All 162 players, administrators and officials tested negative for the coronavirus Covid-19 after they arrived in Trinidad and Tobago for the 2020 season of the Hero CPL.

Last year I visited Trinidad and Tobago, met Brian Lara, did a couple of SSFL matches, walked the streets of Port of Spain, had some spicy doubles and attended the biggest party in sport. And needless to say, I fell in love with the twin-island republic. It was too short a stay.

It was the first time visiting another Caribbean island, and I was even enamoured by the fact they had street lights, even on their highways. Because in Jamaica... in many instances ... the road is only lit by vehicular traffic.

My friend Mariah Ramharack, a native of Trinidad and Tobago and my co-worker, saw the funny side in seeing my starry eyes.

It is said that Paris is the city of lights. However, through the eyes of this novice wanna-be traveller, sweet, sweet T&T was all that and a bag of chips.

That trip really opened up a craving to travel more, because being Jamaican, living in Jamaica and not travelling outside of Jamaica certainly limits my scope and my view of the world.

Having said all of that... Jamaica is one heck of a country, and I'm proud that this is the country of my birth.

What Jamaica has achieved as a nation, especially in sport, is incredible. We have led the way in the Caribbean and indeed much of the world in track and field, making a massive impact at the Olympics and the World Championships. Our athletes have showcased not just our talents but our culture. And I believe Jamaica's renaissance in track and field in 2008 at the Beijing Olympics is linked with the country's renaissance in tourism since that time, with tourist arrivals increasing by over 50 per cent according to tradingeconomics.com.

We can claim to have sport's greatest-ever ambassador in Usain Bolt, and some of the greatest-ever female sprinters to grace the world in Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Veronica Campbell-Brown and Merlene Ottey.

We also have some of the most notable cricketers from George Headley to Michael Holding, Courtney Walsh to Christopher Henry Gayle.

We also have the first black woman to win a global title in swimming – Alia Atkinson.

And as far as team sport is concerned, our Sunshine Girls are right up there in the world of netball while our Reggae Boyz made us so proud at the 1998 World Cup in France.

These are just the tip of a massive iceberg of representation and pride over the years which began even before our Independence in 1962 in no small part due to the aforementioned Headley as well as the likes of Arthur Wint and Herb McKenley, George Rhoden and Leslie Laing.

All of these stories were laced with adversity, which appears to be the driving force of Jamaica’s success.

It is our blessing, and for many others who have fallen by the wayside, it is our curse.

A cursory glimpse at the government’s expenditure on sport sees Jamaica spending far less than Trinidad and Tobago.

Trinidad and Tobago spends roughly five times more than Jamaica and even the Bahamas spends twice as much as the land of wood and water. The economies dictate that this should be the status quo for now.

Our emergence in the world is powered by sheer will and determination, and pressure. And maybe that is the true story of Jamaica. Because how else would pearls be made?

Donald Oliver is a football and cricket commentator and a senior producer at SportsMax. Learn more about him at www.thedonaldoliver.com or email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Jamaica Tallawahs CEO Jeff Miller said batsman Andre McCarthy is devastated that he will not be able to play in the 2020 CPL season that begins in Trinidad later this month.

The Barbados Tridents will begin the defence of their Hero CPL title when they take on St Kitts and Nevis Patriots on the evening of August 18, as the 2020 season bowls off in Trinidad and Tobago next month.

The St Kitts and Nevis Patriots will not have the services of Rassie Van Der Dussen for the Patriots for the 2020 season of the Hero CPL.

Jack Warner, the embattled former FIFA Vice President and Independent Liberal Party (ILP) political leader, announced Thursday night that he will be contesting the Trinidad and Tobago general election set for August 10.

The ILP said the 77-year-old Warner will contest the Lopinot/Bon Air West seat. The controversial former football official, who is fighting extradition to the United States where he is expected to face corruption charges, is to host a media conference at 3 pm at his constituency office in Arouca today.

Warner served as a Government Minister under the former People's Partnership administration. He resigned as the Member of Parliament for Chaguanas West in April 2013.

Warner had been a member of the FIFA Executive Committee since 1983 and CONCACAF President since 1990. He was re-elected for a new term in 2011.

However, he was implicated in numerous corruption allegations dating back to the 1980s.

In May 2011, Warner and Mohammed bin Hammam were provisionally suspended by the FIFA Ethics Committee pending the outcome of the investigation of corruption allegations against them.

On 20 June 2011, FIFA announced Warner's resignation from all his positions in international football.

Top-rated cricketers taking part in this season’s Caribbean Premier League (CPL) are expected to suffer a 30 percent pay cut as a scaled-down version of the tournament is expected to be confirmed for Trinidad and Tobago in a week’s time.

