West Indies captain Jason Holder said the Windies are not favourites for their upcoming series against England but his players are eager to get into action.

West Indies T20 star Dwayne Bravo has joined the growing throng of celebrity voices calling for an end to racism, saying all people of colour want is equality.

West Indies legend Sir Andy Roberts believes up and coming fast bowler Oshane Thomas should have been one of the names scribbled higher on the list for the team’s upcoming three-Test tour of England.

The 23-year-old pace bowler has been added as a reserve for the tour but is not a part of the 14-man squad for the series.  In fact, he is yet to make his test cricket debut but has played 20 ODIs and 12 T20Is since his debut in late 2018 and picked up five-wicket hauls in both limited-overs formats. 

Roberts believes the tour would provide the perfect opportunity to look at the player for the longest format of the game, because of one attribute, his raw pace.

“He should be in that 14-man squad from the onset.  He has what others want, he has pace.  Everybody wants pace,” Roberts told the Mason and Guest Radio program.

“He may not be a wicket-taker but he may create some problems for the opposition and that is what you want.  Sometimes it’s not the guy who gets the wickets, it’s the guy who creates the problem that gets the other guys the wickets.”

Thomas had an impressive outing for the West Indies before the global game was halted due to the spread of the coronavirus.  He took 5 for 28 and 1 for 24 as West Indies swept Sri Lanka 2-0 in a T20I series in the first week of March.

 

 

 

West Indies fast bowling great Sir Andy Roberts insists it was a mistake for the team to embark on the current tour of England, without tangible compensation, due to the high risk taken by the players.

The West Indies and England will return to international cricket next month, with a three-Test match series behind closed doors.  With the spread of the coronavirus continuing to be a serious concern in the UK, for safety reasons, the players and everyone associated with the series will be kept in what has been described as a biosecure bubble for seven weeks.

With the United Kingdom (UK) being one of the hardest-hit countries by the virus and some 41,128 deaths already reported, there will doubtlessly be some element of risk in travelling for the tour.  As such, West Indies players were given the option of not accepting the invitation, with Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer and Keemo Paul all deciding to opt-out due to safety concerns.  As is customary, it is the host team that will be entitled to the revenue from the series, with the decision by the West Indies expected to save the England and Wales Cricket Board £120million in reimbursements to Sky Sports.

Due to the exceptional nature of the circumstances, Roberts believes the Caribbean team should have secured better compensation.

“I don’t have a problem with them negotiating to go to England, but what I have a problem with is talk that the West Indies will not benefit from the tour financially,” Roberts told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“I think that is a mistake because the chances that we are going to take, I don’t think you have many more countries that would be willing to take such a chance,” he added.

“If they are to benefit financially then I don’t have a problem, but if they are not going to benefit from it, then I have a problem, why take the risk and sacrifice the guys?”

Two weeks ago a young footballer was shot and killed in Jamaica. Not long before that, the United States of America had a rejuvenation of its #BlackLivesMatter campaign following the death of George Floyd, who died after a policeman, Derek Chauvin, kneeled on his neck for almost nine minutes, camera rolling and all.

It has been heartening for me to see black people from all over the world standing, marching, kneeling, lying face down, repeating Floyd’s last words ‘I can’t breathe’ together to say enough is enough.

The reach of the Black Lives Matter movement has been incredible since Floyd’s death, reaching all over Europe, Canada, the Caribbean.

But I am now hoping that there is another type of spill-over effect.

Already, there is very little talk about the young man, Shemar Nairne, who was one of eight people murdered on a random Wednesday in Jamaica.

Nairne played football for a living and he isn’t the first sportsman to be impacted by violence. Sports can no longer stand on the sidelines (the irony is obvious here), while the ills of society go without highlight.

For a long time, sports has sought to stay out of the fray for fear that it will be used for political gain and lose its purity, its independence.

But in Jamaica, just as has been the case in other countries, sport isn’t immune to the problems of the society it grows from.

I asked the question, what will be sport’s response to the murder of Nairne and by extension the wanton violence that pervades an increasing number of spaces on the island of Jamaica?

The responses were the very generic indignation that something like this could happen and the condolences to the family. It was not a George Floyd moment.

Sports, like music, are great at bringing people together in Jamaica.

I can remember watching Shell Cup football and being able to run through the spaces between the seats as Jamaica beat Trinidad and Tobago 2-0 to lift the crown.

The peanut vendor never had to chance his arm when selling his product to me and hope that I was decent enough to pass the money person-to-person across rows of fans to get him his due. He came to my feet to sell me the salted delights and was in no danger of blocking anyone’s view.

