Sports Company of Trinidad and Tobago (SPORTT) Douglas Camacho is confident the country will benefit from hosting the ICC U19 World Cup, despite spectators not being allowed to attend matches.

The tournament, which will get underway on Friday will be played across the Caribbean territories of St Kitts, Antigua, and Guyana, in addition to T&T.

With case numbers for the Covid-19 pandemic remaining high, however, the T&T venues, Queen’s Park Oval, Brian Lara Cricket Academy, and Diego Martin Sporting Complex will only be occupied by players and officials.

Despite that fact, however, Camacho expects the tournament to be a success.

 “We wouldn’t be able to have spectators at attendance. While this is a downer for some, I don’t think this will impact upon the quality of the tournament itself or on the organisation that has been put in place,” Camacho said.

“The facilities, both for training and competitive matches, are world-renowned, world-class and the best of the best,” he added.

 “We are very confident that all the players, officials, attendees will have a wonderful experience, that would be to the benefit of Trinidad and Tobago.”

The tournament will get underway at the  

Providence Stadium, in Guyana, on Friday, with the West Indies playing against Australia.

Out-of-favour Windies batsman Shimron Hetmyer has targeted putting together longer spells at the crease, as opposed to a typically stroke-filled but risky approach that has long been his trademark.

The 25-year-old was left out of the ongoing West Indies series against Ireland, after failing a fitness test a few weeks ago.  Since then, the player has been working on the issue in his home country Guyana.  In the meantime, the batsman has been preparing for the upcoming season of the Regional 4-day competition with the Guyana Harpy Eagles.

Recently, the player spent 300-minutes plus at the crease during the team’s Best of Best 4-Day trial match at Albion last week.  According to reports, in addition to the typical stroke play and skill, the player did plenty of running between the wickets for his knock of 149.  He is hoping to put together similar performances at the highest level.

“I just got out there and tried to bat as long as I possibly could, and try to help my team to win in whatever way possible. I try to accumulate, and just to be there as long as possible. It is really something I am trying to bring into my game, instead of playing that flashy innings and just batting a couple of balls,” Hetmyer told the Guyana Times.

“I just try to be there as long as possible, and just help my team. Even if we cannot win it, I can try to draw it. That is basically along the lines I am thinking right now,” he added.

Over the last few years, Hetmyer has been known for his exploits in the shorter formats.  The batsman has not played Test cricket since 2019 and last appeared in the regional four-day tournament in 2020.

Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president, Michael Ricketts, has been ordered to pay $9m in a default judgment handed down by the Supreme Court.

The ruling, issued on Wednesday, found Ricketts to have acted with malice when he made comments, which amounted to a homophobic slur, against Sporting Central CEO Ainsley Lowe on local radio in 2016.

The JFF president did not contest the charging when the case was brought against him in May 2017 and has now found out the price tag on the judgment.  Ricketts has been ordered to pay general damages in the amount of $8m and aggregated damages of $1m.  In addition, Ricketts will have to issue a public apology via the same radio station the offense was made and issue an apology, approved by the claimant's attorneys, in a Jamaica Gleaner publication before January 22.

Ricketts' derogatory comment came after Lowe challenged him for the post of Clarendon FA president in 2016. Lowe claimed the election was run unconstitutionally and should have been declared null and void.

Garvey Maceo and Mannings will contest the final of the 2022 ISSA daCosta Cup after dramatic semifinal wins at the STETHS Sports Complex.

In the doubleheader, Garvey Maceo stunned a more heavily favoured Clarendon College 3-2, while Mannings battled to a hard-fought penalty shootout win against highflying Dinthill.

In the opening match, Mannings seemed well on the way to a win in regular time after Jahmaleek Porter's 55th-minute header remained buttressed by a stubborn defense line with less than 10 minutes remaining.

In the 83rd minute, however, Shamair Hutchinson pulled the teams level after firing wide of Mannings goalkeeper Ashwani Campbell, who had a stubborn display between the sticks all game.