According to the latest information players earning between US$21,000 and US$112,000 will receive a salary 30 percent lower, when compared to last season.  Players in the US$20,000 bracket will receive a 10 percent pay cut with no salary cut for players below that bracket.

The entire tournament is expected to take place in Trinidad and Tobago, with players staying in the tournament hotel under conditions overseen by a medical advisory committee and matches played in empty stadiums.

CPL Operations manager Michael Hall claimed the devastation caused by the spread of the coronavirus had made the idea to stage the tournament a trick decision.  But felt it was important to send a message that the region is ready to do business again.

 "Should the tournament take place it will take place entirely in Trinidad & Tobago, which is the most successful country in the Caribbean in controlling the spread of the virus - recording just one new case since April 30 and just 117 total cases overall," Hall, the CPL wrote in an update sent to various stakeholders, quoted by ESPNcricinfo.

"One of the consequences the Covid-19 pandemic will have is that the CPL will be played behind closed doors in 2020. We were therefore faced with the very difficult decision of whether to play the tournament at all,” he added.

"[But] we also felt strongly that it is important for cricket to be seen to be getting underway again as well as to show the world that the Caribbean is open for business.”

Hall added that the executive expected to get approval from the Trinidad and Tobago government next week.  The tournament will be held from August 1 to September 12, with the first matches on August 18 and the final on September 10.

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.

Manchester United legend and retired Trinidad and Tobago international Dwight Yorke has decried the continued existence of racism in English football and vows to fight until some of the inequalities are addressed. 

Yorke’s major bone of contention stems from the fact that he believes former players, who are white, are given more of a chance to coach, despite being equally or less qualified.  The former striker, who completed his coach badges years ago, pointed to a situation with Aston Villa a few years back as a prime example.  Despite admitting that he may not have the requisite experience, the player believes he should be given the chance to at least make his case.

 In January of 2017, a League Managers Association’s report showed “statistics clearly identify a significant under-representation of BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic) individuals. in England football's management ranks”  The report revealed the damning statistic that only 7.61% of English football league managers are black and served to make the case.  Over 25% of English football players are non-white.

“It’s a fact that Sir Alex Ferguson, who’s been tremendous and like a father figure ... when I applied for the [Aston] Villa job, I went into his office and told him exactly what I was trying to do,” Yorke told beIN Sports.

“He gave me some experience, he told me what I needed to do and I picked his brain. At the same time, he picked the phone up and rang Villa for me to give his recommendation.

“He’s always said to me, if I need anything, any recommendation to break into management, he would vouch for me – even to this day. With his help, I still can’t get an interview. I still can’t get an interview to this day,” he added.

 “That is what we are facing today.”

To combat the disparity between white and minority managers, the English League introduced the Rooney Rule, in 2019.  Similar to the NFL version, which was established in 2003, it dictates that every club must interview at least one BAME candidate for each senior coaching role vacancy.  Yorke, however, does not believe the rule has been effective.

“It is an absolute joke,” said Yorke, 48. “It’s not been implemented whatsoever. And if you go even deeper and you follow it in the NFL, there are new rules ... If you hire a black manager you go up in the league or something,” he added.

“The players obviously have gone against that because it’s a token gesture. This Rooney Rule hasn’t been implemented for years. I know Sol Campbell, I spoke to Sol Campbell. He went to Grimsby, he was trying his nuts off just to try and get a job,” he added.

“He went to Macclesfield, someone who’s played the level he has, and now he’s at Southend. When you see other players – I can call names, but I won’t – other players have been fast-forwarded and fast-tracked.

“You have seen, on the other hand, white players given that platform with very little experience, straight into management,” Yorke continued.

“There is a serious issue here. I’m going to fight this all the way. I’m still very hopeful.”

Trinidad and Tobago sprinter Kelly-Ann Baptiste is confident her compatriot Khalifa St Fort is ready to take off, following a recent move to Florida-based coach Lance Brauman, at Pure Athletics.

The 22-year-old St Fort has spent most of her career so far being conditioned by former T&T top sprinter Ato Boldon, who also operates out of Florida.  St Fort trained alongside young Jamaican rising star Briana Williams.

The young sprinter had a stellar start to her competitive career after claiming a silver medal at the 2015 World Youth Championships in Athletics, behind America's Candace Hill.  She went on to claim 100m gold at the 2015 Pan American Junior Athletics Championship.  St Fort was chosen for the 2015 World Championships in Athletics as a relay alternate for the 4×100 metres relay, where the team broke the Trinidad and Tobago national record.

Things, however, tailed off a bit for the young runner and her and Boldon parted ways last year.  Baptiste, however, believes the young sprinter is slowly getting back to her best.

"Khalifa is somebody that I have admired in terms of her work ethic, her dedication to always want to be well. In some ways, Khalifa reminds me of myself and I just think that she, with the right environment and the right training, she can be a world-beater,” Baptiste said in a recent interview with T&T radio station i95.5fm.

