The cinch Premiership match between Dundee and Rangers is set to go ahead at the third time of asking on Wednesday after a pitch inspection at Dens Park.

Rangers have already made the trip to the Scot Foam Stadium twice – on March 17 and April 10 – only for the pitch to be deemed unplayable, and contingency plans had been drawn up for the game to be moved to St Johnstone’s McDiarmid Park if the pitch failed its latest inspection.

A statement from the Scottish Professional Football League said: “The SPFL can confirm that the cinch Premiership game between Dundee and Rangers scheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday April 17, is set to go ahead as planned at the Scot Foam Stadium, Dens Park.

“On the basis of the weather forecasts and following discussions with the SPFL-appointed pitch consultants, who have been at the stadium for a number of days, no further inspection is planned ahead of the match.

“Contingency plans had been put in place by the league to switch the fixture to McDiarmid Park should the pitch have been deemed unplayable today, but these will no longer be required and the game will go ahead as planned at Dens Park.”

The fixture has taken on extra significance in the wake of Rangers’ shock defeat to Ross County at the weekend, which has left them four points adrift of Celtic, with this fixture their game in hand.

Chelsea pair Nicolas Jackson and Noni Madueke are not the first team-mates to clash on a football pitch.

Cole Palmer’s four-goal haul in the Blues’ 6-0 win over Everton on Monday was overshadowed by what boss Mauricio Pochettino called an “unacceptable” altercation over who should take a second-half penalty.

Palmer, the club’s designated penalty-taker, finally took charge, following intervention from captain Conor Gallagher, recovering his composure to score his fourth.

Jackson and Madueke follow a long line of club colleagues to have had a very public difference of opinion. Here, the PA news agency takes a look at some previous incidents.

Lee Bowyer and Kieron Dyer

Perhaps the classic of the genre, the Newcastle team-mates came to blows towards the end of a 3-0 home defeat by Aston Villa in April 2005, Dyer grabbing Bowyer by the throat and the pair trading punches before being separated by Villa’s Gareth Barry. Both men were dismissed by referee Barry Knight – defender Steven Taylor had earlier been sent off for handball – and later hauled before the media by manager Graeme Souness to apologise for their conduct.

Graeme Le Saux and David Batty

Blackburn’s Le Saux was left with a painful reminder of his bust-up with David Batty during a 3-0 Champions League defeat at Spartak Moscow in November 1995. Four minutes into the game, the pair collided as both tried to retrieve a Mike Newell pass and Batty made his displeasure abundantly clear. The row descended into a pushing match before Le Saux – he later insisted in self-defence – struck out, breaking his left hand during a scuffle in which intervening skipper Tim Sherwood took a blow to the cheek.

Hugo Lloris and Son Heung-min

Tottenham keeper Lloris and striker Son became involved in a heated row on the pitch as the half-time whistle sounded in a 1-0 Premier League victory over Everton in July 2020. Lloris angrily confronted the South Korea international over his failure to track back and the pair had to be separated by team-mates Giovani Lo Celso and Harry Winks. The spat continued down the tunnel and into the dressing room, although the two men embraced after the final whistle.

Derek Hales and Mike Flanagan

Charlton strike partners Hales and Flanagan came to blows during an FA Cup tie against Maidstone in January 1979. The source of the spat was allegedly Flanagan reacting to Hales failing to pass to him by making a disparaging remark about his team-mate’s genitals. Both were sent off.

Craig Levein and Graeme Hogg

The Hearts duo became involved in a disagreement during a pre-season friendly at Raith in August 1994 after their side had almost conceded. Both men threw punches, but it was Levein’s which did the damage, breaking Hogg’s nose. He was sent off as he was being carried off on a stretcher with Levein suffering the same fate, and they were later handed 10 and 12-match bans respectively.

Andre Fabre expects to have a clearer idea of how far Narkez can go this season after he contests the bet365 Feilden Stakes at Newmarket.

An impressive winner on his third and final juvenile start at Clairefontaine in the autumn, the Siyouni colt picked up where he left off with another dominant display on his Saint-Cloud comeback in March.

Fabre saddled subsequent French Derby hero Intello to win the Feilden Stakes in 2013 and Narkez could earn himself a shot at the Chantilly Classic if he can pass Wednesday’s Listed test on the Rowley Mile.

