Retired track and field star Usain Bolt has encouraged up-and-coming athletes to embrace hard work and dedication to achieve their goals and not be tempted by the shortcut of performance-enhancing drugs.

The big Jamaican was easily the standard by which all other sprinters were measured, after putting together a dominant spell that lasted over a decade.  During that time Bolt claimed 8 Olympic and 11 World Championship gold medals, and in addition, set two records in the men’s 100m and 200m sprints that have stood untouched since 2009.

Perhaps more importantly, in a sport often riddled with doping controversy, the sprinter never failed a drug test.

"I tried to live a respectful life. I understood what it meant to show the world that it could be done so that younger kids can look up to me and say ‘Usain did all these good things without taking drugs’. It's all about hard work and dedication and a lot of people want to take short routes. I always wanted to be the best version of myself,” Bolt said in at a recent Hindustan Times Leadership Summit.

“So young athletes listen, it's all about dedication and hard work, it won't happen overnight,” the Jamaican added.   

As part of the solution, the sprinter believes stricter regulations could be considered to deter cheating.  

“We have tried everything in sports to eliminate doping. But I think we have to continue putting in more strict regulations to deter people from wanting to cheat."

 

 

 

West Indies middle-order batsman, Kyle Mayers, insists the team must keep the pressure on Sri Lanka if they aim to stay in with a chance of levelling the series heading into the fourth day.

Mayers dug in to put on a useful 36 from 64 balls as the Windies secured a narrow lead over the hosts at the end of their first innings, on the third day.

Resuming the day at 69 for 1, the Windies had a strong morning session, but the Sri Lanka spinners struck back to claim the team’s last seven wickets for just 87 runs. 

The Windies began the second innings with a narrow lead of 49 but kept the pressure on by striking twice with two exceptional runouts to leave the hosts at 46 for 2, at the end of the day’s play.  Mayers, who did his part by dismissing the dangerous Dimuth Karunaratne, insists the team must keep that attitude heading into tomorrow.

“We need to keep down the run rate and keep up the pressure,” Mayers said, following the end of play.

“We are ahead in the game now, so if we can stop them from scoring, runs are crucial heading into the last day.  The least amount of runs they get is the better it is for us,” he added.

“So, if we can keep the pressure on and squeeze some wicket out early tomorrow, first hour, I think we will be good.”

The trio of Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo, and Nicholas Pooran led a list of 9 West Indies players not retained by their respective Indian Premier League (IPL) teams ahead of the upcoming mega auction.

The 38-year-old Bravo, who has been with Chennai Super Kings since 2018, and previously spent four years with the franchise between 2011–2015, was a part of the team’s IPL-winning run last season.  Retention policies, however, forced the team to shed a few of the team’s veteran players.

In addition to Bravo, Faf du Plessis, Josh Hazlewood, Suresh Raina, and Cheteshwar Pujara were also among those released.  In the meantime, the team retained MS Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja, Moeen Ali, and Ruturaj Gaikwad.

Gayle, Pooran, and Fabian Allen, in the meantime, all played for Punjab King’s XI with Gayle and Pooran having seasons to forget.  Gayle averaged 21.44 in 10 games, while Pooran averaged a measly 7.72 in 12 games.  Punjab retained only Mayank Agarwal and Arshdeep Singh and will have a hefty purse for the auction.

In the meantime, only three West Indies players were retained. The Kolkata Knight Riders kept all-rounder Andre Russell and mystery spinner Sunil Narine, while the Mumbai Indians have kept a hold of Kieron Pollard.  Other Windies players released include;

Shimron Hetmyer (Delhi Capitals), Evin Lewis, Oshane Thomas (Rajasthan Royals), Jason Holder, Sherfane Rutherford  (Sunrisers Hyderabad).

Jamaica international Adrian Mariappa has secured a surprise move to Australia Super League club Macarthur FC.

The 35-year-old defender had been without a club since May of this year, after being released by English Championship club Bristol City.  The player had, however, continued to show strong form with his country’s national team, playing in 6 games.

Mariappa was linked with a move back to England with Sheffield Wednesday, who are coached by another former Jamaica international Darren Moore.  The club reportedly offered the out-of-contract player a deal, but he opted for the Super League move instead.

For his part, Mariappa insists he is excited and looking forward to the new challenge.

