West Indies Head Coach Phil Simmons has praised Captain Kraigg Brathwaite’s determination after the team’s seven-wicket victory over Bangladesh in the first Test at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium on Sunday.

In the first innings, Brathwaite made 94 off 268 balls, batting for 400 minutes in the process.

“There’s not much to tell as a batsman because I think everybody’s seen his determination and unique style,” Simmons said in an interview after the match.

“He doesn’t have a problem being there for five days and doing his job which is unique because a lot of batsmen nowadays want to play shots and be done with it but, from his point of view, he wants to be there all the time for his team and that rolls into the captaincy,” he added.

Since being named permanent Captain in March 2021, Brathwaite has led the team to a series win against England and drawn series against Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

“He seems to be growing into the role as we go along,” Simmons said.

“He’s not loud but the players know what he wants in his unique way. He makes them understand what he wants from them,” he added.

Brathwaite’s next assignment will be to lead the team to victory in the second test against Bangladesh which begins on Friday at the Daren Sammy Cricket Ground in St. Lucia.

 

The top team in the Eastern Conference had to settle for a draw on Sunday as New York City hosted the Western Conference's Colorado Rapids for a 1-1 draw at Yankee Stadium.

There was no doubt about who the dominant side was on the day, as City finished with 66 per cent possession and 16 shots to the Rapids' six, while completing nearly double the amount of passes (529-271).

Despite their struggles, it would be Colorado who broke the deadlock as Michael Barrios struck a low drive into the bottom-left corner from the edge of the area in the 68th minute.

The lead would be short-lived, with Talles Magno expertly controlling a cross on his chest before volleying in the equaliser less than five minutes later in the 72nd minute.

New York would produce multiple quality opportunities down the stretch, but the Colorado defense would hold firm and take a valuable point away from home, slightly improving their standing up to ninth in the Western Conference.

City remain one point clear of New York Red Bulls atop the East, while further down the table Atlanta United were convincing 2-0 winners against Inter Miami.

Atlanta were in control all game, taking the lead through a Luiz Araujo strike in the fourth minute and finishing with 60 per cent possession.

It was Josef Martinez who assisted Araujo's goal, and Araujo returned the favour, assisting Martinez in the 61st minute to double United's advantage and allow the home side to cruise to the win.

New England came from a goal down to defeat Minnesota United 2-1 at home after the visitors went ahead in the 37th minute through an Emanuel Reynoso penalty.

Minnesota were deserving leaders early, with 10 shots to one in the first half, and all five of the game's shots on target.

That all flipped on its head in the second half, as New England were able to produce 10 shots compared to United's three, with 20-year-old Dylan Borrero equalising in the 53rd minute, before Gustavo Bou scored a terrific free-kick winner in the 69th.

Rounding out Sunday's action was a surprise result as the team with the worst goal differential in the league – Sporting KC (minus 14) – defeated Nashville SC 2-1 on the road.

In a scrappy, defensive battle, neither side finished with more than 0.80 expected goals, but it would be the visitors who were more clinical with their two goals both coming from well outside the penalty area.

Felipe Hernandez scored the game's first goal with an indirect free kick from close to 40 yards out as the bounce beat the Nashville goalie, before Graham Zusi curled in a beauty into the far post with his left boot. Sporting KC finished with 0.35 expected goals.

Windies fast bowler Kemar Roach has admitted to feeling a tremendous sense of pride after joining legendary pace bowler Michael Holding on 249 Test wickets on the all-time West Indies Test wickets list.

On Saturday, the 33-year-old put in another stirring performance against one of his favourite opponents, Bangladesh.  The bowler’s 10th five-wicket haul, on this occasion figures of 5 for 54, not only left the West Indies on the verge of winning the first Test but represented a huge personal milestone.

His latest tally sees the bowler now tied for 6th all-time on the list of the regional team’s top wicket-takers, shoulder to shoulder with the revered Holding, and 10 behind Joel Garner for 5th.  The significance of the moment was not lost on the player, who made his Test debut against the same opponents in 2009.

 “I’m proud.  I’m proud to know how I started, obviously, I came into the team under very difficult conditions, and to build a career and get among the greats is a good feeling,” Roach said.

“I’m one for stats, I love my stats.  I'm always checking once I'm not playing, so it’s always good to be among the greats,” he added.

With more left in the tank, the bowler has targeted the 300 wickets milestone, which would put him 9 behind spinner Lance Gibbs and fifth on the all-time list.

“I’d love 300 Test wickets.  I’m at 249, I have about two to three more years left in me, so that’s the target.”

