Former captain scripts open letter to the team in Bangladesh, urging the inexperienced players to believe in themselves
In 1966, 22-year-old Guyanese youngster Clive Lloyd made his international debut in the first Test of the India tour, played in what was then Bombay. Lloyd, the tall and bespectacled left-hander, was told he was playing the match less than an hour before the start due to the finger injury to Seymour Nurse.
Lloyd scored 82 and an unbeaten 78 to help the visitors take the series lead. West Indies won the three-match Test series 2-0 with Lloyd finishing among the top five run-makers. Lloyd utilised that fortuitous break to grow into a solid batsman and one of the most successful and dominant captains in cricket.
Now, at 76, Lloyd wants to use the story of his debut to motivate the inexperienced West Indies squads in Bangladesh. Several of West Indies’ first-team players in both the Test and white-ball teams opted out of the Bangladesh tour which comprises three ODIs followed by two Tests.
In a heartfelt letter addressed to the contingent, Lloyd told the players that although they might feel they have “thrown in the deep” in what will be a “daunting” assignment, it is not “insurmountable.” The letter was distributed to the West Indies players at the behest of Cricket West Indies president Ricky Skerritt.
Following is Lloyd’s letter in full.
I thought that I would send you this message as I’m aware that you’re embarking on a Tour which you probably weren’t prepared for and perhaps you feel like you’ve been thrown in the deep end and that people expect you to stand and deliver. What you should understand is that you have a chance of cementing a permanent place in the West Indies Team and not merely filling a gap. You have been chosen on merit. This is your destiny. It is your opportunity to fulfill it. This is a perfect opportunity to demonstrate your talents and skills to the world and prove to all and sundry that you’re not second-class cricketers. You can step up to the plate.
In 1966 I was not selected in the original Test Team. Fortuitously, Seymour Nurse got injured and 45 minutes before the 1st Test I was informed that I was playing and I played 35 straight Test Matches because I performed well. We won the series. You see I recognized there was an opportunity to demonstrate my talent and capabilities and I seized it with both hands. Moreover, playing for the West Indies is one of the highest honors a citizen of the region can achieve. I believed it then and I believe it now.
You have found yourselves in exactly the same position; therefore, the world is your oyster. This is your opportunity to prove yourself worthy of your selection and you should be proud to wear that West Indies blazer and cap. You are representing one of the best cricketing nations which possesses an enviable record of which we are very proud. Remember, we’re a nation of just over five million people.
Our records include: 29 Test matches without losing. 11 straight wins. For 17 years straight we never lost a test match.
This is just a snapshot of our exploits and achievements in the past. It took hard work, commitment and a sense of purpose to realise them. Above all I would advise that you pay close attention to your levels of fitness and seek at all times whether as a batsman or a bowler to refine your techniques and skills. My team did it and I am confident you can too.
You now have the opportunity to improve our Test match rating and instill some pride again in the standard of our Cricket. This is not just my expectation but that also of the entire Caribbean region. Your victory would be theirs also.
Your trip to Bangladesh might look daunting but this task is not insurmountable. It is the ideal opportunity. With your determination, professionalism, youth and tenacity you can begin the dawn of a new era under the (Test) captaincy of the very astute Kraigg Brathwaite. Again, what I am saying to you is not idle speculation. It is based on my own experience. When I took over the West Indies cricket team we had lost more than twenty Test matches on a trot and there was a clear need for rebuilding and a re-purposing of the team. I also had a number of untried players, as many of you might be. But my team did not flinch from the challenge and we eventually emerged on top. I am confident you can begin the necessary rebuilding of the West Indies team. We did it because we believed in ourselves. You can too. Self belief is the first step to success.
I would like you to remember this adage: ‘in order to gain altitude, you must have the right attitude’. A positive mental attitude will see you through many tight situations which I’m sure you will encounter during this Tour.
Lastly, success comes before work only in the dictionary. I wish you the best of luck. Please remember most people are judged by the obstacles they overcome.
Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo
Ghana in line to host cricket tournament at 2023 Africa Games
ICC give blessing to sport’s expansion into multi-sport games, with Olympics also on agenda
Cricket could be included at the 2023 Africa Games as the ICC increasingly looks to multi-sport events as a way to grow the game.
