As the 2020 season of the CPL season bowled off today in Trinidad and Tobago, news has emerged that all 237 members of the league have returned to negative tests in the latest round of COVID-19 tests conducted on Sunday.

Gonzalo Higuain has hinted Major League Soccer could be his next destination if he is not in the plans of new Juventus coach Andrea Pirlo.

Higuain, 32, has been with Juve since 2016 when he moved from rivals Napoli and, although he enjoyed a fine first season in Turin with 32 goals across all competitions, he was less impressive the following year.

With Cristiano Ronaldo then arriving at Juve in 2018, Higuain was deemed surplus to requirements and spent the season on disappointing loan spells with Milan and then Chelsea.

Higuain was given another shot at Juve following the arrival of his former Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri last year, despite him failing to impress under the Italian with Chelsea.

But a rather meagre goals tally of 11 in 43 matches does not bode well for his future, particularly given Sarri was sacked after Juve's Champions League last-16 elimination by Lyon.

Higuain insists no decision has been made yet as he still needs to talk with Pirlo, though a return to Argentina appears unlikely as he seems to prefer the idea of following his older brother Federico to MLS.

"I don't miss Argentine football, I like watching it, but no, I don't miss it," he told Fox Sports.

"I started young there and today Argentina should open its eyes because so many players hesitate to return, especially for the future of their families.

"Many now go to the United States, to China, or Saudi Arabia at the age of 25. I only left because it was Real Madrid.

"I'll rest and think. On the 24th [of August], I'll return to Italy. I have to introduce myself [to Pirlo] and see what happens with the new manager. I'm sure there will be a different dynamic.

"Many players go to MLS, it would be nice, yes, but now I'm here, let's see what happens."

Whatever happens in the short term, Higuain's future after his playing days are over will not involve management – instead, he wants to work with the "next generation".

"I will not become a coach due to the mental and physical stress that this implies," he said.

"All the coaches arrive with black hair and three years later they turn grey. I want the next generation to learn and know what it means to be a footballer, which is not playing in the square with your friends.

"I want to show them what I have experienced. Children today are very aware of what they will say and are influenced by what their parents have told them about me. Thus, the child will learn differently.

"I think that growth in Europe has been different, they respect me more abroad than there [Argentina]."

Cricket West Indies President Ricky Skerritt said he is committing to effect the changes to the board’s governance structure as recommended by the Wehby Report that has now been shared with stakeholders.

FC Dallas and Nashville played out a goalless draw in MLS following a lengthy weather delay which saw the match finish in the early hours of Monday morning in the United States.

Dallas and Nashville were meeting for the second time in five days in their regular-season restart after the MLS is Back Tournament.

Expansion franchise Nashville – competing in their inaugural season – edged Dallas 1-0 for their first MLS victory in the previous encounter.

Renewing hostilities on Sunday, the Dallas-Nashville clash was scheduled to kick-off at 20:38 (local time), however, lightning around Toyota Stadium led to a three-and-a-half-hour delay.

The match did not get underway until 12:07 and when it did, neither side could find the breakthrough.

Dom Badji hit the post for Nashville in the 64th minute against his former side, and that was the best chance of the match for either side.

Nashville have four points from four games to sit 11th in the 14-team Eastern Conference, while Dallas are 10th in the Western with five points from their four fixtures.

West Indies captain Kieron Pollard has insisted the door is not closed on former skipper Darren Sammy, despite it being three years since his last appearance.

The 36-year-old Sammy, who captained the Caribbean T20 team to two World Cup titles, last appeared for the West Indies against a Pakistan XI in 2017.  Sammy’s tenure with the team seemed to have come to an end in acrimonious circumstances after he was removed as captain and dropped after publicly criticising the West Indies administration after they won the tournament in 2016.

Pollard, however, noted that as it stands all players are eligible for selection and Sammy is no exception.

“We have made clear to the (new Cricket West Indies) administration that everyone is available for selection in that pool. No one is an exception to the rule. Performances and fitness and everything we are looking for,” Pollard told members of the media.

The 33-year-old Pollard replaced Jason Holder as the ODI captain and Carlos Brathwaite in T20Is last September.  Sammy will look to make his mark in the upcoming Caribbean Premier League where he will represent the St Lucia Zouks.

Former West Indies T20 captain, Darren Sammy, has insisted he has not yet given up on the idea of once again representing the West Indies.

