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.

   A 2021 risk-free IPL sets the stage for T20 World Cup.

The 14th edition of the Indian Premier League, IPL is off to a competitive start despite concerns over spikes in Covod-19 infections in India. India has averaged 90,000 new infections daily but the richest T20 tournament has proceeded with eight teams playing 52 games at six venues.

On April 1, India became the second country after the U.S to report 100,000 new cases in a single day.

Before the start of the tournament, four cricketers and a team consultant tested positive for Covid-19 and were isolated. In addition, 10 members of the ground staff at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium tested positive.

The stadium has been earmarked to host 10 games, and as such, the number of infected grounds men raised questions regarding the tournament being played in six cities when spectators are not allowed.

There is no doubt that managing these bubbles will be difficult but once executed properly it will go some way into reassuring organizers of the ICC men’s T20 World Cup scheduled for October.

Cancelling the tournament would cause massive financial losses and have a potentially disastrous ripple effect if a large number of players become infected. The spillover could significantly impact India’s cricket calendar which includes 14 tests, 12 ODI’s, 22 T20’s as well as the World T20.

What is making a difference are the vaccines that are now available.

  Real Madrid looks dangerous.

Saturday’s El Clasico had a bit of everything as defending La Liga champions Real Madrid beat Barcelona 2-1 at the Alfredo Di Stefano stadium to move to the top of the table.

There was controversy, yellow cards, goals, rain, and a thrilling end.

Los Blancos, fresh of their 3-1 Champions League win over Liverpool on Tuesday, went into the match with similar energy. When Karim Benzema scored the opening goal, his ninth in the last seven games, he became one of four Real Madrid players to ever score in consecutive El Clasico encounters joining Ruud van Nistelrooy, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.

Toni Kroos doubled the lead before half-time and even though Óscar Mingueza García pulling one back late in the second half, Real Madrid was simply tactically superior.

 The firepower and finesse displayed by Real Madrid clearly demonstrate that they are not ready to concede the title without a fight.

  Draymond Green knows better and should do better.

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green last Thursday said his tweets about the pay disparity between men and women’s sports have been “misconstrued”. “I am on their side,” he declared.

His response came after U.S women’s soccer team star Megan Rapinoe lashed out saying Green’s tweets were “unfortunate” and that she expected he would have had a more informed opinion.

In his tweets posted on March 27, Green blamed women for making “complaints rather than taking action to reduce the pay gap between men and women playing the same sport.  Green’s response that they want the same thing is not enough.

Initially, I found his tweets quite alarming, especially his use of the word “complaints” because he comes from a household where his mother Mary Baker is very expressive and he has been cited saying he has adopted that quality from her. There is no doubt that Green wants to see the women thrive but he can do better.

The first step to allyship is listening and then assisting. The first response of posting on Twitter did more harm than good.  The fact that he is now the centre of the conversation shifts the focus from the issue of wage parity. It would be only fair that Green use his political capital and resources to assist where he can.

 

 

 

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.

 

Bonner’s maiden test century was worth the wait.

West Indies all-rounder Nkrumah Bonner’s maiden century in the first Test against Sri Lanka helped the team play to a draw in the match that looked like it had slipped away from the home team. Batting at number three, the 32-year-old Jamaican scored 113 not out to achieve what he described as his childhood dream.

After winning the toss the home side bowled out Sri Lanka for 169. In reply, the Windies scored 271 for a lead 102 runs. Sri Lanka scored a massive 476 in their second innings which left the home side requiring 375 for an unlikely victory.

Entering the on 34-1, still 340 runs behind, only two results seemed likely – a Sri Lanka win or a draw. Bonner helped to achieve the latter as the West Indies were 236-4 when play was called off.

It is notable that Bonner came into this series in good form from the 2-0 Test series win over Bangladesh earlier in February. He was named Man of the Series having produced scores of 17, 86,90 and 30.

In the West Indies first turn at bat against Sri Lanka, Bonner scored 31 but was not happy with his performance. Recognizing that there was a problem, he sought and received the help that saw him produce his unbeaten century that prevented the West Indies from slipping to defeat.

 T&T’s Soca Warriors victory is exactly what they needed

Trinidad and Tobago’s 3-0 victory over Guyana their opening 2022 CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers on Thursday, was exactly what the team needed to lift their spirits.

 Prior to the match, T&T’s preparations were limited and were forced to play away from home because of their government’s pandemic protocols that kept their borders closed.

 Additionally, T&T has had many off-field issues including a FIFA imposed suspension after a protracted battle with the football’s governing body. Then, just days before the qualifiers were to begin, head coach Terry Fenwick and Director of Communications Shaun Fuentes were alleged to have been involved in a physical altercation.

On form, the team was coming off a 7-0 thrashing from the United States 7-0 in January.

With this in mind, the 3-0 victory over Guyana, was a welcome respite that gave Fenwick his first official win as national coach.

The coach, who said he was incredibly pleased with the team’s performance, will want to keep the momentum in the second qualifier away to Puerto Rico. 

Trinidad and Tobago will be heading into the match against Puerto Rico in high spirits as it would go a long way to shifting the narrative away from off-field woes.

 

#INCASEYOUMISSEDIT the 2021 edition with Mariah Ramharack On many a Sunday, I realize that people have looked at the stories they've 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

  Barring injury, Manchester City on track for a quadruple.\

Based on current form Manchester City is on course to secure four titles – the Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup, and the Carabao Cup.

The Citizens possess depth, quality and mental fortitude and guided by the tactical genius Pep Guardiola to sweep all that lies before them. In all competitions this season, Man City has won 25 of their last 26 games, their only defeat coming against Manchester United, who beat them 2-0 on March 7.

However, Guardiola will remind his players that there is no room for complacency as they have not won anything, yet. He will also be hoping that his players steer clear of injury during the international break.

Other than their silky smooth passing that break teams down with regularity, Manchester City have been blessed with an unyielding defence, which will be key to their success in the Champions League.

The first task will be overcoming German powerhouse Borussia Dortmund in the quarter-finals.

