A Rash Decision?/Leach Sucking Blood!

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I can’t say that I’m not disappointed. I thought that on the back of good white ball contributions for England and potentially backed up by a good county season, Yorkshire leg-spinner Adil Rashid could push for a Test recall. That now seems highly unlikely given that he’s committed to a white-ball only contract with his county this term. Rashid is only 29 and though he didn’t claim a hatful of County Championship wickets (10 @ 50.00) last term, he’s also played a vital hand with the bat for Yorkshire over the years, batting and batting successfully as high as number six in First Class cricket.

Meanwhile Jack Leach may reap the benefits of not being rushed into the England first team too soon. It seemed as though he wasn’t the selectors preferred choice and has had to remodel his action. He’s just put in a record-breaking shift (8-110) for England Lions in an unofficial Test against West Indies ‘A’. Admittedly Jomel Warrican and Rahkeem Cornwall bagged plenty of wickets too and the Caribbean is the home of many spin bowlers with averages in the teens but ‘The Bloodsucker’s’ figures and current confidence are highly encouraging. Curiously and in contrast to Rashid, the Somerset spinner has, at the age of 26, never played a T20 match and clocked up only fifteen List A appearances. In 52 First Class outings however, he’s totalled 175 wickets at 25.89. For the record, Mason Crane has 77 at… 46.07! Adil Rashid has 490 (Yes 490!) First Class wickets as well as ten centuries.

What Rashid’s decision means for him, Yorkshire, England and cricket in general remains to be seen. If the longer format of the game does survive, it’s looking as though it and T20 might be considered completely different sports entirely. As for the man in the middle, List A and ODIs, you can’t help but fear a slow but certain death!

Cornwall Ready to Paste ’em!

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West Indies’ national side appear to be taking positive steps and consistency in selection is a crucial part of that. The role of the selectors is, in regards to bringing in a new player, to make the right call at the right time. For the Caribbean outfit, the time for Rahkeen Cornwall to enter the international arena can’t be far off.

If you ever find yourself perusing West Indies domestic or A-team scorecards then you’re likely to see the name Cornwall all over them. He seems to take five-wicket hauls for fun, performed well against England in a tour match not too long ago and is right this moment performing admirably in an unofficial Test series against Sri Lanka A.

Windies Chairman of Selectors Courtney Browne has hinted in the past that Cornwall needs to do something about his size in order to represent the first XI. Cornwall is a big man as a quick glance at some of his images on his Cricinfo profile page confirm…

http://www.espncricinfo.com/westindies/content/player/494581.html

But he is what he is! He’s scoring all these runs and taking all these wickets whilst being the size he is. Players are supposed to be selected based on what their doing at domestic level and be expected to repeat those performances at the higher level. It seems wrong that West Indies would encourage a player that is prospering so much to change. We exist in an era where every sportsman is expected to be a supreme athlete but does that matter if Cornwall can rock up with reasonable regularity, strike a quick fire 60 odd and claim 3-51?

Zimbabwe away seems like it could’ve been a good opportunity to integrate the twenty-four-year-old Antiguan to Test cricket but fair play to West Indies for sticking with the England tourists. Cornwall will likely be better served playing against Sri Lanka A than bench warming in Bulawayo.

Cornwall is one of those guys who is good for the game. He’s a character even if that’s based on his physique not his personality but he’s also clearly very capable with bat and ball. Hopefully cricket fans will get to see him challenge himself in the international arena before too long.

Baseball Back!

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Kieron Powell, having turned his back on cricket for baseball but then turned his back on baseball for cricket, is, you guessed it… back in the West Indies ODI squad for the first time since March 2014. The left-handed opening batsman last appeared for West Indies in whites in June of the same year and has been in prolific form in domestic cricket in recent times, including striking three centuries in four innings in late January / early February. Powell possesses a top score of 83 in 28 ODI outings but has three Test centuries to his name. He averages over 27 but less than 28 in both forms.

For details of the squad to take on England in full then please click on the link below.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/west-indies-v-england-2016-17/content/story/1083623.html

As detailed on Cricinfo, the likes of Kyle Hope, Montcin Hodge and Rahkeem Cornwall are amongst those selected for the WICB President’s XI to play the tourists in a practice match in St Kitts.

England ODI tour of West Indies:

Warm-up

WICB Pres. XI v England, St Kitts, Feb 27

ODI Series

West Indies v England, Antigua, March 3rd

West Indies v England, Antigua, March 5th

West Indies v England, Barbados, March 9th

Hope for West Indies

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It’s fair to say that since the turn of the century Caribbean cricket hasn’t been at it’s peak. The West Indies national side have not been the force they once were. Potential stars such as Kieron Powell packed the game in altogether to try their hand at baseball, though he’s recently returned to cricket whilst Darren Bravo’s future is in serious doubt following a recent Twitter outburst.

There is however a glimmer of hope for West Indies. When Shai Hope made his Test debut against England it was in truth probably a little too soon but a career best knock of 211 just prior to the Test got him the nod. Over eighteen months later he is still awaiting a Test match half-century but did make a career best 41 in his last Test outing before striking 47 on ODI debut earlier today.

It’s not just Shai either. His elder brother Kyle, four years Shai’s senior at 27 is still awaiting a First Class century but a batting average of 29.35 suggests that he has no problem getting going. He recently struck 107 for West Indies A against Sri Lanka A in a List A match.

Amongst others, the encouraging signs displayed by Roston Chase early in his Test career, Nicholas Pooran debuting in T20Is and Rahkeen Cornwall’s domestic performances also provide West Indies with optimism for the years ahead.