“The distance should suit him with the extra furlong (nine furlongs) as he is from a family of middle-distance horses, and obviously he’s in good shape,” said the trainer.

“I want to see how he does it because he won easily last time, beating not much, so this will be a good experience for him.

“If he does well, he’s more of a mile-and-a-quarter horse, so the Prix du Jockey Club would be a long-term target for him, but I’ll be wiser after the race.”

Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore team up with Curragh maiden winner Gasper De Lemos, who makes his first appearance since filling the runner-up spot behind Charlie Appleby’s potential Derby candidate Arabian Crown in Newmarket’s Zetland Stakes in October.

“We had four in here at the five-day stage and we rely on Gasper De Lemos,” Moore told Betfair.

“After a promising debut, this Justify colt won his maiden in very good style at the Curragh before finishing second to what looked a smart horse in Arabian Crown in the Zetland here.

“We are happy with him coming into this race but he will be suited by further down the line and I am always wary of an Andre Fabre horse, and his Narkez won very well on his return. And there are clearly others with claims, too.”

Appleby is represented by El Cordobes, who switches to the turf for the first time after comfortably opening his account on his second all-weather start at Kempton in January.

Speaking on the Godolphin website, Appleby said: “I’ve been happy with El Cordobes going into this. Like a lot of runners at this time of year, we will be hoping to establish what kind of level we are looking at for the season ahead, but he has done well physically since winning in January.”

James Fanshawe’s Autumn Stakes third Ambiente Friendly and Richard Fahey’s Native American, last seen finishing sixth behind the Richard Hannon-trained Rosallion in the Group One Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere on Arc weekend at ParisLongchamp, are also in the mix for what promises to be an informative contest.

Cole Palmer is grateful for the opportunity Chelsea gave him to join the club after he celebrated successive home hat-tricks when he scored four times in the Blues’ 6-0 win over Everton.

The Manchester City academy graduate, who joined the Blues last summer, scored a spectacular individual goal to open the scoring.

Palmer scored a header and added a third when he capitalised on a Jordan Pickford error before converting a penalty in the second half. Nicolas Jackson and Alfie Gilchrist also got on the scoresheet as the Toffees came completely unstuck.

It was Palmer’s second home triple in a row, following his three goals against Manchester United earlier this month.

Palmer told Chelsea’s official website: “To make the decision to come to Chelsea was a big one for me and my family, but I just wanted to play football. I’m thankful to Chelsea for the opportunity and I’m buzzing.

“We started well and to score a hat-trick, I’m buzzing. I think the team needed that after last Sunday and some previous games. We did well tonight. It was a great game for the team and me.”

Palmer showed wonderful skill for his first goal after he jinked past Jarrad Branthwaite, receiving a flick-on from Jackson before he produced a first-time curled effort from outside the box into the bottom left-hand corner.

The 21-year-old added: “I think my first one was my favourite.

“My right-footed goal was a bit of a swinger, but my first one was probably my favourite. As an attacker, you always want to help the team with goals and assists, but my main focus was playing well and trying to get into the positions to score goals.”

Manager Mauricio Pochettino heaped praise on Palmer, who is now joint top in the Premier League’s Golden Boot race with Erling Haaland on 20 goals each.

He said: “I don’t judge the player when we sign (them) but I expected the best. It doesn’t surprise us, he’s a player who has had the capacity to score goals when he was playing at Manchester City. He has the capacity to score easily.

“The way he’s adapted, playing and performing is fantastic. He behaves like a top scorer and I think it’s amazing for the team and him.”

John McConnell’s popular and versatile performer Seddon is set to return to action at the Punchestown Festival.

The 11-year-old provided connections with an unforgettable day at the races when landing the Magners Plate Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival last year.

He then reverted to hurdles for the Fitzwilliam Sports Handicap Hurdle at Punchestown’s flagship meeting last term, capping a successful season with another valuable triumph.

A run on the Flat preceded his jumping campaign this season, which then began when he was beaten only a neck in the Deacy Gilligan Hurdle at Galway in September.

