Jamaica Scorpions head coach, Andre Coley, has backed the team to improve its output at the crease for the new season of the Regional Four Day Competition, with the addition of new blood.

The franchise which has not won the tournament since the 2011-2012 season, has struggled to find consistency in recent editions, particularly at the crease.

“We have gone for younger investment at the top of the order to partner John and we have brought in young wicketkeeper-batsman Romaine Morris with the intention of strengthening the batting,” Coley told members of the media on Tuesday.

“The discussion that we have had with our senior batters is if they can even replicate or do better than what they did last year, along with some production from the younger guys then we should have more consistency in our batting,” he added.

Led by Jermaine Blackwood’s 768 runs, the team had a fair showing at the crease at the last edition of the tournament and scored the second-most in the competition with 3730.  The tally saw the Scorpions finish in third spot overall behind Trinidad and Tobago and champions Barbados.  Morris has been selected ahead of Aldane Thomas to partner with the team captain Campbell at the top of the order.  The Scorpions will bowl things off against the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force on Wednesday.

West Indies all-rounder Akeal Hosein has enjoyed a brilliant start to his international career.

The Trinidadian left-arm spinner has so far taken 21 wickets in 13 One-Day Internationals and 15 wickets in 18 T20 Internationals.

Hosein is currently representing the regional side in an ongoing white-ball tour of India in which the team finds itself 1-0 down in the three-match ODI series.

He took 1-46 from nine overs in the game the West Indies lost by six wickets.

Speaking in a press conference on Tuesday, ahead of the second ODI on Wednesday, Hosein, who is on his first tour of India, explained that figuring out the bowling in the conditions remains a work in progress.

“It's just about reading what type of pitch it is, what type of soil it is, and see what works on the day. Sometimes, you get information and it doesn’t really help you in the match so it’s definitely something that you have to go out there and feel for yourself and you can probably just keep that information at the back of your mind as well,” he said.

In their turn at the crease, in the first ODI, the West Indies batsmen were put into a blender by India’s spin duo of Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar, who took seven wickets between them.  So the question remains, how do the Windies batsmen plan to manage the spin onslaught in the second ODI?

“I think more of that will be revealed tomorrow. We don’t know how the surface might play; it might play the same, it might play better, it might play worse. One game plan that we do have no matter what is to just be positive and get ourselves into proper positions.  To play strong scoring shots and I think that’s something we’re going to stick with, no matter the surface and conditions. The more we’re able to do those things, we’ll be able to get through it,” Hosein added.

“The conversation after the game was generally about not getting our heads down. Yes, we’ve lost the match and it’s a short series with only three matches but more around the positives we took from the game. Although we lost, there were still positives and it’s just about how we plan to bounce back and come back stronger in the second game,” he added.

His performances this year have certainly caught the eye of the now 10 lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises, with the auction for the 2022 season just a few days away but Hosein says his focus is on winning this series.

“These two games are very important for me because they will determine the series for us. I’m not really focused on the IPL. I’m focused on the task at hand right now. Yes, we know the IPL is the best league around but, having said that, I think once I do the right things and perform well for my team, other doors will open for me. The focus now is to try to win this ODI series,” he said.

The second ODI takes place on Wednesday.

 

 

 

 

 

Cricket West Indies (CWI) on Monday announced the West Indies Championship 2022 will start on Wednesday, February 9, marking the return of first-class cricket in the region since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

CWI has unveiled the match schedule for the first two rounds of the West Indies Championship as part of a five-round tournament scheduled for the six professional regional franchises.

The West Indies Championship marks not only a return of the regional red ball competition but also the opportunity for West Indian players to stake their claim for selection to the West Indies Test squad for the forthcoming Apex Test Series between West Indies and England in March 2022.

The first and second rounds will be played in Barbados and Trinidad from Wednesday, February 9 to Saturday, February 12 and from Tuesday, February 15 to Friday, February 18. The teams will again compete for the Headley/Weekes Trophy named in honour of West Indies legends George Headley and Sir Everton Weekes.

Defending champions, Barbados Pride will face Leeward Islands Hurricanes in the first match at Kensington Oval, home team Trinidad and Tobago Red Force host Jamaica Scorpions at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Trinidad while the newly named Guyana Harpy Eagles face Windward Islands Volcanoes at Queens Park Oval in Trinidad.

