The Kingston and St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) has vowed to keep a watchful eye on its parent body, the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) after pointing out that it had ‘misgivings’ with its management of the country’s football.

Among the concerns highlighted in a press release issued on Friday, KSAFA mentioned a lack of transparency regarding its restructuring proposal.  The local football bodies had clashed last year when the JFF had expressed the desire to implement wide-ranging reform to the island’s clubs and competition structure.

In addition, KSAFA expressed concerns regarding plans being in place for the start of the World Cup Qualifying campaign and youth development programs.  The body has resolved to establish a subcommittee responsible for monitoring and evaluating the actions of the JFF.

“At its meeting held to deliberate wide-ranging missteps of the local governing body, KSAFA was unified in expressing misgivings about the JFF’s plans to chart the course for Jamaica’s football,” the release read.

“KSAFA is committed to not only highlight the JFF’s missteps and to express misgivings, but is also insisting on greater accountability and transparency from the JFF.”

Former West Indies Under-19 captain, Emmanuel Stewart, hopes to insert himself in the debate for selection in what he believes could be a big year for regional cricket.

The 21-year-old Windwards Islands Volcanoes batsman was part of the squad that contested the 2018 Under-19 World Cup.  Since making his First-Class debut in 2019, for the Volcanoes, he had made three half-centuries in 9 matches.

For the upcoming season, the middle-order batsman will once again form part of the Windward Islands squad looking to claim a 5th Regional Super50 crown.  With plenty of international cricket on the horizon this year, including Caribbean tours for Sri Lanka, Australia, and Pakistan, Stewart knows a solid season could place him squarely in the thoughts of the Cricket West Indies (CWI) selectors.

“I think it’s an important year for cricket in the Caribbean, a lot of teams are touring the Caribbean,” Stewart told Grenada’s Talksport.

“So, I think what I have control over is my performance and once I continue putting the numbers up, then that is the most I can do,” he added.

“As long as I continue playing, I will continue putting my focus on those numbers and keep progressing for the Windwards and hopefully eventually the West Indies too.”

 

 

Off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall grabbed a five-wicket haul as the West Indies dismissed Bangladesh Cricket Board XI for 160, before ending the day at 175 for 5, when they batted again, on day two of the three-day warm-up match.

In the morning session, Cornwall got the key wicket of Mohammad Naim, who was bowled five runs short of a half-century, before later accounting for Yasir Ali. His victims also included Akbar Ali, Mahmudul Hasan Joy, and Khaled Ahmed.

A left-arm spinner, Jomel Warrican, also had a splendid showing as he swept through the middle order.  Warrican took the wickets of Shahadat Hossain, captain Nurul Hasan, and Towhid Hridoy.

Batting a second time, the West Indies lost Shayne Moseley first ball, but his opening partner John Campbell and Nkrumah Bonner carried the team to 130 for 1 with a solid second-wicket partnership.  Campbell’s dismissal on 68, off the bowling of Saif Hassan, then prompted a collapse.  Jermaine Blackwood (4), Kyle Mayers (8), and Kavem Hodge (19) all departed without really settling in at the crease.  At the close of play, Bonner remained unbeaten on 80, with Joshua Da Silva yet to score at the other end. 

The West Indies will head into the third day and final with an overall lead of 276.

West Indies all-rounder, Dwayne Bravo, has hailed the role of big-hitting teammates Chris Gayle and Kieron Pollard in inspiring a new generation of exciting batsmen.

For decades the Caribbean has created some of the world’s most exciting stroke players, with the likes of Everton Weekes, Gary Sobers, and, later on, Viv Richards and Brian Lara thrilling crowds with their incredible run-scoring ability.

The likes of Pollard, Gayle, and Andre Russell have fallen very much into that mold and a new generation that includes players like Nicholas Pooran, Evin Lewis, Shimron Hetmeyer, and Brandon King have followed in their footsteps.

The 37-year-old all-rounder Bravo, one of the T20 cricket’s most devastating wicket-takers in his own right, was quick to commend Pollard and Gayle for passing the torch.

 “I think these young guys look up to players like Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, what these guys have done in white-ball cricket,” Bravo told Khaleej Times after leading the Delhi Bulls to a win in the Abu Dhabi T10 league on Friday.

“The players from the younger generation now aspire to be like them (Gayle, Pollard) you know. Before them, they had Sir Viv (Richards) or (Brian) Lara and (Shivnarine) Chanderpaul, these players and the likes of Gayle and (Ramnaresh) Sarwan. The young players were looking up to those players,” he added.

“But now because of Pollard, Andre Russell, Gayle, you know, you have seen the likes of Pooran, Heytmayer, Rutherford, and Brandon King.”

