England all-rounder Sam Curran was tested for COVID-19 on Thursday after pulling out of the team's practice match in Southampton.

Curran was taken ill with sickness and diarrhoea overnight and has been self-isolating in his room at the Ageas Bowl.

A statement released by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) reported Curran was feeling better as the day progressed but would play no further part in the intra-squad warm-up game being played between sides captained by Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler.

Curran scored 15 not out as Buttler's team posted 287-5 on Wednesday.

England are training and preparing at their Ageas Bowl "bubble" for the first of three behind-closed-doors Tests against West Indies, a series that begins next week.

Stokes will captain the hosts as skipper Joe Root attends the birth of his second child, with Curran's participation now a major doubt.

A left-arm swing bowler who also provides valuable lower-order runs, Curran played all six of England's away Tests in New Zealand and South Africa that comprised their 2019-20 winter schedule.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has offered its condolences following the death of former West Indies batsman Everton Weekes at the age of 95.

In a statement, ICC Chief Executive Manu Sawhney remembered ICC Cricket Hall of Famer Weekes as a top batsman of his era and one whose performances will be long remembered.

“Weekes is a distinguished name in cricket and he was an integral member of one of the best Test sides ever. We all know of the ‘The Three Ws’ that comprised Frank Worrell, Clyde Walcott and Weekes, and the reputation they had during the 1940s and 50s.

“His attacking batting contributed in making the West Indies such an attractive side to watch. To be in that team itself was such a big honour, but there were times when Weekes really stood apart with his distinct style. On behalf of everyone at the ICC, I send our sincere condolences to his family and friends,” said Sawhney.

Weekes played 48 Test matches from 1947 to 1958, aggregating 4,455 runs at an average of 58.61. Known to show quick footwork and fluent stroke-play, Weekes slammed 15 centuries, which included a record five in consecutive innings in 1948.

One of those centuries came at home against England and four on a tour of India. He almost got a sixth consecutive century but was unlucky to be run out for 90 at Chennai.

Weekes’s cousin Bam Bam Weekes and son David Murray played international cricket while a few other relatives played first-class cricket.

Weekes officiated as an ICC match referee in three Tests and four One Day Internationals, all in 1994.

England will wear the Black Lives Matter logo on their shirts during the upcoming Test series against West Indies.

The Windies face England in behind closed doors games over the course of July, starting next Wednesday.

As a show of solidarity with the movement campaigning for racial equality, England's players will have "Black Lives Matter" displayed on the collar of their shirts throughout the three-match rubber after agreeing to do so with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

The emblem was designed by Alisha Hosannah, the partner of Watford captain Troy Deeney, and has been added to Premier League shirts for all games since the resumption of elite football in England last month.

West Indies' players will wear an identical logo on their shirts.

"It is important to show solidarity to the black community and to raise much-needed awareness around the topics of equality and justice," said England captain Joe Root, who will miss the first Test in Southampton due to the birth of his second child.

"The England players and management are unified in this approach and will use the platform of international cricket to fully support the objective of eradicating racial prejudice wherever it exists.

"There has to be equal opportunity and equal rights for all. We hope by making this stance we can play our part in standing shoulder-to-shoulder as a team and we hope that by continuing to raise awareness we can move towards a society in which the colour of your skin and your background has no bearing on your opportunities.

"It is very simple, we believe there is no room for racism or any form of discrimination, anywhere."

 

Heading into the final day of their four-day intra-squad match at the Emirates Old Trafford in Manchester, the West Indies have continued to find the going tough with the bat, with the exception of wicketkeeper-batsman Joshua Da Silva.

Da Silva scored an unbeaten 133 as Jason Holder’s XI recovered from 120-5 yesterday to post 272 against the bowling of Peter McSween, 3-28, and Chemar Holder, 2-35.

There was also a wicket apiece for Oshane Thomas, 1-24, Keon Harding, 1-69, Markino Mindley, 1-32, Anderson Phillip, 1-16, and Rahkeem Cornwall, 1-32.

Da Silva formed good partnerships with Raymon Reifer, who scored 22, and Alzarri Joseph, who scored 38. Yesterday, only Sunil Ambris, with 25 managed a score in the double digits.

In fact, the next best scorer for Holder’s XI, who are competing against a team led by his vice-captain Kraigg Brathwaite, was the extras column, with 43 runs going a-begging.

In reply, Brathwaite’s XI have found things just as difficult, with Kyle Mayers, on 43, and Mindley on nine, the batsmen at the crease with the score on 112-7 from just 25 overs.

Shannon Gabriel has been the pick of the bowlers for Holder’s XI with 3-34.

Kemar Roach, 1-14, Holder, 1-21, Joseph, 1-17, and Reifer, 1-21, have also got in on the action.

