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

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

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

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

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

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

 

I use my Sundays to look back at what has been happening in the world of sport. On many a Sunday, I realise that people have looked at the stories they have seen throughout the week through different lenses. I have my own personal take on some of these issues and I will share them with you. Welcome to #INCASEYOUMISSEDIT.

Let’s not Pressure Cornwall

Former West Indies batsman Philo Wallace in an interview on the Mason and Guest radio show welcomed the inclusion of spinner Rakheem Cornwall in the final match-day squad for the Test tour of England. Wallace described the Antiguan as the “match-winner” and “trump.” In my opinion, Cornwall has immense potential but to call him a match-winner is simply putting too much pressure on the young man who is new to this level and format of the game.

The 27-year-old off-spinner has so far played two Test matches for the West Indies. He took three wickets against India on debut before claiming 10 wickets in his one-off Test against Afghanistan. During the recently concluded practise match in England, Cornwall took one wicket and scored two runs. Is this a sign that he is already feeling the pressure of expectation?

Based on Cornwall’s limited Test-match experience, I would suggest that we allow him time to settle as a member of the Test squad. I strongly believe Test cricket is a completely different level of the game and playing against England will not be a walk in the park as they are at home and hungry for a win.

Chris Gayle Opting out of CPL – A Surprise!

The 2020 Hero CPL will be different without the Universe Boss. As a journalist and a cricket fan, I will miss the energy that he brings to the games although I respect highly his personal decision not to play, especially in light of the COVID 19 pandemic.

Last Monday, Gayle communicated his decision to the St Lucia Zouks by email saying he would be unavailable.

In the email, Gayle pointed out that due to the lockdown he was unable to meet his family and his young child who are in St Kitts because he was in Jamaica. Gayle said he needed a break and wanted to spend time with his young family.

Who can fault the cricketer for this, especially considering the recent turn of events?

Gayle signed up with the Zouks in April after an acrimonious split with Jamaica Tallawahs. Based on the fallout with the Jamaica Tallawahs, I was expecting fireworks from the T20 superstar. I was expecting him to use his frustrations as fuel to score heavily this CPL.

Meanwhile, Gayle's abrupt decision will have disrupted the Zouks' plans for the players' draft, conducted virtually for the first time because of COVID-19 travel restrictions.

The Zouks signed Gayle as one of the marquee players outside the draft in the US $130,000 - 160,000-price bracket. In his absence, the franchise is likely to get the first pick at the draft now.

 Mediation should have been the TTFA's first choice

 Having taken Mediation Studies at the post-graduate level, I believe mediation is a viable option for settling the dispute between FIFA and the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA).

Frankly, I am surprised that it was not utilized earlier. It is cheaper than heading to the courts, especially based on the reported financial situation of the William-Wallace administration finds itself in.

FIFA dissolved the Wallace-led executive on March 17, 2020, less than four months after the latter had been on the job. They were replaced by a normalisation committee led by local businessman Robert Hadad. The committee has been mandated to oversee the affairs of local football and reducing the TTFA’s crippling $50 million debt.

Mediation, though informal and flexible, could play a big part in shaping the outcome of the dispute. In the case of the TTFA, they would be presented with a chance to influence the outcome of the process while getting a listening ear from FIFA.

In addition, at the heart of mediation is the preservation of the long-term relationship between the parties. Should the TTFA have gone this route earlier things may not have been as messy as it is presently.

Congratulations! Well-deserved Liverpool

How can one be upset when a team wins a major title after 30 years of disappointment and frustration?

How can one question a team that has dropped only seven points in 31 matches so far this season? How can one not celebrate a team that has claimed a title with seven games to spare?

Hearty congratulations to the Reds, who might have experienced some anxiety because of the uncertainty of completing the season because of COVID 19. Credit must go the manager Jurgen Klopp, who took over from Brendan Rodgers in 2015 when the team was 10th in the league table. Though it has taken him five years to win English football's biggest prize, Klopp's impact on Liverpool was immediate. "We have to change from doubters to believers,” were his striking words during the press conference where he was introduced as the club’s new manager.

