On December 3, 2021, Lamara Distin opened her collegiate season at the Woo Pig Classic with a leap of 1.86m that was good for a comfortable victory at the Woo Pig Classic in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Interim Head Coach of the “Reggae Boyz,” Paul Hall, says his selection policy in the short term will be to pick the best players available as he aims to get Jamaica into the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Katherine Wynter was delighted to be national women’s badminton champion once again after she defeated Breanna Bisnott in the final of the All Jamaica National Badminton Championships that concluded at GC Foster in Spanish Town, St Catherine on Sunday.

The West Indies lost the first T20 International against Pakistan by 63 runs in Karachi on Monday. Chasing 201 for victory, the Caribbean men folded for 137 in 19 overs.

The West Indies lost too many wickets early with Brandon King (1), Nicholas Pooran (18) and Devon Thomas (2) all back in the hutch within the first six overs. It would only get worse for the visitors, who slumped to 60-5 after losing Shai Hope for 31 and Shamarh Brooks for five within three balls of the 10th over bowled by Shabad Khan.

Not even the in-form Rovman Powell could rescue the West Indies. Powell hit a four and two sixes before he, too, fell to Khan for 23 off 15 balls.

His was the seventh-wicket to fall after Dominic Drakes had been dismissed by Haris Rauf for five.

Romario Shepherd and Odean Smith provided some rearguard resistance with a partnership of 46 that was eventually broken when Shaheen Shah Afridi bowled Smith for 24 with the West Indies still needing 67 from the last two overs.

Romario Shepherd went next ball, bowled for 21 by Mohammad Wasim, who would later bowl Oshane Thomas for one, to finish with 4-40.

Shabad Khan took 3-17 from his four overs.

Earlier, half-centuries from Mohammad Rizwan and Man-of-the-Match Haider Ali had steered Pakistan to 200-6 off their 20 overs after Nicholas Pooran won the toss and sent the home team to bat.

The visitors had immediate success when Babar Azam was dismissed in the first over bowled by Akeal Hosein, who got the Pakistan captain to nick one into the gloves of Shai Hope behind the stumps.

The West Indies had further success in the fifth over when Fahkar Azam skied a Romario Shepherd delivery and was caught by Shamarh Brooks for 10 to have Pakistan at 35-2.

Despite the loss of those two wickets, Pakistan maintained a healthy strike rate with Rizwan and Ali putting together a stand of 105 in 62 balls before Rizwan was caught in the deep by Odean Smith, who gifted Shepherd with his second wicket of the match.

Rizwan ran well between the wickets and hit 10 fours in his score of 78 from 52 balls.

The West Indies fought back with the wickets of Asif Ali removed by Oshane Thomas for 1 and Iftikhar Ahmed dismissed by Smith for seven as Pakistan slipped from 140-3 to 161-5.

However, Ali and Mohammad Nawaz, kept Pakistan above nine an over, the latter being rather brutal hitting three fours and two sixes in his unbeaten 10-ball 30.

Between them, they scored 30 from 11 balls before Ali was the last man out for 68 in the 20th over bowled by Dominic Drakes.

Drakes ended with figures of 1-43 from his four overs. Smith proved expensive with 1-52 from his four while Shepherd was the best of the bowlers with 2-43. Twenty-one of those runs came off his last over, the 19th of the innings.

 

Half-centuries from Mohammad Rizwan and Haider Ali steered Pakistan to 200-6 off their 20 overs in the first of their three T20 internationals against a new-look West Indies team in Karachi on Monday.

Nicholas Pooran, West Indies T20 captain for the tour of Pakistan that begins on Monday, believes the absence of Kyle Mayers, Sheldon Cottrell and Roston Chase for the series, presents opportunities for other players to show what they are worth.

The three players tested positive for Covid-19 on arrival in Pakistan last week and have been ruled out of the tour that involves three T20 internationals and three ODI’s from December 13 to 22. 

While describing the situation as being ‘unfortunate’, the Trinidadian, who is leading the team in the absence of the injured Kieron Pollard, said that while the unavailability of the three players will disrupt their initial plans, he believes it presents a chance for others to take advantage.

“(The) selectors and coaches had original plans on what the 11 would look like, who was going to play, who wasn’t going to play,” Pooran told members of the media Sunday.

“When saying that, other guys are going to get the opportunity to showcase their talent and abilities, so we are looking forward to seeing those guys take their opportunity.”

The three players out with Covid is expected to have a major impact on the team that is already without several of its senior players including Andre Russell, Jason Holder, Shimron Hetmyer and Evin Lewis.

