“We won two World Cups without getting singles” – West Indies vice-captain says power-hitting will still be big on the team’s agenda
Nicholas Pooran has admitted to feeling that he had let himself down during IPL 2021, but insisted that he was “not concerned at all” about his form ahead of the T20 World Cup.
“The IPL is gone. It’s done for me,” he said, speaking from West Indies’ training base in Dubai. “I just have to refocus and go again. I know personally [that] I’ve let myself down in terms of not sticking with my process long enough. I felt like I rushed the results a lot and I paid the price. You could see that in my scores. It’s just for me to refocus now, hit the nets, work hard and plan again – simple as that.”
Pooran, West Indies’ vice-captain for the World Cup, made 85 runs at an average of 7.72 playing for Punjab Kings in the IPL this season, a stark contrast to his record in 2020, in which he averaged 35.30 with a strike rate of 169.71 across 14 innings. He made 32 off 22 in his first innings of the IPL’s UAE leg, but managed 25 runs in his next four innings.
He said that his record in West Indies’ home summer and in the CPL for Guyana Amazon Warriors indicated that his poor run in the IPL was simply a blip, and that he had faced so few balls in the tournament that his record could not be called “form”.
“I’m not concerned at all,” he said. “My cricket is based on confidence and my intent. I left the first half of the season scoring what, 20 runs in five, six, seven games [28 runs in six innings]. I came and did decent in the last three series for West Indies and in CPL. It’s about my process, continuing to believe in my process, having faith in my process, and my confidence is very high. I have no doubts in my mind that I can execute my gameplan and do good for the team.
“It’s just games. A lot of sportsmen and a lot of cricketers have bad times but that’s fine. All cricketers do have that patch and come out of it. I wouldn’t say it’s a patch for me. I came to the second half of IPL batting really good for West Indies and Guyana in CPL. To me, it’s not form. When you think about it, I haven’t really faced much balls in all honesty. It’s just for me to give myself a chance.”
Pooran added that while West Indies were focused on playing “smart cricket” at the World Cup and were looking to improve their strike rotation ahead of the tournament, they would not sway far from their primary strength: hitting sixes.
“For the last couple of months, in the three series in the Caribbean [against South Africa, Australia and Pakistan], everything was about ‘singles, singles, singles’,” Pooran said. “We spoke about it and chatted about it. We have players that play certain roles but as a batting group we want to get better, we want to improve.
“Yes, singles are a part of the game, but our focus is not too much on singles. We won two World Cups with the same problem, to be honest: not getting singles, but yet still we won two World Cups. I don’t think the emphasis is on getting singles. It’s more about intent – intent and playing smart cricket, that’s it.
“There are times that we know we’ll have to put egos aside and grind deep for the team. If that’s batting a dot ball or trying to get a single, we’ll do that. We have net sessions and match scenarios when we try to play to our strengths but also play to the conditions, which is finding how to get a single or working out how to get a single. We are working. We’re not the best at getting singles but it’s a work in process and we believe in our process and our team.”
During the last T20 World Cup, which West Indies won thanks to Carlos Brathwaite’s four successive sixes off Ben Stokes in the last over of the final against England, Pooran was recovering from the car crash that left him with career-threatening injuries, and described his inclusion in the upcoming tournament – and his role as vice-captain – as a “proud moment”.
“It’s a big achievement for me,” he said. “I remember in the last World Cup, I was not recovered from my injury. I was always thinking about T20 World Cup – I wanted to be part of a T20 World Cup. Processing it now, it’s a big achievement for me, being vice-captain. It was never one of my goals to be a West Indies captain or vice-captain but it’s my job, and I’m happy I can contribute in any way, supporting Polly [Kieron Pollard] and the coach. It’s a proud moment for me and my family.”
Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98
BBL11 2021-22 – Bowling attack gives Melbourne Renegades hope of revival
The batting remains questionable and they will be looking for the youngsters to develop
Captain Nic Maddinson
Coach David Saker
Cameron Boyce, Zak Evans, Aaron Finch, Jake Fraser-McGurk, Sam Harper, Marcus Harris, Mackenzie Harvey, Josh Lalor, Shaun Marsh, Jono Merlo (replacement player), James Pattinson, Mitch Perry, Jack Prestwidge, Kane Richardson, James Seymour (replacement player), Will Sutherland, Nic Maddinson, Reece Topley (Eng), Unmukt Chand (Ind), Mohammad Nabi (Afg), Zahir Khan (Afg)
In Nic Maddinson, Jono Merlo, James Seymour, Reece Topley, Unmukt Chand, Zahir Khan
Out Beau Webster, Peter Hazloglou, Jon Holland, Benny, Howell, Noor Ahmed, Imran Tahir, Imad Wasim
It was another disastrous season for the Renegades finishing last for the second straight year. They won their first match and then lost seven in a row. Their batting was abysmal, bowled out for less than 90 on three occasions and 111 in another match against Adelaide. The bowling was nowhere near as effective as season’s past and they struggled to find a consistent unit as they mixed and matched their overseas players. There was one bright spot as they produced a brilliant chasing win over Melbourne Stars late in the season. Mackenzie Harvey starred smashing 47 not out from 21 balls to give a glimpse into the future.
Renegades have been severely impacted by both Australia selection and injury. Nic Maddinson‘s selection in the Australia A side to face England Lions means the new Renegades captain won’t get a chance to lead his new club until their fourth game at the earliest. Marcus Harris is set to miss most of the season due to Test duty. Aaron Finch is in doubt for the early games due to his ongoing knee issue while Shaun Marsh is set to miss at least half the tournament due to a calf tear. England does have tour of West Indies in the new year and Afghanistan is scheduled to visit Bangladesh but it is unknown if the likes of Reece Topley, Mohammad Nabi or Zahir Khan will need to leave the BBL early.
Reece Topley is an important recruit for Renegades and has a chance to make a serious statement to England selectors ahead of the T20 World Cup in Australia next year. Fellow Englishman Harry Gurney was a key part of Renegades’ run to the title three years ago and Topley has a similar opportunity to cause havoc on the inconsistent home surface of Marvel Stadium.
Key stat (Gaurav Sundararaman)
Renegades were the worst bowling unit in the previous BBL edition. Their bowling economy rate of 8.61 was the highest among all teams and their death bowling economy was 11.24. If Renegades want to play finals, this is an area they need to focus on. Their attack certainly looks stronger this season
Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo
Chris Gayle farewell on the cards with Jamaica set to host West Indies-Ireland series
The series will comprise three ODIs and a one-off T20I, all at Sabina Park
While Gayle will not be part of the ODI squad, with the series counting towards 2023 World Cup qualification through the Super League, the one-off fixture at Sabina Park could be used as his farewell game. ESPNcricinfo understands that a decision has yet to be made on Gayle’s inclusion but that the issue will be up for discussion at the next meeting of CWI’s board of directors later this month.
“It’s whether collectively we all feel that it’s appropriate for him to have one last game at home to say farewell in a one-off game,” Johnny Grave, CWI’s chief executive, told the Mason and Guest radio show in Barbados last month. “That Ireland series would represent that opportunity.
“It would certainly be appropriate, as far as I can see it, to treat our players and give them the opportunity to bow out – especially players like Chris who have had unbelievable careers and won trophies for the West Indies.”
“We are pleased to be returning to the Caribbean where we have so many great memories,” Richard Holdsworth, Cricket Ireland’s performance director, said. “The World Cup Super League is a crucial set of fixtures for Ireland as we attempt to qualify for the next Cricket World Cup, and – if the series in 2020 is anything to go by – we look forward to a highly competitive series in January.”
Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98
Bangladesh tour of NZ BCB approves Shakib Al Hasan’s request to skip New Zealand tour
Nazmul Hassan says BCB has no problem with players wanting a break, but says it should happen via official channels
“We have accepted his request,” Hassan said. “We have been saying this for a long time that we have no objection if a player wants to take a break or rest, but it has to be informed officially. The thing is, we want to be informed about such a decision in advance as it is difficult for us if it is informed suddenly. From January, if anyone wants a break, he has to inform us in advance so that we can prepare alternatives.”
This is the third time in 2021 that Shakib has skipped a tour for Bangladesh. He opted out of the white-ball tour of New Zealand in March due to paternity leave before missing the two Tests against Sri Lanka in April to play in the IPL.
Hassan felt Shakib should have asked for the leave officially, rather than informing them verbally.
“This [the confusion] is not embarrassing, to be honest. We simply didn’t know about it, officially,” Hassan said. “The thing is, these things have always happened unofficially. Now, to avoid confusion, we are emphasising that these matters should be official.”
Bangladesh’s tour of New Zealand includes two Tests, part of the World Test Championship, beginning on New Year’s Day. The team will leave on December 9 to complete quarantine and then play practice matches.
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