Mikhail Romans who replaced Campbell heading into the penalty shootout came up with heroics of his own in a 4-2 shootout win, after stopping the shot of Hutchinson, to push Mannings to their first-ever final.

In the second match, Clarendon College proved to be their own worst enemy early on, after a defensive mix-up gifted Gregory Cousins with an open net one minute into first-half stoppage time.  The underdogs doubled their lead soon after the resumption after Cleo Clarke slammed a low fierce shot into the net in the 46th minute.

Jaheim Rose gave Clarendon College a lifeline in the 51st minute with a goal from the penalty spot, but Clarke scored again in the 80th to put the game out of reach.  Damion Abrahams corner went straight into the with five minutes left to give the defending champions faint hope but the goal proved to be a mere consolation.

 

 

Legendary West Indies captain Clive Lloyd was knighted by the British Royal Federation, on Wednesday, after the ceremony was previously postponed due to Covid-19.

Lloyd the former two-time World Cup-winning captain was honoured with a CBEs (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) for his services to the sport of cricket.

The Guyana-born batsman played for the English County cricket club of Lancashire between 1968 until 1986.  During that time the team won two One-Day League titles in 1969 and 1970 and four Friends Provident Trophy titles between 1970 and 1975.

Lloyd captained the West Indies between 1974 and 1985 and is one of the most successful Test captains in the sport’s history. During his captaincy, the team had a run of 27 matches without defeat, which included 11 wins in a row.  Lloyd was also named Wisden’s Cricketer of the Year in 1979.

After retiring from the sport, Lloyd went on to manage the West Indies in the late 1990s and also served as a member of the team's panel of selectors.  For his exploits, Lloyd was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame.

 

 

 

Antigua and Barbuda minister of sport, Daryll Matthew, insists the country’s preparations to host matches for the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup remains on track, despite concerns being raised in recent weeks.

The matches for the tournament will be played in Antigua, Guyana, Saint Kitts, and Trinidad.  Antigua has been earmarked to host the Super League quarter-finals, semi-finals the finals, in addition to the 3rd, 5th, and 7th place playoffs.

The main venues that will be used are the Coolidge Cricket Ground and the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium but there have been questions asked about the state of some of the practice grounds with the tournament set to bowl off on January 14.

 Two of the venues of concern are the Liberta Sports Club and the Police Recreation Ground.  At Liberta, issues were recently brought to the fore regarding the reconstruction of a section of the facility’s fencing and work for the bathrooms.

Matthew insists there is no need to worry, however, as the government fully intends to honour its commitment.

“I just want to assure the public of Antigua and Barbuda that all of the venues will be ready. We’re almost there in terms of our readiness to host what is probably the largest international cricket event on our shores and the nation will be proud,” Matthew told the Antigua Observer.

“The major area of work that needs to be done [in Liberta] is one part of the fencing and so you can be assured that those things will be completed because it is part of our hosting requirement and so we do not have the option to not do it,” he added. 

The ICC Under-19 World Cup will take place between 14 January – 5 February.

“We’re actually hosting the quarterfinals, semifinals, and the finals for the Under-19 World Cup, and immediately following that we will be hosting the Test series with England, the Richards-Botham series and so we will be hosting a four-day warm-up match and then go right into the first Test so for the next eight to 10 weeks we should be having a substantial amount of cricket here in Antigua and Barbuda.”

 West Indies all-rounder Keemo Paul has his heart set on a return to international cricket after closing in on peak physical condition.

Despite being one of the region’s top prospects, the 23-year-old has not played for the West Indies since 2020.  Paul opted out of the team’s tour of England in 2020 but appeared against New Zealand in T20 internationals at the end of that same year.  He has not been seen on the international stage since.

The player has, however, in the meantime taken part in a few T20 leagues and with the regional 4-day tournament looming on the horizon, Paul will be looking to make a statement.  According to reports, the player recently turned in excellent scores in a fitness test conducted in Guyana recently.

 “I am feeling excellent, I think I needed this to get back out there and bowl a few overs to get the feel of four-day cricket. My body is responding really well and for me personally, I am feeling really happy with where I am right now. I bowled a few overs on the trot, I was not feeling tired, I just wanted to put a few balls in the right area and it’s coming out really nice and I am happy with that,” Paul recently told the Guyana Times.

