Sam Billings

Venkatesh Iyer© Instagram
Venkatesh Iyer© Instagram
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Shreyas Iyer Reveals KKR Management Yet To Decide ‘Team-Man’ Venkatesh Iyer’s Batting Position In IPL 2022

Kolkata Knight Riders will begin their quest for the trophy against defending champions Chennai Super Kings on March 26 after having missed out on their third Indian Premier League (IPL) title last year.

The franchise had retained four players and did a remarkable job in the mega auctions to snap up some match-winners including new skipper Shreyas Iyer, who fetched a colossal 12.25 crore at the two-day event. IPL 2022 will kick start from March 26 with Kolkata squaring off with Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the tournament opener.

Kolkata Knight Riders
Kolkata Knight Riders (Image Credit: Twitter)

Shreyas Iyer: Venkatesh Iyer Is A Team-Man As He Always Talks About Winning

Kolkata Knight Riders also splurged 7.25 crore on Pat Cummins and got seasoned batter Ajinkya Rahane for 1 crore. While their middle-order looks solid in Andre Russell’s presence, Venkatesh Iyer looks like a sure shot opener in the impending season.

Venkatesh Iyer, a management professional who turned up for the franchise in the second half of IPL 2021, would be raring to go as the league returns to Indian conditions after its UAE stint. Venkatesh Iyer may have had a successful elevation to the opening slot, but captain Shreyas Iyer was tight-lipped on his batting spot this year.

“We have not yet decided his batting position. We are yet to get out of quarantine and have chats with coaches and management. I had a brief chat with him during our stint for Team India, he’s very flexible in terms whatever position we put him into play,” said Shreyas in a virtual interaction on Saturday.

Venkatesh Iyer (Getty)
Venkatesh Iyer (Getty)

Venkatesh Iyer notched up two 30-plus scores against the West Indies in the home T20I series. He also rolled his arm over and picked up two wickets in the three-game rubber.

“Obviously he’s done great as an opener last year for KKR, that will be at the back of the mind. He’s a team man. I’ve seen that on the field. He always talks about winning. That’s the type of character we need in our team, one who is ready to go out there and show that relentless,” he further added.

The 27-year-old batting all-rounder impressed in the three-match T20I series in Kolkata against the West Indies. He scored 24*, 33 and 35* at a quick pace, and also chipped in with two wickets in the final T20I. He amassed 92 runs in 3 innings at an outstanding strike rate of 184. Venkatesh Iyer, who opened for KKR last time and is a medium pacer had a sensational run in the UAE leg of IPL 2021 by amassing 370 runs in just 10 games averaging 41.11 with 4 fifties.

Shreyas Iyer Personally Feels No 3 Is His Batting Position But Is Flexible With The Team’s Demands

Shreyas Iyer himself is ready to “explore” his batting position according to the situation. He’s had a phenomenal stint with India in recent months, scoring three consecutive fifties in the T20I assignment against Sri Lanka and claiming the Player-of-the-Series in India’s 3-0 win.

He aggregated 204 runs without being dismissed across three innings against Sri Lanka in T20Is at a highly impressive strike rate of 174.36. He registered scores of 57*(28), 74*(44) and 73*(45) across three games. He batted at No. 3 in all the 3 T20Is in the absence of Virat Kohli, turning in a Player-of-the-Series winning performance.

“For me personally, I feel No. 3 is my batting position because that’s the position I love to bat and have been batting for very long. But I’m flexible whatever the team requires, I’m very comfortable with that. Come what may, I’m ready to explore.”

KKR captain Shreyas Iyer. Photo- Twitter
KKR captain Shreyas Iyer. Photo- Twitter

Apart from Shreyas Iyer and Venkatesh Iyer, KKR also have Sunil Narine when it comes to adding a bit of spark to their batting attack. The power-hitting cricketer from West Indies remains to be a vital cog in KKR’s scheme of things. They have also got Australia’s Aaron Finch at the top with Sam Billings as Kolkata’s first-choice wicketkeeper after being picked up for 2 crore.

Shreyas Iyer named KKR captain for IPL 2022 (Image Source: Twitter)
Shreyas Iyer named KKR captain for IPL 2022 (Image Source: Twitter)
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Shreyas Iyer Feels “Great Honour” To Be Playing Alongside Pat Cummins, Ajinkya Rahane In IPL 2022

Shreyas Iyer, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) skipper has given an insight on how he would like to lead the franchise and depend on senior players for advice when the situation gets tough in the middle.