Seddon then looked to emulate Shark Hanlon’s Hewick when he set sail for Far Hills in New Jersey to contest the American Grand National, a race in which he finished third for owners the Galaxy Horse Racing Syndicate.

The gelding met with a setback after the run and has not been seen since as a result, but now he has returned to action and is being aimed at the Punchestown Festival to kick off a campaign that will run throughout the warmer months.

“He’s Punchestown-bound and hopefully he goes there in good shape, that’s the plan with him,” said McConnell.

“He had a setback in America and we had to do a little procedure on him and he’s coming back from that now.

“He’s in good shape and we’re hopeful that we can get a good run with him now, he’ll probably stay on into the summer.

“We haven’t had much of a campaign with him so we’re hoping we can get him back to form and kick on with him.”

Caitlin Clark is living the dream after she was chosen as the first pick in the WNBA draft by the Indiana Fever.

The 22-year-old is stepping up to the professional league as the most successful college player in history, which has made her the new star of the sport.

She joins last year’s first pick Aliyah Boston – a former team-mate of hers in the United States Under-19s – at the Fever as the club try to revive their fortunes after again failing to reach the play-offs in 2023.

Clark said on the WNBA website: “I dreamed of this moment since I was in second grade, and it’s taken a lot of hard work, a lot of ups and downs, but more than anything, just trying to soak it in.

“Obviously going to an organisation that has, in my eyes, one of the best post players (Boston) in the entire world.

“My point guard eyes just light up at that. And obviously, Aliyah has been one of my team-mates before. I’m excited. I can’t wait.”

 

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Fever head coach Christie Sides said on the club’s website: “Caitlin is one of the most naturally gifted basketball players I have ever seen enter the WNBA from the college level.

“Her shooting and passing abilities captivated an entire audience of basketball fans, and her ability to make those around her better was even more evident during her collegiate career.

“We can’t wait to bring her to Indiana and incorporate her into our locker room with a group ready to get back to the postseason.”

Clark’s Fever career kicks-off in the WNBA opener against the Connecticut Sun on May 14.

Ted Walsh believes even if Willie Mullins does not manage to emulate Vincent O’Brien by being crowned champion trainer in the UK when based in Ireland, both have played their part in changing the face of National Hunt racing.

Given the feats will be over 70 years apart – O’Brien was champion trainer for successive seasons in the early 1950s – Walsh feels it is difficult to compare their achievements.

However, he is left in no doubt that just like O’Brien, Mullins is destined to be remembered as a man who changed his sport.

“It’s very hard to compare anything like that because the prize-money was totally different,” said Walsh.

“Willie has never been that bothered about it, he admits it, but now he’s in front he may as well have a good go. He was very close one year when Vautour fell at Aintree (2016), if he had won Willie would have been champion.

“Whether Willie is champion trainer in England or not – it would be a great achievement, but he’s the real deal whether he does it or not.”

O’Brien was a pioneer who after dominating the National Hunt scene in the 1950s and 1960s, later switched his attentions to the Flat, winning the Triple Crown with Nijinsky in 1970. He remains the last man to win the Triple Crown.

“Vincent won three English Nationals with three different horses three years in a row (Early Mist 1953, Royal Tan 1954 and Quare Times 1955), three Champion Hurdles with Hatton’s Grace (1949–1951), the Gloucester Hurdle at Cheltenham used to divide and in 15 years he won 11 of them!” said an incredulous Walsh.

“Of course after doing all that he went and did the same on the Flat!

“He told me once that he always travelled first class on the train because there was a chance of meeting someone with money! He met John McShane on a train going to Doncaster for the sales and he bought him Ballymoss and Gladness. Ballymoss he won an Irish Derby, the Leger and the Arc and Gladness won the Ebor and the Ascot Gold Cup the following year.

“Vincent set the standard. I knew him, but whenever I saw him I would say ‘Hello Mr O’Brien’ – it was never Vincent. My father knew him well, he was from a similar area to us.”

The victory of I Am Maximus in Saturday’s Grand National means Mullins holds an advantage over Dan Skelton and Paul Nicholls, setting up a fantastic finale with Closutton set to be well represented at Ayr and Sandown over the next two weekends.

“Like Willie is now, Vincent was a hero, everybody looked up to him. I remember growing up as kid listening to my dad and my uncle Ted talking about Vincent,” said Walsh, who won the National with Papillon in 2000.