ESPNcricinfo understands the ICC Africa office have been in discussions with the local organising committee in Ghana with a view to including cricket at the event. A delegation, including officials from the ICC, the Ghana Cricket Association and the Ghana Ministry of Sports, has visited the proposed venues to ensure the requisite facilities could be provided.
The feedback is understood to have been overwhelmingly positive, though cricket’s inclusion has not been confirmed at this stage.
Whether it comes to fruition or not, the move underlines the ICC’s apparently new-found desire to embrace multi-sports games. The inclusion of women’s cricket has already been confirmed for the Commonwealth Games of 2022, while there is increasing momentum for a return to The Olympics. The new ECB chair, Ian Watmore, is understood to be a keen advocate of such a move and will shortly be placed in charge of an ICC sub-committee with a remit to explore the possibilities. Cricket’s inclusion as early as 2028, when the Olympics return to Los Angeles, remains possible.
There has long been a hunger among ICC Associate members to include cricket in the Olympics, in particular. It would, they argue, lead to greater exposure for the sport in their individual nations and open up new avenues of public funding. But there has been resistance from some full member nations who have expressed concern that the amount of time required for the Olympics would eat into the time available for bilateral series and various national T20 tournaments.
Increasingly, however, there has been an understanding at the ICC that multi-sport games would provide cricket with both a shop-window for potential new supporters and increase competition and commercial opportunities for its members. With the ECB, who believe it would provide impetus for the growth of the women’s game in particular, now broadly behind the idea, some of the impediments towards progress have been removed.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo
Sri Lanka vs England, 1st Test, Galle
With tourists missing several players from 2018 whitewash, skipper senses ‘clear advantage’ for home side
England rested Ben Stokes for this series, left Keaton Jennings out, and have lost Moeen Ali to Covid-19. Although Dimuth Karunaratne sympathises with Moeen in particular, he’s pretty sure all this confers an advantage to his team.
Although Karunaratne did not mention them by name, England have also left Ben Foakes out of the first Test, and have not brought Adil Rashid on tour. All five of these players had made a substantial impact during England’s 3-0 whitewash over Sri Lanka in 2018. Stokes had played both key innings, and bowled incisive spells; Jennings had hit a second-innings hundred in Galle, and taken outstanding close-in catches; Moeen had taken 18 wickets; Foakes had top-scored in the series in addition to having kept wicket extraordinarily well; and Rashid had turned the Colombo Test with his legspin.
The England side set to take the field on Thursday, however, has several players on their first Sri Lanka tour.
“We have a clear advantage against this team, because they’ve got a few new players,” Karunaratne said. “From the last series they played against us, Stokes is not in their squad and Jennings is not in the team. And Stokes is the guy who balanced their team. The players in the current squad don’t have much experience in these conditions.
“That said, we shouldn’t take it easy. They’ve prepared well, and I’ve seen how well they’ve prepared. They’ve also been playing cricket and they were the first ones to start playing Tests again after Covid hit. Their fitness levels are still up there. We only started again against South Africa, and because of the injury concerns, we’ve lost players.”
Despite the overall confidence, Karunaratne was still wary of the threat England’s spin attack posed. Left-arm spinner Jack Leach, England’s best bowler from the 2018 series will play again. He took 18 wickets at 21.38 on that trip. Offspinner Dom Bess, who has 19 wickets from 15 bowling innings so far, will also be in the XI.
“I think their spinners are just as dangeorous this time. Leach is there, and he’s the man who did a lot of of work in the last series here. It’s unfortunate that Moeen Ali, who did a good job, can’t play the series. Dom Bess has done a good job for England as well, so we never underestimate their bowlers. We always knew what they are capable of in their bowling lineup.
“But we know what the conditions are, so we have a few plans against them. They’d played a practice game here before the last series, and we have that footage and everything. We are trying to play our normal, fearless game. We learned a lot of things in the past series, and we’re not going to make those mistakes again.”