Earlier, Da Silva, batted for just over six hours, facing 248 deliveries for his tally and smacked 17 boundaries in a mature knock.

The West Indies are in preparation mode for the #RaisetheBat series against England, with the first match of a three-Test affair slated to begin on July 8 at the Rose Bowl in South Hampton.

The team will then play in two games at their Old Trafford base on July 16 and 24.

With the MLS season set to resume next week, the league says six FC Dallas players have tested positive for COVID-19 since arriving in Orlando, Florida.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the MLS said two players tested positive immediately upon arrival at the host hotel, and the additional four tested positive within the last two days.

FC Dallas said every member of their traveling party tested negative before leaving for Florida on Saturday.

All six players were immediately moved to the isolation area of the hotel, and are in daily communication with and receive remote care from a healthcare provider.

The rest of the FC Dallas delegation is following MLS' health and safety protocols and quarantining in their hotel rooms pending the results of additional testing.

The league added that no other members of the MLS delegation have tested positive, and no other clubs have been in contact with Dallas' delegation.

On Sunday, MLS said 18 players and six club staff tested positive prior to traveling to Orlando.

The MLS, which has been suspended since March 12 due to the coronavirus pandemic, is set to resume on July 8 with the MLS is Back Tournament at the Disney World Resort.

FC Dallas open play in the group stage on July 9 against the Vancouver Whitecaps.

The last of the three Ws, Sir Everton Weekes has passed.

West Indies captain Jason Holder continues to struggle to shake off a bit of rust, or allay injury concerns, after being dismissed cheaply in the second and final intra-squad match at Emirates Old Trafford, on Tuesday.

This time around, the West Indies skipper made it to five, with his innings lasting just 13 deliveries.  The disappointment at the crease followed on the all-rounder’s golden duck in the first internal match that ended in a draw last week.

In addition to time away from the pitch, Holder has recently been bothered by what is thought to be a mild ankle injury.  Despite claims that he has not been hampered by it, Holder has looked less than comfortable at the crease.  In fact, he could have departed a lot sooner had Preston McSween held on to a relatively straightforward chance when the Windies skipper nudged the second ball of his innings to midwicket.  Holder had yet to score at the time.

Earlier, intermittent showers had wiped out the first four sessions of the four-day fixture but eased in time to allow play to start at 2:20 pm under lights.  Holder and Jermaine Blackwood were, unfortunately, part of a top-order collapse that saw Holder's side go from 79-1 to 108-5 against a Kraigg Brathwaite-led XI, before ending the day 120-5 when bad light stopped play.

 

 The former president of soccer’s governing body for North and Central America and the Caribbean was sentenced to time served for his role in accepting $1.66 million in bribes in the FIFA scandals and will return to Honduras after 4 1/2 years in the U.S.

Alfredo Hawit of Honduras, CONCACAF’s president from May 27, 2015, until Dec. 4, 2015, was given the sentence Monday by U.S. District Judge Pamela K. Chen in Brooklyn during a video hearing.

The 68-year-old Hawit also was sentenced to two years of supervised release and barred during that time from holding a title in FIFA, CONCACAF or any professional soccer organization. Chen deferred a ruling on restitution for 90 days, said forfeiture will be $950,000 and said he must pay $400 in special assessments.

“I do take responsibility and I have changed considerably. I want to ask forgiveness for all those things I did back then,” Hawit said through a translator.

“There are no words to express how sorry I am,” he said in a written statement read by the translator to the court. “I also regret all the harm I did to soccer, which is the sport that I love. ... From the day of my arrest in Zurich and the time that I spent in jail and 4 1/2 years so far, I’ve suffered. I’ve felt humiliated and shamed by my behavior, and I’m paying the price.”

Hawit, a lawyer, teacher and former professional soccer player, will be deported when the coronavirus pandemic eases and Honduras reopens its border. Prosecutors said his family is working with the Honduran consulate to arrange transport, and Chen recommended that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement allow him to self-deport.

Hawit pleaded guilty on April 11, 2016, to two counts of wire fraud conspiracy and one count each of racketeering conspiracy and conspiracy to obstruct justice. Each count carried a possible sentence of up to 20 years.

His sentence showed the impact of a guilty plea early in the case rather than risk a guilty verdict at trial. Former South American governing body president Juan Ángel Napout is serving a nine-year sentence following his conviction and former Brazil federation president José Maria Marin was sentenced to four years after his conviction. Marin was given compassionate release about eight months early in April, shortly before his 88th birthday.

Chen said Hawit tried to conceal bribes and even used the name of his wife, a superior court judge in Honduras. He also tried to cover up the payments by directing co-conspirators to create a sham contract.

“The government’s investigation and prosecution in this case has rightfully served as a wake-up call to the entire professional soccer world and to all of its associations that business cannot be conducted in this manner,” Chen said.