“I’d say it was pretty similar in those days of people getting sick of Vincent winning, he didn’t quite dominate Cheltenham like Willie does – but I’m sure people were sick of it!

“It was a huge achievement Vincent winning the UK title, I don’t know if he was the first man to try, but he was the first to do it. But Vincent did so many things first.

“He was the first to fly horses from Ireland, the first person to put in an all-weather gallop in Ireland and now everybody has them. He was a pioneer, he brought the sport forward years.

“Like Willie really, Willie has changed it as well but the scale of what he is doing makes it different. Transporting the horses now is different, they have lovely lorries with air conditioning, the roads are so much better so that makes it easier. Everything has moved on.

“I wouldn’t say one fellow was better than the other, but Vincent set the ball rolling and it hasn’t been done by anybody since Vincent.

“When I was growing up Vincent was inaccessible, he was almost treated like royalty, but Willie is the most approachable fellow, he’s very good for the sport and he’s a great ambassador for racing.”

Former champion Danny Willett admits he is tempted to accelerate his planned return to full-time action following an impressive comeback in the Masters.

Willett had feared he would be sidelined for at least a year following shoulder surgery in September last year but recovered sufficiently to return to the scene of his 2016 triumph and carded a superb opening 68.

The 36-year-old was also level par for 17 holes in extremely difficult conditions in Friday’s second round before an untimely triple bogey on the 18th, but comfortably made the halfway cut and went on to finish in a tie for 45th along with defending champion Jon Rahm.

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“Mentally it’s been really tough this week and maybe a little bit of that came in towards the end,” Willett told the PA news agency.

“But the body feels good, shoulder feels really strong so now I’ve got another seven weeks off to go and do the work that we need to do to progress before we come back properly.

“If you said at the start of the week that you’re going to have some really good spells and you’d finish 45th you’d have probably taken it, so there’s some good things to work on.

“The 68 in the first round was fantastic and the last couple of days could have been three or four shots better without being crazy.

“We played with two guys who won this year on the PGA Tour [Austin Eckroat and Stephan Jaeger] and we weren’t sure how it’s going to be but you come in and you don’t feel like you’re leaps and bounds behind them.”

Asked if he was now tempted to add tournaments to his schedule, Willett added: “It is tempting, it’s really tempting but my manager’s going to speak to the guys and see what happens with the medical stuff.

“They’ve always told me to not come back too early because you don’t really gain anything in terms of your medical exemptions and things like that.

“There’s still no rush. The main plan was the European Open in Hamburg in seven weeks.

“That’s the only one I’m entered into and I don’t think there’s any reason to compete before that unless I feel a burning desire or Nic [wife Nicole] kicks me out of the house because I’ve been home too long.”

What the papers say

The Sun reports that Chelsea are seeking contract extensions for midfielder Enzo Fernandez and winger Mykhailo Mudryk. The two 23-year-olds’ previous long-term deals would be extended by another year.

The Daily Mail reports that Liverpool are considering Sunderland goalkeeper Anthony Patterson as a potential replacement for Caoimhin Kelleher.

According to the Telegraph, ex-Chelsea and Everton boss Frank Lampard has dropped out of the running to become the new head coach of Canada’s national team.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Tosin Adarabioyo: Tottenham have made an offer to the Fulham defender, says Teamtalk, as they try to beat Manchester United in the race to sign the 26-year-old.

Viktor Gyokeres: Manchester United are keen on the Sweden striker from Sporting Lisbon but fear Liverpool may scupper their signing chances, reports HITC.

Djed Spence: Tottenham’s 23-year-old right-back is one of several senior players expected to leave the club this summer, claims Football Insider.

Chris Bassitt tossed 6 1/3 effective innings to lead the way as the Toronto Blue Jays dealt the New York Yankees their first losing streak of the season with Monday's 3-1 win to open a three-game series.

Bassitt allowed just one run on four hits to help Toronto to its season-high third straight win. The right-hander has now won back-to-back starts after losing his first two outings of the season. 

The Blue Jays managed just four hits but took advantage of seven walks issued by New York starter Luis Gil in five innings of work.

