Joe Root

Joe Root
Joe Root Photograph: Sri Lanka Cricket
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Joe Root Praised West Indies Opponent Skipper Kraigg Brathwaite For Resilience Shown In Both Innings Of 2nd Test

Joe Root praised both the fighting qualities of his England team, and the resilience shown by West Indies – in particular their indefatigable captain, Kraigg Brathwaite – as the second Test in Barbados finished in stalemate on the fifth day.
After a feisty declaration, led by another sparky cameo of 41 from 39 balls from Dan Lawrence, England briefly held out hopes of bowling West Indies out as they slipped to 65 for 3 at tea, in pursuit of a nominal target of 282.
England captain Joe Root, shakes hands with Kraigg Brathwaite at the end of day five of the second Test (Ricardo Mazalan/AP).
England captain Joe Root, shakes hands with Kraigg Brathwaite at the end of day five of the second Test (Ricardo Mazalan/AP). (AP)

Joe Root Praised Kraigg Brathwaite For Playing Brilliantly In Both Innings As The West Indies Skipper Scored 160 And 56*

However, Kraigg Brathwaite picked up where he had left off in his first-innings 160 with another unyielding inning of 56 not out from 184 balls. In so doing, he finished the match with a tally of 216 runs from 673 balls – eclipsing the 582 balls that Brian Lara faced in making 400 not out in 2004 as the longest any West Indian has ever spent at the crease in a single Test match.
“It was annoying how good he was,” Root said. “He (Kraigg Brathwaite) played brilliantly in both innings and didn’t give us many opportunities. He had a clear game-plan and stuck to it very well.
“It’s frustrating but there’s a lot of respect for the way he went about it. Credit to West Indies, they fought very hard in two brilliant Test matches, and it should be a brilliant final one of the series.”
Kraigg Brathwaite (Photo by DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
Kraigg Brathwaite (Photo by DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

Kraigg Brathwaite, the player of the match, admitted he had not been aware of the scale of his achievement until he returned to the West Indies dressing-room at the end of the match, having batted for a total of 15 hours and 45 minutes across his two innings, and been on the field of play for all but 21 overs.

“I heard it when I went in, that’s amazing to hear,” he said. “Obviously I’ve put in a lot of work over the years, and to do it at home is a quite pleasant feeling, especially having family here, so I’m very happy and thankful.”
However, when asked if West Indies might have taken a more proactive approach to their first innings, having kept England in the field for 187.5 overs, Kraigg Brathwaite insisted that his team was focused on “learning on the job”, having not won a Test in ten attempts since February 2021, and that they would not necessarily look to up their tempo for next week’s series decider in Grenada.
“It was good that, after England put up 500, we as a team could fight and put 400 back,” Brathwaite said. “That’s the attitude we want, and the fans want to see. Once you continuously have the right attitude, our Test [results] will go up.

England also have won just one Test out of their last 16. However, Joe Root singled out Dan Lawrence – who starred with the bat in both innings, as well as with the ball and in the field – as a particular example of the strides the team has made.

“I think he’s been wonderful,” Joe Root said. “One of the most pleasing things is how selfless he’s been throughout this series. He’s always tried to put the team first”
England have now made five centuries in the series, with Joe Root making his second of the series in Barbados alongside Ben Stokes’ first for 18 months. Dan Lawrence, however, might have added three figures of his own in this match, had he not had a rush of blood in the final over of the first day, when he holed out to cover for 91.
It was just really pleasing to see us make a substantial first-innings total for the first time in a long time,” Root added, after England had declared on 507 for 9.  “So long may that continue. The guys have gained a lot of confidence from it and hopefully we can replicate it again, and again, and again.”

Joe Root also praised England’s two debutant seamers, Matt Fisher and Saqib Mahmood, who stuck to their tasks well across both innings. In the first innings, Matt Fisher had picked a scalp of John Campbell while Saqib Mahmood took 2 scalps in both innings.

“I think they were brilliant,” Joe Root said.
The unresponsive nature of the surfaces could tempt England into a fourth debutant of the series, if the leg-spinner Matt Parkinson comes into the side in Grenada.

Joe Root Pleased With Jack Leach’s Performance In The Test

Joe Root, however, insisted that their incumbent spinner, Jack Leach, had done everything asked of him in ploughing through for the remarkable match figures of 94.5-40-154-5, the heaviest workload by an England bowler in 60 years. Jack Leach sent down 69.5 overs for his 3 for 118 in West Indies’ first innings and he added 3 for 36 off 25 overs in the second.
Jack Leach Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian
Jack Leach Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian
“We’ll have to see what kind of wicket we get, and weigh what we think is the best way to take 20 wickets,” Joe Root said. “But it’s really pleasing to see Jack play the way he has.”
After consecutive declarations, England have twice run out of overs in which to turn the screw on West Indies. Joe Root conceded he “could have been braver” about the equation he left in Barbados, of 282 runs in 65 overs.
West Indies 411 (Brathwaite 160, Blackwood 102) and 136 for 5 (Brathwaite 56*, Leach 3-36) drew with England 507 for 9 dec (Root 153, Stokes 120, Lawrence 91) and 185 for 6 dec (Lawrence 41)
Ben Stokes (right) insists he has no desire to succeed Joe Root as England Test captain. Photograph: Asanka Brendon Ratnayake/AP
Ben Stokes (right) insists he has no desire to succeed Joe Root as England Test captain. Photograph: Asanka Brendon Ratnayake/AP
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Nick Compton Reckons England Are Over Reliant On The Pair Of Batsmen Joe Root And Ben Stokes

