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Carlos Brathwaite: West Indies no underdogs, can win 3rd World Cup




Buoyed by their performance against England at home, a rejuvenated West Indies side will go into this summer’s World Cup as a balanced unit. All-rounder Carlos Brathwaite feels that while they are not favourites to lift the cup, they are no pushovers either.

“I think the chances are good but I don’t think we will be favourites. And I don’t think we will be underdogs,” Brathwaite told IANS in an interview on the sidelines of a Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) event.

The hard-hitting all-rounder was roped in by the two-time champions for Rs 5 crore ahead of this season.

“We know what we can do, especially after the series we just had against England. So, it’s a balanced expectation in my opinion.

“The brand of cricket we played in the Caribbean, if we can replicate that in England, we will go somewhere close to challenging for the title. We have been traditionally a good tournament team. So, hopefully we can win the third World Cup,” said the Windies’ regular T20 skipper.

West Indies, led by Jason Holder, gave a good account of themselves in the recently concluded five-match ODI series in their backyard, with the series ending 2-2 as the third rubber was washed out.

The World Cup in England and Wales starts on May 30 with the Windies’ taking on Pakistan on May 31.

Brathwaite, who made a comeback to the ODI team for the England series, scored a counter-attacking 36-ball 50 in the fourth ODI remembered for Chris Gayle’s 97-ball 162 in Windies’ chase of 419. They lost the match by 29 runs. With the ball, he took five wickets in four games.

Best known for hitting four successive sixes to finish off England in the last over of the 2016 World T20 final at the Eden Gardens, Brathwaite said it’s a happy hunting ground for him and he is happy to be back.

“It’s kind of a happy hunting ground. I have had a few good games here. In the same World Cup, I had a good warm-up game with bat and ball. I had a decent game with the ball against India as well, though we didn’t cross the line.”

KKR will bank on Brathwaite to deliver the goods with bat and ball. Asked about his goal, the Barbados-born said: “I am not a stats person. If I get wickets and score some runs, take that one or two wickets that will take the team over the line..that’s more important.

“If I can help in significant wins and hopefully help the team win the trophy as well, then that would be a successful season for me, regardless of what the numbers say.”

The 30-year-old has blown hot and cold since the historic feat, only recently making a comeback since playing for the West Indies in an ODI back at the ICC World Cup Qualifiers in 2018.

“I may not be hitting four and sixes, but I am happy to be the one who comes in and takes crucial wickets or scores an important 20 or 25,” Brathwaite said when asked about his return and form.

“Not necessarily score a fifty or take a hat-trick to feel that I have contributed. So, that mindset has helped in the last couple of years.”

Brathwaite will join compatriots Andre Russell and Sunil Narine at KKR. “He is probably the best all-rounder in the world in this format. I will continue to learn from him,” he said of Russell.

Under the tutelage of head coach and iconic South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis, Brathwaite added that he would look to come out of the tournament a better cricketer.

“I have spoken to him about my batting — as to how I can be a more consistent finisher — that I want to be. It has been light-hearted mostly to be honest. He is very relaxed.

“I am really looking forward to learn more from one of the legends of the game (Kallis) and strong personality as assistant coach (Simon) Katich. Hopefully after this IPL, I will be a better cricketer.”


Googly will be my most important weapon against England, says Yasir Shah



Pakistan spinner Yasir Shah is hopeful of dry wickets during their upcoming series against England as he feels it will aid his bowling against a high-profile batting line-up of The Three Lions.

The two teams are scheduled to play three Tests and as many T20Is in the series which will be played after the conclusion of the ongoing three-match Test series between England and West Indies.

Pakistan cricketers are currently under a 14-day quarantine period, following which they will travel to Derbyshire on July 13.

They had started their preparations for England series with a two-day inter-squad scenario-based practice match played on July 5-6 at Worcester.

Shah revealed he has been working a lot on his googlies and will look to trouble the England batsmen with his ‘most important weapon’ in the series.

“My googly is coming out well,” Shah was quoted as saying by ICC. “In the two-day match, all the googlies I bowled landed well and spun well. I think it will be my most important weapon.

“Counties usually sign spinners for July to September because in these three months, spinners get help on dry wickets,” he added.

The first Test will be played at the Old Trafford starting August 5 followed by the last two Tests at the Ageas Bowl, which start on August 13 and August 21 respectively.

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No BLM logo during 3TC match as jerseys have gone to print, says Graeme Smith



Cricket South Africa. (Photo: Twitter/@OfficialCSA)

Cricket South Africa (CSA) will be discussing ways to express support for the Black Lives Matter movement but it may not be possible for having a BLM logo on the jerseys for the 3TC match as they have already been made. CSA Director of Cricket Graeme Smith said that there will be a discussion with players about how to go about it.

“We’re discussing various ways of handling it. The kit has gone to print already. We need to figure out how we can be effective about it, authentic, and spread the messages that are meaningful to us as South Africans and how it affects us on a daily basis,” Smith is quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.

The unique 3TC match features three teams playing in the same game. Smith said that while he is confident of coming across no opposition to taking any stand during the match, it is important to get everyone on the same page about it.

“We are all in our own little pockets and I think it’s important that in the future we all come together and figure out how we can play our role in the Black Lives Matter movement,” Smith said.

“My belief in these things is that its important to have buy-in and everyone invested in it as well and I have no doubt that will be the case but the discussion in each team environment and as CSA how we handle it going forward is important. We do have the 3TC approaching and that will be our first occasion with the Black Lives Matter movement.”

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Trott & I got ‘spiked’ during Hong Kong Sixes, claims Tim Bresnan



Former England cricketer Tim Bresnan recently opened up about his struggles with mental health and also recounted an incident where he claimed he was drugged along with his former teammate Jonathan Trott during a Hong Kong Sixes tournament.

Bresnan was referring to the 2008 edition of the multi-national event in Kowloon, where it was later found out that he had ketamine — a medicine that induces a trance-like state while providing pain relief — in his system.

“Got drugged in Hong Kong. We’re in Hong Kong Sixes, myself and Jonny Trott. And we got spiked,” Bresnan said on Shackles Are Off podcast.

“They reckon it was ketamine, there were traces in our system. But we got to Loughborough and got the drugs tested and stuff, the voluntary ones. I’d lost the plot by then anyway.

“That was the…end of the 2008 summer. And then I had that whole winter off, had a really good pre-season with Yorkshire, in Abu Dhabi.

“It was like walking back into an environment with all your mates…it was like a stag do, and really enjoyed it. Really enjoyed my cricket again. I played my first Test in 2009 of that summer,” he added.

Bresnan, 35, recently joined Warwickshire on a two-year deal that will see him at the club till 2022. Bresnan previously played for Yorkshire for 19 years where he won the County Championships twice – 2014 and 2015.

“I’m thrilled to be joining Warwickshire. It’s a Club that I’ve always admired, and I’ve always thoroughly enjoyed playing at Edgbaston with Yorkshire and England,” Bresnan was quoted as saying in the statement uploaded on Warwickshire’s Twitter handle.

“I’ve had some great conversations with Paul Farbrace about the way that he plans to take the Club forwards, and I see this move as a great fit for both of us.

“I have still got a strong desire to continuing playing at the top level and to win, so hopefully I can pass on a bit of my experience to the young players who are coming through.”

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