Former West Indies batsman Suruj Ragoonath insists that he would leave both veteran players Chris Gayle and Sunil Narine out of a squad for the T20 World Cup, but very for different reasons.

With the World Cup just a few months away, the debate has raged on regarding the most effective composition of the squad.  Experienced players like Gayle, Narine, and Dwayne Bravo, who all have world titles under their belts, remain eligible for selection.  Some have called for the selection panel to look past the players.

Recently, the selection of veteran players Fidel Edwards and Gayle, for the West Indies series against Sri Lanka, set off vigorous debate around the region.  While some endorsed the decision the Cricket West Indies (CWI) selection panel’s decision to add experience to the World Cup squad.  Some argued that Gayle being 41 and Edwards 39, the CWI should be invested in selecting promising youth players.

 In the meantime, top spinner Narine is only 32 but has not appeared for the West Indies since 2019 and prior to that had not played consistently.

“I don’t think that Sunil Narine is interested in going to World Cup, to be honest, given the challenges he had,” Ragoonath told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“Dwayne Bravo is showing that he is still capable and Chris Gayle for me is a big question mark.  For the first time, I’ve seen Chris Gayle actually dive around in a match.  The last game they played (Punjab King’s XI).  He looks a little fitter, but at the same time, I am not inclined to taking Chris Gayle to a World Cup at this stage,” he added.

Gayle struggled to make an impact against Sri Lanka in March, scoring just 29 runs in three matches.  Since the start of this season’s IPL, the batsman has been solid, if not spectacular for Punjab Kings XI after scoring 165 runs from seven matches.

“Of the three, I would love to have Sunil Narine on my side, but psychologically Sunil is not half the player he used to be and so Bravo is the only one I would give serious consideration to.”

Regional sports broadcasters SportsMax has thrown its support behind the social media blackout campaign, geared towards raising awareness of the need to combat the presence of rampant racism and hate speech online.

The issue has been a sore spot for fans and players around the world in recent years, with players often facing death threats and racial abuse on various social media platforms, particularly after strong or disappointing performances.

Last month, two Jamaica internationals, Jamal Lowe of Swansea and Reading’s Liam Moore were subject to racial abuse online.  Swansea, in support of the player, announced a weeklong boycott of social media platforms with Championship rivals Birmingham City and Scottish champions Rangers following their lead.  The initiative has since gained steam with others announcing similar decisions.  The companies full statement is listed below.

 

SportsMax makes a bold move to join governing bodies across the United Kingdom and other organizations including the FA, Premier League, EFL, FA Women's Super League, FA Women's Championship, Professional Footballers' Association (PFA), Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), The Scottish FA, Scottish Professional Football League, Scottish Women's Football among others and fellow sports broadcasters in an initiative to combat widespread abuse and discrimination by not posting on social media this weekend, the suspension is scheduled from 3 pm on Friday, April 30 to 11:59 pm on Monday, May 3.

 SportsMax will not post any sports content to its social media platforms; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube for the duration of the boycott period but instead followers will see a slate encouraging acceptance and inclusiveness for all.

 “As the leading sports channel for topflight international sports in the Caribbean, SportsMax is not naïve to the vitriolic tone that some people use, especially on social media where they can hide behind anonymity and spew abuse without fear of accountability. We want to let it be known that this is not ok and it will not be tolerated, we stand with the UK sporting fraternity and all who will participate this weekend.” SportsMax CEO, Oliver McIntosh said.

 Sports fans can still get all their sports news, updates, and of course live action all weekend long on the SportsMax channels and the SportsMax App and website (www.sportsmax.com).

 We invite the various sporting fraternities, organizations, corporate entities, and sports fans around the Caribbean to join us as we unite and take a stance to make a difference and be the change we wish to see.

 

 

Legendary former West Indies captain, Clive Lloyd, has called for a redoubling of efforts to get regional bowlers to achieve peak fitness levels as part of realizing ambitions to consistently challenge the world’s best.

In assessing the difference between the fitness levels of some of the current crop of bowlers and those who dominated oppositions in his time, Lloyd admitted that the players of yesteryear had the advantage of much heavier involvement in English County Cricket.

“Joel Garner was a big fellow, but he was terribly fit.  Walsh was a big fellow, tall fellow, but he was fit.  Those guys were accustomed to playing in County cricket, where you would have to bowl four spells a day and travel the next day and start again.  They got accustomed to that, our guys are not accustomed to that,” Lloyd told the Mason and Guest radio program.

He, however, insists there should be no excuses when it comes to athletes being in the very best physical shape for cricket.