Nick Compton believes that the England side is over-reliant on the two-Joe Root and Ben Stokes, following the end of the second day of the ongoing 2nd  Test. The cricket fraternity lauded Joe Root and Ben Stokes for their excellent contributions with the bat after both hit tons to put England in command in the ongoing 2nd Test against a relatively inexperienced and inferior bowling attack of West Indies.

Former England batter Nick Compton said that England are instilling a new culture and it will take time to settle in when he was asked if that is the case during a conversation. England produced a brilliant performance with the bat in the first innings of the second Test against West Indies.

Ben Stokes, Joe Root ECB Twitter
Ben Stokes, Joe Root ECB Twitter

Nick Compton Reckons England Are Over Reliant On Joe Root And Ben Stokes

England captain Joe Root scored a magnificent 153 off 316 balls, while all-rounder Ben Stokes slammed a quickfire 120 off just 128 deliveries as England declared their first innings on a staggering 507/9.

“Yeah, potentially. It has probably been the case for a while now,” said Compton on being asked if England are “in danger of having too much reliance” on Stokes and Root. 

“England are trying to instill a new culture post the Ashes. They are trying to create new habits. They’ve scored three 300s in a row; in terms of batting, they’ve taken that opportunity.”

Nick Compton (Image Credit: Cricfit)
Nick Compton (Image Credit: Cricfit)

“Okay, let’s be honest, the West Indies are not the most penetrating bowling attack but it takes time to build these new habits. It’s good that these guys like Joe Root are continuing to show their excellence. Joe is just a fantastic player in all conditions. He leads from the front. Yes, we do need the players to come through and they will come through.”

Kraigg Brathwaite and Jermaine Blackwood hits superb centuries to help West Indies end Day 3 of the 2nd Test against England at 288/4 at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados.

Nick Compton Praised England Opener Alex Lees Who Debuted In The Ongoing Test Series Against West Indies

Nick Compton also lauded Alex Lees, who scored a slow 30 off 138 deliveries at a strike rate of only 21.74 while opening the innings with Zak Crawley, who was dismissed on a 7 balls duck.

“The likes of Alex Lees, yes he’s only got 30, but it shows the importance of complementary skills. He wore down the new bowlers and gave opportunity to Root to play in a more free-flowing way,” said Nick Compton.

Alex Lees scored very slowly for England with the debate over his scoring livelier than the play @Action Images via Reuters
Alex Lees scored very slowly for England with the debate over his scoring livelier than the play @Action Images via Reuters

Alex Lees, who had batted in a watchful manner for 30 off 137 deliveries, went on the backfoot to try and flick a delivery, only to miss it completely to get dismissed leg before wicket plumb in front off Veerasammy Permaul, who picked 3 scalps.

England’s most incisive seamer, as usual in this series, was Ben Stokes, who picked 1st Test’s hero batsman Nkrumah Bonner. Jack Leach worked hard (44-14-97-1) while Dan Lawrence, surely under-used, did well to pop up with a wicket in the evening shadows (Jermaine Blackwood) as he returned with figures of 1/8 in 5 overs. Debutant Matthew Fisher too picked up the wicket of opener John Campbell.

West Indies 288 for 4 (Brathwaite 109*, Jermaine Blackwood 102, Joseph 4*, Dan Lawrence 1/8) trail England 507 for 9 declared (Joe Root 153, Ben Stokes 120; Veerasammy Permaul 3/126) by 219 runs

Carlos Brathwaite [Michael Steele/Getty Images]
Carlos Brathwaite [Michael Steele/Getty Images]
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Carlos Brathwaite Felt England Should Have Settled For A Draw Earlier

Carlos Brathwaite, the former West Indies T20I skipper found England a bit disrespectful at the conclusion of the first Test against West Indies in Antigua on Saturday. West Indies survived a collapse either side of the tea interval to play out a draw on the final day.

Set an unlikely victory target of 286, and having lost four wickets for nine runs to be stumbling at 4-67 at the start of the last session, Nkrumah Bonner and former captain Jason Holder defied the visitors for more than two hours in an unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 80 off 35 overs to see the home side to safety at 4-147.

