Kwesi Mugisa

Kwesi Mugisa

Kwesi has been a sports journalist with more than 10-years’ experience in the field. First as a Sports Reporter with The Gleaner in the early 2000s before he made the almost natural transition to becoming an editor. Since then he has led the revamp of The Star’s sports offering, making it a more engaging and forward-thinking component of the most popular tabloid newspaper in the Caribbean.

Eyebrows were raised around the region after several high-profile players failed to find a home during Wednesday’s Caribbean Premier League (CPL) draft in London.

Leading the list of notable Caribbean absentees for the upcoming season were Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Smith, Sunil Ambris, Davendra Bishoo and Kevon Cooper. 

The case of Simmons is particularly surprising as things seem to have spun in a 180-degree direction.  Only a few months ago the player was selected as the first pick of the 2018 draft for the St Lucia Stars.

On that occasion, Simmons went for $US 160,000 after entering the draft for $US 70,000.  The Trinidadian native entered the draft at the same price but this time around but found no takers.

The much-travelled Simmons previously played for the Jamaica Tallahwahs, Guyana Amazon Warriors and St Kitts and Nevis Patriots.  The 36-year-old Smith, who previously opened for Barbados Tridents and Amazon Warriors, also found himself without a team after entering in the $US 70,000 category.

 Another stunning omission, maybe the most surprising, from the team selection was Barbadian born Englishman Jofra Archer, who was the most expensive ever Caribbean-born player for the 2018 IPL season.  The all-rounder also had several big performances in the Australia Big Bash League.  The player was recently selected for the England World Cup squad.

 

Legendary West Indies fast bowler Curtly Ambrose has picked the team to make a deep run at the ICC World Cup, which gets under way in England later this month.

The regional team won the first edition of the tournament in 1975 and 1979 and were only narrowly beaten by India in the following edition.  Since then it has been a major barren stretch of sorts having failed to advance to the semi-final stage in seven of the next eight tournaments.  The only exception came in 1996 when the team did manage to make the final four before being narrowly beaten by Australia.  Ambrose, who was a part of that squad, believes the current iteration could at the very least equal that feat.

“Our chances are as good as anybody’s because when you look at cricket in general and like I’ve said to the guys when I was with the team [as a coach], ICC ratings or rankings don’t really count on the field,” Ambrose told the Antigua Observer.

 “In the rankings, you could be one, two or three but it simply means you’re more consistent and you’re winning more games so you get the points to move to the top of the table but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re the better team,” he added.

“We have a decent team but of course, people are going to argue about one or two players which will happen from now until eternity, but I feel we have a good enough team to go deeper into the World Cup.

Our problem is the consistency factor where we would win one game handsomely then maybe lose two or three and then win another one and if you’re so inconsistent then you’re never going to go far. As long as we are consistent in this World Cup, we can spring some surprises and go deep but we have to be consistent,” he said.

Regional cricket commentator and analyst, Fazeer Mohammed, has rubbished claims that players who showed up to play for the ICC World Cup qualifiers should have been given preferential consideration when the final squad was selected by Cricket West Indies (CWI) on Tuesday.

Of the sixteen players who took part in the qualifier in Zimbabwe last year, which secured the team a place at next month’s World Cup, nine have been included in the final squad. 

Two-time T20 World Cup winner Marlon Samuels is the most notable absentee in a list that also includes Jason Mohammed, Devendra Bishoo, Nikita Miller, Keemo Paul, Rovman Powell and Kesrick Williams. 

 In this instance, scribbled on the final list submitted to the ICC on Tuesday, the most notable inclusion would perhaps be that of Andre Russell who turned down the chance to represent the region at the qualifiers, after stating that he had not sufficiently recovered from injury. 

The situation has sparked debate in some areas, particularly the exclusion of Samuels who had not played cricket for some time due to an injury but expected to be fit for the World Cup.  In an interview with the SportsMax Zone, however, Mohammed insisted cricketing reasons should be the only consideration in selecting the squad.