“I was in the Sri Lankan Premier League, it was not the best of tournaments for me, but it is always a learning experience for me; you go to these different leagues in the different continents and you play on different pitches, you gain a lot of experience so that was a major learning curve for me,” he added.

“My body is starting to feel like where it was when I first started playing. I am in the gym and I am trying not to worry about injuries. I just want to try and enjoy my cricket as best as I can. I want to represent my country and hopefully, back to the West Indies team sometime soon.”

In the 2018-2019 season, his last full season in the four-day competition Paul claimed 42 wickets in 10 matches, while scoring 260 runs.

 

The West Indies U19s did not have the best showing ahead of the start of the ICC Under-19 50-over World Cup after suffering a heavy 108 loss to India U19s  team in their first official warm-up match on Sunday.

After being set a challenging target of 279 to win, the young Windies struggled to 170 all out in just 43 overs.  The team got off to a solid enough start when openers Matthew Nandu and Shaqkere Parris put on 30 in the opening overs.   Parris was, however, the first to go after being dismissed by fast bowler Garv Sangwan.  The other batters, unfortunately, followed in quick succession, with Teddy Bishop being dismissed ten balls later, and Sangwan going lbw with the score on 35.

Nandu managed another 30 with Jordan Johnson (10) before falling to the spin of Manav Parakh in the 18th over, with the total at 65 for three.

Windies skipper Akeem Auguste went for a duck after also being bowled by Parakh, Rivaldo Clarke (11), and vice-captain Giovonte Depeiza (10) were also gone midway through the innings.

Nandu eventually departed in the 33rd over with a top-score of 52 off 101 balls, after being a victim of left-arm spinner Aneeshwar Gautam, caught by Kaushal Tambe.  Off-spinner Tambe then wrapped up the innings with the wickets of Carlon Bowen-Tuckett (20), Anderson Mahase (1), and an attacking Johann Layne.

Earlier in the innings, the team set a furious pace after skipper Yash Dhull won the toss.  Things did not start well, however, as the team found themselves at 18 for two in the seventh after excellent work from Layne got rid of openers Harnoor Singh and Angkrish Raghuvanshi.

Dhull, however, led a strong revival with 52 off 67 balls and put on 85 for the third wicket with Shaik Rasheed.   Aradhya Yadav attacked the bowling and added 82 for the fifth wicket with top-scorer Nishant Sindhu, who lashed seven fours and three sixes in an unbeaten 78 off 76 balls, effectively putting the match out of reach.

Scores

India U-19s 278-6, 50 overs (Nishant Sindhu 78 n.o., Yash Dhull 52, Aradhya Yadav 42; Johann Layne 3/51)

 WI U-19s 170 all out, 43 overs (Matthew Nandu 52; Kaushal Tambe 3/30, Manav Parakh 3/34, Garv Sangwan 2/18, Aneeshwar Gautam 2/37). --India U-19s won by 108 runs.

 

Windies middle-order batsman, Shamarh Brooks, admits it was a crushing blow to narrowly miss out on a debut ODI century but insists it is just part of a learning curve.

Brooks put on a solid performance that proved the backbone of a close 24-run win in the opening match of the series on Sunday

Together with Windies skipper Kieron Pollard, Brooks put 155 runs on the board for the 5th wicket, which proved critical in stabilisng the team’s middle-order after floundering at 4 for 62.

On 93 the player seemed destined to be only the second West Indian to make an ODI century on debut but was out lbw off the bowling of Mark Adair.

“Word can’t express (how disappointing it was) but at the end of the day it was still my first game and I’m still happy with the score that I got.  It’s just unfortunate to miss out on triple figures,” Brooks said.

“I wouldn’t say I panicked in the nervous 90s.  Some people would have been a little more cautious having been set but as we all know it’s a learning curve at this stage.  I’ll take this one on the chin and look to grow from strength to strength,” he added.