Windward Islands Volcanoes coach and former regional fast bowler, Andrew Richardson, insists the West Indies must close the distance between themselves and top-class cricketing nations, in terms of talent development, if the team is ever to be truly competitive again.

World cricket powerhouses India recently earned plenty of plaudits for a stunning win over Australia, with a squad full of mostly inexperienced developing players. 

The West Indies on the other hand, once the world’s best cricket team, have suffered lopsided defeats at the hands of England, New Zealand, and most recently Bangladesh.  The defeats have led to renewed criticism of the regional team in some quarters, but Ricardson insists the world’s top team are simply reaping the fruit of their labour, which took the form of talent development.

“It’s a correlation that the boards that have the luxury of having more coaches employed, more facilities, more players on contracts, more A team tours, more money invested in development, are the countries that have been doing well,” Richardson told Grenada’s Talksports program.

“Case in point, India has an academy just for fast bowling,” he added.

“In the 80s, not to knock anything from the Lloyd and Viv Richards era, we had awesome talent.  During that time, if you check the history, most teams were setting up their academies to improve their game.  We didn’t set up our academy until around 2000.  So, they have been reaping the success of what they have put in.”

Richardson insisted that the region still has the talent and pointed to the team’s performances in the youth competitions to stress the point.  The West Indies won the U-19 World Cup in 2016  and were runners up in 2004.

 

West Indies captain, Kraigg Brathwaite, led the way with 85 as the regional team was dismissed for 257 on day one of a three-day warm-up match against Bangladesh Cricket Board XI on Thursday.

The opener’s tally came from 187 balls, with 10 fours and no sixes.  Other scores of note from the innings saw fellow opener John Campbell fall just short of a half-century on 44 and Kyle Myers add 40.

After winning the toss and choosing to bat, the regional team put 67 on the board before Campbell was dismissed by Shahadat Hossain in the 19th over.  The regional team then tumbled from 110 for 1, to 131 for 5 as the middle-order of Shayne Moseley, Nkrumah Bonner, Jermaine Blackwood, and Kavem Hodge collapsed.  Mosely added 15 before being dismissed, and the team lost its next three wickets for just 11 runs.

It took contributions from Joshua da Silva, Kyle Mayers, and Alzarri Joseph, who made scores of 20, 40, and 25, to drag the visitors past the 250-run mark.

Leg spinner Rishad Hossain led the way for the Bangladesh XI with a five-wicket haul, while pacer Khaled Ahmed picked up three.  At the close of play, Saif and Shadman Islam guided the hosts to 24 without loss, having batted for eight overs.

 

Cricket West Indies (CWI) president, Ricky Skerritt, is adamant that the recent refusal by senior players to take part in the ongoing tour of Bangladesh and the subsequent results must be framed within the broader context of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The regional team was on the wrong side of a 3-0 mauling, at the hands of Bangladesh, in a lopsided series that showed a tremendous gulf in quality between the two teams.

The result could not have been entirely unexpected, as a full-strength Bangladesh comfortably beat a full-strength West Indies team in 2019.  The Jason-Mohammed team that took the field last week had at least eight players making their international debut.

Skerritt’s administration has made it clear that players who opt out of tours during the pandemic will not be punished, believes that the threat that the disease poses to the players must be acknowledged.

“We have to deal with the reality that players are facing a tremendously stressful decision about their careers and whether they participate in cricket under risky situations; even though cricket West Indies and other boards are doing everything possible to minimize the risk,” Skerritt told the Mason and Guest radio show.

“What do you do to get the best players on the park, when many of the best players are reluctant to travel and choose not to play?  Are you going to punish them? Are you going to say if you don’t play then you don’t play again ever, then you lose them forever?”

"I listen to some of the discussion’s about COVID and I wonder if we believe that COVID only affects us individually and we should be fearful, but players and others shouldn’t.  So what has happened with this particular tour and the two tours before, during COVID is that you could not get all of your best players on tour at the same time.”

 

Jamaica Prime Minister Andrew Holness has indicated that more local sports could soon resume on the island, after a series of meetings that prompted a change of heart from the government.

So far, in the wake of the pandemic, only a series of selected sports have resumed with horse racing and selected track meets listed among them.  In the main, however, the majority of sports have remained shuttered since around last May, as part of efforts to control the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

Among the more popular sports yet to resume are the National Premier League and the majority of high school competitions, which encompasses popular competitions like the Manning and daCosta Cups.  Holness, however, believes that while things will not necessarily return to normal, there is now a very likely way forward.

“Prior to now, the policy was not to allow sporting events,” Holness told parliament on Tuesday.

