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Kieron Pollard – ‘West Indies to take a knee at T20 World Cup’ | Cricket



West Indies will continue showing solidarity with Black Lives Matter movement © Randy Brooks/AFP via Getty Images

West Indies will continue to take a knee before their matches at the men’s T20 World Cup in the UAE in a stand against racism, their captain Kieron Pollard has said.

West Indies’ players and support staff have kneeled and raised fists before the start of games since the murder of George Floyd in May 2020, showing their support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Speaking from the team’s training camp in Dubai on Tuesday, Pollard said that they would continue to do so during the tournament.

“From my knowledge at this present time, I think it’s something we’re going to continue because it’s something that we strongly believe in, as a team,” Pollard said. “Hopefully we can just continue to show our support for something that I think is close to our hearts.”

England, West Indies’ opponents in their opening fixture in Dubai on October 23, took a knee during series against West Indies and Ireland last year but were criticised by Michael Holding, the former fast bowler and broadcaster, for when they stopped doing so later in their home summer.

Before Australia’s men took a knee for the first time during their white-ball tour to the Caribbean earlier this year, Pollard said he did not want opposition teams to kneel “because the West Indies are doing it” and that it was “not a matter of us just doing it and you supporting us and we’re looking for that sympathy”.

“Everyone has their own opinions on racism and Black Lives Matter and all these things,” Pollard said, asked if he would encourage England to take a knee alongside West Indies. “So, I can’t tell them what to do or expect anything, because sometimes when you expect things from people, you tend to get disappointed.

“Again, sometimes, you just have to look at the man in the mirror, and if we think it is something that is very, very important to us, we will do it. And if the opposition thinks that as well, it’s up to them. If they don’t, [it’s a matter of] personal choices.”

The ICC has previously intervened and fined players when they have made gestures “for messages which relate to political, religious or racial activities or causes” or displayed “personal messages on their clothing, equipment or otherwise,” but last year pledged to use “common sense” when players took a knee.

Chris Jordan, the fast bowler, said earlier on Tuesday that the England squad had not yet spoken about the possibility of taking at knee during their training camp in Oman.

“Nothing has been discussed, really” Jordan said. “We’ll discuss it and if people feel strongly about it, we’ll definitely do it. On the flip side, if we don’t, then we won’t. We’ll have to discuss that internally and then take it from there.”

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98

ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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Recent Match Report – Sri Lanka vs West Indies 2nd Test 2021/22



Sri Lanka 204 and 46 for 2 (Nissanka 21*) trail West Indies 253 (Brathwaite 72, Blackwood 44, Mendis 6-70) by 3 runs

On the first full, rain-absent, day’s play of the Test, Sri Lanka and West Indies set up what promises to be the quintessential Galle classic. At stumps, the hosts in their second innings trail by three runs with eight wickets in hand, on a pitch that has produced 21 wickets over the past two days – though the last two will have the Dimuth Karunaratne’s side kicking themselves, both being entirely avoidable run outs.

The first came as a result of an outstanding direct hit from Kyle Mayers to dismiss the captain himself, while the second was rather more self-inflicted, with Oshada Fernando hesitating in the middle of the pitch and failing to return to his crease in time.

That has left Pathum Nissanka and Charith Asalanka at the crease, on 21 and 4 respectively, with the former also nursing a knee injury that he had received treatment for on the field.

Therefore going into the final two days, with rain also expected in bursts, the game is poised to go down to the wire. While West Indies will be wary of having to bat last – only two teams have chased a score higher than double-digits to win in Galle – they will be quietly confident of the ability of their batters in chasing what could end up being a modest target.
Indeed, despite losing their last seven wickets for just 87 runs earlier in day, Kraigg Brathwaite would have been buoyed by how well the top order coped with Sri Lanka’s spin threat for the most part. He himself was the top scorer, hitting 72 off 185, while Jermaine Blackwood (44), Nkrumah Bonner (35) and Kyle Mayers (36) all chipped in with handy knocks to secure a 49-run lead. That could have been considerably more had it not been for the Sri Lankan spinners who, after a sub-par showing in the morning, imparted a vice grip on the visitors after lunch.
Ramesh Mendis was the undoubted star for the hosts, ending with career-best figures of 6 for 70 – his first five-wicket haul in Tests – while Lasith Embuldeniya and Praveen Jayawickrama picked up two apiece. Mayers’ unbeaten 36 off 64 late on had briefly threatened to balloon the lead, but he eventually ran out of partners.

Mendis, Embuldeniya and Jayawickrama all found better lengths after lunch and in the process dried up the scoring. They were also perhaps aided by the extra bounce afforded by the new ball, with five of the six wickets to fall in the session coming after they opted for it – the last two wickets fell swiftly after tea.

