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.

The MLB trade deadline is always fun, but it was especially entertaining this year.

Meanwhile, in the NFL, players continue to play chicken with their teams and in the FIBA World Cup, athletes continue to drop out.

All that and more on this week in US Sports.

 

1. Trade frenzy

This was the first time ever there has been just one trade deadline in MLB. In years past, there was a second deadline in July where teams could make waiver claims and acquire guys who could still help their teams in the postseason. That is gone this year. So that made Wednesday especially exciting.

While the leadup to the 16:00 local time (20:00 GMT) deadline was a bit slow, the second the clock struck four, things started going crazy. The Chicago Cubs announced they had acquired Nicholas Castellanos, the Arizona Diamondbacks said they received Mike Leake from the Seattle Mariners and the Los Angeles Dodgers stated they received Adam Kolarek from the Tampa Bay Rays. But the trade of the day came deep in the heart of Texas where the Houston Astros obtained six-time All-Star and 2009 American League Cy Young winner Zack Greinke.

The Astros gave up a haul to get him and will have to cover a substantial amount of the $75million of his remaining prospect, but his addition instantly gives Houston the best rotation in the American League and possibly baseball with Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Wade Miley already having top-15 ERAs in the sport.

The Astros made a statement Wednesday and it was one with World Series implications all over it.

 

2. NFL contracts resolved, complicated

The absolute biggest story of NFL training camps is contracts. First, Michael Thomas was made the highest-paid wide receiver in league this week by the New Orleans Saints, but two other players are not nearly as happy.

The Dallas Cowboys are nowhere near a contract with star running back Ezekiel Elliott who has already won two rushing titles in his career and Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon's agent reportedly asked the team to trade him this week. Contracts are an issue now and will continue to be over the next several weeks.

 

3. Clemson number one, Alabama second in the coaches poll

In the least surprising news of the year, Clemson have been named the top team in the college football nation by an assortment of coaches across the country. The Tigers received 59 of a possible 65 first-place votes and are once again thought by many to be destined for the College Football Playoff national championship game.

Alabama are ranked second, and also unsurprisingly, they received all six of the other votes as a first-place team by the coaches. These are the two best sides in the nation — on paper — and the coaches certainly believe that too.

 

4. Dropping like flies

Will there be any basketball players on the USA men's team for the FIBA World Cup? Of course there will be. Will everyone know all of those names worldwide? Absolutely not. The United States lost two more players on Thursday as Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond and Los Angeles Clippers forward Montrezl Harrell both dropped out of the event. They join an assortment of players already to do that and there are very few big names left with a few more likely to fall off before next week's practices in Las Vegas.

But the US are not the only team losing players. New York Knicks rookie RJ Barrett pulled out of Team Canada's roster and Ben Simmons already decided not to play for Australia too. The World Cup this year is going to be pretty thin with big-name players.

MLS All-Stars Andre Blake and Kemar Lawrence are hoping to pave a path for future generations of Jamaican players, after creating history at this year’s edition of the All-Star Game.

The duo's appearance in a match-up against Spanish La Liga team Atletico Madrid will mark the first time two Jamaicans have been selected on the same All-Stars team.

 Blake, the Jamaica national team captain, and Lawrence, once of its best defenders, represent a growing list that opted to play their football in North American as opposed to heading straight to the European leagues.

The list, which includes the likes of Alvas Powell, Darren Mattocks, and Peter-Lee Vassell are crucial cogs in Jamaica national team that has made it to three straight Gold Cup semi-finals and two finals.

“It should motivate the kids back there to help them to believe the sky is the limit,” Blake told Pro Soccer USA. “And they just have to keep working hard, worry about nothing and everything will take care of itself,” he added.

“It definitely brings a lot of inspiration.  Even those who did not believe are starting to believe right now. That’s always a good thing for me. I always want to inspire youths, to have them believe in their dreams and believe that anything is possible. For me and him, it’s definitely a big thing. We have to keep going and keep knowing that the sky is the limit and understand there are always younger generations that are looking up to us.”

 

 

Windies bowling legend Curtly Ambrose admits he has an issue with a lack of aggression from current captain Jason Holder but believes the Barbadian remains the best man for the job.

The 27-year-old all-rounder has been in the post since 2015 but has come under heavy pressure in recent weeks, following a dismal performance for the team at ICC World Cup.  Managing just a single win, which came against Pakistan, the regional team finished ninth out of 10 teams.