New York RB momentarily secured a three-way tie atop the Eastern Conference in the MLS, defeating Toronto FC 2-0 on Saturday.

Goals from Lewis Morgan and Luquinhas secured the three points for NYRB, with Morgan scoring his seventh for the season, heading in from a corner in only the second minute.

Luquinhas assured the three points in the 56th, spectacularly chipping over Quentin Westberg from outside the penalty area after Tom Barlow was initially denied when put through one-on-one.

With only one win in their previous six games, the three points were critical for Gerhard Struber's side.

The Philadelphia Union could only secure a 1-1 draw at home to Cincinnati, meaning they join New York City on 26 points at the top of the Eastern Conference, but City are still to play on Sunday against the Colorado Rapids.

An Ercan Kara brace helped Orlando City move into fourth position in the East, backing up from Wednesday's draw in New England to beat Houston Dynamo 2-1.

They leapfrogged CF Montreal, who lost 1-0 to a ten-man Austin FC, following Maxi Urruti's goal in the 67th minute.

Elsewhere in the East, Chicago Fire defeated DC United 1-0 in the battle between the conference's bottom-placed teams, while Columbus Crew and Charlotte played out a 1-1 draw.

There were also stalemates at the top of the Western Conference, with Los Angeles FC and the Seattle Sounders managing a 1-1 draw, as well as Los Angeles Galaxy and Portland Timbers.

It allowed Real Salt Lake to move two points from LAFC, following their 2-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes in Saturday's final game.

Salt Lake captain Marcelo Silva opened the scoring in the 22nd minute after Jefferson Savarino's flick-on from a corner, and Savarino doubled the margin in the 81st with a fine solo effort.

The Vancouver Whitecaps stayed within touching of the West's playoff spots, meanwhile, defeating FC Dallas 2-0.

A late penalty from Jahmari Clarke saw Jamaica’s U-20 Reggae Boyz secure a 1-1 come-from-behind draw and share of the points against Costa Rica in Group D of the CONCACAF Under-20 Championships, in Honduras, on Saturday.

After a scoreless first half, which saw both teams unable to take advantage of limited opportunities to find the back of the net, Dorian Rodríguez gave Costa Rica the advantage with a well-placed header in the 58th minute.

The Jamaicans missed a golden opportunity to get back on level terms when Julián González brought down livewire substitute Chad James in the area.  Duncan Mckenzie, however, missed the resulting penalty, with Costa Ria custodian Bayron Mora diving sharply to his left to stop the effort.

Los Ticos seemed destined for all three points but Andrey Salmerón’s 87th-minute shot came crashing back off the crossbar as the Jamaicans held on.  In a hefty chunk of time added on, however, Clarke was wrestled to the ground by Brandon Calderón for another penalty.  This time the forward did make use of the advantage, sending Mora the wrong way to bring the team back on level terms, only just seconds before the final whistle.

In the day’s other encounter, Cuba scored a 1-0 win over Canada in Group E.  Kevin Martín got the winning goal in the 42nd minute.

West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite has expressed disappointment on missing out on triple figures against Bangladesh but was satisfied in playing a crucial innings on day 2 of the second Test.

The opening batsman crafted a resilient 94 from 268 balls, a resilient 400 minutes that went a long way towards anchoring the team’s total of 265 and a first-innings lead.

Just short of a deserved 11th Test century, the batsman was, however, deceived by Khaled Ahmed and sent back to the pavilion just four short of the coveted total.

“Obviously, I was a little disappointed but I’m happy that the team has formed a lead and it will be key for us to start well tomorrow,” Brathwaite told members of the media on Friday.

“The most important thing was to build a foundation for me, and my team and I was happy with the time I spent.  So well done to the team for getting a lead,” he added.

The West Indies will enter the third day with a lead of 112 runs, after ending the day on 52 for 2.

 

 Former Jamaica captain Nehemiah Perry believes the development of talented fast bowler O’Shane Thompson would have been aided greatly by featuring in more red-ball matches.

The fast bowler got the attention of the region and world in 2017 when he bowled with express pace at the Caribbean Premier League (CPL).  Despite some promising cameos, however, Thomas has not lived up to that promise and is currently out of the Windies squad.

The player’s conditioning has also been a source of concern with the bowler looking several pounds overweight and not approaching speeds seen earlier on.  Perry believes, however, that a part of the problem was the player’s introduction in the shortest format.

“When I saw O’Shane and he was bowling real quick, yes there were some inconsistencies in his delivery but when he gets right he can be very lethal,” Perry told the Mason and Guest radio show.