“This is a competitive sport. This is not about giving favours or doing people favours for long service or that sort of thing, or turning up when others didn’t turn up,” Mohammed told the SportsMax Zone.

“You remember in the days of the Kerry Packer era when the West Indies lost their Packer players for a period and the likes of Alvin Kallicharan and even Malcolm Marshal and so on came into the West Indies squad. From the moment that was sorted out and the World Cup came up in 1979 all the top players were back,” Mohammed added.

“There is no room for sentiment in competitive sport.  I understand the recognizing the roles played but are we selecting a squad as a favour for turning up or are we selecting a squad to be competitive or even get to the winning stage of the World Cup.

Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) president Conde Riley has insisted the organization followed the rules in coming to its decision to support incumbent Cricket West Indies (CWI) president Dave Cameron.

The organization’s stance has come under fire in recent weeks, with a contingent led by former BCA board member Hartley Reid starting a petition to review the board’s position.

In stating his objections to the board’s decision to support Cameron, Riley has pointed to concerns regarding a lack of democracy and fairness.  Riley has, however, insisted that the board came to its decision via a vote and welcomed any challenge that showed a violation of the organization’s policies.

 

“The process that we followed is set out in our rules.  The board met and the board made a decision, there were no other nominations.  We have no problem with listening to Mrs Skerritt and Shallow.  We made the decision as a board, not Conde Riley,” Riley said in an interview with the SportsMax Zone.

“The rules permit us to so do.  We put it to a vote.  We know how many people supported it, nobody was against it and we know the abstentions,” he added.

“If one of our membership decides that he is aggrieved and he can show where the BCA did not follow the letter of the law, in terms of our rules, then he can get the petition it’s not a problem it’s a democratic process.”

Cameron and challenger Ricky Skerritt, a former Windies cricket team manager, will square off for the leadership of CWI later this month.  Barbados, Guyana and the Windward Island have announced support for Cameron, while Trinidad and Tobago and the Leeward Islands seem to be in line to support Skerritt.  Jamaica has indicated that they are yet to decide on the issue. 

Surging Portmore United registered a fifth straight Red Stripe Premier League win, following a 1-0 triumph over UWI, despite going down to 10-men in the encounter on Sunday.

The defending champions looked to have found themselves in a tight spot after Damano Thomas received a straight red card in the 68th minute.  Their nerves were soon settled, however, after striker Javon East converted a 76th-minute penalty to extend their lead at the top of the table to eight points.

The race to avoid the drop tightened at the other end of the table, when Leslie St Fleur netted a crucial late goal for Montego Bay United for a 2-1 win over Reno. In the relegation six pointer, Dwayne Ambusley put the visitors ahead in the 17th minute but Donovan Brown brought Reno back on level terms in the 59th minute.

The result moved Montego Bay, who are currently in the relegation zone with Reno to within one of Harbour View.  The Stars of the East saw the distance between themselves and the relegation zone lessen following a 1-1 draw with Tivoli.  Tevin Scott gave Habour View the start they dreamt of after just three minutes but Tivoli pegged things back nine minutes later when Colorado Murray brought the visitors on level terms. 

Promoted Dunbeholden also failed to add to their buffer and remain just one point above Harbour View following a 1-1 draw with Cavalier.  In a hot-tempered affair, Nicholas Hamilton and Dunbeholden’s Kemo Gayle were both ejected from the pitch 30 minutes into the encounter.  Luke Rankine then put host Cavalier ahead in the 41st minute but Dunbeholder struck back early in the first half through Lorenzo Dubidad.  Despite Jeremy Nelson receiving a second yellow card in the 63rd minute to leave Cavalier down to nine men, Dunbeholden failed to press home the advantage.  Elsewhere, Mount Pleasant registered a 1-0 over Humble Lion.

Legendary West Indies fast bowler turned commentator Michael Holding has rejected the notion of an increase in the use of stump microphones, which some have argued will benefit the game of cricket.

Debate in the public sphere has raged, as of late, after the devices played the role in the sanctioning of two players.  Windies fast bowler Shannon Gabriel was banned for four matches after being accused of directing a ‘homophobic’ jibe toward England captain Joe Root.