In the Premier League, City winning the title looks inevitable as with nine games to go, they hold a healthy 14-point lead over Manchester United who has 57 points.

The Manchester-based juggernauts have also sealed a place in the FA semi-finals following their recent 2-0 win over Everton. They are also set to face the inconsistent Tottenham Hot Sput in the Carabao Cup.

After a difficult start to the season, Manchester City has hit top form at the right time and as their genius coach explained, the secret to success is simple.

“It is not just tactics, it’s mental-being ready every game,” he said.

 

India showed its quality against England in the T20I series

India and England were locked at 2-2 heading into Sunday’s final T20I match of their closely fought series and the final match was no different.

 However, India showed their tremendous quality and class in securing a victory that was not as close as the scores suggested.

Sent to bat, India posted 224-2 in their 20 overs. It was a total that overwhelmed England, who fell short scoring 188-8 in 20 overs.

Opening the innings with Rohit Sharma, skipper Virat Kohli led from the front and was there at the end, scoring an unbeaten 80 not out from 52 balls, which prompted commentator Ian Bishop to tweet, “I would love to see Kohli open more often, especially when India bat first in T20I.”

The Indian captain and Sharma and Kohli mounted a 94-run partnership that laid the foundation for India’s mammoth score.

Sharma went on the attack early smashing 64 from 34 balls while Kohli supported from the other end.

Suryakumar Yadav’s 32 from 17 and Hardik Pandya’s unbeaten 39 not out ensured that India never lost momentum while Kohli played the perfect anchor taking over at the end to push India well beyond 200 runs.

 It was then the turn of their bowlers to defend the total on an excellent batting strip and they duly obliged. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was the difference maker taking 2-15 in his four overs. Shardul Thakur took 3-45 as England struggled to stay close to the required run rate.

“It was a complete game for us. We totally outplayed the opposition,” said Kohli afterwards. “The fact Rishabh and Shreyas didn’t get the chance to bat and still got close 230, is testament to how we did with the bat.”  

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.

 

England is among the T20 World Cup favourites.

 It is no secret that England has put a lot of focus on white-ball cricket in the last eight years. The results were clear when they trampled South Africa at the end of 2020 winning all three T20 games. It was at that point; they rose to the number one T20 team in the world. 

 Since then, they have dominated in this format of the game, having won their last five T20I and eight of their last T20I series overall. Despite struggles with their batting during the recently concluded Test series against India, it is evident that the English possess firepower in their T20 lineup.

 In the ongoing T20I against India, opener Jason Roy appears to be in great form, having blasted 49 of 32 balls. David Malan, who averages an excellent average of 54 in T20I, is also an asset with 24 from 20 balls while remaining not out.

 In this shorter format of the game, England’s rest and rotation policy has worked to their advantage and has been endorsed by England’s T20 captain Eoin Morgan.

One notable example of the benefit of their rotation policy is the performance of England’s pace bowler Jofra Archer. Having struggled with an elbow injury, the 25-year-old Archer missed two Tests in England’s 3-1 series defeat by India, he returned taking in 3 for 23 in the first T20I. 

The England Cricket and Wales Cricket Board has also maximized the benefits of having their players in the Indian Premier League. The ECB has made provisions for 13 of their players in this year’s IPL even at the expense of missing the first Test of the summer. 

“As a white-ball captain planning towards World Cups, certainly over the last five years, we’ve used it ( the IPL) and benefitted from it hugely in the development of our players and the confidence that we’ve built in the changing room in guys like Ben Stokes and Jos Butler going there and being MVP and bringing the knowledge they’ve learnt into our dressing room,” said Morgan is endorsing the move to allow their players the opportunity to play in the IPL.

A combination of all these factors places England among the favourites for the ICC T20 World Cup.

  Welcome back Shai Hope

West Indies right-hand batsman Shai Hope announced his return to international last Wednesday with his 10th ODI century as West Indies beat Sri Lanka by 8 wickets at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua.

Due to a lack of form, Hope was dropped for the West Indies tour of New Zealand. He missed the tour of Bangladesh after he was infected by the Covid-19 virus.

However, while his Test form has been poor, Hope has been among the best batsmen in the world in the 50-over version of the game.

In ODIs, he continues to stamp his authority, having amassed 3483 runs at an average of 53.58. The 27-year-old hit a brilliant century in the first T20 match against Sri Lanka and maintained that form in the second match ODI, scoring 84 from 104 balls.

His maturity opening the innings for the West Indies has helped his team and the fact that the West Indies have been winning recently and he has the backing of Captain Kieron Pollard, would have helped his confidence.

“For us in the white-ball cricket Hope is the guy. He has been given a role he gives us a foundation and others can bat around him. In one day, cricket, he’s been fantastic,” Pollard said after Hope’s century in the first ODI.

Hope will now be banking transferring his form to Test cricket where he could be a boon for the West Indies for the foreseeable future.

 

INCASEYOUMISSEDIT with Mariah

On many a Sunday, I realize that people have looked at the stories they've 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.

 

 Pollard, a master of the shorter cricket formats

Kieron Pollard is proving to be a game-changer in the shorter formats of cricket. The 33-year-old West Indies captain has been criticized for failing at the international level but his recent exploits for the West Indies have silenced the naysayers.

Pollard made a mockery of Sri Lanka’s spinner Akila Dananjaya at the Coolidge Cricket Stadium in Antigua, blasting him for six sixes in a single over. In his previous over, the Sri Lankan had snapped up a hat-trick - removing Evin Lewis, Chris Gayle (0) and Nicholas Pooran (0) - triggering panic within the Windies camp as they chased 132 for victory.

Fresh from leading the T&T Red Force to victory in the 2021 CG Insurance Super50 Cup, Pollard smashed 38 from 11 balls to put his team back into the driver’s seat.

Pollard’s accomplishment puts him in elite company. Before him, only South Africa's Herschelle Gibbs against the Netherlands at the 2007 ICC World Cup and India's Yuvraj Singh against England at the Twenty20 World Cup, have ever achieved that feat in international cricket.

