Kwesi Mugisa

Kwesi Mugisa

Kwesi has been a sports journalist with more than 10-years’ experience in the field. First as a Sports Reporter with The Gleaner in the early 2000s before he made the almost natural transition to becoming an editor. Since then he has led the revamp of The Star’s sports offering, making it a more engaging and forward-thinking component of the most popular tabloid newspaper in the Caribbean.

Windies captain Jason Holder has pointed to a newfound hunger in the team as a key component to success, following an unexpected but dominant series win over England.

The regional team regained the Wisden trophy on the back of a 10-wicket win over the British, the world number three ranked team, on Saturday in Antigua.  The result followed on the back of a 381-run win in Barbados, where Holder had a major contribution with a sparkling double century.

 The results marked the first Test series win over England since 2009 and their first against a side other than Bangladesh and Zimbabwe since 2012.  Perhaps even more than the result was the determined, disciplined and gusty approach that the team took in securing the victory.

“We are hungry.  We are hungry for success,” was Holder’s assessment.

“This group has been together for a year and a half to two years and we have been doing some exceptional things.  Credit to the boys for sticking to the task.  I think it’s something we really wanted.  Obviously last year the way we ended was kind of down as well, it was a bit disappointing and everybody wanted to turn things around,” he added.

“After the tour of Bangladesh it wasn’t there but the guys really had a long hard talk in the dressing room.  We wanted to get some honesty in the dressing room…so credit to the boys.”  

Windies top order batsman Darren Bravo insists the team has no intentions of taking its foot off the throat of English opposition, despite securing an unassailable 2-0 lead and the Wisden Trophy on Saturday.

The 29-year-old Bravo played a starring role, albeit in typically different circumstances, as his gritty half-century off a marathon 216 balls provided the backbone for a hard-fought 10-wicket win at North Sound in Antigua. 

The win followed up on another convincing performance in the first Test, which featured a 381-run win in Bridgetown to set the cat among the pigeons.  Heading into the series it was England, the world’s number three ranked Test team that was expected to dominate a Windies team several places below them.  Despite having proven the pundits, and almost everyone for that matter, wrong, Bravo insists the regional team will remain focused on finishing the job.

“I don’t think we can take any Test match lightly. We are trying to make our way back up the Test rankings and that is of paramount importance for us.  We are going to train hard and plan the way we have been planning in the first two Test matches,” Bravo said following the match.

“Before the start of the series the first thing the coach said is we want to win this series 3-0.  There is still motivation there and I don’t see any reason we can’t do it,” he added.

 “It’s going to be tough, I don’t think England will lie down and play dead they are going to come at us and we are looking forward to it.”

Former English Premier League (EPL) goalkeeper and television pundit Shaka Hislop has been appointed as an ambassador for the Trinidad and Tobago Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL). 

The 49-year-old Hislop, who spent 10 years in the EPL’s top flight where he represented Newcastle and then West Ham is expected to play the role of mentor for burgeoning T&T schoolboy football talent.

According to Hislop, who attended St Mary’s College as a young player, claimed the decision to take up the position was a no-brainer.

“It was a pretty easy decision on my part.  I’m a product of the Secondary School’s Football League (SSFL).  I’ve always been a huge admirer of what it brings and what it offers to young men and women in the Trinidad and Tobago school system.

“I know how big a role it played in my own football development.  So I’m more than happy to lend a hand in hopes that it can do the same for some of the other,” he added.

 In his role as ambassador Hislop is expected to conduct clinics with coaches as well as visiting schools to give inspirational addresses.  At the end of the season, he will be selecting an All-Star team.  Hislop made some 26 appearances for the Trinidad and Tobago national team.

Windies opening batsman Kraigg Brathwaite hailed a battling 49 against England, at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, as some of the toughest runs he has ever scored on a day when the team showed plenty of resilience and determination.

On a second-day pitch that still offered plenty of assistance to the bowlers, the regional team fought to 272 for 6 for a lead of 85 runs.  Brathwaite’s contribution at the top of the order amounted to falling just short of a half century and came from 156 balls, with just three fours in an innings that lasted over three hours.

“It’s some of the toughest runs I have made so far,” Brathwaite said.

“I thought the England bowlers did really well today they were really disciplined, they mixed that with some aggression and it will be tough going tomorrow.  So we just know we have to stick together and keep working,” he added.

Brathwaite partnered with John Campbell as the pair put on 70 for the first wicket opening session.  The opener was eventually dismissed by Moeen Ali.

