West Indies head coach Phil Simmons was granted permission to attend his father-in-law’s funeral in England last Friday. That’s the word from Cricket West Indies CEO Johnny Grave, who was responding to queries from Sportsmax.TV.

Simmons has been self-isolating since and will only be permitted to re-join the team on Thursday, July 2, if he returns two negative Covid-19 tests.

However, his decision to leave the bio-secure location has raised some concerns and questions over whether the head coach unilaterally decided to leave the facility where the team has been preparing for the coming three-Test series beginning July 8.

Grave assured that Simmons received permission from the Chief Medical Officers of Cricket West Indies and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

“Yes, he left to go to his father-in-law's funeral on Friday and is now going through the re-entry process having had his whole exit and entry approved and managed by the medical teams,” Grave said.

In Simmons’ absence, assistant coaches Roddy Estwick and Rayon Griffith will oversee the Windies four-day, first-class fixture that starts on Monday.

Floyd Reifer will be the batting coach

Former Cricket West Indies (CWI) boss, Dave Cameron, is now looking further afield at the possibility of becoming chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC).

According to reports, Cameron will be seeking nominations for the post but is yet to make a request that the CWI support his bid.

It is not certain if the CWI would support a bid from Cameron either after the former boss and the man who ousted him, Ricky Skerritt, had very public differences, not just during their election campaigns, but recently.

Skerritt investigated Cameron’s tenure as president by way of an audit where there were a number of questions regarding accounting practices of the organization.

CWI vice president, Dr Kishore Shallow has not commented on whether or not the CWI would back such a bid, saying he wanted to wait to discuss it with the board upon the occasion of receiving a formal notice on the matter.

ICC Chairman, Shashank Manohar, will leave the post when his term ends this year with the ICC slated to discuss the election of a new boss in the very near future.

At the moment, frontrunner to fill the spot being left vacant by Manohar is England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) chief, Colin Graves.

Graves was expected to be elected unopposed when he steps down from his five-year sojourn at the helm of the ECB in August.

Cameron was president of the CWI from 2013-2019.

West Indies paceman Alzarri Joseph says he is a better bowler today than the one who faced England in England three years ago.

Joseph had a torrid time of the one Test he played in England during the 2017 Wisden Trophy, toiling for 22 overs without a wicket at a cost of 109 runs.

“I think I have made some improvements as a bowler. That was a big learning experience for me, my first time in England. So I have some experience here now so I know now how to bowl in these conditions in my second time around,” said Joseph.

According to Joseph, the key to bowling in England is making small adjustments to the increased movement in the ball.

“The ball does a bit more here in England than in the Caribbean. There are just some slight adjustments. Nothing too big,” the paceman said.

Joseph and the West Indies will be going into the second of their warm-up games ahead of the July 8 start to the battle for the Wisden Trophy.

In his first outing, a three-day encounter earlier this week, Joseph picked up 4-60 as a team captained by Jason Holder drew with another skippered by Kraigg Brathwaite.

Still, Joseph isn’t using the practice games to impress the coach into putting him in the final 11 for the July 8 series start, but rather, is ensuring he is ready if that happens to be the case.

“I see this as an opportunity to get some more overs under my belt, some more time out in the middle to get used to the conditions. I’m just looking to stay consistent. I think I bowled pretty well, so I am just looking to repeat what I did last game,” he said.

Joseph has had some trouble with injuries in recent times but feels he is fitter and stronger and more able to deal with the rigours of Test cricket.

“I put it down to a lot of hours on the training ground trying to improve my strength and my conditioning. Working on bowling consistently for longer periods,” he said of his recovery.

As far as fitting into a four-pronged pace attack which is expected to give England some trouble, Joseph is banking on the element of surprise.

Obviously those three [Kemar Roach, Shannon Gabriel, JasonHolder] guys have a lot more experience than I do, so more often than not, teams may see me as the weak link,” said Joseph.

“I can use that as an advantage for me because I know my abilities. They might not know but once I get in on the day and get the job done I know I can get on top of any opponent.”

Despite picking a minor injury during the West Indies squad match at the Emirates, team skipper Jason Holder is expected to be fit in time for the start of the first Test in the #RaiseTheBat series on July 8.

