Guyana Amazon Warriors captain Shimron Hetmyer was full of praise for all-rounder Odean Smith who played a pivotal role for the team in a 12-run win over Jamaica Tallawahs in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) on Wednesday.

With the Warriors desperately needing a result, in their first match on home soil this season, Smith impacted the game decisively at both ends.  Batting first, the Warriors found themselves in deep trouble at 98 for 7 before Smith bludgeoned 42 from 16 and shared in a seventh-wicket partnership of 74 from 27 with Keemo Paul to push the team to a respectable 178 for 8.

At the other end, on the back of a defiant 104 from Brandon King, the Tallawahs seemed poised for an unlikely victory, needing just 20 off the last over.  King got things started off with a 6 but Smith shut the door, taking 2 wickets and effecting a runout for an overall 26 runs. He was named the man of the match.

“I actually had no idea we would have actually gotten that many I was actually thinking let’s get to 140, 150 and we’ll fight but as we saw today it was a fantastic innings from him (Smith), hats off to him,” Hetmyer said of Smith's contribution.

“He played one of the most special innings that I’ve had the pleasure of seeing and he’s one of those guys that anything can happen on a given day.  He’s just one of those special guys.”

Former West Indies opening batsman Philo Wallace believes the 15-man squad selected for the upcoming T20 World Cup in Australia has the issue of being short of genuine batsmen.

It’s safe to say that the selection announced by the Desmond Haynes-led panel, earlier this week, included quite a few surprises.  The list included some players on the fringes of the T20 unit for a while, with the likes of Sheldon Cottrell and Johnson Charles recalled and the inexperienced Yannic Cariah also earning somewhat of a shock selection.  

In some ways, Wallace believes the team is similar in composition to the West Indies squad selected for last year's failed World Cup campaign, which had focused on stacking up power hitters.

“We’re going to Australia on bigger cricket grounds and we are carrying a lot of hitters of the cricket ball.  I think when these guys are asked to bat, they are going to find themselves in problems.  A lot of them are not even in form,” Wallace told the Mason and Guest radio program.

The former opener also had questions regarding how different pieces of the team would fit together.

“If you play Johnson Charles you have four openers on that T20 squad right now.  Is he going to keep wicket or is he going to field out.  Yannic Cariah is a wildcard, he doesn’t play T20 cricket, and he’s not involved in CPL.  If he plays where is he going to fit into the 11?”

 

 

Jamaica goalkeeper Andre Blake has once again been named to Major League Soccer’s Team of the Week.

The 31-year-old shot-stopper has been in inspired form for Major League Soccer (MLS) club Philadelphia Union so far this season and claimed his spot in goal for week 32’s best selection, with another inspired performance.

The custodian was at his very best in a draw at Atlanta United FC on the weekend and made at least 5 big saves to earn his team a share of the spoils.  In truth, the Union found themselves on the back foot for most of the encounter.

Perhaps his biggest and most important save came in second-half stoppage time as Atlanta found its all-time leading goalscorer alone at the back post but Blake was there for the close-range reaction stop to keep Josef Martinez from unlocking the tie.

On the back of another outstanding season, the Jamaican is firmly in the running for the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year honours, an award that he won in both 2016 and 2020.  Earlier this month, the player achieved another significant milestone for the Philadelphia Union after reaching 200 appearances.

One big-hitting left-hander Evin Lewis has surpassed another, Chris Gayle, for the most sixes scored in Caribbean Premier League (CPL) history.

On Sunday, the 30-year-old managed just 19 for St Kitts and Nevis Patriots in a lopsided 49-run loss to the St Lucia Kings but despite the defeat, there was a positive side.  Lewis's two sixes in the innings moved him level and then one clear of legendary T20 star Chris Gayle.

Gayle has remained at the top of the six-hitting leader board for some time on 172 from 85 matches.  Lewis's new high of 173 has come in 86 matches.  Kieron Pollard is in third place on 152.

Lewis, who was recently named to the West Indies World Cup squad, has long listed the big Jamaican as the player he idolized the most over the years.  Gayle arguably the most dominant batsman to ever play the format leads many of the boundary-hitting statistics, including the most sixes with 1056.