“You can’t worry about the ball that’s gone, like Ralston Chase got one that popped and the next one kept low that was quite unlucky.  You just have to play what you see and work hard.”  

Windies quick Kemar Roach admitted he was pleased with the pitch at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, which offered plenty of assistance to the bowlers on the first day of the second Test against England.

On a grassy North Sound surface that seemed to offer some variable bounce, Roach ended the first innings with figures of 4 for 30, with an economy rate of 2.00, the best of the Windies bowlers. 

Some batsmen in the English line-up seemed to be caught off-guard by the odd springy delivery, particularly Ben Stokes and Joe Root who were visibly surprised by the unexpected bounce.

“There was some variable bounce, it was pretty tough for the batsmen, but you still have to put the ball in the right areas.  I thought the guys did that very well,” Roach said of the England innings.

At one stage, the English found themselves at 93 for 6 before Moen Ali and Ben Folkes sparked a revival that saw the team eventually get to 187.  Despite complaints about the pitch, however, Roach believes that a pitch that favours the bowler on the odd occasion makes for an even and more competitive game overall.

“It’s rare in the Caribbean, very rare, but today it was good.  The pitch was pretty green and it did a lot with the ball. I’m pretty happy with the pitch as a fast bowler,” Roach said.

“I’m thinking it’s good for cricket to obviously have balance, some days for the batsman some days for the bowler.”

The Windies will resume the second day at 30 without loss.

Windies Women’s batsman Deandra Dottin was extremely pleased with a blistering half-ton, which lifted the team to a crushing 71-run win over Pakistan, in Karachi, on Thursday.

In the first of three T20s between the teams, Dottin cracked an unbeaten 90 as the regional team compiled a solid 160 for 2, before dismissing Pakistan for 89. 

The all-rounder got off to a fiery start, gathering 29 of the team’s 41 runs inside the Powerplay.  Dottin’s innings consisted of 8 fours and 4 sixes.

 “I have been working on my innings.  When I assessed the conditions, I found that the pitch was a good batting pitch,” Dottin said after the match.

“It wasn’t my plan to go at them early, but the first ball fell into my area so I just went with it,” she added.

In her time at the crease, Dottin received solid support from Chedean Nation who added an unbeaten 50 as the two put on 109 runs in 11.4 overs.

“It was very good batting with Chedean Nation.  I haven’t batted with her in a while.  It’s good to see her hitting the ball, she batted really well and ran between the wickets really.”

The West Indies women are making their first appearance in Pakistan in 15 years.  The next two matches are on Friday and Sunday, in Karachi.

Windies captain Jason Holder has insisted the team to focus on itself and achieving the desired level of consistency ahead of the second Test in Antigua and Barbuda on Thursday.

Many have predicted a furious fightback from the battered English, following their embarrassing collapsing to a 381-run loss in the first Test match at Kensington Oval.  In the hopes of proving to be more competitive, the visitors have made a few changes.  Opening batsman Keaton Jennings will make way for Joe Denly with Adil Rashid and bowler Stuart Broad also added to the line-up.

The 27-year-old all-rounder insists, however, that the team will not focus on any of the changes made by the English, or their state of mind heading into the second Test.

“I don’t want to focus too much on England.  I just think it’s a matter for West Indies Cricket to continue to be consistent,” Holder said in an interview with the SportsMax Zone.

“Over the year and a half we have seen individuals put up their hands on certain occasions and we have won a lot more Test matches than we have been winning in the recent past and we’ve had the opportunity to beat some top ranked sides, England being one of them in England,” he added.

“Looking back at the team’s performance for the last year and a half two years its been on the incline. It’s just a matter for us to be a little more consistent.  We still haven’t reached the level of consistency we are looking for.  I think this is one series we can target to finish off and close out well.”

A five-for from spinner Dennis Bulli kept Jamaica Scorpions in the hunt for their first win of the West Indies Championship against the Windward Island’s Volcanoes at Grenada National Stadium.

At stumps on the third day, the Scorpions dismissed the Volcanoes for 198 in the second innings to leave themselves needing 211 runs for victory.  Earlier, Chadwick Walton’s 125 threatened to give the Scorpions a first innings lead as they pursued 285 but the Jamaicans eventually fell 13 runs short of the target.

