West Indies batsmen showing signs of improvement

By Mariah Ramharack April 04, 2021

On many a Sunday, I realize that people have looked at the stories they have seen throughout the week with different lenses. I have my own personal take on some of these trending issues and I will share them with you. Welcome to #INCASEYOUMISSEDIT the 2021 edition with Mariah.

 

 Positive signs for Windies batting

West Indies batting has been a matter of concern, especially in the Test format for some time.

As recently, as of July 2020 when West Indies faced England in three Tests, the Jamaica Observer newspaper blared the headline “West Indies bowlers undermined by batting woes” a sentiment shared by many newspapers in cricket-loving nations around the world.

After winning the first Test against England, the West Indies only survived 70.1 overs in the second innings of the second Test. It was even worse in the second innings of the third Test when they lasted a mere 37.1 overs as England completed a 269-run win in Manchester.

However, against Bangladesh and in the just concluded test series against Sri Lanka, the Windies have shown signs of improvement.

Generally speaking, West Indies batsmen do not face enough balls and hence give their wickets away cheaply. Against Sri Lanka, there was a refreshing change in attitude and application.

In the final Test, Captain Kraigg Brathwaite made 126 in the first innings- his ninth Test century, his first as captain and 85 in the second. In all, the skipper batted 813 minutes, the most in a Test for the Windies. In that time, he faced 507 balls, the joint-most by a West Indian in a Test match since Brian Lara's 400* off 582 balls against England in 2004.

Similarly, Kyle Mayers and Jason Holder each spent time at the crease while setting a 377-run target for Sri Lanka. Mayers faced 76 balls for his 55 while Holder scored 71 not out off 88 balls.

In the first Test, Nkrumah Bonner’s maiden century of 113* was an exercise in patience and determination. Batting at number three, the 32-year-old Jamaican faced 274 balls in more than seven hours at the crease.

 There is still a lot of work to be done but the early evidence suggests that the West Indies batsman might finally be on the right path.

 

 Sergio Aguero still has value

 It has been confirmed by Premier League club Manchester City that Sergio Aguero will leave when his contract expires at the end of the season.

However, this does not mean that his career has come to an end.

This season has been a challenging one for the striker, who has had to endure injury, Covid-19, and lack of game time. In his 14 appearances, he has started nine games and scored three goals.

Despite his struggles, he is arguably the best non-English striker to grace the Premier League and the numbers speak for themselves. Aguero is the fourth highest goal scorer in the Premier League history with 181 goals. He also leads the statistics in the rate of scoring in English top-flight football since 1992.

Aguero’s famous goal in injury time against QPR in 2012 when he clinched the club’s first English title in 44 years, is one for the books. Overall, he has helped The Citizens to four Premier League titles, one FA Cup and five League Cups.

Though slowed by age and injury, in Saturday’s game against Leicester City, he worked hard off the ball and contributed to his side’s win, something he has done constantly during his incredible career at Manchester City.

His boots will not be easily filled as was made clear by Pep Guardiola.

“I want to be clear. Maybe we'll find a new player to replace Sergio. In terms of numbers, he might be replaced, but in terms of what he means to the club, it is impossible.” 

 

Why are super teams an issue for some in the NBA?

The news of LaMarcus Aldridge joining the Brooklyn Nets did not sit well with many Los Angeles Lakers fans with many saying the Nets are so desperate for a championship they are buying one. Lakers superstar Le Bron James’ son Bronny also weighed in tweeting, “All this to stop a 36-year-old man in Year 18.”

LA Lakers CEO and owner Jeanie Buss, who sees the move as making the NBA a more compelling product said, “So, bring it on.”   

Personally, I see nothing wrong with the Nets creating a super team because LeBron has done the same many times in the past.

In fact, LeBron created his own super team with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami Heat in 2010-2011. He also helped assemble Kevin Love Kyrie Irving for the championship-winning Cleveland Cavaliers.

 And while the Nets signed the talented LeMarcus Aldridge it is important to note that the Lakers also recently signed two-time all-star centre Andre Drummond, who is averaging 17.5 points and 13.5 rebounds this season despite having not played since February 12.

 

Related items

  • DeMar DeRozan to Bulls after sign-and-trade DeMar DeRozan to Bulls after sign-and-trade

    DeMar DeRozan is headed to Chicago on a new three-year, $85million contract after the Bulls and San Antonio Spurs orchestrated a sign-and-trade deal, multiple outlets on reported Tuesday.

    The Spurs received Thaddeus Young and Al-Farouq Aminu, who are both on expiring contracts, as well as a future first-round draft pick and two future second-round picks.

    DeRozan, who turns 32 later this week, is one of the most consistent scorers in the NBA, averaging at least 20 points per game over each of the last eight seasons.

    The 6ft 6in swingman averaged 21.6 points and a career-high 6.9 assists last season for San Antonio while shooting 49.5 percent from the floor.

    DeRozan's game, however, has come under scrutiny by some due to his unwillingness to attempt and inability to make three-pointers.

    He shot just 22.7 percent from beyond the arc in his three-season tenure with the Spurs.

    The move is the latest for Bulls vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas and general manager Marc Eversley in an effort to end the franchise's four-season playoff drought.

    Also joining Chicago will be point guard Lonzo Ball, who received a four-year, $85m contract Monday in a sign-and-trade deal that ended his tenure with the New Orleans Pelicans.

