A 100 per cent fit Sunil Narine is happy to be back bowling for the West Indies and had an immediate impact on the first T20 against India in Fort Lauderdale despite his team’s four-wicket loss.

Defending a paltry 95, the West Indies were in trouble but Narine with figures of 2-14, from his four overs, showed great control and the ability to still take wickets.

“Sunil's four overs very important, he showed his experience, brought us back into the game. Great bowling effort,” said Narine's skipper, Carlos Brathwaite.

"Always good to be back in maroon. Being able to perform for the country is a proud moment,” said Narine after his efforts.

The mystery spinner has been troubled with a finger injury and the workout in Lauderhill was a good way to test where he was.

“Fitness is there, finger is now 100%,” said Narine.

Now, the spinner says his goal is to find consistency.

“T20 I'm trying to stay on for as long as I can. Let's see how it goes. We still have to play positively, start well in the Powerplay, whether we're batting or bowling,” explained Narine.

That positive intent, Narine believes, is the key to winning games again for the West Indies.

“We've to start winning matches. No new thing at the moment, just enjoying my cricket. Hopefully you can see good performances in the near future."

Champion jockey Ricky Jadoo’s perfect ride for champion trainer Glenn Mendez secured a near two-length win for the Jamaica-bred colt Juice Man in Thursday’s Trinidad and Tobago Midsummer Classic at Santa Rosa Park.

A 2-1 joint second favourite in the small seven-horse field, Juice Man, in just his second start in T&T, successfully tackled the front running 16-1 bet Blue Navigator approaching the final turn and galloped stoutly to victory by 1-3/4 lengths in the TT$125,000 (US$18,800) event. The even-money favourite Apocalypse was second and Making Headlines (12-1) third.

The Justyn Kanta Persad-owned Juice Man clocked two minutes 00.40 seconds for the 9-1/2 furlong trip and Mendez is now keen to start the Lakeland Farms-bred colt in the September 24 Trinidad Derby.

“We will look for (another) race or two before the Derby,” Mendez said of Juice Man, who won his T&T debut in early July just a couple of months after his last race in Jamaica in March. The Storm Craft out of Passion colt had logged two wins from eight starts at Jamaica’s Caymanas Park from Triple Crown winning trainer Anthony Nunes’s barn.

Top trainer John O’Brien’s Blue Navigator with Panamanian jockey Nobel Abrego held an uncontested lead for most of the trip but late on the backstretch, Jadoo accelerated Juice Man to move within a length of the lead with Regal Intension (2-1) and Apocalypse under Canada-based Barbadian jockey Patrick Husbands within striking distance.

Coming off the final bend, Juice Man shot past the tiring Blue Navigator while the quickening Apocalypse went in chase with Regal Intension and Making Headlines in challenging positions as a mere three lengths separated the first five horses at the top of the homestretch.

Jadoo, who rode 34 winners in 2018 to snatch his fifth jockeys’ title, glanced – early in the homestretch -- at the looming threat of Husbands and Apocalypse on his outside and roused his mount for a strong run to the finish.

The Apocalypse pressure – despite vigorous left-hand whipping by Husbands – inside the final furlong and a half was mild and good enough only for a clear second as his stablemate Making Headlines finished a further 4-1/2 lengths back in third.

Regal Intension’s Triple Crown bid was scuppered with his fourth place finish and O’Brien’s target miss with his five-pronged entry in the seven-horse field was further compounded by an injury to his Oaks winner She’s So Spectacula.

Owned by Chevan Maharaj, whose colt Supreme Soul captured the 2019 Triple Crown in Jamaica, She’s So Spectacula damaged a sesamoid, a career-ending injury.

For trainer Mendez, Juice Man’s win was his seventh in this second leg of the Triple Crown series and one of his most remarkable having had just a couple of months with the colt. Juice man had never before Thursday gone a trip as long as the 9-1/2-furlong Midsummer with his two wins in Jamaica both five-furlong sprints. Mendez conditioned him quickly to an 8-3/4-furlong win in his Midsummer “prep” on July 6 at Santa Rosa Park, his first run at the Arima racetrack.