Shreyas Iyer has been on a good run with the bat of late and the right-handed batter will look to continue his form when he steps onto the field to lead the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022.

KKR captain Shreyas Iyer. Photo- Twitter
KKR captain Shreyas Iyer. Photo- Twitter

Shreyas Iyer: It’s A Great Honour To Have Aaron Finch, Pat Cummins, Ajinkya Rahane Alongside

Ahead of the tournament, Shreyas Iyer opened up on how he would like to lead the franchise and how he would be in good space by having senior players like Aaron Finch, Pat Cummins, and Ajinkya Rahane in the squad. KKR will open their IPL 2022 campaign against Chennai Super Kings on March 26.

Kolkata Knight Riders Pacer Pat Cummins[photo: Twitter]
Kolkata Knight Riders Pacer Pat Cummins[photo: Twitter]

“It is a great honour to have them (Aaron Finch, Pat Cummins, Ajinkya Rahane) alongside. They have achieved so many things while playing for their country. They have done wonders for themselves and it is an honour to play alongside them,” said Shreyas while replying to a query during a virtual press conference.

“Definitely, if I get to a point where I feel it is my time to take some advice from the senior players and it is not just on the field, it is off the field as well in terms of gelling up and trying to get little advice in managing the team, how to speak to youngsters, all these aspects play a vital role. The senior players will play an immense part in that,” the batter stated further.

Aaron Finch was roped in by KKR as a replacement for Alex Hales after the English opening batter pulled out of the tournament citing bubble fatigue.

Shreyas Iyer Said Wankhede Wicket Will See Bounce

KKR will play their opening match against CSK at the Wankhede Stadium. The onus will be on Ajinkya Rahane, who has been going through a lean patch for the last few years now, to step up to the plate and assist Venkatesh Iyer at the top of the order. Sam Billings might prove to be a good buy as he is not only a serviceable wicketkeeper but a world-class finisher as well.

Kolkata are certainly weak on local pace bowling resources with Shivam Mavi and Umesh Yadav having to do a lot of heavy lifting alongside Pat Cummins.

“There is a good bounce at the Wankhede wicket, it is really going to be important for us to practice in such conditions. The ball travels at a decent pace, all these aspects you have to see to it.

“Apart from that, all players must have played in those conditions. There is going to be a crowd over here and it will provide us energy,” said Shreyas.

Kolkata Knight Riders
Kolkata Knight Riders (Image Credit: Twitter)

Kolkata Knight Riders were not left with much in their purse after splurging 12.25 crore and 8 crore for Shreyas Iyer and Nitish Rana respectively. It was a blessing that they got Pat Cummins for half his price from last year. Kolkata Knight Riders had retained Venkatesh Iyer, Varun Chakravarthy, Andre Russell and Sunil Narine previously.

Kolkata Knight Riders Squad: Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Venkatesh Iyer, Varun Chakravarthy, Nitish Rana, Pat Cummins, Shreyas Iyer, Shivam Mavi, Sheldon Jackson, Ajinkya Rahane, Rinku Singh, Anukul Roy, Rasikh Dar, Baba Indrajith, Chamika Karunaratne, Abhijeet Tomar, Pratham Singh, Ashok Sharma, Sam Billings, Aaron Finch, Tim Southee, Ramesh Kumar, Mohammad Nabi, Umesh Yadav, Aman Khan.

Kolkata Knight Riders (Probable starting XI): Ajinkya Rahane, Venkatesh Iyer, Sam Billings(overseas/ keeper), Shreyas Iyer (captain), Nitish Rana, Andre Russell (overseas), Sunil Narine(overseas), Varun Chakravarthy, Shivam Mavi, Pat Cummins (overseas), Umesh Yadav

James Anderson
James Anderson (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)
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James Anderson Praying That His Test Career Isn’t Over After Being Axed For Caribbean Tour

James Anderson says he is ‘praying’ that his England career is not over after being left out of the squad for next month’s tour to West Indies. England will play the first Test against West Indies on March 8 in Antigua, while the three-match series will conclude on March 29.

The 39-year-old England’s all-time leading Test wicket-taker with 640 scalps, said he felt “frustration and anger” after being dropped and believes he still has more to offer.

England, PTI
England, PTI

James Anderson Praying Axe For Caribbean Tour Doesn’t Mean End Of His Career

James Anderson and his long-time bowling partner Stuart Broad were both dropped from the Test squad following the Ashes defeat.

