FORMER West Indies fast bowler Tony Gray said the region is experiencing an "explosion" of fast bowling talent, after seeing the regional side demolish England twice and clinch the three-match test series.
West Indies won the second Test last Saturday by ten wickets at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Ground in Antigua. They won the 1st Test by 381 runs in Barbados.
Gray said West Indies must ensure that we continue to develop our fast bowlers for years to come.
The regional pace quartet Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel, Jason Holder and Alzarri Joseph have all had moments of brilliance in the series in which England batsmen have looked vulnerable to pace and bounce.
Three of the Windies pacers are now ranked in the top 12 in the International Cricket Council (ICC) rankings.
Holder, the number one-ranked all-rounder in the world, jumped four spots in the bowlers rankings and now lies on a career-best sixth place.
The Windies captain also reached 778 rating points – the highest by a West Indies bowler since legendary speedster Courtney Walsh retired 18 years ago.
Holder followed up his unbeaten double century in the first Test in Bridgetown with an outstanding performance with the ball in the second innings of the second Test in Antigua.
It was his spell after lunch that broke the backbone of the England batting and helped send them crashing for 132 all out in their second innings.
He finished with four wickets while Roach, who destroyed the middle and lower order, also claimed four to end with an eight-wicket match haul.
That performance saw Roach leap eight spots in the rankings to 12th just behind new-ball partner Shannon Gabriel who rose one spot to 11th.
The trio’s presence in the top 12 marks the first time in 23 years that three Caribbean bowlers have been ranked so highly on the ICC charts.
Gray said yesterday, "I think it is absolutely fantastic, because what you are not doing is depending on one or two bowlers."
Gray, who played five Tests and 26 ODIs in the 1980s, said what excites him about the West Indies pacers is that each brings different skills to the team.
"You have Kemar Roach who swings the ball, he has gotten a lot more consistent now and he can bowl around the wicket and against the left-handers – he is brilliant and a handful. You have Shannon Gabriel with his pace and hostility and I think a lot of the world's batsmen are sceptical about his bounce and pace once he gets it right. You have Holder with his height and the bounce that he gets, but he is much more consistent and the movement off the wicket both ways. And then you have Alzarri Joseph who again has shown mental stability," Gray said.
A veteran of 122 first class matches with 451 wickets, Gray said he is delighted to see a number of fast bowlers waiting for an opportunity to get on the team as well.
"There is an explosion of fast bowling talent. If you look at Oshane Thomas for example, (Shermon) Lewis that went to India, Anderson Phillip who got a hat-trick against Jamaica bowling really well and fast and Odean Smith, who can bowl at 115 miles per hour, he just has to improve gradually. We have an explosion of fast bowlers coming through. If you look at the best teams ever in the world they always had at least three or four fast bowlers. It is imperatively necessary that we continue to develop our fast bowling power and strength," he said,
Discussing the series win, Gray said there have been signs that West Indies were capable of winning a series against a top team such as England, after drawing the three-match Test series against Sri Lanka 1-1 last year. "I feel real good (about the series win). I feel that we are coming through now, (but) we have not turned the corner yet but you have seen signs. When we beat Sri Lanka here at the Queen's Park Oval just last year, you saw signs that the team was coming together. I think that Jason Holder has done a marvellous job in the way he has gone about things," Gray said.
FORMER West Indies and national cricketer Tony Gray has been retained by the executive of the TT Cricket Board (TTCB) as chairman of the national selection panel for the 2019-2020 season.
An outstanding fast bowler in his heyday, Gray got the unanimous vote of confidence when the TTCB executive met on Thursday at the National Cricket Centre in Balmain, Couva to finalise the technical teams for the men's Red Force squad, and three national age group teams.
Also back are Mervyn Dillon as coach and David Furlonge as manager/assistant coach for their second year in charge of the Red Force cricketers.
Gray, who is now a respected cricket commentator, will have at his disposal on the senior selection panel, the knowledge and experience of former national players Mahadeo Bodoe, Rajendra Mangalie and Keno Mason.
The TTCB executive, headed by president Azim Bassarath also appointed Furlonge, the Queen's Park Cricket Club coach, as chairman of the Under-19 national selectors. Also on the panel are Deonarine Deyal, Gibran Mohammed and former West Indies wicketkeeper/batsman David Williams.
Making his debut at the national level will be Amin Forgenie, a recently elected National League representative who was selected as coach, while Tobago Cricket Association president Kerwin John, also the TTCB second vice-president, returns as team manager.
In the national Under-17 set-up, former national cricketer Aneal Rajah keeps the chairmanship of the panel which also includes Randy Ramjit, Altaf Baksh and John Pollard.
And, in a reversal of roles, veteran national cricketer Rayad Emrit, currently playing for the St Kitts/Nevis Patriots in the Caribbean Premier League T20, has agreed to coach the Under-17 team in the forthcoming season after managing the squad in the 2019 Rising Stars CWI regional tournament.
Also, Bhim Saugh has been kept as the chairman of the Under-15 national selectors and will be joined by Eugene Antoine and Marlon Richards, two former national pace bowlers, along with experienced youth coach Glen Dwarika.
