'It's one of the things we've been desperate to fix' - failing opening partnerships remain big concern for Simmons

By Sports Desk June 15, 2021

West Indies coach Phil Simmons has insisted the team’s lack of productive opening partnerships continues to be a major concern.

While poor all-around batting display was the order of the day in a lopsided loss against South Africa in the first Test, the West Indies, as has become customary, had another slow start at the top of the innings.

The opening pair of captain Kraigg Brathwaite and recently recalled Shai Hope only managed to put 30 on the board in the first innings, with Brathwaite then partnering with another recalled batsman, Kieran Powell, to combine for 21 in the second innings.

Prior to this series, however, Brathwaite and opening partner John Campbell has had an average stuck at around the 22 mark for the last several series played.  Campbell has been ruled out of the current series with an injury.

On the back of the lopsided defeat to South Africa, Simmons insists it is an area the team is desperate to fix.

“It’s one of the things we have been desperately trying to work on because if you look back, a lot of times when we win Test matches against top teams, we have good opening stands,” Simmons recently told members of the media.

“It’s disappointing because when you look at the last 7 Test 100s scored by an opener, I think they were all scored by Kraigg.  So, it’s disappointing for us and we are trying to work very hard on that,” he added.

 

 

 

 

 

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     In just two days, team Jamaica has received news of two unexpected injury blows to start the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

    2018 Commonwealth Games steeplechase champion, Aisha Praught Leer, has revealed via social media that she injured her left knee in training on Sunday, which later turned out to be a torn meniscus.

    The athlete will, however, still attempt to compete at the Games after taking an injection to the joint.

    "I will line up in Tokyo.  When I arrive I will get fluid drained from my knee and take a cortisone injection (this is legal, and my surgeon understands and supports me in this)

    The unfortunate injury occurred during what she described as one of the ‘best workouts’ of her life.  The athlete explained that she felt excruciating pain as if something had torn.

    “I tore my meniscus (a complete, off the bone root tear) on Sunday at training—a freak, shocking accident. I heard and felt a painful pop doing a drill but then proceeded to do one of the best workouts of my life. On Wednesday I got an MRI, then sat in quiet disbelief with Joe Bosshard as the doctor told us I need surgery ASAP.”

    The always-smiling athlete is scheduled to compete in the 1500m that is set to get underway on Sunday, at 7:35 pm.  Naturally, she is heartbroken because she will not be able to compete at her maximum ability.

    “I want to keep believing in the possibility of achieving the wild dreams I store deep in my heart. The reality is they will not happen in Tokyo—running to my ability is simply not possible on a knee without stability. This is the most challenging reality I have faced in my career,” Praught Leer said.

    “We did nothing wrong. As I said, this was a freak accident. But now all of my silent work, the beautiful, hard-earned fitness, does not have a chance to see the light of day. The triumph I have visualized so vividly is—poof—gone in one step,” Leer lamented.

    Although she understands that unexpected injuries are a part of sports, it is still a tough reality for her to accept.

    “I understand this is sport—just sport. I know the truth that I am more than an athlete. But this sport means everything to me. This is my life’s work, my purpose, and my first true love. I am heartbroken.”

    The athlete, who created history, being the first Jamaican to win gold in the steeplechase event at the Commonwealth Games, insists she will be proud to represent the country despite not being in top shape. 

    “You will see me smiling in Tokyo with Jamaica on my chest because the honour of representing my country is one of the greatest I’ve had in my little life.”

    On Thursday, news broke that gymnast Danusia Francis had suffered an injury to her left knee, which later turned out to be a torn ACL.  Francis will not be able to compete in her events.  She will, however, symbolically take part in the Uneven Bars event but will not attempt a dismount.

     

     

     

  • Francis unsure of when she sustained competition-ending knee injury - remains proud to wear Jamaican flag Francis unsure of when she sustained competition-ending knee injury - remains proud to wear Jamaican flag

    Jamaica gymnast Danusia Francis is unsure of when she sustained a competition-ending knee injury, and will only be able to symbolically compete in Saturday’s competition, but insists she remains proud to represent the country regardless.

    The 27-year-old was diagnosed with a torn ACL on Friday and will now only take part in the Athletics Gymnastics Uneven Bars event at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.  Even so, the gymnast will not be able to fully compete as she will be unable to do a dismount routine.

     “I hope to do some sort of bar routine just to get a score on the board but without a dismount, it won’t be a competitive score, but I’ll be happy to see Jamaica represented at the Olympic Games and I still feel very proud to be wearing the Jamaican flag,” Francis told the press.

    “The knee, I think, is getting worse and worse, so I can’t really tell you the exact time when the ligament damage occurred, but I found out today what it actually was and it will drastically affect my competition, unfortunately.”

      The Artistic Gymnastics competition is set to start tomorrow with the Uneven Bars finals for women taking place on Sunday.  The athlete will miss out on competing on the Balance Beam, Floor Exercise, and Vault.

     The gymnast admits the injury had come as a huge blow.

    “I’m really upset to have hurt myself. I have been so prepared for this competition mentally and physically up to this point so to, at the last hurdle, be injured is disappointing. Luckily, the medics have taken really good care of me and I’m sure they will continue to do so.”

     

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