She said Hawit did not warrant additional jail time, given that he voluntarily accepted extradition, spent two months incarcerated and about four years under house arrest, and he expressed remorse.

“While it is clear that Mr. Hawit faltered badly by agreeing for a number of years to take bribes of a significant amount on multiple occasions and covering that up through elaborate schemes," Chen said, "he did recover after being caught and has since tried to make amends.”

Hawit became CONCACAF’s president after Jeffrey Webb was arrested while attending a FIFA meeting in Zurich, but Hawit was arrested in Switzerland on Dec. 3, 2015. He was extradited to the U.S. the following Jan. 13 and released on bond that Feb. 2.

He was banned for life by FIFA on Dec. 19, 2016, after the adjudicatory chamber of its independent ethics committee found him guilty of violating FIFA's code of ethics provisions on general rules of conduct; loyalty; duty of disclosure, cooperation and reporting; conflicts of interest; and bribery and corruption.

Phil Simmons, a sort of gentle giant, was an explosive batsman and a more than useful allrounder for the West Indies and at the first-class level before he turned to coaching.

His greatest achievements as a player came while playing league cricket in England.

One season, playing for Leicestershire, he scored 1244 runs and took 56 wickets. In that season, Simmons was said to have been bowling very quickly, a change from his generally medium-paced efforts.

But before those exploits, Simmons, who played in England during the 1980s and ‘90s, said while playing in the Northeast of the country, he faced quite a bit of racial abuse.

"It's not a nice thing to face. Especially in the leagues where you're by yourself sometimes. It affected my wife when I was up there. It's not a nice thing.

"I played in three or four different leagues. It was one particular league up in the northeast."

Simmons was speaking before the West Indies revealed it will be using a Black Lives Matter logo created by partner of Watford City football club captain, Troy Deeney, Alisha Hosannah.

At the time, Simmons was as yet unsure about how the West Indies would show its unity with the Black Lives Matter movement.

The West Indies are in England for the #RaisyourBat series for the Wisden Trophy.

The three-Test series begins July 8 at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton with two other games scheduled for Emirates Old Trafford in Manchester.

Ben Stokes wants to continue with the same mindset should the England captaincy be bestowed upon him in the coming weeks.

England return to Test action next month with three matches against West Indies in the bio-secure stadiums in Manchester and Southampton, and they are set to be without skipper Joe Root when the first contest begins on July 8. 

Root is due to leave the team bubble to be with his wife for the birth of their second child and he will require a seven-day period of self-isolation before returning to camp.

That means vice-captain Stokes is set to deputise as skipper, despite concerns from former captain Kevin Pietersen that such a role would curb the all-rounder's attacking instincts.

Stokes is determined to remain the same man, though, even if he admits it will be hard to get the ball out of his hand when he is on a roll.

Stokes said: "If it's flat, I'll just chuck the ball to Jofra [Archer] and Broady [Stuart Broad] and Jimmy [Anderson] and say, 'On you go!'

"It is a tough one because when Joe asks me to come and bowl… if I'm not bowling well I know, right, I'm probably going to be taken off here.

"But then when I feel like I'm in a really good rhythm and don't want to be taken off, Joe doesn't say, 'Keep going.' He sort of looks and goes, 'One more?' And he'll say that for another four or five overs.

"I guess I might have to be a little bit more mindful as I'm the person who's making that decision, but if I've got the ball in my hand or I've got the bat in my hand, I would like to think I'm still going to have to that same mentality as I always do.

"I've been in so many different situations in the field as a batter and as a bowler that I can always relate back to them and think, 'Right, what did Joe expect of me in this situation?' But it's a tough one isn't it to know if you are feeling good as a bowler when to keep yourself on."

While others such as Alastair Cook, Andrew Strauss and Root had been earmarked to be England captain long before they were eventually handed the role, Stokes acknowledged few would have considered him as a skipper-in-waiting.

However, the 29-year-old believes he is ready for the position having played in 63 Tests since his debut in 2013.

"I've been a senior player since 2016 under Cooky and since Joe's been in charge," he added.

"Being able to learn from Alastair Cook and Rooty in terms of different situations throughout the game has rubbed off on me and will put me in good stead for all the different situations that a Test match can throw at you.

"At the same time, we've got some really experienced guys out in the field who I can use. We've got Jimmy, Broady, who've just got ample Test matches and wickets between them. There's so many people that you can throw ideas off.

"I would like to think I would be quite an open captain and wouldn't want my way is the only way. I don't think that's the best way to operate.

"There's 11 guys out in the field so why not get 10 other opinions on something that you're thinking about?"

The West Indies have become the latest team to don the logo of the Black Lives Matter campaign, skipper Jason Holder and co, having it affixed to the collar of the outfits set to be worn during the #RaisetheBat Test series, starting July 8.