Sri Lanka’s batsmen, though, are playing a Test at home for the first time in 16 months, and have returned from South Africa only eight days ago, having played on fast, bouncy pitches there. Karunaratne does not think readjusting to home conditions will be too big a challenge, even if rain has hampered what little preparation time they had in the approach to this Test.
“Playing in Sri Lanka is difficult anyway, but we’ve all been playing in Sri Lanka since we started cricket, and I don’t think the fact that we’ve been abroad for a month will make it too difficult to come back to these conditions. Yes, we haven’t played for a while, but there was a domestic tournament last year as well as the LPL. We can’t give the excuse that we were playing in different conditions and found it hard to switch. These are our conditions.”
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf
Recent Match Report – Thunder vs Sixers 38th Match 2020
Half-centuries by Alex Hales and Daniel Sams were not enough for the Thunder who suffered a middle-order slump
Sydney Sixers 5 for 132 (Philippe 64, Sams 2-25) beat Sydney Thunder 6 for 166 (Hales 54, Sams 50*, O’Keefe 3-15) by five wickets (DLS method)
Sydney Sixers stayed top of the table with a convincing victory in the first derby of the season against Sydney Thunder as Josh Philippe‘s 24-ball half-century ensured they were always ahead in a rain-adjusted chase.
Alex Hales provided the Thunder with a flying start as he made a 29-ball half-century, but they lost their way against Steve O’ Keefe, who claimed career-best figures for the second time this season, and it needed a measured half-century from Daniel Sams to ensure the innings did not completely fall away.
After a heavy shower at the change of innings, the Sixers were left with a 14-over chase and Philippe put them on course by taking 23 off the second over from Jono Cook. During his innings, he became the leading scorer for the season, a tag that changed hands twice during the evening with Hales briefly in pole position.
Although things had slowed after a Hales-inspired charge, the Thunder were well placed at 2 for 85 in the tenth over. That changed in the space of three balls as Sam Billings picked out long-on and Hales clubbed to deep midwicket against O’Keefe. It meant there were two new batsmen in at the midway point, forcing the Thunder into a period of consolidation and they would end up holding back the Power Surge for the final two overs. O’Keefe then added Alex Ross, lbw missing a sweep, and finished with 3 for 15 from a spell that conceded just one boundary and included 12 dot balls. Jackson Bird’s role was also noteworthy; he picked up 1 for 23 in his four overs which meant the eight between him and O’Keefe went for just 38.
Philippe looks ready
After a couple of single-figure scores, it was normal service resumed for Philippe as he launched the Sixers’ chase by tucking into Cook with four fours and six in five deliveries. By the end of the reduced three-over powerplay, he had 31 off 11 balls and the Sixers were 0 for 41. After the six-over mark, he started to lose some of the strike as the chase got a bit tighter but was able to bring up a 24-ball fifty – the fastest of his BBL career. There are a lot of people wanting to bat at the top of the order for Australia in T20Is but it’s becoming difficult to see how much Philippe can be denied his chance. Perhaps the series against New Zealand in late February?
Last chance dropped
The wickets of James Vince and Daniel Hughes in the space of five balls gave the Thunder some hope and when Jordan Silk fell to the first delivery of the Power Surge – which was limited to one over – as he spliced Sams into the leg side the Sixers needed 32 off 23 balls. Two balls later, Dan Christian skied his first delivery into the off side but Ross could not hold over his shoulder as he ran back from inside the ring. In the next over from Nathan McAndrew, Christian launched two sixes and the game was done.
Hales starts, Sams finishes
It had all looked so promising for the Thunder early on as Hales showed his destructive power by taking 21 off the third over against former England team-mate Jake Ball which included two leg-side sixes. After briefly consolidating following the loss of Usman Khawaja and Callum Ferguson, another six, a skimming sweep off Lloyd Pope, took him to a 29-ball fifty. After the stuffing had been knocked out of the middle order, Sams nursed the innings to a stage where they could push hard in the final few overs although 24 from the last two – which were the Power Surge – was manageable for the Sixers. Sams’ resurgent batting form continued with his second fifty of the season, brought up with a boundary off the final ball after Carlos Braithwaite had managed three consecutive dots in the last over.
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo
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