Gil walked three straight Toronto hitters to force in a run after Cavan Biggio opened the bottom of the second inning with a ground-rule double with the Blue Jays trailing 1-0. The right-hander later uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Alejandro Kirk to cross the plate for a 2-1 lead.

Kirk recorded two of the Blue Jays' four hits, including a two-out double in the third that scored Bo Bichette, who had reached on an infield single.

The Yankees had briefly gone ahead in the top of the second on Oswaldo Cabrera's run-scoring single, the last of three consecutive hits off Bassitt.

Bassitt did not surrender a hit from the fourth inning on, however, and relievers Tim Mayza and Chad Green combined for 1 2/3 scoreless innings before Yimi Garcia retired the side in order in the ninth for his second save.

Gil struck out six but permitted all three Toronto runs as the Yankees lost consecutive games for the first time in 2024. New York was coming off Sunday's 8-7 defeat at Cleveland in which the Guardians rallied for three runs in the 10th inning.

Riley helps Braves pull away from Astros

Austin Riley collected three hits, including an RBI single during a four-run ninth inning that enabled the Atlanta Braves to pull away for a 6-1 win over the Houston Astros.

Four Atlanta relievers combined for 5 1/3 scoreless innings to protect an early 2-1 lead and allow the Braves to take the opener of this three-game series between the two participants in the 2021 World Series.

Aaron Bummer was credited with the win after retiring two of three hitters in relief of Darius Vines, who held Houston to one run and four hits over 4 2/3 innings.

The Astros did touch Vines for a run in the first inning as Kyle Tucker drew a walk, stole second and scored on Alex Bregman's two-out single.

Atlanta answered by scoring two runs in the second off Houston starter Spencer Arrighetti, all with two out.

Travis d'Arnaud started the rally with a double and later scored on an error by Houston shortstop Jeremy Pena, who threw wildly to first base after fielding Luis Guillorme's infield single.

Arrighetti then walked Ronald Acuna Jr. to load the bases before hitting Ozzie Albies with a pitch to bring in the go-ahead run.

The score remained 2-1 until the Braves erupted in the ninth off struggling Houston closer Josh Hader, who surrendered four hits and a walk while recording just one out.

Hader also threw a wild pitch that allowed Adam Duvall to advance to second in front of Orlando Arcia's run-scoring single that gave Atlanta a 3-1 advantage. Riley and Marcell Ozuna later delivered RBI singles and the Braves scored another run on a fielder's choice groundout.

Arrighetti struck out five over four innings in his second major league start, but took the loss after permitting two runs.

Cubs rally in ninth inning, then beat Diamondbacks in 11

Nico Hoerner's run-scoring single in the 11th inning capped a late rally that propelled the Chicago Cubs to a 3-2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks in the opener of a three-game series.

Hoerner finished 2 for 4 and also scored the tying run in the ninth when he raced home from second base on a wild pitch thrown by Arizona reliever Kevin Ginkel.

Michael Busch tied a franchise record for Chicago with his fifth consecutive game with a home run. The first baseman achieved the feat with a solo shot off Diamondbacks' starter Merrill Kelly in the top of the second inning that gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead.

Kelly did not allow a run over the remainder of his five-inning stint, helping the Diamondbacks eventually move ahead when Randal Grichuk doubled in the eighth and scored on Corbin Carroll's single off reliever Drew Smyly to put Arizona up 2-1.

Ginkel surrendered one-out singles to Hoerner and Mike Tauchman in the ninth, however, before Hoerner hustled home from second on the closer's errant pitch to the plate with the Cubs down to their final out.

Hoerner put Chicago ahead in his next at-bat by delivering a bases-loaded single off Bryce Jarvis in the 11th. Keegan Thompson then stranded the tying run at third in the bottom of the inning to wrap up the Cubs' third straight victory.

Chicago starter Ben Brown worked six innings and yielded just one hit, a single to Jake McCarthy in the second that brought in Arizona's first run.

 

Aston Villa were relegated from the Premier League following a 1-0 defeat away to Manchester United on this day in 2016.

Marcus Rashford’s 32nd-minute goal condemned Villa to the second tier of English football for the first time in 28 years.

Rudy Gestede hit the post with a volley late on but there was no delaying what was by then the inevitable.