While the outspoken Ambrose insisted that Holder needed to be more assertive in the post, the pace bowler pointed out that there was a lack of suitable replacements available.

“When you look at the resources it is a very short list so what are your options? You have Jason Holder, you got Craig Brathwaite who is his deputy and who are the others who lead or have led before? Hetmyer led the under-19s so maybe he is one to look at in the future once he can cement himself and get going but there is nobody really. The list is very short so we can’t just give a guy captaincy … because we need to be very careful. I think Jason should just continue for now and then we see what happens,” Ambrose told Antiguan radio show Good Morning Jojo.

“I think he has improved from when he started, so let’s be real, but my thing with Jason Holder is that I think is he may not be aggressive enough as a leader. I think he is a little too laid back because when you’re captain you’re a leader and people should recognize right away that he’s the leader. When you look at the West Indies team you’re not sure who the leader is, so Jason needs to, maybe, be more authoritative or just have some kind of presence so you know that he is the man in charge,” he said.

 

 

Bayern Munich manager Niko Kovac has flatly dismissed rumours linking Jamaica international Leon Bailey with a move to the German champions.

Rumours linking the 21-year-old Bailey with a move from current club Bayer Leverkusen have gathered pace in recent weeks.  Some even went as far as to suggest that the player had agreed to personal terms ahead of the news.

Despite possibly being on the looking out for quality in the wide areas following the departure of veterans Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben last season, Kovac strongly denied the reports.

"I am not responsible for transfers, but I have to say something regarding this. I find it extraordinarily strange that you can blurt something out and nothing happens. You can just say something but it's not true,” Kovac told Goal.

"If you communicate something like this, there must be undeniable proof. Otherwise, you cannot spread it as news. I would ask you to check it. It's not true, it's not verified. It's false."

The Jamaican experienced somewhat of a dip in form last season, managing just five goals and one assist in 29 Bundesliga appearances.  His performance palled in comparison to the previous season where he was a breakthrough star, scoring 9 goals and grabbing six assists.

Windies legend turned commentator Ian Bishop has warned that the India unit is a much-improved team on the road and will be formidable foes despite playing in the Caribbean.

Despite being the world’s top-ranked Test team India has been known to struggle away from home on occasion.  The Asian team has won eight of its last 10 Test matches, with both losses coming away to England and South Africa.  India did, however, defeat the West Indies 2-0 in the last Test series in the Caribbean in 2016.

"India know their home conditions so well. India have become the powerhouse that has played better overseas in recent years. They were very competitive in England last summer, defeated Australia in Australia last year for the first time. No doubt Australia were without their two key players, but that just says India were traveling better," Ian Bishop was quoted as saying by IANS.

The former fast bowler believes that the only way for the regional team to have a chance is for the team’s top batsmen to come to the party.

"West Indies will hope that Roston Chase, who is integral as a batsman to their course, and Shai Hope and all these guys put their foot down and say ok, the pitches at home have been challenging to bat on for everyone, but we have played two seasons now on this. So, we need to start and set down marks on scoring hundreds," Bishop said.

Former CONCACAF president Jack Warner has launched legal proceedings against the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) in relation to loans incurred during the period he served as advisor to the association.

According to reports, Warner is suing the football body with the hope of recovering a sum somewhere in the region of US$2.4m.  Based on filings, Warner claims the sum was accrued over the course of 15 years.

The loans are believed to be directly related to the TTFA’s expenses during a period that spanned the national team’s successful qualification to the 2006 World Cup.  Warner’s legal claim states that the TTFA has always acknowledged the debts but never repaid them.

 “These accounts were published after the date of both letters from president Raymond Tim Kee, who had on two separate occasions acknowledged the debt to the claimant…At no time did the claimant inform the defendant that they were no longer under an obligation to repay the debt.”

Warner is seeking repayment of the aforementioned US$2.4m plus interest.  The former FIFA official was recently at the centre of a lawsuit filed in New York court on behalf of regional football body CONCACAF.  On that occasion, the judge ruled that the former official pay a US$79 million penalty stemming from the FIFA bribery scandal.

Jamaica Under-23 coach Donovan Duckie has called the team that was recently eliminated CONCACAF Men's Olympic Qualifiers as one of the worst physically prepared he has coached.