But then I can also remember that less than a decade later, I could not move more than a few inches either side of me when the Reggae Boyz were making their historic trek towards a first World Cup berth and the peanut vendor could not hear my screams for his attention. But Bunny didn’t mind. He was very much in the black with the number of orders he was getting. And violent crimes were down.

I say all that to say, Sports and music,  have a major part to play in getting the perpetrators of violence in Jamaica to stop.

Just as the Black Lives Matter campaign has gained worldwide traction and I witnessed as people like dancehall icon Bounty Killer waved placards in front of the US Embassy calling for an end to injustice for all black people, I want a concerted response from sports stars in Jamaica.

Football clubs, cricket clubs, track clubs must lead the way in bringing about an understanding of the importance of life.

I am fully aware of the fact that #GhettoLivesMatter is about putting an end to police excesses, but I believe the slogan can mean something bigger.

For some reason, and by ‘some’ I mean I know all the reasons but will not get into it, it is largely the poor who suffer at the hands of violence and this is a bigger statement than saying the police always brutalize the poor.

That being the case, #GhettoLivesMatter is apt.

Let’s hear the voices of the Jamaica Olympic Association, the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association, the Jamaica Football Association, Netball Jamaica, the Inter-Schools Sports Association, the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, the sports stars who fall under all these umbrellas.

Justice for Shemar Nairne. #GhettoLivesMatter      

West Indies star Chris Gayle has come out in defense of former captain Darren Sammy who recently expressed anger and frustration with incidents that might have been deemed racist during his time India Premier League (IPL) club Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Sammy recently accused several of his former teammates of a racist gesture after realizing the nickname he given, ‘kalu’ did not mean what he thought.  The West Indian cricketer has insisted he believes the world meant strong and admits he was hurt that he later called himself by that name and expressed hope that he had not been the butt of a joke.

 By various definitions the term literally means blackie and is on occasion used to describe black-skinned people in India.  Although the incident happened in 2014, Gayle insisted that it was never too late to right a wrong.

It's never too late to fight for the right cause or what you've experienced over the years! So much more to your story, Darren Sammy. Like I said, it's in the game," tweeted Gayle who has played for Kolkata Knight Riders, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kings XI Punjab in the IPL.

 Both Gayle and Sammy have spoken out in support of the racial injustice protests currently sweeping across the globe.

Cricket West Indies Chief Selector Roger Harper is suggesting that the structure of the West Indies team now in England for a three-Test series starting next month, and the expected playing conditions there, precluded the selection of Guyanese spinner Veerasammy Permaul.

Permaul, the 30-year-old slow left-arm orthodox spinner from Guyana, snared 50 wickets during the West Indies Championships that ended in March at an excellent average of 12.98. Speaking with Sportsmax.TV shortly after the season ended, he said he felt that the success he enjoyed would have put him closer to selection to the West Indies senior squad.

“Playing for the West Indies is always my goal every season I play,” he said, “but I wasn’t finding favour with the West Indies selectors. I don’t know how close I am to making the West Indies team, I would think after an excellent season like this one I am not far from playing for the West Indies again.”

However, according to Harper, a fellow Guyanese, Permaul’s success did not get him close enough.

“If you look at the structure of the team; the Test squad and the reserves, you realize that there are not many spinners in the party,” Harper said while speaking on the Mason and Guest talk show in Barbados on Tuesday.

“In England, we looked at the conditions you are likely to face there and the sort of bowlers we will need in the squad and (Rahkeem) Cornwall was selected as a spinner in the squad from his performance in his last Test match.

“Looking at the reserves we thought we would look at a replacement for the positions in the Test team…the panel went for the incumbent who was on the last tour.”

The decision to exclude Permaul did not go down well with Hilbert Foster President of the Berbice Cricket Board in Guyana. Permaul plays his domestic cricket in Berbice.

“The BCB would like to condemn in the strongest possible way the sick treatment being handed out to this outstanding son of Berbice and would like for an explanation to been given on his non-selection," Foster said.

"Has a decision been taken that Permaul's career is over at just 30 years old? Is there another unknown factor for his non-selection? Is he indisciplined? Is he considered just a regional bowler or is he too old?

"We deserve to know as the BCB is, without doubt, the hardest working cricket board in the Caribbean and we would not sit back and watch our cricketers being treated like a second class when they deserve better."

West Indies captain Jason Holder revealed that he is yet to personally face racist abuse, while on the pitch, but was once shocked at the vitriol directed towards South African cricketer Hashim Amla.

