Brathwaite hails new ‘beginning’ as Windies move up to 6th in Test ranking

Kraigg Brathwaite

LONDON  – Captain Kraigg Brathwaite  says West Indies  are now beginning to write a new chapter of their history after the Caribbean side climbed to sixth in the International Cricket Council Test team rankings – their highest ever ranking in almost a decade.

In the latest annual ICC update  last week, West Indies had jumped two places to sixth, gaining three ratings points to move to 84 points and leapfrog both South Africa and Sri Lanka.

The results come on the backs of a 2-0 whitewash of Bangladesh in Dhaka back in March and a drawn two-Test series against Sri Lanka in the Caribbean last month.

Reacting to the news, the recently appointed Brathwaite said he was “very proud” of the unit but stressed it was important they continued to build on the good work over the last couple of series.

 “I’m obviously very proud of the team to have jumped two places up on the Test rankings,” the opener said from England where he is representing Gloucestershire in the County Championship.

“I think this is just the beginning of good things to come. As a group it shows us that we can go up the ladder and it’s just a matter for us to keep working hard and keep that mindset and keep that belief.

“And attitude to doing everything is always crucial and once we keep that up [we will keep progressing].”

Meanwhile, India have remained top of the pile on 121 points after gaining a single point, and are narrowly ahead of New Zealand (120) who the face shortly in the World Test Championship final.

England are third on 109 points with Australia one point back in fourth and Pakistan fifth on 94 points.

South Africa’s seventh place ranking equals their lowest ever spot in the ICC charts.

West Indies brace for South Africa, Aussies, Pakistan in hectic home schedule

Kraigg Brathwaite

Cricket West Indies on Friday announced a hectic international home itinerary for the remainder of the year, with South Africa, Australia and Pakistan scheduled to play a myriad of Tests, One-Day Internationals and Twenty20 Internationals across five countries in the space of three months.

South Africa will arrive in June for two Tests in St Lucia and five T20 Internationals in Grenada, kicking off the schedule which will mark one of the busiest domestic programmes in recent memory.

In July, Australia will then engage the home side in five T20Is in St Lucia and three ODIs in Barbados, which will then host the first two T20Is of the five-match series against Pakistan, with Guyana staging the last three.

Jamaica will lower the curtain on the international schedule by putting on two Tests against Pakistan in August.

The tours will take place in the now customary bio-secure bubble amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and CWI chief executive Johnny Grave described the undertaking as “enormous”.

“Following the successful hosting of the all-format series against Sri Lanka earlier this year, we are delighted to announce that we are set to welcome South Africa, Australia and Pakistan to the West Indies,” Greaves said in a statement.

“To host three international teams back-to-back in five territories is unprecedented, and putting these fixtures together was an enormous COVID-related logistical challenge.

“We must thank the visiting teams for agreeing to travel at this challenging period for world cricket and we are especially grateful to our regional Governments who are playing such a vital role in partnering with CWI to ensure that International cricket can be hosted safely, while providing entertainment for our loyal fans and income for our cricketers and cricket communities.”

Sri Lanka’s Test and white-ball tour of the Caribbean in March was played in Antigua behind closed doors but CWI said it had not yet decided whether there would be in-house attendance for any of the upcoming fixtures.

“All players, support staff and match officials will stay, train and play in a bio-secure environment, with regular COVID-19 PCR testing taking place with assistance from Ministries of Health and from CARPHA,” CWI added.

South Africa will play back-to-back Tests from June 10-22 at the Darren Sammy National Stadium in Gros Islet before featuring in five T20Is at the Grenada National Stadium from June 26 to July 3.

The five-match T20I series against Australia will run from July 9-16 in Gros Islet while the three ODIs in Barbados will be played at Kensington Oval from July 20-24.

From July 27 to August 3, Pakistan will clash with the hosts in the five-match T20I rubber before the series concludes at Sabina Park in Jamaica with two Tests from August 12-24.

Ireland’s white ball tour in January last year was the lone international series staged in the Caribbean during 2020 as the raging COVID-19 pandemic forced CWI to scrap all remaining engagements.