Swashbuckling batsman Chris Gayle and experienced fast bowler Fidel Edwards have been named in the West Indies T20I squad to play against Sri Lanka, marking their return to the international stage.
Off-spinner Kevin Sinclair earns his first West Indies selection and left-arm spinner Akeal Hosein gets his first T20I call-up as the Cricket West Indies (CWI) selection panel named the West Indies squads for the CG Insurance T20 International Series and CG Insurance One-Day International Series.
The matches will be played at the Coolidge Cricket Ground (CCG) and Sir Vivian Richards Stadium (SVRS).
The T20I matches will be played under floodlights on March 3, 5 and 7. This T20I series will make history as the first full international matches to be played by the official West Indies men’s team at the CCG. The matches will also be the first West Indies T20Is to be played in Antigua since 2013.
West Indies will use these matches to prepare and defend their ICC T20 World Cup title when India hosts the tournament this year.
The CG Insurance ODI Series will be played at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium on March 10, 12 and 14 with the final match scheduled to be a day/night encounter.
The series forms part of the ICC ODI Super League and these three matches provide the opportunity for West Indies to secure their first points as the team tries to qualify automatically for the 2023 ICC World Cup, to be held in India.
“As we build towards the defence of the T20 World Cup, the opportunity is being taken to determine our best team and squad as we go forward. Chris Gayle has performed very well in recent tournaments and the selection panel thinks that he can still add great value to our team. Fidel Edwards has been selected to give the bowling the potent firepower needed,” said CWI lead selector Roger Harper.
“Jason Holder has shown his all-round value in this format in recent times and after missing a few series he will add depth and experience to the squad. Akeal Hosein performed very well in Bangladesh [ODI Series] and had excellent stats in the CPL so this is an opportunity to see how he equips himself in this format. Kevin Sinclair grabbed our attention in the Super50 Cup back in 2019 and has been consistently economical in the last CPL and the current CG Insurance Super50. He will provide an off-spinning option for the team.”
West Indies squads:
T20I: Kieron Pollard (captain), Nicholas Pooran (vice-captain), Fabian Allen, Dwayne Bravo, Fidel Edwards, Andre Fletcher, Chris Gayle, Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein, Evin Lewis, Obed McCoy, Rovman Powell, Lendl Simmons, Kevin Sinclair
ODI: Kieron Pollard (captain), Shai Hope (vice-captain), Fabian Allen, Darren Bravo, Jason Holder, Akeal Hosein, Alzarri Joseph, Evin Lewis, Kyle Mayers, Jason Mohammed, Nicolas Pooran, Romario Shepherd, and Kevin Sinclair
Barcelona president ‘convinced’ Lionel Messi will remain at Camp Nou
Barcelona president Joan Laporta is “convinced” Lionel Messi will sign a new contract to stay with the La Liga giants.
Messi is out of contract at the end of the season and the 33-year-old’s future with Barca is far from certain amid strong links to Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Manchester City, DPA reported.
Laporta remains determined to re-sign Messi, who has spent his entire senior career at Camp Nou.
As Barca prepare for the weekend’s Copa del Rey final against Athletic Bilbao, Laporta was asked about the record six-time Ballon d’Or winner. “Everything is progressing adequately,” Laporta said.
“I will do everything within the club’s capabilities to get him to stay. That’s what we’re doing. Messi is motivated. He is an extraordinary person and I am convinced that he will want to continue at Barca.”
Messi has scored a league-high 23 goals and supplied eight assists in 28 La Liga appearances for Barca this season.
In total, Messi has netted 29 goals across all competitions in 2020-21.
Had I adapted a bit earlier, things would have been different: Ankita Raina
India’s top-ranked singles tennis player Ankita Raina conceded after her loss to Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko in the Billie Jean King Cup World Group play-off match that had she adapted to the Latvian world No. 52’s game a bit earlier, “things would probably have been a bit different”.
At the end of the day on Friday, India were 0-2 down in the five-match rubber with both Raina and Karman Kaur Thandi losing their singles matches to higher-ranked Latvian opponents, Ostapenko and Anastasija Sevastova, respectively.
“As the first set went through, I understood what she (Ostapenko) was doing and what I needed to change in my game. It was good that I could adapt to her game, but it probably would have been a bit different had I done that (adapted) a bit earlier,” said the world’s 174th-ranked singles player after losing 2-6, 7-5, 5-7 to the Latvian.
“When you play for your country, you fight for each point and that was seen in the match. I felt that I could have done a bit better in the first set and I did catch up (to win the second set), but Ostapenko has also played such matches before and played at the best level,” the Indian, who will take on Anastasija Sevastova in the reverse singles, said at the post-match press conference.
Ostapenko is the winner of the 2017 French Open title.
Raina, whose game had improved several notches this year, added, “I’ve said I belong to this level and my game has improved. I was very confident going into the match and I did feel that anything could happen. So, I was not thinking too much about the result. But it’s natural that when you are representing your country, you do have some nerves.”
On the reverse singles match, the Indian said, “It’s a new day, a new match. I will be ready and more than prepared and do my recovery that is needed to be ready for the match (against Sevastova).”
For Karman Kaur Thandi, who lost to Sevastova 4-6, 0-6, it was a “huge learning experience playing against a top-50 player for the first time”.
“Now, I need to work on my physical aspect going forward. Playing at this level after a couple of years, and also having not played against a top-50 player, the experience was pretty good, especially the intensity was there in the first set but I got broken twice which made the difference,” said Thandi.
“If you just look at the first set, I was pretty much there, and it could have gone either side. In the second set, the intensity dropped a little bit from my side, and she (Sevastova) also started playing a little bit more solid.”
I know I am paid to slog: Chris Morris
A few days after he was denied strike on the last ball of the match against Punjab Kings as his captain Sanju Samson thought he won’t be able to clear the boundary, Rajasthan Royals (RR) all-rounder Chris Morris proved he is no muck with the bat as he led RR to a fascinating three-wicket win over Delhi Capitals.
Morris, who hit an unbeaten 18-ball 36 laden with four sixes, however said he had no regrets on being denied strike although his reaction in Monday’s match after being sent back by Samson was one of bemusement and a sarcastic smile.
“I was going to run back no matter what to sacrifice because Sanju was hitting it so sweetly. Sanju was hitting it like a dream, I wouldn’t have been too upset if he had hit the last ball for a six,” said Morris about the incident in Monday’s game.
Morris, who was bought for Rs 16.25 crore at the IPL mini-auction, said that he knows he is being paid to hit big.
“There are guys who get paid to bat and there are guys who get paid to slog, I know what I am. I am a slogger that swings everything I can, I play so much golf,” he added.
RR had earlier restricted DC to 147/8 in 20 overs and the right-handed batsman and right-arm bowler from South Africa said that he would have taken that target before the start of the match.
“If we had to chase 140-odd when we got here, we would have taken it, so happy to get over the line…it’s quite nice to know that we can win a game from anywhere after being down in the dumps. That’s T20 cricket,” he added.
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