The issue of racial injustice has been at the forefront of global discussion in recent weeks, following the killing of an African American George Floyd by a white police officer.  Derek Chauvin was filmed with his knee on the neck of Floyd for nearly nine minutes in a video that prompted anguish and outrage around the globe.

The issue has morphed into a broader discussion on the need for an end to racial discrimination and inequality, with several athletes joining the cause.  Holder noted that although it was important to be professional, the circumstances can be tough for players to take.

“Look, as a player, you just got to be professional and shut it out, but some comments are such that it’s hard to block out. You know some of those comments sometimes make people retaliate,” Holder said during an Instagram talk with sports commentator Arun Venugopal.

“I haven’t personally had to bear the brunt of any of them, but I have seen things with people like Moeen Ali and Hashim Amla [who were subjected to racist attacks]. I have met Hashim Amla, I have played cricket with Hashim Amla. If you probably think I am a nice man, he is the ultimate nice guy, man. He is the nicest person that I have ever met, swear to God,” Holder added.

“And to hear people get down on Hashim and say things or even bring racial comments into it, it is just sad, man. It’s just sad to see the level of intelligence of people,” he added.

 

Jason Holder says he will consult his West Indies team-mates regarding the possibility of making a "show of solidarity" in support of the Black Lives Matter movement in the Test series against England.

Elite athletes have spoken out against racism in society following the death of George Floyd, an African-American man who died in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.

Several teams in the Bundesliga, which was the first major European football league to resume amid the coronavirus pandemic, have also taken part in demonstrations.

Windies captain Holder was asked if similar actions will be taken by his team for the first Test at the Ageas Bowl, which will be played without fans in attendance, on July 8.

"It definitely - probably - will be discussed among us and we'll definitely decide how we'll go forward as a team with it," he told a news conference on Wednesday.

"I just want to make sure whatever we do, if we do anything, that it is done the right way. Whatever point we make, if we do decide to show some sort of solidarity with it, we'll make sure everyone is on the same page.

"But I don't want to sit here and speak for the other members of the team without consulting them."

On the protests that have taken place, Holder added: "It [racism] is something that will probably be an ongoing discussion, probably way past our lifetimes. I think the greater message that could be taken for this entire experience is unity.

"Regardless of your race or religion, I think this is a situation for us all to unite as one.

"What has happened recently has definitely impacted the world, and the response from people around the world has been tremendous.

"We must acknowledge it. Protesting, and standing up for what you believe in, is noble and courageous - and something I would never disapprove of.

"I think it's a perfect time for people to really educate themselves on what goes on in the day-to-day experiences of people around the world, and make a change.

"Only when you educate yourself, can you have a better sense of what goes on around you.

"We must all come together; it's an ongoing debate, but equality and unity is my main takeaway from this."

The Windies arrived in Manchester on Tuesday as they gear up for the return of Test cricket, which has been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Three players, Shimron Hetmyer, Keemo Paul and Darren Bravo, opted not to travel, but Holder says those who have feel "pretty safe".

"To be honest, I feel pretty safe. I must commend the ECB, they've been outstanding," he said.

"We had a chartered airline and arriving here in Manchester was pretty smooth. We just transferred directly from the plane through the VIP hall and then straight onto the buses directly to the hotel. We've had no real experience with anyone from the public.

"Everything so far has been rolled out perfectly and whilst it continues that way, I can't see much interference coming with regards to the series.

"Before coming here to England, we all knew what was being posed. We've all made a decision to come over here, not been forced, and we've done it because we want to be here, we want to play cricket.

"Personally, I'm happy to be playing some cricket, not many other nations are. Many organisations are taking pay cuts and we have suddenly got our opportunity now to make some money, so we have a lot of things to be thankful for and I think we just have to relish the opportunity and grab it with both hands."

The ICC has delayed a decision over the respective fates of the men's T20 World Cup and women's Cricket World Cup in order to continue exploring contingency plans over the next month.

Australia is due to host the men's T20 competition between October 18 and November 15 but the status of the tournament remains unclear due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, while the women's 50-over event is slated to take place in New Zealand from February 6 to March 7 next year.

Last month, the ICC denied reports a decision had been taken to move the T20 World Cup back to next year, although Cricket Australia said it was braced for the postponement.

Following an ICC Board meeting on Wednesday, the governing body said it will "continue to assess and evaluate the rapidly changing public health situation caused by COVID-19 working with key stakeholders including governments to explore how the events can be staged to protect the health and safety of everyone involved."

ICC chief executive Manu Sawhney said: "The situation surrounding the global pandemic is evolving rapidly and we want to give ourselves the best possible opportunity to make the right decision for the whole sport. 