The 36-year-old successfully captained the regional team to two T20 World Cup titles in the 2012 and 2016 tournaments.  The player has, however, not represented the regional team since a Pakistan versus World-XI match in 2017.  On that occasion, several players opted not to take part in the tournament.

After criticism of the then West Indies Cricket Board in 2016, following the end of the tournament, Sammy was dropped from the team as well as relieved of the captaincy.

“The main focus is to do well for the Zouks, and that will raise eyebrows in terms of West Indies selection,” Sammy told members of the media.

“I am in a very good place mentally. I am not under any pressure to perform and keep my spot, so I am just here to elevate the youngsters, and I think I am closer to the end,” he added.

Sammy will represent the St Lucia Zouks at this season's Caribbean Premier League (CPL) tournament, as the team looks to claim a maiden title. T20 star Chris Gayle had been expected to boost those hopes after signing for the Zouks earlier this year, but later opted out of the tournament.

 

 

Barbados Tridents captain Jason Holder has pointed to the team’s leg-spinning duo of Hayden Walsh Jr and Rashid Khan as crucial components of its quest to retain the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) title.

Walsh Jr showed up for the Tridents big time last season his 22 wickets, at an economy rate of 8.28, crucial for the Barbados franchise run to its second trophy.

 For the coming campaign, he will be joined by Khan, who last played in the CPL for the Guyana Amazon Warriors in 2017.  On that occasion, the bowler managed to pick up 14 wickets, including the tournament’s first-ever hat trick.

Holder was quick to admit that he was eager to see the duo bowl in tandem, as it could only mean good things for the team.

“We expect big things from them,” Holder told members of the media.

“Hayden was last year’s ‘player of the tournament’ and Rashid is a world-class leg-spinner. We expect big things from both of them, and they are looking forward to bowling in tandem. It is a matter for them to execute and lead the charge,” he added.

The tournament, which will take place in a bio-secure environment, will run from August 18 through to September 10.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cricket West Indies president Ricky Skerritt wants to involve more former West Indies players in the process of recreating world-beating teams but believes there is a part of that process they are neglecting.

According to Skerritt, the gap between first-class cricket in the region and international cricket is too great and that may be where past players would best be served.

Speaking on the ‘Good Morning Jojo Sports Show recently, Skerritt said “the legends in their own home islands, it would be great if they could do more. Some of them would tell you that well, I have been living here for so many years and the cricket association president or whoever has never asked me to do anything, so people tend to sit back and wait to be asked because of bad experiences in the past or whatever.”

It is the opinion of many who have an interest in seeing West Indies cricket develop that those who have contributed to the sport as players are being sidelined and their various experiences are going to waste.

Skerritt says his administration has actively been trying to change that.

“I can tell you that more of our former players have been engaged since I have been president and maybe some of them feel like they haven’t been engaged enough and I have no doubt they could be engaged more,” he said.

 “[ … ] but the people who really operate across the region and for whatever reasons that gap is just too huge,” said the CWI president.

Former West Indies fastbowler and cricket commentator, Ian Bishop, is watching the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) with bated breath, as he sees the tournament and as a proof of concept for cricket’s way forward.

Cricket has been at a virtual standstill, with a smattering of games being undertaken in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, but according to Bishop, if a big tournament like the CPL can maintain its bio-security, then the world has a model from which it can re-start regular programming.

According to Bishop, the resources of England made it easier for that country to host the recent #raisethebat series against the West Indies but that the CPL would prove that even countries without those resources can also maintain the same kind of safety.

"Firstly, the economic resources that England and the broadcasters put into that West Indies-England Test series and the Pakistan one that's going on now is significant," Bishop said during a press conference organised by the ICC following the worldwide premiere of its documentary Beyond the Boundary.

Bishop made mention of the fact that the two grounds at which the #raisethebat series were played had hotels there which is not the norm.

But Bishop, who is in T&T where he will operate as one of the commentators on the CPL, believes this tournament an even more important testing ground than the Manchester and Southampton models.

“We don't have as many resources, economically, to put into it, but our folks have been brilliant in utilising the hotel and the staff, the protective forces in carrying out this bubble so far. We still have a month to go, but the end of that month, we will know even better how teams and countries and boards without the economic advantage can carry this out safely,” said Bishop.