In the second round, Barbados Pride faces Jamaica Scorpions at Kensington Oval, Trinidad and Tobago Red Force take on Windward Islands Volcanoes at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy and Guyana Harpy Eagles meet Leeward Islands Hurricanes at Queen’s Park Oval.

The last three rounds of the West Indies Championship are scheduled to be contested in May.

For the 2022 tournament, each squad will consist of 15 players due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

CWI is also implementing a special “player loan” system to try to ensure that each team will be able to complete their fixtures. If a team has a player(s) ruled out due to a positive COVID-19 result, they can request to use a player(s) from another team and/or from a pool of locally registered reserve players.

Johnny Grave, CEO of CWI, commented on how the West Indies Championship is a critical part of CWI’s professional cricket calendar. Jimmy Adams, CWI’s Director of Cricket also welcomed the return of the four-day format.

“Following detailed planning over the past six months, we are delighted to finally announce the return of the West Indies Championship. This is exciting news as we know the teams have been putting in hours of hard work in the nets, patiently waiting for the matches to be confirmed and are looking forward to being back on the field and entertaining their fans. These upcoming matches are especially crucial as we host England in the Apex Test Series in March, so the ‘Championship’ will be the ideal preparation for our Test players as well,” Grave said.

“I am pleased to see the re-introduction of regional four-day cricket for the first time since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. This competition plays a critical role in our player-development pathway and, after almost two years, we are delighted to have our regional players back playing competitively in this format,” Adams said.

Live ball-by-ball scoring of each game will be available through the www.windiescricket.com match centre. CWI will be streaming each of the matches with commentary via the Windies Cricket, YouTube channel. The Championship will also be streamed live in India on FanCode, as part of CWI’s partnership with the Indian broadcaster.

Following Sunday's six-wicket defeat to India, fast bowler Alzarri Joseph believes the West Indies need to do a better job at the crease.

After batting first and posting a paltry 176 all out in just 43.5 overs, India needed just 28 overs to get to 178-4 and take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Pace bowler Alzarri Joseph, who was the best bowler on the day for the Windies with 2-45 from seven overs, said the nature of the pitch made bowling difficult.

“It was a pretty difficult wicket. It was slow and spin-friendly so there wasn’t really much in it for me. We had our team meetings and we had specific plans for specific batsmen so I was just bowling towards the plans. I just tried to put in my effort and put my best foot forward for the team,” he said.

A common theme in the West Indies batting over the years, Joseph lamented the lack of application during their innings.

“I just think we need to assess a bit better and spend some more time at the crease. As you see, Fabian and Jason gave us a good partnership and partnerships will give us a better total. We needed to score a bit more," the Antiguan said.

"I think maybe 240 or 250 would have been a more challenging total on that wicket but it’s our first game out and we have two more games to get back in the series so we’ll just go back to the drawing board and put our plans in. We have two days to go back and plan so we’ll have our post-match meetings and come up with plans to get to where we need to get.”

Joseph has had an excellent start to his ODI career with 66 wickets in 41 matches and his goal is to just keep improving.

“My goals are just improving as a cricketer every time I go out on the field. Year after year, month after month, week after week, day after day, I try to improve myself and be better than I was yesterday,” he said.

The second ODI takes place on Wednesday.

 

 

After a disappointing 60m run at the Millrose Games in New York on January 29, Briana Williams ran a massive personal best at the New Balance Grand Prix on Staten Island, New York on Sunday but her coach believes she can go even faster once she breaks out of her ‘starting slump’.

If she can before March, a medal at the World Indoor Athletics Championships could be in the offing.

The 19-year-old Olympic gold medalist opened her season equaling her previous lifetime best of 7.18 at the Purple Tiger meet in Louisiana on January 14 but after promising to go even faster at the Millrose Games, two weeks later, she finished a disappointing fourth in 7.22.

To rub salt into her emotional wound, Williams, the youngest ever Jamaican Olympic gold medalist was beaten by 16-year-old Shawnti Jackson, who equalled the Jamaican’s lifetime best of 7.18, which for her was a personal best as well as an American high school record.

Fast-forward to Sunday and the preliminary heats of the 60m dash where Williams exploded to a brand new personal best of 7.09, which at the time, was the second-fastest time in the world this year. It was the fastest time going into the final that was won by Mikiah Brisco, who caught Williams late in the race before edging in front to record a new world lead of 7.07.

