Paul-Andre Walker

Paul-Andre Walker

Paul-Andre is the Managing Editor at SportsMax.tv. He comes to the role with almost 20 years of experience as journalist. That experience includes all facets of media. He began as a sports Journalist in 2001, quickly moving into radio, where he was an editor before becoming a news editor and then an entertainment editor with one of the biggest media houses in the Caribbean.

The West Indies are leading their three-Test series against England 1-0 thanks in large part to their skipper Jason Holder.

Leeward Islands wicket-keeper batsman Devon Thomas is one of the notable ommissions from this year’s Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL), but according to the Antigua-born cricketer, it was expected.

Thomas did not have a fantastic CPL for the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots last year, and says he needs to show improvement even though he feels disappointment.

According to Thomas, who was speaking with the Antigua Observer, his performances over the years matter very little in franchise cricket and what you have done last may count against you.

“Playing for St Kitts, I have been the second leading scorer over the last few years, so I was a bit disappointed but at the end of the day, it’s a franchise and they are coming with a different plan and different owners,” he said.

“Also, last year I got a few starts but I didn’t capitalise on those starts so I have to look back on myself and say I let myself down as well,” he said.

Thomas only scored 180 runs in the CPL last year, even though he had a high-score of 71.

But Thomas isn’t sitting on his laurels. The 30-year-old is already looking at making an impact in next season’s Super50 and four-day competition for the Leeward Islands Hurricanes.

“They [LICB] have given us a programme to work with and I think that it was just last week Friday we did a fitness test, a yoyo test, so I’ve been keeping in good shape. I am just lacking of hitting balls, that’s the only thing,” said Thomas.

“As I’ve said, I have to be more consistent and I wasn’t consistent enough. I did okay in the Super50 but I had a poor run in the Four Day so I have to try and fix those things and have better consistent performances going forward.”

Thomas was not retained by the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots and had gone into the CPL draft as a result, but was not picked up by any of the other five franchises.

Jason Holder has been captain of the West Indies in one form of the game or another since 2014 when a Cricket West Indies selection panel led by former captain Clive Lloyd selected him at just 23 years old.

West Indies head coach Phil Simmons believes his captain, Jason Holder’s, 1-43, during England’s second innings was as important as any bowling feats throughout the fourth day.

The West Indies will need just two wickets tomorrow and attempt to minimize the 170-run lead the hosts have after they were restricted to 284-8.

The West Indies, leading England by 99 runs at the Ageas Bowl at the beginning of Saturday, were pushed back, as openers Rory Burns, 42, and Dom Sibley, 50, whittled down that lead.

After lunch, things got worse for the West Indies, who had to remain patient as Zak Crawley, 76, and stand-in skipper Ben Stokes, 46, threatened to take the game away from them, pushing England’s lead in the match to 135 before the latter was removed by a fine piece of bowling from Holder.

Holder, for the second time, turned Stokes around after just changing the field to include two gullies and had him caught by Shai Hope.

It’s what he does. He comes back and puts in the big spells for the team.

Simmons was speaking at the end of day four, highlighting what was a pivotal moment in the West Indies’ second stint on the field.

England then lost five wickets for 35 runs, as Shannon Gabriel, 3-62, and Alzarri Joseph, 2-40, reduced England to 284-8, a lead of 170.

“That’s the way he leads this team and I didn’t expect anything different,” said Simmons.

“He was bowling for a while and you expected him to change but he wanted to make that breakthrough for the team.”

West Indies head coach Phil Simmons believes if the West Indies play their normal cricket, they will take a 1-0 #RaiseTheBat series lead to Old Trafford, Manchester after their fourth-day exploits on Saturday.

The West Indies, leading England by 99 runs at the Ageas Bowl at the beginning of Saturday, were pushed back, as openers Rory Burns, 42, and Dom Sibley, 50, whittled down that lead.

