Ten teams are set to participate in the T10 tournament set to run from June 23 to July 8, the St.Lucia National Cricket Association (SLNCA) has confirmed.

The teams will be comprised of local cricketers and professionals and there is optimism that players like Johnson Charles and former West Indies captain Darren Sammy will be displaying their skills during the two-week long tournament.

According to Carol Henry, President of the SLNCA, 30 matches are set to be played during the competition that will be staged at the Darren Sammy Cricket Ground.

“We are in full planning mode,” Henry tells SportsMax.TV, adding that there will be two matches each day. The first match will begin at 12:30 pm with the second match set for a 2:30 pm start.

Of course, the matches will be played under a “closed venue” protocol in the interest of continuing to protect players and the citizens of St Lucia.

 

West Indies fast bowler Kemar Roach plans to launch his campaign towards 200 Test wickets and beyond during the upcoming three-Test series against England.

Jonielle Smith, the 2019 World Championship relay gold medallist underwent successful surgery Friday to repair a herniated disc that has been an issue for her since late December 2019 when she was involved in a motor vehicle accident.

This according to MVP International on its website today.

Since then, the 2018 CAC champion has been suffering from back pain, which was addressed Friday. Doctors expect her to make a full recovery in about four weeks and are optimistic about her return for the 2021 season.

The athlete is said to be in good spirits.

Smith was sixth in the 100m final in Doha in 2019 after being called in as a replacement for Briana Williams.

Former West Indies all-rounder Ian Bradshaw insists focus will be key for the regional team considering the prevailing extraordinary circumstances for the upcoming tour of England.

The West Indies and England will return to international cricket with a three-Test match series, in England, next month.  With the prevalence of the coronavirus still a major concern and ongoing racial equality protests around the globe, the situation to begin the tour is anything but typical.

In a bid to mitigate the risks of exposure to COVID-19, the teams will spend the entire period of the tour in what has been termed a bio-secure environment, which will keep everyone associated with the series quarantined from the general public.  With all the distractions, Bradshaw believes the task of focusing on just cricket is likely to be tougher for the team.

“We could lose the series mentality if we are distracted before the start of that series.  So, it’s going to be incumbent on the management team to keep the guys focused,” Bradshaw told the Mason and Guest Radio program.

“These are trying circumstances that they are playing under, but they are professionals and they must act as professionals and really utilize the preparation time to the best of their advantage.”  

Retired West Indies all-rounder Ian Bradshaw has advised the team to realistically face up to its lack of quality all around batting and look to mirror approaches taken by past New Zealand squads, in order to be successful on the upcoming England tour.

The West Indies will return to international cricket, following an enforced absence due to the coronavirus epidemic, with a three-Test tour of England next month.  The unpredictability of the team’s batting line-up, much as it has in recent years, will again be a source of concern, particularly with explosive middle-order batsmen Darren Bravo and Shimron Hetmeyer unavailable for selection.

The duo, along with all-rounder Keemo Paul, opted to miss the tour over health concerns.  The West Indies will need no further illustration than the opening Test of their last England tour for an example of a dismal batting performance.  On that occasion, the team was dismissed for 168 and 137 in pursuit of England’s 514 declared.

“We've been concerned with our batting for a while, let’s just stop and be realistic.  We don’t have the quality of batting that we want," Bradshaw told the Mason and Guest Radio program.

“We don’t have the quality batsmen but what we hope for, is that collectively we can rally and that we can get 300 and 350 and 400 by batting deep and by batting sensibly," he added.

"There are other teams in the world that have a similar challenge and they manage to fight through.  For a number of years, we saw that with teams like New Zealand, where each player coming to the crease understood your job was to build a partnership that allowed the team to put a competitive total on the board.  Getting runs in England is important, especially in the first innings, so there is no doubt that we will have to bat deep.”

 

West Indies pace bowler Shannon Gabriel will have a good chance of featuring for the final Test squad against England if he can prove his fitness in the coming weeks.