What is next for Pollard? Only time will tell.

 

  England’s rotation policy did more damage than good

England’s 3-1 Test series defeat in India was not only because of their rotation policy but it played a major part. The tourists lost the final Test by an innings and 25 runs after being bowled out for 135 in their second innings.

Despite understanding that the rotation policy is there to manage the health of the players, it is hurting the overall performance of the team.

Jofra Archer, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali and Chris Woakes have all been rested at different times during the series and it backfired. 

Jos Buttler was rested after the first Test. Bairstow was rested for the first two Tests and then sent to bat at number three in the last two matches. In Bairstow’s case, he suffered greatly registering three ducks in four innings on his return.

Moeen Ali was recalled for the second Test in India, just before he was scheduled to miss the last two as part of a planned rest, taking the place of Dom Bess. When Bess was re-introduced into the team for the final Test it was evident that the off-spinner lacked confidence thereby resulting in him bowling numerous full tosses.

 

England was one of the teams in the race to qualify for the final of the World Test Championship but have now lost the opportunity. 

 

 

 

On many a Sunday, I realize that people have looked at the stories they've 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

 Big names in Windies T20 and ODI squads; execution will be the key.

Last Friday, West Indies named T20I and ODI squads as they get ready for the upcoming series against Sri Lanka beginning on March 3 in Antigua. These matches will serve as preparation for the team that hopes to successfully defend the ICC T20 World Cup title in India later this year. On paper, the team looks strong. However, teamwork will be among the keys to success for Kieron Pollard’s men.

The recall of Chris Gayle and Fidel Edwards did not come as a surprise as the selectors believe both still have a lot to offer. The 41-year-old Gayle last played for the Windies in 2019 when he scored 72 against India in Port of Spain, Trinidad.

The Universe Boss is heading into the series against Sri Lanka in good form. Before he returned to the Caribbean, Gayle had scores of 39 and 68, playing for the Quetta Gladiators against the Karachi Kings and Lahore Qualanders, respectively.

Gayle’s experience will prove invaluable to the West Indies having scored 13,691 runs in T20I with 22 hundreds. His influence in the dressing room is also expected to be a significant factor.

Edwards returns to the team after an absence of nine years but at 39, he is still able to generate 90mph deliveries that CWI will hope he uses to add to his 26 T20I scalps.

Experience aside, the selectors have included a number of younger players who are expecting to make their debuts during the series. Guyana’s Kevin Sinclair and Trinidad’s Akeal Hosein impressed with recent performances in Bangladesh and during the CG Insurance Super 50 competition.

Both players played in the finals of the Super 50 tournament on which the 21-year-old Sinclair picked up five wickets and scored 47 runs for the Guyana Jaguars. Hosein impressed for the Trinidad Red Force taking eight wickets at a miserly economy rate of 4.18.

The mixture of youth and experience will need a strong leader and the West Indies are blessed with that in the form of Kieron Pollard, who in recent months, won the CPL and the Super50 and had a leadership role in the Mumbai Indians winning the IPL late last year.

His wisdom, experience and will to win will be key to any success the Windies have against the Sri Lankans and future series.

“Winning is the only thing,” he said after claiming the Super50 title on Saturday. It is imperative his team believes that as well.

 

 Red Force too hot to handle!

The Trinidad and Tobago Red Force won all seven of their matches to lift the Sir Clive Lloyd Trophy on Saturday after smashing the Guyana Jaguars by 152 runs in the final at the Coolidge Cricket Ground.

The aptly named Red Force scored an imposing 362-5 and then restricted Jaguars to 210 from 43.5 overs.

It was an all-around team effort that resulted in the domination of a strong Jaguars team.

Lendl Simmons saved his best performance with the bat for the final scoring 146, the highest score in a 50-over final and he was supported by Evin Lewis’ 57, 47 from Dwayne Bravo and a quick-fire 39 from Nicholas Pooran.

Their bowlers, led by Ravi Rampaul’s 4-52 and Jayden Seales, who picked up 3-40 and Anderson Phillip 2-40 decimated the opponent’s batting notwithstanding a courageous unbeaten 97 from Raymon Reifer.

The team’s dominance came down to the consistency of each member. Jason Mohammed was the highest run-scorer with 327. He scored a century (122) and averaged an excellent 81.75 for the tournament. Lewis, who had a high score of 107, was the second-highest run-scorer with 318 at an average of 45.42.

Simmons was also among the top-five run-scorer for the 2020 champions and was the only batsman with more than one century in the tournament.

The veteran Ravi Rampaul’s 14 wickets were the second-best haul for the tournament, just three behind fellow finalist Gudakesh Motie’s 17 for the Jaguars.  However, all their bowlers contributed to the team’s success this season.

Leave the NBA logo as it is else change it to Michael Jordan!

The NBA logo is a timeless classic, a representation of love and respect for the game. It remains a silhouette of Lakers great Jerry West since 1969.

However, in recent times, Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving has called for it to be changed to an image of late Laker great Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash in January 2020, and whose contributions to the game cannot be accurately quantified.

“Gotta Happen, idc what anyone says,” Irving said on Instagram.

Irving’s call has been endorsed by Bryant’s widow Vanessa.

 While I understand the call for the change, it must be noted the G.O.A.T discussion in the NBA starts and ends with Michael Jordan, a person who Kobe admired greatly.  Having played 15 seasons and winning six championships with the Bulls, he should be considered as the logo replacement.

Apart from the statistics which are compelling - 11 All-Star teams, 5 MVP awards, 10 scoring titles – Jordan’s killer instinct and obsession with winning are qualities that embody the NBA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 No need to discard Jason Holder as Test captain.

    How do we evaluate a captain? Do we use their win-loss record? Do we judge their on-field performances? West Indies Test captain Jason Holder should continue as the team’s leader despite calls for Kraigg Brathwaite to replace him at the helm.

The calls have come after Brathwaite led the squad to victory over Bangladesh in a two-Test series two weeks ago while Holder opted not to tour due to health and safety concerns.