Carlos Brathwaite
Carlos Brathwaite (Image Credit: Twitter)

Carlos Brathwaite Felt England Should Have Settled For A Draw Earlier But Joe Root-led England Played On Until 5 Balls Were Left

The end of the Test, however, has been marred by accusations of disrespect by former West Indies star Carlos Brathwaite. Carlos Brathwaite believes that England should have shaken hands early to accept the draw but Joe Root played on until five balls remaining, when it was no longer mathematically possible to take six wickets.

“If I were a senior player in the West Indies dressing room, I would have found it a bit disrespectful that in the last hour, with two set batsmen playing as they were and the pitch offering nothing, England still felt they could get six wickets, going all the way down to five balls left,” Carlos Brathwaite said.

“Would England have done that if it were an Ashes Test? Would they have done that against India, New Zealand, Pakistan? I think the answer is no, so why have they done it against us? If West Indies need any sort of steely determination added, I think that passage of play should have given them that. They should be thinking ‘we have two Tests now to prove we are better than England think we are,” Carlos Brathwaite said.

Meanwhile, Nkrumah Bonner’s unbeaten 38, following on from his 123 in the first innings, earned him the man of the match award. Jason Holder finished on 37 not out in yet another important contribution.

“Obviously we wanted to win but we’re happy to come away with the draw,” said Bonner.

“I always wanted to play Test cricket and over the years I set out to bat long. I’m versatile. I adapt to the situation.”

Nkrumah Bonner
Nkrumah Bonner. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Following Joe Root’s second innings declaration at 349 for six in the morning session, left-arm spinner Jack Leach claimed three wickets in quick succession after Ben Stokes made the breakthrough by removing West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite.

Without the services of their fastest bowler, Mark Wood, due to an elbow injury, the tourists were further frustrated for 25 overs by Kraigg Brathwaite and John Campbell. However, Ben Stokes was brought into the attack as the fifth bowler and responded by trapping Kraigg Brathwaite leg-before for 33.

Jack Leach drew John Campbell into another false shot and Craig Overton took the catch over his head at mid-on for the left-hander to depart on 22. On the stroke of tea, the spinner struck again as Shamarh Brooks once more failed to impress with Zak Crawley taking the catch low at slip and when Jermaine Blackwood played a poor shot to be plumb  to the specialist spinner shortly after the resumption, England sensed victory was within their reach.

Joe Root Proud Of His Team And Reckons They Have To Assess Mark Wood’s Fitness

Earlier, Joe Root duly completed his 24th hundred in Tests at the start of Saturday, but not before he lost Zak Crawley for 121, a well-targeted yorker from Jason Holder separating the pair after a 201-run second-wicket partnership. Zak Crawley’s innings of over five hours occupied 216 deliveries in which he struck 16 fours.

In contrast, Joe Root’s composed effort, which ended when he was bowled by Alzarri Joseph for 109, featured only six boundaries as the skipper faced 204 balls in spending just over five-and-a-half hours in the middle.

“I’m really proud of the team today. Throughout the game we got better and better,” was Joe Root’s assessment.

“We have to assess Mark (Wood) and see if he’s up for the next Test in Barbados. It’s not his fault. You can’t help getting injuries.”

Zak Crawley-Twitter
Zak Crawley-Twitter

England made clear their intention to declare with a limited-over style attitude which resulted in 132 runs being added for the loss of five wickets at the rate of a run-a-ball.

Dan Lawrence belted 37 off 36 balls, dominating a 70-run third-wicket stand with his captain before he became the first of three wickets in quick succession for Alzarri Joseph, who also accounted for wicketkeeper-batsman Ben Foakes. Kemar Roach, the lone West Indies wicket-taker the previous day when England reached 217 for one, added to his tally when he dismissed Ben Stokes as the rush for runs continued.

“It was hard-fought all five days and I am happy that we had some fight right to the end,” said a relieved Kraigg Brathwaite.

“In the middle (of our batting) though we need to find ways to be tighter. The pitch was good for batting but it might be a bit different in Barbados.”

The second Test between West Indies and England will be played at the Kensington Oval in Barbados, the match starts on March 16.

Phil Simmons[Photo: Getty Images]
Phil Simmons[Photo: Getty Images]
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Eng vs WI, 1st Test: Phil Simmons Hopes For An Even Surface Wicket In 2nd Test At Barbados

Phil Simmons, West Indies head coach has called for an “even surface” in the second Test match in Barbados after the first one in Antigua returned a draw.

After Joe Root and Zak Crawley hit centuries in the third innings, the hosts were able to bat out 70.1 overs in the fourth before the captains shook hands.

Zak Crawley made his second Test hundred AFP/Getty Images
Zak Crawley made his second Test hundred AFP/Getty Images

Phil Simmons Hopes For A Better Even Surface Wicket In Next Test Against England

Phil Simmons, West Indies’ head coach, says that he wasn’t nervous as his side successfully batted out 70.1 overs to force a draw on the final day’s play in Antigua.

