Chris Gayle appointed as West Indies vice-captain for 2019 ICC World Cup

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Chris Gayle to vice-captain Windies in 2019 World Cup.

Veteran Chris Gayle has been named as the vice-captain of West Indies’ squad for the upcoming 2019 ICC World Cup in England.

The 39-year-old opening batsman last held a Windies’ leadership role in 2010 when he captained the ODI squad and he will now serve as deputy to skipper Jason Holder in the World Cup.

Gayle has earlier announced his intentions to retire from international cricket post the culmination of the 2019 World Cup.

“It is always an honour to represent the West Indies in any format and this World Cup for me is special,” the left-hander said on his appointment.

“As a senior player it is my responsibility to support the captain and everyone else in the team.

“This will probably be the biggest World Cup, so there will be great expectations and I know we will do very well for the people of the West Indies.”

While Gayle will deputise in the World Cup, young wicketkeeper batsman Shai Hope has been named as the side’s vice-captain for the ongoing ODI tri-series in Ireland.

“It’s a tremendous honour to be appointed vice captain for this series here in Ireland,” said Hope.

“Ahead of this tournament I was asked to take on this role and I was happy to accept. Anything I’m asked to do for West Indies cricket I’m always happy and willing to put my hand up, so this is great,” he added.

Windies had earlier opened their tri-series campaign against Ireland on Sunday with a 196-run win and are in action again on Tuesday against Bangladesh.

The Caribbean side will open their 2019 World Cup campaign on May 31 when they take on Pakistan at Trent Bridge.

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Chris Morris replaces injured Anrich Nortje in South Africa's World Cup squad

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Chris Morris.

All-rounder Chris Morris has been drafted into South Africa‘s 15-man World Cup squad following a hand injury to fast bowler Anrich Nortje.

Nortje is facing six to eight weeks on the sidelines, ruling him out of the global 50-over competition in England and Wales this summer, after fracturing his thumb during net practice.

Morris earned the last of his 34 one-day international caps in February last year but his ability to star with both ball and bat has seen him called up as Nortje’s replacement.

Cricket South Africa national selection panel convener Linda Zondi said: “Chris has always been in our plans and is our next best option with the ball.

“He has the pace and death-bowling skills which will be vital in the UK, and also gives us that depth as a deadly finisher with the bat.

“Admittedly, the injuries ahead of the tournament have been frustrating but I continue to have confidence that the players we have selected will make the country proud.”

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England v Pakistan ODIs: Mohammad Amir seeks redemption as big guns return

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Mohammad Amir.

England got their home season off to the best possible start by easing to a seven-wicket win over No1 team Pakistan in the one-off T20 in Cardiff.

With all the focus on the World Cup that begins at the end of the month, even the T20 game was seen as part of the build-up to the showpiece event.

It was England who prevailed, chasing 174, with captain Eoin Morgan hitting an unbeaten fifty and getting into some much-needed form heading into World Cup season.

Ahead of the first of five ODIs in London on Wednesday, we take a look at the main talking points.

Another chance for Amir

Left-arm pacer Mohammad Amir didn’t get to feature in the T20 but the ODIs have clearly been earmarked as his audition for an entry in the World Cup squad he has been omitted from.

Amir deservedly lost his spot in the ODI team after failing to pick up wickets for the best part of the year. But given his experience and performances in England, the team management have decided to provide him another opportunity.

His exploits in the 2017 Champions Trophy final against India can’t easily be forgotten. However, it is also true that since that final where he picked up three wickets, Amir has taken only five scalps in 14 ODIs and has gone wicketless in nine.

Archer v Hasnain

archer-hasnain

The one-off T20 saw out-and-out quicks Jofra Archer and Mohammad Hasnain test the limits of the speed gun. While Archer was the most successful pacer on the day with two wickets, Hasnain impressed with some sizzling yorkers.

The ODIs, however, will be the bigger test as sustaining pace across 10 overs and surviving a death overs assault will show which of the two can be burdened with bigger responsibilities next month.

Archer didn’t make it to the original World Cup squad but barring a monumental failure in the ODIs, is seen as a guaranteed late addition.

Big guns return

For England, the real heavy hitters are back in the mix, which can only be bad news for Pakistan. Wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, all-rounder Ben Stokes along with top-order heavyweight Jason Roy form a deadly batting line-up. And we are not even talking about Joe Root or captain Morgan.

But while England’s batting line-up seems to run right down to the 12th man, the same can’t be said about its pace attack which seems a bit light with only Archer adding some edge. The form of spinners Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali will also be crucial to the team’s plans as the batting line-up can’t be expected to score 400 every match.

Likely XIs

England: Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (c), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (wk), Moeen Ali, Jofra Archer, Liam Plunkett, Tom Curran, Adil Rashid

Pakistan: Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Asif Ali, Sarfaraz Ahmed (c and wk), Imad Wasim, Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Hasnain

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