James Anderson said, “I’m praying this isn’t the end but if I never play for England again, I know I’ve got amazing people around me to support me and that’s really important. I’ve got a lot left to offer – I’ve still got the hunger and passion to play.”

“There is likely to be a new director of cricket and new head coach so I just hope that whatever decision is made, it is talked about in the way that it should be. Another frustration for me is that it was just a five-minute phone call – it doesn’t really clear much up for you,” Anderson further said

England's Stuart Broad. (Photo by Jon Super / POOL / AFP)
England’s Stuart Broad. (Photo by Jon Super / POOL / AFP)

“It was a shock and a disappointment to get that call but having processed it, it’s important I try to focus on stuff I can control and that’s showing people what I can do with the ball in my hand. I’ve got one more go at digging deep,” added James Anderson.

Stuart Broad, who is England’s second-highest Test wicket-taker with 537 in 152 matches, vented his frustration at a similar scenario when he broke his silence on being dropped in an emotional column. Stuart Broad picked up 13 wickets from three Tests in Ashes 2021/22 in Australia at a decent average of 26 and still sees himself as being in England’s best Test side.

Also left out are opening batters Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed, No.3 batsman Dawid Malan, spinner Dom Bess, wicketkeeper-batsmen Jos Buttler, and Sam Billings. Recalled to the side is wicketkeeper Ben Foakes while four uncapped players are included: opening batsman Alex Lees, seam bowlers Saqib Mahmood and Matthew Fisher, and legspinner Matt Parkinson.

James Anderson To Feature For Lancashire In County Championship

Like Stuart Broad, James Anderson is desperate to regain his place in the England team this summer and will feature for Lancashire when the County Championship starts in April.

“It was a shock and a disappointment to get that call but having processed it, it’s important I try to focus on the stuff I can control and that’s showing people what I can do with the ball in my hand,” he said.

James Anderson. (Image Credits: Getty)
James Anderson. (Image Credits: Getty)

James Anderson has snapped 640 Test wickets from 169 Test matches, the most by any fast bowler, and is only behind Australia’s Shane Warne (708) and Sri Lanka’s spin wizard Muttiah Muralitharan (800) in the list of leading Test wicket-takers.

James Anderson, who will turn 40 in September, has the appetite to serve the England cricket team in white colours and won’t consider retirement despite being dropped from the squad for one series.

Jason Holder. Credits: Twitter
Jason Holder. Credits: Twitter
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Jason Holder Seems Fine And Ready For 2nd T20I: Nicholas Pooran

Jason Holder had missed the first T20I after being hit on the chest during a practice session on Tuesday. West Indies’ T20I vice-captain Nicholas Pooran has said that Jason Holder seems fine and he should be available for the second T20I against India.

Ravi Bishnoi’s two-wicket haul was backed up by quality knocks by Rohit Sharma (40) and Suryakumar Yadav (34*) as India defeated West Indies by six wickets in the first T20I here at the Eden Gardens on Wednesday.

Jason Holder | Photo Credit: Windies Cricket Twitter
Jason Holder | Photo Credit: Windies Cricket Twitter

Nicholas Pooran on Jason Holder:

West Indies all-rounder Jason Holder on Saturday was picked up by Lucknow Super Giants (LSG) for Rs 8.75 crore in the ongoing IPL 2022 auction.

Jason Holder had become the first West Indies player to take four wickets in four balls in a T20 international as his side wrapped up a thrilling 3-2 series victory over England. Jason Holder (5-27) dismissed Chris Jordan, Sam Billings, Adil Rashid and Saqib Mahmood to seal a 17-run win as England were bowled out for 162 in the fifth and final game in Barbados.

“Jason Holder seems fine, he should be ready for the next game. I do not know the details of his niggle, so I cannot say about that,” said Pooran.

“The match definitely slipped, we fell 10-15 runs short to be honest, 170-175 would have been perfect on that kind of track. Cannot really fault the bowlers, as batters we needed to pace our innings a bit smarter,” said Pooran during a virtual press conference.

West Indies players celebrate after Jason Holder's four wickets in four balls clinched victory against England (Getty Images)
West Indies players celebrate after Jason Holder’s four wickets in four balls clinched victory against England (Getty Images)

“It was a bit tricky today, the ball was stopping a bit, it was two-paced. I thought India bowled well, there is a lot of dew here, toss was a big factor as well. Conditions and dew played a big factor in the end,” he added.