In their second turn at the crease, Bulli seemed determined to ensure the Volcanoes would not vanish over the horizon.  Opener Taryck Gabriel departed the scene early on after being dismissed for 5.  Jerome Taylor struck next to remove Tyrone Theophile who was caught by Bulli.  The spinner then accounted for the dangerous Devon Smith (47) who was caught by Aldaine Thomas.  Smith had partnered with Kirk Edwards to put on 49 for the fourth wicket but Bulli put an end to the partnership also returning to dismiss Edwards who made 21.

Kavem Hodge put on an enterprising showing in his stint at the crease, crafting 58 from 75 balls but he too was stopped in his tracks by Bulli, who had him caught by Brandon King.  All told the spinner finished with figures of 5 for 54.

Chadwick Walton and Oraine Williams are expected to open the day for the Scorpions as they go in pursuit of the target.

Barbados Pride speed twins Marquino Mindley and Shamar Springer each grabbed four-fors in a devasting performance that floored the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force, with a 7 wicket in the West Indies Championship on Saturday.

Forced to follow on after falling short of the Pride first innings total 215, the Red Force were bundled out for 103, falling below even their first innings total of 170.

 In their second stint at the crease, the Red Force batsmen may have dreamt of a big total, but Mindley and Springer clearly had other ideas as they hassled the men at the crease into departing at regular intervals.

In fact, Mindley struck after just 10 balls, removing opener Jeremy Solozano (8) who was caught by Jonathan Carter.  Amir Jango followed soon after, leaving the Red Force at 2 for 10 after being dismissed in identical fashion for 4 runs.  Experienced batsmen Denesh Ramdin and Jason Mohammed did not fare much better.  Mindley had Mohammed caught for 10, with Ramdin just failing to get into double figures when he was gobbled up by Tevin Walcott off the bowling of Kevin Stoute.

Despite barely getting to the century mark, things could have looked a lot worse for the Red Force were it not for a 52-run partnership by Odean Smith and Imran Khan for the 7th wicket.  The resistance ended when Khan was bowled by Stoute for 25 and Smith removed by Springer who had him caught by Jonathan Carter for 28.  Springer went on to tear through the rest of the lower order, ending with figures of 4 for 24.  Mindley captured 4 for 47.

The Pride made quick work of the modest target with Anthony Alleyne (22) and Jonathan Carter (25) getting the majority of the 58 runs needed.

A four-wicket haul from burly spinner Rahkeem Cornwall has given Leeward Islands Hurricane a fighting chance but they will have plenty of work to do to get a result against the Guyana Jaguars in the West Indies Championship at Providence Stadium.

At stumps on day three the Hurricanes were 32 for one, needing a further 259 to topple the defending champion Jaguars.  The Guyana based team seemed poised for a massive target after dismissing the Leewards for 175 in their first response, still some 21 runs short of the first innings total of 196.

At 50 for 0 the Jaguars seemed well on their way to compiling an unassailable target but Cornwall had other ideas.  Adding to the wickets of Trevon Griffith and Leon Johnson who he dismissed in the last hour of play on the previous day, Cornwall then accounted for the seemingly settled Tagenarine Chanderpaul who was dismissed for 40 off 170 balls. 

The wicket of Anthony Bramble was then added to the heap as he was dismissed lbw in Cornwall’s very next over to leave the Jaguars rattled at 5 for 136.  A seventh-wicket stand between Clinton Pestado (46) and Keemo Paul (22) settled things somewhat as the pair combined were worth 57. 

The partnership was broken when Paul was dismissed by Sheno Berridge and Cornwall returned to account for Pestado.  The spinner ended the innings with overall figures of 6 for 70.

In reply, the Leewards Kieran Powell was dismissed for 7 when he was bowled by Paul.  Motcin Hodge and Keacy Carty will return as the not out batsmen.

A solid century from opener Devon Smith gave the Windward Islands a solid start against Jamaica Scorpions in the West Indies Championship at Grenada National Stadium on Thursday.

At the close of play, the Windwards stood at 256 for 6 an innings underpinned by a patient 124 off 209 balls from Smith.  The batsman’s stubborn knock included 16 fours and no sixes.  A five-for from the Scorpions Dennis Bulli limited the damage somewhat as he ended with figures of 94 for 5.  In fact, with Smith’s obstinance to contend with, it was Bulli who claimed wickets at regular intervals and accounted for the entire top order. 

Smith’s opening partner Taryck Gabriel was the first of his victims as he was trapped lbw for 10 after facing 61 balls.  The pair Tyrone Theophile and Kirk Edwards, who next up at the crease, fared even worse off as they were consecutively bowled for eight runs each, having faced a total of 32 balls. 