In their absence players like Odean Smith, Gudakesh Motie, Dominic Drakes, Justin Greaves and Shamarh Brooks, are among those aiming to cement a place in the team that has begun a process of rebuilding following a disastrous ICC T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates where the West Indies was eliminated in the group stage after winning only one of their five matches.

Pooran said he is excited to see what the new players will bring to the team.

“It’s obviously a new rebuilding stage for us now. It is unfortunate that we don’t have other senior players here but when saying that I am very excited to see this new crop of players get onto that cricket field,” he said.

“I believe that there are a lot of talented players here, a lot of special players, especially when it comes to the shorter form of the game so I am very excited to see what’s going to happen on the cricket field. I am looking forward to seeing us play together, sticking to our plans as much as possible and being hungry for success.”

 

 

 

Sean Johnson was the hero as New York City FC claimed their maiden title with a 4-2 penalty shootout win over Portland Timbers following a 1-1 draw after extra time in the MLS Cup final.

Portland were favourites heading into Saturday, given they had won five of the previous six meetings with the Pigeons and boasted home advantage at Providence Park, but fell behind to Valentin Castellanos' first-half header.

Felipe Mora dramatically levelled things up in the final minute of stoppage time, but neither side could find an extra-time winner, meaning penalties were required to split the two sides.

Johnson then produced two fine stops against Alfredo Morales and Diego Valeri in the shootout, while Alexander Callens converted the decisive spot-kick to secure the first title in New York's history.

Castellanos squeezed a header underneath Steve Clark from Moralez's free-kick to open the scoring four minutes before half-time, the forward becoming the first player since Jozy Altidore and Nicolas Lodeiro in 2016 to score in three straight postseason appearances.

Sebastian Blanco drilled just wide from long range in response on the stroke of half-time, though Portland looked timid despite having tasted victory in their last four matches against Ronny Deila's side by an aggregate score of 8-1.

Clark tipped Moralez's free-kick onto the crossbar after the interval, before an equaliser eventually arrived for Giovanni Savarese's men in the final moments when Jaroslaw Niezgoda's strike deflected to Mora, who finished into the bottom-right corner to send the final to extra-time and subsequently penalties.

Johnson and Clark traded penalty stops against Mora and Morales before Callens powered down the middle to secure victory after Valeri was denied by the New York goalkeeper.

Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell and Kyle Mayers are all unavailable for the West Indies T20 series against Pakistan after returning positive Covid-19 tests in Karachi.

The West Indies Women are on their way home following 11 days of quarantine in Oman after the International Cricket Council’s (ICC) Women’s Cricket World Cup qualification tournament in Zimbabwe was cancelled over Covid fears.

In the wake of the discovery of the new Omicron Covid variant, more severe global restrictions against travellers from a number of African countries, including Zimbabwe, forced the ICC to abandon the tournament prematurely and to send competing teams home as quickly as possible.

The West Indies squad was flown to Oman by an ICC private charter, with a short stopover in Namibia, along with eight other international squads. Oman was used as a staging area for the West Indies Women’s squad while they awaited an available route home.

“We are pleased to confirm that the West Indies Women’s squad will soon be making their way back home. We want to thank them for their patience and understanding as we worked with our counterparts at the ICC and Oman Cricket to facilitate their return at the earliest opportunity,” said CWI CEO Johnny Grave.

“We want to express our appreciation to the ICC, Oman Cricket and our operations team, who have worked tirelessly to ensure everyone was comfortable and remained safe.”

Meanwhile, Head Coach Courtney Walsh the players and coaching staff are relieved to be heading home after enduring challenging times in quarantine.

“The team is relieved by the good news that we will be home with our families before Christmas. The sudden cancellation of the Qualifiers and transition period in Oman has been mentally taxing on the entire team, both for the players and management staff,” Walsh said.

“As a management group, we tried to ensure that the players remained in a positive frame of mind. Our Strength and Conditioning Coach created a fitness challenge for all of us to participate in for the duration of the quarantine period, as it was something to take our minds off what was happening. I must say thanks to our Team Manager, the ICC and Oman Cricket, for all their logistical work, in ensuring we’re on our way home as quickly as possible.”

The players and team management are expected to arrive at their various West Indian home territories over the course of the next few days.

Following the termination of the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup Qualifiers, ICC announced that the West Indies Women along with Pakistan Women and Bangladesh Women secured the final three qualification spots for the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup by virtue of the existing ICC Women’s ODI rankings. The ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup will be played in New Zealand from March 4 to April 3, 2022.

West Indies head coach, Phil Simmons, says he’s looking for the young players to put their hands up during their white-ball tour of Pakistan starting December 13.