Jason Holder had missed the first T20I after being hit on the chest during a practice session on Tuesday. Jason Holder’s absence was a massive blow for the Windies team as he was the Man of the Series in the 3-2 T20I series triumph against England at home having picked up as many as 15 wickets from 5 T20I matches.

The big-hitting Caribbean all-rounder also scored an impressive fifty in the first ODI and took a four-wicket haul in the 3rd ODI against India.

Nicholas Pooran Thought The Wicket Played Better In The 2nd Half

Earlier, Nicholas Pooran starred with the bat as he played a knock of 61 runs to help West Indies post 157/7. For India, Ravi Bishnoi and Harshal Patel returned with two wickets each.

“I thought the wicket played better in the second half. The ball was also coming on a little better,” said Pooran.

Nicholas Pooran's 43-ball 61 went in vain against India on Wednesday BCCI
Nicholas Pooran’s 43-ball 61 went in vain against India on Wednesday BCCI

IPL 2021 was ordinary by any standards for Nicholas Pooran. He managed all of 85 runs in 12 innings, including five ducks, for Punjab Kings.

Yet, when the fresh auction came around last weekend, Kolkata Knight Riders, Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad went big bidding for him. Finally, when the paddle came down, he was the second-most expensive overseas buy at INR 10.75 crore, going to Sunrisers Hyderabad.

On Wednesday, Nicholas Pooran, the West Indies T20I vice-captain, showed why he is rated highly, anchoring floundering innings with a 43-ball 61 from No. 3 against India in the first T20I.  With this win, India has gained a 1-0 lead in the three-match series and the second T20I will now be played on Friday at the same venue.

IPL Trophy
IPL Trophy. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)
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Mickey Arthur Reckons England Should Stop Players Sending To IPL To Improve Its Test Side

England must stop their players from participating in the IPL to improve their Test side, former South Africa and Sri Lanka coach Mickey Arthur said on Wednesday.

England’s Test squad came under intense criticism after they lost the five-Test Ashes series 4-0 against Australia, a result which led to the departure of head coach Chris Silverwood, batting coach Graham Thorpe and managing director Ashley Giles.

England, PTI
England, PTI

England Haven’t Scored Enough Runs In Ashes: Mickey Arthur

Mickey Arthur, who joined English county Derbyshire as head of cricket after stepping down as Sri Lanka coach late last year, said county cricket is not to be blamed for England’s poor performance in tests in recent years.

“England haven’t scored enough runs. It’s as simple as that,” Arthur said. “If you want to lay the blame, you can lay it right there. County cricket isn’t to blame.”

Mickey Arthur
Mickey Arthur. (Photo Source: Twitter)

“For so long county cricket has been a really good producer of international players. I don’t think there’s a problem with the system … If you want the strength early season, unfortunately you are going to have to stop the players going to the IPL.

“They are playing there in the early part of the season just before the first tests. You need your best players playing county cricket preparing for that.”

England had reinvented as a one-day cricket powerhouse since their early exit from the 2015 World Cup, winning the next edition of the format’s biggest title on home soil. But their record in the longest format of the game has been less impressive in recent years, with the final Ashes Test loss marking their 15th consecutive test in Australia without a win.

Overall, there were contracts for 11 England-qualified players across the two-day event, bringing the tally at the 2022 IPL to 13, with Jos Buttler and Moeen Ali already having been retained by their franchises.

James Anderson And Stuart Broad Dropped For Windies Tour After Ashes Debacle

James Anderson and Stuart Broad were among eight players to have been dropped by England from the Test squad to tour the West Indies next month. The veterans’ axing, and other omissions, suggests England are embarking on wholesale change after the Ashes debacle when they were lucky to escape with a 4-0 defeat.

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

Also left out are opening batters Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed, No.3 batsman Dawid Malan, spinner Dom Bess, wicketkeeper-batsmen Jos Buttler and Sam Billings. Recalled to the side is wicketkeeper Ben Foakes while four uncapped players are included: opening batsman Alex Lees, seam bowlers Saqib Mahmood and Matthew Fisher, and legspinner Matt Parkinson.

