Jamaica international and rising Bundesliga star Leon Bailey has been cautioned about his poor disciplinary record so far this season by his agent and guardian Craig Butler.

The 22-year-old Bayer Leverkusen winger has received two red cards in five appearances so far.  The dismissals, which came against FC Koln and Borussia Mönchengladbach were the first of his career. 

The player’s latest infringement, which occurred against Koln, was pushing his hand into the face of Kingsley Ehzibue.  Bailey has, as a result, been suspended for three Bundesliga games and handed a fine of €20,000. Butler has insisted the player’s recent trend is one that cannot continue.

"Of course, I talked to Leon about his red cards again,” Butler told Bild.

"Leon has to understand that defenders want to stop and provoke fast players,” he added.

“I told him that I would not come back to the stadium if it happened to him again.  It will be interesting to see whether this threat actually bears fruit.”

Bailey, who has scored three goals and claimed one man-of-the-match award so far this season, will miss the start of the second half of the season against Paderborn in two weeks time.

With the Olympics in Tokyo just months away, Japan has ramped up their preparations and showed their might on Saturday with a comprehensive 9-0 thrashing of Jamaica’s Young Reggae Boyz at the Transcosmos Stadium in Nagasaki.

The under 22s from Jamaica were no match for their hosts, who are also preparing for the Asian Cup next month, a competition which also acts as a qualifier for Tokyo.

Though Japan has already booked their place in Tokyo by virtue of being the hosts, they would still like to do well in the Asian Cup and have laid down a marker for their rivals.

Japan will be in Group B of the Under-23 Asian Cup, where they will first take on Saudi Arabia on January 9, 2020, before turning their attention to  Syria on the 12th.

Qatar is next for the Japan side before what they will hope are quarterfinal match-ups. There are four groups with the top two from each making the quarterfinal.

Reggae Boyz coach Theodore Whitmore was the man in charge of the under-22s, saying the encounter would have given him the chance to take a look at some of the emerging talent from the country with a bid to fitting them into senior World Cup qualification games.

West Indies Legend, iconic captain of the 1980s, Clive Lloyd will be knighted as part of the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List and will be joined by former opening batsman, Gordon Greenidge.

Lloyd and Greenidge are the latest member of former West Indies teams to receive knighthood, following greats like Sir Gary Sobers, Sir Everton Weekes, and Sir Vivian Richards.

Lloyd, who earned a CBE as early as 1993, was forced to wait on the prestigious honour because as a Guyanese citizen, knighthood would have to come directly from the queen, unlike is the case in Antigua where that country gave the honour to, Sir Vivian, Sir Curtly and Sir Richie directly.

Lloyd, who led the West Indies during its most successful era, is likely to have made the list for his contribution to cricket not with the Caribbean side but with English County outfit Lancashire, where he plied his trade for some 20 years.

Lancashire skipper at the time, Jack Bond, was full of praise for Lloyd, saying: “His value to Lancashire cannot be measured by ordinary standards.”

For the West Indies, Lloyd played 110 Tests, becoming the first player from the region to play over 100 games in the format, scoring 19 centuries and 39 half-centuries at an average of 46.67. His highest score was an unbeaten 242 against India in Mumbai to set up a series-deciding win for the West Indies.

Lloyd also led the West Indies to two World Cup titles, first in 1975, then again in 1979.

But Lloyd also contributed to West Indies cricket as an administrator, holding stints as a director of the West Indies Cricket Board as well as the team’s chairman of selectors.

Lloyd is particularly well remembered for ‘cometh the hour, cometh the man moments’, famously scoring a wonderful century in the final of the World Cup in 1975 at Lord’s.

Greenidge, meanwhile, a 68-year-old former opening batsman, has been conferred with the Order of St Michael and St George Knight Commander for “services to cricket and to the development of sport” on the overseas list.

Conde Riley, the Barbados Cricket Association president and Cricket West Indies director, has also been honoured for “services in the field of sport and in particular cricket administration”.

For the moment, West Indies batsman Shai Hope can count himself as one of the top ten batsmen in One-Day International Cricket after scoring heavily against India in a just-concluded three-match series in that country.

Hope will end the year as the number nine batsman in the world, jumping five places on the ICC ODI Player Rankings after scoring 222 runs in those three matches at an average of 111.