Overall, Liverpool has been a consistent group and as Klopp said, “They are confident because we won, but they are humble. If they stay humble, we have a good chance to be successful.” Congratulations boys!

 

 

 

 

 

Former West Indies batsman Philo Wallace believes the inclusion of spinner Rahkeem Cornwall could yet be a masterstroke if the player manages to break into the final matchday squad.

Cornwall was named as part of a 14-man squad for the tour of England, as the regional team returns to international cricket next month, for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic struck.  With the series still some weeks away there is yet to be any indication of an official starting line-up, but Wallace believes any picked should include Cornwall.

 “I think that Cornwall is going to be our match-winner because he is the man that is going to apply the pressure.  I like him, he is skillful.  He is a skillful bowler and he is smart.  I think he can be the trump in England,” Wallace told the Mason and Guest radio program.

Wallace believes Cornwall should be used as part of a six-man bowling line-up that would also include four fast bowlers.  The combination, he believes, would also have the benefit of adding a deep batting line-up.  The off-spinner has played two Test matches for the West Indies so far, claiming three wickets against India on debut before claiming a five-wicket haul in a one-off Test against Afghanistan.

“I would play four fast bowlers Jason Holder, Kemar Roach, Alzzari Joseph, Chemar Holder and those two spinners Cornwall and Chase.  When you look at those six bowlers, four of those six bowlers can bat…so you are still playing with long batting," Wallace said.

“It’s time that Cornwall recognizes his ability as a batsman, he has only played a few matches but you have to give him the confidence that he can go out there and bat."

 

 

Recently recalled West Indies spinner Rahkeem Cornwall insists he is satisfied with precautions taken for the team's upcoming tour of England, in light of concerns related to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The West Indies will travel to England for a three-test series next month, which marks a long-awaited return to international cricket for both teams. 

Due to the ongoing threat of the coronavirus pandemic, however, the matches will be played without fans and the players operate strictly within a bio secure environment.  The UK was the hardest-hit country by the coronavirus, recently surpassing Italy with the highest death toll in Europe.  Three players, batsmen Shimron Hetmyer and Darren Bravo and all-rounder Keemo Paul opted out of the 25-man touring party because of coronavirus fears.

“Basically we are going to be quarantined and stay in an environment where you can’t leave.  So, it’s basically you and your teammates that would have to communicate for the duration of the tour.  So, I am satisfied that the precautions are in place,” Cornwall told the Antigua Observer.

“It’s a good feeling to be selected for the series.  We just have to try and be protective in terms of what’s going on, but cricketing-wise, it’s a good feeling knowing that you are going to get some cricket under your belt.  You just have to go and do what you have to do.  It’s not spinner friendly but you never know what conditions will be like.”

Cornwall could, however, have added concerns.  According to the Intensive Care National Audit & Research Centre (ICNARC), published in the UK last month, data has shown three-quarters of critically ill UK Covid-19 patients were overweight or obese.  Weight was rated according to body mass index (BMI) - a BMI of under 25 is considered ‘healthy’ while 25 to 29 is classed as ‘overweight’ and 30 or above, ‘obese’.  It is possible the spinner falls into a category associated with a higher risk of being badly impacted by the disease.

 

 

When I told my friend I was dedicating this blog to footballers like him, right off the bat he knew what I meant. Fat footballers.

Generally, fat means sluggish, lazy, slow and unskilled. Well, he’s no stranger to hearing these stereotypes. And he’s no stranger to overcoming them either.

For about 11 years his weight overshadowed small wins like going to four finals, receiving two medals and playing for Ardenne Prep, Jamaica College, Greater Portmore, Naggo Head and Duhaney Park.

“There was this one time when I went to a match and the opposing coach explained to his players that the right side of the field is the weaker side because there is a big fat boy on there— and there’s no way that this big fat boy can contain any of the players.”