“I’m hoping for a little more in the wicket (in the next Test) as it’ll make for a better Test match,” Simmons said after the match. “I used to be a batter but you can’t let batters have it easy all the time and it’s hard for bowlers on wickets like these. You need an even surface and let’s compete.”

“The wicket has been flat so once you get your head down it’s difficult to get wickets on that, so I wasn’t that nervous.”

Phil Simmons ICC via Getty Images.
Phil Simmons ICC via Getty Images.

Phil Simmons took some positives out from the Test, given how his batters didn’t crumble under the pressure of fourth innings.

“It’s good, we ended up being put under pressure because they have given themselves a chance with 70 odd overs to bowl against us and that’s how you want to finish a Test match looking to win,” Simmons said. “They have come here to play a hard-fought series and shown that they’re not going to lie down. So it’s good to see the fight from them and the other two matches are going to be just as hard.”

Phil Simmons praised man of the match Nkrumah Bonner, who scored a fantastic 123 in the first innings and was instrumental in securing the draw with an unbeaten on 38 from 138 balls second-time around.

Phil Simmons Praised Nkrumah Bonner

Phil Simmons had high words of praise for Nkrumah Bonner who after his century earlier in the match came back with a stoic innings of 38* off 138 balls that along with Jason Holder helped West Indies hold fort.

“He started doing it for us against Bangladesh,” Simmons said of Bonner. “When he came and played Sri Lanka he did the same thing. So we’ve seen that with him and it’s getting more and more consistent, so that’s brilliant for us.”

Nkrumah Bonner and Jason Holder drew the sting of England’s depleted attack in a tense final session of the first Test in Antigua, as their 80-run partnership, spanning 34.4 resolute overs, thwarted a well-judged declaration from Joe Root that briefly looked set to deliver an unlikely victory in a previously bat-dominated contest.

File photo of Mark Wood | Reuters
File photo of Mark Wood | Reuters

 

After Joe Root himself had become England’s third centurion of the match after Jonny Bairstow in the 1st innings and Zak Crawley in the 2nd innings, West Indies were left needing a stiff but tantalizing target of 286 in a minimum of 71 overs, against an attack lacking the services of injured Mark Wood, the man whose habitual 90mph pace might have been expected to unlock an unforgiving surface. Mark Wood had to leave the field midway on Day 3 of the first Test against West Indies. Mark Wood didn’t come out to bowl in the second innings and is doubtful for the next two Tests. West Indies 375 (Bonner 123, Brathwaite 55) and 147 for 4 (Bonner 38*, Holder 37*) drew with England 311 (Bairstow 140, Seales 4-79) and 349 for 6 dec (Crawley 121, Root 109)
Zak Crawley-Twitter
Zak Crawley-Twitter
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Zak Crawley Ecstatic After Scoring His 2nd Test Ton Against West Indies

Zak Crawley hit his second Test hundred as England dominated West Indies on day four of the first Test to set up an outside chance of victory. Zak Crawley capitalized on a lifeless Antigua pitch to make an unbeaten 117, while captain Joe Root reached 84 not out at the close.

Having started the day behind the game and in the field, England were 217-1, leading by 153 runs, when rain brought an early finish. Earlier they took just three deliveries to claim the final West Indies wicket as the hosts were dismissed for 375 with a first-innings lead of 64.

Zak Crawley made his second Test hundred AFP/Getty Images
Zak Crawley made his second Test hundred AFP/Getty Images

Zak Crawley Pleased With His Performance After Scoring An Unbeaten 117 Against West Indies In The 1st Test

A long lean spell of quick dismissals tested the self-belief of batter Zak Crawley, which the relieved England opener acknowledged after scoring an unbeaten century on the fourth day of the first Test against West Indies on Friday.

Zak Crawley stamped himself as potentially a high-order batter to lead England for years to come when he made a home double century against Pakistan in 2020, but that innings total of 267 proved to be a false dawn. He hardly even had a chance to get his eye in before being sent packing, failing to reach double figures in 11 of his 16 subsequent appearances at the crease.

Zak Crawley’s scores brought to mind the experience of former Australian captain Greg Chappell, who once endured a similarly poor spell amid calls that he should be dropped.

Zak Crawley. (Image Credits: Getty)
Zak Crawley. (Image Credits: Getty)

But Greg Chappell said at that time that he was getting out too quickly to know whether or not he was out of form, and he finally came good again. So too Zak Crawley, who eventually found firmer footing in Australia during the recent Ashes tour, and his rich talent was on full display at the Viv Richards Stadium on Friday, a knock that would have done proud the man after whom the ground is named.

“It means an awful lot,” Crawley, 24, said after ending the day unbeaten on 117 as England earned an overall lead of 153 runs with nine wickets in hand in their second innings.

“It’s been a while since my first ton and there were times last year when I didn’t think I’d get (another) so I’m very pleased with the performance and pleased with the position we’re in.”