In an ODI against South Africa, Pakistan’s Sarfraz Ahmed was picked up on the stump mic making a racist comment to Andile Phehlukwayo and was also subsequently banned for four matches. 

Proponents of the argument have pointed to the positives of both outcomes and argued that an increase in microphones would also bring fans closer to players.  Holding, however, vehemently disagrees with the idea.  

"I had a conversation on air here in South Africa where I voiced my opinion on the stumps microphones being left on at all times.  It’s a backward step as far as I’m concerned,” Holding told Mumbai Mirror.

“The field of play and the dressing room belong to the combatants and the excuse being offered that it helps the viewers to enjoy the game is very lame.  If the public needs to hear the players on the field, it simply means the product being offered has a problem,” he added.

 

 

Windies batting star Chris Gayle has lamented a ‘reckless’ shot, despite a whirlwind knock of 162 against England in a losing cause at the Grenada National Stadium on Wednesday.

In pursuit of a sizable target of 418, which was anchored by a smashing innings from Englishman Jos Butler, it was Gayle who launched a fierce response of his own. 

The big left-hander fell just short of his record of 16 sixes in an ODI innings, when he slammed 14 over the boundary rope in a battling effort at the crease.  Gayle was dismissed after missing against Ben Stokes.

In the end, it was not enough to stave off a loss for the Windies who fell just 29 runs short of the sizable total but few could argue it was an effort to be proud of.  The 39-year-old became only the second batsman to reach 300 runs, with the performance pushing him to 305, second to only Pakistan’s Shahid Afridi (351).  The total, the 25th century of the batsman’s career was his second highest total in the format.

"I didn't know what was going to happen. Normally when chasing a big total, you give yourself less overs to get in,” Gayle said following the match,

"It was a good wicket and once you get momentum as a batter, you are going to get runs,” he added.

"Wood bowled well. With his pace, he's always going to be somebody to be wary of. After losing two quick wickets, I said we had to build a partnership but the shot I played, in the end, was a bit reckless. If I had batted deeper, who knows what might have happened?"

The Leeward Islands Hurricanes and T&T Red Force played to a predictable draw in a high scoring West Indies Championship encounter at Warner Park.

Beginning the day with a 195-run lead, the Hurricanes eventually declared at 315 for 6 on the back of 94 off 109 balls from Devon Thomas.  Thomas began the day on 22, alongside Hamilton, who opened on 23, and went on to score 77 from 86 balls.  Odean Smith was the pick of the bowlers after claiming figures of 2 for 64.

In pursuit of an unlikely 351 to win, the T&T Red Force got off to a strong start before losing opener Jeremy Solozano for 30.  Solozano was caught by Cornwall off the bowling of Damion Jacobs.  His opening partner Joshua Da Silva added 75 from 124 balls before being caught by Keacy Carty off the bowling of Cornwall, with Lendl Simmons adding 59 from 55 before being bowled by Alzarri Josephs.

At the close of play, the Red Force were 236 for 4 in their second innings reply, still, some 116 runs short of the total. Jason Mohammed (10) and Denesh Ramdin (22) were the not out batsmen at the crease.

A devastating hat-trick from pace bowler Miguel Cummins triggered a spectacular Windward Islands Volcanoes collapse, to hand Barbados Pride what seemed an unlikely victory in the West Indies Championship at Arnos Vale on Sunday.

Heading into the final day’s play, the Volcanoes found themselves at 181 for 3, needing a mere 89 runs to win with seven wickets still in hand.  The task, however, proved to be far more difficult than expected.

Overnight batsman Kavem Hodge, who scored a resolute 65 from 165 balls, was the first to go after being bowled by Jomel Warrican soon after the resumption.  His overnight partner Roland Cato did not fare much better.  Cato added five to his previous 26 before becoming the first victim of Cummins, when he was caught by Tevyn Walcott.  Cummins sent back Dennis Smith for a duck just three balls later and Ray Jordan would be his third wicket when he was sent back, for one, three balls later.