The West Indies and Ireland will face off again in the second match on Tuesday.

  

 

Veteran all-rounder Dwyane Bravo will join fellow West Indian Chris Gayle at Fortune Barishal for the upcoming Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) after replacing Sri Lanka's Danushka Gunathilaka.

Gunathilaka was forced to pull out of the tournament after he failed to receive a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC). 

In addition to Gayle, who will be playing for the franchise for the third time, the franchise has also added another two Caribbean players.  Pace bowlers Alzarri Joseph and Obed Mccoy will also be joining the team.

The 38-year-old Bravo, who retired from international cricket following the ICC T20 World Cup earlier this year, has previously represented the Chittagong Kings, Comilla Victorians, and Dhaka Dynamites in the BPL.

The competition, which is scheduled to bowl off on January 21, will be played across three cities and will feature 6 teams.

 

Jamaica track and field icon, Usain Bolt, has hailed American sprinter Justin Gatlin for keeping him sharp throughout his career.

Bolt, who remains the world record holder over both the 100 and 200 metres, retired from the sport in 2017.  His rivalry with the American, though statistically, a tad one-sided at times, was one of the most abiding and, at times, fiercest in the sport of track and field, particularly when the two-faced the starter at major games.

On the biggest stage, it was Gatlin who triumphed in the first two encounters.  Bolt failed to advance past the first round at the 2004 Olympics and it was Gatlin who went on to claim the 200m title, adding to 100m crown, which was won prior.

One year later, Gatlin left the Jamaican far behind in the 200m final to take the sprint double at the 2005 World Championship in Helsinki.  The two did not face off at the 2007 World Championship as Gatlin was banned from the sport for four years after testing positive for a banned substance in 2006.  On that occasion, Bolt finished second to another American Tyson Gay.

From 2008, however, it was Bolt who became the premier force in world sprinting and outside of the rare blip in Osaka 2011, where he false-started in the 100m, when undefeated at major games for almost 9 years.  Gatlin returned to the sport in 2010 but found it impossible to get the better of the Jamaican.  He was eliminated at the semi-final stage of the 2011 World Championships, placed third at 2012 Olympics, was second at the 2013 World Championships.  Gatlin again finished runner-up to Bolt in both the 100m and 200m at the 2015 World Championships and again took silver at Rio Olympics in 2016. 

The American did, however, manage to turn the tables on Bolt at the 2017 World Championships where he claimed gold, with the Jamaican finishing in third place in the final race before he retired. 

  “Justin Gatlin played a very important role in keeping me motivated because he kept me on my toes, he kept me working out,” Bolt explained during Puma's Only See Great campaign.

“He kept me knowing that every season he’s going to be there, if I want to be the best I have to be ready and be prepared to beat him," he added.

Overall, the Jamaican leads the head-to-head match-up between the athletes with a 9-2 advantage, but he admits with Gatlin and others around he always had to look over his shoulder.

"The rivalries were strong and for me Tyson and Justin and Asafa and Blake, they really pushed me through my career to stay on top of my game at all times to be the best me."

Jamaica international Leon Bailey could be closing in on a return to action for EPL club Aston Villa having stepped up his rehabilitation from injury in recent weeks.

The 24-year-old has been out of action since pulling up injured against Manchester City in early December.  On that occasion, the visibly disappointed player left the pitch holding his thigh after sprinting in the first half-hour of that game.

The player has had a stop-start kind of season since joining Aston Villa in the summer from Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen.  Bailey also spent several weeks out of action after a sensation cameo against Everton where he damaged the same muscle after scoring a spectacular goal.

Aston Villa coach Steven Gerrard gave the latest update on the player ahead of the team’s FA Cup clash against Manchester United on Monday.

"We’re [with Leon Bailey] four and a bit weeks post-injury and he’s progressing well, stepping up his rehab — he's focused. It was an injury in a similar area to the first one, so we have to be careful and respect that,” Gerrard said.

Aston Villa will, however, have Ollie Watkins and Tyrone Mings available for selection ahead of the match at Old Trafford.