James Anderson, Stuart Broad (Credits: Twitter)
James Anderson, Stuart Broad (Credits: Twitter)
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Stuart Broad Still Coming To Terms Of His Axe From England Test Squad Alongside James Anderson

Stuart Broad, the experienced quick admits he is still coming to terms with being left out of England’s Test squad for the upcoming tour of the Caribbean against the West Indies. Veteran seamer Stuart Broad is still in the dark surrounding the circumstances that led to his recent axing.

Despite some good form at times during the recent Ashes 2021/22 series in Australia, both Stuart Broad and fellow veteran James Anderson were overlooked by selectors for England’s upcoming tour of the Caribbean against the West Indies.

England's Stuart Broad. (Photo by Jon Super / POOL / AFP)
England’s Stuart Broad. (Photo by Jon Super / POOL / AFP)

Stuart Broad Struggling To Put Things Into Context After Being Left Out from West Indies’ 3 Test Tour

Stuart Broad admitted he has been struggling to come to terms with being omitted and said he was disappointed with the lack of communication he received from selectors before being axed.

“I am struggling to put things into context. It’s hard to do so when all you’ve had is a five-minute phone call and nothing else,” Stuart Broad wrote in a column.

Stuart Broad picked up 13 wickets from three Tests in Australia at a decent average of 26 and still sees himself as being in England’s best Test side.

“I took 11 wickets in the final two Ashes matches, I have been Test match standard for a long time and, for the last eight years, you would say world class,” Broad said.

“I could take being dropped if I had let my standards slip but facing up to being overlooked when they haven’t is another thing altogether. And so, it makes it even more upsetting that they don’t see me part of their immediate plans, especially with a view to looking at a way of winning away from home, which was briefly explained to me.”

“Do I believe I warrant a place in England’s best team in Antigua on March 8? Of course, I do. That is why it is so difficult to comprehend.”

Just what the future holds for two of England’s best quicks remains unclear, with England’s next Test tour following the West Indies not scheduled to take place until the start of June at home against New Zealand. Interim Managing Director for England Men’s Cricket, Sir Andrew Strauss recently suggested that the latest selection news does not necessarily mean the end of the road for the experienced duo.

“In respect of James Anderson and Stuart Broad, I want to emphasise this does not mean the end for them as England players,” Strauss said.

Sir Andrew Strauss. Photo- Twitter
Sir Andrew Strauss. Photo- Twitter

“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 and Stuart 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 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.

Stuart Broad Will Spend Time With His Family Stepping Away From Cricket For A While

Stuart Broad said he will use the time away from England’s set-up to spend time with his family and ponder what the future looks like. 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.

“I spoke to my mum Carole on Friday because I am waking up more confused and angrier with each passing day, and she just advised me to take time, step away from the game for a bit and figure things out,” Broad added.

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

“Understandably, people will ask if there has therefore been some fall-out behind the scenes, a bit of a rumble during the Ashes, but I can categorically say that is not the case. Hence, neither Jimmy nor I saw this coming. We were blindsided.”

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. Apart from 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.

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.

Jason Holder registered figures of 5/27 including a hat-trick as he picked up 4 wickets in four balls | Photo Credit: Windies Cricket Twitter
Jason Holder registered figures of 5/27 including a hat-trick as he picked up 4 wickets in four balls | Photo Credit: Windies Cricket Twitter
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Jason Holder Opens Up On The Changes After His 5 For 27 Help West Indies To Clinch The T20I Series Against England

Jason Holder expressed delight over his consistency in the wicket-taking column after tough times in the England series and his forgettable performance against Ireland last month.

After the series triumph over England, West Indies allrounder Jason Holder is not just pleased with the team’s performance but also with the strong bond of togetherness in the dressing room, something he had not seen before in his nine years of an international career.

Jason Holder took a hat-trick in the series finale. (AFP Photo)
Jason Holder took a hat-trick in the series finale. (AFP Photo)

Jason Holder Picked 4 Wickets In As Many Balls To Register Career-Best Figures Of 5 For 27 In The 5th T20I Against England

Speaking to his teammates after the series decider win where he picked a five-wicket haul, Jason Holder told them that the current team is building up nicely with everyone chipping in. He added that every player is ready to back the team’s decision even at times when they were not in agreement.

“Tough luck to the guys who didn’t really get the opportunity, but they never showed it: I ain’t seen a boy sulk. That says a lot about the camaraderie and the strength of the unit.” Holder was quoted as saying.

“For me, this is the closest that I’ve felt a group (to) be in a very, very long time. Honest to God, the energy I felt from the meetings…most contributions I have ever seen in a West Indies dressing room. Even though you might not understand a certain decision, everybody was still buying in with it,” Jason Holder said.