Sportsmen and women are seen as the best physical specimens because they perform feats many of us can only dream of. Being overweight pokes holes into that ideal with the reaction from fans and even those inside sports like coaches and managers being to misjudge a player’s value and ability.

“I played numerous positions— forward, midfielder, defender. I enjoyed the defending position most. I engaged in tackles and used my brain to contain quick and skilful players. We had to set up different walls to contain corner and free kicks. It was like guiding a ship!”

Despite possessing obvious ability, my friend’s body-shaming continued unabated. Body shaming is criticizing or drawing attention to someone’s shape, size or appearance.

Teammates, players’ parents— it came from all directions. The taunting was overbearing. “Some of the people who body-shamed me were parents, coaches, players, teammates and friends. When I was in prep school, a player’s parent expressed that she doesn’t understand why her son is sitting on the bench when there is a fat boy on the field. She wondered what I had over her son.”

“Another example is in high school, a coach was giving out letters for summer training. He said to me that he doesn’t allow fat players on his team and the only way I’d get a letter was if I did something about my weight.

“I asked him if he did anything about it (his weight). He explained that he has always been on the chubbier side. He’s naturally big and so is his family. He then started to tell me how diets and portion control never work for him.

“To put him out of his misery, I asked if there was an upside to the misconceptions others had of him. I’ve definitely changed some minds. It was the beginning of the football season when all my teammates were talking about who was going to be captain. My coach didn’t announce the captain until minutes before the match. While spectators waited outside the dressing room for us, my coach turned to me and gave me the captain’s armband and told me that I’ll be leading the team for the rest of the season.

“I didn’t put on my armband before walking out of the dressing room but I led my team out. Usually, the captain leads the team to the game. I could hear spectators asking if I was the captain or not. As I approached the field I asked my fellow teammate to put the armband around my left arm to show the spectators, the rest of the team and the opposing team who was the actual captain.

“The coach saw me play the year before and knew I was capable.”

I wanted our discussion to end on a happy note. Still, I asked him if body shaming affected him in any way. He said ‘no.’

I wasn’t convinced because he remembered the remarks to a ‘t’; as if they were freshly said. I figured they lingered.

I didn’t bother to tell him that part because I’d rather tell you guys this:

Please be kinder to players who look like my friend. In no way is body shaming okay.

Rahkeem Cornwall debuted for the West Indies on August 30, 2019, against India.

Cornwall does not look like the average cricketer, lean and powerful, light on his or her feet, yet, in just his second match, against Afghanistan in Lucknow, he was the region’s best bowler, grabbing 7-75 and 3-46.

He also showed in the CPL that he is a dangerous batsman when he gets going and can take a game away from a team with his batting and bowling. At the first-class level, Cornwall has already taken over 300 wickets in just 62 games.

From Jimbo’s example, maybe there’s something to be said about staying your judgements.

Please share your thoughts on Twitter (@SportsMax_Carib) or in the comments section on Facebook (@SportsMax). Don’t forget to use #IAmNotAFan. Until next time!

West Indies spinner Rahkeem Cornwall has vowed to 'stick to what he knows', despite being the subject of recent criticism from legendary spinner Lance Gibbs.

The 85-year-old Gibbs, undisputedly one of the region’s finest ever craftsmen in the disciple of spin bowling, was critical of the performance of the current crop of regional spinners on a whole.  His issue with Cornwall stemmed from what he described as the spinner’s short run-up and ‘lack of rhythm’.

Cornwall, who has insisted he only just heard of the remarks has insisted he is not fazed by the criticism as it was impossible to make everyone happy.

“I am not really on social media that much to see some of those things [comments] and if one or two people don’t say something to me I may not see it but I just don’t really dig too deep into it,” Cornwall told the Good Morning Jojo Radio Show.

“I really can’t stress on that, everybody has their own opinion and if you dwell on every opinion you will find yourself get mixed up in all sorts of things so you just have to control what you can control and when the opportunity arises to go and perform you just make sure you stick to what you know and perform,” he said.