    The Bulls also signed restricted free agent guard Alex Caruso after the Los Angeles Lakers declined to match Chicago's four-year, $37m offer.

    Chicago were buyers at last season's trade deadline, acquiring former All-Star center Nikola Vucevic from the Orlando Magic, and are making an urgent push to build around Zach LaVine and win their first playoff series since 2015.

    Always a dangerous scorer, LaVine achieved new levels of efficiency last season, shooting 50.7 percent from the field and 41.9 percent from three-point range, both career highs.

    Chicago was thought to be in the market for a polished player or two this offseason, but many thought the team would need to part ways with a young asset.

    But the Bulls' front office was able to add both DeRozan and Ball without giving up Lauri Markkanen, Patrick Williams or Coby White. 

  • Warriors sign Curry to massive contract extension Warriors sign Curry to massive contract extension

    The Golden State Warriors and Stephen Curry agreed to a max contract extension, paying the two-time league MVP $215.4million over four years.

    Added to his previous deal of $201m, signed in 2017, Curry becomes the first player in NBA history to ink multiple deals worth at least $200 million, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Tuesday.

    Curry will be 38 at the end of his new contract but has shown no signs of slowing down after averaging a career-high 32.0 points during the regular season to become the oldest NBA scoring champion since a 35-year-old Michael Jordan accomplished the feat in 1997-98.

    The move comes during a crucial offseason for the Warriors after two straight injury-riddled campaigns have seen them fall short of a postseason berth.

    Curry carried the Warriors in 2020-21 with Klay Thompson and 2020 second overall pick James Wiseman both suffering season-ending injuries.

    Golden State general manager Bob Myers admitted he is not sure if Thompson will be healthy by the start of next season. The five-time All-Star tore his right Achilles before last season's training camp.

    That came after Thompson missed the 2019-20 season with a torn ACL suffered in a Game 6 NBA Finals loss in June 2019 that gave the Toronto Raptors their first NBA title.

    “I don't know that it'll be the start of the year,” Myers said. "We'll see more as camp gets closer. When I say start of the year, I mean Game 1. I don't know if that's realistic or not.

    “What we're focused on is when do we expect Klay to be Klay, and I don't know if that'll be January, February, March. It's too early to say."

     

    With Curry at 33 years old and Thompson and Draymond Green both 31, the Warriors have been connected to rumors of a win-now move that would add veteran talent, but Myers has yet to pull off such a blockbuster.

    Wiseman, whose college career at Memphis was cut short due to eligibility issues, has played just 42 games since leaving high school and remains a raw prospect.

    Myers has insisted that the club does not intend to trade Wiseman, however, saying he can be an asset in both the short and long term.

    The Warriors left many pundits puzzled after last Thursday's NBA Draft, where they used the seventh overall pick on unpolished forward Jonathan Kuminga and the 14th overall selection on guard Moses Moody, leading to even more trade speculation.

    There appears to be much left to accomplish this offseason for Myers and the Warriors, but a new contract extension ensures Curry will be the centrepiece of it all, just as he was for three NBA titles and five straight NBA Finals appearances from 2015-19.  

  • Tokyo Olympics: Kevin Durant demands gold push as USA edge out Rubio-led Spain in quarters Tokyo Olympics: Kevin Durant demands gold push as USA edge out Rubio-led Spain in quarters

    Kevin Durant said Team USA have "got to finish it" after battling past Spain to reach the Olympic semi-finals.

    The Brooklyn Nets star poured in a team-high 29 points as the United States won 95-81 at the Saitama Super Arena, bolstering their gold medal hopes.

    It was far from an easy assignment, and nor was it always entirely convincing from the US team, who trailed 39-29 with 3:25 of the second quarter remaining.

    They rallied impressively, however, to draw level at 43-43 at the halfway point, and Spain never led again.

    "We started making shots there in the second quarter. Once we see that ball going into the rim, that put all of us at ease," Durant said.

    "Our defence was a little better, a little tighter, we rebounded better after that. And guys just got more comfortable shooting the basketball.

    "We drove it to the rim at the end of that second and were able to get our rhythm back a little bit. I like how we played in that second quarter, from the end of the second quarter all the way to finish the game, and that's how we're gonna need to play going forward.

    "It was a huge boost. We didn't want to go into the half down double digits. We knew we didn't want to get down big against this team."

    Ricky Rubio plundered 38 points for Spain, with the Minnesota Timberwolves man shooting 13-of-20 from the field. That gave him the highest score by a Spain men's player in an Olympic game, beating the 37 points that Pau Gasol scored against China in 2004.

    Rubio also drained four of his seven shots from three-point range, the same as Durant, but USA's 22-6 run at the start of the third quarter took the game away from Spain.

    The Spaniards briefly got back to just four points behind, in the early moments of the fourth quarter, yet despite their overall 42-32 dominance on the boards, they were found wanting elsewhere.

    USA coach Gregg Popovich said: "I feel great about the victory knowing full well there is a lot of work to be done. We played a terrific basketball team.

    "To play that team and go down by nine or 10 and stay in and find a way to win is very satisfying."

    Durant feels the team are ready to step up a level, now they are through to the final four.

    The pre-Olympics defeats to Australia and Nigeria no longer matter, nor does the loss to France in the Tokyo 2020 group stage.

    "I love how we stuck with it throughout this whole period of time and guys started figuring out what we need to do," Durant said.

    "You've just got to finish it. We're supposed to be here. For us it's about getting a gold."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.