The 32-year-old pace bowler was initially named as the 15th member to the official Test squad for the upcoming tour.  Gabriel, one of the team’s lead strike bowlers, has not played cricket since September of last year after a brief spell with Gloucestershire.  The player was sidelined after suffering an ankle injury that required surgery.

Head coach of the West Indies Phil Simmons, however, recently revealed the player had been training well and would be in contention for a spot in the final day Test squad.

“We have to put this in perspective.  We selected 14, but Shannon, as we know, has come back from injury and being a senior member of the squad in the past two or three years we would have to look at him if he is up to that fitness level heading into the first Test,” Simmons told members of the media on a conference call on Saturday.

Gabriel claimed eight wickets and bowled with plenty of menace when the teams met in the Caribbean last year.  The West Indies won the Test series 2-1.  The player was, however, suspended for five One Day internationals after a verbal exchange with England batsman Joe Root.

America-born Reggae Girl, Allyson Swaby, who plies her trade in Italy with Roma, has display four heartfelt tweets about how she suffered racism at college in the United States.

Supreme Ventures in Jamaica have piggy-backed on the success of its I-Bet subsidiary’s success at hosting the FIFA 20 League of Champions eSports Tournament and is now intending to host a Jamaica vs Guyana online tournament.

The Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCo) is set to resume testing of athletes on Monday, June 15 after a month and a half of no activity because of the threat of COVID-19.

Former West Indies paceman, Kenneth Benjamin is of the belief that Antigua’s improvement in cricket cannot be left up to schools but must be tackled at the club and community level.

The Racers Grand Prix – Kingston Continental Tour Gold Meet, one of the biggest international meets in the Caribbean, has officially been cancelled for the 2020 track and field season.

Glen Mills, Chairman, Racers Grand Prix Organizing Committee, made the tough decision after careful observation of global sporting trends in relation to the novel coronavirus, as highlighted in a letter to the World Athletics (WA) dated Thursday, June 11, 2020.

“We are deeply disappointed to announce that the 2020 staging of the meet has been cancelled,” noted Mills.

“Especially after receiving such a great commendation from the WA. However, for the health and safety of all participants and stakeholders, we must look ahead to 2021 for the return of Racers Grand Prix. Hopefully, by then we will have sustainable engagement protocols for large sporting events in light of COVID-19.”

The meet, which was originally scheduled for Saturday, June 13, 2020, in Kingston, was one of ten meets in the new series designed to accommodate athletes from several disciplines cut from the Diamond League for 2020.

Racers Grand Prix is currently in dialogue with World Athletics, Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA), the Kingston and St Andrew Metropolitan Corporation (KSAMC), sponsors Adidas and Richard Mille, and other key partners to confirm the proposed date of Saturday, June 5, 2021. 

The move is in tandem with the rationale of the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics, now tentatively slated for July 23, 2021 - August 8, 2021.  Fans of athletics can look forward to an exciting year of track and field events.

Phil Simmons does not expect boredom to be an immediate concern for West Indies as they prepare for their Test series with England in challenging circumstances.

The Windies are set to face England in three Tests behind closed doors, the first beginning at the Ageas Bowl on July 8 before two matches at Old Trafford.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, which brought professional cricket grinding to a halt in March, West Indies are using Old Trafford for training and quarantining.

However, head coach Simmons is not concerned about his side keeping entertained, believing the hunger to play cricket again will help combat any feelings of boredom.

Speaking on a conference call on Saturday, Simmons said: "There's always dominoes - as you can imagine if you've been to the Caribbean that is a highly explosive form of entertainment.

"We have a golf simulation centre, we have cards, a few things the guys are enjoying. When you have characters like Jason Holder everyone is always laughing and enjoying themselves.

"The biggest challenge is boredom, but saying that in this scenario - because of doing nothing, no cricket being played for the last however many months - that will take a while to come into play.