The West Indies are in England to challenge for the Wisden Trophy, they won last year in the Caribbean.

The logo, designed by Alisha Hosannah, partner of Watford Football Club captain Troy Deeney, features a clenched fist, along with the words Black Lives Matter. The word ‘Black’ has the logo inserted where the ‘a’ should be.

Reports out of England are that the CWI approached Deeney for permission to use the logo as per the International Cricket Council (ICC) regulations.

“This is a pivotal moment in history for sports, for the game of cricket and for the West Indies cricket team. We have come to England to retain the Wisden Trophy but we are very conscious of happenings around the world and the fight for justice and equality. We believe we have a duty to show solidarity and also to help raise awareness," said Holder.

According to Holder, the decision to wear the Black Lives logo was not taken lightly and that the West Indies understand very well, the position they hold in regard to the fight for equality.

As a group of young men, we know of the rich and diverse history of West Indies cricket and we know we are guardians of the great game for generations to come.

“We did not take our decision lightly. We know what it is for people to make judgments because of the colour of our skin, so we know what it feels like, this goes beyond the boundary.

There must be equality and there must be unity. Until we get that as people, we cannot stop. We have to find some way to have equal rights and people must not be viewed differently because of the colour of their skin or ethnic background.”

According to Deeney, he and his partner are delighted to be part of the statement the West Indies chose to make in support of the Black Lives Matter campaign.

“Alisha and I are immensely proud to be asked and take part in a monumental moment in world sport, this amazing decision by the West Indies cricket team to show their support for Black Lives Matter. When I got the call, I didn’t hesitate to respond, because I know as sportspersons in the spotlight, how important our efforts are to bring about change and the role we play in moving towards change in our society," said Deeney.

Deeney said growing up, the West Indies were part of what shaped his childhood.

“Watching cricket with my grandad, and seeing Brian Lara transcend from being a cricketer to a worldwide superstar, shaped my childhood, so it’s great to be able to help West Indies Cricket show their support in such a meaningful way.”

West Indies will play England in three Test matches behind closed doors – the first at the at Ageas Bowl in Southampton and the other two at Emirates Old Trafford in Manchester, where they are presently based.

Due to COVID19 they have been training and live in a “bio-secure” environment as part of the comprehensive medical and operations plans to ensure player and staff safety.

Former Reggae Boy Claude Davis is a part-owner of a Florida-based football academy that recently signed a five-year deal with the 2019/2020 Premier League champions, Liverpool FC.

Davis, 41, represented Portmore United, Preston Northend, Crystal Palace, Sheffield United and Derby County in a career spanning more than a decade. The towering defender also represented Jamaica 69 times between 2000 and 2012.

These days, Davis is part owner and technical director of the Liverpool International Academy of Central Florida and revealed the deal with the now 19-time English champions.

“Everything that we do comes from the Liverpool Academy in England. It's a pathway for us to try and do things the right way,” Davis told the Jamaica Observer.

“I have been working here for five years and I try to implement stuff. You know I play all my life in England and I see the ways the academies run. I try to do that here, but unfortunately, we do not have the financial backing.”

After approaching Liverpool FC with their proposal, the club responded positively, he said.

“We had a meeting with Liverpool, like six, seven months ago and we explained to them, lay out the vision and the plans we have, and they came back to us as they loved it and they wanted to be a part of it. So we signed a five-year contract with Liverpool to use the name,” he said.

“It's not just their name, but their curriculum as well, and they will send coaches over here three times a year to work with my coaches, teach them the right way, help the coaches to deliver the training sessions, the same sessions the academy in Liverpool is working with.”

West Indies fast bowling great Andy Roberts believes Shimron Hetmyer erred when deciding to forego the West Indies tour of England.

West Indies head coach Phil Simmons was granted permission to attend his father-in-law’s funeral in England last Friday. That’s the word from Cricket West Indies CEO Johnny Grave, who was responding to queries from Sportsmax.TV.

Simmons has been self-isolating since and will only be permitted to re-join the team on Thursday, July 2, if he returns two negative Covid-19 tests.

However, his decision to leave the bio-secure location has raised some concerns and questions over whether the head coach unilaterally decided to leave the facility where the team has been preparing for the coming three-Test series beginning July 8.

Grave assured that Simmons received permission from the Chief Medical Officers of Cricket West Indies and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

“Yes, he left to go to his father-in-law's funeral on Friday and is now going through the re-entry process having had his whole exit and entry approved and managed by the medical teams,” Grave said.

In Simmons’ absence, assistant coaches Roddy Estwick and Rayon Griffith will oversee the Windies four-day, first-class fixture that starts on Monday.

Floyd Reifer will be the batting coach

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