The burly spinner, who made his debut for the West Indies against India last year, was recently named as part of a CWI 29-member preparatory squad for a possible tour of England.

Former West Indies fast bowler Kenneth Benjamin says Lance Gibbs’ criticism of Rahkeem Cornwall’s bowling is off the mark and shows that he is out of touch with the modern game.

Legendary West Indies fast bowler Curtly Ambrose has encouraged spinner Rahkeem Cornwall to silence critics by achieving success with his own unique style.

The 27-year-old was recently the target of criticism from legendary spin bowler Lance Gibbs, who doubted whether the spinner could be truly successful with such a short run-up.  Gibbs was, in fact, critical of the current crop of regional spinners in general who he insisted did not turn the ball enough.

While not going into the specifics of Gibbs’ objection to Cornwall’s style, Ambrose insisted it was part and parcel of the sport for professional athletes.  Ambrose went on to encourage the spinner to keep focused and get the job done in his way.  Since bursting on the scene a few year ago, Cornwall has had some measure of success at the regional level but has also faced criticism for his weight.

“Everyone has their own opinion about things and if Lance Gibbs gave his opinion about Jimbo then that is just his opinion but that should not deter Jimbo from progressing so I wouldn’t even want to touch that subject because that is his opinion,” Ambrose told the Antigua Observer.

“As an athlete, a sportsman or sportswoman, you are going to get criticised no matter what, so that is not anything new. But I would say to Jimbo, continue to work hard, you know your ability, you know what you can do so just ignore all of the negative comments or, as a matter of a fact, take those negative comments and turn them into positives and prove these people wrong. Let them see you can get the job done in your own way and your own style,” he added.

Right across the globe, retired athletes are often asked their opinions on the current state of their respective sports. Sometimes their responses are good, something not so much. After all, what they offer are opinions and as the saying goes, “everybody has one”.

Many times those comments are positive in nature and go down well with the public. However, there are times when the opinions are critical of the current stars and those tend to attract a certain level of vitriol.

Just recently, Lance Gibbs, the first spin bowler in history to take 300 Test wickets and was the second bowler in history to break that threshold behind Fred Truman, was asked to offer his opinion on the quality of the spin bowlers who currently ply their trade in regional cricket.

Speaking on Mason on Guest in Barbados, he said he was not particularly impressed with the current crop. He was also critical of Rahkeem Cornwall, whom many would argue is the best spinner in the region and has been for a couple of years now.

Cornwall’s 300 wickets from just 62 matches and 13 Test wickets from just two Tests, I would assume, suggest that he possesses some talent that could one day help take the West Indies back near the top of world cricket once this pandemic subsides.

Gibbs was particularly critical of Cornwall’s run-up that is two steps. He argues that taking only two steps before he delivers prevents Cornwall from finding a rhythm, which Gibbs believes could make him a better bowler.

However, as many fans are wont to do, they lashed out against Gibbs, instead of analysing what he said and putting it into proper context.

Here is the thing; there have been many instances in the past two decades or so when we have seen spinners thrive regionally only to be embarrassingly exposed when promoted to the Test side against world-class opposition.

Devendra Bishoo, Nikita Miller, and Veerasammy Permaul are just a few names who have excelled regionally but then were literally beaten into submission by Australia, England, India and so on. And it's not just the spinners. Devon Smith plunders regional bowlers every season only to be found wanting when asked to open for the West Indies.

The way I look at it, Gibbs might be well off base with his critique. Who knows, Cornwall could go on to eclipse Gibbs’ haul of 309 Test tickets and become known as the greatest off-spinner ever to emerge from the Caribbean.

However, where is the harm in hearing what Gibbs has to say and maybe taking something positive away from his critique?

Among the comments I read on SportsMax’s Facebook page from those reactions to Gibbs’ comments is that somehow he is envious of Cornwall and by extension the modern players. I have been trying my best to put myself in the shoes of the 85-year-old legend, but I struggle to think of a reason he would be envious.

If I have 300-plus Test wickets and another man has 13, it would be a long time before I have anything to be worried about, anything.