Earlier in the day, West Indies resumed at their overnight score of 373/9 and could add only two runs before losing their final wicket in form of Jayden Seales. However, they had earned a substantial-looking 64-run lead. Moreover, England lost their new opener and debutant Alex Lees (6) cheaply in their second innings.

Having scored 267 against Pakistan at Southampton in August 2020, his eighth Test, Zak Crawley had made 12 single-figure scores – including two ducks – in 21 innings since.
Called back into the side for the last 3 Ashes Tests when England initially dropped Rory Burns and then Haseeb Hameed, Zak Crawley scored a second-innings 77 in Sydney and survived the post-series clear-out, which also saw Alex Lees called up to accompany him at the top of the order.

Zak Crawley Shared An Unbeaten 193 Runs Partnership With Skipper Joe Root

Zak Crawley shared in an unbeaten 193-partnership with captain Joe Root (84), whose calm presence certainly did no harm. Joe Root advised Zak Crawley to play each ball on its merits, rather than trying to force the issue.

“He was telling me to stay concentrated and we just had to weather those storms (of good bowling) and come back and score more freely at times,” Crawley said.

Joe Root. File Photo
Joe Root. File Photo

“He’s such a calm head and so experienced I took a lot from him and he played beautifully himself.”

Zak Crawley had racked up his second Test hundred, passed 1000 runs in the process, hauled his average back above 30 for good measure, and shown enough class and durability in his 200-ball stay to awaken thoughts that his career-best 267 could yet be at his mercy if he shows sufficient hunger on the 5th Day of the Test match.

England 311 and 217 for 1 (Crawley 117*, Root 84*) lead West Indies 375 (Bonner 123, Brathwaite 55) by 153 runs

Joe Root. File Photo
Joe Root. File Photo
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Joe Root Thinks It’s An Opportunity For England To Prove A Point Against West Indies After Dismal Ashes 2021/22 Campaign

Joe Root, England Test skipper has said that the upcoming series against West Indies will give his side a chance to prove a point after the dismal Ashes 2021/22 campaign. England suffered a humiliating 0-4 thrashing in Ashes earlier this year.

The humiliating campaign also propelled many major changes in the England squad including the axing of veteran pacers James Anderson and Stuart Broad.

James Anderson, Stuart Broad (Credits: Twitter)
James Anderson, Stuart Broad (Credits: Twitter)

Joe Root Thinks It’s An Opportunity For England To Prove A Point

West Indies and England will lock horns in three Tests, beginning later on Tuesday. Notably, England’s last visit to the Caribbean Islands wasn’t memorable as they suffered a 1-2 defeat in the Test series.

“Joe Root is aware of the same as he sees this series as an opportunity to showcase his side’s true potential. While he called the forthcoming West Indies Tests a big challenge, he believes winning the series away from home would be a huge achievement.

“I think it’s an opportunity for all of us to prove a point. We know that historically it’s not an easy place for England to come and play, winning once in 50-odd years – but that’s a great opportunity for the group.

“To come away from here winning would be a huge achievement, so it’s something that we’re very much looking forward to. It’s a big challenge for us but something that we’re very excited about,” Joe Root was quoted as saying.

Joe Root
Joe Root Photograph: Sri Lanka Cricket

“You don’t come into a Test series not wanting to win. I think along with that we have the Cricket West opportunity to learn more about this team, and more about the players within it.

“So that’s a side note, it would be a great advantage to come out of this tour as well as that, but we’re very much committed to winning this series,” he added.

The England skipper further stated that his side will play positive cricket in the series as winning matches is their priority. It must be noted that England are currently placed at the rock bottom of the World Test Championship points table. Hence, the Three Lions must accumulate substantial points in this series to keep their outside chances of qualifying for the WTC final alive.

Joe Root: Four-day Practice Game Was A Positive Step Forward

England is currently bottom of the World Test Championship table, with 10 points from ten games and a win percentage of 9.25 per cent.

“I think it’s really important that we look forward to this series with excitement, and those guys take that opportunity. It’s really important that when opportunities come around in Test cricket you really grab them and I’m fully confident that those guys are in a really good place to go out and do that,” said Root.

Ollie Robinson PA Images via Getty Images
Ollie Robinson PA Images via Getty Images

“I thought the four-day game was a really positive step forward, our attitude towards it was excellent, the energy and buzz around the field, and the way guys improved throughout the whole game was really good.

“I think we made the most of what was a very docile wicket to be ready for this series. We know we’re going to be judged on how we perform in these three games but we’ve given ourselves the best chance in the opportunities we’ve had to prepare,” he added. 

On the much-vaunted “red-ball reset”, Joe Root said that he had been happy with the signs from England’s sole warm-up game in Antigua last week, where they amassed 466 for 6 declared and then worked their way through the CWI President’s XI with the ball – albeit the only seamer to take a first-innings wicket, Ollie Robinson, is now out of contention for the first Test.