 Changing captains is not the answer to the West Indies’ problems and if the selectors were to do so it would be a very rash and irresponsible decision. It would also amount to a knee-jerk reaction.

When Holder was selected to be Test captain in 2015, it was purported as a “long-term” appointment. By replacing Holder with Brathwaite after success in one Test series, the selectors run the risk of undermining Holder’s confidence by bringing into question his ability to lead. Nothing good would come from that.

 It would be inaccurate and quite unfair to say Holder has had no success as captain as he did win the Wisden Trophy in 2019.

The 29-year-old Holder has grown as a cricketer and is one of the world’s leading Test cricketers, ranked third on the all-rounder’s chart, 11th in bowling and 43rd in the batting rankings.

He has a lot to offer to the team and each player can learn from his exploits in different formats and levels of the game.

It is also key to note that just recently, Kraigg Brathwaite was stripped of the vice-captaincy and told to focus on improving his game.

The Windies will be confident going into their series against Sri Lanka. So instead of causing unnecessary division within the team by changing captains, each player should be encouraged to learn from the other and cooperation should be encouraged.

Both Holder and Brathwaite can work alongside each other. Holder could learn a thing or two from Brathwaite and vice versa.

 So instead of focusing on who should be captain, the focus should be on building around the core and planning for the future.

 

 The NBA All-Star Game should be cancelled.

 

The 2021 All-Star Game was initially cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic but the NBA has reversed the decision and decided to hold a one-night event in Atlanta on March 7, despite public objection from players.

Despite players like LA Lakers star LeBron James coming out and voicing his displeasure with the league’s decision saying that he will be there physically but not mentally, the NBA’s persistence in continuing with the All-Star Game, gives the impression that player safety and concerns are being overlooked in the name of profit.

The All-Star Weekend provides fans with the ability to interact tradition with their favourite players. However, the fact that Covid-19 has prevented fans from being at the games undermines the need this season.

We live in unprecedented times and the safety and health of the players should be of paramount importance, and it is not unreasonable to believe that the All-Star Game could trigger virus clusters that put even more players at risk.

 

Is all this worth risking the rest of the NBA season?

 Novak Djokovic is unstoppable!  Novak Djokovic extended his dominance at the Australian Open beating Daniil Medvedev 7-5 6-2 6-2 to secure his18th Grand Slam title.

The 33-year-old Djokovic dispensed of his opponent in an hour and 53 minutes to claim his ninth Australian Open title and move with two of the number of titles won by both Roger Federer’s and Rafael Nadal.

Not even an abdominal injury suffered earlier in the tournament could prevent the Joker from continuing his relentless march to catch up with his two contemporaries.

Congratulations!

On many a Sunday, I realize that people have looked at the stories they've 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

 

Kobe Bryant’s legacy is alive and well.

On Tuesday, it will be one year since the news broke that Laker legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, six other passengers and the pilot were passengers in a helicopter that crashed in the hills of Calabasas, California, killing everyone on board.  For so many, Bryant was an influential presence ripped away from his family and the world just as he was making a mark post-basketball career.

Bryant was an icon who won five NBA championships and two NBA Finals MVPs during his a 20-year career.  I was a child when I first saw Kobe play. I was utterly impressed. The other children I was around would launch paper balls at bins yelling “Kobe!”.  Everyone wanted to be him.

As a sports journalist his I was fascinated by his work ethic. The way he knew what he wanted and went about ensuring that he got it.  Even now, I find myself turning to old Kobe interviews and listening to him for self-motivation. I hope his family and loved ones continue to find the inner strength to deal with his tragic passing.

 

West Indies can take a page out of India’s book.

It is true that the West Indies’ poor form did not start with this Bangladesh tour. However, they can take a page out of India’s book following a second disastrous batting display losing to Bangladesh by seven wickets in the second ODI at the Mirpur Stadium in Dhaka on Friday.

A few days before this latest Windies defeat, India ended Australia’s record of being unbeaten at the Gabba since 1988 with a team that lacked key senior players.

Like India, coming into the Bangladesh series the Windies were not favourites. What worked for India was its ability to capitalize on their strengths. Much of their success can be attributed to the system that in place to allow new cricketers to emerge and thrive.

 Every successful team needs good structure and foundation. India’s “A” team programme has reaped its intended benefits. Take the case of Thangarasu Natarajan, who is the first Indian to make this international debut in all three formats on the same tour. He ended the Australia series as the highest wicket-taker.

There was also the case of 21-year-old Shubman Gill, who had been on the fringes of the Test side patiently awaiting his call and took his chance when it came

 He would go on to finish his maiden Test series with an average of 51.81. Rishabh Pant was another player that came through the Indian development system and is now reaping the rewards. The 23-year-old was left out of the first Test but in the series-decider was unbeaten on 89 and hit the winning runs that also won the series.

 

No Kohli, no problem.

Leadership is another area of India’s game where the Windies can look to India for inspiration. Like the Windies when Kieron Pollard opted not to tour due to Covid 19, India’s captain Virat Kohli returned home to witness the birth of his first daughter.

However, Ajinkya Rahane stepped up to the task at hand. Again, this reiterated the work being done behind the scenes to allow for ease of transition. I was impressed by how Rahane handled the resources at hand and worked with the team to unlock their full potential.

 

REDS-

 It is not too late for a Premier League turnaround. Liverpool has now gone four matches in a row in the Premier League without a goal. They are now six points away from league leaders Manchester United.  Despite struggling in the Premier League this season it is not too late for a turnaround.

Liverpool is a club that knows how to win and do so in style. Despite this, they have been lacking in confidence this season and it is evident in the errors that they are making on the field. There is a major lack of efficiency and energy. Once the club can find the rhythm that everyone admired last season they can get back to their winning ways.

It is evident that Jurgen Klopp is frustrated and not handling the pressure. Klopp’s frustration has been filtering to the players and emboldening the opposition. It is wise that the manager sticks to his principles and steers his players in the right direction. At this point, there is absolutely no need to make rash decisions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I use my Sundays to look back at what has been happening in the world of sport. On many a Sunday, I realize that people have looked at the stories they have seen throughout the week through different lenses. I have my own personal take on some of these issues and I will share them with you. Welcome to #INCASEYOUMISSEDIT. 