Williams ran her second-fastest time ever, 7.11, for second place.

Her times of 7.09 and 7.11 make her the fastest Jamaican in the world this year, 0.05 faster than Kemba Nelson’s 7.16 set a week ago and 0.14 faster than Kevona Davis’ 7.25.

“My coach and I knew this was coming. It was just for me to have the patience and the right race,” said Williams after her races on Sunday.

“I was happy with my personal best in the preliminaries and to follow that up with 7.11 in the final. There are still things to work on as you can see from the final, but I'm happy with my finish today.”

Among the things she has to work on is getting back the electric start that had defined her career to date as one of the best in the world but which has seemingly deserted her recently.

Williams’ coach, Ato Boldon, believes Williams is primed to go faster but her start has become an issue of concern.

“This is just her third race of the season, her rhythm is better and she is out of the weight room. We still have things to figure out. She is still not starting well,” he said, suggesting that he believes it’s all in her head.

“She is thinking about it. It’s a starting slump.”

Boldon said he would rate her performances on Sunday as an eight-out-ten, believing that once she gets back to instinctively starting well, she will go faster; seven-zero-low.


 

 

 

West Indies Women lost their final ODI by six wickets to South Africa’s Women in Johannesburg on Sunday and with it the series 2-1.

Rohit Sharma enjoyed a brilliant start to life as India's ODI captain in a dominant six-wicket defeat of West Indies on Sunday.

Rohit was named skipper in December but only now, in the series opener in Ahmedabad, has he been able to lead his side due to a hamstring injury.

It was worth the wait, however, as India cruised to victory in their 1,000th ODI, aided by 60 runs from 51 balls from Rohit.

That knock, which included 10 fours and a six, set the tone for a straightforward chase after West Indies had been bowled out for 176.

Even that modest total required some heavy lifting from Jason Holder, whose 57 improved markedly on a woeful 7-79 start after the Windies skipper survived a scare.

Holder could have been the victim of a hat-trick ball from Yuzvendra Chahal (4-49), but his inside edge fell short of short leg.

Chahal's fellow spinner Washington Sundar – returning for his second ODI more than four years after his first – finished with 3-30 to help ensure a straightforward target for Rohit and Co.

An opening partnership of 84 with Ishan Kishan took any jeopardy out of the situation, as India comfortably made 178-4 in 28 overs to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

Holder reaches milestone in attempted rescue act...

A stunning spell from Chahal, whose four wickets took him to 103 in 60 ODIs (the fifth-fastest India bowler to 100), had West Indies in all sorts of trouble, but it also brought Holder out into the middle.

The captain led the way as the tourists belatedly showed some fight, making 57 to pass 2,000 ODI runs (2,011) and become the fifth West Indies player to reach that mark along with 100 wickets in this format. Holder has 141 ODI wickets but could not add to that tally.

But both innings belong to opposite number Rohit

There is little doubting Rohit's ability with the bat, and the opener's 60 took him past Sachin Tendulkar (1,573) onto 1,583 ODI runs against West Indies, with only Virat Kohli (now 2,243) scoring more for India.

The full-time captaincy role is a new one, however, and Rohit was just as impressive in that sense. Rewarded for putting his faith in the spinners, the skipper also had three successful reviews from three to account for Darren Bravo, Nicholas Pooran and Shamarh Brooks.

Rohit Sharma takes charge of India for a milestone ODI against West Indies on Sunday, saying the team "have to change" as his tenure as captain begins in earnest.

India have lost their last four ODIs, after slumping to a 3-0 series defeat to South Africa in January, with Rohit forced to miss the games against the Proteas due to a hamstring injury.

The opening batsman was appointed India's ODI skipper in December, taking over from Virat Kohli, but he has yet to feature for his country since then.

Now his chance to stamp a mark on the team has arrived, and Rohit said it would be "the same template" rather than anything radical that he brings to the leadership, but it is clear this is a flexible template.

A three-match ODI series awaits, with matches being played on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday, all at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, ahead of a three-game T20I tussle in Kolkata.

At the age of 34, Rohit is seen as a wise tactician, a safe pair of hands for the coming years, and he has no designs of being a radical skipper.

