Ten New Zealand players and support staff, along with as many West Indies players and support staff – including their T20I captain Kieron Pollard – cleared the second of their three Covid-19 tests on Thursday.
The tests were conducted specifically for the IPL contingent that had arrived from the United Arab Emirates on November 14.
That group is currently undergoing managed isolation and will take one more test next week, after clearing which they can join the rest of their team-mates in the bio-bubble on November 26.
This will leave many of the players in the T20I squad with potentially just one training session ahead of the series opener on November 27 in Auckland. The West Indies players are currently in Queenstown for the first of two T20 warm-ups against New Zealand A.
Earlier last week, they were barred from training for the remainder of their two-week managed isolation after players from two different bubbles had broken Covid-19 protocols in their Christchurch hotel.
This was believed to have “compromised the bubble integrity of the quarantine facility”. However, there was no indication that the larger bubble to the outside world had been breached by any of the squad members.
South Africa will not take a knee on their first appearance as a national side since March, believing that they have already made their gesture of support for the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement during the 3TC game in July.
Then, 24 players and all support staff including director of cricket Graeme Smith wore black arm-bands and took a knee before the start of play following weeks of polarised rhetoric and racial debate which threatened to tear the game apart. But, for the England series, players will consider wearing a black armband in a show of solidarity with the fight against gender-based violence and in memory of the victims of Covid19, in line with a call made by South Africa’s president Cyril Ramaphosa to declare November 25-29 national days of mourning. Flags around the country, and at Newlands and Boland Park, will fly at half-mast and the BLM discussion appears to have been put to rest.
“I have spoken to the guy (Lungi Ngidi) who was driving the whole movement within our set-up, he is pretty happy that we have done what we needed to do, in particular at that (3TC) game,” Mark Boucher, South Africa’s coach, who was not at the 3TC match because he had contracted the coronavirus at the time, said. “There are a couple of other issues that our president has raised going forward with regards to gender-based violence and the victims of Covid19. We are going to be addressing this with the team so if there is a black armband to wear, we will probably be wearing it because of the president’s call.”
Ngidi sparked the South Africa’s response to the BLM movement when he answered a question at a media briefing in which he was asked what he would like to see his team-mates do. He said he hoped the South African team would join the rest of the world in “making a stand”. Four former white cricketers disagreed with Ngidi, prompting 31 former players of colour and five current coaches (among them Hashim Amla, Makhaya Ntini and Herschelle Gibbs) throwing their weight behind Ngidi. In a few fraught winter weeks, players of colour shared their stories of exclusion and CSA set up a Social Justice and Nation-Building committee, which is looking into reparations for those who have been unfairly treated. The current crop of players addressed issues of race at a team building camp in the Kruger National Park in August and their stance, as its stands now, is that they need to embody values of inclusion rather than simply gesture them, by, for example, taking a knee.
“It’s not something that we have to continue to show. It’s something that you have to live… If guys who brought it up are happy with it, that’s great, but if they feel we have to do more, that will be a chat and that they are open to express their opinions.”
“It’s an ongoing thing for us,” Boucher said. “It’s not something that we have to continue to show. It’s something that you have to live. That is exactly what we are trying to doing our dressing room at the moment with a big squad. If guys who brought it up are happy with it, that’s great, but if they feel we have to do more, that will be a chat and that they are open to express their opinions. Our new value system is about respect, empathy and belonging and all of those lead to an environment where guys feel free to talk about these hard issues. They’ve got the support and respect and empathy from every other player.”
South Africa’s decision will, nonetheless, be scrutinised, especially given the country’s history of racial discrimination, and because several other sporting teams continue to find ways to outwardly show their support. Players in the English Premier League take a knee before the kick off of each match and the Australian cricket team have made known their intention to form a barefoot circle in acknowledgement of Aboriginal Australia before every series they play. Australia are due to tour South Africa at the end of the summer next March and could potentially show their gesture of inclusion on the same South African cricket grounds that people of colour were not allowed on as recently as 30 years ago, with the South African team watching from the sidelines.
For now, it’s England, who wore BLM armbands and took a knee throughout their series against West Indies and Ireland (but not against Pakistan and Australia) that South Africa face and issues where issues of systemic injustice continue to crop up. On Wednesday, umpires John Holder and Ismail Dawood called for an enquiry to look into the lack of diversity at the ECB, but Moeen Ali claimed he has never experienced racism in his time with England cricket. An investigation into racism at Yorkshire is also ongoing.