“We should have our young men fit, we have the climate and we have the coaches.  You should have fitness guys there who are strong, mentally, like Dennis Waite.  When he says run four laps, you have to run four laps,” he added.

“We don’t do enough of that.  I think that is why our players are not bowling as many overs as they should.  You ask Malcolm Marshal at 4:30 in the afternoon ‘Malcolm I’d like four overs from you’.  He would say ‘no skip, I will give you six’.  That’s the sort of thing you need, Walsh wanting to bowl, Crofty you can’t get the ball out of his hands.  We have to get that kind of hunger again.”

 

 

 

  

 

 


Former Jamaica national team head coach, Carl Brown, has called for there to be a focus on the team's preparation in order to fully realise the potential of a talented squad.
The Reggae Boyz have not made an appearance at the FIFA World Cup since making their debut at the 1998 tournament in France. With a heavy influx of talented English-born players expected to bolster the team for the upcoming campaign, however, many believe it will represent the team's best opportunity in several years to make a return to the tournament.


In addition, the Jamaicans, currently ranked third in the Concacaf region, have retained the core of a talented Jamaica-born contingent that has appeared at back-to-back Concacaf Gold Cup finals in recent years.

While admitting that the country could indeed boast a formidable unit, Brown was quick to point out that current coach of the team Theodore Whitmore had to be afforded adequate opportunity to prepare the squad.

The Jamaica national team will take part in the Concacaf Gold Cup in July, before beginning the qualifiers in September.
“The English season finishes in May, so June is going to be a very, very important month for the coaching staff in terms of preparing the players and getting the right team for the Gold Cup,” Brown told FootballGps.
“The Gold Cup offers at least three quality practice games before the World Cup qualifiers and if we do well in getting to the semifinals and final then we have at least five games. I don’t think we can ask for anything better leading up to the qualifiers,” he added.
“So, I am very optimistic and just hope that we can offer the sort of preparation that is going to be needed because we have to understand that we are still faced with the Mexicos and United States' and the Canada's and the Costa Rica's and the Panamanians. We cannot just take it for granted that we have a good crop of players, probably the best we have seen since 1998 but it’s about preparation. If we don’t properly prepare for the World Cup qualifiers we really could find ourselves struggling.”

Southampton star Nathan Redmond is yet to make up his mind regarding his international future, after recently receiving confirmed interest for his services from the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF).

Earlier reports had suggested that the 27-year former England U-21 representative was among a number of players that had decided to switch their allegiances to Jamaica after being approached by the JFF.

 The player had, however, later rejected those claims, insisted he was yet to be contacted by the JFF regarding the option of joining the country’s national program.

"I’ve not been contacted. I’ve heard some stories and seen a lot of stuff in the media, but no one from the international set-up in Jamaica has contacted me,” Redmond had told UK publication The Daily Echo.

 "So, I’m seeing it exactly the same way as everybody else is."

A recent update, however, indicates that the player was contacted three weeks ago, and he is now carefully considering the decision.  Redmond had also previously indicated that the decision would include his family.

"I’ve not really spoken to my family about some of that stuff as of yet,” he had said.

"Obviously, it’s been difficult to see people during lockdown. So, I’ve not really spoken to the family about that,” he added.

"That’s a decision I guess for all of them to make with me, because I’m quite close with my family and whatever I do football-wise impacts them and our lives."

A number of players, including West Ham star forward Michail Antonio and Swansea’s Jamal Lowe, have already accepted the invitation to join the Jamaica national team, who will begin competing in the final round of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers later this year.

 Jamaica gymnast Danusia Francis believes the option of allowing full-length bodysuits to be worn in competition will empower the sport’s female athletes.

Last week, German gymnast Sarah Voss grabbed headlines after wearing a full-body suit at the European Gymnastic Championships.  She was later joined in wearing the type of outfit at the event by two teammates.  Voss described a part of the motive as taking a stand against ‘sexualisation in gymnastics’ an issue that has come to the fore in recent years following the conviction of former USA national team doctor, Larry Nassar, who was sentenced to 175 years in prison for several counts of sexual abuse two years ago.

Typically, female athletes compete in leotards, however, the international gymnastics federation (FIG) rules state that competitors are allowed to wear a "one-piece leotard with full-length legs - hip to ankle", provided it is of elegant design.

Francis admitted that she did not know the uniforms were allowed but was pleased with the choice that is offered.

 "I think it's amazing," Francis told BBC.

"I feel empowered that we've got this option where we can choose to cover up," she added.

Francis also believes the ability of female athletes to speak out on issues that affect them is in part due to people staying in the sport for longer.

"I think as people are staying the sport longer, obviously they're not young girls and they've got voices, they are women, so to see them making a statement, and on an international stage... I think it was great to see," Francis said.