“We contemplated this over two days.  We had our COVID meeting on Friday and again on Monday and the decision is that sporting events can be allowed under conditions,” he added.

“The minister of local government, the minister of sports, the minister of public health will in due course explain what these details are.”

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) and Ministry of Health and Wellness have been locked in negotiations for weeks regarding the return of the premier league.

 

2015 World 100m hurdles gold medallist, Danielle Williams, is expected to open her season in the United States, at the American Track League Indoor Series, next month.

The upcoming appearance will be the first for the 28-year-old sprinter since she pulled the plug on her 2020 season, in May, when the coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc on the international track and field schedule.

The American Track League, which is part of the World Athletics Silver Tour, gives professional athletes an opportunity to return to competition as preparations begin for an Olympic year. 

The meet, which is staged in four-parts, ran off in Fayetteville, Arkansas on Sunday.  2016 Olympic gold medalist in the 110m hurdles, Omar McLeod, who raced in the 60 metres, was one of several Jamaicans who took part on the opening weekend.  The list also included the likes of Tyquendo Tracey, Senoj-Jay Givans, and Christopher Taylor.  The meet will continue with the next three installments on January 31st, February 7th, and February 14th.

Williams, the 2019 Diamond League champion, is based in South Carolina in the USA where she trains with coach Lennox Graham at Clemson University.

In-form West Indies middle-order batsman, Jermaine Blackwood, has credited brief advice received from top-class India batsman Virat Kohli as helpful in changing his mindset towards scoring runs.

The 29-year-old scored his first century against England in 2015, a plucky 112 unbeaten in a draw in Antigua.  Following that impressive achievement, however, Blackwood seemed unable to cross the double-digit threshold.  In fact, before finally breaking the streak with 104 against New Zealand, in December, Blackwood had managed to score 10 half-centuries in-between but always fell short of a triple-digit score.

Included in that number were some figures frustratingly well clear of the 50 mark, but falling just short of the 100 mark, when for all intents and purposed the batsman seemed well set to do so.  The tally includes three scores in the 90s.  He scored 92 against Sri Lanka, in Galle, in 2015; 95 against Pakistan, in Abu Dhabi, in 2016, and 95 against England, in Southampton, in July of last year.  Prior to that, Blackwood also registered 85 against England, in Bridgetown, in May 2015.  During India’s tour of the West Indies, Blackwood took the opportunity to seek the advice of run-machine Kohli when the two briefly interacted off the pitch.

“I just asked him how come all the time I score so many half-centuries and just one century, and he just replied, ‘What did you do when you scored the century? How many deliveries did you face?’ I said I faced 212, and he said that’s it, once you can bat some balls you will score runs,” Blackwood recalled.

“I took a lot from that and I’ve always told myself, after that conversation, once I can bat over 200 balls or 300, I’m going to score runs.  Once I’m there, the way I bat, I’m going to score runs regardless of who I’m playing against or where I’m playing.”

Out of favour West Indies batsman Shai Hope and brother Kyle will be among three players to miss out on the CG Insurance Super50 Cup, after returning positive COVID-19 results in the latest round of PCR tests.

The Hope brothers, who would have represented Barbados Tridents, will be joined on the sidelines by left-handed opener Trevon Griffith who was part of the Guyana Jaguars batting line-up.  The latest round of tests was conducted on Sunday.

The Barbados Pride have already named Zachary McCaskie and Tevyn Walcott as replacements for the Hopes, while Kemol Savory has been named as the replacement for Griffith in the Jaguars squad.

The trio will remain in their respective territories where there will be required to follow local COVID-19 protocols.

All other members of the Barbados Pride and Guyana Jaguars squads returned negative COVID-19 tests and will undergo second tests on Thursday, January 28 before travelling for the tournament, as part of CWI's established protocols.

The CG Insurance Super50 Cup will be played at the Coolidge Cricket Ground and Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua from Sunday, February 7 to Saturday, February 27. On opening day, Leeward Islands Hurricanes will host arch-rivals Windward Islands Volcanoes at CCG.

 

Jamaica's 4x100m relay World Championship medallist, Jura Levy, has hopes of rehabilitating her career after overcoming a troublesome spell with injury and a recent move to Legacy Athletics Track Club.

The 30-year-old, former outstanding Vere Technical high school sprinter, was part of a bronze medal-winning national team at the 2017 World Championships in London.  A double injury blow experienced during the 2018 and 2019 seasons has since interrupted the athlete’s progression.

The sprinter is back to feeling in top shape, however, and the combination of a not-so-busy 2020 season, which was heavily impacted by the pandemic, and the recent move to Legacy has her feeling positive about the future and targeting a return to prominence by securing a spot on the national team for the Tokyo Olympics.