West Indies all-rounder Marlon Samuels has responded to the Australian cricketer Shane Warne who had asked him to “get help.”
Sledging and verbal wars often occur on the field during ‘gentleman’s game’ cricket but sometimes, things can go too far, and extend to controversy off-field as well. West Indies all-rounder Marlon Samuels has responded to the Australian cricketer Shane Warne who had asked him to “get help.” The comment came in regard of his remarks about Ben Stokes and his wife. The whole incident began when Stokes made some comments about Samuels earlier this week.
In his Tweet, Warne called Samuels an ordinary man and ordinary cricketer when he was informed about some war of the words between Stokes and Samuels. He also claimed that Samuels isn’t liked by anyone.
To this, Samuels took to his Instagram to say things about Warne. “Haha I need help. Is this coming from the first cricketer to do a face surgery to look young,” he said. He also added a hypothetical conversation between Warne and a doctor and insinuated that Warne would ask the doctor to use the skin from his stomach (for racial reconstruction) and then added some curses to say the doctor would suggest to use skin from his buttocks.
The entire thing can be traced back to when Stokes commented that he wouldn’t wish a 14-day quarantine to even his worst enemies. He described how it’s a matter of chance whether one would get to go the hotel after de-boarding from the plane and how one has no choice in these cases.
During the talk, he said how so many people responded to his quarantine Instagram stories, (mostly England team) asking how it was like to be there. He told them how he wouldn’t wish it on his worst enemy.
I text my brother saying the same thing, and my brother asked, ‘You wouldn’t even do that to Marlon Samuels’,” he added. The two had a face-off during a match in Australia years ago where Stokes mockingly saluted Samuels.
This interview didn’t sit well with Samuels and he posted a screenshot of the interview comment and added his own two cents. Using abuses, he made nasty comments not only about Stokes but also his wife, which were extremely derogatory.
While cricket rivalry is fairly regular, one that crosses the boundaries of racism and sexism is rare and unnecessary.
Today we say Happy Birthday to West Indies Legend – Courtney Andrew Walsh – who celebrates his 58th birthday.
Walsh is one of the all-time greats of the game, a member of the ICC Hall of Fame and is the leading wicket-taker in West Indies Test history. He took 519 wickets in 132 Test matches – an amazing feat for a fast bowler – and was recently named as the Head Coach of the West Indies Women’s team.
Walsh ended his career with a whopping 1807 wickets in 429 first-class matches – placing him at 48th in the all-time list; the only non-Englishman in the Top 50 since cricket started. He started his playing days at the Melbourne Club in Kingston, where he was a student of another legend Michael Holding. Walsh made his Test debut in Australia in 1984, a week after his 22nd birthday.
Walsh may have some tips for the West Indies bowlers ahead of the umping series as his best career-best figures came against New Zealand in New Zealand back in 1995. He scalped 7-37 at the Basin Reserve in a remarkable performance – bowling into the stiff Wellington wind. Walsh also has the most wickets in first-class cricket by a West Indian. He took 13 wickets for just 55 runs in the match – the second best figures in West Indies history behind Holding’s 14 for 149 against England at the Oval in 1976.
Reminiscing on his career, Walsh shared with CWI Media:
“I enjoyed every moment playing for the West Indies. From very young I always wanted to represent the West Indies and worked hard to achieve my goals. I played alongside some of the greatest cricketers of all time and I was delighted I too could play my part to bring joy to the people of the region.”
When asked about his most memorable moments playing on the international stage, Walsh responded:
“The first one you never forget. I made my debut at the WACA in Perth in the 84-85 series against Australia. That was a special moment for me. The Test match against South Africa in Barbados when we were up against it and came back to bowl them out, the match against England in Trinidad when we bowled them out for 46.”
As well, the match in Adelaide when we won by one run… how big it was for the team. We were down in that series and if we lost that Test match we could not have won the series as we would have gone 2-0 down. Then in the next match Curtly Ambrose completely destroyed Australia with a spell of 7-1 and we won the Test match and won the series 2-1. Those are the games that come readily to mind from a team perspective.”
“On a personal note, when I took 13 wickets in the Test match in New Zealand… something I will never forget and will always remember… and then my last Test series in England when I did reasonably well with the ball and managed to get my name on the Honour’s board at Lords (for a five-wicket haul). These are some of the occasions I will always cherish and remember.”