Cricket West Indies chief of selectors Desmond Haynes is confident veteran fast bowler Sheldon Cottrell remains able to provide the team with plenty of firepower up front despite a recent spell of indifferent form and injury.

Two years ago, the 33-year-old was one of the most explosive fast bowlers in the sport and was bought by the Kings XI Punjab ahead of the Indian Premier League season.  The bowler has, however, since struggled to build on that momentum and has also been plagued by recurrent injury.

His selection would have come as somewhat of a surprise for many having not represented the T20 team since earlier this year when he played in series against India and England.  The player also missed out on this season’s IPL and has not featured regularly in the CPL so far.

  The left-arm seamer, who recently recovered from injury, only just returned to action for the St Kitts Patriots and has not made a telling impact so far.

 In 8 overs bowled, in the three CPL matches to date, he has produced figures of 2 for 73 at an average of 36.50. The economy rate for his 8 overs bowled has also been an unimpressive 9.12.  Haynes, however, believes once fully fit the player will have plenty to contribute to the campaign.

“He does the job for us up front but he is coming back from an ankle injury, so everyone is going to be assessed before we go to Australia,” Haynes said.

“I think that with Cottrell we know that he has been very good for us and that’s the reason we would select him.”

Afghan all-rounder Mohammad Nabi will join the Jamaica Tallawahs at the 2022 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL). Nabi has played 237 times for Afghanistan in international matches and brings a huge amount of experience from T20 cricket across the globe. 

This will be Nabi’s third time playing for a Hero CPL franchise having previously represented the St Kitts & Nevis Patriots and the Saint Lucia Kings.  In 12 matches at the tournament, the player has taken 9 wickets and managed to average 24.50.

Nabi will be available for selection for the Tallawahs from the start of the Guyana leg of the tournament.

The Tallawahs were left a man short following the departure of Nepalese bowler Sandeep Lamichhane.  Sandeep left the Caribbean last week to return to his homeland to answer charges after an arrest warrant was issued in his name.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) Desmond Haynes says the panel decided to not pick T20 big-hitter Andre Russell for the Windies World Cup squad based on a combination of his long-term absence from the regional team and recent struggles.

The 34-year-old has not played for the West Indies since representing the squad at the World Cup last year, despite controversially featuring in several lucrative T20 tournaments since then, including the Indian Premier League (IPL) and Vitality T20 Blast.

In addition, the player has failed to make much of an impression in this season’s Caribbean Premier League (CPL), which is admittedly closely watched by the panel of selectors.  In six matches the all-rounder has averaged 7.40 and has a top score of 17.  With the ball, he has taken four wickets.

“We just didn’t consider Russell for selection and that was it,” Haynes said of the player’s exclusion.

“We haven’t really seen a lot of Russell in playing cricket for the West Indies recently and judging from what is happening now we just decided that we would move on,” he added.

Russell has played 67 matches for the West Indies and averaged 19.50 with a strike rate of 150.  He has taken 37 wickets at an economy rate of 9.18.

Legendary Windies skipper Viv Richards believes it is important for players to remember the role representing the team played in earning big-money T20 contracts, but insists there should be plenty of room for negotiation with cricketers currently out of the team.

The absence of the likes of Sunil Narine and Andre Russell, for example, two of the team’s most explosive players, from the unit for the last year has been a sore point.  Despite the fact that they have continued to play in lucrative T20 leagues around the world, both players have been unavailable for the regional team.

Russell has not played for the team since last year’s World Cup while Narine has not appeared since 2017.  Another player, opener Evin Lewis, remains out of the team after opting out of fitness tests.  Recently West Indies coach Phil Simmons expressed frustration with the issue.  Richards believes a lot of the issues could come down to communication.

 “Guys sometimes try and make that particular decision in terms of what they want to do because they don’t feel that they are represented well enough on the left, and that’s why they will move to the right so it is pretty much troublesome knowing and hearing that from the coach, which means there are issues where these matters are concerned,” Richards told the Antigua Observer.

“There has got to be a meeting of all the individuals who participate and that’s the board and all the individuals they may believe to be in that particular lane where they do not want to play,” he added.

“That’s always your first aim, for you to represent your country as a sports person and then, if you can move further up-field like representing the region, which is obviously the West Indies cricket team, and then expand elsewhere because if that’s what you’re looking for, then that’s the opportunity you’re looking for,” he said.