“I want to thank the owners and the football staff for having faith in me and making this happen,” Mariappa said.

“When the opportunity to join the Bulls arrived, it was one I couldn’t turn down. It’s an exciting new challenge for me in my career and that for me is what I thrive off,” he added.

“I’m hungry to achieve great things with the club and create new memories with the team and the fans.”

Macarthur have won one and drawn one of their two games so far in the 2021/22 season.

A five-wicket haul from spinner Veerasammy Permaul hobbled Sri Lanka to give the West Indies a slender advantage at the close of a rain-affected second day, in Galle, on Tuesday.

Resuming the score with a comfortable overnight total of 113 for 1, the Sri Lankans were 204 all-out just before lunch.  The decision to use left-arm spinners Permaul and Jomel Warrican proved to be a masterstroke that paid rich dividends for the visitors.

Permaul, ended with overall figures of 5 for 35, while Warrican took 4 for 50.  With the other wicket going to Roston Chase on the first day, it was only the fourth time the typically pace-dependent Windies saw their spinners claim 10 wickets in an innings.

In response, the West Indies came up with an all-around solid batting display and put 69 for 1 on the board, leaving the visitor trailing by 135 runs. Jermaine Blackwood, who put 44 on the board from 91 balls was the lone casualty before the rains came.  Blackwood was dismissed lbw after misjudging a Praveen Jayawickrama arm ball. Kraig Brathwaite was unbeaten on 22 off 77 deliveries, and alongside him was Nkrumah Bonner on 1 at the close of play.

 

West Indies middle-order batsman, Nkrumah Bonner, says the team’s batting line-up must find a way to get stuck in against Sri Lanka, particularly the spinners if they are to find a way to be compete in the ongoing series.

The Caribbean team is currently 1-0 down after suffering a lop-sided defeat to Sri Lanka in the first Test.  In the end, the regional team lost by 187 runs, but that could have been even worse were it not for a 100-run partnership between Bonner and Joshua Da Silva.  The duo were the only ones to get above the half-century mark and to say the majority of other batsmen found the going difficult would be an understatement.

 Sri Lanka’s spinners were aggressive throughout, with left-arm orthodox Praveen Jayawickrama (4 for 40 runs) and off-spinner Ramesh Mendis (3 for 75) doing the damage in the first innings. In the second innings, it was left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya who grabbed an impressive 5 for 46 and Mendis (4 for 64) and Jayawickrama (1 for 28) also doing more damage.

Bonner, who looked much more comfortable after making an adjustment for the second innings, after being dismissed for just 1 from 11 balls in the first, believes that coping with the spinners comes down to better footwork.

"These are small things we need work on if we want to be more sure in our defense, and when we attack,” Bonner said.

"It's difficult when players don't get a start. In the first innings, the ball was holding and spinning. It was a different challenge in the second innings when the ball was sliding at times, and spinning too. We have to come up with smart tactics in order to play all the left-arm spinners."

The West Indies and Sri Lanka will face off in the second Test, beginning on Sunday.

West Indies T20 star Chris Gayle plans to be at the ICC Cricket World Cup next year, but this time around more than likely as a spectator in the stands.

The 42-year-old ball-smasher was widely expected to retire following last month’s failed ICC T20 World Cup campaign but announced on that occasion that plans might have been underway for a farewell fixture, in his home country Jamaica, at Sabina Park.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) has since confirmed that the match will come during the upcoming series against Ireland in January.  Gayle, the format’s top runs scorer and holder of more than a few records, admits he is looking forward to the game.

"It's doubtful you will see me playing for West Indies again in international cricket. We have something planned against Ireland. I am just waiting for the board to finalise things. And once we get a date, we would find out what it is. It should be back home in Jamaica, Sabina Park. Final international run so I’m looking forward to it," Gayle told EspnCricinfo.

Following the team’s unceremonious exit from the World Cup the player had mused about wanting to go to another tournament, it appears that might still very much be in the plans.

 "I will be in Australia one way or the other next year.  I will be there because I haven’t been there in some time. The World Cup will be in Australia so I would be there. You know, it might take some extra effort. Sit in the stands, have a cold one and says ‘Hi guys, I’m here. I ain’t leaving. So yeah, I am looking forward to it."

