their style of play.”

Haynes added: “We looked at the conditions we anticipate playing in, and have included two left-arm spinners who didn’t go to Australia in Motie and Warrican. With our fast bowlers, Seales has done extremely well for us since he started back in 2021, but with him unavailable we have decided that Gabriel would be best able to fill that role. He (Gabriel) is an experienced bowler who has been at the international level for over 10 years and has knowledge of the conditions in Zimbabwe when we won there in 2017.”

West Indies will play both Test matches at the Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo, with the first Test running from 4 to 8 February, and the second match from 12 to 16 February. Ahead of the two-Test Series, West Indies will have a three-day warm-up match against a local side set for 28 to 30 January at Bulawayo Athletic Club. All matches start at 10am local time (4am Eastern Caribbean/3am Jamaica).

The last Test Series between Zimbabwe and the West Indies was also played at Queens Sports Club in October 2017. West Indies won the two-match Series 1-0, winning the first contest by 117 runs with the second Test ending in a draw.

FULL SQUAD

Kraigg Brathwaite (captain)

Jermaine Blackwood (vice captain)

Nkrumah Bonner

Tagnarine Chanderpaul

Roston Chase

Joshua Da Silva

Shannon Gabriel

Jason Holder

Alzarri Joseph

Kyle Mayers

Gudakesh Motie

Raymon Reifer

Kemar Roach

Devon Thomas

Jomel Warrican

MATCH SCHEDULE

28-30 January: three-day warm-up match at Bulawayo Athletic Club

4-8 February: 1st Test at Queens Sports Club, Bulawayo

12-16 February: 2nd Test at Queens Sports Club

Australia pull out of Afghanistan ODIs

Cricket Australia has withdrawn their men’s team from a scheduled three-match ODI series against Afghanistan to be played in the UAE in March following consultation with the Australian government.

Australia were scheduled to play Afghanistan as part of the ICC Super League following the tour of India. But CA released a statement on Thursday stating that it had withdrawn from the series following a recent announcement from the Taliban that it was banning university education for girls, which ICC CEO Geoff Allardice described as concerning.

“Following extensive consultation with relevant stakeholders, including the Australian Government, Cricket Australia has decided that it is unable to proceed at this time with the upcoming ICC Super League three-match Men’s ODI series between Australia and Afghanistan scheduled for the UAE in March 2023,” the CA statement said.

“This decision follows the recent announcement by the Taliban of further restrictions on women’s and girls’ education and employment opportunities and their ability to access parks and gyms.

“CA is committed to supporting growing the game for women and men around the world, including in Afghanistan, and will continue to engage with the Afghanistan Cricket Board in anticipation of improved conditions for women and girls in the country.

“We thank the Australian Government for its support on this matter.”

The ICC has also expressed its concern over the situation in Afghanistan. “We want to see men and women safely playing cricket in Afghanistan and have consistently held the view that the best way to achieve this is by supporting our Member, the Afghanistan Cricket Board, in its endeavours to develop the game in the country,” an ICC spokesperson told ESPNcricinfo. “We are concerned by recent developments in Afghanistan and the ICC board will consider the implications of these developments at its next meeting and we remain in contact with other global sporting organisations who share our aim of seeing men and women playing sport in Afghanistan.”

This is the second time in two years CA has cancelled a bilateral fixture with Afghanistan due to the Taliban government’s policies on women following the postponement of the one-off Test that was scheduled to be played in Hobart in November 2021.

Australia did play Afghanistan in Adelaide during the recent T20 World Cup. The two sides have met four times in international cricket but never in a Test match and only once in a bilateral match in 2012, with the other three meetings coming in World Cups.

Australia are slated to meet Afghanistan twice more in the next Future Tours cycle with three T20Is scheduled for a neutral venue in August 2024 and Afghanistan due to tour Australia in August 2026 to play one Test and three T20Is.

(Story from ESPNcricinfo)

Khawaja, Smith & Head pummel SA to put Australia in command

Usman Khawaja made his highest Test score, while Steven Smith overtook Sir Donald Bradman in the record books with his 30th Test hundred, as Australia gained a stranglehold on the third Test against a hapless South Africa.

Khawaja was ruthless on a slow SCG surface to finish unbeaten on 195 and anchor Australia’s massive 475 for 4. But their push for a declaration before stumps on day two was thwarted by rain ending play an hour early.

With a declaration looming, Khawaja and Travis Head accelerated after tea with Australia keen on moving the match forward due to more rain forecast in Sydney on days three and four.

In what has become a trademark, Head played a swashbuckling innings to smash a flagging South Africa attack with a 59-ball 70 before holing out. In his first Test match since 2018, and having tested positive for Covid-19 on a rapid antigen test before play on day one, Matt Renshaw was on 5 not out.

Khawaja bettered his highest Test score of 174 in streaky fashion with a gloved boundary that just beat high-flying wicketkeeper Kyle Verreynne. His 13th Test century took him level with Wally Hammond, Doug Walters and VVS Laxman as the only batters to have struck three consecutive tons at the SCG.

Having revived his Test career a year ago with twin centuries against England on this ground, Khawaja has now hit four centuries from seven Tests at the SCG with an average over 100.

It ended a frustrating Test summer for Khawaja, who had missed out on Australia’s run glut and only averaged 27.43 from seven previous innings.

Khawaja combined in a 209-run partnership with Smith to torment South Africa for most of the first two sessions on day two. It was their 10th century partnership from just 33 innings and their highest stand, overtaking their 188 against England at the SCG in 2018.

Having moved past Bradman on the career Test century list with his 30th ton, Smith fell for 104 after tamely spooning a return catch to spinner Keshav Maharaj.