“Also, there are times when we should look at the lighter side of things where one has got to remember that it was the West Indies platform that obviously gave you an opportunity for you to expand yourself.”

Interim Reggae Boyz head coach Paul Hall has claimed that uncertainty regarding his contract and a lack of resources were key considerations informing his decision to resign from the post.

Hall, who served as the assistant coach under former national coach Theodore Whitmore, took charge of the national team in December of last year, following the dismissal of the head coach.

He would go on to coach the unit for 10 matches, which included the successful qualification of the team to the Concacaf Gold Cup from the Concacaf Nation’s League competition.  Hall last took charge of the team in a 1-1 draw against Mexico in the Nations League in June.

Since then, the JFF announced that Merron Gordon had been named interim coach for the team’s most recent fixture against Morocco and Qatar and is expected to announce former Iceland coach Heimir Hallgrimsson as head of the program in the coming days.

In a release posted to the social media platform Instagram, Hall attempted to bring some clarity to the issue.

“I felt I had to resign as many of my requests, such as the standard of the training pitch, additional kit for cold weather in Canada and in particular organistion for transport were well below par,” Hall said via the release.

“After qualifying for the Gold Cup and with the situation with administration being strained.  I felt like my position had become untenable.  I was still being expected to be part of conference calls, team talks, and matchday selections, but my role, contract, and remuneration questions were being ignored,” he added.

The coach went on to claim that he was yet to receive full monetary compensation for his period with the team, despite receiving a payment last week.

 

Trinbago Knight Rider captain Kieron Pollard has admitted it was a relief to finally get over the line in a 26-run over the Guyana Amazon Warriors on Wednesday.

After making what looked to be around a part score of 150, the home franchised seemed well on their way to a comfortable win after pushing the Warriors to the verge of defeat at 89 for 7.

A stubborn last-ball partnership between Tabraiz Shamsi and Junior Sinclair, which was worth 24 from 18 deliveries, however, briefly gave the team a few nervous moments before Andre Russell ended the innings.

The Knight Riders' mood would not have been helped by a poor start to CPL managing just one win in their prior 5 matches.  Pollard is, however, hopeful that the team’s latest win will provide a bit of momentum.

“The guys wanted it badly and it was a total team effort.  Things haven’t gone the way that we would have liked but one thing I can say is the guys come in day in, day out, and out in the practice and believe in the process and finally we got the win at home,” Pollard said following the match.

“Hopefully we can go back and look at where we can still do better for the next few matches.”

 Yaseen Pérez coach of Dominica Republic quarter mile star Marileidy Paulino has confirmed that the sprinter hopes to target the longstanding 400m world record in coming seasons.

Paulino has had an outstanding 2022, setting national records in both the 200m and 400m.  In addition to that, the 25-year-old athlete claimed a silver medal at IAAF World Championships and ended the season by capturing the Diamond Trophy.  On that occasion, the athlete set another national record and more importantly dipped below the 49-second mark for the first time in her career.

The time of 48.99 marks the athlete the 12th fastest in history.  A fine accomplishment, but approaching the record of 47.60, set, and held for 37 years, by the German Democratic Republic’s Marita Koch is no simple feat.  In fact, the sprinters in the many years since have found it almost difficult to even approach the previous mark of 47.99 set by Czechoslovakia’s Jarmila Kratochvílová in 1983. 

 "That's a dream she has, we both have it. In the end, we are going to keep working. It's a tough thing, but so far everything has been difficult and we have set out on the road to the world record," said Pérez said.  Despite the difficulty, the coach points out the athlete has been taking things stage by stage.

"Next year we are going to try to establish the stability of 48 seconds. This season, we had worked very well to maintain the levels obtained in the Olympic Games and as we worked throughout the year, improving the speed part, we saw what was coming and the time of 48 became a fact. It didn't happen at the world championships because of the disruption of the relays, but we had been working to lower it.”

 

West Indies T20 star Andre Russell insists he is content to focus on the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), at the moment, leaving questions regarding his selection for the upcoming World Cup up to the selectors.