Shayne Moseley followed up his first-innings knock of 40, with a solid unbeaten half-century as the three-day intra-squad match between Brathwaite’s XI and Holder’s XI ended in a draw at the Emirates, Old Trafford on Thursday.

Moseley scored a 142-ball 83 as Holder’s XI chasing 313, closed on 149 for 3. His innings included nine fours and a six.

 Nkrumah Bonner was unbeaten on 24 at the end.

Bowling for Brathwaite’s XI  Raymon Reifer, who had 5 for 60 in the first innings, Oshane Thomas and Keon Harding each had one wicket.

Earlier, Shane Dowrich and Shamarh Brooks scored unbeaten half-centuries as Brathwaite’s XI got to lunch on 231 for 4 on the final morning of the warm-up match against Holder’s XI at Emirates Old Trafford.

The pair posted an unbroken stand of 131 as Brathwaite's XI stretched their overnight lead of 181 to 313 before declaring at lunch.

Resuming on their overnight score 99 for three, Brathwaite’s XI had an early setback when Shannon Gabriel trapped Roston Chase lbw for his overnight score of four. He then sent down a torrent of bouncers to Dowrich as things got tense between the two sides.

Brooks, meanwhile, got off to a slow start but gradually scored at better than a run a ball to go to the break unbeaten on 66 from 99 balls. Dowrich was not out 56 (83 balls) having taken a liking to the spin bowling of Rahkeem Cornwall and Jomel Warrican.

The elegant twin towers that decorate the POS horizon are both the same height.  If one is looking at them from the west one looks taller than the other; to the observer from the east one also looks taller than the other except that if both persons compare notes there will be an argument as to which tower is taller. It is a matter of perspective.

The issue arises when perspectives are being peddled as facts and more so when there is an attempt to use these “FACTS” to reshape an individual’s character.

Mistakes are a fact of life. It is the response that counts.

Leadership is about being humble enough to admit your mistake.

When a story broke on Sportsmax that the salary signed off on Terry Fenwick’s contract is not what we agreed on.  My initial thoughts were that Terry unilaterally changed the terms of his contract.  In an attempt to get clarity on the situation, an easy solution was put forward; throw Terry under the bus.

Mistakes can be made, but to throw someone under the bus is deliberate and does not come naturally to me.

Further discussions revealed, for the first time to me at least, the details of the negotiations in finalizing the contract.  My understanding then and still is that the terms in the contract that came under scrutiny were indeed part of the final settlement but the MISTAKE was that they should not have been reflected in the final TTFA contract.  I admitted then that a mistake was made and that it would be corrected.

  Mistakes are a fact of life. It is the response that counts.

 Leadership is about being humble enough to admit your mistake.

Even with this explanation, the matter refused to die and the narrative changed to one that said, the President unilaterally changed the terms of the contract and this narrative was given more life when a member of my own team endorsed it.

The facts are as follows:

  • I played absolutely no role in the negotiation of Fenwick’s contract. This negotiation was left entirely in the hands of the Technical Committee
  • Two emails were sent to me by the GS on Tuesday, December 17th, while I was in Qatar. The Subject: Adjusted terms and conditions.

 In one email the GS indicated that there was agreement on the final terms of the contract.   The attachment in the email indicated a salary of USD 20,000.

 

The second email forwarded was from Peter Miller to Keith Lookloy.  Details of the second email are as follows;

 

Dear Keith,

After much discussions, a revised position has been arrived at which is attached for your information prior to our discussions on Thursday. Please feel free to give feedback in order to arrive at a firm position given the urgency of the matter.

Kind regards.  

The attachment in this email indicated a salary of USD 20,000.

 

  • I assumed that the final terms would have been sent by the negotiating team to the attorney to prepare the contract.
  • When the contract came back to me and was handed over by my General secretary for signing there were no red flags.
  • I signed the contract believing that the terms therein were agreed on with my negotiating team.

Questions:

 Were the terms agreed on at the end of the negotiations and sent to the attorney for the preparation of the contract altered?  If the answer is yes then the action could not be ascribed to me, since I played absolutely no part in the process but just signed off on the product.

If the answer is no; Is it that clear directions were not given to the attorney as to what should have been put into the contract?

How could it then be concluded and supported by persons who are aware of the facts that the President changed the terms of Terry Fenwick’s contract?