Despite being heavy favoured to advance to the next round of the competition, the Jamaicans were surprisingly eliminated after draws with St Kitts and Nevis and Dominica.

 In the face of mounting criticism in the wake of the team’s failure to qualify, the coach recently revealed that the unit faced major shortcomings in terms of its physical preparation.

“I’ve been accused of being an antagonist and a person that lacks diplomacy.  So for months, I have been saying on several interviews that everything is ok with the Under-23 program,” a leaked voice note identified as Duckie claimed.

In my last interview, I said I took full responsibility for the failure of the team to progress but to tell you the truth this isn’t so, the responsibility has to be shared,” he added.

“When I took the job there were certain conditionalities, one was that the JFF provide a physical trainer. For over eight months a physical trainer has only come to a training session for three days. I can say that this is the worst physically team I have ever seen in my entire life…we cannot play competitively for over 60 minutes in any game and these are the results.”

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) has confirmed its knowledge of the recordings and have promised to launch an investigation into the matter before an appropriate response of made.

West Indies bowling legend Curtly Ambrose has maintained the belief that the regional team should have looked past star batsman Chris Gayle for the regional team’s tour against India.

The 39-year-old opening batsman had initially announced plans to retire from international cricket, following the recently concluded ICC World Cup.

 Gayle, however, changed his stance just ahead of the tournament and indicated he would stay on for the upcoming tour of India as a potential farewell.  Ambrose and a few others, however, believe the World Cup was the perfect time for the veteran to step aside.  The left-hander was, however, included in an ODI squad to face India. 

Despite struggling to make an impact at the World Cup, Gayle was the player of the series in an impressive performance again England in the Caribbean earlier this year.  While lauding Gayle for his contribution to regional cricket, Ambrose insisted it was time for fresh blood.

 “You need them to get better in terms of the Hetmyer and the Pooran and so forth, and Evin Lewis; so, what are you going to do? Let Chris Gayle play for a next four years and then four years later you bring them in, and are they going to get better then? Of course not,” Ambrose told the Antigua Observer.

“If any of the selectors walk around thinking they owe Chris Gayle or anybody anything then something is wrong because that’s not what West Indies cricket is all about; it is about picking your best possible players to take the team forward,” he added.

“Chris Gayle has played for many years and has done extremely well and I have a lot of respect for him but what I am saying is that it is time to move on. People talking about give him a farewell Test match; he hasn’t played Test for five years so what you are telling me is that one of your opening batsmen, whoever he may be, you’re going to tell him to sit this game out and let’s give Chris Gayle a farewell, but that doesn’t make sense.”

 

The Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) has expressed extreme disappointment with the statements attributed to certain female Olympians (in a recent Sportmax article intituled "Upgraded and Disrespected") who received  upgraded 4 x 400m relay silver medals from the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympic Games during the Mueller Anniversary Games in London on July 20.

 

The statements conveyed the impression that the JOA neglected to make appropriate arrangements regarding the attendance of the Olympians at the medal reallocation ceremony in London.

 

The JOA, in responding, enumerated the facts:

 

  1. In compliance with directives of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the JOA was requested to indicate a preferred event at which the medal reallocation ceremony for the Olympians could be held.

 

  1. On May 30, 2019, after consultation with the Olympians, the JOA informed the IOC of the agreed selection of the IAAF World Championships to be held in Doha from September 27 to October 6, 2019.

 

  1. On June 4 the JOA received communication from the IOC advising that discussions will be held with the IAAF regarding the selected event.

 

  1. On June 12, 2019, the JOA received communication from the IOC in which it was informed of the IAAF's advice that the ceremony could not be facilitated at the World Athletics Championships.

 

  1. The Olympians were accordingly advised and, following discussions with Novlene Williams-Mills, Rosemarie White and Bobbygaye Wilkins, Novlene Williams-Mills (who from representations held herself out to be the spokesperson) suggested either a Diamond League event during August or September or the IAAF Gala scheduled for later in the year both of which would be convenient to the JOA.

 

  1. On June 25, 2016, the JOA requested the IOC to give consideration to the proposed events for the ceremony. However, on July 1, 2019 the IOC advised that the IAAF could only accommodate the ceremony during the London edition of the Diamond League Meets which was scheduled to take place on July 20 and 21, 2019.