The 34-year-old has found himself at the centre of controversy in recent months, with the majority of the debate surrounding his lack of availability for the West Indies team.  In the last year, despite his appearances at various T20 leagues around the globe, the player has not appeared for the West Indies since the T20 World Cup last year.

It is a situation that has at times left Windies coach Phil Simmons, and some fans, admittedly exasperated.  With the player having not been part of the Windies T20 squad for the last year, many have speculated on the merits of his inclusion for the upcoming tournament.

The all-rounder, who is currently plying his trade for the Trinbago Knight Riders, insists the CPL tournament is his only focus at the moment.

"I am focusing on CPL at the moment. This is where it is for me at the moment. I am taking it one day at a time, one game at a time,” Russell told members of the media.

“Whatever is to happen will happen. I have no control over what’s going on at the (CWI) or what is going on in (the) selectors' minds…whatever happens in the next week or two only God knows, so I am not even going to stress on that,” he added.

“No one has reached out to me, no one has said anything…once I do the performance on the field then I leave everything else in their hands.”

 

World Championship 400m silver medallist Kirani James was forced to settle for the runner-up spot at the Gala dei Castelli in, Switzerland, on Monday, behind world record holder Wayde Van Niekerk of South Africa who has continued to blaze a trail of resurgence.

In what is expected to be the final race of his season, the Grenadian clocked 44.38, the same time as Van Niekerk, as the two battled all the way to the line and had to be separated by a photo finish.   Another South African Zakhiti Nene was third in 45.75.

The time was the second fastest clocked by the athlete this season, behind the 44.26 recorded to win the Diamond League final in Zürich last week.  For his part, Van Niekerk also impressive when he clocked a season-best 44.39 in the pre-program.

 

Jamaica Tallawahs captain Rovman Powell hailed a complete performance from the team in a 33-run win over the Trinbago Knight Riders on Saturday.

The win was the first for the Jamaica franchise against their Trinidad and Tobago opponents in 7 games, dating back to the 2017 season.  For his part, Powell played a crucial role in snapping that streak, with a patient 67 from 49 deliveries and a crucial fourth-wicket partnership with Raymond Reifer, worth 90 to the Tallawahs in a total of 153 for 7.

With the ball, however, the Tallawahs also made runs exceptionally hard to come for the Knightriders led by Mohammad Amir’s 2 for 15 at 3.75 at an economy rate of 3.75.  Powell was delighted by the team’s all-around effort, which restricted the Knight Riders to 119 for 8.

“In all three aspects of the game, the guys played well.  We haven’t beaten Trinidad in a long time so we wanted to do that,” Powell said following the match.

“We came out of the Power Play a little bit shaky but we got stuck in and I think the guys bowled really well,” he added.  

The Jamaica Tallawahs secured their third victory of the 2022 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) season with a win over Trinbago Knight Riders by 34 runs.

The Trinbago Knight Riders won the toss and chose to field, Ravi Rampaul making early inroads by removing both openers, Brandon King and Kennar Lewis. However, Tallawahs captain Rovman Powell would lead by example, hitting ten boundaries in his innings of 67 to take his side to 153/7 after 20 overs. 

Trinbago Knight Riders in turn lost the wickets of Sunil Narine and Tion Webster early on, and largely due to superb bowling spells from Mohammad Amir and Imad Wasim, were unable to find any fluency as they consistently lost wickets, ending up on 119/8 and losing by 34 runs.

Jamaica Tallawahs lost both of their openers in the PowerPlay, and were struggling to score runs in the first ten overs, before Powell combined with Raymon Reifer in a 90-run partnership stand to aid their side. Sunil Narine bowled exceptionally well and was rewarded with the wickets of both Powell and Fabian Allen to restrict scoring in the final overs, with the Tallawahs setting a target of 154 to win.

Trinbago Knight Riders once again utilised Narine at the top of the order but he was bowled in the first over by Amir. After Webster was run-out, Colin Munro and Tim Seifert attempted to rebuild but eventually, both lost their wickets. Amir struck again to remove Nicholas Pooran as the Knight Riders were unable to build any partnerships, with Kieron Pollard and Andre Russell also falling. In the end, they scored 119/8, falling 34 runs short of their target. 

The win means Jamaica Tallawahs have now won three of their first four games, while Trinbago have lost two successive matches. 

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