General Secretary

I move to the other issue and that is the Ramesh Ramdhan’s contract.  As one Senior Counsel puts it; “from reviewing the TTFA constitution it seems as though the General Secretary is the sole responsibility of the President.  The discussion with the Board is merely a courtesy”

Even without this interpretation, I acted based on my own interpretation of the constitution, along with common sense and logic.  My condemnation in this matter was based merely on the persons who were speaking the loudest and fuelled by their own agenda.

Nowhere in the constitution speaks to the Board drawing up the terms and conditions of the GS.  The Board role is to appoint or dismiss the GS on the proposal of the President.  Ramdhan was proposed to the Board and the Board agreed to his appointment.  A suggestion was made by a Board member that the length of the contract be one year, and I say a suggestion because the Board is not empowered to draw up the terms of the GS contract.  If this power is ascribed to the Board it means that all the other terms of the contract should have been drawn up by the Board and not just the length of the contract.

Just to draw on a bit of logic, if in my discussions with Mr Ramdhan, he refused a one-year contract, is it that I had to search until I find someone who agreed with the proposed one year.  

 Even with that said, the reason for giving the General Secretary a two-year contract was not shrouded in any conspiracy and is in fact more than reasonable. Factors such as the two years contract agreed on for the National Senior team staff; the role the GS had to play in the role out of the activities of the FA, and average term given to previous secretaries were all taken into consideration. 

As one of the framers of the constitution said in a recent article, once the decision was made and taken back to the Board, the Board had to accept. This position is consistent with the Senior Counsel who indicated it’s a matter of courtesy. Unfortunately, the courtesy to the Board was curtailed by the Covid19 shutdown.  Just to note the GS has never been paid. 

Did the President preparation of General Secretary’s contract, based on the interpretation of the constitution unilaterally change the terms of the General Secretary contract?

Unfortunately, the two acts above were responsible for my team making a statement that they have lost confidence in me. Even more unfortunate this position was made public before I was given the chance to be heard. The team has since met and recommitted to moving forward.

  Peter Miller

As part of the United TTFA, I was initially asked to consider leading the group but refused to commit. The major reason given for my noncommittal was the financial state of the TTFA.  I reasoned that the only way that I am committing is if there is a plan to deal with the debt.  During this period, my deceased friend, Raymond Timkee shared with me a very impressive commercial package designed for the TTFA, that was negotiated on his behalf, and which would be implemented if he was elected president. In that package was a plan to deal with the historic debt of the FA, and of course, that piqued my interest.  I was also introduced to the name, Peter Miller.

 Based on Mr Timkee’s failing health he eventually asked me to go forward with the plan. The package was presented to the other members United TTFA and they were all impressed.

I gave my word to Peter Miller that if I was elected president, I will honour the agreement that he had with Timkee. The truth is Peter Miller’s package/presentation was responsible for us winning the elections, our campaign was based on its content and we were heavily dependent on its successful rolling out after November 24th.

Post-November 24th, Peter Miller indicated that he needed an agreement before he moves forward to firm up the pre-election letters of intent. This was not an unreasonable request; however, it presented a dilemma for me to find a way to transition the un-official arrangement with the United TTFA to the TTFA.  Settling this quickly was made even more urgent since by then, we realised that the situation that we met in the FA was even more dire than we expected and that we had to depend on Miller to deliver.

The GS and I tried to find a way to navigate the situation, but the options were few.  The only workable decision open to us at that time was the one I took and that is a decision to sign an agreement with Miller.

I took this decision as leader of the team and decided not to burden anyone else with it.

Was there an inherent risk? Yes, but there are times when you have little choice.

Agreement

  • Miller position was that no changes be made to the original agreement with Raymond Timkee, however, my suggestion to Miller was that the flat rates quoted as a monthly salary would have to be reflected as a percentage of what was delivered and that there were no issues if instead of lumpsum payments the disbursement was done monthly.

It did not matter to me what the percentage was because the numbers were already agreed on with Raymond and I gave my word before the elections that I will honour the agreement.  In addition, my own philosophy is that we had nothing so whatever came in would be more than we had.