After lunch, things got worse for the West Indies, who had to remain patient as Zak Crawley, 76, and stand-in skipper Ben Stokes, 46, threatened to take the game away from them, pushing England’s lead in the match to 135 before the latter was removed by a fine piece of bowling from Jason Holder.

England then lost five wickets for 35 runs, as Shannon Gabriel, 3-62, and Alzarri Joseph, 2-40, reduced England to 284-8, a lead of 170.

With just two wickets needed on tomorrow’s final day, the West Indies are hoping not to have to chase too many and to be given the time to do it.  

All you can do is get the remaining wickets for as little runs as possible and then bat normally,” said Simmons at the end of day four.

“If we bat for five hours tomorrow to chase 180-190 then it is a normal batting day,” he said.

Simmons is wary of what it may be like batting on a final-day Ageas Bowl pitch though.

All the batsmen have called the pitch ‘dry’, which could make it particularly difficult on the final day of a Test match.

“It’s not a chase where you have to go at the bowling. We hope that in the morning, whatever roller is used, will flatten out the wicket so we can get a good start,” said Simmons.

According to the former West Indies opening batsman-turned-allrounder, the West Indies can take heart from the way they batted in the first innings and that it should give them confidence headed into the final day.

“I think the confidence from the way we batted, the attitude towards batting in the first innings, is going to be a huge plus for us, batting in the second innings. Whether it be 170 or 190 it is going to be the same attitude that you will need to chase it.”

Zimbabwe allrounder Sikandar Raza is excited by the prospect of being the first from his country to play in the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL).

Raza was picked up by the Trinbago Knight Riders in the competition’s draft on Monday.

“CPL was missing from the CV and I’m glad it’s now there. But most importantly, I’m glad that there will be Zimbabwean representation,” said Raza.

According to Raza, the decision by the TKR could now help open the door for other Zimbabwean cricketers trying to break into the major T20 competitions around the world.

“What I believe in is that if one goes, then he’ll bring another one and then if the two impress, the number will double. I’m hopeful that more Zimbabweans can be snapped up next season,” said Raza.

The TKR failed to defend their title in 2019, with the Barbados Tridents claiming the top spot ahead of the Guyana Amazon Warriors.

The CPL, this year, will run from August 18-September 10 and be held entirely in Trinidad and Tobago.

Still with eight wickets in hand, England have fought their way back into the first Test at the Ageas Bowl after openers Rory Burns, 42, and Dom Sibley, 50, slowly chipped away at the West Indies' 114-run lead, removing altogether just after lunch.

Burns was the only dismissal in the morning session on Saturday, caught by John Campbell at backward point off Roston Chase for a 104-ball 42.

Sibley got to his 50 off 164 deliveries but lost out to Shannon Gabriel soon after.

Joe Denly, 20, and Zack Crawley, 7, are the men at the crease with England 125-2.

England had resumed its second innings on 15-0 at the empty Rose Bowl in reply to West Indies' first-innings total of 318. Progress was slow in the morning with at one point only three runs off nine overs, and 64 runs from 30 overs overall in the session.

England scored 204 in its first innings of the rain-affected test.

With sports all over the world coming back, and some are already in full flow, it was interesting to look back at what people used to entertain themselves throughout the lockdown period.

Sports like marble racing garnered unprecedented attention during COVID-19’s lockdown of sports.

But even before that, people found ways outside of traditional sports to enjoy themselves and some of them are, to put it mildly, quite strange.

We thought we would just introduce you to some of the more strange of these sports. Enjoy!

 

Underwater Hockey

This sport is not big on spectators and you can probably guess why. The field or rink is underwater, so nobody save for those with underwater cameras can see what the hell is going on. However, the rules seem to be similar to ice or field hockey. Two teams of six go at it against each other, using a stick to hit a puck into a goal. The game originated in England and is many times called Octopush and has a world governing body, Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques, complete with a World Championship.  