 

  1. The information was relayed by the JOA to the Olympians the same day for their review and decision and simultaneously they were advised to take into consideration the fact that the event being only three weeks away, there may be logistic challenges particularly in view of firstly, the fact that persons including some Olympians and their allowed guests required visas and, secondly, the imminent games commitments and preparation requirements of the JOA which may very well preclude attendance.

 

  1. All Olympians with the exception of Shericka Williams (who preferred the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games) notwithstanding confirmed on July 3 their decision in favour of the London Diamond League Meet scheduled for July 20 and 21. Ms. Williams eventually agreed and, with the consent of all Olympians, the JOA informed the IOC that same day of their decision.

 

  1. In keeping with the advice of the IOC, each Olympian was allowed two accompany guests to the ceremony. Accordingly, the number of persons in the party totaled eighteen and of this number, nine persons (three athletes and six guests) required UK visas.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. The JOA assisted all nine persons in applying for visas which entailed completion by the JOA of the relevant application forms at the request of the Olympians, payment of visa fees, payment of the airfare for two athletes and one guest to come to Jamaica for the visa appointments, hotel accommodation for one overseas athletes and a guest, personal delivery of copies of application forms and letters to the Olympians' homes in Kingston and the JOA's interface with the British High Commission in expediting the visa process. Total payments by the JOA exceeded one million dollars.

 

  1. The JOA, at all material times, stated in emails and telephone conversations  to the Olympians the advice of the IOC that the IOC would be responsible for flight arrangements to and from the event as well as hotel accommodation in London and that the IOC would liaise with the IAAF regarding transportation and event logistics during their stay in London.

 

  1. On July 18, 2019, the JOA received from the IOC the logistic arrangements which were conveyed to the Olympians on the morning of July 19, 2019.The JOA reiterates that matters relating to the on the day ceremonial arrangements were not in the JOA's remit.

 

  1. Throughout the treatment of matters, the JOA constantly kept the  Olympians advised and updated every step of the way by copious emails, telephone calls and instant messaging and devoted considerable time (often in the wee hours of the morning) in completing visa applications online for the Olympians and guests, in interfacing with the Olympians (including ceremonial attire) and in communicating with the IOC regarding arrangements.

 

  1. The JOA is obliged, given the attributed statements, to place on record that Mrs. Novlene Willliams-Mills, during the planning process, tendered an apology to the JOA for inappropriate conduct and mis-conceived concerns articulated by her and not shared by others. 

 

 

 

  1. From the very inception, the JOA offered the Olympians congratulations on their elevation to the silver medal position and, upon confirmation of the medal reallocation ceremony in London, expressed an apology for absence, given primarily its prior commitments and obligations respecting the 2019 Lima Pan American Games.

 

  1. The JOA is further obliged to again place on record that, subsequent to the publication of the article by Sportmax, it received thank you notes and emails from Shereefa LLoyd and her Nephew, Rosemarie Whyte, Bobbygaye Wilkins and Christine Day and is consequently appreciative of their kind recognition of its efforts.

 

  1. The JOA always celebrates with our athletes and commends them on their well-deserved achievements personally and on behalf of country and continues to be inspired by the principles of integrity, honesty, equity and fair play in the discharge of its national obligations to, and dealings with, its stakeholders.

Sunil Gavaskar has hit out at the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) selectors ahead of India's tour of West Indies, labelling the body "lame ducks" over Virat Kohli continuing as captain.

India exited the Cricket World Cup in the semi-finals, losing to New Zealand after topping the group stage table under Kohli.

He will continue to lead the team in the United States and the Caribbean, though, with Gavaskar questioning why there was no discussions about Kohli's position after India failed to reach the World Cup final.

In a column in Indian outlet Mid Day, Gavaskar said: "That they selected the team for West Indies without first having a meeting to select the captain brings up the question of whether Virat Kohli is the captain of the team at his or the selection committee's pleasure.

"To the best of our knowledge his [Kohli’s] appointment was till the World Cup. After that, it was incumbent on the selectors to meet, even if it was for five minutes for his reappointment."

The India great continued: "Speaking of lame ducks, the Indian selection committee appears to be one.

"After the reappointment, he [Kohli] gets invited to the meeting for his views on selecting the players for the team.

"By bypassing the procedure, the message that goes out is that while the players like Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik get dropped after below-expectations performance, the captain continues despite much below-par expectations, where the team did not even reach the final."

India play the first of three T20 internationals against West Indies on August 3, with three ODI games following before a two-match Test series.

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