Clearly, my success would indicate that I have some level of experience and possess a modicum of understanding why I enjoyed success throughout my career.

What we fans of sport need to accept is that even though we love the contemporary players, no one is above improving and not all opinions, no matter how unflattering they might be, mean someone has an axe to grind.

The only way anyone can get better at their craft is to take on board constructive criticism that can help improve weak areas and make strong areas stronger.

Sometimes as fans, we let emotion get the better of us. Gibbs was asked his opinion, he did not volunteer it and I do not see where he said anything wrong. Maybe if Cornwall developed a better rhythm he could get even more bounce, turn, and snare many more wickets for the West Indies in the future.

We will never know unless he tries it.

So let's not punish the messenger here.

Gibbs, like all of us, wants to see the West Indies do well once more. Sometimes bitter medicine is hard to swallow but often, it does us a world of good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

West Indies cricket’s greatest spinner Lance Gibbs is under fire in Antigua and Barbuda this week because of comments he made on Tuesday’s Mason & Guest radio programme on Voice of Barbados.

Fans in Antigua & Barbuda and the Leeward Islands are infuriated by sharp views Gibbs proffered about off-spinning allrounder Rahkeem Cornwall while evaluating the quality of spinners in Caribbean cricket.

With 309 wickets in a 79-match career, Gibbs has almost twice the number of wickets in Test cricket as the next most successful spinner in West Indies history, Sonny Ramadhin at 158. Alf Valentine (139), Devendra Bishoo (117) and part-time spinner Carl Hooper (114) are the only other spin bowlers surpassing the 100-mark in our Test cricket history. Ramadhin and Valentine preceded Gibbs – with a few years of overlap – but Hooper and Bishoo came after, long after.

So Gibbs speaks from a position of strength and achievement when he bemoans the dearth of spin-bowling success coming out of the West Indies for decades since his departure in the mid-1970s.

Social media is now flooded with comments lashing out at the 85-year-old icon because Cornwall did not escape his criticism in the few minutes he used in the radio interview to submit his views on the quality of West Indies spin bowlers.

Antigua and Barbuda’s cricket fraternity has understandably been prickly whenever the name Rahkeem Cornwall is mentioned in the context of West Indies selection. They had become bitter and resentful because his several years of steady, at times compelling performances, went unrewarded until his Test debut against touring India last summer.

To be fair to Gibbs, he did not deliberately target Cornwall in his criticism of spinners but merely reacted to prompting from Andrew Mason and co-host Dr Andrew Forde.

Responding to questions probing whether any new-generation off-break bowlers had impressed him, his response was a sharp “No! … They’re not spinning the ball, like who? call a name (laughs),” Gibbs said.

Asked explicitly to comment on Cornwall’s ability, Gibbs knocked the player’s technique. “How could you take two steps and bowl? Where is your rhythm, where is that rhythm?” he asked.

So Gibbs obviously has an issue with Cornwall’s bowling technique and while I disagree with some of his assessment, his overarching view on the issue, I concluded, was that “they” are not spinning the ball. He grouped a cluster of this generation of bowlers and proceeded to address Cornwall because it was the name put to him by his interviewers.

So blasting Guyanese Gibbs over these Cornwall comments, accusing him of regional insularity and the other venomous outbursts, gets us nowhere. Gibbs has an opinion on the state of West Indies spin bowling that existed before Cornwall started playing cricket.

Before I tackle the spin icon’s “two steps and bowl” observation, I must say an evaluation that Cornwall does not spin the ball is grossly incorrect. The big man consistently produces significant turn with his deliveries, the reason why he has been the leading off-spinner in recent years in the Regional 4-day tournament and why he was man-of-the-match for the West Indies in their one-off Test against Bangladesh last November with a 10-wicket haul. He posted magnificent figures of 7-57 and 3-46 in that Lucknow Test.

Because the vast majority of Cornwall’s cricket has been played domestically, I am not sure how much of him the Florida-based Gibbs has seen.