 “I'm excited for her and I'm looking to see what next year holds. She's been doing very well and you know it's a bunch of 'Trinis' here which just makes things easier for her.”

Reports have emerged suggesting that Trinidad and Tobago will host all matches in the 2020 edition of the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL).

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Trinidad and Tobago Pro League has revealed its players are eager to get back out on the pitch but paying close attention to the country’s re-opening guidelines.

With European football leagues set to resume next month, there is yet to be any indication as to when some of the Caribbean’s local leagues can resume play.

“Contant sports have not been mentioned in any of the phases listed by the government in terms of when people can return to doing normal things.  We are hoping that at least by phase five we would be able to start getting ourselves ready to commence the league,” Baptiste told T&T’s 7pmNews.

Baptiste revealed that the football governing body has already began putting things in place for a speedy re-opening if and when the government go-ahead of given.

“I know the clubs are eager to resume training, because the time you start to prepare for actual matchday might be short.  Everyone wants to get into the thick of things,” she added.

“Football means a lot to the players as it keeps them fit, as well as disciplined. It also allows them to get rid of their frustrations on the field.”

Things in the 11-team league ground to a halt, due to concerns surrounding the virus in early March.  There were three more matchdays remaining in the 2019-2020 season.

Trinidad and Tobago Bodybuilder Dexter Simon has always defied the odds and managed to emerge victoriously.

The all-time West Indies Championship is shaping up quite brilliantly and after this week, we’ll have just one more territory (Guyana) to pick an all-time best team from.

This week figuring out who the best players from Trinidad and Tobago could not have been a more difficult prospect.

The twin-island republic has created some wonderful talents over the years it has been a part of the West Indies Championship and to find XI has been a task and a half.

One of the interesting things about the territory is the number of all-rounders of real quality it has produced. Those allrounders compete with the specialists in a real way, making picking the team on the strict premise of six batsmen, a wicketkeeper and four bowlers very interesting.

But here is our effort at doing so.

As is usual, we ask you, the fans, to help us pick this team. Comment on Facebook and let us know if we missed anybody.

Best XI

Jeffrey Stollmeyer

Jeffrey Stollmeyer’s contribution to cricket in the West Indies is a thing of legends, the batsman running the West Indies Board of Control during a tumultuous time that involved the Packer series. Before that though, Stollmeyer produced first-class cricket for Trinidad and Tobago that only Brian Lara would surpass, averaging 44.61 throughout a career that would include 14 centuries and 38 half-centuries in just 117 games.

 

First-Class career: 1938-1957

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs     HS     Ave     100s     50s

117      194     16     7942      324    44.61     14       38 

 

 

Joey Carew

Joey Carew is the first man to lead Trinidad and Tobago to back-to-back Shell Shield titles. On the way to doing that, the legendary Trinidadian scored 13 centuries and 43 half-centuries at an average of 38.47. Carew was a stylish opening batsman, who, from the looks of him, should have scored more runs than he did, and he scored a lot.

 

First-Class career: 1955-1974

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs    HS     Ave     100s     50s 

129      221    18      7810     182    38.47     13       43  

 

 

Brian Lara

Brian Charles Lara’s name is always in the discussion when someone asks who is the greatest batsman of all time. The legendary left-hander made his presence felt in the First-Class arena as well, scoring 501 not out in a County Championship match for Warwickshire against Durham at Edgbaston. Those 501 runs can be added to a mammoth 22,156 the man dubbed The Prince of Port of Spain was to score in a fabulous career. He would end that career with not just the highest aggregate of runs for a Trinidad and Tobago batsman, but with the highest average of 51.88 and the most centuries and half-centuries, the number adding up to 65 and 88 respectively.

 

First-Class career: 1987-2008

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs     HS      Ave    100s    50s  

261      440     13     22156    501*   51.88     65      88    

 

 

Larry Gomes

It is interesting that Larry Gomes was seen as too diffident in the early days of his career, but those signs of a man lacking self-confidence were merely the coverings of a batsman learning what were his strengths and deciding to be the rock that would hold everything else in place without too much fanfare. That approach would lead to 32 first-class centuries and 63 half-centuries, figures that only the greatest batsman to come out of Trinidad and Tobago would eclipse. Gomes would end his first-class career with an average of 40.56, with only Brian Lara and Jeffrey Stollmeyer ever achieving higher. His tally of 12,982 runs was no small figure either.

 

First-Class career: 1971-1988

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs    HS      Ave       100s    50s

231      370     50     12982   200*   40.56        32      63 

 

 

Gerry Gomez

Gerry Gomez is one of those rare cricketers who can do it all. Averaging 43.64, inclusive of 14 centuries and 29 half-centuries, Gomez was a fine First-Class batsman, but he was also a fine medium pacer, bagging 200 wickets over the course of his 126-match-long career. Those 200 wickets came at an average of 25.26. The batting allrounder has taken 10 wickets in an innings on two occasions to combine with the five times he has had five-fers.