“I said to my colleagues in the Caribbean and Jamaica, we need to play O’Shane Thomas in four-day cricket. He needs to play the long version of the game, he needs to learn how to bowl.  Learn the art of bowling.

“If you blood someone in T20 cricket where all they have to do is bowl short, not sure were you going to land the delivery.  If you play four-day cricket and you are bowling 20 overs a day you are going to learn the art of bowling and bowling more consistently,” he added.

‘Your body will be stronger and you will have a better work ethic.”

 Former West Indies batsman and Jamaica captain Nehemiah Perry insists the evident lack of proper fitness programs for several professional cricketers around the Caribbean remains unacceptable.

The topic of player fitness has been a hot-button issue in recent years, with a few cricketers failing fitness tests and others on occasions noticeably overweight.  The issue is back in the spotlight following the recently concluded Women's T20 Blaze where Jamaica were crowned champions. 

Some critics have pointed to the lack of a regulatory fitness program for the regional, players but Perry insists it must also be an issue of personal responsibility.

“I don’t think enough work is being put into our cricketers and our cricketers are not properly monitoring themselves.  They eat anything they want, they eat KFC, they eat Burger King, they eat Chinese, they don’t have a proper program,” Perry told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“A part of the program is nutrition.  You have to be eating properly to be a top-class cricketer because your body is going to need it, because, it brings the best out of your body.  Rehydration, you go to the beach, you swim, you do all of these things, you follow a specific program,” he added.

“Players aren’t following that, they go on their phones and they go and sit in the dressing room and do nothing and then they go home and put on weight.  How can you be a professional cricketer and a be putting on weight?  You are not supposed to be putting on weight.”

Jamaica Reggae Boyz goalkeeper Andre Blake insists the team would love to focus on solely football issues but insist on being given adequate means needed to succeed.

The custodian made a triumphant return between the sticks for the Jamaica national team and certainly did his part in ensuring the team got at least a share of the points with Mexico.  Blake had missed the two previous games after pulling out of the team ahead of the first match with Suriname, following the team’s issues with Jamaica Football Federation general secretary Dalton Wint.

 The team and the JFF have had several disputes over the last few years, most notably ahead of the World Cup qualifiers when the team went on strike.  According to the player, the team would love to focus on on-the-field issues.

“If we are going to win, we have to be put in the best position to win.  For me, leadership is very important.  No matter how good you are you need people that are going to appreciate you and set you up to win,” Blake told journalists after the match.

We are going to always demand that, and we are always going to do what we need to do to get that.  When we come here to play football and just football.  So, when we come and have to deal with issues that aren’t even necessary, it’s toxic.”

Veteran West Indies fast bowler Kemar Roach has been passed fit ahead of Thursday’s series against Bangladesh.

The Windies front-line bowler was a doubt for the series after sustaining an injury while playing for Surrey in the English County Championship. However, on Wednesday, on the eve of the series, Roach was passed fit and has been added as the 13th member of the squad.

Roach is the highest-ranked bowler West Indies bowler in the ICC rankings and is West Indies’ leading current wicket-taker in Test matches.

The bowler has typically done well against Bangladesh, claiming a total of 34 wickets in 9 matches.  His career-best figures of 6-48 came against Bangladesh in 2009.  The player will also have fond memories of playing Bangladesh at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, with his best figures at the venue of 5-8 also coming against Bangladesh in 2018.

West Indies captain Kraigg Brathwaite insists the team will not make the cardinal sin of underestimating Bangladesh, despite the Asian unit’s dismal record in the Caribbean to date.

In four series in the Caribbean to date, Bangladesh has managed to secure just one win, which came in a 2-0 series sweep in 2009.  The team could have even more reason to feel confident having handed the Bangladeshi’s a 2-0 defeat on their home soil last year.

With all that in mind, however, the captain is determined to ensure that the team keeps its feet firmly planted when the series bowls off at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium on Thursday.

“The biggest thing is that we can’t underestimate them.  Not because they are not top 3 in the world means that we are just going to roll over them,” Brathwaite told members of the media on Thursday.

“I think as batters and as bowlers, we have to stay disciplined.  We have to go out there and work hard.  I thought the England series we did a good job as batters, a batter getting 100 every game.  I thought that was very good, but we can’t just go out there and think we will be making a 100 just because it's Bangladesh, we have to work hard.”

 

 

Womens cricket

West Indies bangla

NCAA women’s 100m silver medallist Kemba Nelson is mentally preparing for the prospect of a brutal Jamaica National trials, which she must advance to secure a place at this year’s World Championships.

