Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

West Indies ODI and T20 captain Kieron Pollard rates his quick-fire 38 against Australia in semi-finals of the 2012 ICC World Cup as one of the best and most important performances of his career.

Michael Holding says while he lacks intimate knowledge of what the Ricky Skerritt-led administration of Cricket West Indies has been doing since it took office last year March, things seem to be moving in the right direction.

He also expressed his satisfaction that players are keen to represent the West Indies once more.

The former fast bowler was speaking on the Mason and Guest show in Barbados on Tuesday.

He said he has been told that the year-old CWI administration had set up committees to get some key things done but most importantly, he said there were good signs for West Indies cricket following the emergence of talented players such as Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer and Shai Hope.

"Another thing that I am happy with is that youngsters are now looking forward to representing the Windies again, and everybody is now making themselves available again, which is important," he said.

"I see light at the end of the tunnel because I see talent. Once there is talent, there has to be light at the end of the tunnel. Those three guys are three of the most talented I have seen in the last three to four years. When I look at cricketers, I look at who can make other teams around the world, and those three guys can make most other teams."

Holding was speaking from the Cayman Islands where he is currently during the global pandemic that has shut down sports across the globe.

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), in effort to ease the financial pressure facing clubs in the Red Stripe Premier League, has decided to forego payments due from clubs on office rental, utilities, registration fees, contract administrative fees as well as home match levies, yellow and red card fees for the 2019-2020 season.

In its 2020 Almanack, Wisden has named Andre Russell as their leading Twenty20 cricketer in the world for 2019.

Veteran cricket commentator Michael Holding has revealed that he plans to hang up his microphone very soon.

Roger Harper, the Chairman of the West Indies selectors believes the team needs many more world-class players if it is going to be able to consistently compete with the best teams in the world. He also believes the individual territories need to a better job of creating those types of players.

Dr Emir Crowne and Matthew Gayle, the lawyers representing the ousted executive of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) have proposed that Mark Hovell, a solicitor from Manchester, England, be the sole arbitrator in their case against football’s world governing body FIFA.

The Coronavirus pandemic has forced the world of sports into a standstill and as a consequence, has significantly impacted the ability of athletes to earn a living.

Anderson Peters, the 2019 World Champion in the javelin, believes that in winning the world title in Doha in 2019, could inspire children in his home country of Grenada by showing them that they do not have to be sprinters to succeed in the sport.

Chris Gayle is best known for his power-hitting exploits in all formats of the game.

Ato Boldon is one of Trinidad and Tobago’s most successful Olympic athletes having won four medals between the Atlanta Games in 1996 and the Sydney Games four years later.

Lawyers representing the ousted executive of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association have filed papers before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) seeking to set aside FIFA’s decision to appoint a normalization committee to oversee the running of the association.

When the West Indies were knocked off their perch by Australia at Sabina Park in 1995, the team’s performances, at first, gradually declined and then from about 2000, it plummeted to the point where the Windies have been wallowing in a quagmire of mediocrity.

Since 2010, the West Indies have won nine Test series. They lost 20 over the same period. Counting the ODI losses would make the numbers even worse, so I won’t even get into that.

What we have seen during that period are batsmen who lack the required technique to last an hour at the crease and toothless bowling because the bowlers are incapable of maintaining the required line and length and in many cases, seem to be bowling in the absence of a clear strategy.

What I see are fundamental weaknesses in batting, bowling and fielding technique that leads me to believe that grassroots programmes are woefully inadequate.

When I watch local U15 cricket in Jamaica’s high schools, I see kids wafting their bats as if hoping to make a connection with a ball that is more often than not, off-target.

Like football, mastery of the fundamentals is essential. Back when the West Indies were kings, kids played cricket in the streets and through trial and error learned how to defend. They learned how the play the ball of their legs. They learned how to keep a bouncing ball down.

Kids don’t play cricket in the street anymore so ways have to be found to get them playing in a format that aids development while still allowing them to have fun.

I don’t think Kiddies cricket is the answer even though there is some merit to the pursuit.

What is needed in the West Indies are programmes in each of the territories, similar to those that obtain in India. Coming out of these programmes are scores of eight, nine and 10-year-old players who have already mastered the fundamentals.

Their style of play is already set, which means relatively little honing is done, while getting them to play at the very highest level. By the time they get to the under-19 level, they tend to be better than what we see in the Caribbean.

There are those who will argue that the West Indies u19 teams have done well in recent World Cups. My response to that is if you look at the next lot of players just outside the World Cup-playing batch, do you find players who are anywhere near as good and could form a second XI, performing at the same level at a World Cup?

From where I sit, the answer is no.

Each individual territory needs to be looking at how they can improve coaching levels at prep and high school under a template that defines the West Indian way. By the time they get to the u-19 or West Indies ‘B’ level, they should be ready to kick the door in, not just stare and hope someone opens it for them.

The Racers Grand Prix, which was awarded gold status in the newly formed 2020 World Athletics Continental Tour, has been postponed due to the global impact of the novel coronavirus.

The meet, which was originally scheduled for June 13, 2020, in Kingston, was one of 10 meets in the new series designed to accommodate athletes from several disciplines cut from the Diamond League for 2020. The events - the triple jump, discus, 3000m steeplechase and 200m. are thee core disciplines for which ranking points would have been allotted at the same level as the Diamond League.

 Meet organiser Glen Mills, in a letter to World Athletics,  said the ferocity of the virus, the local and global restrictions on travelling and gatherings, quarantine procedures, as well as the inconclusive timeline of the impact of the virus were the reasons behind the postponement of the Continental World Series gold standard meet.

 “It is now clear that our only choice is to postpone the date of this year’s meeting of the Racers Grand Prix – Kingston Continental Tour Gold meeting,”  said Mills in the letter dated April 2.

“We are now hoping to be able to reschedule the meeting for a date in the latter half of August. Of course, this is subject to the agreement of World Athletics, in keeping with your overall schedule. It is also subject to the availability of the stadium and the hotel on this new date.”

The meet was intended to be a major boon for the Racers Grand Prix that over the past four years has established itself as one of the best track and field meetings in the Western Hemisphere.

 “We remain grateful that the world body recognised the type of meet that we were putting on, which has been of the highest quality,” said Mills. “And though the postponement of the event is unfortunate, once we receive the all-clear, we will ensure the meet delivers on every level.”

 “We encourage athletes to follow the World Health Organisation guidelines and those of their local leadership to reduce the risk of catching the coronavirus. And we also encourage them to focus on their wellbeing and to find innovative methods to stay fit during this period.”

 The Continental series was set to begin on May 10 in Tokyo, Japan and would also include the Fanny Blankers Koen Games in Hengelo, Netherlands; the Nurmi Games in Turku, Finland; and the Skolimowska Memorial in Silesia, Poland.

 

Though disappointed that the Olympics has been postponed for another year because of the coronavirus pandemic, Janathan 'Musfasa' Hanson says he refuses to be put off by the setbacks brought on by the nightmarish situation.

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