Nani scored a dramatic late winner as Orlando City edged Inter Miami 2-1 to kick off the MLS is Back Tournament on Wednesday.

Orlando came from behind at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida to grab three points in the Group A clash, in the first MLS outing since the season was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Nani had set up Chris Mueller's equaliser to cancel out Juan Agudelo's opener, before the former Manchester United attacker put away a 97th-minute winner.

It came after players gathered pre-game, kneeling and raising their fists in a show of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

Inter Miami opened the scoring early in the second half after a fine team move, Agudelo tapping in a Victor Ulloa cross.

Andres Reyes was taken off on a stretcher before the hour-mark after a frightening injury which saw the Inter Miami defender struck on the throat.

Orlando drew level with 20 minutes remaining, Mueller getting on the end of a lovely cross from Nani.

Just as it looked like the teams were set to share the spoils, Nani tucked away a dramatic winner for Orlando.

West Indies fast bowling legend Curtly Ambrose has bemoaned the lack of an opportunity to be a part of the current Cricket West Indies (CWI) set-up in any type of capacity.

The 56-year-old Ambrose, one of the most revered bowlers in world cricket, previously served as the bowling consultant for the senior team.  He was, however, replaced by Roderick Estwick in 2016 and has not been involved with the program since.  According to the legendary pace bowler, however, it isn’t for a lack of trying.  Ambrose has since added to his coaching credentials, becoming one of 25 officials from the Caribbean and North America to attain Level Three coaching certification from a program organised by Cricket West Indies (CWI) and the England and Wales Cricket Board in 2018.

“Since I was sacked from the senior team back in 2016, I have done a few bits and pieces in-between, in terms of some coaching stints with a few fast bowlers, but not on a consistent basis,” Ambrose said in a recent interview on Antigua’s Good Morning Jojo radio show.

Coaching is, however, not the only job the former player has applied for.  He recently also threw his hat in the ring for a position on the selection panel.

“I figured whether it is coaching, being a selector, or whatever I could do to help West Indies Cricket go forward, I am always ready and willing to do so.  There was nothing to do to in terms of the coaching part of it, so I decided to put in for being a selector because I thought that I could help, because I am a very fair-minded person and I just want to see West Indies cricket get better," Ambrose said.

"They interviewed me, Jimmy Adams and the vice president (Dr. Kishore Shallow), for about an hour, and I didn't quite make it."

Jamaican teen track star Briana Williams has signed a three-year deal to become a brand ambassador for Grace Foods, the company announced on Wednesday.

West Indies fast bowler turned respected commentator, Michael Holding, has over the years developed a reputation for being outspoken. He just tells it like it is. On Wednesday, prior to the start of the #RaiseYourBat Series between the West Indies and England, he was at his best delivering a powerful message against racism.

The fast-bowling great, speaking on Skysports was asked his views on the #BlackLivesMatter campaign, delivered a poignant lesson on how education and religion helped brainwash the world against people of colour.

 “Education is important, unless we just want to continue living the life that we are living and continue having demonstrations every now and then and a few people saying a few things,” Holding said.

“When I say education I say going back in history. What people need to understand is that these things stem from a long time ago, hundreds of years ago. The dehumanisation of the black race is where it started. People will tell you that ‘oh it’s a long time ago, get over it’. No, you don’t get over things like that.”

He mentioned another recent incident in the United States that brought into stark focus, just how ingrained racism has become.

“That lady in central park in New York (Amy Cooper). If she did not have in her DNA the thought process that she is white and this man is black and ‘if I call a police officer, nine times out of 10 he is going to be white and I will be considered right immediately. The black guy will have to prove that he is not guilty and by the time he has to prove that he might be dead,” Holding remarked.

“She had that in her mind from day one and that is why she said and did what she did. How do you get rid of that in society? By educating both black and white.”

Highlighting that he was not much of a religious person, Holding said that religion has brainwashed much of the world against people of colour.

“As a young man I didn’t understand what brainwashing is; now I do. We have been brainwashed. Even white people have been brainwashed,” Holding said.

“I go back many years, think about religion. You and I both are Christians. Look at Jesus Christ. The image that they give of Jesus Christ, pale skin, blonde hair, blue eyes. Where Jesus came from, who in that part of the world looks that way? Again, that is brainwashing, this is to show, ‘look this is what perfection is, this is what the image of perfection is.’

“If you look at the plays of those days. Judas, who betrayed Jesus, is a black man. Again brainwashing people to think, ‘oh he is a black man, he is the bad man’.”

