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Former West Indies board president Pat Rousseau dies aged 85

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Patrick Rousseau, the former president of Cricket West Indies, died on Tuesday in Jamaica. Rousseau, who hailed from Jamaica, was aged 85 and succumbed to a long illness.

An attorney-at-law by profession, Rousseau was at the helm of Caribbean cricket between 1996 and 2001. He was seen as one of the visionary cricket administrators, responsible for providing a professional structure to, in addition to initiating the corporatisation of, the West Indies Cricket Board, as it was called then.

A multi-faceted personality, Rousseau, who was awarded with the Order of Jamaica, was instrumental in the West Indies board’s successful bid to host the 2007 World Cup. He also launched the first professional cricket academy in the Caribbean in Grenada. He brought on board Chris Dehring as the board’s marketing head and the pair struck a lucrative broadcast deal with Sky TV that played a role in the development of cricket in the region.

Rousseau created the most headlines around the turn of the millennium, as he led the board’s uncompromising stance against the players, who went on strike in 1998 before the South Africa tour. On the tour, West Indies lost the Test series 5-0 followed by another humiliation in the ODI leg which they lost 6-1 and questions were raised about Brian Lara’s captaincy.

During transit, en route to South Africa, Lara led a revolt against the board asking for better financial incentives. An agreement was eventually reached and Lara, too, was retained as captain for the home series against Australia in March 1999. Lara was, however, told his performance was being monitored and he would be given performance targets. Malcolm Marshall and Clive Lloyd also lost their positions eventually as coach and manager respectively.

In March 2000, Lloyd was replaced by a business executive from St Kitts, Ricky Skerritt who, recently was elected as the CWI president. Incidentally, Skerritt’s tenure would be short-lived, extending to only five series before he was dismissed halfway through his three-year contract in 2001. Rousseau, at the time, had said that his board believed in making changes “till we get the thing working efficiently.”

Rudi Webster, who worked as psychologist with various West Indies teams, including Lloyd’s, was a close friend of Rousseau. After Rousseau’s death, Webster recounted the turbulent relations between the West Indies board and Lara’s team.

“His great insight into reality was on display after the West Indies’ disastrous tour of South Africa where the players were reluctant to surrender part of their individual interests to build a platform on which the performance of the team and the revival of West Indies cricket could be built,” Webster said. “Back home, Brian Lara’s captaincy and position in the team were under close scrutiny.

“Pat told me that neither he nor any of his board members had the skills to manage the situation successfully and asked if I would consider helping Brian during that period of crisis. He knew that Lara would go down in history as one of the world’s greatest batsmen and did not wish to place any roadblocks in the way. His strategy succeeded and Lara and his team performed amazingly well against the Australians here in the West Indies.”

In a media statement, Skerritt praised Rousseau for being a “mentor” to many. “Pat was a strong man, always very focussed and determined,” Skerritt said. “He was a sharp legal and business mind, and it was reflected during his time in charge of the organisation between 1996 and 2001. Pat was also the driving force behind the incorporation of the WICB in November 1998 – starting the transformation of the organisation into becoming a more corporate operation – and the permanent relocation of the Corporate Headquarters to Antigua.”

In a statement released by the ICC, the governing body’s chief executive, Manu Sawhney, said: “The death of Mr. Rousseau is sad news for the cricket world. His contribution in the game’s management has been widely acknowledged. He led cricket administration in the West Indies very capably and was a respected member of the ICC Board. It was with great sadness that we learnt of his death. On behalf of the ICC, I would like to offer our heartfelt condolences to his friends and family and to our colleagues at the CWI.”



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Kohli pleased with India’s lower-order fightback

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India’s fightback after being reduced to 39 for 4 was the positive Virat Kohli chose to look back after their emphatic loss to New Zealand in their first warm-up fixture at The Oval. In the absence of Vijay Shankar and Kedar Jadhav, India found a savior in Ravindra Jadeja, who top scored with a 50-ball 54 to haul India to 179.

Jadeja added 62 with Kuldeep Yadav for the eight wicket, allowing India to reach the 40-over mark, a prospect that looked unlikely when Trent Boult ran through the top order. Hardik Pandya’s brisk 30 led a brief revival, only for the innings to stutter again until Jadeja guided the lower order.

“Very good,” Kohli said of the lower-order contributions at the post-match presentation. “I mean, the one thing we spoke about in a tournament like the World Cup is, you could easily have your top order out for not too many, so the lower order has to look forward to that and I think Hardik [Pandya] batted really well. MS [Dhoni] absorbs the pressure really well and [Ravindra] Jadeja got a few runs as well, so I think from that point of view, we got a lot out of this game, which is what we wanted to. The lower order getting some runs that was the biggest positive.”

Kohli assessed the surface wasn’t as bowler-friendly in the second innings, after Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor put on a century stand to deflate India. New Zealand sealed victory with six wickets in hand and nearly 13 overs to spare.

“It’s going to be very different from batting second and we saw that in this [game] in the later half of our innings as well,” he said. “I think we bowled it in the right areas, they were going at about four, four-and-a-half, which I think we would take any day in a tournament where the pitches are going to be good. If we can keep hitting those areas consistently, which I think we did with the new ball and the spinners as well, we’re going to be fine with that bowling attack.”