That said, the most important breakthrough came at the start of second session, when Embuldeniya worked over a set Brathwaite in brilliant fashion. Having shifted to over the wicket against the right-hander, Embuldeniya peppered a leg-stump line – replete with leg slip and short leg – for the first couple of deliveries, before getting one to spin sharply past Brathwaite’s, oddly lax, forward defence. The ball proceeded to hit the top of middle stump, a dream dismissal for the left-arm spinner but one which Brathwaite could have avoided by simply padding away.

That brought to an end an 85-ball 25-run stand between Brathwaite and Shai Hope, the last one of any significance. Mendis took charge of proceedings from thereon, getting rid of Roston Chase, Hope, Jason Holder and Joshua Da Silva in the span of a few overs, before returning after tea to close out the innings with the wicket of Jomel Warrican.

This turn of events had seemed far from likely in the morning. Indeed, such was the level of West Indies’ control that, aside from the wicket of Bonner, the only real moment of peril occurred courtesy Suranga Lakmal, Sri Lanka’s lone seamer, who got a fuller one to jag back into Bonner’s pads, only for a subsequent review to show a faint inside edge. There was also a potential catch down the leg side, also off Lakmal, that Chandimal seemed to have grassed, only for replays to show that there was no bat or glove involved.

Those instances typified a luckless morning for the home side with Brathwaite and Bonner resolute. The Sri Lankan spinners did themselves little favours in any case, unable to extract the same turn and bounce West Indians were able to do so consistently the previous day.

Much of this was down to an inability to find the right lengths, with Jayawickrama and Embuldeniya particularly culpable, far too often straying full and making it easy to smother any turn on offer. On the few occasions that they did hit a good length, both Brathwaite and Bonner were able to get bat in the way and deal with it safely. And it wasn’t long before the home side’s frustration began to show, as they began to offer more scoring opportunities, ones the West Indians were ruthless in dispatching.

Brathwaite, who was quite comfortable staying back and navigating the spin late in most circumstances, was the biggest beneficiary on this front – he would end his innings with nine boundaries, and was all too happy to put away anything short, square of the wicket on either side. The pick of his shots, though, were two front-foot efforts either side of mid-on – for the first, he showed exquisite wrist work to take one that was a little fuller and steer it to the left of a straight-ish mid-on, while the second was a delightful clip to the midwicket fence.

It was only following Bonner’s dismissal that Sri Lanka’s spinners rediscovered some sort of rhythm, which in the end they managed to carry over in spades for the rest of the innings.

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Travis Head wins the race to be Australia's No. 5 in the Ashes



Mitchell Starc will complete the fast-bowling trio alongside Josh Hazlewood and captain Pat Cummins

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Mithali Raj – We have had ‘good preparation’ for 2022 World Cup by playing SA, England, Australia this year




“We are getting to play in New Zealand before World Cup which is also good,” she says

India Women are scheduled to play only one ODI series – against New Zealand – before the World Cup early next year but captain Mithali Raj feels the team has had “good preparation” so far in 2021.
This year, India hosted South Africa for five ODIs before playing a three-match series in England and Australia each. They lost all three series but made Australia, the No. 1 team, work really hard for their 2-1 win and also ended their 26-match winning streak in the third ODI there.

India will play World Cup hosts New Zealand for five ODIs before the World Cup in March-April.

“We have played three best teams since March and it has given us good preparation,” Raj said after a partnership between KFC and Indian Deaf Cricket Association in Delhi on Wednesday. “Players have played domestic cricket and also in the Women’s Big Bash so they are getting game time which is the most important thing.

“We are getting to play in New Zealand before World Cup which is also good.”

India, who were unable to post 250-plus scores regularly earlier, did that twice in the Australia series and chased down 265 in the final ODI.

“When you play against a strong team in its backyard you try to give your best,” Raj said. “Though we lost the series, the matches were very close. We scored 270 (274) and chased 270-odd, if we can do that consistently we will be among the best sides in world cricket.”

India’s middle-order batting needs improvement but Raj said all departments must fire as a unit if they are to win the World Cup.

“We bat as a unit so you can’t pinpoint one area,” she said. “There are times when the top order failed and the others performed. As a unit if we look to post a good total then it will help. If we focus on one area like middle order then it becomes too much of a burden for that particular slot.”

India finished runners-up in the 2017 World Cup in England when not many expected them to but expectations will be higher this time.

“There were not enough expectations back then,” Raj said. “Now in 2021, players have got experience and got a lot of exposure with the T20 leagues. Overall we have young players but they have got enough exposure. It is just of matter of gelling well as a team.

“Every match will be different there. The quicker we read our opponents the better it will be for us.”

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