Hope opened up in Chennai, helping the West Indies to a 1-0 series lead with an unbeaten 102, before he made things interesting despite losing efforts from the West Indies.

Hope would go on to score 72 in Visakhapatnam, and 42 in Cuttack to end the year with four centuries in 2019 and a healthy average of over 60, above his lifetime average of 52. The ODI top-order batsman now has eight centuries and became the quickest West Indian batsman to reach 3000 runs in the format. Only Hashim Amla has gotten to 3000 runs faster.

Hope lies ahead of all West Indies ODI batsmen, even Shimron Hetmyer, who has also seen improvement in his ICC ODI ranking. Hetmyer now lies at 19 in the world, while Nicholas Pooran, another player from West Indies’ young and exciting middle-order, now stands at 30th in the world, up from 63 after scoring 193 runs at an average of 96.50.

Hetmyer scored 180 runs at an average of 60.

In January, former Portmore United attacking midfielder, Javon East will be embarking on a three-year stint with Primera División de Costa Rica outfit, Santos de Guápiles, when the new season begins.

Back in June, East went on loan with the Costa Rican top-tier club and has impressed enough to be offered a more permanent switch.

However, East, who made his debut for the Reggae Boyz in 2018, while happy with the club’s decision to see him as important to their future, is also looking elsewhere to secure that future.

“I am feeling good about this because it is a start to push my career towards Europe,” said East.

“I think that I just have to start the season good and finish it good in order to stand a chance to make it into Europe.”

East, had a phenomenal start to life with Santos, scoring 10 goals in 18 appearances for the club, making him its leading scorer last season, just three off the top goalscorer in the league.

East, though, has set his sights much higher, saying he wants to, at least, double that tally in the upcoming season.

“My aim for next season is to score 20-plus goals because from the first week that I went there, I adapted to their style of play and so I know that I can hit this target,” he said.

With much bigger targets, East, one of three foreigners in the Santos squad, believes he will have to do more adapting because he is no longer and unknown quantity.

“I think next season is going to be a bit tougher because my opponents in the league know about me now, and so I am going to have to double my work ethic going forward in the competition,” he said.

West Indies legend Brian Lara has hailed India batting star Virat Kohli as the Cristiano Ronaldo of the sport based on the player’s extraordinary commitment to fitness.

Kohli was recently named in the Wisden top five cricketers of the decade and it was a well-earned accolade considering the fact he has scored 5,775 more international runs than anyone else in the last 10 years.  In fact, since bursting on the scene, the India skipper has sent records tumbling at a remarkable pace.  Kohli has, however, also become noted for his strict diet and rigid fitness routine.  Lara believes his attention to that aspect of his career development, comparable to the likes of Ronaldo and LeBron James, has taken the player to another level.

“It’s unbelievable. He's cricket’s version of Cristiano Ronaldo. I think he’s taken fitness to another level,” Lara said in a recent interview with The Hindu.

“When you see guys in the 70s and the fun that they were having, the fitness level wasn't that great.  In 2019, pretty much, fitness is a major part of the game and Kohli is leading the charge, not just in India but around the world. His mental strength is unbelievable,” he added.

The 31-year-old Indian was named captain of the Wisden Test team of the decade, while also featuring in the ODI XI.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) is set to welcome a new kit sponsor, Castore Sportswear, onboard for the new year after agreeing to a three-year deal reportedly worth £3m (US$3,903,300).

The new sponsorship deal will come as good news for the Caribbean cricket team, which has struggled in that particular area for the past several years as they are set to name a third sponsor in two years. 

The team’s most recent deals included a three-year contract with Australian sportswear brand BLK, signed in 2017, and a two-year agreement with Caribbean hotel chain Sandals in 2018.

For the English-based apparel franchise, who are relative newcomers to the sportswear market, the deal represents a significant escalation as the Windies will become the company's first major sports team deal.  Castore previously signed British tennis star Andy Murray in March.  The partnership with the West Indies is expected to commence in June when the team tours England before heading to Australia to defend the T20 World Cup title.  Castore chief executive Tom Beahon framed the partnership as an arrangement that should mutually benefit entities in similar positions.

“We see an opportunity to partner with like-minded teams who like us are aspirational, but see themselves as challenging,” Beahon told the Financial Times.

“Realistically, we’re not going to sponsor Real Madrid in the next two or three years but in the level below those trophy assets, there are teams and countries who are looking for a partner who will invest in them more than maybe the big guys will do.” 