Akeal Hosein (Photo credit - CWI Media)
Akeal Hosein (Photo credit – CWI Media)

He added that the changes were not a finished product as yet and the team needs to strive for consistency. Jason Holder prized the scalps of Chris Jordon, Sam Billings, Adil Rashid, and Saqib Mahmood to register a double hat-trick. His five-wicket haul and Akeal Hosein’s four-wicket haul helped West Indies defeat England by 17 runs in the fifth and final T20I at the Kensington Oval on Monday.

Jason Holder’s sensational run in the T20I series against England concluded on a thumping note as he picked four wickets in as many balls, registering his best figures in the shortest format 5/27 bettering 4/7, which he took in the first match of the series.

Jason Holder Was Awarded The Player Of The Series for Picking 15 Scalps In 5 T20Is Against England

On his performance, he further explained that there were still some areas where there’s scope for improvement like coming back and finishing off spells well. Jason Holder recalled how terrible he felt after the Ireland series knowing that he had let the team down with his personal performances.

West Indies players celebrate after Jason Holder's four wickets in four balls clinched victory against England (Getty Images)
West Indies players celebrate after Jason Holder’s four wickets in four balls clinched victory against England (Getty Images)

Jason Holder was awarded the player of the series title for picking 15 wickets against England across the five matches – the most by a bowler in a bilateral T20I series. In the fifth and series decider game, the pace all-rounder also became the first West Indian to take a hat-trick in the shortest format of the game.

“We’ve got a couple of days before we start, start over, and then we go again in India. Nothing is impossible. We’ve got to believe that nothing is impossible and continue to be happy for one another’s success and continue to build as a team. I was just pleased with the consistency in terms of the wicket-taking column,” said Holder.

Motivating his team for the upcoming India tour, Jason Holder said that the team has to believe that nothing is impossible and continue to be happy for one another’s success and build as a team. West Indies will be touring India for white-ball matches starting with a three-match ODI series from February 6 in Ahmedabad, followed by three T20Is from February 16 in Kolkata.

West Indies players celebrate after Jason Holder's four wickets in four balls clinched victory against England (Getty Images)
West Indies players celebrate after Jason Holder's four wickets in four balls clinched victory against England (Getty Images)
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Jason Holder Picked 4 Wickets In As Many Balls To Register Career-Best Figures Of 5 For 27 In The 5th T20I Against England

Jason Holder, West Indies all-rounder on Monday became the first men’s player from his country to take a T20I hat-trick. He achieved the feat in the fifth and final T20I against England at the Kensington Oval. The bowler took a hat-trick in the final over of England’s innings as the Three Lions were chasing 180.

Jason Holder prized the scalps of Chris Jordon, Sam Billings, Adil Rashid, and Saqib Mahmood to register a double hat-trick. Jason Holder’s fifer and Akeal Hosein’s four-wicket haul helped West Indies defeat England by 17 runs in the fifth and final T20I at the Kensington Oval on Monday.

Jason Holder registered figures of 5/27 including a hat-trick as he picked up 4 wickets in four balls
Jason Holder registered figures of 5/27 including a hat-trick as he picked up 4 wickets in four balls | Photo Credit: Windies Cricket Twitter

Jason Holder Picked 4 Wickets In As Many Balls To Register Career Best Figure Of 5/27 In The 5th T20I Against England

Jason Holder’s sensational run in the T20I series against England concluded on a thumping note as he picked four wickets in as many balls, registering his best figures in the shortest format 5/27 bettering 4/7, which he took in the first match of the series.

England required 20 runs off the final over to win the series decider at the Kensington Oval in Barbados and Jason Holder was given the responsibility with the ball. It didn’t start well for the tall pacer as he overstepped but the good thing for the hosts was that the pure batsman Sam Billings was off-strike.

The 30-year old was able to keep Chris Jordan quiet on Free Hit and then dismissed him on the next ball as the England pacer failed to connect the slower full toss and hit straight into the hands of Hayden Walsh. Sam Billings too got out on the next ball in his bid to target the shorter boundary but the ball was pitched outside off stump and Walsh completed another simple catch.