Cricket West Indies insisted that they respected the decisions of Evin Lewis, Lendl Simmons and Russell and that their non-attendance wouldn’t have an impact on future selection decisions.
Of course, some players may feel uncomfortable with travelling due to the global health crisis. Others may not feel they would be able to cope with the mental strain associated with living in bio-secure bubbles.
Yet, Russell’s involvement in the recent Lanka Premier League draft shows that those matters aren’t of particular concern to him.
Eoin Morgan and Jason Holder have warned that it is “untenable” to expect players to continue to spend extended periods in lockdown as part of cricket’s response to Covid-19.
Morgan, the captain of England’s white-balls teams, and Holder, West Indies’ Test captain, are both currently in the UAE for the IPL and have endured long spells in bio-secure bubbles in order to fulfil their obligations as international and franchise players.
While both acknowledged their fortune in being able to pursue their careers at a time others were losing their jobs, they did warn that the impact on players’ mental health would result in more of them pulling out of tours as “extreme burnout” became an issue.
And talking as part of a Chance to Shine event aimed at raising funds for the charity’s Street programme, Morgan called upon spectators not to look down on anyone who felt the need to step away from the game, suggesting living in lockdown was “one of the more challenging times” he had experienced in the sport.
“We managed to fulfil all of our international fixtures for the summer,” Morgan said. “That was an unbelievable achievement for the teams that came across and the commitment the ECB showed. The level of dedication from staff involved was extraordinary. We’re extremely fortunate enough to be back playing.
“But to keep that level of bubble for a 12-month period, or 10 of the 12 months that we normally travel, I think is untenable. I don’t think it’s possible. I actually think it’s probably one of the more challenging times for anybody involved in the cricket industry.
“As a team, we’ve accepted that guys will come in and out of the bubble as they feel it’s affecting their mental health. Their health is a priority. So I do think we’ll see more players pull out of tours. That’s just the reality of things. And I don’t think people should look down on it: they shouldn’t feel like they’re not doing their job or not committing to their country.
“You can you can drill a player both mentally and physically. And it can cause extreme burnout, which nobody wants to see.
“Lockdown for us in the UK was primarily focused on physical wellbeing, but maybe that was to the detriment of mental wellbeing. We actually want to be at the forefront of making it acceptable for people to say: ‘You know what, I need to spend time with my family now. I’m going to take this tour off.’ And then they step away for a month, just because of the extraordinary circumstances.”
It was an assessment accepted by Holder. As captain of the West Indies side that toured England this summer, he led the first international team that resumed sport after the outbreak of Covid-19. But to do so, he endured weeks in partial quarantine and admitted that he was struggling with the prospect of endless months of more lockdown to come.
“It’s been demanding,” Holder agreed. “It has been challenging. I’m blessed to be still working. There are lots of people in the world not working because of Covid and we’re still given the opportunity to entertain people and do something we really love. But something needs to be thought of in order to just try to free up things a little bit more for the players’ mental health.
“I had two months in [the bubble] England. Then I was home literally for two days before I went to Trinidad [for the CPL] for a month-and-a-half. Then I spent four or five days at home in Barbados before I got a call to come over. So you’re back into isolation.
“And if you look at scheduling, it doesn’t get any easier. It’s literally going from bubble to bubble. Some places are accepting families and some aren’t. So it makes it harder to be away from your family and your loved ones. I haven’t seen Barbados properly in about five months and I don’t know when I’ll get back there.”
Cricket West Indies (CWI) today announced the two squads for the proposed tour of New Zealand which will feature three T20 Internationals and two Test matches from November 27 to December 15. Details of the tour were ratified by CWI’s Board of Directors during a teleconference on Thursday. The Board agreed to the tour in principle, subject to final details on medical and logistical protocols of CWI, New Zealand Cricket and Government of New Zealand.
In the Test squad there is a return for left-handed batsmen Darren Bravo and Shimron Hetmyer, as well as all-rounder Keemo Paul. Bravo’s highest Test score of 218 came at the University Oval in Dunedin in 2013. A group of reserves will also travel to help prepare the Test Squad during the quarantine period and training camp as well as cover for injuries.
Andre Fletcher, the experienced wicketkeeper-batsman has been named in the T20I squad for the first time since 2018. There is a maiden call-up in this format for Kyle Mayers, the all-rounder, who performed well in last month’s Caribbean Premier League (CPL).