Also retained are manager Kelvin Mohammed and Tobago's Brian Browne (coach) - under whom TT captured their only championship in the 2019 Rising Stars CWI regional tournament.
Bassarath expressed his thanks, on behalf of the TTCB, to all those who served during the past season as technical officers of the respective teams and said he looked forward to a resurgence of fortunes of local cricket especially from the national team in the Regional Four-Day Tournament.
He said he was heartened by the enthusiastic interest shown by the former national cricketers who have put up their hand to help rejuvenate local cricket and he is optimistic that they will make a big difference with their input at all levels.
At the board executive meeting a minute's silence was also observed at the passing of Narine Ragoo, the longtime Wanderers Cricket Club captain who also played for TT. Ragoo counted among his peers on the cricket field the John brothers - Leo and Neville; Nyron Asgarali, Harry Ramoutar and Randolph Ramatali.
Theresa May "enamoured" with Tony Gray (go to last paragraph). Well, I had to laugh. ;-) Vb
Theresa May: Cricket-loving British leader with impact on India Theresa May, set to become Britain’s second woman prime minister, is known as a tough, no-nonsense home secretary who does not do small talk. WORLD Updated: Jul 12, 2016 18:28 IST Prasun Sonwalkar Prasun Sonwalkar Hindustan Times New Conservative Party leader Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street in London on Tuesday after attending Prime Minister David Cameron's last Cabinet meeting. May, the incoming premier, is preparing to form a new government to deliver Brexit.
New Conservative Party leader Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street in London on Tuesday after attending Prime Minister David Cameron's last Cabinet meeting. May, the incoming premier, is preparing to form a new government to deliver Brexit.(AFP)
Who exactly is Theresa May, soon to be the second British woman prime minister who may have an equally historic influence as the first, Margaret Thatcher? May visited India only once in 2012, but has already had much impact on the country and its citizens.
The tall, lanky and seemingly shy MP from Maidenhead is known as a tough, no-nonsense home secretary who does not do small talk – former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg dealt with her often but always came away reinforcing his vision of her as an “ice maiden”.
Oxford-educated May, 59, has had the longest tenure in a century, of over six years, in the Home Office, which is seen as the graveyard of many political careers. And no home secretary has had more impact on sensitive issues such as immigration and terrorism than May.
Prime Minister David Cameron laid considerable emphasis on India since 2010 – he travelled to the country three times – while May visited once, addressing top officers in the National Police Academy in Hyderabad in November 2012, and mentioning how she incorporated the lessons of the 2008 Mumbai attacks in Britain’s security forces.
As prime minister, May is expected to continue Cameron’s focus on India, particularly given that the Brexit camp privileged trade ties with India, China and the Commonwealth after leaving the European Union. May often quietly attends Indian festivals in Maidenhead.
Conservative MP Alok Sharma told Hindustan Times: “Theresa May is a hugely respected and experienced politician who recognises the fantastic potential for significantly increasing bi-lateral trade between the UK and India. I am absolutely confident that in Theresa May, India will find a very good friend and speaking partner with a real can-do attitude.”
He added: “Having myself worked for some time on the joint agenda of Indian companies and PSUs raising finance in London, not least through the issue of rupee denominated ‘masala’ bonds, I very much hope that both governments will continue to focus on this key and mutually beneficial economic priority and we will together deliver on the mantra ‘Make in India, Finance in London’.”
But even if May did not engage much in parliamentary debates on issues related to India since 2010, she has had much impact on the country, mainly in the area of immigration. In 2013, she infuriated New Delhi by including India in a list of five countries whose citizens were to be subjected to a visa bond of £3000 to be refunded after they returned to their countries.
The scheme was dropped in November 2013, but her intention to clamp down on immigration was already clear. In April 2012, she closed the post-study work visa, which was popular among self-financing Indian students, and which was one of the key reasons for a major drop in the number of Indian students coming to British universities.
May received much praise for closing down bogus colleges that enrolled a large number of Indian and other non-EU students, many of whom had objectives other than studies. May has since resisted much pressure from universities and others to ease curbs on student visas.
Earlier this year, May dropped the pro-Khalistan International Sikh Youth Federation from the list of banned organisations in a move that “disappointed” New Delhi, while she continued to delay deciding on the extradition of wanted Indians such as Tiger Hanif, who has made a final representation to her to avoid extradition after exhausting all legal avenues.
Two other May measures affecting thousands of Indians are the imposition of salary thresholds for those seeking permanent residence after a five-year stay, and for British nationals seeking to bring non-EU spouses to the country; the second threshold affecting what are called “Skype families” is currently facing legal challenge.
Thousands of Indians were also affected earlier this year when her department took action – including deportation but ultimately struck down in court – after flaws in an English-language test centre were extrapolated to all who had taken the mandatory exam for visa purposes, and cancelled their results.
Outside of politics, May and her husband Philip John May are known to be keen cricket fans. They were introduced at an Oxford Conservative disco by former Pakistan prime minister Benazir Bhutto in 1976, which was May’s first year at university.
May’s cricket hero is Geoff Boycott, the dour Yorkshireman who was the scourge of bowlers around the world during his time – and that says something about her. She was also enamoured of the tall West Indian speedster Tony Gray. Her love of cooking and bold shoe designs is well known.