Alick Athanaze and Sherman Lewis, however, seemed determined to rescue the situation, adding an eighth-wicket partnership of 41.  The partnership was broken, however, when Lewis (21) was caught by Tevyn Walcott off the bowling of Chaim Holder.  Athanaze also met his end at the hands of Holder as he was caught by Jonathan Carter on 33, to leave the Hurricanes at 246 for 9 still some 24 runs short of the target.  Larry Edwards was then bowled by Warrican.  

 

Jamaica distance runner Kemoy Campbell seems to have set his sights on a return to the track, just over two weeks after collapsing during a race at the Millrose Games in New York.

The 28-year-old athlete will, however, plans to compete with the help of an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD), a device that will restart his heart should it stop suddenly again.  Campbell collapsed during the men's 3000 metres race in early February and had to be revived with the use of CPR and a defibrillator after trackside medical staff treated him for minutes.

The athlete confirmed, via his Instagram account on Saturday, that subsequent tests had failed to discover a reason for the illness, but seemed to suggest he had every intention to return to the track.

“After multiple vials of blood, ECHOs, EKGs, ultrasounds, MRI, CAT scan, PET scan, and heart biopsy.  The weeks of testing resulted in no diagnosis for the cause of my heart stopping.

‘On Monday I will be putting an ICD in my body (left side of my ribs).  This device will shock my heart back into rhythm if this is to happen again.  I was told that I would have to take a few months off from running.  After those months I could start getting back at it slowly with permission from the cardiologist.”

Prime Minister of Grenada Dr. Keith Mitchell has insisted that a change of structure should be the primary focus of the next Cricket West Indies (CWI) boss, following the announcement of a challenge to incumbent president Dave Cameron.

After four terms in charge of the regional body, Cameron will face a challenge from former Windies team manager Ricky Skerritt, when the organisation goes to the polls next month.

Mitchell, who has at times found himself in an adversarial relationship with regional cricket’s leadership team in recent years, however, believes very little will be different unless the new leader is willing to focus on decades-long structural deficiencies.

“30-50 years ago Governments were operating one way in terms of how they governed countries.  They made you believe they could solve all your problems, ‘just vote for me’.  That has changed dramatically, businesses had to change over the years and be more transparent,” Mitchell told the SportsMax Zone.

“Trade Unions had to also recognize that it was not about getting increases in salary but also getting productivity, it’s a competitive world.  Similarly, sporting bodies cannot operate a 19 century, 20th-century system in the 21st century,” he added.

A 2015 CARICOM-commissioned Governance Report – authored by prominent regional academic and UWI Cave Hill principal Professor Eudine Barriteau – had called for the “immediate dissolution of the West Indies Cricket Board and the appointment of an Interim Board.”

“The chop and change of presidents in my view is not going to solve the problems that are plaguing West Indies cricket.  The attitude and structure that we have in place and the transparency and accountability has to be a fundamental issue also.”

 Solid middle order batting from the trio of Devon Thomas, Jahmar Hamilton and Terrance Ward left the Leeward Islands Hurricanes in a comfortable position, on day 1 of the West Indies Championship fixture at Warner Park.

At stumps, the Leewards were 295 for 5 after being sent in to bat by the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force who won the toss.  The score was, however, compiled after the Hurricanes staged a remarkable recover after a poor start to the innings.

The Hurricanes lost opener Montcin Hodge in the fourth over and partner Kieran Powell four overs later to leave the team struggling at 14 for 2.  Medium pacer Daniel St Clair was responsible for the removal of both openers, first bowling Hodge for 2 before having Powell caught by Jason Mohammed for 5.

Up next at the crease, however, Keacy Carty and Thomas began the repair job for the Hurricanes, adding 105 for the third wicket.

The partnership was ended when Carty, who was just short of a half-century on 44, was caught by Joshua Da Silva off the bowling of Anderson Phillips.  Thomas followed to the pavilion five overs later, when he was stumped by Denesh Ramdin off the bowling of Khary Pierre.  Thomas’ well struck 67 came from 103 balls.