 

Bossaball

Bossaball was started in Spain by Belgian Filip Eyckmans in 2005. The game combines volleyball, football, gymnastics and music. Played on an inflatable court, there is a trampoline on each side of a net that allows players to bounce and score through spiking as they would in volleyball. The game is played between two teams of four players. One player stays on the trampoline, with the others on the remainder of the inflatable. After a serve, each team is allowed five attempts at getting the ball back over the net. Any body part may be used and a player is allowed to take two touches if he or she does not use his hands or arms.

 

Wife carrying

This sport was created in Finland with the objective simply being for a man to carry a female partner through an obstacle course, with the fastest time declared the winner. Interestingly there are a number of ways to carry like the classic piggyback, or the fireman’s carry (over the shoulder), or the Estonian-style. The Estonian-style is the most visually interesting of the bunch as the ‘wife’ is upside-down on the ‘husband’s’ back with her legs wrapped around the neck and shoulders. The Wife Carrying World Championships are held every year in Finland with the prize is the wife’s weight in beer.

 

Rock Paper Scissors League

In the United States, the classic game of Rock, paper, scissors has taken on professional proportions, with the founding of the Rock Paper Scissors League. A national championship was televised in 2006 and 2007, but playing the game at that level has not caught on even though there has been no word that the league’s commissioner, Matti Leshem, has given up on the idea.

 

Dog surfing

Dogs surfing have made for famous pictures the world over, but who knew it was a full-on sport. Judges look at a dog’s overall certainty on the board, the size of the wave, and the ride length. The largest dog surfing competition is the Loews Coronado Bay Resort Surf Dog Competition held at Imperial Beach in California.

 

Unicycle hockey

Horses can be expensive to maintain, making the sport of polo a little prohibitive for some. Enter the unicycle. Riding unicycles has always been novel but a very isolationist type of endeavour. Enter hockey. Now you have a team endeavour, bringing the lonely unicyclist, a shared goal with others. The International Unicycling Federation governs the sport. Any stick which is legal for ice hockey, outside of the goalkeeper’s. The game is played five-per-side with unlimited substitutions. All positions are interchangeable, including that of the goalkeeper. Unlike ice hockey, the game is a non-contact sport.

   

Caber Toss

This sport involves the tossing of a large tapered pole called a Caber. It is a traditional Scottish sport and the caber is usually 19 feet 6 inches long. According to rumour, the sport developed out of the need for lumberjacks to transport logs by throwing them in streams. The scoring is fairly complex and would probably take up quite a bit of time, but even if you don’t understand all the rules, the spectacle of it is undeniable.

 

Chess Boxing

Chess boxing, as its name suggests, is a merger between the two combat sports. The combatants fight in alternate rounds of chess and boxing. It is interesting that you can either get checkmated or knocked out to lose.

The contest consists of 11 rounds. Six rounds are dedicated to chess and five to boxing, with a victory in either discipline ending the affair.

 

Cheese Rolling

Cheese Rolling, like Chess Boxing, is self-explanatory. A nine-pound round of double Gloucester cheese is rolled from the top of a hill and competitors chase after it. The first person across the finish line at the bottom is declared the winner and the cheese is his or her prize. The aim really is to catch the cheese but almost nobody can make up the ground between the one-second headstart the cheese gets and the manner in which it accelerates. The event has made Cooper’s Hill in Glouchester where it takes place, a world-famous tourist destination with visitors coming from everywhere to take part.

 

Blind Soccer

Football is the most popular sport in the world but was played, unfortunately, to the exclusion of the blind. That is not the case anymore as the Paralympic sport has found a way, using pebbles or marbles in the ball, to allow the blind to follow the ball. The only persons who are allowed to see, are the goalkeepers and so those who are legally blind but can see more than others, must wear a face mask. The sport is fast-paced and a really exciting thing to watch, with talented players all over.