According to Bishop, the success of the CPL will depend heavily on the discipline of players as well, saying responsibility in maintaining a safe environment was huge.

“The players have to take responsibility, they have to take ownership of this, discipline themselves and mentally steel themselves in this new normal about staying away from the public and doing things responsibly,” said Bishop.

The CPL example, Bishop went on to say, was also important to the women’s game in the Caribbean, which has been stagnant since sport’s lockdown, months ago.

“Now the women's game and the administrators can look at this without endangering anyone's lives and say, 'Ah, we can play cricket safely.' So now is the time to get back on the bicycle and start putting things in place because I don't know the women's game can continue to be as inactive as it has been. We must now look to drive it forward, even if it's for bilateral tours because we know we can do it safely,” he said.

“So this [the CPL's bubble] is another research and development project. And if we can do it here in Trinidad, I promise you that anyone else in the world can do it because we are doing it without the millions of dollars that other territories may have, so keep an eye on the Hero CPL and if we can do this properly, it will be great.”

 Former West Indies fast bowler turned noted commentator Ian Bishop believes the successful hosting of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) in Trinidad and Tobago should serve as a signal for a more widescale return for the sport across the globe.

Following a months-long break, international cricket officially returned to the global calendar with the West Indies versus England series and is continuing with the England versus Pakistan series.  Bishop, however, pointed out that most countries could not match the tremendous resources need to put on those contests.

He believes if the CPL is able to host the tournament successfully on what must certainly amount to a shoestring budget compared to the amount spent by the England Cricket Board, then other countries should be able to as well.

"Firstly, the economic resources that England and the broadcasters put into that West Indies-England Test series and the Pakistan one that's going on now is significant," Bishop said during a press conference organised by the ICC.

"I don't think there are too many other countries that will have the resources to do it like that because you've got two grounds where hotels are actually on the ground,” he added.

"Another testing ground is where I am now. I am sitting in the Hilton in Trinidad where our CPL T20 is going to start next week.  We don't have as many resources, economically, to put into it, but our folks have been brilliant in utilising the hotel and the staff, the protective forces in carrying out this bubble so far. We still have a month to go, but at the end of that month, we will know even better how teams and countries and boards without the economic advantage can carry this out safely.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 The Guyana Amazon Warriors have appointed Chris Green as their captain for the 2020 season.

The Australian off-spinning all-rounder is back with the Amazon Warriors for the third year having first played for the Franchise in 2018, and he has taken 23 wickets at an average of 22 in his 23 matches for the team.

Green stood in as captain during the 2018 season so this will be his second spell in charge of the Amazon Warriors. A firm fan favourite, Green was part of the Guyana team who finished as runners up at the Hero CPL in both the 2018 and 2019 seasons and he will be hoping he can lead the team to their first title in 2020.

“I am hugely excited to be back with the Amazon Warriors for another season and honoured to be leading them for this season. Guyana is somewhere I am hugely fond of and we are very confident that this is the year that we can win the Hero CPL title for our amazing fans back home,” Green said.

Nicholas Pooran, the Franchise’s marquee player, and one of the most exciting T20 batting talents in the Caribbean has been appointed as the vice-captain of the team and will definitely lend quality support to Chris Green. Pooran, who joined the Franchise last year, was the youngest players to play in the CPL in the first year of the League in 2013. He has played in all the editions of CPL to date and brings that experience to the team.

“Chris has been a fantastic part of the Amazon Warriors family since he joined us for the 2018 season and he was the natural choice to take the reins for this season. He is a fantastic cricketer and a fine leader and we are very confident that he will guide the team to a successful season,” said Omar Khan, Guyana Amazon Warriors Team Operations Manager.

“Nicholas as Wicketkeeper/batsman and one of the inspirational players of the team last year has demonstrated leadership qualities which have seen him elevated to the vice-captain position this year.’’

The 2020 Hero CPL season bowls off in Trinidad and Tobago on September 10.

Cricket West Indies Director of Cricket Jimmy Adams has insisted on the development of a world-class Test cricket spinner would be a multi-tiered and complicated process.

While the Windies have produced top-quality spinners in the shortest format of the game, with the likes of Devendra Bishoo and Sunil Narine.  The fact that neither has really made the transition to the red-ball format, means it is another area that continues to be lacking for the team.