There would be little respite for the T&T bowling attack, however, as Hamilton would join Ward at the crease with the duo putting on 109 for the fifth wicket.  The partnership was ended by Pierre who had Hamilton caught by Jason Mohammed on 68.

Ward ended the day on 64 and was joined at the crease by Rahkeem Cornwall, who was not out on 34 from 55.  St Clair and Pierre were the pick of the bowlers, with two wickets each for the Red Force.

Windies skipper Jason Holder has hailed the impact of top opening batsman Chris Gayle who cracked 135 in a losing effort against England on Monday.

On a placid Kensington Oval pitch that suited the batsmen, the 39-year-old left-hander cracked an astounding 12 sixes and four 4s enroute to his 135 off 129 balls.  The effort was, however, somewhat in vain as England cruised to a six-wicket win on the back of centuries from Jason Roy (123) and Joe Root (102).  The result saw England move ahead 1-0 in the five-test One Day International series.

“Credit to our batters I thought we played exceptionally well on what was a really good pitch, one of the best I have seen at Kensington Oval for a while. I thought Chris played a really good innings. He took a bit of time upfront, got himself set and then put pressure back on the spinners in the middle and forced Eoin Morgan to bring back the seamers back a bit earlier. I felt he held the innings together and gave other batters a chance to express themselves,” Holder said.

“England played well to chase down our target. We’re now 1-0 down so we know we have to bounce back on Friday and look to make it 1-1 before we head off to Grenada.”

The teams will play the second ODI at the same venue tomorrow.

Jamaica national representative Danielle Dowie and former Cayman Islands sprint star Cydonie Mothersille, will lend their expertise to an already knowledgeable SportsMax panel put together for this weekend’s Gibson McCook Relays.

 Mothersille, who represented the Cayman Islands at four Olympic Games and six World Championships, will bring plenty of experience to the table.  As one of the region’s most recognized names for many years, the athlete specialized in the 100 and 200m sprints.  Mothersille, who was born in Jamaica, can also boast about plenty of relay know-how as a one-time member of the Clemson University 4x100 and 4x400m relays teams, which received All-American honours in 2001.

The 27-year-old Dowie, who remains an active competitor and a member of the famous MVP track club, is best known as a 400m hurdles specialist who represented Jamaica at the 2013 IAAF World Championships.

 Like Mothersill, however, she has plenty of experience getting the stick around the track.  Dowie was part of 4x400m relay that claimed a bronze medal at North America-Central America and Caribbean (NACAC) U-23 Championships and prior to that was a part of relay teams at the CARIFTA Games and 2009 IAAF World Youth Championships. 

As an alumnus of Texas University, Dowie gained All-America honours at the NCAA Championships as a member of the school’s 4x400m relay team.

  The athletes will be joined on the panel by an experienced coach and long-time track and field analyst Raymond ‘KC’ Graham.  The Gibson McCook relays will be broadcast live on SportsMax beginning at 4:00 pm on Saturday.

 

Windies skipper Jason Holder claims the unit is pleased to once again don the underdogs' tag ahead of the One Day International (ODI) series against England, which bowls off on Wednesday.

Heading into the series as the world’s number-one ranked team, England will once again be heavy favourites, with the regional side ranked some eight places below them. 

With the situation very similar to the one they faced in the Test series, where the Windies dominated to win 2-1.  Holder, who was suspended for the only the third and only Test the team lost, is hoping to return and make an immediate impact.

“We're pretty confident, we have momentum from the Test series and good experience in the dressing room,” Holder said.

“We pack a pretty heavy punch when we're stacking up our team. 'Underdogs' is not a bad tag to have - it's more pressure on them and less pressure on us,” he added.

“It was tough watching the Test in St Lucia but I'm very hungry to get back on the park and looking forward to the challenge of carrying the team forward.”

The Windies will face an even tougher test than the Test series with both pacers Shannon Gabriel and Kemar Roach out of action.  Keemo Paul, Evin Lewis and Rovman Powell are also ruled out.

Page 1 of 12
© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.