It was a ninth straight defeat and 24th of the campaign for Villa in a dire season.

They would finish with only three wins and 17 points, half the tally of 19th-placed Norwich, and 22 points adrift of safety.

Villa, the 1982 European Cup winners, had been part of the Premier League since its inception and in the top flight since 1988.

But the 2015-16 season quickly turned into a horror show and they had been bottom of the table since the start of November.

Manager Remi Garde had left the previous month and Villa travelled to Old Trafford under the leadership of caretaker boss Eric Black, who never had any realistic hope of turning the tide as fans turned on the club’s American owner Randy Lerner.

At Old Trafford they were comfortably outplayed by Louis van Gaal’s United side, who were in a tight battle with neighbours City for fourth place and Champions League football – one in which they would ultimately come out second best on goal difference.

Villa spent the next three seasons in the Championship before returning to the top flight via the play-offs in 2019.

Cole Palmer’s four-goal haul in Chelsea’s thumping 6-0 win over Everton at Stamford Bridge was overshadowed by what Mauricio Pochettino called “unacceptable” behaviour as two of his players were involved in a physical altercation over who should take a penalty.

The home side were four goals up in the second half when Nicolas Jackson and Noni Madueke caused the unsavoury scene that left their manager feeling the need to apologise to fans watching the game around the world.

Palmer, the club’s appointed penalty taker, finally took charge following intervention from the captain Conor Gallagher, recovering his composure to score his fourth of the game and move on to 20 Premier League goals for the season.

“The players know, the club knows that Palmer is the penalty-taker,” said Pochettino, who was visibly agitated during his post-match duties.

“I’m so, so upset about the situation. In every country people are watching the game and we cannot send this type of image.

“I want to apologise to our fans. Discipline is the most important thing for the team. It’s a collective sport. I’m not going to accept this type of behaviour. I’m going to be very strong. I promise it’s not going to happen again.

“We need to move on and talk about the game – 6-0 against a very good team like Everton, clean sheet, I think we should be happy, no?”

In a debut season defined by individual excellence, the first half was superb, even by Palmer’s own exceptional standards.

His first goal alone was worthy of winning a Premier League match, nutmegging Jarrad Branthwaite before playing a neat one-two with Jackson, then curling the ball left-footed beyond the dive of Jordan Pickford.

His second was a poacher’s finish, reacting quickest to knock in the rebound after Jackson’s effort had been pushed out by the goalkeeper.

Everton were falling apart, a collapse encapsulated by Pickford’s error, playing the ball straight to Palmer to punt the ball into an empty net from 45 yards.

Jackson scored Chelsea’s fourth, hooking Marc Cucurella’s cross under control and guiding it home with a swing of the right boot.

Then came the sight of Jackson and Madueke pushing and shoving over a penalty awarded in the 63rd minute.

“We don’t talk about punishment,” said Pochettino. “It’s about learning. They are young guys. It was very good the reaction of Gallagher like a captain. But you cannot show that type of behaviour.

“The discipline is going to be stronger. If they behave like kids, it’s impossible. You cannot behave like kids. It’s a shame, it’s an unacceptable thing. We don’t deserve to be talking about this.”

At the end of an excellent display, academy graduate Alfie Gilchrist capped things off by firing home his first goal for the club in stoppage time.

Everton boss Sean Dyche, whose side sit just two points clear of the relegation zone, reflected on a “horrid” night for his team.

“It’s miles off where we want to be,” he said. “There’s no excuses for that. Miles off the mark, miles from where we’ve been.

“The goals were alarmingly poor. It’s just simple tackling, reading and anticipating the game. The basics were out the window. A horrid night without a shadow of a doubt.”

Trinidad and Tobago’s Sunil Narine has made it clear that he will not be part of the West Indies squad for the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup in the Caribbean this June. Narine, who has not represented the West Indies since 2019, reiterated his decision after the Kolkata Knight Riders' emphatic victory over the Lucknow Super Giants at Eden Gardens on Sunday.

Former West Indies cricketer turned commentator Samuel Badree asked Narine about his World Cup plans during a post-match interview, to which Narine responded, "I will be watching from home, Badree."