Predicted Playing XI

West Indies: John Campbell, Kraigg Braithwaite (c), Nkrumah Bonner, Jermaine Blackwood, Shamarh Brooks, Joshua Da Silva (wk), Kyle Mayers, Jason Holder, Kemar Roach, Alzzari Joseph, Veerasammy Permaul

England: Alex Lees, Zak Crawley, Joe Root (c), Daniel Lawrence, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Ben Stokes, Ben Foakes, Chris Woakes, Craig Overton, Mark Wood, Jack Leach

England, PTI
England, PTI
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Kraigg Brathwaite, Phil Simmons Open Up On Playing Against Revamped England Side In Tests Series

West Indies Kraigg Brathwaite captain, and Phil Simmons, the head coach, cautioned against setting too much significance by the non-selection of England pacers James Anderson and Stuart Broad.
West Indies will be focused on ensuring that their batters grind out enough runs for the bowlers to put England’s revamped Test side under pressure in Antigua, rather than worrying about who is or isn’t in the XI for the tourists.
West Indies come into the series with just one win in their last eight Tests. During that time, they have passed 300 just once in 16 innings, and been bowled out for fewer than 200 on seven occasions.
Kraigg Brathwaite (Photo by DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)
Kraigg Brathwaite (Photo by DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

Phil Simmons Wants West Indies Openers To Provide A Solid Start

Desmond Haynes’ selection panel brought back John Campbell and Shamarh Brooks – who last played in March 2021 and December 2020 respectively – and dropped Shai Hope and Roston Chase from the squad.
While opener John Campbell has just two half-centuries to his name in 15 Tests, he made four scores between 33 and 47 in his debut series against England three years ago, and returns to the side after scoring a century for Jamaica in the regional four-day championship.
“I think the last time England were here, and we beat them, the opening pair was Kraigg Brathwaite and John Campbell,” Simmons said. “So let’s hope that’s a good omen for us, because they are back together and they gave the team some good starts.”
Phil Simmons ICC via Getty Images.
Phil Simmons ICC via Getty Images.
“That’s been the aspect of the five-day camp that we had, addressing the fact that batsmen need to bat long, we need to make sure we give the bowlers something to work with.”

Kraigg Brathwaite’s predecessor Jason Holder was able to carry the proud tradition on, sealing a 2-1 win over England when they last visited in 2019. Jason Holder has been a thorn in England’s side previously – averaging 62.83 with the bat and 24.93 with the ball in five home games against them – and is being backed to rise to the occasion again.

Kraigg Brathwaite Confident And Looking Forward To The Challenge

After leading West Indies to a memorable 2-0 win in Bangladesh in February 2021, Kraigg Brathwaite has seen the team’s fortunes dip, with a drawn home series against Sri Lanka followed by three consecutive defeats. West Indies can draw on a strong home record against England, however, and Kraigg Brathwaite was confident that the hosts have enough firepower to maintain their edge.
“As a team, we’re really looking forward to it,” Kraigg Brathwaite said. “We’re feeling confident, and maybe not worrying about England’s team, but what we do as a team and we’re really looking forward to the challenge.”
“I think the series itself is always different to every other series we have. We’re generally very good at home, especially the bowlers do a fantastic job at home. And obviously it’s also our job as batters to get runs, but the series always has a lot of energy and at times that can inspire guys, ” Kraigg Brathwaite said.
The fragility of the batting on both sides is underlined by the fact that only one player other than Joe Root – West Indies’ No. 3 Nkrumah Bonner – currently averages more than 40 in Test cricket. Phil Simmons warned that West Indies could not afford to be complacent about the calibre of the attack fielded by England without experienced pacers Stuart Broad and James Anderson.
“You can call it an advantage but again, no Broad, no Anderson, we keep harping on that,” he said. “So we have not been looking at the fact that there’s no Broad and Anderson, we’ve been looking at who there is, and there’s still some quality bowlers in there, which we still have to bat against.”
James Anderson, Stuart Broad (Credits: Twitter)
James Anderson, Stuart Broad (Credits: Twitter)
Phil Simmons was impressed by the progress of Shannon Gabriel after he joined the squad in Antigua to continue his rehab from a hamstring injury.
“He’s a lot further on than I thought he was,” Simmons said. “He bowled with some pace today, so we’ll see what happens over the next four or five days. This squad was selected for the first Test, so we’ll see where he’s at while he’s training with us and then we can make a decision on the second Test.”
England’s in-form pace bowler Ollie Robinson was ruled out of the first Test against the West Indies. Pacers Mark Wood and Chris Woakes look certain to feature, while fellow seamers Craig Overton and uncapped Saqib Mahmood are likely to battle it out with spinner Jack Leach for the final two bowling spots.
Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes
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Ben Stokes Critical Of His Own Performance In Ashes 2021/22

Ben Stokes, England’s star all-rounder criticised his own performance during England’s Ashes series defeat Down Under recently. The star cricketer thought his contributions, vital to the tourists’ chances, had been insufficient against the hosts Australia in the recent Ashes 2021/22 series.