"We are a good team and have good players. It's just that on certain occasions, there will be situations presented in front of us where we have to change our game a little bit," he said.

"We have to change our game, there is no doubt about that. Adaptability and being open to different things at different points is what we have spoken of."

He explained: "We have played good ODI cricket over the course of a few years – more than a few years, actually.

"Suddenly a loss of a series doesn't mean there's a panic that we need to create. It's just the certain understandings, certain learnings that we need to take into our game.

"The South Africa series was a great learning [experience] for us as to what we didn't do collectively as a team."

India's 1,000th ODI arrives on Sunday. They will become the first men's team to reach that mark and have won 518 matches in the format to date (L431 T9 NR41) – only Australia have won more such games (581).

Rohit will be partnered at the top of the India order by Ishan Kishan, with COVID-19 positive tests sidelining both Shikhar Dhawan and Ruturaj Gaikwad, while Mayank Agarwal, called up to add another option, is in the quarantining stage as he joins the team bubble.


A tangled history

India have won seven of their last eight men's ODIs against West Indies; however, it has been a different story at the venue for this series. In fact, West Indies have won four of the five ODIs they have played against India at the Narendra Modi Stadium.

India's lone win came in November 2002. The latest meeting of the teams at this ground took place in 2011, so although there is a historical record of West Indies dominance, it would be a stretch to point to this as particularly relevant to this series... unless, of course, West Indies rout India, then wise heads can say they saw it coming.

That seems unlikely, though. India have won nine of their last 10 bilateral home men's ODI series (L1), including the last three. Their lone defeat in this period was a 3-2 loss to Australia in March 2019. The last time West Indies triumphed against India, in India, in a bilateral ODI series was a 4-3 success in November 2002.

Can Holder dazzle again for West Indies?

West Indies are fresh from beating England 3-2 at home in a T20I series, so their morale is high. Jason Holder's four wickets in four balls in the final over of the series decider stands him in good stead, and the former captain will have another achievement in his sights. 

Holder, who has 141 ODI wickets, needs 46 more runs with the bat to reach 2,000 in ODI cricket. It would make him the fifth man to register 2,000 runs and 100 wickets for West Indies in the format.

In any form of cricket, you can’t score runs off the deliveries you don’t face. This rings true whether it’s Test, ODI or T20 cricket.

For the West Indies in the One-Day International format, a main problem over the last few years has been an inability to bat for their full 50 overs.

Speaking on Saturday ahead of the start of the regional team’s limited-overs tour of India, Captain Kieron Pollard says the main focus will be to rectify that.

“For this series against India, I think one of the things we need to take forward is how we bat 50 overs. We haven’t batted 50 overs for the last couple series against Ireland and Australia so that’s something that we need to look at. As a team, we need to follow the template and follow the plans that are put out there so we can be successful,” said Pollard.

“It’s another opportunity for us to test our skills and see where we are, coming up against a formidable Indian team in Indian conditions. If my memory serves me correctly, I think the last time we were down here, we did pretty well. We didn’t win the series but we pushed them so now we’re looking to push that one step further,” he added.

His memory does serve him correctly as the last time the West Indies toured India in 2019, they suffered 2-1 series defeats in both the ODIs and T20Is.

Asked about where he is mentally going into this series, Pollard said: "I’m in a good space, you know. I didn’t tour Pakistan so I got some much-needed time off to refresh the mind and body. Coming back in the Ireland series was difficult and the England series was tough as well but these things happen.

"Once you have intentions of playing sports; emotions, mental space, physical capabilities, all these things are tested and, for me, I’ve played my entire career with a lot of things riding on it and I’ve come through it with a smile on my face and that’s how I’m going to finish my career as well.”

The West Indies will oppose India in three ODIs and three T20Is, with the first ODI taking place on Sunday.

 

 

 

 

 

Jamaica and West Ham United striker Michail Antonio has been nominated for the 2021 CONCACAF Men’s Player of the Year award.

The 2021 nominees have been selected based on performance statistics and voting by expert panels consisting of former professional men’s and women’s players and football broadcasters.

The other nominees are Mexico star Hirving Lozano (Napoli), the Canadian pair Jonathan David (Lille) and Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich) and Americans Weston McKennie (Juventus) and Christian Pulisic (Chelsea).