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has taken the decision to abandon the ICC Women's Cricket World Cup Qualifier 2021, which had been taking place in Zimbabwe due to uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus.

Global concerns regarding the emergence of the new Omicron variant of Covid-19 has seen travel restrictions imposed for several African countries, including Zimbabwe.  Those conditions would make travel difficult for players involved in the event.

The tournament was expected to provide the final three spots for the ICC Women's World Cup in New Zealand next year as and also decide the remaining two spots for the next cycle of the ICC Women's Championship.

The places will now be decided based on team rankings, in keeping with the tournament's playing conditions.

As a result, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and the West Indies will now progress to the ICC Women's Cricket World Cup in New Zealand, with Sri Lanka and Ireland occupying the other slots for the 2022-25 cycle of the ICC Women's Championship.

On Saturday, the scheduled games were already underway with Zimbabwe facing Pakistan and USA taking on Thailand.  The West Indies were scheduled to face Sri Lanka but that game was called off after a member of the Sri Lanka support staff tested positive for the virus.  The event was later abandoned.  In their first encounter, the Windies Women cruised to a six-wicket win over Ireland.

Veteran Manning Cup coach Jerome Waite is confident of turning the St Jago schoolboy football program around in short order, having recently taken the reigns, after parting ways with Charlie Smith a team that he has been associated with for several years.

Waite who has been associated with the school’s football program in some capacity since 1987 has been an unfamiliar sight on the bench of the Monk Street-based team this season.  After over 30-years at the Charlie Smith, however, he looks forward to a new challenge.  

“After changing so many lives you just have to know that it’s time to move on to another region and see how many lives you can change there,” Waite said of the move, which occurred two seasons ago.

During his time as part of the Charlie Smith coaching unit, Waite has managed to claim three Manning Cup titles and believes that some level of success could soon be replicated at St Jago.

“It can happen in three years (competitive team) once we spend a lot of time to get them it will happen.  You would classify this as a crash program because Covid messed up the whole season, but you have to give ISSA some credit.”

St Jago has never won the title but went to the final in 2003.

West Indies T20 star Chris Gayle believes some of the format’s openers have taken some of the excitement out of the game in recent times, after what he believes has been a more cautious approach to the powerplay.

The towering left-hander has made his name at the top of the batting order by taking apart opposition bowlers.  As such, the batsman’s feats in the shortest format are unequalled, having racked up a world-leading 14,000 plus runs in an explosive career.  In recent years, however, strategic adjustments have seen a few batsmen opt for a more considered approach to the innings.

Gayle believes such adjustments have made T20 cricket less explosive in the first six overs and as such less entertaining.    

''I think, with T10 cricket, that's how T20 cricket started. From the first over, batters used to go but T20 cricket has slowed down dramatically and T10 cricket has now raised the bar a bit,'' Gayle, who is currently taking part in the Abu Dhabi T10 League,” said.

''They're killing the entertainment in T20 cricket, straight up, because in those first six overs, we can get more as openers but guys are taking their own time,” he added.

''Sometimes they bat to get a score and they take away from the fire they should be bringing to the batting department in the first six overs, but T10 is spot on and hopefully, we'll see more T10 coming around.''

Cricket commentator and analyst, Fazeer Mohammed, believes using an official international fixture to bid farewell to legendary T20 batsman Chris Gayle could set a bad precedent.

The 42-year-old batsman was widely expected to call time on his career following an unsuccessful ICC T20 World Cup campaign.  Following the team’s elimination from the tournament, however, the big-hitting left-hander suggested that he may be given one more game, at Sabina Park, in his home country of Jamaica, to bid a final farewell to international cricket.

The suggestion has divided opinion.  While some believe that paying tribute to a player who has scored the most runs ever in the format, with 14,321, others believe he should simply have moved on following the end of the tournament.  In the past, the regional board has been accused of not honouring players that have made a huge mark for the West Indies, but some insist an exception should not be made for Gayle if his form does not merit a place in the squad.  Mohammed, however, believes the solution could lie somewhere in-between.

“It’s another thing to see a situation where a player has basically called for a farewell, called for an opportunity to play a final match,” Mohammed told the Mason and Guest radio show.

“Gayle also wanted to play a last Test in Jamaica thankfully that was not granted because I think that is going down a road where players of a certain stature are making demands, which I don’t think should be entertained as far as the international structure of cricket,” he added.