 General Secretary of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), Dalton Wint, has welcomed the implementation of Video Assistant Replay (VAR), which will be used for the final six games of the Concacaf World Cup qualifiers.

Prior to this, Concacaf was one of only three nations not making use of the technology, alongside AFCON (Africa) and Oceania, and were hampered in their efforts to do so by not only technological restrictions but also due to a lack of certified officials.  With both issues rectified since the start of the year, the way is now clear for the replay system to be implemented.

In its absence, the competition has been plagued by what some believe to be high-profile refereeing errors.  Against the United States with the game tied at 1-1, Jamaica defender Damion Lowe’s header, which flew into the net 7 minutes from time, was controversially ruled out for what appeared to be very little contact with US defender Walker Zimmerman.  The game ended in a 1-1 draw.

With the country well behind on points in their pursuit of three and a half qualification spots, three points instead of one could have made a huge difference.  Wint hopes that in the future such costly errors can be avoided.

“I think it (decisions like that) is one of the major reasons CONCACAF decided to implement it.  It is really important to get the major decisions right,” Wint said of the upcoming technology upgrade.

There have of course also been times when the technology may have gone against the country notably when Lowe was himself yellow carded for a last-ditch challenge on USA player Brenden Aaronson, although the call might have been marginal at best.

“I’m all for it.  If you have the technology, then why not use it.  You can’t have it both ways, at times it may slow the game down, but it is important to try and arrive at the correct decision.”

The Reggae Boyz, who are currently in 6th place in the eight-team standings and 7 points behind the final qualifying spot, will resume their qualification campaign against Mexico on January 27th.  

 

 

 

Preparations are advancing for the Video Assistant Replay (VAR) replay system to be installed at Jamaica’s National Stadium, with a site visit expected to take place early next week.

Production and audiovisual company MediaPro, which is already in charge of broadcasting all Concacaf events, will be responsible for implementing the technology in Jamaica, Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Panama.  The other four venues, which do not have the technology installed.

The move follows up on the decision by CONCACAF to implement VAR for the region in September, but the move was held up not only by logistical considerations but also by adequately certified officials.

In recent weeks, however, football’s world governing body FIFA has accredited referees, as well as VAR assistants and managers.  Prior to that, only the United States, Mexico, and Canada had VAR officials as they were the only ones to make use of the technology in their various leagues.

Implementing the technology in Jamaica will incur an added expense as the equipment will have to be flown to the island before being installed at the country’s national stadium.  The other CONCACAF venues taking part in the Octagonal round, which do not have yet the technology, can be accessed via roadways.  The majority of the bill will be picked up by Concacaf.  Jamaica will resume World Cup qualification action against Mexico, at the National Stadium, on January 27th.

West Indies Women’s all-rounder, Hayley Matthews, has hailed the impact and approach of head coach Courtney Walsh for the team’s noticeable recent improvements.

Walsh took charge of the team in 2020, on the back of a difficult period that had seen the WI Women swept aside 5-0 during a tour of England and four straight series defeats prior to that.  The team was also the subject of criticism for their overall fitness levels.

Fast forward a few months later and a fitter-looking Windies Women have shown signs of improvement, putting together much stronger performances that saw them win 2 of the last 3 ODI series.  Matthews believes a new approach has slowly started to show benefits for both herself and the team.

“I think it’s been fantastic, just looking at the structure.  Our entire camps and training session have been going really well.  He’s brought in some fantastic coaches to work with us, you have Corey Collymore as a fast bowling coach, you have Ryan Austin as our spin coach, Steve Liburd for the fielding and the wicketkeeping and then Robert Samuels has been working with us for batting as well.  So, I think there’s a really good balance at the moment,” Matthews told the Mason and Guest radio show.

“Everyone has been getting a bit more zoned in on the specifics and that’s something we were missing in the past, not having as much firepower in the coaching area.  Really breaking it down to the basics in those general areas.  That’s been really good and Courtney has done a fantastic job bringing in the right people to blend with the girls.”

Matthews has had an exceptional season herself and is one of three nominees for the ICC Women’s ODI Player of the Year award.

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