“I would like to make the Olympics team and get my personal medal,” Levy told Talking Sports.

The battle for the top three individual spots will be fierce, with decorated World and Olympic medallists Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Elaine Thompson-Herah, all things going to plan, all but confirmed spots.  Former 2018 double World U20 sprint champion and promising prospect Briana Williams is also expected to figure prominently in the race.  Levy, however, refuses to count herself out.

“I don’t think any trials or championships is ever easy, but I’ve been there before and I’m putting in the work to get there.  So, come June I hope to secure a spot on the podium,” she added.

“My goal is to finish top three but if I make the Olympic team, I will still be ok, hopefully with a personal best.”

West Indies fast bowler, Kemar Roach, insists he is ready for the challenge of trying to take wickets on Bangladesh pitches, despite the surfaces being more suited to spin-bowling.

Despite the presence of several spinners in the squad, the 32-year-old is expected to lead the West Indies bowling line-up, along with fellow pace bowlers Shannon Gabriel and Alzarri Joseph.  If the dominance of spinners in the One Day International series, on pitches that offered very little assistance to pace bowlers, is anything to go by they will certainly have their work cut out.

Having been in Bangladesh on two prior Test series, Roach would know first-hand what it takes to succeed on spin-friendly terrain.

In 2011, he claimed 0 for 52 off 9 overs and 1 for 49 off 13.2 overs in the second Test of the series.  When he returned in 2018, he claimed 1 for 74 off 18 overs in the first Test and 2 for 61 in 25 overs as Bangladesh made a mammoth 500 in the second Test.

“It mostly favours the spinners but I think there is enough there for fast bowlers to get something as well.  It’s just about having your plans, executing, and being disciplined,” Roach told members of the media via a press conference from Bangladesh on Tuesday.

“It’s going to be tough, we know we have to bowl a lot more overs to get our rewards but once you are willing to put the work in you can get some rewards over here…so it’s going to be tough but I’m up for the fight.”

The Windies have had recent success with pace bowling in Bangladesh with Tino Best claiming a five-for in 2012 and Fidel Edwards claiming 8 wickets in the 2011 series.

 

West Indies spinner, Rahkeem Cornwall, believes the unusually long preparation time before the start of the Bangladesh Test series has been beneficial for players needing to get used to ‘difficult’ conditions.

The regional team arrived in Bangladesh on January 10 and was required to quarantine for 7 days based on the country’s COVID-19 protocols.  Since clearing that hurdle, however, the Test team has been free to train and will not start the series until February 1.

The Asian team is known for being particularly difficult to beat on their home turf and easily dispatched the West Indies 2-0 on their last visit in 2018.  One of those advantages is said to be the team’s pitches.

“It has helped (extra time) you have to adapt to these conditions. These conditions are difficult to play in, so the more time we get to understand the conditions is the better it is for us,” Cornwall said.

“It spins a bit more here.  It is always going to be drier than the Caribbean.  So, we just have to adapt to it and play to the best of our ability,” he added.

The inexperienced West Indies team will be hoping for a better showing than in the recently concluded One Day International (ODI) series where the team was summarily swept aside 3-0.  The ODI batting line-up found the top class Bangladesh spinners on the surfaces a difficult task to cope with.   

Undefeated WBC and IBF champion Errol Spence Jr. has expressed the hope of one day fighting in Jamaica, a place to which he still has strong connections.

Although the 30-year-old pugilist was born in the United States, his father Errol Spence is a Jamaican who still has roots in the town of Axe and Adze in the parish of Hanover.

Last month, the boxer scored a unanimous victory over number one contender Danny Garcia, in his first fight since a serious motor vehicle accident in 2019.

While the boxer will be content to relax and enjoy the fruits of his labour, for now, he admits staging a fight in his ancestral home sometime in the future would be a dream come true.

“I want to fight in Jamaica.  Hope I can make that happen, hopefully, it will be a big event where I still have all of my titles.  It’s something that I really wanted, it something that my dad wanted me to do as well.  It’s something we talked about even when I was an amateur so hopefully, we can make that happen,” Spence Jr. told Talking Sports.

“I think I will be able to fight there.  I want to be among those great names.  Guys like Mike McCallum, guys that could really fight.  His name was the body snatcher and I’ve watched him sometimes, how he went to the body well, how tough he was.”

The last major fight in Jamaica came in 2012 when Jamaica's Nicholas 'The Axeman' Walters, defeated Daulis Prescott at Jamaica's National Indoor Sports Centre.

 

 

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