"The guys are hungry, they want to play and practice."

Not since a 4-0 win in 1988 have the Windies won a Test series in England, but the current crop have not had to look far for inspiration, with Gordon Greenidge's double-hundred at Lord's in 1984 recently broadcast on British television.

"I saw the Test at Lord's where Gordon scored a double [hundred] on the last day," Simmons added.

"I'm not too sure how close some of the younger players are [to the past] but we're trying to bring that back, get younger guys to understand where we've come from in terms of being top of the world for such a long time.

"Sometimes when you know the whole West Indies saga is coming from, it gives you more impetus to be pushing forward to get the team back on top."

Thierry Henry has been grateful for the opportunity to reconnect with himself during the coronavirus-enforced lockdown, with the Montreal Impact coach acknowledging his day-to-day responsibilities have taken their toll.

Arsenal and France icon Henry called time on his playing career in 2014 following a four-year spell in MLS with New York Red Bulls, but since then he has led a busy life.

After a near three-year stint as a television pundit in England, he began to focus on his coaching career and was initially assistant to Belgium boss Roberto Martinez, before an ill-fated spell in charge of Monaco and then moving to Montreal.

Despite the situation caused across the world by coronavirus, Henry has looked on the positive side of being forced into lockdown, which allowed him to focus on his own well-being after a hectic few years that have afforded him few chances to consider his health.

"Taking care of myself is something you forget as a player or coach, you give your time to everyone," he told UEFA.

"I took some time for myself, if I can say in a selfish way, but it's important we all once again become human – the virus has reminded us what it is to be human, what it is to be together, respectful.

"Generally, since I stopped playing, I passed my badges straight away so I've been busy and then I worked on TV, but you know what – taking time for myself [is what he's been doing in lockdown].

"I didn't do that for a long time. People will say, 'that's not great,' and I know it's not, but for me it was priceless.

"You can have time with your own mind, your own body, your own thoughts and not always being responsible for others.

"As a coach no one cares what you think or how you are, they want to give the coach their problems and he needs to find solution – whether it's the press, fans, the board. As a leader that's how you need to be, sort stuff, look like the guy who isn't suffering and it takes its toll on you.

"So, for the first time I reconnected with my body and my mind."

 

The full interview with Henry can be found on UEFA's official YouTube channel.

Top-rated cricketers taking part in this season’s Caribbean Premier League (CPL) are expected to suffer a 30 percent pay cut as a scaled-down version of the tournament is expected to be confirmed for Trinidad and Tobago in a week’s time.

According to the latest information players earning between US$21,000 and US$112,000 will receive a salary 30 percent lower, when compared to last season.  Players in the US$20,000 bracket will receive a 10 percent pay cut with no salary cut for players below that bracket.

The entire tournament is expected to take place in Trinidad and Tobago, with players staying in the tournament hotel under conditions overseen by a medical advisory committee and matches played in empty stadiums.

CPL Operations manager Michael Hall claimed the devastation caused by the spread of the coronavirus had made the idea to stage the tournament a trick decision.  But felt it was important to send a message that the region is ready to do business again.

 "Should the tournament take place it will take place entirely in Trinidad & Tobago, which is the most successful country in the Caribbean in controlling the spread of the virus - recording just one new case since April 30 and just 117 total cases overall," Hall, the CPL wrote in an update sent to various stakeholders, quoted by ESPNcricinfo.

"One of the consequences the Covid-19 pandemic will have is that the CPL will be played behind closed doors in 2020. We were therefore faced with the very difficult decision of whether to play the tournament at all,” he added.

"[But] we also felt strongly that it is important for cricket to be seen to be getting underway again as well as to show the world that the Caribbean is open for business.”

Hall added that the executive expected to get approval from the Trinidad and Tobago government next week.  The tournament will be held from August 1 to September 12, with the first matches on August 18 and the final on September 10.

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