West Indies vs ICC Rest Of The World XI: Match Preview

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West Indies cricketers celebrate after the dismissal of Pakistani batsman Fakhar Zaman during the second Twenty20 (T20) International cricket match between Pakistan and West Indies at the National Cricket Stadium in Karachi on April 2, 2018. Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed won the toss and opted to bat in the second Twenty20 international against the West Indies in Karachi. / AFP PHOTO / ASIF HASSAN (Photo credit should read ASIF HASSAN/AFP/Getty Images)

West Indies vs ICC Rest Of The World XI: Match Preview

I am going to be reporting live on the West Indies vs ICC Rest Of The World XI match at Lord’s. In anticipation of this I have written a preview looking ahead to this exciting contest.

Not long ago I was sitting in a press conference at Lord’s with the West Indies captain Jason Holder. A few days earlier news of the rampant Hurricane Irma spread and we were beginning to understand the extent of the damage. A softly spoken Holder said ‘all we can do is pray’ and was evidently distraught at the vast impact of the storm. Holder also remarked that their immediate concern was over the safety of their friends and family.

However, in the wake of the storm, it became clear that there was significant damage done to the infrastructure of the country. This even extended to cricket facilities and stadiums. Five stadiums were damaged, with the most notable being the Sir Viv Richards Stadium in Antigua – an international venue.

Therefore, in order to aid the restoration of the stadiums, the ICC have decided to organise a T20 charity match between the West Indies side and an ICC Rest Of The World XI. A statement on the Lord’s website confirmed that “The proceeds from the match will go towards the restoration of the cricket grounds in the Caribbean following the passage of Hurricanes Irma and Maria last year”.

In order to raise the profile and drum up support for this fantastic cause, the ICC have announced a star-studded squad to take on the West Indies.

The ICC Rest Of The World XI Squad: The Perfect Balance Of Youth And Experience

England white-ball captain Eoin Morgan is set to captain the ICC side. He is the only Englishman to feature in the squad. The squad is composed of players from all over the world:

Eoin Morgan (Captain) (ENG)
Tamim Iqbal (BAN)
Shoaib Malik (PAK)
Hardik Pandya (IND)
Luke Ronchi (NZ)
Shahid Afridi (PAK)
Dinesh Karthik (IND)
Thisara Perera (SL)
Rashid Khan (AFG)
Mitchell McClenaghan (NZ)
Sandeep Lamichhane (NEP)

There is a vast amount of experience on offer. Shahid Afridi, the veteran Pakistan all-rounder, is one of the most experienced T20I players the game has ever seen. Dinesh Karthik, Tamim Iqbal, Mitchell McClenaghan and Thisara Perera all have played T20 cricket extensively and all over the world. These headline stars make the squad standout on paper.
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However, it is the balance of these veterans with the promising you talents of Rashid Khan and Sandeep Lamichhane that makes this squad so special. Khan, just nineteen years of age, has taken the cricketing world by storm after bamboozling established batsmen in all formats of the game. The Afghan leg-spinner has taken a phenomenal 100 wickets in the 44 ODIs he has played and has a T20I economy rate of sub six. No one can doubt his incredible talent.

Partnering him in the spin department is the equally exciting prospect Sandeep Lamicchane. Lamicchane is the only player from an Associate Nation, Nepal, to feature in the squad. The seventeen year-old leg-spinner stole the headlines after he earned an IPL contract with the Delhi Daredevils. He took five wickets in the three matches he played, notably taking 3/36 against a very strong Mumbai Indians side.

This tantalising blend of young blood and old experience compliment each other perfect in a fantastic reciprocal structure. This ICC World XI side promises to be entertaining to watch.

One weakness, perhaps, is a lack of recognised batsmen. They have a lot of all-rounders in their side, providing their batting with a lot of depth, but they don’t have many specialist batsmen. Their top order could look like this:

  1. Tamim Iqbal
  2. Luke Ronchi
  3. Eoin Morgan
  4. Dinesh Karthik
  5. Shoaib Malik

After this you are into the all-rounders Hardik Pandya and Shahid Afridi. Nevertheless, they have the firepower and depth to put on a great show.

Can The West Indies Beat Them?

The West Indies will be greatly boosted by the fact that they have Chris Gayle and Andre Russell back in their squad. The conflict between the West Indies Player Association and the West Indies Cricket Board has meant that the West Indies had been unable to field a full strength side for several years. However, the squad they have chosen for this match is almost the strongest possible squad they could have picked:

Samuel Badree
Carlos Brathwaite (Captain)
Rayad Emrit
Andre Fletcher
Chris Gayle
Evin Lewis
Ashley Nurse
Keemo Paul
Rovman Powell
Danesh Ramdin (wicket-keeper)
Andre Russell
Marlon Samuels
Kesrick Williams

Their captain is Carlos “remember the name” Brathwaite who rose to fame after launching Ben Stokes for four consecutive sixes in the final of the T20 World Cup in India. However, since then, his form has not actually been that good and he has not had as great an impact as one would have expected. This could be a good chance for him to enjoy the spotlight once again.
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Their top-order is going to be incredibly strong. Chris Gayle needs no introduction and it is likely that he will be partnered by Evin Lewis at the very top of the order. Lewis did not have that successful an IPL for the Mumbai Indians, but his T20I strike rate of over 150 pays testament to his ability to strike the ball. Supported by the equally devastating Marlon Samuels and Andre Fletcher, this West Indies side could win the game on their batting alone.

In terms of their bowling, leg-spinner Samuel Badree is always threatening. Badree held the position of the number one T20 bowler in the world for a considerable amount of time (currently ranked fifth) and his statistics pay fitting tribute to this. In 48 T20Is, Badree has taken 54 wickets at an economy rate of just over six.

This West Indies side has the potential to match the ICC Rest of the World XI and it is likely to be a very even contest.

Main Photo:
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