“Are you saying somebody is going to be left out on merit to accommodate somebody’s farewell? Give him a testimonial, in the same way, you see in other countries…but I think it’s a dangerous precedent where someone is allowed to play an official international match as a farewell if they don’t deserve that place on merit.”

 

West Indies middle-order batsman, Nkrumah Bonner, admits the team is disappointed with another poor showing at the crease but believes it remains possible to escape the current predicament.

Heading into the final day, the Windies are 52 for 6 and chasing a massive total of 296.  Bonner (18) and Joshua Da Silva (15) are the batsmen currently at the crease and will both be hoping to be the start of an unlikely recovery.

Earlier, in pursuit of Sri Lanka’s second innings total of 191 for 4 declared, the West Indies experienced a shocking top-order capitulation that left them struggling at 18 for 6 after just 13 overs.

Spin bowling continued to be the major issue for the batsmen with Shai Hope, Roston Chase, Kyle Mayer, and Jason Holder all failing to pick the straighter deliveries.  Similar to the first innings, it was the loopy offspin of Mendis that the team continued to struggle to negotiate, as he claimed four in the second innings to take his tally to seven.

“I think everyone is disappointed but it’s the nature of the sport.  People will get out in cricket, that will happen.  It’s just up to me and Josh and the rest of the batters to get the job done,” Bonner said.

The West Indies had also found themselves in trouble in the first innings before a 62 runs late innings partnership between Jason Holder and Kyle Mayers brought some stability to the innings.

“We have about 640 balls to bat tomorrow.  If me and Josh can face the majority of the balls.  Obviously, we want to play each ball on its merit, respect the bowler.”

 

Jamaica international Andre Blake has finished runner in the voting for MLS Goalkeeper of the Year an award he previously won twice.

Blake finished behind Matt Turner of the New England Revolution who helped the team to its first-ever Supporters’ Shield with a new single-season points record.

Turner secured a total of 43.60 percent of the vote, followed by the Jamaican shot-stopper who claimed 10.43.  Blake has posted another solid season for the Philadelphia Union getting a total of 13 clean sheets and a save success ratio of 76 percent.  Blake previously won the award in 2016 and last year when he finished ahead of Turner.

Turner set a new Revs franchise record with 17 regular season wins, which tied him for the overall MLS lead. The goalkeeper’s 1.25 goals-against average and 74.2 save percentage both ranked in the top-10 among goalkeepers with at least 24 starts, and his two penalty kick saves were the second-most in the league.

The votes are placed by MLS club technical staff, media, and current MLS players.

West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite has admitted it was a tough situation for debutant Jeremy Solozano who was forced out of the opening Test after sustaining an injury.

Solozano, who was expected to partner Brathwaite at the top of the order, had to be stretchered off on the first day of the opening Test after being hit flush on the helmet by a pull shot from Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne.

The young batsman was taken to the hospital for scans and remained overnight for observation, but the tests showed no further damage.  The player will, however, remain on concussion protocol for the next few days.  Solozano was replaced in the line-up by Shai Hope.

“It was a tough situation, but at least we heard he’s doing good, his scans came back good, and we’ll be supporting him 100 percent,” Brathwaite said.

As per CWI’s concussion policy, Solozano is expected to miss a minimum of seven (7) days. During this time, he will be monitored and evaluated before he can return.  The second match between the teams will take place between November 28 and December 3.

 

 

West Indies debutant Jeremy Solozano was taken to the hospital after receiving a blow on the helmet while fielding during the opening day of the Test series against Sri Lanka.

The 26-year-old had to be stretchered off the field after being struck by a pull shot from Sri Lanka captain Dimuth Karunaratne.  The incident happened during the fourth delivery off spinner Roston Chase’s over that had seen the player deployed at the short-leg position.

Shai Hope was brought in as the replacement after the injured player left the pitch.  Solozano was reportedly responsive while being taken to the hospital and is currently undergoing scans.  Cricket West Indies has promised to give further news on the player’s condition as soon as it becomes available.

After winning the toss and choosing to bat first Sri Lanka were 163 for 1 at the end of the second session.  Pace bowler Shannon Gabriel claimed the team’s only wicket so far after dismissing Pathum Nissanka.

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