“Going into his first race (in July) I tried to do some stamina work because he had never been beyond seven furlongs (in Jamaica) and we weren’t sure how much he would stay. He ran well and actually kicked on in that race,” Mendez said of his Santa Rosa debut win over Trovatore and Blue Navigator.

“We got in a trouble-free preparation so he was ready,” Mendez explained.

Windies skipper, Carlos Brathwaite believes his unit could have made a fight of the first T20 international against India in Lauderhill on Saturday had there been but a few better decisions with the bat.

According to the skipper, the T20 side, stacked with new-ish faces, not for the first time, did not adapt to the conditions they were faced with after early-morning showers made batting a little tougher.

“Once again don't think we assessed conditions,” said Brathwaite after the game the West Indies lost by four wickets.

Batting first, the ‘home’ side amassed a paltry 95-9 from their 20 overs, thanks in large part to Kieron Pollard’s run-a-ball 49.

Sent to bat at number four, Pollard showed experience in waiting for the right moments to get the scoring going, but fell in the 20th over.

Brathwaite paid attention.

“Kudos to Kieron coming back into the team. He showed his experience,” he said.

“Had we made 130, it would've been a different game. We batted ourselves out of the game,” said a disappointed Brathwaite.

The skipper admits that the West Indies style of being aggressive up front would not change, but that there were still better decisions to be made when doing so.

“We have to play positively. The message will continue to be to keep intent, but we need to have better shot selection and awareness,” said the skipper.

Josef Martinez equalled his own record for most consecutive MLS games with a goal as defending champions Atlanta United beat LA Galaxy 3-0.

Martinez converted a 72nd-minute penalty as the reigning MLS MVP scored in his ninth successive league match on Saturday.

The Atlanta star has scored 13 goals in the nine-game period, with Martinez's season tally at 18 – four behind MLS leader Carlos Vela.

Frank de Boer's Atlanta were too good for the Galaxy, who were without suspended talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic, in front of 72,548 fans at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

A pair of own goals put Atlanta 2-0 ahead at half-time – David Romney and Giancarlo Gonzalez both turning the ball into their own net.

Playing in front of a record regular-season crowd, Atlanta put the game beyond doubt when Martinez scored a penalty with 18 minutes remaining after VAR judged that Gonzalez fouled Emerson Hyndman.

Atlanta are top of the Eastern Conference – level on points with Philadelphia Union, while the Galaxy are third and 15 points adrift of Western Conference leaders and rivals Los Angeles FC.

Supporters' Shield leaders LAFC snapped New England Revolution's 11-game unbeaten streak with a 2-0 victory thanks to goals from Diego Rossi and Latif Blessing.

Kei Kamara scored a hat-trick as Colorado Rapids overcame Montreal Impact 6-3 in a wild match.

Kamara opened the scoring, albeit at the other end via an 18th-minute own goal, but the Rapids star bounced back with another three where it mattered most.

His three-goal haul helped the Rapids – who led 4-1 at half-time – set a new team record with six goals in a regular-season match.

Elsewhere, New York Red Bulls defeated Toronto 2-0, Orlando City topped Dallas by the same scoreline, Vancouver Whitecaps edged FC Cincinnati 2-1, Houston Dynamo lost 1-0 to Chicago Fire, Real Salt Lake were too good for New York City 3-1 and San Jose Earthquakes drew 1-1 with Columbus Crew.

India skipper Virat Kohli was not too perturbed by his side’s difficulty in overhauling a small total against the West Indies in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday.

Playing in the first T20 of an Indian tour of the Caribbean, Kohli’s side ran through the West Indies top order, leaving veteran all-rounder, Kieron Pollard, the only man to offer any resistance with his run-a-ball 49, that took the home team to 95-9.