) Nicholas Pooran - one for the future.    

West Indies have provided Nicholas Pooran with the opportunity to prove that he is worthy of being part of the Test squad by including him in a 14-man 'A' squad to play a pair of first-class matches in New Zealand next month.

This, I feel is a good move.

The 25-year-old Trinidadian has played well in the shorter formats to the extent that many fans and pundits alike have suggested that he should considered for Test selection. There are others, however, who believe he should not be included because of his limited participation in first-class cricket in that he has only played three games for Trinidad and Tobago back in 2014.

My question is, how will we know unless he tries?

Sometimes an opportunity is all you need. The chance Pooran is now being given will allow selectors to determine if he has what it takes. Cricket West Indies lead selector Roger Harper believes the player deserves an opportunity.

"This series will give our players an opportunity to play first-class cricket against foreign opposition as well as experience different conditions here in New Zealand. It will also help to keep them in the frame should the need for replacements for the test team arise as we will have players who have been playing red-ball cricket and in form to consider."

There are two four-day matches set for December 3 in Mount Maunganui and December 11 in Nelson.

 

  1. Ineffective bowling cost the Windies

West Indies were outplayed by New Zealand and lost by 72 runs in the second T20 International on Sunday at the Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui. New Zealand’s Glenn Phillips cracked a 51-ball century, the quickest in T20Is by a New Zealander as the home side took a winning 2-0 lead. 

The West Indies struggled to make a mark in the first two matches of the series. In the first match, there were a combination of errors with the bat and ball.  Despite the heroics of skipper Kieron Pollard, who blasted 75 not out, the Windies lost five wickets for one run and needed Pollard’s brilliant knock to get them back into contention.

Wickets were also hard to come by as Keemo Paul went for 39 runs in three overs that included five costly no-balls. Kesrick Williams gave up 33 runs in two overs while Fabian Allen went for 32 runs in the 12 balls he was allowed.

 

In the second T20 international, Andre Fletcher looked good for the time he lasted but was run out on 20 having faced 14 deliveries. Brandon King failed miserably and was dismissed for duck. West Indies' biggest hopes in the middle order Shimron Hetmyer and Nicholas Pooran failed to fire.

How many times do we expect the Windies captain to carry the side? Skipper Kieron Pollard top-scored again for the Windies with his 15-ball 28, which included three consecutive sixes off Mitchell Santner but it was not enough.

As was the case in the first match, none of the Windies bowlers made an impact. Instead of gaining momentum when Guptill and Seifert were dismissed they literally dropped the ball. There were a number of misfields and a general lack of discipline from the bowlers.  Fast bowler Keemo Paul conceded 64 runs in four overs and Sheldon Cottrell went for 39 runs.  

The final T20 international will be held at Mount Maunganui on Monday, before a two-Test series begins in Hamilton on December 3.

  

  1. The world rocked by the passing of Diego Maradona. RIP Sir.

 On Sunday, Lionel Messi paid an emotional tribute to Diego Maradona by revealing a Newell's Old Boys shirt after scoring for Barcelona in their 4-0 win over Osasuna. The forward looked emotional during the minute’s applause for Maradona, who died at the age of 60 on Wednesday after a heart attack.

Messi, his fellow Argentine, alongside Pele and Cristiana Ronaldo best summed up the passing of the legend when they said "He is gone, but he will be with us for eternity."

Without a doubt, Maradona will be remembered for his many achievements on the field. He won titles in three different countries. He took Argentina to victory in the 1986 World Cup. He delivered two league titles to the city of Naples, something most felt was impossible. However, the Argentine’s impact off the field is what touched people the most.

He was vulnerable and showed that openly as he lived a life of excess in the public eye.  He immersed himself in whatever he did and took on the authorities when they failed to represent what he stood for. He will be remembered for his work on and off the field. Rest in peace, Sir. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I use my Sundays to look back at what has been happening in the world of sport. On many a Sunday, I realize that people have looked at the stories they have seen throughout the week through different lenses. I have my own personal take on some of these issues and I will share them with you. Welcome to #INCASEYOUMISSEDIT. 

 

  1. Batting clicked in Windies warm-up match

The three-day warm-up match between New Zealand A and West Indies at Queenstown ended in a draw on Sunday. Electing to bat first after winning the toss, New Zealand ‘A’ put up a dominant display of batting to post 308 for 3 declared in the first innings and then 124 for 1. The Windies scored 366 in what must be considered a commendable effort.

     The 112-run partnership between Kraigg Brathwaite and Darren Bravo helped bring the Windies compile a good score after opener John Campbell was bowled for 4.

Brathwaite went on to score 47 while gave a glimpse of his class in a memorable Bravo 135. Bravo knock included 13 fours and five sixes. Top order batsman Shamarh Brooks also stepped up with the bat scoring 80 while Captain Rostan Chase contributed 42 from 76 balls. 

  There is cause for optimism when considering the performance with the bat from the West Indies even though John Campbell does need to show greater game awareness and application. The lower order also needs to raise their game as four of the batsmen were dismissed in single digits.

Despite the commendable batting performance, the Windies had a tough time with the ball. Kemar Roach, Chemar Holder and Rahkeem Cornwall ended the match wicket-less and the bowling attack only managed to snare four wickets during the match.

If the West Indies are to be competitive during the coming series, the bowlers need to quickly shake off the rust and get firing.

 

  1. A sigh of relief for Trinidad and Tobago’s football!

Football’s world governing body, FIFA, on Thursday lifted the suspension of the Trinidad and Tobago football Association, TTFA. The decision was communicated in a letter to the Head of FIFA’s normalization committee in T&T, Robert Hadad. This is a major fillip for Trinidad and Tobago’s football as it paves the way for the team to participate in the CONCACAF Gold Cup and World Cup qualifiers. 

     Despite the setbacks, it is my hope that the normalization committee will cleared the massive debt burdening the association while paying salaries and getting the national team ready for international competition.