He also spoke about how those recording history have deliberately ignored achievements by people of African heritage.

“We all know who invented the light bulb. Thomas Edison invented it. Edison invented the light bulb with a paper filament; it burnt out in no time at all. Can you tell me who invented the filament that makes these lights shine throughout? Nobody knows because he was a black man and it was not taught in schools. Lewis Howard Latimer invented the carbon filament because of which lights continuously shine, who knows that?” he asked.

 “Everything should be taught. When I go back I remember my school days, I was never taught anything good about black people. And you cannot have a society that is brought up like that, both whites and blacks, which is only taught what is convenient to the teacher.”

Jamaican bodybuilder Dwayne Walker has signed a one-year deal with Betancourt Nutrition that he has described as a major boost to his career even as he navigates a challenging environment caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Trinbago Knight Riders manager Colin Borde is confident the team remains in a strong position to reclaim the title, following the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) draft earlier this week.

The Knight Riders, the tournament’s most successful franchise, did not make too many changes to the previous season’s roster.  The team retained all of 11 players for this season’s CPL, set to run from August 18 to September 10.

The list includes Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine, Darren Bravo, Lendl Simmons, Khary Pierre, Amir Jangoo, Tion Webster, Akeal Hosein, and Muhammad Ali Khan.  They have also signed 18-year-old West Indies under-19 medium-pacer Jayden Seales, as well as carrying back Australian Fawad Ahmed and New Zealand’s Colin Munro after they had stints away last season.

“I’m very pleased with the balance of the team, certainly the captain and selection committee would have done a wonderful job in having several discussions about the balance of the team based on the types of wickets we will have in Trinidad,” Borde told Trinidad and Tobago’s 7pmnews.

“Certainly, I must commend them for sticking with the core of players that have worked with us over the years and have built a nice tight unit, and also bringing back the likes of Ahmed and Munroe,” he added.

“The balance, experience, and togetherness in this team is going to be something that will take us over the line.  We are confident that if we do all the things we need to do, do them consistently and have a bit of luck on the way, we will be competing for the title as well.”

Members of the West Indies squad knelt and held clenched fists as they showed full support for the fight against racism, inequality and injustice.

Before Wednesday’s start to the #RaiseTheBat series at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, both West Indies and England teams announced they would wear the Black Lives Matter logo on the collars of their playing shirts.

They further demonstrated support by kneeling on the field and on the boundary.

All members of the West Indies squad also wore black gloves. In addition, a flag was flown over the team’s balcony with the composite logos of Cricket West Indies and Black Lives Matter on the traditional maroon background.

Speaking ahead of the series, West Indies Head Coach Phil Simmons said:

PULLQuote: “It means a hell of a lot to all the players and all the staff on the tour. But it's not just about now, it's about life on the whole.”

The Black Lives Matter emblem was designed by Alisha Hosannah, the partner of Troy Deeney, captain of English Premier League side Watford. 

He was contacted by CWI and permission was granted for the logo to be displayed on the collar according to ICC regulations.

The logo has a clenched fist in place of the letter “A” in the word “Black”. It has also been used on the shirts of all 20 Premier League clubs since football returned behind closed doors following the break for COVID-19.

During Monday’s 2020 CPL Draft, defending CPL champions Barbados Tridents added a number of potential match-winners to their roster for the coming season. Among them are spinner Rashid Khan and the big-hitting Marcus Stoinis, players who returning batsman Alex Hales thinks will make the team better than before.

Hales believes having, Khan, the number-one ranked T20 bowler in their side is a massive boost for an already strong side.

“I have played against Rashid Khan a few times and had a season with him at Sunrisers Hyderabad. Any team that has Rashid Khan in it, you boost your chances of winning the competition,” Hales remarked.

“For me, he and Andre Russell are probably the two best T20 players in the world. So to have Rashid, particularly on the pitches that favour spin in the Caribbean he can an absolute handful. And he is fantastic in the field and obviously smacks a few at the end, so any team that has got him in their ranks seriously boosts their chances of winning.”

Hales is also very optimistic about the addition of Stoinis.

“We have signed Marcus Stoinis as well, and playing against him in the Big Bash, he was in the form of his life and scored runs in every game that he played. We seem to have got an even stronger squad somehow than we did last year. It is really exciting,” he said.

Hales will be linking up again with his Nottinghamshire teammate, Harry Gurney, for the 2020 tournament and he was full of praise for the left-arm seamer, saying he was crucial to their championship win. Gurney arrived for the home leg of the tournament at a time when the Tridents were far from certain of making the playoffs. Hales says his efforts helped guide them to the knockouts and beyond.