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Recent Match Report – Hampshire vs Somerset, Royal London One-Day Cup, Final

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Innings break Hampshire 243 for 8 (Northeast 56, Fuller 55*, J Overton 3-48) v Somerset

Royal London Cup holders Hampshire face a task on their hands with the ball if they are to retain the trophy after scrapping their way to 243 for 8. Shorn of three of the mainstays of their campaign by World Cup call-ups, a pair of half-centuries from Sam Northeast and James Fuller was as good as it got after Hampshire had chosen to bat, as Jamie Overton, Josh Davey and Somerset captain Tom Abell shared seven wickets between them.

Hampshire’s batsmen struggled to impose themselves from the outset – perhaps unsurprising when two players of the calibre of James Vince and Aiden Markram, now with England and South Africa respectively, had been removed from the top three – and but for Fuller’s late salvo during a 64-run stand with No. 10 Mason Crane, they might have left Somerset a target below 200.

At around the time Hampshire lost their fourth wicket, Liam Dawson was coming on for his first bowl in England’s World Cup warm-up match at the Ageas Bowl. How Hampshire fans would have preferred to see him walking out to the middle at Lord’s, following a Royal London campaign in which he claimed 18 wickets and averaged 45 with the bat. Instead it was Gareth Berg, with a List A highest score of 75, who came out at No. 6 to join Northeast.

Boundaries were at a premium as Somerset’s bowlers bustled about their business – given the scoring rate, this could almost have been a final from 2001, when Somerset last won a 50-over trophy at Lord’s. Jamie Overton broke a 49-run stand when Berg picked out deep backward square and Hampshire’s hopes of an imposing target seemingly departed with Northeast as he hacked across line, patience exhausted, to be bowled by Abell for 56.

Abell had only delivered one over in the format previously but also hit Kyle Abbott’s stumps in a tidy spell, while Chris Wood fell tamely to Jamie Overton, before Fuller and Crane begged and stole what they could during the last ten overs. A pair of clean-struck blows beyond the ropes from Fuller in the final over – the only sixes of the innings – suggested the pitch had runs left in it at halfway.

Perhaps hoping to follow the template of their victory over Kent last year, Hampshire chose to bat beneath low-slung cloud on a humid morning at Lord’s. While not exactly a green nibbler in September, there was enough in the surface for Somerset’s battery of right-arm medium bowlers to take advantage of.

Anuerin Donald struck a couple of early boundaries before hitting Davey straight to cover and although Tom Alsop and Joe Weatherley resolved to play their way in, it was ultimately to no avail. Alsop was dropped by James Hildreth at slip on 16, but obligingly recreated the chance off Davey’s very next ball and this time the Somerset veteran clung on.

Lewis Gregory strove for similar virtues of line and length when replacing Craig Overton and he found enough movement back in to defeat a loose push and remove Weatherley’s off stump in his second over, with Hampshire an anaemic-looking 50 for 3.

There followed a volley of retaliatory boundaries as Rilee Rossouw – Man of the Match for his 125 here a year ago – and Northeast dashed off 46 in 6.3 overs. Rossouw introduced himself to Gregory with a brusque force through the covers and then a swat over mid-on for four more but, having barrelled to 28 off 17 balls, he fell to the extra pace of Jamie Overton, cramped into edging a back-foot drive on to his stumps.

The onus now rested heavily on Northeast, Hampshire’s stand-in captain, and he packed away the shots to reach an 85-ball half-century. However, Abell was to steal his Lord’s limelight and help leave his team well-placed in pursuit of a first limited-overs title since 2005.



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Mark Wood and Jofra Archer give England more injury scares during Australia warm-up | Cricket

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England’s World Cup hopes may have sustained a serious blow after injury scares to both of their fastest bowlers.

Mark Wood and Jofra Archer, the two men in the England squad who can regularly surpass 90 mph with the ball, were obliged to leave the pitch within minutes of one another in the opening hour of the warm-up match against Australia in Southampton.

First Wood, after one ball of his fourth over, stopped halfway through his run-up and left the pitch having indicated that he may have an issue with his calf. Just two balls later Archer, a surprising choice as substitute fielder for Wood, slid as he attempted to stop a ball on the midwicket boundary and appeared to sustain an injury. He left the pitch moments later.

It meant that Paul Collingwood, one of England’s assistant coaches, was briefly forced into service as a substitute fielder. Collingwood turns 43 tomorrow, and retired as a player at the end of the 2018 season. Joe Root, who was due to miss the game following the death of his grandfather on Thursday, was also pressed into service as a substitute fielder.

England are also without the injured pair of Eoin Morgan, who sustained a fractured finger in training on Friday, and Adil Rashid, who has a long-standing shoulder injury. They also confirmed that Chris Woakes, who is expected to open the bowling in the World Cup, was playing in this match as a specialist batsman and would not bowl as they seek to manage his even more long-standing knee problems.

The England camp are yet to advise on the seriousness of the injuries.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo


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