ST JOHN’S, Antigua, (CMC):Legendary former pacer Sir Curtly Ambrose says tweaks need to be made to the controversial eligibility rule in order to have the best players available for West Indies duty.Sir Curtly, who currently serves as a West Indies team bowling consultant, said while he appreciated the objective of the rule, the overall focus should be on ensuring that the region always fielded its best XI.”I still believe that there are a few guys out there who I believe can play the ODIs and the Test cricket but there are criteria that you have to play the first-class cricket here in the region to be selected or eligible for Test cricket, and you have to also play the regional one-day tournament to play for the ODI [team],” Ambrose said.”I can understand that because you must have some structure, but I still believe that we should be looking to get our best team.”I am not saying guys should just walk into the team willy-nilly, but if there is a situation where guys are available and we are looking to get our best team, I still believe we should get them in.”Currently, the West Indies Cricket Board requires players to make themselves available for the Regional First Class Championship in order to qualify for the Test team. Similarly, players need to play the Regional Super50 if they are to be considered for selection for ODIs.However, many of the leading players like Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo, AndrÈ Russell, Darren Sammy, and Sunil Narine all ply their trade in Twenty20 tournaments across the globe, often conflicting with the scheduling of Caribbean tournaments.For instance, the Australian Big Bash clashed with the Regional Super50 last January, and West Indies players opted for the T20 tournament.Weakened squadThis means that West Indies are likely to have a weakened squad for the upcoming Tri-Series in June involving South Africa and Australia.Sir Curtly, one of the finest fast bowlers the sport has seen, advocates for a better relationship between the players and administrators in order to address the many existing issues.”If you have a better relationship or a great relationship, I believe the cricket will get better because guys will go to play cricket feeling relaxed, knowing that their business off the field is being taken care of, so all they have to worry about is playing cricket,” the Antiguan said.”I honestly believe a better relationship between board and players will change our cricket and make it better.”
NEW DELHI, India (CMC):West Indies opener Dwayne Smith stroked an up tempo half-century, while seamer Dwayne Bravo remained calm under pressure to bowl a decent final over as Gujarat Lions held on to beat Delhi Daredevils by a single run in the Indian Premier League here yesterday.Playing at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium, Lions piled up 172 for six after being sent in, with the right-handed Smith carving out 53 and opening partner Brendan McCullum top-scoring with 60.In reply, South African Chris Morris hammered a career-best unbeaten 82 to get the hosts within touching distance of their target.However, with 14 runs required from the final over, Bravo managed to hold his nerve and see the visitors over the line.The victory was Lions’ fifth in six outings and it pushed them top of the standings on 10 points, two ahead of the chasing Kolkata Knight Riders. Delhi, meanwhile, remained third on six points.FLYING STARTSmith and McCullum gave Lions a flying start, putting on 112 off 64 deliveries.In only his second game of the IPL, Smith faced 30 deliveries and clobbered five fours and three sixes, while New Zealander McCullum hit six sixes and three sixes in a 36-ball knock.Smith eventually fell in the 11th over when he missed one from leg-spinner Imran Tahir, which skidded on and was lbw. His wicket signalled a collapse, which saw six wickets tumble from 30 runs.Seamer Dhawal Kulkarni then grabbed three wickets to stun Delhi and leave them on 16 for three in the fourth over before Morris and JP Duminy, with 48 off 43 balls, came to their rescue. Morris faced only 32 balls and slammed four fours and eight sixes, while Duminy hit three fours and a six off 43 deliveries.Bravo claimed one for 40 from his four overs, but more important, managed to keep Morris quiet in the final over.