The total seemed too low to be a problem for the powerfully stacked Indian batting line-up but at 69-5 when Kohli picked out Pollard at mid-wicket, the game was very much on.

India would eventually make their way to 98-6, a comfortable enough victory with 16 balls to spare, but it was tougher than it should have been.

“We would've liked to chase it four down, but we wanted to take risks and take the scoreboard moving. As the ball got older, strike rotation became key. It's just about putting in solid performance, ensure the guys who play contribute in some way or the other,” said Kohli.

The Indian skipper had lots to say about his side’s bowling and fielding, pointing out that they did well under the conditions.

“Bowlers were on top throughout, variations were superb,” he said.

The Indian skipper gave special praise to theDelhi Daredevil’s paceman Navdeep Saini, who ended with figures of 3-17. Saini was responsible for the important wickets of Nicholas Pooran, Pollard, and Shimron Hetmyer.

“Navdeep is from Delhi, he's come a long way. Plays the IPL as well, had a great season. Raw talent, hardly any bowlers who can bowl 150 clicks, hopefully he builds on from here,” he said.

Navdeep Saini enjoyed a wonderful international debut as India edged out West Indies by four wickets in a low-scoring Twenty20 contest in Lauderhill, Florida.

Saini (3-17) struck with successive deliveries in his first over and the seamer finished off the Windies' innings with a wicket-maiden that included the scalp of Kieron Pollard, whose 49 represented more than half of his side's paltry total of 95-9.

On a sluggish pitch, India then lost wickets at regular intervals, but they nevertheless reached their target with 16 balls to spare, Rohit Sharma's 24 the most substantial contribution to the chase.

Victory represents a welcome boost for India after their painful semi-final defeat to New Zealand in the Cricket World Cup. 

Uncertainty surrounds the future of the team's coaching staff in the wake of that loss, while skipper Virat Kohli rubbished rumours of a feud between himself and Rohit earlier this week.

After Kohli had won the toss on Saturday, the Windies lost openers John Campbell and Evin Lewis for ducks, setting the tone for a dismal batting display in the first contest of a three-match series.

Nicholas Pooran briefly sparkled, with two sixes in his 20, but he and Shimron Hetmyer then fell to consecutive Saini deliveries, leaving the debutant on a hat-trick.

Saini could not manage that feat, but he finished his day's work in style by trapping Pollard lbw in a run-less 20th over. The experienced all-rounder had been the only man to offer any prolonged resistance for the Windies, striking four maximums in his run-a-ball innings.

Shikhar Dhawan fell cheaply in reply on his return from the thumb injury that prematurely ended his World Cup campaign and India were in trouble at 32-3 when Rohit and Rishabh Pant (0) holed out to successive balls from Sunil Narine.

Kohli and Manish Pandey contributed 19 apiece to edge India closer, though, and their victory was sealed by a Washington Sundar six.

Windies paceman, Shannon Gabriel will be playing in the final three games if the English Division Two Championship for Gloucestershire.

Gabriel joins a team that was expected to struggle this season but found a way to do well, sitting third on the table with three teams set for promotion to Division One.

Glamorgan, who are second, have the same number of points as Gloucester, making for an interesting final few games.

But there have been problems for Gloucestershire, who lost the services, of Australian seamer, Daniel Worrall through injury.

That setback was assuaged with part-time replacements as another Australian, swing bowler, Chadd Sayers stood in for four games. Other recruits Andrew Tye and Michael Clinger will be playing in the T20 Blast, leaving a window for Gabriel to make an impact.

Gabriel. Like Gloucestershire, has been having some problems. The fast bowler, who will be hoping to ensure his new side finishes strongly and earns promotion, has not been bowling well.

Gabriel was dangerous against England in Tests just before the World Cup, but since then, has a dreadful time.

The speedster had a tough time at the recently-concluded ICC World Cup, his express pace counting for very little, as he averaged 86.50 for his two wickets and had the unenviable economy rate of 8.43.