"The health and well-being of everyone involved is our priority and other considerations fall out from that.

"We will only get one chance to make this decision and it needs to be the right one and as such we will continue to consult with our Members, broadcasters, partners, governments and players and to ensure that we make a well informed decision."

Out of favour West Indies batsman Jason Mohammed is hoping to recover from a disappointing outing in 2019 Caribbean Premier League (CPL), when the upcoming edition rolls around.

Following the disruptions caused by the threat of the coronavirus the exact date and details of the tournament are yet to be finalised, but Mohammed admits he is eager to get back on the pitch. And, he might as well if he is looking to make up for the disappointment of the previous campaign.

Representing the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots, Mohammad had his poorest showing to date. Playing in five games the player got a total of 20 and averaged four. Far from his heyday in 2016 when he scored 287 runs to lead the Guyana Amazon Warriors with an average of 47.

For the upcoming edition, the player hopes to play more to what he believes is his strength in the middle of the innings. “I think I feel most comfortable batting at number four and controlling the middle overs. I feel like that is my strength in T20 cricket,” Mohammed said in a recent interview with T&T’s 7PmNews. “I like to be able to rotate the strike and build partnerships and from there to the end finish off the innings strong.”

Former West Indies captain Darren Sammy has revealed that words uttered by all-rounder Ben Stokes had fired up batsman Marlon Samuels, who put on an outstanding display to help the team clinch the 2016 T20 World Cup.

Big hitter Carlos Brathwaite stole the spotlight with four straight sixes off the unfortunate Stokes in the final over, but at the other end, Samuels’ man-of-the-match 85 runs from 66 balls innings provided the backbone for the team.

According to Sammy, Samuels who came to the crease at 11 for 3 and with things looking grim for the Windies, revealed he had received added motivation.

“Marlon told us something, and maybe Root could confirm that when Marlon came in at 11-3. He came to bowl and he said something like ‘you guys, I would like to see you come out of this one’ and Marlon was just taking his time, making sure that comment, whatever he (Ben Stokes) said to him as he walked in, that got him really focused,” Sammy said in a recent interview with Sky Sports’ Cricket Watch in a segment that discussed the tournament.  England batsman Joe Root, the team’s vice-captain at the time, did not seem convinced Samuels was telling the truth.

“It would have been a good effort because Ben was at long-on, so I don’t know how that happened. He might have just made it up,” Root added.

Sticking to his guns, Sammy insisted that the event was quite possible.

“When he was bowling to him, Ben Stokes was bowling an over to him and he said something to Marlon during that time. Because Marlon told us about it. He was really pumped. If you notice, in the back end, Marlon said something to him after that. But it’s all cricket man.”

A few cricket fans on social media have criticised former West Indies captain Darren Sammy for what they believe is some amount of hypocrisy, over recent accusations of racism leveled against IPL team Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Earlier this week, Sammy reacted with anger after finding out a word he was referred to by his teammates, during his time at the club, kalu, did not mean what he thought.

"I just learnt what that kalu meant. When I played for Sunrisers in the IPL, they called me and Perera by that name,” Sammy said in a tweet over the weekend.

"I thought it meant strong Stallion. My previous post tells me something different and I am angry."

The West Indies star later explained in the video, posted on Monday, that he was later told the term was not one of endearment.

"I was listening to Hasan Minhaj talking about how some of the people in his culture view or describe black people,” Sammy said.

"Instantly I remembered when I played for Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2013 and 2014, I was being called the exact same word that he described.

"I will be messaging those people - you guys know who you are. I must admit, at the time in which I was being called that, I did not know what it meant.

"Me being a team man, I thought, hey, team-mates are happy, it must be something funny. You can understand my frustration and my anger when it was pointed out to me that it wasn't funny at all, it was degrading.

"So, I'm going to be texting you guys, and asking you guys, when you repeatedly called me that word over and over again to the point that I was even saying that's my name, did you all mean it in any way, shape or form as a degrading word to me.”

Some, however, insisted that the player knew what the word meant after referencing a 2014 tweet in which he called himself ‘Dark Kalu’.  Others insisted the term simply meant black and had no negative connotations, while others pointed to Sammy tweeting ‘Black Bros’ followed by the fire emoji on his IG page.  Others wanted to know why it was not ok for the Ishant Sharma to refer to Sammy as kalu, when he often referred to himself as black.

Interestingly there was no mention as to whether there were skin colour references or nicknames for Dale Steyn, Brendan Taylor or Aaron Finch, white teammates of Sammy who represented the club at the time.