England leg-spinner Adil Rashid
England leg-spinner Adil Rashid- Twitter

Jason Holder then dismissed Adil Rashid on the fourth delivery of the over, a cross-seam delivery bowled outside off and the batsman handed a simple catch to Odean Smith, who ran to his left at deep square-leg and the hometown boy had a hat-trick to his name but he wasn’t done yet. He clean bowled Saqib Mahmood on the penultimate delivery of the over and he completed his fifer, his first in the shortest format.

Adil Rashid had earlier become England’s all-time leading wicket-taker in T20 internationals, returning 2-17 to peg back West Indies before Kieron Pollard and Rovman Powell guided their side to 179-4 with an unbroken stand of 74.

Jason Holder Picked 15 Wickets In 5 T20Is Against England

While he became the first bowler from the island nation, it was the 27th hat-trick overall in the men’s T20Is. Jason Holder became the fourth Windies bowler to take a fifer in T20Is as he finished with 15 wickets in 5-match series as the hosts prevailed in an enthralling series by a margin of 3-2. West Indies now travel to India for a 6-match white-ball series including three ODIs and as many T20Is.

Akeal Hosein (Photo credit - CWI Media)
Akeal Hosein (Photo credit – CWI Media)

With this win, West Indies won the five-match series 3-2. Chasing 180, only James Vince got going for England with the bat as he played a 55-run knock from 35 balls. Sam Billings also chipped in with a 41-run inning, but it did not prove enough as West Indies kept on taking wickets at regular intervals.

Jason Holder and Akeal Hosein were the standout performers and the duo ensured that the hosts end up winning the series. Earlier, Kieron Pollard and Rovman Powell played unbeaten knocks of 41 and 35 to help West Indies post 179/4 in the allotted twenty overs. For England, Adil Rashid and Liam Livingstone returned with two wickets each.

England’s Ollie Robinson Photograph: Andrew Couldridge/Action Images/Reuters
England’s Ollie Robinson Photograph: Andrew Couldridge/Action Images/Reuters
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Ollie Robinson Must Improve His Fitness Says Bowling Coach; England 188 In Reply To Australia’s 303

Ollie Robinson must improve his fitness to deal with the demands of Test cricket, bowling coach Jon Lewis said after the 28-year-old suffered a back spasm on the opening day of the final Ashes Test against Australia on Friday.

Ollie Robinson took two early wickets in Hobart, sending back David Warner and Steve Smith for a duck, but later sustained the back problem that limited his bowling to eight overs.

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

Ollie Robinson Must Improve His Fitness: Jon Lewis

Australia, who enjoy an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-Test series, ended the first day of the pink-ball contest on 241-6. Ollie Robinson has taken 37 wickets in eight Tests for England since his debut against New Zealand at Lord’s in June last year. Jon Lewis said the team was hoping Ollie Robinson could recover overnight and return to bowling on Saturday.
“(His fitness) is something he needs to improve”, Lewis said. “He’s got a record of playing a lot of games of county cricket but international cricket is of higher intensity and you play it all year round.
Travis Head of Australia scores a century during day one of the Fifth Test in the Ashes series between Australia and England Image Source : GETTY
Travis Head of Australia scores a century during day one of the Fifth Test in the Ashes series between Australia and England Image Source: GETTY
“So he’s got to get used to understanding what it takes to be a full-time year-round international cricketer and playing that extra day, five days of Test cricket. Those things can come and go so we’re hoping with treatment overnight he can come back tomorrow and be free enough to bowl.”
Australia resumed innings on 241 for 6 on the second day of the 5th Ashes Test in Hobart. The rain and bad weather forced early stumps on Friday (1st Day) after Travis Head’s rapid hundred and a gritty half-century from Cameron Green put the host in a comfortable position.

Pat Cummins Picks 4 Scalps To Restrict England to 188 After Travis Head’s 101 See Australia Cross 300 Run Mark

Travis Head, who scored 152 in the opening test at Brisbane and missed the previous Test for Covid-19, counterpunched England’s early success with an aggressive 101 off 113 balls in the day-night test as Australia came back strongly after losing the toss. Cameron Green contributed an authoritative 74 and Marnus Labuschagne scored a rapid 44 before the rain arrived around half an hour after tea and prevented further play.
Pat Cummins Credit: AAP
Pat Cummins Credit: AAP
Mitchell Starc took 3 scalps while Pat Cummins picked 4 as England was bowled out at 188 after Australia was bowled out for 303. Chris Woakes’ 36, Joe Root’s 34, and debutant Sam Billings’ 29 were England’s notable contributors with the bat in hand.
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