The burly Cornwall had been cited by the previous Courtney Browne-led selection panel as a player with talent but at 300+ pounds needed to work on his body conditioning. He underwent work with a specialist and there has been some improvement in his weight management.

In his delivery, Cornwall uses approximately five steps before he releases, not two as Gibbs says, but at his weight and size he really is an unorthodox and unique specimen in international cricket.

Gibbs is also on record in the post-1995 years -- when the mighty West Indies were unseated as the world’s best – urging regional selectors, coaches and captains to give spinners opportunities to develop when it was evident the fast-bowling prowess had tapered.

Spinners have had a tough time flourishing in a West Indies cricket culture, propelled in the 1970s to world dominance by a battery of bullet-quick pacers. With that legacy, the selection approach has, for decades, persisted with a fast-bowling bias even when the material did not support it and unfortunately for the spinners, non-performance on their part often swiftly resulted in the axe.

Recent history is replete with some substandard fast bowlers getting more opportunities at the highest level than slow bowlers, who, I think, were often better spin bowlers than they were fast bowlers.

Year after year, spinners have dominated the bowling statistics in West Indies first-class cricket. In the last three domestic seasons, Cornwall and left-arm spinner Veerasammy Permaul (twice) have led the bowling statistics. Only once in the past decade -- dominated by Nikita Miller -- did a non-spinner top the bowling statistics, that was 2013-14 through medium pacer Kenroy Peters. Before that, try 13 years ago in 2007 for another pacer topping the Regional first-class bowling statistics, Jermaine Lawson.

If spinners have been so poor, how do you explain this stark supremacy in regional cricket?

Lance Gibbs is not impressed with the current crop of spin bowlers in the Caribbean.

While speaking on Mason and Guest in Barbados on Tuesday, Gibbs expressed his disappointment at the spin bowlers currently playing in the Caribbean and was particularly critical of the much-heralded Rahkeem Cornwall.

Apparently, the 85-year-old former West Indies off-break bowler knows a bit about spin bowling. Between 1958 and 1976, Gibbs played 79 Tests for the West Indies taking 309 wickets at an average of 29.09 and enjoyed an economy rate of under two runs an over.

He was the first spinner in Test history to take 300 wickets and the second bowler behind England’s Fred Truman to do so.

His best performances came in the 1961/62 home series against India.

Over the course of five Tests, he picked up 24 wickets at just 20.41 apiece. Additionally, in one of the game's greatest spells of bowling at Bridgetown, he single-handedly reduced India from 149 for 2 to 187 all out. In 15.3 overs, Gibbs took eight wickets for just six runs to finish with figures of 8 for 38, his best Test-match haul.

Asked if he has seen any off-break bowlers in recent times who have caught his eye, Gibbs responded with an emphatic, “No!”

“They’re not spinning the ball,” he said.

Asked his thoughts on Cornwall, who has taken 13 wickets in the two Tests and 303 First-ClassWi wickets in 62 matches, Gibbs was critical of the player’s technique. “How can you take two steps and bowl? Where is your rhythm, where is that rhythm?” he asked.

“As a spin bowler you have got to use the crease, you have the return crease and you have the stumps, you have to bowl between those two. I never then had to go around the wicket to bowl, a lot because by using the crease I could get close to the stumps on the offside and still bowl and make it go on straighter instead of going around the wicket.”

Gibbs, who stood at over six feet in height, also revealed the secret of his success while playing cricket back in his heyday even while playing in a team characterized by its fast-bowling talent.

“I started as a leg spinner and I couldn’t bowl a googly,” he revealed. “I realized that with my height and with my high arm-action I am going to get bounce off any wicket in the world and if you’re getting bounce it is difficult to really hit you in the meat of the bat. It hits more higher up, and therefore you get catches all around.”

After he retired, Gibbs returned to manage the West Indies team in 1991 during their tour of England.

 

 

 

Leeward Islands Hurricanes all-rounder Rakheem Cornwall helped himself to an eight-wicket haul to force a draw with Trinidad and Tobago Red Force, in the West Indies Championship fixture at Basseterre.