  1. Huge blow to Golden State Warriors after Klay Thompson’s injury

The Golden State Warriors star guard Klay Thompson suffered a season-ending tear to his right Achilles tendon during a workout last Wednesday in Southern California. The 30-year-old Thompson missed all of last season after tearing the ACL in his left knee during Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors. 

The Warriors were hopeful that Thompson would return fit and ready to compete for the 2020-21 season. However, they are now trying to figure out how they will cope without one half of the Splash Brothers, whose absence contributed to their league’s worst record (15-50) last season.

 Another season without Thompson on the court will be a huge blow to the Golden State Warriors chances of winning a title next season. How does one accept that such a dependable star has become so vulnerable? 

 

 

I use my Sundays to look back at what has been happening in the world of sport. On many a Sunday, I realize that people have looked at the stories they have seen throughout the week through different lenses. I have my own personal take on some of these issues and I will share them with you. Welcome to #INCASEYOUMISSEDIT. 

 

  1. A disappointing start for the Jamaica Reggae Boyz both on and off the field!

Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz were poor in their first international match since the Covid-19 lockdown and it ended in a 3-0 loss to Saudi Arabia, in Riyadh, on Saturday. It is evident that off-the-field issues has seeped onto the field with the number of careless errors displayed in the match.

 Prior to the first friendly, Covid-19 infections within the Reggae Boyz delegation were a huge blow to the Theodore Whitmore-coached squad.  In addition to 30-year-old goalkeeper Dennis Taylor, who was travelling with the Reggae Boyz delegation testing positive for the virus while en route to Riyadh, another player and a member of the Jamaica Football Federation administration fell victim to the disease. In addition, two other players are under investigation with the JFF declining to name them.

The Reggae Boyz, who were on course to be the top team in the Caribbean, will need to get their act together very quickly as these matches could have influence their 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup showing set for July 10 to August 1, 2021.

Prior to this 3-0 loss, it had been eight months since they last played an international match. Despite their inactivity, they remained at number 48 in the FIFA world rankings, even displacing Costa Rica at number 3 on the CONCACAF list. 

The Reggae Boyz looked out of sorts due to their preparation being hampered by the coronavirus. Without a doubt, there are top individual performers within the Jamaican team. However, football is a team sport and the success of the squad lies in whether or not Coach Whitmore can get each player to combine well with his teammates. It is not too late for the Reggae Boyz but they have work to do!

 

 

  1. Paternity leave for professional athletes? A step in the right direction.

India’s captain Virat Kohli and his wife Anuskha Sharma are expecting their first child and Kohli has asked for and been granted paternity leave by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

BCCI Secretary Jay Shah said the 32-year-old middle order batsman has been cleared to leave the India setup after the first Test against Australia in Adelaide in December. Although the skipper’s presence will be missed on the field, Kohli’s decision to be with his family increases my respect for him as a person.

 

Australia’s Head Coach Justin Langer praised Kohli’s decision.

 

“Virat Kohli is probably the best player I’ve ever seen in my life for so many reasons, not only batting but his energy and passion for the game, the way he fields. I cannot believe he displays the energy he does in everything he does and I’ve got so much respect for him. I’ve also got respect for him in the sense that he’s made this decision to return to India for the birth of his child,” Langer said.

“He’s human being like all of us. If I was giving advice to any of my players I would always say never, ever miss the birth of your children because it is one of the great things you’ll ever do.”

 Paternity leave for professional athletes should be legislated and normalized. Once the government can create a formula within reason that avoids abuse of the system, paternity leave can be an asset. It will allow fathers to be present for the birth of their children while simultaneously providing support for the child’s mother. In the long term, it can also play a key role in the quality of families that are raised.

Policies that ensure fathers have the support they need to prioritize their family responsibilities, while also meeting work demands, can significantly increase the personal and economic well-being of their families. Paternity leave can promote parent-child bonding, improve outcomes for children, and even increase gender equity at home and at the workplace.

 

  1. A good call by Windies selectors to allow Kraigg Brathwaite to focus on his game.

 

West Indies Chief Selector Roger Harper said stripping Kraigg Brathwaite of the team’s vice captaincy will allow him to concentrate on improving his batting. Brathwaite was first appointed Test vice-captain in 2015 but has averaged 21 from his last 15 Tests heading into the England series. Roston Chase has been appointed vice captain.

This is a good move by those leading the charge as it allows the 27-year-old to simply buckle down and get to work.

The Barbadian has had his fair share of struggles. His last Test century came against Bangladesh in Kingston two years ago and since then his game has been inconsistent. Before the Test series against England in July, Brathwaite played 20 innings without making a Test 50. In that time, he only scored 233 runs at an average of 12.26.

 Earlier this year, he showed signs of improvement with half-centuries in the first Test against England when he scored 65, and in the second test with 75. Brathwaite, however, also had scores of 4, 12, 1 and 19.
 Like Roger Harper, I am hoping removing the additional responsibilty will allow Brathwaite to be more consistent.

 

 

 

 

 

I use my Sundays to look back at what has been happening in the world of sport. On many a Sunday, I realize that people have looked at the stories they have seen throughout the week through different lenses. I have my own personal take on some of these issues and I will share them with you. Welcome to #INCASEYOUMISSEDIT. 

1. WEST INDIES FACE TOUGH CHALLENGE IN NEW ZEALAND

As West Indies get set to face New Zealand with the opening T20 in Auckland on November 27, followed by the second and third game in Mount Maunganui on November 29 and 30, the West Indies have a huge amount of work to do if they are to be successful during the series.

The Covid-19 pandemic has limited the number of practice sessions and injuries have also dealt a blow to the squad. On form, New Zealand ranked second in Tests and sixth in T20 has a clear advantage. 

In an exclusive interview with former West Indies fast bowler Tony Gray he believes the West Indies will miss the absent players. 