All-rounder Andre Russell and top order batsmen Lendl Simmons and Evin Lewis have opted not to participate in the tour. CWI fully respects their decision to choose to do so and states that this will not impact consideration for future selection.
The CWI Selection Panel indicated this upcoming series will form part of the overall planning towards defending the ICC World T20 title. The panel outlined that they will continue to monitor closely the progress of spin bowler Sunil Narine and all other players in the lead-up to the global event.
Ground staff place covers on the pitch as rain falls during the Plunket Shield match between Wellington and Canterbury at the Basin Reserve.
Those looking to stake their claim for a place in the Black Caps’ test squad to face the West Indies were kept waiting on Monday, as rain in Hamilton and Wellington meant there was little action on the first day of the new Plunket Shield season.
Incumbent opener Tom Blundell was dismissed cheaply after Wellington were sent in by Canterbury, caught in the deep on the leg side by Matt Henry off the bowling of Ed Nuttall for 2.
Will Williams then had fellow opener Rachin Ravindra caught behind by Cam Fletcher for eight.
Newly-eligible test hopeful Devon Conway was not out on 22 and Andrew Fletcher not out on 2 when the rain arrived midway through the first session and with no further play possible, the Firebirds finished the day at 46-2.
Northern Districts were sent in by the Central Districts Stags at Seddon Park, but made a better fist of proceedings, reaching 81-0 before rain intervened during the 21st over of the day.
After a delayed start, former Black Caps opener and ND newcomer Jeet Raval made his way to 44, while Henry Cooper finished the day on 32.
Play in both matches was called off during their respective tea breaks, just before 4pm.
The third match in the opening round, between the Auckland Aces and the Otago Volts, is set to start on Tuesday at Eden Park Outer Oval.
More rain is forecast in Hamilton on Tuesday, but conditions are set to improve in the capital.
Today, I join Barbadians, West Indians and the rest of the cricketing world in saying farewell to a legend of the game, Sir Everton DeCourcy Weekes, just four and a half years shy of what would have been his final century in life.
Sir Everton, the last remaining member of the world-famous Three Ws, now joins his partners Sir Frank Worrell, who departed us in 1967, and Sir Clyde Walcott, who played his final innings in 2006, in history’s Pantheon of true gentlemen who indeed made cricket the “sport of gentlemen”.
Sir Everton is sure to live on in memory as one to emulate. Born into genuinely humble circumstances in Pickwick Gap on the outskirts of Bridgetown in 1925, a stone’s throw from Kensington Oval, he never allowed his beginning to define his life or success.
He left school at the age of 14 with no academic qualifications to boast about, and with no job, most of his time was spent playing football and cricket.
Indeed, although his cricketing skills were starting to show, particularly as a teenage member of Westshire Cricket Club, in the Barbados Cricket League, he also intended to move beyond that.
His early interaction with the world-renowned Oval and the all-white Pickwick Cricket Club that was based there was assisting the groundsmen in preparing the field, but by the closing of his career representing Barbados and the West Indies as a batsman extraordinaire, he had distinguished himself, not only at Kensington but on all of the game’s most recognised pitches around the world.
Sir Everton represented Barbados from 1944 until 1964, the West Indies from 1948 until 1958, and recorded a distinguished career of league cricket in England.
His name will forever be associated with the scoring of boundaries along the ground, ensuring that the scoring of those runs did not expose him to getting out.
Absolute brilliance and genius! For this most significant contribution to the game he was awarded the country’s highest honour, the Knight of the Order of St. Michael and St. George, in 1995.
How’s that for the boy from the outskirts of “de Orleans”, who, when he came into this world his parents “did not have two cents to rub together”, according to him.
Sir Everton, for me, was one of the most brilliant men that I have met as a Barbadian, with a turn of phrase and humour second to none.
His life story represents the best of the Bajan journey – committed and confident, stylish and classy, dignified and urbane to the very end; a global citizen with Bajan roots.
On behalf of the Government and people of Barbados, I salute Sir Everton as a true representation of the Barbadian can-do spirit; as a perfect example of perseverance over adversity; the embodiment of what our country requires today to beat back the bouncers of COVID-19, climate change and the economic inequality that we face day after day from rich and powerful nations.
To his family and the family of Empire Cricket Club, that more than a century old oasis on Bank Hall, where his heart was sustained for decades, I express deepest condolences.