Ben Stokes made a late announcement of his decision to play in the Ashes, returning from a break he took for the betterment of his mental health. With the 30-year old not playing any cricket leading up to the series, he couldn’t flourish as expected. He ended up with 236 runs and just four wickets in five Tests.

Ben Stokes, England all-rounder
Ben Stokes, England all-rounder (Photo | AP)

Ben Stokes Feels He Let Himself And A Lot Of Other People Down After Poor Outing In Ashes 2021/22

Ben Stokes stated that looking back on the series, he feels disappointed for letting fans down and wants to make amends. While the Test team’s vice-captain admitted his performances weren’t up to that level, he also expressed his dissatisfaction with the fitness levels he had during the series.

“When I look back on it, I felt I let myself down but the thing that really grinds me the most and hurts me the most is that I let a lot of other people down and I never want to feel that way again. Everyone’s taken some good hard lessons from Australia.”

Jonny Bairstow Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images
Jonny Bairstow Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Notable that Ben Stokes had an underwhelming Ashes down under as the all-rounder scored just 236 runs in 10 innings with an average of 23.6 which included 2 fifties. Also, he could pick only 4 wickets with an average of 71.50.

The leading all-rounder of the English team was further quoted as saying: Looking back on Australia, we’ve had some honest reflections not only as a team but individuals as well. I personally felt I let the team down with more than just performances: I would have liked to have been in better physical shape.” .

England’s batting performances were the most disappointing aspect of their 4-0 Ashes defeat. Joe Root and company failed to reach the 300-run mark even once across the five Tests, while Jonny Bairstow was the only batsman to score a century.

England faced a miserable defeat in The Ashes 2021-22 earlier. They lost the 1st Test by 9 wickets, 2nd Test by 275 runs, 3rd Test by an innings and 14 runs, and 5th Test by 146 runs. The 4th Test had ended in a draw. Hence, England faced a humiliating 4-0 loss in the tournament.

Ben Stokes Withdrew From IPL 2022 To Focus On His Top Priority-Tests

Ben Stokes, who withdrew from this year’s IPL, addressed that decision by saying that Test cricket holds top priority for him. With plenty of cricket to take place in the coming months, he saw it fit to give red-ball cricket the priority. The 30-year-old also said that Test cricket is the most important thing for him and that’s the reason why he opted out of IPL 2022.

“I had a chance to have a good look at things going forward and when it came down to it, the real thing that got me excited, out of all three formats, was Test cricket. That was a big decision – to come out of the IPL, to make sure that I was able to give everything I possibly could to this Test team.”

Ben Stokes Image Source : GETTY IMAGES
Ben Stokes Image Source: GETTY IMAGES

The star of England’s maiden World Cup victory in 2019 stated that the schedule requires him to make a choice between different formats.

“There’s a massive summer ahead, a lot of cricket to play and you just have to look at the schedules at times and think what’s the most important thing – and Test cricket is the most important for me.”

Ben Stokes was part of England’s four-day practice match in Antigua ahead of the Test series against the West Indies, which begins on March 8. The New Zealand-born cricketer made only 11 and 19 in the two batting innings he had in the match. However, he took two wickets in the second innings of the opposition.

Joe Root. File Photo
Joe Root. File Photo

No One Is Saying This Is The End For James Anderson And Stuart Broad – Joe Root

England test captain Joe Root stated that it is not the end of the road for James Anderson and Stuart Broad as the duo has been dropped for the 3-match test series in West Indies.

The duo has a combined tally of 1177 Test wickets to their names but England decided to drop them under the new coaching set-up. Notable that Paul Collingwood has been given the duties of head coach for the West Indies tour.

However captain Joe Root stressed that they wanted to give youngsters some responsibility in the series but Anderson and Broad will be in the mix for the home season.

Stuart Broad and Joe Root | Getty
Stuart Broad and Joe Root | Getty

“I want other bowlers to step into that void and enjoy that challenge”- Joe Root

The fact they’re not there means there are different roles others have to fill. They’ve taken the new ball for such a long time in English cricket, they’ve been leaders of the attack, had a lot of success and deserve a huge amount of respect for it. But this is an opportunity for other guys to step into that space and become leaders as well,” Root said.

Over time, [Woakes] has not played a huge amount of cricket away from home in the recent past. He’s constantly been our first-change bowler or second-change bowler, he’s not had the opportunity to bowl with the new ball away from home,” he added.

England Test skipper Joe Root backs James Anderson , Twitter
England Test skipper Joe Root backs James Anderson, Twitter

Root further added that the likes of Mark Wood who made a big impression in the Ashes might enjoy the responsibility on his shoulders. In the Ashes, Wood picked 17 wickets in 4 matches with an average of 26.64.

“Other guys can step up as well. Mark Wood had a fantastic tour of Australia, he bowled with heart, great passion, speed, endurance, being able to do it for long periods of time. It’s a chance for him to grow and develop as a player as well. And really, I want those guys step into that void and enjoy that challenge, and enjoy becoming more senior within the group,” he stated.