Former Indian cricketer, Pragyan Ojha, believes the Punjab Kings XI are heaping unnecessary pressure onto batsmen Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran, due to the team's approach to structuring its innings.

Pooran has struggled to make an impact in six matches so far this season, managing just a high score of 19 and failing to score on three occasions.  Gayle has had more of a mixed performance, scoring 40 plus on two occasions but also had a series of low scores, including a golden duck in the team’s last encounter against Kolkata Knightriders.

Ojha, however, believes that the team’s top two KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal might be thinking about scoring too quickly and posting too big a target too early in the innings.

"They should think about 160-170 at first. But if you start thinking from the beginning that we have a very good batting line-up with Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran and we should aim 180-190 then you are putting undue pressure on (them),” Ojha told Cricbuzz.

"You can only think about a big score once you have got a good start. So you have to change your plans accordingly. You can't think that you have big names and they will always score runs. You have the look at the kind of form they are in too. Can't plan based on past glory," Ojha added.

The upcoming edition of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) set to be held entirely on the island of St Kitts & Nevis and bowls off on August 28.

Due to the threat posed by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the entire 2020 edition of the tournament was held in Trinidad and Tobago, under strict COVID-19 protocols.

In several respects, the tournament was a success with the event successfully being delivered to a record audience of over 500 million.  The Trinbago Knightriders were eventually crowned champions on their own patch.

St Kitts and Nevis’ Warner Park has been the scene of some of the most iconic matches in Hero CPL history.  Fans were treated to Chris Gayle’s brilliant hundred against the Jamaica Tallawahs in 2019 and Andre Russell’s even more explosive century against the Trinbago Knight Riders in 2016. There have also been some amazing matches, not least the game that went to a Super Over finish between St Kitts & Nevis Patriots and the Knight Riders in 2019.

This year’s tournament takes on extra significance with it taking place in the lead up to the ICC T20 World Cup and both West Indies and overseas players will be using the opportunity to push for selection for their international teams.

 “We are delighted to be able to announce that we will be having the Hero CPL in St Kitts & Nevis in 2021 and we would like to thank those involved in welcoming the tournament to this wonderful country,” Pete Russell, Hero CPL’s COO, said.

“As was demonstrated during the 2020 tournament the CPL is a massive boost for the host country with US$51.5million delivered in sponsorship value for Trinidad & Tobago. We are really looking forward to giving St Kitts & Nevis the exposure they deserve.”

 

 West Indies Indies T20 star, Chris Gayle, insists he is feeling fit and at the top of his game after a decisive performance for Punjab Kings XI, in a win against defending champions Mumbai Indians, in the Indian Premier Leauge (IPL) on Friday.

Gayle made a steady 43 from 35 deliveries, and along with KL Rahul, who added 60 from 52, anchored Kings XI to an 8-wicket win. 

The batsman’s innings was, however, uncharacteristically devoid of massive slogs over the boundary as he hit only two sixes.  The 41-year-old did gather quite a few runs darting for quick singles, which has not been a part of his game in recent years.

The veteran batsman had come under criticism in recent days following a string of low scores and a 1-3 start for Punjab.  Gayle, however, insists he is feeling in excellent shape and was happy for the result.

"I am feeling very good, a bit relieved. We wanted this win badly, playing against the defending champions was always going to be tough. They played four games, to actually get this win is fantastic for the team and the Universe Boss as well.

“I was looking pretty good, running between the wickets, I am feeling fit and good about myself. I am enjoying it, I am looking after my body, getting a lot of massages so I can move freely, humidity here in Chennai also kind of lets the blood flow so I am on top of my game," Gayle told the official IPL website.

Jamaica’s Natasha Morrison blew away the rest of the field on Saturday, at the TRUFit Athletics Sprint Classic, in Florida, to register a new personal best and the second fast time in the women’s 100m this year.

The World Championships relay gold medalist gave an early warning there could be a special run on the cards, after breaking the 11-second barrier in heat 2 of the preliminary round.

In the final, Morrison clocked 10.87 to finish well clear of second-place Tynia Gaither of the Bahamas who stopped the clock at 11.02.   Guyana’s Jasmine Abrams was third in 11.19.

In the men’s equivalent, Jamaica’s Julian Forte had to settle for third spot on the back of a fast run from American quarter-miler Fred Kerley.  With the win barely within the legal limit, Kerley stopped the clock at 9.91 to claim section 1.  He finished ahead of Joshua Washington who was second in 10.01 and Forte third in 10.03.