After a slow start, Smith produced a masterclass and reached his ton with a pull shot to the boundary off Anrich Nortje. His back-foot trigger movement was more pronounced in this innings, having been refined earlier in the season, but it didn’t affect his game with Smith toying with the bowlers.

It would have particularly satisfied Smith, who in 20 previous innings against South Africa averaged 41.67 – nearly 20 below his career mark. His only Test ton was in his first innings against them when he struck 100 in Centurion in 2014.

In the process, Smith overtook Matthew Hayden and Michael Clarke to sit fourth overall in Test career runs for Australia. He also passed 1000 Test runs at the SCG as he struck his fourth ton on his home ground.

Another strong Australian batting effort put them on track for a clean sweep of the series with victory to secure a position in the World Test Championship final in June. They also completely sucked the life out of a beleaguered South Africa, who have been out of answers.

With just four wickets in 131 overs, the spotlight might further shine on under-pressure skipper Dean Elgar who has seemingly been reactionary and conservative with his tactics.

He juggled his bowlers sometimes bafflingly like when Nortje and spearhead Kagiso Rabada were not used after lunch with offspinner Simon Harmer taking an almost brand new ball.

Harmer had been under-bowled on day one and in the first session, but struggled to make an impact and was hit for a huge six by a fleet-footed Smith.

Nortje couldn’t quite summon the same fire he conjured during his heroic day one effort, where he claimed the only two wickets, while Rabada was wayward to continue a disappointing series.

There was relief for left-arm spinner Maharaj after removing Smith out of nowhere. He was finally rewarded having leaked 247 runs off 75.5 overs in the series before his long overdue first scalp.

Their chances of a victory to revive their slim chances of making the World Test Championship final appear forlorn. To avoid a series whitewash, South Africa might need Sydney’s temperamental weather to further intervene.

Stumps Australia 475 for 4 (Khawaja 195*, Smith 104, Head 70, Nortje 2-55) vs South Africa

(Story from ESPNcricinfo by Tristan Lavalette)

Bad light & rain ends day with Australia two down

Stumps Australia 147 for 2 (Labuschagne 79, Khawaja 54*, Nortje 2-26) vs South Africa

Marnus Labuschagne and Usman Khawaja hit half-centuries for Australia on a truncated day one before Anrich Nortje helped South Africa claw back into the third Test at a gloomy SCG.

After captain Pat Cummins won a crucial toss and elected to bat on a dry surface, Australia reached stumps at 147 for 2 with Khawaja unbeaten on 54 and Steven Smith yet to face a delivery.

Labuschagne fell for 79 on what turned out to be the final delivery of the day’s play. Only 47 overs were bowled due to bad light and rain much to the disappointment of the 31,000 crowd in another Sydney Test match affected by inclement conditions.

Labuschagne and Khawaja had built a strong platform with a 135-run partnership after the early loss of opener David Warner for 10. There was a delay of more than two hours due to bad light before five overs were squeezed in late in the day and Nortje capitalised with a cracking delivery to remove Labuschagne.

Exerting plenty of energy, Nortje conjured sharp bounce and pace on the slow surface to produce an unplayable delivery that had Labuschagne caught behind.

After a lionhearted effort in Melbourne, Nortje was again the standout with 2 for 26 from 11 overs having earlier taken the wicket of Warner. He has kept a struggling South Africa buoyant after Australia threatened to grab an early stranglehold of the contest.

Labuschagne had been irrepressible until on 70 he appeared to be dismissed out of nowhere when he edged seamer Marco Jansen to first slip where Simon Harmer claimed a low catch.

It was given out on the soft signal but Labuschagne stood his ground and it seemed difficult to prove from replays whether Harmer had his hands under the ball close to the turf.

Third umpire Richard Kettleborough overturned the decision much to the frustration of South Africa. It only furthered Labuschagne’s reputation as a rather charmed batter but he had played imperiously before that contentious incident with five boundaries in 12 balls to go from 40 to 61.

After bowling well before lunch, Harmer trapped Khawaja lbw with the second delivery of the second session only for the decision to be reversed when replays showed the ball hit the glove first.

Having revived his career a year ago with twin centuries against England on this ground, Khawaja passed 4000 career Test runs en route to a half-century.

Under-pressure South Africa captain Dean Elgar once again made questionable decisions, including under-utilising Harmer who bowled just five overs even though his off-spin particularly threatened left-handed Khawaja.

Elgar, however, backed underperforming left-arm spinner Keshav Maharaj who bowled nine overs for 35 runs with Labuschagne and Khawaja sweeping effectively against him.

Maharaj has now bowled 52.5 overs without reward in this series.

While Nortje toiled, spearhead Kagiso Rabada continued his underwhelming series to finish with 0 for 45 off 12 overs. He unsuccessfully reverted to bowling short against Labuschagne, who counterattacked with ease.

Ashton Agar, Josh Hazlewood and Matt Renshaw were named in an Australia team attempting a clean sweep of the series and a spot in the World Test Championship final in June.

There was drama when Renshaw, playing his first Test since 2018, tested positive for Covid-19 on a rapid antigen test after feeling unwell before the day’s play, but he will continue to play in the match.

With the SCG surface set to play more traditionally, Australia named two frontline spinners at home for the first time in six years with left-arm spinner Agar making his return having not played Tests since 2017.

Regular quick Hazlewood returned from a side strain having edged out Scott Boland and uncapped tearaway Lance Morris.

Along with Harmer, who replaced Lungi Ngidi, South Africa named batter Heinrich Klaasen in place of Theunis de Bruyn who returned home for the birth of his first child.

South Africa still have a slim chance at qualifying for the WTC final with a consolation victory as their spirit lifted after Njorte’s late heroics.

(Story from ESPNcricinfo by Tristan Lavalette)