“Signing Harry Gurney was massive. He learns his trade on Trent Bridge, which is arguably the flattest pitch it the world. So, for him to bowl on probably bowler-friendly pitches was huge for us for him to come in for the back-end of the tournament.

“He played a massive part in us winning the whole thing. I think we can build on that for next year, knowing that if things don’t quite work out at the start of the tournament you have got time to figure it and not panic. And that is something Jason and Phil did really well, at no point did they get edgy or concerned about playing well at the start. Everyone kept a cool head and we really turned it on when it mattered which is a really good trait in a team.”

 

 

 

Alex Hales will be back at the Caribbean Premier League in 2020 having won the title with the Barbados Tridents in 2019. The tournament will take place from 18 August to 10 September and it will be amongst the first cricket competitions to return.

Stuart Broad will miss his first home England Test since 2012 after being left out against West Indies at the Rose Bowl.

The return of international cricket, put on hold since March because of the coronavirus pandemic, was further delayed by rain in Southampton on Wednesday.

However, conditions eventually allowed for the two captains - Ben Stokes and Jason Holder - to emerge for the coin toss, which England won with Stokes electing to bat.

Stand-in captain Stokes, taking the place of Joe Root - missing the match to attend the birth of his second child - confirmed the omission of seam bowler Broad for the first of three behind-closed-doors Tests.

All-rounder Chris Woakes was also left out, with England opting for the pace of Jofra Archer and Mark Wood alongside the swing of James Anderson.

"Very, very tough decision with [leaving out] Broad and Woakes but we feel with Woody and Jofra's pace it adds another dimension," Broad said. 

"There was a lot of disappointment around but they took it like champions."

Holder, meanwhile, elected to go with four pace bowlers, with Alzarri Joseph, Kemar Roach and Shannon Gabriel joining the all-rounder in the attack.

Rahkeem Cornwall missed out, Holder picking Roston Chase as his spin option.

The start of play was rescheduled for 2:00pm (local time).

 

FIFA has withdrawn from mediation with the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) citing the failure of its lawyers to keep the matter confidential.

West Indies coach Phil Simmons has insisted the size of off-spinner Rahkeem Cornwall has not been an issue, as he remains in contention to secure a place in the team for the upcoming tour of England.

Despite his success in regional cricket and solid performances for both West Indies A and West Indies squads, the player's physique has often drawn attention for looking different than the average cricketer.  Standing at 6 ft 5 inches tall, Cornwall weighs somewhere in the region of 308 pounds.

For a time, it was believed to be keeping the player from being selected to the regional squad, after a successful debut against India last year, however, the spinner's stock seems to be on the rise.  For the current tour of England, Cornwall could be in contention for a spot in the team as the primary or secondary spinner and the coach was quick to insist there are no concerns with his size or mobility.

“His size has not been an issue, if you see Rahkeem at slip and some of the catches that he takes at slip, there is no issue,” Simmons told members of the media in a Zoom press conference call on Monday.

“I think he is capable of bowling a lot of overs.  He has bowled an enormous amount of overs through the years for the Leeward Islands, West Indies A, and the West Indies team in our Test match against India.  So, none of it has been a hindrance to him.  He had a little knee injury and that has been fixed so now he is strong as ever,” he added.

On debut, against India, Cornwall claimed 3 wickets, before claiming 10 against Afghanistan in his second Test.

 

 West Indies captain Jason Holder believes too much attention has been spent focusing on the possible deficiency of the team’s top order and backed the rest of the batting unit to pick-up the runs-scoring slack if needed.

Ahead of the start of the West Indies England tour, doubts have repeatedly been raised of not just the team’s top order, but the overall unit as well, as they prepare to stand up to an experienced English bowling line-up. Since a 2-1 defeat to England, on their last tour in 2017, West Indies have a batting average of 23.59 across 19 Tests.  Nor can the team take comfort in some of the showings during the recent intra-squad matches, which served as preparation for the series.  In the final warm-up, a top-five of Kraigg Brathwaite, John Campbell, Shamarh Brooks, Shai Hope, and Roston Chase found themselves reduced to 9 for 3 and 49 for 5.

“The runs don’t have to only come from the top order.  I think we are putting a lot of emphasis on the top order.  Yes, they probably haven’t lived up to the expectations but in general, it’s a team sport and we just have to put runs on the board,” Holder told members of the media during a Zoom press conference on Tuesday.

“Personally, I don’t care, it’s just for us to put runs on the board and give our bowlers something to work with.”  

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