In the women’s 400m, the fastest time of the day was clocked by Jamaica’s Janieve Russell who recorded 52.12 to claim section 1.  Her compatriot Tiffany James was the winner of section 2 in 52.67 and second fastest overall.  Jordan Lavender was third in 52.82.  In the men’s equivalent, top billing went to Jamaica’s Nathon Allen who took the event in 46.02.

 

 West Indies bowler, Alzarri Joseph, added a tidy two-wicket haul to a maiden half-century to help put English County club Worcestershire in a commanding position against Nottinghamshire at New Road.

Chasing a sizeable first innings score of 436, Nottinghamshire crumbled for 276, despite 111 from opener Haseeb Hameed and not losing their first wicket until they had put 115 runs on the board.

Charlie Morris had the best bowling figures for Worcestershire, after taking 3 for 30 but Joseph chipped in with 2 for 33.  The West Indies accounted for top-order batsman Ben Duckett and Nottinghamshire were then forced to follow on still some 160 runs short of the target.

In the first innings, Joseph was part of a staunch lower-order effort that ballooned the tally late on.  Joseph recorded his first half-century in the competition with 61, Ed Barnard added 58 and captain Joe Leach 84.

The total adds to Joseph’s debut innings of 46 from 55 against Derbyshire last week.  On that occasion, the bowler also chipped in with 3 wickets.

 The Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations (BAAA) has confirmed that it will not send a team to World Athletic Relays, set to take place in Chorzow, Poland, next month.

According to reports, the association like many has been affected adversely by the COVID-19 pandemic and was forced to give up on having a team at the event due to a lack of athletes able to participate.

Bahamian superstars Shaunae Miller-Uibo and Steven Gardiner, through their representatives, indicated that they would not be willing to travel outside of the United States due to ongoing coronavirus pandemic and travel protocols.

“We didn’t have athletes who are available to compete,” President of the BAAA Drumeco Archer told The Bahamas Tribune.

“Shaunae (Miller-Uibo) and Steven (Gardiner) camp indicated that they have decided not to travel outside of the US because of COVID-19,” he added.

“And a lot of our elite athletes are still in university and college, who are not going to be released from their duties. So, we thought it would be prudent for us not just to take a team for the team’s sake. If we’re going to take a team, we will take a team that will have an impact.”

Earlier this week, another top Caribbean sprint nation, Jamaica, announced that it would not participate in the event due to the difficulty of travel and COVID-19 restrictions.

The Bahamas were hosts to the first three editions of the tournament.

West Indies all-rounder, Andre Russell, has revealed he was too overcome with emotion to head straight back to the dressing room, after being bowled by Chennai Super Kings’ Sam Curran, in an 18 runs loss for Kolkatta Knight Riders on Wednesday.

The viral photo of a dejected Russell sitting on the steps did the rounds on social media, and the player has taken the time out to explain the emotions associated with the moment.

“Well, I was very emotional and I didn’t know how to go to the changing room and face all my teammates after leaving a ball and getting out bowled like that,” Russell told KKR.in.

“You know, the job is not complete, and I wanted to take the team over the line. So, I think the emotions got the best of me but staying strong,” he added.

KKR found themselves chasing a sizeable 221 for victory and in real trouble at 31 for 5. Russell and Dinesh Karthik had, however, started to lead the fightback. Russell hit 6 sixes and smashed a 21-ball fifty to give KKR hope and seemed set on delivering on one of his famous comeback specials.  He was, however, dismissed against the run of play, for 54, in the 12th over when he left a Curran delivery, which crashed into his leg stump.

 

South African and Chennai Super Kings fast bowler, Lungi Ngidi, has credited West Indies T20 star Dwayne Bravo with playing a pivotal role in his strong start to the 2021 IPL season.

The towering speedster earned widespread plaudits after putting together an extraordinarily economical 3 for 28, in a high-scoring encounter against Kolkata Knight Riders on Wednesday.

With some 422 runs scored in the match, Ngidi, who was tasked with death bowling duties after replacing Bravo in the line-up, had a solid economy rate of 7.00.  The South African’s skills and variations were on full display after he trapped an attacking Dinesh Karthik with a slower ball dismissal, a delivery that would surely have pleased his West Indian tutor.

“There was a lot of pressure, Bravo has been doing very well for CSK. So, I had to come in and fill his shoes,” Ngidi told the IPL’s official website.

“I have worked very closely with Bravo on the slower bowls at the death. One of the slower bowls he has been teaching me for a long time came off and got us a wicket.”

In the end, CSK won by 18 runs, in no small part thanks to Faf Du Plessis’ brutal, unbeaten 95 from 60 deliveries.  The 37-year-old Bravo was rested for the encounter, due to workload concerns.

 

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