The winner will be determined in voting by national team head coaches and captains in the region, media and fans via www.concacaf.com.

Antonio has so far scored three goals in six games for the Reggae Boyz in World Cup Qualifying and nine goals for West Ham this season, including eight in the Premier League.

 

Richard Pandohie, the Chief Executive Officer of the Seprod Group of Companies, has been named patron of the 2022 Carifta Games.

 As the patron, Pandohie will be the primary spokesperson for the event and will use his traditional and social media platforms to promote the Games scheduled for Kingston from April 16 - 18.

An estimated 500 athletes from across the region are expected to compete at what will be the 49th staging of the event.

 Chairman of the Local Organizing Committee, Mikel Fennell, made the announcement at the weekly meeting on Friday.

 “It’s a happy day when on behalf of the LOC, we can welcome our patron. He is one of the brightest minds representing business in the corporate sector, having transformed the Seprod Group of Companies into one of the most dynamic companies in the region,” Fennell said. 

 “His association with the Games which seeks to convert the lives of young people in the same way as he has done with the manufacturing and distribution company makes him a natural fit for this role.”

 In accepting, Pandohie said he is aware of the magnitude of the appointment.

 “I understand fully the role I have to perform,” he said. “There is so much in Jamaica that comes with what sport (track and field) has to offer in the process of developing world-beaters.

 JAAA President Garth Gayle acknowledged Pandohie’s appointment saying that his contribution will be of “tremendous value, not just to the Games, but to track and field in Jamaica.” 

 

 

Joe Root will continue as England's Test captain at least for the upcoming tour of the West Indies, interim managing director Andrew Strauss has confirmed.

Root's position as skipper was thought to be under threat in the wake of England's crushing 4-0 Ashes series defeat to Australia.

That embarrassment proved the final straw for much-maligned head coach Chris Silverwood and managing director Ashley Giles, who were both dismissed this week.

There have been plenty of calls from fans and pundits alike for Root to also be removed from his position, though it would appear he is safe for the time being.

In his first news conference since temporarily taking over from Giles, Strauss said: "Having spoken to [Root], it is absolutely clear the extent of his commitment to taking this England cricket team forward. He has got incredible motivation and energy to do that.

"He is bruised, hugely disappointed by what went on in the Ashes – that goes without saying and many others are in the same boat – but he has the respect of the players, they all play for him and obviously he sets a magnificent example both on and off the field.

"I'm very happy to give him my support, and make sure that we've got the right sort of structure around him to take the pressure off him and allow him to do his job on the pitch."

Graham Thorpe, who operated as Silverwood's assistant, has not been so fortunate.

A statement confirmed the former England batsman "has left his position" with immediate effect.

Strauss said: "I'd like to thank Graham for his work over many years on the England coaching staff and wish him the best for the future."

England are due to begin their three-Test tour of West Indies on March 8.

Jamaica’s Sports Minister Olivia Grange has pledged JMD$10 million in support to the country’s Premier League clubs for the 2022 season.

South Africa have levelled their Women’s One-Day International series with the West Indies at 1-1 after securing a 96-run win in the third ODI at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg Thursday.

After winning the toss and batting first, South Africa put the West Indian bowlers to the sword to post their best total of the series, 299-8 off their 50 overs.

Opener Laura Wolvaardt dazzled with 117 off 123 balls including 11 fours and a six and captain Sune Luus contributed 56 off 93 balls.

Chloe Tryon provided some big hitting late in the innings with 42 from 24 balls including two fours and three sixes.

Shamilia Connell was the only bowler to have a good day for the West Indies with 4-54 off her 10 overs.

West Indies had to attempt their chase one batsman short as Chedean Nation, who got 35 in the second ODI, was unable to bat after picking up an injury in the field.

The batting was further handicapped when Captain Stafanie Taylor had to retire hurt for the second time in three games after being struck on the helmet by South Africa’s Nadine de Klerk early in the innings.

Eventually, despite a career-best 69 from 94 balls from Kycia Knight, the West Indies fell comfortably short of their target, finishing 203-9 off 43.5 overs.

Shabnim Ismail was the pick of the South African bowlers with 4-37 from 8.4 overs while Ayabonga Khaka took 2-27 off nine.

The decisive fourth ODI will take place on Sunday.

 

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