The 35-year-old Narine's absence from the West Indies setup has been notable since 2019, despite invitations to return to the team. Windies white-ball coach Darren Sammy recently indicated that the squad selection process for the World Cup was nearing completion, highlighting the exposure of over 22 players in preparation for the tournament.

“We’ve selected squads and exposed about 22 players over the last year in preparation for this main event that is coming," Sammy explained during a press briefing. "It’s based on the measures that we’ve taken and the strategic roles we have given players.”

While Narine has been a key player for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL since 2012, contributing significantly to the franchise's two title victories in 2012 and 2014, his focus remains on franchise cricket rather than international duties. He has played 51 T20 Internationals for the West Indies, showcasing his talent with 52 wickets at an economy rate of 6.01.

Narine made his debut for the West Indies in March 2012 against Australia and played his last match for the Caribbean side in August 2019 against India. Known for his mystery spin and explosive batting, Narine continues to be a vital asset for the Kolkata Knight Riders, as demonstrated by his recent impactful innings of 85 from 39 balls while opening the batting against the Delhi Capitals.

Despite his absence from international duty, Narine's contributions in franchise cricket underscore his prowess in the T20 format. As the T20 World Cup approaches, West Indies will proceed with a squad that reflects the strategic planning and player exposure outlined by Coach Sammy, with Narine choosing to focus on his IPL commitments while supporting the regional team from the sidelines.

Cole Palmer became the Premier League’s joint-leading scorer this season as his four goals helped Chelsea crush hapless Everton 6-0 at Stamford Bridge.

The former Manchester City player now has 20 for the campaign and dismantled Sean Dyche’s side almost single-handedly, netting a hat-trick inside the first 29 minutes to breathe genuine momentum into his team’s bid to qualify for Europe.

This was as complete a first half as Chelsea have managed under Mauricio Pochettino, displaying a clinical edge in front of goal that made the insipid attacking displays of earlier in the season feel like a distant memory.

It was also a night for individuals. Moises Caicedo at the base of midfield gave a performance full of guile and maturity; rarely had he looked so in command in Chelsea colours.

Nicolas Jackson, who scored the fourth goal, and Mykhailo Mudryk were superb, further turning the tide of opinion in their favour after slow starts to their careers in blue.

Then there was Palmer, Chelsea’s talisman, who is surely now a contender to challenge his former Manchester City team-mate Erling Haaland for the Golden Boot.

This was not a perfect 90 minutes and there are still issues for Pochettino to address. When his team were given a penalty at 4-0 up in the second half, there was the unsavoury spectacle of a physical altercation as Jackson and Noni Madueke each tried to take the ball from the appointed taker Palmer. It pointed to a failure of discipline and leadership that the manager must surely address.

But it could not sour a fine night for home fans in west London, capped off fittingly when academy graduate Alfie Gilchrist fired in his first goal for the club in stoppage time.

Chelsea had started the game sluggishly, narrowly avoiding going behind after nine minutes when Beto missed the target from four yards.

As so often this season it required intervention from Palmer to shake them to life. Receiving the ball deep from Malo Gusto, he impudently nutmegged Jarrad Branthwaite, played a one-two with Jackson, then curled his finish wide of the dive of Jordan Pickford for his first goal of a remarkable first half.

Soon the floodgates were open. After 17 minutes, Mudryk was played in down the left by Jackson who, receiving it back from the Ukrainian, shot first time. Pickford beat the ball out, but only to the feet of the arriving Palmer who grabbed his second.

His finish for 3-0 was exquisite, but the opportunity came gift-wrapped from Pickford. The England goalkeeper tried to pick out Amadou Onana but came up short with his pass. In nipped Palmer and, undaunted by the 45-yard distance to goal, lobbed it into the net for his hat-trick.

Jackson made it four before the break, showing exquisite touch to drag Marc Cucurella’s cross out of the air before turning and guiding the ball beyond the goalkeeper’s grasp into the corner.

The 22-year-old has shown significant improvement in recent weeks, and his 13th goal of the season was surely his best so far for Chelsea.

Palmer argued away Jackson and Madueke to make it five from the penalty spot just past the hour mark, then Gilchrist drilled into the bottom corner from Pickford’s parry at the death, as Chelsea moved to within three points of the top six.

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