Promoted Molynes United battled their way to a gritty 2-1 win over Waterhouse at the Drewsland Stadium.

West Indies all-round legend Sir Garry Sobers has warned England fast bowler Jofra Archer is not yet the finished article, as the bowler has struggled to make a significant impact in recent appearances, after a brilliant start to his career.

The 24-year-old Barbadian born fast bowler captured the attention of the world with a brilliant showing for England at ICC World Cup. Archer then went on to steal the limelight in the 2-2 home Ashes draw with Australia, taking 6-45 in the third Test at Headingley and finishing the series as the third leading wicket-taker with 22, despite only making his debut in the second Test.

The player, however, then struggled in New Zealand recently, returning figures of just 2-209 in England’s 1-0 series defeat.

“One swallow does not make a summer,” Sobers said of the players start to life in international cricket.

“Jofra has a lot of talent and the potential to go a long way, but how far depends on him.  You see a promising player come along and do well for a series, which maybe gives an inflated impression of his ability. If he thinks, ‘Oh, I’ve got it now, I’ve done this, done that’, there’s a danger he will not fulfill his potential,” he added.

“He must recognize the harder he works, the better results he will get.”

Archer will feature for England in a Boxing Day Test against South Africa at Centurion.

 

The sombre affair of laying to rest the body of Reggae Girl Tarania ‘Plum Plum’ Clarke was replaced with the loud bangs of gunshots and the unmistakable stench of fear from mourners who were hindered from doing just that on Sunday.

What started as a day celebrating the life of Clarke, where she was described as a born leader at the Excelsior High School Auditorium in Kingston, Jamaica, ended with confusion and pain at the Meadowrest Memorial Gardens in St Catherine.

Reports are that on Sunday, there was an altercation during the burial that resulted in the stabbing of an employee at Meadowrest.

It is alleged that gunmen from the nearby community, hearing of the injury to one of their own, broke up the proceedings by firing gunshots into the proceedings.

It is unknown if anybody was shot in the incident as the police are yet to release a report on the incident as investigations continue.

The October 31 death shocked the footballing community in Jamaica, with reports surfacing that the 20-year-old was stabbed during a fight with a friend over a cell phone in Half-Way Tree.

During the memorial service inside the auditorium, Reggae Girl, Khadija Shaw asked that Clarke be remembered for being funny, caring and hard working.

“She would have wanted to be with us all, to be here with our happiest smile of our times together,” said Shaw.

“For the memories, I have with her, I can tell you she was a strong person. Plum Plum’s presence will be missed by all, but she will never be forgotten.”

Clarke captained the Waterhouse women’s team for four title-winning seasons, earning a Reggae Girlz debut on September 30 during the CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifiers and even scored her first international goal against Cuba, during a 21-1 drubbing. The defender also scored against St Lucia when the Reggae Girlz beat them 11-0.

President of the Jamaica Football Federation, Michael Ricketts, said the loss of life was caused by a lack of understanding.

“It is so sad and painful to have lost someone which such a future,” Ricketts said.

“From her days at primary school, she has exhibited that ability to lead. I want to use this opportunity to ask all of you that we showed love. We [need to] go back to the days when we respect and show love to our friends. One single act of indiscretion has cost the community, the school, and certainly Jamaica, [someone] with such great talent.”

Nicholas Pooran was always a talented batsman but fell off the wagon after a car crash left him unable to walk for six months.

His return to international cricket has revitalized a West Indies batting line-up accused of being altogether too inconsistent.

Pooran though, averaging 52 from his 19 games since his return to cricket, has helped to give his side the confidence that makes a dangerous side with the bat.

While that revival isn’t complete, Pooran is grateful that he has come this far and is thanking his skipper, Kieron Pollard, for making it possible.

“He’s been like a big brother to me, a father-figure. He’s been there since I returned to cricket. He gave me opportunity. I’m thankful for that,” said Pooran.

Pooran has already begun repaying Pollard the faith he put in him, scoring 29 not out off 23 balls, 75 off 47 balls and 89 off 64 balls in a recently concluded ODI series against India.

But it isn’t just off the field that Pollard has been there for Pooran, as batting with his father figure has helped him as well.

In the final ODI against India on Sunday, Pollard batted with the West Indies middle order to help them post a challenging 315-5, himself ending unbeaten on 74.