 

Ferret-legging

Ferret-legging, for all intents, is a test of endurance - but it is strange. Participants wear pants and close off the legs before putting ferrets down each pant leg. Whoever can stand to keep the ferrets inside their pants for the longest wins. It is thought the sport had its origins in England where poachers would put the animals down their trousers to hide them because it was illegal for anybody, save the relatively wealthy, to keep ferrets. Fortunately or not, Ferret-legging is a dying sport.

Roston Chase, 47, and Shane Dowrich, 61, helped the West Indies to a first-innings lead of 114 on day three of the first Test at Southampton on Friday.

The tourists lost Shamarh Brooks (39) and Jermaine Blackwood (12) soon after lunch to slip to 186-5 in reply to England's 204 all out, but recovered through Chase (27 not out) and Dowrich (30 not out) to be in a strong position to build a healthy lead at an empty Ageas Bowl.

Captain Jason Holder fell for just five, holing out to his opposite number, Ben Stokes, who ended with figures of 4-49.

Mark Wood finally got among the wickets to end with figures of 1-74.

James Anderson was involved in both of the wickets in the second session, firstly finding Brooks' edge for a caught behind. Brooks decided to review but UltraEdge showed a clear nick.

Five overs later, Anderson took a simple catch at mid-on to remove Blackwood, who tried to launch spinner Dom Bess into the deep.

Anderson ended with 3-62 and Bess, 2-51.

I’m a Chelsea fan.

Now that is not a popular thing to be in my native Jamaica but I’ve been one since 1995, some 25 years ago.

I was not a fan of what used to be English football and at the time, the only team in the Premier League with any international flavour was Chelsea.

Chelsea boasted a squad with one English starter in Dennis Wise and were the only team in England that played with the type of flair I had grown up seeing from my father’s team of choice, Brazil.

Arsenal had not yet become the free-flowing team it became popular for and Manchester United, though winners, were not a target of my fancy.

But Chelsea, for all their beautiful football, were a mid-table team at best.

When they started to win, courtesy of an injection of cash from Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, they lost some of that flair.

Players like Gianfranco Zola, Ruud Gullit and Gustavo Poyet were no longer there and Jose Mourinho had turned the team into something resembling a machine that built cars to exacting specifications. Still I delighted in their success. Now they’re losing again and cannot seem to compete with the might of the Manchester Cities and Liverpools of this era. They have returned to playing with some flair but I cannot be completely happy with all the changes they have made to date.

But I will likely remain a Chelsea fan for the remainder of my time on this planet.

The same is true of the Jamaica Tallawahs. I fell in love with the Tallawahs much, in the same way, I fell in love with Chelsea.

I understood franchise cricket in much the same way I did club football and would have chosen any of the six teams in the CPL to be ‘mine’.

But just as I became a fan of the way the dread-locked Gullit would marshall his midfield and later Zola would turn a game on its head with a moment of brilliance, I could not get enough of big-hitting innings from Chris Gayle.

It was for this reason and this reason solely that I became a fan of the Tallawahs but I cannot now abandon them because, just as in club football, franchise cricket will witness changes.

And there have been a myriad of changes to the Tallawahs since the start of the Hero Caribbean Premier League, some seven years ago.

Now, there is no Chris Gayle, and the latest squad seems a far cry from the exciting days of the big left-hander smacking balls onto the roof of the North Stand at Kingston’s Sabina Park.

Still, I will remain with the Tallawahs as any true fan of a team should.

And maybe, despite the many changes, this Tallawahs line-up has a chance.

They do have more balance than they have had in recent years.

For a while, the Tallawahs batting was their strength but they had to bat teams out of games. Whenever they failed to get more than just a competitive score, they were certain to lose. In fact, I think they have the ignominy of sporting some of the highest losing totals in the competition's history.

This year may be different.

Fidel Edwards is an experienced fast bowler, who, along with the pace of Oshane Thomas, could pose some problems for their opposition in the league.