  • Via email, Miller asked if any part of FIFA funding could be used for marketing. The GS responded via mail that FIFA Forward funding cannot be used for in any way. (emails available)

The Plan

  • To sign a letter of intent since any binding contract of this nature has to be approved by the Board. The intent, of course, was to make sure that Miller remained on board and what we campaigned and depended on could still be delivered.
  • Payment to Miller would come from what he brings to the table so there is no direct risk to the TTFA
  • We get the Board to agree in principle that we have to outsource marketing. The Board did agree.
  • The roll-out of the sponsorship was carded for June. Once the successful roll-out commenced, a recommendation would have been taken to the Board to officially contract Miller as the marketing person.

Conclusion

  • Since entering office, no action taken by me brought any personal benefits to me, my intentions were that TTFA would always be the beneficiary.
  • A major part of our relationship with Miller was the proposed project to finally eliminate the historic debt of the FA. Everyone would agree that this has to be addressed.
  • A headline in Wired868 that said I lied, was unfortunate. When asked if Peter Miller had a contract with the TTFA, in an attempt to manage an ongoing situation, I answered no. Well, technically the answer was correct, but I do not want to hide behind any technicality and in retrospect, the answer could have been… I would respond to the question at a later date.

 

  Mistakes are a fact of life. It is the response that counts.

 Leadership is about being humble enough to admit your mistake

Of major importance is that even though these matters may have originated inhouse, there is a very important reason why they are playing out like this in the public domain. In the coming weeks, the picture would be made much clearer.

Thank you.

Shane Dowrich and Shamarh Brooks scored unbeaten half-centuries Thursday as Brathwaite’s XI got to lunch on 231 for 4 on the final morning of the warm-up match against Holder’s XI at Emirates Old Trafford.

The pair posted an unbroken stand of 131 before lunch as Brathwaite's XI stretched their overnight lead of 181 to 313.

Resuming on 99 for three, Brathwaite’s XI had an early setback when Shannon Gabriel trapped Roston Chase lbw for his overnight score of four. He then sent down a torrent of bouncers to Dowrich as things got tense between the two sides.

Brooks, meanwhile, got off to a slow start but gradually scored at better than a run a ball to go to the break unbeaten on 66 from 99 balls. Dowrich was not out 56 (83 balls) having taken a liking to the spin bowling of Rahkeem Cornwall and Jomel Warrican.

Raymon Reifer’s five wickets in quick succession helped Brathwaite’s XI into a position of strength on day-two of their intra-squad match against Holder’s XI at the Emirates, Old Trafford on Wednesday.

The Jamaica Squash Association (JSA) has continued to support young players from Penwood High School in St. Andrew, who participated in its outreach programme, even though the training sessions have been suspended as a safety precaution due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

England's training squad have all tested negative for coronavirus ahead of the Test series against West Indies.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have carried out a total of 702 tests during June, involving not just players but also members of the coaching team and staff at the two bio-secure venues - the Ageas Bowl and Old Trafford - set to host the upcoming matches.

All those checked were clear of COVID-19, the governing body confirmed on Wednesday. The first Test starts on July 8.

"The England and Wales Cricket Board can confirm that 702 COVID-19 tests were carried out between June 3 and June 23 with several stakeholder groups working at the bio-secure venues of the Ageas Bowl and Old Trafford," a short statement read.

"These groups include players, support staff, match officials, ECB staff, venue staff and hotel staff. We can confirm that all 702 tests were negative."

All of England's players bar Jofra Archer arrived at the Ageas Bowl, which stages the series opener, on Tuesday to take part in a behind-closed-doors camp.

Paceman Archer is set to join up with his team-mates on Thursday, his delayed arrival coming after a member of his household felt unwell over the weekend.

After starting out at the Ageas Bowl, England and West Indies will move up to Manchester for the remaining two Tests.

Half-centuries from Kraigg Brathwaite and Shai Hope carried a Brathwaite XI team to 275 all out at stumps on day one of the West Indies’ three-day warm-up match against Jason Holder’s XI at the Emirates, Old Trafford on Tuesday.

The St Lucia Zouks have confirmed that Chris Gayle has opted out of the CPL, 24 hours before the 2020 Draft is scheduled to take place.

Jamaica Olympian Maurice Smith has released a song, Revolution, which he says is his way of adding his voice to the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement sweeping the globe as well as speaking out against the crime and violence in his homeland.

With 390 Test wickets under his belt from 101 matches, Makhaya Ntini was one of South Africa’s greatest bowlers.

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