“We play with each other, with the same club, same franchise back home. So we had a good understanding of the wicket and the situation in the game and just executed our skills,” said Pooran, who scored 89 from 64 deliveries in a partnership that took the West Indies from 144-4 in the 32nd over to 279-5 in the 48th when he finally got out.

“We know how to complement each other. Polly was stronger to the spinners, so we allowed him to attack Kuldeep (Yadav) and I would try and play more shots to the pacers. It worked out,” said Pooran.

The middle-order batting has shown some improvement, but the ease with which India got to 316-6, doing so in the 49th over, winning their second series against the Windies at home this month, suggests there is still work to be done.

“Definitely we were on a team-building (mode). India are one of the strongest teams in the world. They proved that again today in the T20I and ODI series. At least we came here and we showed fight,” said Pooran.

Pooran, no stranger to adversity after fighting his way back to fitness after his accident, strongly believes the West Indies are on their way back to being the best team in the world.

“There are better things to come. We are taking it day-by-day and eventually we’ll get where we want to get,” he said.

Shai Hope is the most prolific One-Day International batsman to his first 3000 runs the West Indies has ever seen.

On Sunday, during a losing effort against India , Hope struck a single to get to 35 runs and with it, reached 3,000 runs in ODIs.

Sir Vivian Richards, long known as the most fearsome ODI batsman the West Indies has ever seen, took 69 innings to get to 3000 runs, while Lara, the greatest the region has produced and arguably the greatest of all time, took 79 innings to do so. Hope was playing his 67th innings on Sunday.

Gordon Greenidge, who formed part of the greatest opening ODI parternships in West Indies history with Desmond Haynes, achieved the milestone in 72 innings, while one of the greatest exponents of white ball cricket, Chris Gayle took 80 innings.

In fact, there has only ever been one batsman in world cricket to get to 3000 runs faster than has Hope, with South Africa’s Hashim Amla owning the record of the quickest to the milestone of all time, getting there in 57 innings.

Hope would go on to score 42, as the West Indies went on to post 315, a total India got to for the loss of six wickets in the 49th over.

On the way to 316-6, Rohit Sharma scored 63, KL Rahul, 77, and Virat Kohli, 85, to smother the efforts of Hope, Nicholas Pooran, 89, and Kieron Pollard, 74.

Hope had also scored 102 not out and 78 in the previous two games, taking his tally to four centuries this calendar year, along with seven half-centuries.

The West Indies lost a T20I series to India, 2-1, and suffered the same result in a three-match ODI series that ended Sunday.

Former West Indies wicketkeeper Courtney Browne is in a hospital in Barbados with serious injuries suffered in a motor vehicle mishap in which a man died on Sunday morning.

 Jamaica had a creditable showing at the Men’s World Team Squash Championships finishing 18th out of 23 as the tournament concluded over the weekend in Washington DC in the United States.

Competing against the best players on the planet, the Jamaican Team, which included 9-time national and regional champion, Chris Binnie, Lewis Walters, Bruce Burrowes and Tahjia Lumley, improved on the country’s performance in the previous championships in 2017 when the team finished 21st.

The week-long campaign got off to a challenging start with 3-0 losses to Hong Kong, the number 6th ranked team and Australia, who were seeded at 7; as well as a 2-1 defeat at the hands of rising global stars, Kuwait.  The results landed Jamaica in the playoff for places 13 to 23.

The playoff round brought brighter moments with the highlights being a surprise 2-0 win over South American stalwarts, Colombia and a 2-1 victory against Singapore.  However, a 3-0 defeat at the hands of the US and a 2-0 loss to Ireland landed Jamaica in 18th place overall.

“We are extremely proud of our performance at the World Team Championships, we improved on our position from the last tournament, two years ago, we finished ahead of higher-ranked teams like South Africa and a powerhouse like Colombia who we actually beat in the playoffs,” said the Jamaica Squash Association’s President, Chris Hind.

“We are extremely proud of our performance at the World Team Championships, we improved on our position from the last tournament, two years ago, we finished ahead of higher-ranked teams like South Africa and a powerhouse like Colombia who we actually beat in the playoffs.

“There were great wins along the way from our number one and two players; Chris Binnie and Lewis Walters and there was a hard fight from our other players Bruce Burrowes and Tahjia Lumley and it’s onwards and upwards for Jamaican squash in 2020.”

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