The West Indies will face Pakistan in three T20I and three ODIs during the tour that concludes on December 20 and Simmons is expecting members of the team to stand up and be counted.

“We’re looking to see who’s going to put their hand up to be a major player in this team. It’s about them putting up their hands and saying we want to go forward with this team. We want to do the things that are necessary to help this team win,” Simmons said.

Speaking in a press conference Friday after the team’s arrival in Pakistan, Simmons acknowledged that this is the team’s first white-ball assignment since the disastrous World Cup campaign and that it is time to move on from that.

“We know what happened in the World Cup and we’re not going to go back there. We’re looking to move forward and see who now wants to move forward with this team and our different ideas of how we want to play,” he said.

The former Ireland and Afghanistan coach also expressed that while many know what these players are capable of, it is time for them to show it in high-pressure situations.

“Yes, we have an idea of what they can deliver, but they’ve got to go out there and start showing us now that they can deliver under pressure. Playing against Pakistan in Pakistan is as much pressure as you can get,” said Simmons.

Simmons says he’s anticipating how the mental approach within the squad will change.

“We’re looking forward to seeing how things are going to change within this squad, not just from a cricketing point of view but also an attitude point of view,” Simmons said.

The West Indies coach also noted the threat of Pakistan left-arm pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi.

“He’s been brilliant for Pakistan and I’m sure he will continue to improve. Our batsmen will work on plans to of how to play him, how to score off him and we’ll see how their plans work out when the games come about,” said Simmons.

 

Former West Indies batsman, Philo Wallace, says the Caribbean side should look to the future instead of the past in order to return West Indies cricket to what it once was.

Veteran coach Vin Blaine has been appointed interim head coach of Jamaica’s Women’s senior team.

Paul Hall has been appointed head coach of Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz following the sacking of Theodore Whitmore earlier today, the Jamaica Football Federation has confirmed. Hall will be in charge for the remainder of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers that resume early next year.

 “Bearing in mind that the World Cup campaign is still ongoing, the JFF has decided to appoint former assistant Paul Hall to lead until the World Cup cycle ends,” a statement from the JFF read.

 “The JFF wishes to thank Mr Whitmore for the work that he has put in with the team over the years."

 JFF President Michael Ricketts confirmed Hall’s appointment earlier today saying, “Paul is the new head coach. We have had discussions with Paul and he is willing and ready. Everything is in place for him to take over.”

Hall is no stranger to the Reggae Boyz. He was a member of the team that historically qualified for the 1998 FIFA World Cup along with other English-based players Fitzroy Simpson, Deon Burton and Robbie Earle.

Hall joined the coaching staff in June on a part-time basis while still being employed by the English club Queens Park Rangers.

The decision to fire Whitmore stems from a recommendation from the JFF’s Technical Committee, who voted almost unanimously to fire him after what has been a disappointing final round campaign in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

After eight games, Jamaica has seven points and lies sixth in the eight-team table. Jamaica has only one win so far after wasting glorious opportunities to defeat the United States at the National Stadium in Kingston in November and Costa Rica a few weeks earlier.

 

 

Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, The Honourable Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, has described West Indies Cricket as being in a state of crisis.

Speaking on Mason & Guest radio show in Barbados on Tuesday evening, Prime Minister Gonsalves said he based his assessment on a string of poor performances from the Caribbean side and an apparent lack of development.

“On the basis of the recent performances in the T20 World Cup, the abysmally poor outcome we have had in Sri Lanka and the very mediocre performance here in the Caribbean in recent times, I think it would be fair to say that the cricket is now in a state of crisis,” said Gonsalves, who went on to say that he believes a lack of ideas for a way forward from leaders of cricket around the region continues to be a contributing factor to the demise of the game.

“What we are having here is a full-blown crisis, not a crisis of governance so much, but a crisis in the performance which is connected to governance. I see a crisis as a condition in which the principals are innocent of the extent of the condition and have no credible bundle of ideas as to the way forward,” he said.

Gonsalves said he doesn’t believe those in charge of West Indies cricket truly understand the magnitude of the situation at hand.

“Every time I hear persons speak after a poor performance, you get commentary about how we didn’t do so badly; that there are bright spots and we keep looking for them as though we have to fool ourselves as to what is taking place. I don’t think we ought to fool ourselves and I’m not so sure from what I’ve been hearing that the persons who are in charge at different levels fully grasp what is here upon us,” Gonsalves said.

The West Indies next assignment will be a limited-overs tour of Pakistan consisting of three T20 Internationals and three ODIs beginning on December 13.

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