 

First-Class career: 1937-1956

Batting

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs     HS      Ave      100s     50s    

126      182     27      6764     216*   43.63      14       29      

Bowling

Mat    Inns    Balls     Runs   Wkts     BBI     Ave     Econ    SR      4w     5w    10w

126               15178    5052      200     9/24   25.26    1.99    75.8                5         2

 

 

Charlie Davis

Charlie Davis can count himself unfortunate not to have had a significant West Indies career, the middle-order batsman doing his reputation no disservice in the 15 games he played at the top. As a West indies batsman he only played 15 Tests but scored four centuries and four half-centuries to end his career with an average of 54.20. His talent is clear, as at the First-Class level his 41.32 average is special as well, the batsman scoring 14 centuries and 28 fifties in his 90 games.

 

First-Class career: 1960-1976

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs     HS     Ave     100s     50s   

90       152     18      5538     183    41.32      14       28 

 

 

Denesh Ramdin (wicketkeeper) 1.59 dismissals per innings

Being the wicketkeeper of choice in a Trinidad and Tobago all-time best XI is no easy thing, with the likes of Deryck Murray in the list of those to choose from. However, with 15 centuries and 33 half-centuries to add to his 433 dismissals at the first-class level is hard to ignore. Murray had more but from nearly twice as many games with the two achieving a similar 1.5+ dismissals per match. The difference between the two is in their batting. Murray could bat, but scored just 10 centuries from his 362 games, compared to the 15 Ramdin has scored from just 161.

 

First-Class career: 2004-present

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs    HS      Ave      100s    50s     Ct          St

161      273     36     7115     166*   30.02      15      33       393        40

 

 

Learie Constantine

Learie Constantine is one of the first truly great allrounders to come out of the West Indies. Most decidedly, a bowling allrounder, Constantine took 438 first-class wickets at an average of 20.48 and at an even more incredible strike rate of 45.5. His 24.05 average with the bat could be higher but his five centuries and 28 fifties tell the story of a hard-hitting lower-order batsman who could win you a game from both sides of the game. He was also a remarkable fielder, who saved tonnes of runs and almost never dropped a catch.

 

First-Class career: 1955-1974

Batting

Mat    Inns    NO     Runs    HS     Ave    100s    50s   

119      197     11     4475     133    24.05     5       28     

Bowling

Mat    Inns    Balls      Runs      Wkts   BBI     BBM      Ave      Econ     SR       4w     5w     10w

119               17393     8991      439      8/38                20.48    3.10      39.6                 25       4

 

 

Tony Gray

Tony Gray was tall, strong and really quick. His six-foot, six-inch frame generated alarming bounce and when his pace was added to that it made for nightmares. In just 122 First-Class matches Gray bagged 451 wickets at an average of 22.80. His strike rate of 45.5 makes him an elite bowler, probably worthy of more worldwide acclaim than he received.

 

First-Class career: 1983-1995

Mat    Inns     Balls      Runs         Wkts     BBI     BBM       Ave      Econ   SR       4w     5w     10w

122                20548    10283         451       8/40                  22.80    3.00   45.5                19        4

 

 

Sonny Ramadhin

With buttoned sleeves, Sonny Ramadhin neatly pulled down 758 wickets, the most for a Trinidad and Tobago bowler, making him the most successful bowler, let alone spinner in the history of the twin-island republic’s history. If Ramadhin’s impact on the West Indies team was impressive, his impact on First-Class cricket was incredible. His best figures of 8-15 cannot find many matches, while his economy rate of 2.04 strangled many a team over the 16 years he twirled his offbreak.

 

First-Class career: 1949-1965

Mat    Inns    Balls      Runs     Wkts     BBI     BBM      Ave      Econ    SR      4w     5w     10w

184                44937   15345      758      8/15                20.24    2.04     59.2                51      15

 

 

Ian Bishop

Back injuries slowed Ian Bishop, who when he started, was incredibly quick, making spectators gasp at the thudding of the ball into the wicketkeeper’s gloves despite the man behind the stumps standing halfway toward the boundary. Even as his pace slowed, Bishop remained a real threat, swapping some of that pace for guile and know-how. He still ended up with 549 wickets at an average of 23.06 and a strike rate of 48.3.

 

First-Class career: 1986-1999

Mat    Inns    Balls        Runs     Wkts    BBI     BBM    Ave      Econ   SR      4w     5w     10w

159             26554     12665         549     7/34             23.06      2.86   48.3                23       1

Lawyers representing William Wallace and the ousted executive of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) were today granted permission to serve documents o FIFA pertaining to their case against them to be heard in the Trinidad and Tobago High Court.

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