Fortunately, Gabriel has always been a much better red ball bowler and the hope is, he will get back to his best in very short order.

Gabriel does have an opportunity to regain some confidence heading into the stint, as his West Indies takes on India in a Test series just before.

"I'm really looking forward to joining up with Gloucestershire in September and I will be trying my best to help the team push for promotion to Division One," said Gabriel.

"Hopefully I'll be carrying some good form off the back of the Test series against India."

West Indies coach Floyd Reifer believes the return of experienced players to the regional squad has provided a major boost ahead of the start of the T20 series against India.

The Windies will face India in three T20 matches, the first beginning at the Central Broward Regional Park on Saturday.  Ahead of the tournament, the Windies announced the return of top T20 players Sunil Narine and Kieron Pollard. 

Despite being one of the world’s best bowler Narine has not played for the regional team since 2017, with Pollard last appearing for the regional team in the shortest format last year.  

“We have players like (Kieron) Pollard and (Sunil) Narine making a return to the team as well as the captain Carlos Brathwaite and they have a lot of experience at this level and in this format,” Reifer said.

“The team is young, and we like to mix the experienced players with the youth. We have a very good blend. We are looking forward to the matches here in Florida. It should be a very exciting weekend, with lots of entertainment for the fans,” he added.

The team will also include the likes of spinner Khary Pierre who made his debut with the team in India last year.  Wicket-keeper Anthony Bramble is also in the squad for the three-match series.

 

 

  

 

The 20 year-old jockey N’Rico Prescod, in only his second Derby ride, piloted the 21-1 outsider Nzinga to a stunning win in the Massy United Insurance Barbados Derby on Thursday as fillies swept the top three spots in the BB$68,000 (US$34,000) Classic at the Garrison Savannah.

Positioned off the lead for most of the 10-furlong trip, Nzinga swept to the front approaching the home turn and won by a length for trainer Raphael Greene, with 13-1 shot Naomi second and the 2-1 favourite Good Vibration third.

“I am excited and I am glad I made my mother proud and my family proud,” Prescod said after his first Derby triumph.

The 52-1 outsider Fantastic Frances was the pacesetter early and after a couple of furlongs enjoyed a five-length advantage at the head of the field with Defiant David (4-1), Marie Aurore (5-1) and Nzinga tracking.

At the half mile, Fantastic France’s lead had shrunk as Marie Aurore, Nzinga and Midsummer Classic winner SeventeenmillionUS, the 5-2 second favourite, all pounced simultaneously for challenges.

Prescod roused Nzinga at the two-furlong pole to surge past Fantastic Frances and Marie Aurore and the chestnut filly came off the final bend with a clear advantage.

Nzinga drifted off the rail down the homestretch as Naomi edged ahead of Fantastic Frances and Marie Aurore to emerge as the main threat.

Prescod switched his whip from left to right hand approaching the finish and safely held Naomi for the win, stopping the clock at two minutes 11.30 seconds.

Brilliantly prepared by first-time Derby winning trainer Greene, who is also a part of the triumphant owners group Some Guys & A Gyal, Nzinga was securing her first top-three finish in the 2019 Classics after placing sixth in the Guineas and fifth in Midsummer.

Greene, also breeder of the filly - by Janak out of the mare Mrs. B - believes she would have had better results in the earlier Classics if not for traffic problems as Prescod complained of being bounced around by other horses in the June 22 Midsummer.

“All I prayed for was a clean trip and that is what happened,” Prescod said.

“God answered my prayers and she came out on top and I am really proud of her, I love her,” added the former St Michael and Combermere (6th Form) student, who had three other winners on Thursday’s card.

“N’Rico is a fantastic young rider, he is also very intelligent, has good hands and a good seat,” Greene said.

Carlos Brathwaite has come to Andre Russell's defence after the West Indies all-rounder appeared in the Global T20 (GT20) in Canada hours after pulling out of an international match injured.