The Red Force resumed the day at 96 for 6, already under a blistering attack from the burly spinner who removed five of the six batsmen dismissed on the third day.  On the resumption, Cornwall picked up where he left off, accounting for Joshua Da Silva, who battled to 79, before dismissing lower-order batsmen Terrance Hinds (8), Uthman Muhammad(14) and Anderson Phillip (0) as the Red Force collapsed.

With Trinidad and Tobago all-out for 155, the Hurricanes looked set to make it a close contest after needing 191 to win and they took the opportunity.  A strong bowling attack led by Akeal Hosein and Iram Khan, however, prevented the Leewards from having an easy run at the total.

Cornwall, however, returned to have a good go at the target, compiling a brisk 48 from 44 before caught by Khan off Hosein.  Devon Thomas provided solid support with 34 from 82 but the Leewards ran out of time with the score stuck on 183 for 9 and just eight runs short of the target. Hosein ended with figures of 4 for 40, with Khan claiming 3 for 44.

 

The Trinidad and Tobago Red Force have it in their hands to decide if their West Indies Championship game against the Leeward Islands Hurricanes at Warner Park in St Kitts ends in a win, loss or draw.

The Red Force, going into Sunday’s final day, enjoy a lead of 130 runs with four second-innings wickets still intact.

Of course, they need quite a few more runs to ensure they do not lose to the Leeward Islands Hurricanes, who made 251 in their first innings.

Batting first, the Hurricanes scored 287 thanks to a lower-order fightback from Terrance Ward, who scored 89 to save them from a particularly poor total against an all-round bowling performance from the Hurricanes, including 3-62 from Jermiah Lewis, 2-87 from Sheeno Berridge, 2-43 from Nino Henry, and 2-74 from Rahkeem Cornwall.

The Hurricanes’ 251-run reply came on the back of Amir Jangoo’s 90, and against Imran Khan’s 4-67.

There were also two wickets apiece for Anderson Phillip (2-54), Akeal Hosein (2-52), and Uthman Muhammed (2-51).

On Saturday, the penultimate day of the contest, the Red Force made their way to 94-6, with Joshua Da Silva not out on 45. Hosein has joined him at the crease but is yet to score.

The Red Force have to bat long enough to ensure the Hurricanes do not have time to overhaul their target but must be wary of Cornwall who has sent five of the six batsmen to have fallen back to the pavilion. Cornwall has 5-29 so far this innings and seven wickets in the match.

While the West Indies were expected to dominate their one-off Test against Afghanistan in Lucknow, India, they still had to do it and it was important to their skipper, Jason Holder, that the year ended with his side tasting some success.

The West Indies, playing in a one-off Test after T20 and ODI series against Afghanistan, were emphatic nine-wicket winners after bowling out the hosts for 187 and 120 while scoring 277 and 31-1.

The results were brought about by Rahkeem Cornwall’s 7-75 and 3-46, as well as Shamarh Brooks first-innings knock of 111.

“Really important win, you know. We had a tough series against India. Was important to finish the year well,” said Holder after his West Indies side finished the game inside three days.

Holder also pointed out that there was a certain type of unity within the West Indies squad that he believed would hold them in good stead for bigger challenges on the horizon.

“We've got a good group going. The whole management staff has been excellent. We've got good unity, we have a one-team motif. Once we love one another, the job becomes much easier on the cricket field. Hope it continues," he said.

Holder was also pleased with the way the new players in the side have come on and held their hands up to be counted when the going gets tough.

“Very pleasing to see new guys come in and take the opportunity. Shamarh did that. He scored a fifty in the last innings and followed it with a hundred here. It was full of class. And then Rahkeem getting seven in the first innings, in just his second Test, is amazing,” said Holder.

Rahkeem Cornwall’s 10-wicket haul in a nine-wicket win for the West Indies over Afghanistan in Lucknow, India, while a great start, is just one part of the game the all-rounder wants to get right for the regional side.

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