“I think the West Indies T20 team will be very competitive in the three-match series against New Zealand, although they will definitely miss the four senior players Evin Lewis, Lendl Simmons, Andre Russell, and Dwayne Bravo, who would of given them a huge advantage mainly because of their international T20 franchise experience, their power hitting ability and, in the case of Bravo, his general all-round contribution, especially his ‘death’ bowling.  

“I think we have enough talent and experience to come away with a 2-1 win in that series.” 

The former Windies selector also weighed in on the Test team. 

“In the case of our Test team, I think we will struggle because of our batsmen’s technical deficiencies and their inability to concentrate for long periods, coupled with the fact that they will be coming up against one of the most disciplined, penetrative and varied bowling attacks in the world, so that our very inexperience batsmen will have to consistently make technical adjustments from bowler to bowler, as we saw in England,” Gray said.  

“The good thing for us is the fact that we had the perfect recent prelude to this tour of New Zealand when we played against England in England, similar playing conditions, similar opposition. 

“Our bowlers will hold their own, in helpful conditions. Head coach Simmons and his coaches have a lot of work to do.” 

Meantime, former wicketkeeper/batsman Sir Deryck Murray believes the tour will be a difficult one for the Caribbean side. 

"It will be difficult to beat New Zealand in New Zealand, particularly as, once again, Windies has not selected the best team. 

“While most of the West Indies players were on the last tour of UK and may therefore be more "match ready", that may not be sufficient for the team to spring a surprise on New Zealand in the Tests. The T20s, however, should be more competitive." 

 

 SHOULD MANCHESTER UNITED SACK OLE GUNNAR SOLSKAER? 

Manchester United’s Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is under pressure after a dismal start to the Premier League campaign that sees the Red Devils languishing in the lower half of the table, with three defeats in their first seven matches. Had they not recorded a 3-1 win over Everton on Saturday, they would have produced the worst start to a league season in 30 years. The results have been so poor many have called for the manager to be sacked. 

However, football analyst Andre Sooklal believes the Red Devils issues go well beyond the manager. 

“Firing Ole Gunner Solskjaer from Manchester United now would not solve the bigger problems at the club. Even if they had a world-class coach lined up, the past has shown that this approach has not worked,” Sooklal said.

“David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho are all top coaches, but they all struggled with the sometimes baffling decision making at the club by Ed Woodward and all left. 

 “To suggest that signing better players would solve the problems at the club would also show massive short-sightedness by everyone involved because that is simply not the case. The club has reportedly spent £850 million in player-transfers since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson, which included the likes of players like Di Maria, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Lukaku and Memphis Depay, just to name a few, yet the club continued to struggle.

“The only time was there was a brief positive moment was when the club managed to squeeze out some titles under Jose Mourinho. 

Sooklal said the current manager was hired to rebuild the club around young players and that can be a time-consuming process.

“If Manchester United were to fire Ole now they would have to obtain coach who can immediately turn the results around while building for the future.  The likely candidate it seems is Mauricio Pochettino for now but the decision-makers at Manchester United have to ask themselves if they want to be patient with Ole and let him build his team or cut their losses and go with another coach.”

I use my Sundays to look back at what has been happening in the world of sport. On many a Sunday, I realize that people have looked at the stories they have seen throughout the week through different lenses. I have my own personal take on some of these issues and I will share them with you. Welcome to #INCASEYOUMISSEDIT.

 Cricketers are feeling the brunt of Covid 19!

 Steven Smith revealed he has no plans to participate in the Big Bash this summer due to the demands of being in a bio-secure bubble. The likes of David Warner, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins are also expected to follow suit. In Starc’s case, he has only been at his home in Sydney for 30 hours since August even though he did not go to the Indian Premier League.

Windies captain Jason Holder has voiced his personal struggles dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. The 28-year-old Barbadian, who is currently playing in the IPL, revealed there were players in his West Indies team who were mentally "worn out" by the effort involved in playing the Test series against England in the COVID-19 era. The Windies lost the series 2-1 at Old Trafford.

Despite being happy to play the sport he loves in uncertain times, Holder, speaking at the end of the third Test, said: "It's been challenging, it's been really challenging. Mentally some of the guys are a bit worn out.

"It could be this way for a little while so we've got to find ways to make it work. Hopefully things could ease up throughout the world and probably guys can get out of the hotel a little bit more, but it has been challenging for sure.

“It's tough to constantly get up, you're here, you open your curtains and you just see the cricket ground. You're not hopping on the bus as you normally do."

   As much as our cricketers are happy to play the sport they love one must not ignore that these are uncertain times and their mental health may be affected.

 Windies star Gayle still a threat!

West Indies hard hitter Chris Gayle at the age the of 41 has been proving in the ongoing Indian Premier League that he still has what it takes. The Universe boss, who has been lighting up the T20 tournament in Abu Dhabi, currently holds the IPL record for most sixes hit.

This past week, the Kings XI Punjab batsman was fined 10 per cent of his match-fee for breaching the IPL’s Code of Conduct during his team’s match against Rajasthan Royals when he was bowled for 99. Gayle lost his cool and swung his bat which flew towards mid-wicket. Despite this unfortunate event, the ‘Universe boss’ wrote his name yet again into the history books becoming the first player to smash 1,000 T20 sixes.

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

1.Barca losing- the new normal?

 Real Madrid were emphatic 3-1 winners in the first El Clasico of the season and last of the decade.  A combination of factors accounted for Barcelona’s humiliating loss: dependence on single players, coach Ronald Koeman’s team selection coated in off field issues seeping onto the field.

  It is no secret that Barca has depended on Messi to lift the team. When Messi is having a good season, Barca does well. He is the club's top goal scorer, top assist provider and, among his 34 trophies with the Catalan club, he boasts four Champions Leagues, 10 La Liga and six Copa del Rey wins. The statistics speak for themselves.

Messi has now gone six consecutive games in El Clasico without scoring and it is a cause of concern. In the last 20 minutes of Saturday’s match, the 33-year-old disappeared. This disappearance can be attributed to his age as well as the mismanagement of the player. Messi should have played less minutes in the Champions league match earlier in the week and been allowed to play the full match against Real Madrid. Despite his previous superhuman performances, the Argentine is human, and it is natural for him to feel tired too.