Russell saw his Cricket World Cup cut short with a left knee injury and then aggravated the issue in the GT20.

The 31-year-old had been named in the Windies' squad for their first two Twenty20 internationals against India pending a fitness test, yet he informed selectors of his inability to feature.

However, hours after Jason Mohammed was called up in his place, Russell turned out again for Vancouver Knights in the GT20.

Brathwaite believes Russell receives too much criticism for his patchy fitness record, however, suggesting he instead deserves credit for trying to play when possible.

The Windies skipper suggested Russell was playing for Vancouver without being "100 per cent" but did not wish to risk producing below-par performances for his country.

"I think he's been knocked in the press a bit because of his injury woes," Brathwaite told a news conference. "And I think it's easy for us to see him hobbling around the field and just take for granted that he's injured.

"But we can also look at it on the other side and say he could be home, he could be elsewhere and not trying to play for the West Indies.

"Speaking for myself as captain of the T20 team, and speaking for myself as Andre's friend, whenever we speak about playing for West Indies, that's always his main goal.

"And we've seen in the World Cup, whether he was 100 per cent or not – it's debatable – the fact that he wanted to be at the World Cup, wanted to pull on the shirt and wanted to perform for the people in the West Indies and his mates in the dressing room, I think, is testament to the person he is.

"I think we need to start commending the fact that he actually tries to get on the park and stop lambasting the fact that he probably doesn't stay on it till the end of the 50 overs or the 20 overs.

"Even against my better judgment, I told him to sit out this series. But he really wanted to play, he really wanted to come and show off his skills and show off what he does in franchise cricket for the West Indies.

"Unfortunately, he took another knock and he doesn't think that, if he comes here, he'd be doing justice to other people who could be here and are 100 per cent.

"Obviously, he's a big loss, not only on the field but off the field. In the dressing room, in and around the team, he's a big character, very jovial and, in my eyes, a leader in the dressing room as well.

"But obviously, if we need to get him ready for the Twenty20 World Cup, we have to do without him for a couple of series.

"I prefer that than pushing him in this series and making a long-term injury."

West Indies T20 captain Carlos Brathwaite has come to the defence of injured teammate Andre Russell, who he believes has come in for some harsh press after a number of injuries have impacted his international output.

After feeling discomfort during the Global T20 Canada, Andre Russell asked to be excused from duty for the West Indies in the first T20 internationals against India in the Caribbean.

During a pre-match press conference, Brathwaite, made it clear where he stood on the issue.

Brathwaite tackled those who thought Russell did a disservice to the West Indies’ World Cup hopes, saying:

"And speaking for myself as captain of the T20 team and speaking for myself as Andre's friend, whenever we speak about playing for West Indies, that's always his main goal. And we've seen in the World Cup -whether he was 100% or not, it's debatable - but the fact that he wanted to be at the World Cup, wanted to pull on the shirt and wanted to perform for the people in the West Indies and his mates in the dressing room, I think, is testament to the person he is. And I think we need to start commending the fact that he actually tries to get on the park and stop lambasting the fact that he probably doesn't stay on it till the end of the 50 overs or the 20 overs,” said Brathwaite.

According to the skipper, the more important part of the equation, is Russell’s willingness to play for the West Indies.

"I think he's been knocked in the press a bit because of his injury woes. And I think it's easy for us to see him hobbling around the field and just take for granted that he's injured but we can also look at it on the other side and say he can be home, he could be elsewhere and not trying to play for the West Indies.

Russell, Brathwaite revealed, would have played in these T20s if prodded to do so, despite his less-than-100 per cent fitness status.

"Even against my better judgment, I told him to sit out this series, but he really wanted to play, he really wanted to come and show off his skills and show off what he does in franchise cricket for the West Indies. Unfortunately, he took another knock and he doesn't think that if he comes here that he'd be doing justice to other people who could be here and are 100%. Obviously, he's a big loss, not only on the field but off the field. In the dressing room, in and around the team, he's a big character, very jovial and in my eyes, a leader in the dressing room as well,” said Brathwaite.