On Saturday, the athlete put in a strong display to finish just behind another Caribbean athlete, St Lucia’s Julien Alfred who took the event in 11.02, with Nelson clocking an identical time. 

To secure a spot in the country’s spot to the Eugene Games, the athlete knows she could have to go a good deal faster.  Typically, legendary track stars Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Elaine Thompson-Herah have accounted for the first two spots.

Recently, however, the two have been joined the upper echelons of world sprinting by Shericka Jackson and the trio top the top three spots at last year’s Olympic Games.  If things go according to expectations, it could leave just one spot on the team up for grabs from a deep field of talented young female athletes.

“My National Trials is coming up where I will be running against way faster women,” Nelson said of the event, which will take place from June 23-26th.

“My start is good, so I just have to work on my finish and relax, to get my hips up at the bottom end and that will really help. I really hope I make the team."

Mexico star Luis Romo conceded his side are "not at the best level" after a frustrating 1-1 draw at Jamaica in the CONCACAF Nations League.

Leon Bailey opened the scoring for the hosts after just four minutes on Tuesday when he headed Shamar Nicholson's cross home.

Jamaica could have doubled their lead soon after, but Nicholson was denied by the crossbar, allowing Mexico a lifeline after a tepid start.

Mexico capitalised on that opportunity in additional time in the first half, with Romo finishing past Jamaica goalkeeper Andre Blake.

However, Gerardo Martino's side could not find a winner in the second half, leaving them a point behind leaders Jamaica, who have played a game more in their Nations League group.

With the World Cup in Qatar just five months away, Romo admitted his country have been far from their best but backed them to deliver at world football's historic tournament.

"Inside we realise that we have to overcome everything, the criticism we must take. We know that we are not at our best or maximum level, but we are very aware of what we can achieve," he told TUDN.

"A World Cup and an opportunity to make history motivates us a lot."

Mexico were somewhat fortunate to not fall behind again in the second half, with Kevin Alvarez making a goal-line clearance after the break.

El Tri arguably deserved to share the points, though, after forcing numerous saves from Blake in the final 45 minutes, and Romo believes Mexico may have even deserved to win.

"In the second half we got stuck," Romo added. "I think we deserved a bit more."

Coach Martino was left satisfied with June's internationals nevertheless.

"All the players adapted well to this training camp. It is complicated to work with 38 players, and they did well," he told reporters.

"Each match had situations that will help us analyse the future."

Mexico are not next in action until August 31, when they face Paraguay in a friendly in Atlanta.

United States coach Gregg Berhalter believes salvaging a late draw in the CONCACAF Nations League at El Salvador will help his side to grow.

Alexander Larin scored in the 35th minute to put El Salvador on course to end a 19-game winless streak against USA, which has spanned 30 years.

But Jordan Morris popped up in the 91st minute with his 11th international goal, and first since November 2019, to steal a 1-1 draw on the road in difficult, rainy conditions.

That was after both teams had players sent off, with American Paul Arriola dismissed for a lunging tackle on Larin and Ronald Gomez for a challenge on Yunus Musah.

Berhalter has two more friendlies to evaluate his side before the World Cup in Qatar, and says the performance at El Salvador will go a long way to developing their character.

"The group grows with moments like this," Berhalter said. "After the game, Jordan Morris walks into the locker room and everyone starts cheering.

"Everyone's uniform is a dark brown colour, the shoes are a mess, the staff is all dirty. This is what builds teams."

Morris' Seattle Sounders team-mates were hammering Vancouver Whitecaps 4-0 in MLS while the El Salvador clash went on, and he reminisced on youth football in America leading to this moment.

"These are kind of some of the fields I used to play on as a kid," Morris said.

"Being from Seattle, obviously, it's not the mud – the rain. I love playing in the rain. So I was just embracing that moment. I think the team as a group just embraced the challenge."

Christian Pulisic captained his country but all eyes were on Haji Wright as the forward competes with the likes of Jesus Ferreira, Ricardo Pepi, Josh Sargent, Jordan Pefok and Daryl Dike for a place up top.

While Berhalter was left somewhat underwhelmed by Wright's performance, he assured that it will not be his final chance in the side.

"It's always difficult when players get an opportunity and don't fully capitalise on it," Berhalter said. "It's not nice for a coach. It's not nice for the player. It's not nice for the group.

"We were all rooting for Haji to be a force. We purposely played more direct in the first half because we thought he could be the force that would unsettle them.

"And it just wasn't his night. That doesn't rule him out for anything in the future. We don't work like that."

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