Root also said that he spoke to Anderson and Broad and not surprisingly they are very angry, especially Broad who spoke publicly about that. But he stated that the doors are still open for them

“I’ve spoken both to Stuart and Jimmy and they’re obviously disappointed, angry, and Stuart, in particular, has voiced that quite publicly. You’d expect that. I’ve got a huge amount of respect for both of them.

“It’s been made very clear: no-one is saying this is the end for them. It would be great to see Stuart and Jimmy very much in the mix at the start of the summer as well,” Root said.

Also, read IPL 2022: Other Franchises Object To Mumbai Indians’ Home Advantage

James Anderson
James Anderson (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)
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James Anderson And Stuart Broad Axed From England’s 16-Member Test Squad For West Indies Tour

James Anderson and Stuart Broad, England’s two leading Test wicket-takers of all time, were the headline names in a ruthless post-Ashes cull for next month’s tour of the West Indies. The fast-bowling greats received no assurances that they still had test careers, either.

England, on the heels of an off-field clear-out that accounted for the head coach, assistant coach, and director of cricket also dropped eight players following the 4-0 Ashes 2021/22 loss in the series in Australia. Eight players who featured in the recent Ashes series missed out on selection for the three-match Test tour.

James Anderson, Stuart Broad (Credits : Twitter)
James Anderson, Stuart Broad (Credits: Twitter)

James Anderson And Stuart Broad Dropped For West Indies Tour After Ashes Loss

As well as James Anderson, Stuart Broad, and vice-captain Jos Buttler, the following players were also omitted: Dawid Malan, Sam Billings, Dom Bess, Rory Burns, and Haseeb Hameed.

The pace bowling pair of James Anderson and Stuart Broad’s combined 1,177 Test wickets have been deemed surplus to requirements by interim director of cricket Sir Andrew Strauss, whose decision to leave out the pair for this series was rubber-stamped by temporary head coach Paul Collingwood and captain Joe Root.

England selection panel, consisting of Andrew Strauss (interim managing director of England Men’s Cricket), interim head coach Paul Collingwood and head scout James Taylor, have named a 16-strong squad for the three-match Test tour of the Caribbean starting next month.

“With the start of a new cycle, it has allowed the selection panel to refresh the test squad with a particular focus on competing away from home,” former test captain Andrew Strauss, who is acting as the interim director of cricket following the firing of Ashley Giles, said on Tuesday.

England batsman Jos Buttler
England batsman Jos Buttler (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

There were some telling words for the 39-year-old James Anderson and the 35-year-old Stuart Broad, too.

“I want to emphasize this does not mean the end for them as England players,” Strauss said.

“We feel that it is important to look at some exciting new bowling potential and give some added responsibility to other players who have featured previously. No one doubts the quality and experience that James Anderson and Stuart Broad bring to the England set-up. It will be up to the new managing director and permanent head coach to decide on whether they will be involved this summer and beyond.”

The use of the phrases “draw a line” and “the start of a process and a journey” in the squad announcement hinted there might be no going back on some of the big decisions, though, with Jos Buttler having also had a tough time Down Under.

James Anderson has taken 640 wickets in 169 tests and Stuart Broad is second on England’s all-time list of wicket-takers, with 537 in 152 matches. Paul Collingwood will lead the team in the West Indies in place of the departed Chris Silverwood, whose assistant, Graham Thorpe, has also left his post.

Matt Fisher, Alex Lees, Saqib Mahmood, Matthew Parkinson And Ben Foakes Called Up To England’s 16 Man Squad

As part of what is being labelled a “red-ball reset,” seamer Matt Fisher is a direct beneficiary of the rebooted bowling attack while opener Alex Lees was also called up for the first time in the 16-man squad. Wicketkeeper Ben Foakes returns to the squad for the first time in nearly a year, when he played the fourth test against India in Ahmedabad in March. England’s squad leaves on Feb 24 for the three-Test series.

Saqib Mahmood AFP via Getty Images
Saqib Mahmood AFP via Getty Images

Durham opener Alex Lees and Yorkshire seamer Matthew Fisher are called-up for the first time. Alex Lees, 28, captained the Lions squad in Australia and has shown great potential in the LV= Insurance County Championship over the past few years with Durham and previously Yorkshire. He scored 625 runs in last year’s Championship campaign, with the highest score of 129.

The 24-year-old Matthew Fisher took 20 wickets for Yorkshire last season at an average of 19.65 from County Championship matches. His control with the ball has impressed the England set-up for some time, and he was a stand-out performer for the Lions during the winter program.

England Squad: Joe Root (captain), Jonathan Bairstow, Zak Crawley, Matthew Fisher, Ben Foakes, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Alex Lees, Saqib Mahmood, Craig Overton, Matthew Parkinson, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Ben Stokes, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

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