 In fact, it could be argued that the last West Indies world-class spinner to dominate Test cricket was Lance Gibbs who represented the team in the 60s and 70s.  Gibbs claimed 309 Test wickets.  Creating another player of Gibbs caliber, for Test cricket, is not a simple process.

“It’s a combination of quite a few things.  The first thing is to keep making sure that we encourage spin bowling throughout the region, but also to ensure that the environment in which they are developing their skill is one that can develop world-class slow bowling,” Adams told the Mason and Guest radio program.

In the West Indies regional tournaments, it is spinners that have dominated the bowling in recent years.  For at least the last five years a spinner has taken the most wickets in the WICB Regional 4-day tournament. The honour has been achieved by Rahkeem Cornwall, with Veerasammy Permaul and Nikita Miller achieving it twice.

“Good cricket wickets play a big role in player development, not just spinners but obviously it does for spinners as well.  The Indian spinners in the 90s proved that if you didn’t have wickets that got outside your region, you would struggle whenever you went outside the region,” he added.

“Also, though, we have to improve the quality of batting against spin bowling because spin bowlers also develop their craft by bowling to good batsmen.  You don’t want a spinner to see high-quality batting for the first time when they leave the region.”

 

 

 

 

FC Dallas have strongly condemned "repulsive and unacceptable" racist comments and death threats Reggie Cannon has been subjected to this week. 

Dallas defender Cannon criticised supporters who booed players for kneeling during the national anthem before his side returned to MLS action against Nashville on Wednesday.  

Some fans were allowed into the game, which started after the teams showed their support of the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Sportsmen and women have taken a knee worldwide since NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick became the first to do so in the 2016 season, protesting against police brutality and racial inequality. 

But jeers were heard among supporters as Dallas, Nashville and the officials took a knee, with a water bottle also appearing to be thrown on the field in response. 

Dallas chairman Clark Hunt and president Dan Hunt says the abuse United States international Cannon has come in for will not be tolerated. 

"We want to be clear: We love and support Reggie Cannon. The racist comments and death threats he has received are repulsive and unacceptable," a statement from the duo said. 

"There is no place in our sport, or in our country for that matter, for the kind of horrific vitriol Reggie has had to endure today. Hateful or violent threats are never warranted – especially when they are directed toward a member of our FC Dallas family. 

"We will continue to work together – with our players, our coaches and our fans – against racism and in the cause of equality for all." 

Full-back Cannon said after a 1-0 defeat for Dallas: "I think it was disgusting. I think it was absolutely disgusting.

"You've got fans booing you for people taking a stand for what they believe in, and millions of other people support this cause.

"We discussed with every other team and the league what we were going to do, and we've got fans booing us in our own stadium. How disgraceful is that?

"For a lack of a better word, it p***** me off."

Cannon said the players had asked for the anthem not to be played before the match but "they ignored our wishes".

"We were going to kneel regardless if the anthem was played or not," he explained. "Unfortunately, it was played during the time when we asked for the anthem not to be played."

Two-time Jamaican Olympian Shevon Nieto and her husband Jamie have announced the birth of their first child, a son, Jaysha King Nieto, who was born on August 10.

"On August 10, 2020, we welcomed the birth of our baby boy, Jaysha King Nieto. My world has now been made complete with this precious gift from God and the most amazing husband and now father @jamienieto," Shevon posted on her Facebook page late Thursday night.

Nieto, 37, represented Jamaica in the 400m hurdles at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece and at the 2008 Games in Beijing, China.

 Shevon Stoddart married USA high jumper Jamie Nieto in 2017. Jamie suffered a spinal injury in 2016 which left him paralyzed.

Earlier this year, Nieto, who is now pursuing a career as a singer entered the talent show America's Got Talent singing her song Through the Good and the Bad, that was dedicated to her husband. Her performance was praised by the judges including the world-famous Simon Cowell. She was four months' pregnant at the time.

However, she eventually withdrew from the competition after concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 virus caused a delay in production as well as concern for the safety of her unborn child.

"After the first round, which was pretty amazing. It was one of the best moments of my life. I was definitely looking forward to the next round. Even though Covid was there we waited to see what would happen, but when we realized that the virus was getting worse...the producers, they knew that that would be a concern. They wanted to make sure that I was also safe and I was also comfortable. It was bitter-sweet. I really appreciate the opportunity to being on the show."

 

 

 

 

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