The Tallawahs also have something they have been missing for a few years now as well. An incisive spinner. Tabraiz Shamsi is the type of slow bowler the Tallawahs may just need. A left-arm wrist spinner, Shamsi is aggressive, with his 19.8 strike rate suggesting he will take wickets in the middle overs where the Tallawahs have been found wanting over the years.

Allrounder Carlos Brathwaite can provide both batting and bowling for the Tallawahs on the odd occasion, while Veerasammy Permaul can also do a job.

Now, I wouldn’t venture to pick the Tallawahs line-up but they have last season’s leading runscorer for them, Glenn Phillips, who should partner Chadwick Walton. The two can be explosive and put any team on the back foot. In the middle order, there is exciting Pakistani batsman, Asif Ali, as well as the power of Rovman Powell and Andre Russell. On a given day, any of those names can hurt an opposition, but there is the question of consistency.

That question has plagued the Tallawahs for years even though they have won the CPL twice.

But on those two occasions, they had Chris Gayle and even though he may not have been the man to provide the finals-winning performances, he did come up with innings of real class that helped them in getting through the season.

Last season the Tallawahs finished last and it is no surprise that Gayle had a poor run throughout.

Without him, the Tallawahs seem less dangerous, but I am still rooting for them. They’re my team and seem more balanced than ever before, even without the mighty Chris.

On the eve of the West Indies historic bio-secure Test series against England, I thought it interesting to take a look back at the last time the Caribbean outfit had any good days in England.

Last year’s beaten Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) finalists, The Guyana Amazon Warriors, are boasting the retention of a very strong bowling line-up ahead of August’s start to the 2020 season.

Following a draft yesterday, it was revealed that the Warriors retained 11 players, including South African leg-spinner Imran Tahir.

Tahir, a veteran of 290 T20s has 365 wickets in the format with a best of 5-23 at an incredible average of 19.85.

The leg spinner goes at seven runs per over but more than makes up for that with his strike rate of 16.9. To date he has enjoyed two five-wicket hauls in his career along with 10 four-fors.

For company, Tahir will depend on the pace bowling of Jamaican, Odean Smith, as well as the intelligence of bowling allrounder Keemo Paul, and Romario Shepherd.

There is also some powerful batting on offer for the Warriors who have retained the services of Nicholas Pooran and signed former Tallawah’s player, Ross Taylor.

Taylor, the New Zealand middle-order batsman, is joined in that batting line-up by the return of Brandon King, who had a phenomenal 2019 with the Warriors.

King is expected to partner up with Chandrapaul Hemraj at the top of the order, with the dangerous Shimron Hetmyer also being retained.

Chris Green, last season’s skipper has also been retained, along with Sherfane Rutherford, and Anthony Bramble.

Afghanistan leg-break bowler, Qais Ahmad, was again signed by the Warriors, along with 20-year-old West Indies Emerging Team player, Kevin Sinclair.

There were draft picks for Afghan medium-fast bowler Naveen Ul Haq, West Indies under-19 left-arm orthodox, Ashmeade Nedd, and American medium-pacer, Jasdeep Singh.

 

Guyana Jaguars: Imran Tahir, Nicholas Pooran, Brandon King, Ross Taylor, Shimron Hetmyer, Chris Green, Qais Ahmad, Sherfane Rutherford, Romario Shepherd, Naveen Ul Haq, Chandrapaul Hemraj, Kevin Sinclair, Ashmeade Nedd, Odean Smith, Anthony Bramble, and Jadeep Singh.

Defending Hero Caribbean Premier League Champions (CPL), the Barbados Tridents, have earned the prized signing of the world’s number-one T20 bowler in Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan.

The Tridents were pulling off a coup on last year’s beaten finalists the Guyana Amazon Warriors, for whom Rashid would have last played for in the CPL.