The skipper then asked that the press look at the bigger picture, because there were other tournaments the West Indies have an eye on doing well at, tournaments Russell will be important to.

“ … Obviously, if we need to get him ready for the Twenty20 World Cup, we have to do without him for a couple of series, I prefer that than pushing him in this series and making a long term injury.”

The Colorado Rapids' MLS home game against Montreal Impact will go on as scheduled on Saturday, but the post-game fireworks display has been cancelled for a rather unusual reason.

In a news release issued on Friday, the Rapids explained the decision as being down to "the confirmed presence of plague-infested fleas affecting prairie dog colonies" in the area surrounding Dick's Sporting Goods Park.

The Plague, known as the bubonic plague, killed an estimated 50million people in the Middle Ages.

"Our highest priority is the health and safety of our fans, staff, and local community," the team said in its release. 

"We will continue to monitor the situation in the lead up to the Rapids home game with Montreal Impact on Saturday at Dick's Sporting Goods Park."

According to the Centers for Disease Control, people typically contract plague if they are bitten by rodent fleas carrying Yersinia pestis, the bacterium that causes the disease.

Although plague is an extremely serious illness, it is treatable with commonly available antibiotics.

The cancellation of the fireworks show at the stadium in suburban Commerce City, north of Denver, was at the recommendation of the Tri-County Health Department and the City of Commerce City, the Rapids said.

Additionally, at the health department’s recommendation for the safety of those planning to attend the soccer game, parking will be restricted to asphalt lots until further notice.  

According to the Rapids, the health department feels that these precautions "will greatly minimise the risk of exposure to patrons, players, and employees and help ensure a safe experience".

Newly-appointed St Kitts and Nevis Patriots skipper Carlos Brathwaite has admitted that star player Chris Gayle will be a big loss both on and off the field for the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) franchise.

After two years with the Patriots, the 39-year-old Gayle will head back to his home country to join the Jamaica Tallawahs.  In two seasons with the franchise, Gayle led the team to the final in 2017, before being eliminated in the playoffs the following year.

In addition to his presence on the pitch, Brathwaite believes the player will also be missed in the team’s dressing room.

“Chris is now gone so we need to find a replacement for Chris, probably not in the same style that he would play, but with the results that he would normally bring to the team. Obviously, that’s another big character gone in the dressing room as well, so we have to manoeuvre slightly differently, but we need the same results where we challenge for the top four and then once we get to the top four, we challenge for the title,” Brathwaite said.

“I think people look for the shouting and the ‘hurrah’ and Chris is not necessarily that. He’s more calm, collective, cool. He leads by example. He has the respect of everyone in the dressing room, so whenever he speaks you know his words are worth the weight in gold. I think a lot of people take his coolness and his calm persona for granted but there’s very much a whole heap of respect in all the dressing rooms I’ve been fortunate enough to play alongside him in, everyone in the dressing room gives him maximum respect.”

 

 

 

Andre Russell has been replaced by Jason Mohammed in the West Indies squad for their first two Twenty20 internationals against India.

Russell was named in the party for the Florida leg of the series subject to a fitness test after a left knee injury cut short his Cricket World Cup.

However, the star all-rounder informed the Windies selectors he had been suffering with discomfort during the Global T20 tournament in Canada and was forced to withdraw.

Interim head coach Floyd Reifer said of Mohammed: "He is a player with lots of experience in all three formats and [has] done well for Trinidad and Tobago as well as Guyana Amazon Warriors.

"It is not easy to the fill the shoes of someone like Andre Russell, who has dominated T20 cricket all over the world and helped West Indies win the ICC T20 World Cup on two occasions.

"We believe Jason is capable of good performances and we back him to perform at this level and win games as well."

The Windies start against India on Saturday, then play the second T20 in Florida, too, before heading to Guyana to continue the series.

After three T20s, the sides will play a trio of ODIs and two Tests.

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