The team has been transitioning with the new coach and integration of younger players. The club is aware Messi has a few years left in him and is now shifting the dependence, attention, and pressure on the youngster Ansu Fati. The 17-year-old became the youngest scorer in El Clasico history after scoring the equalizing goal against Real Madrid on Saturday.

 

  It is now up to Barca, if they mould Fati properly and do not become too dependent on him which can do more damage than good.  The Spanish player has notched four goals in the league and one in the Champions League, making him the club's top scorer so far. He took up the number 9 position in the Clasico and was his side's most dangerous asset against Real Madrid.

     After Saturday’s loss fingers are being pointed at Coach Ronald Koeman. Did he get his substitutions wrong? Was Barca too attacking? Is Antoine Griezmann being underutilized?  The reaction when Real Madrid scored the second goal was too slow. There were no tactical changes and the first substitution-  a triple substitution- came in the 81st minute.

Fati made way for Griezmann, Pedri for Francisco Trincao and Sergio Busquets for Ousmane Dembele. Five minutes later, Jordi Alba, who was clearly tired after returning from an injury which had kept him out for three weeks, was replaced by Martin Braithwaite.

 

  Barca is now 12th place in the points table but have played two games fewer than most of the other teams. To add insult to injury, the team confirmed on Sunday that the Brazilian Philippe Coutinho is set to miss Wednesday’s Juventus clash in the Champions League due to a hamstring injury he suffered on Saturday. It is unclear how long he will be out. He has played  five La Liga matches and one Champions League scoring one goal in each competition. 

 

What is clear is Barcelona’s play has not improved from last season, a campaign which ended without a trophy.

 

  1. Shai Hope’s comeback starts with self-responsibility!

 

          Barbadian Shai Hope’s exclusion from the Windies Test squad set to tour New Zealand from November 27th has attracted criticism. However, there comes a time where one must accept that one cannot keep doing the same things and expect different results.  As CWI Chief selector Roger Harper said, sometimes by continuing to select a player you do more harm to them than good. It was time for the 26-year-old to step away and come back stronger. 

Without a doubt, Hope has been one of the outstanding batsmen in One Day Internationals, but in Test cricket, he has struggled. Since December 2017, his Test average is 19.48 and since February 2019, 14.45.

In the recent series defeat to England he averaged below 18. 

I cannot help but note that Shai Hope’s problem is not in the technical aspect of the game.  This is evident in his ODI performances as in his 78 matches he has an average of 52.20 with a high score if 170. Among these ODI performances he has nine hundreds and 17 fifties.

His bounce back in Test cricket has to begin with him taking responsibility for what has been affecting his Test form. When a batsman is in the middle, he must be able to think for himself. Despite everything taught by a coach, application is up to the player. It is now left up to the Barbadian to go back to the basics of his game and execute them to the best of his ability.

The West Indies selectors’ decision to omit Shai Hope from the tour to New Zealand is not detrimental to the player. He must now take full responsibility for the revival of his own game.

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

 

  1. Windies captaincy in good hands. Time for the rest of the team to rally.

West Indies named the Test and T20 squads on Friday that will face New Zealand in three T20 Internationals and two Test matches from November 27 to December 15. The captaincy of both the Windies squads is in good hands. It is now up to supporting cast to do their part and contribute.

Jason Holder continues as Test captain having grown as a leader since making his debut against New Zealand in 2014 in Bridgetown.  New Zealand won that match by 53 runs and Holder bagged two wickets and scored a total of 76 runs.

The 28-year-old going into this match will be confident having performed well against the Black Caps in the past. 

In the last Test match he played in Manchester in July 2020, England won by eight wickets. Holder got two wickets and made 58 runs. On current form, Holder has attained the highest points tally by any West Indies bowler in 20 years, reaching a career-best second place in the Test Rankings after playing a crucial role in his side's four-wicket victory over England in Southampton that helped take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

           In the limited overs format, Kieron Pollard leads from the front with his all-round performances.  He has been very impactful for the Mumbai Indians in the ongoing Indian Premier League. In eight matches he has picked up two wickets and scored 174 runs, with a top score of 60 at an average of 174.  In the recently concluded Caribbean Premier League he was named Player of the Tournament. The 33-year-old blasted a total of 207 runs with a top score of 72 at an average of 51.8.  His best bowling figures for CPL 2020 was 4/30. 

With both Pollard and Holder at the helm, the Windies are a force. However, cricket is a team sport and it is up to the rest of team to contribute with bat and ball and ensure they support those leading the charge. 

 2. Can Liverpool win the Premier League without two key players?

 Liverpool departed Goodison Park disappointed by the 2-2 draw against Everton on Saturday.

The real tragedy, however, is that the Reds will be without two key members for some time due to injuries sustained during the match.  Though defender Virgil Van Dijk and midfielder Thiago Alcantara suffered serious injuries it is not over yet for the Premier League champions. However, Jurgen Klopp and the rest of the team have some work to do to cover for the absence of their two world class players.

Van Dijk’s leadership, organizational skill and passing range will be missed as his ACL injury will see him out for more than six months. The 29-year-old Dutchman was a key figure in Liverpool’s dominance having played every minute of the team’s 74 Premier league matches since his move from Southampton in 2018.

In the 2019/2020 Premier League season, the towering centre-back played all 38 matches, scored five goals and had an assist for his club. More importantly, he helped Liverpool’s defence evolve into one of the stingiest in all of Europe.

 The season before, he also helped Liverpool become the best defensive team in England.

His prolonged absence this season is a major blow to Liverpool’s chances of successfully defending the league title and to also make another run at the Champions League title they won in 2018.

Thiago Alcantara also suffered a knee injury against Everton in what was his first start for his new club. He also faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines as a result of a reckless tackle from Everton forward Richarlison.

Despite these injuries to key players, it would be foolhardy to rule the Premier League champions out. However, a lot will depend on Jurgen Klopp to get his players to fill the massive void created by the absence of these two stars.

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