Rashid will be joined by a team similar to the one that claimed the CPL title in 2020, as the Tridents have retained Jason Holder, Harry Gurney, Johnson Charles, Shai Hope, Hayden Walsh Jr, Ashley Nurse, Jonathan Carter, Raymon Reifer and Justin Greaves.

In yesterday’s CPL draft, the Tridents also picked untested Pakistan medium-fast bowler Shayan Jahangir, Afghan wicketkeeper-batsman Rahmanullah Gurbaz and re-drafted Kyle Mayers.

In addition, they have also picked up powerful English opener Alex Hales, despite a relatively lean time with the team last season.

Hales will be joined by new signing Australian middle-order batsman Marcus Stoinis and West Indies under-19 standout Nyeem Young.

Barbados Tridents: Rashid Khan, Jason Holder, Marcus Stoinis, Harry Gurney, Alex Hales, Johnson Charles, Shai Hope, Hayden Walsh Jr, Ashley Nurse, Jonathan Carter, Raymon Reifer, Kyle Mayers, Joshia Bishop, Nyeem Young, Justin Greaves, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, and Shayan Jahangir.

The St Kitts & Nevis Patriots were happy enough with their Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) outfit from last time out but made two interesting additions during the draft held earlier today.

Joshua De Silva, the only man to score a century during the West Indies intra-match practice games over the last two weeks, has been drafted into the Patriots line-up, while Australian, Chris Lynn has come over from the Guyana Jaguars.

De Silva showed he can bat, but the 22-year-old Trinidad and Tobago wicketkeeper-batsman has never played a T20 match and averages 32.88 from his 16 First-Class games. He averages 41 in List A cricket but that is just from 10 games.

While De Silva is an unknown quantity, Lynn’s quality with the bat is world-renowned and he could form a dangerous partnership with Evin Lewis at the top of the Patriots order.

Lewis has been retained along with Jamaican pacer Sheldon Cottrell, and allrounder Rayad Emrit.

The Patriots also chose to retain Fabian Allen, West Indies pacer Alzarri Joseph, and Dominic Drakes.

As for signings, the Patriots will have South Africa’s Rassie van der Dussen, Former Pakistan medium pacer, Sohail Tanvir, and returning New Zealander, Ish Sodhi.

The Patriots also have the experience of Denesh Ramdin along with Colin Archibald, John Russ Jaggesar, Sunny Sohal, and Dennis Bulli.

The Trinbago Knight Riders have not made too many changes to the team that are perennial challengers for the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) title.

The Knight Riders have retained all of 11 players for this season’s CPL, set to run from August 18 to September 10 after a remote draft held earlier today.

The Knight Riders will return this season with Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine, Darren Bravo, Lendl Simmons, Khary Pierre, Amir Jangoo, Tion Webster, Akeal Hosein and Muhammad Ali Khan.

They have also signed 18-year-old West Indies under-19 medium-pacer Jayden Seales, as well as carrying back Australian Fawad Ahmed and New Zealand’s Colin Munro after they had stints away last season.

New Zealand wicketkeeper-batsman Tim Seifert is the new name in the line-up after Denesh Ramdin was transferred to the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots.

Seifert comes to the team with 83 T20s under his belt, scoring a century and eight half-centuries at an average of 25.26. He has had 65 dismissals behind the stumps, inclusive of 13 stumpings.

The Knight Riders have drafted four players though, picking up 48-year-old Indian leg-spinner Pravin Tambe, Anderson Phillip, who played with them las season, showing good pace, as well as Zimbabwe all-rounder, Sikandar Raza.

 

Trinbago Knight Riders: Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine, Colin Munro, Australia’s Fawad Ahmed, Darren Bravo, Lendl Simmons, Khary Pierre, Tim Seifert, Sikandar Raza, Anderson Phillip, Pravin Tambe, Jayden Seales, Amir Jangoo, Tion Webster, Akeal Hosein, and Muhammad Ali Khan.

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