Kavem Hodge then joined Smith at the crease and the pair put on 144 for the fourth wicket.  From a strong position of 205 for 3 the Windwards experienced a setback when Hodge was dismissed by Chadwick Walton for 56 and Smith, the victim of the brilliant Bulli, followed two overs later.  Alick Athanaze meekly two overs after adding a single run before being caught by Kenroy Williams off the bowling of Bulli.  Dennis Smith (36) and Sherman Lewis (16) will return as the not out batsmen.

Windies cricket analyst Fazeer Mohammed insists it would be difficult to argue against recently recalled batsman Darren Bravo’s spot in the squad, based on merit, due to the lack of quality options available to the regional selectors.

The 29-year old batsman has been called to the team ahead of the Test series against England, his first inclusion in a regional team for the game’s longest format in two years. 

Having been out of the game for an extended period, Bravo, who boasts a Test average of 40, would hardly have had a recent record of form to recommend him to the squad, having only played one match in the ongoing West Indies Championship. 

Following a disastrous tour of Asia, however, a board of selectors looking for changes and experience could hardly be expected to pass over the talented batsman.    

“He has justified it on reputation not performance, as far as first-class cricket is concerned,” Mohammed told the SportsMax Zone.

“If you use the yardstick of having played a lot of first-class cricket to confirm your spot it would be difficult as he has only played the one match for the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force the previous weekend,” he added.

“The fact of the matter is that the cupboard is pretty much bare when it comes to West Indies cricket at the moment and therefore you would have expected changes following the embarrassment in India and Bangladesh.”

Bravo ran afoul of the regional body in 2016 after calling Cricket West Indies boss Dave Cameron a ‘big idiot’ in a tweet.

A majestic five-wicket haul from spinner Nikita Miller gave the Jamaica Scorpions a fighting chance against the T&T Red Force but the hosts face a stiff task to save the match heading into Sunday’s third day at Sabina Park.

Beginning the day at 62 for 2 and with a lead of 153, the Red Force had their eyes set on heaping more misery on the struggling Scorpions.  In the end, they did, as the team posted a second innings score of 233 but it could have been a lot worse were it not for the heroics of Miller.

After dismissing the opening pair of Kyle Hope (20) and Jeremy Solozano (13) on the previous day’s play, Miller returned to rip through the middle order, denying the Red Force any real momentum. 

With the twin-island republic in a strong position at 114 for 4, Miller removed the dangerous Jason Mohammed for 14 before having Denesh Ramdin caught for 25. 

Spinner Khary Pierre was the highest scorer for the Red Force in the second innings, crafting a hard-earned 46 from 142.  Miller ended the innings with overall figures of 7 for 87. 

In response, the Scorpions were off to a solid start courtesy of an opening partnership between Oraine Williams and Chadwick Walton that was worth 89 runs.  Pierre, however, got the crucial breakthrough when he snatched the back-to-back wickets of Walton and Williams in the 22nd over.  Both were caught by Ramdin.  Things got worse for the Scorpions as they lost the next three wickets for nine runs with Imran Khan removing Jason Mohammed for 1 and Daniel St Clair removing Paul Palmer (8) and Kenroy Williams (0).  Assad Fudadin (6) and Rovmon Powell (2) will begin the day as the not out batsmen with the Scorpions needing 217 runs to win at 108 for 5.

Windward Islands Volcanoes were dealt a late blow in their desperate bid to force a result against defending champion Guyana Jaguars, when experienced batsman Devon Smith was sent packing in the West Indies Championship at Providence Stadium on Saturday.

Smith had looked set after putting together a patient 65 from 128 balls but was dismissed in the 44th over of the day after a tight bowling spell from Romario Shepherd.

Beginning the day at 4 for 63, the Windward Islands managed to post 210 all out, thanks in huge part to Alick Athanaze’s determined 66 from 114 balls.  The Volacanoes were, however, left some 243 runs short of the Jaguars first innings total of 459 for 9.

Forced to follow-on, things looked bleak for the Windwards when opener Taryck Gabriel (16) was dismissed after being caught by Anthony Bramble off the bowling of Sherfane Rutherfod.  Smith was, however, joined by Cato at the crease and two put on 75 runs for the second wicket to give the Volcanoes some hope before Cato was caught, again by Bramble, off the bowling of Keemo Paul.

Smith was then joined by Kirk Edwards at the crease, but the pair only managed 28 for the third wicket, before Bramble took another key catch.  This time it was the dangerman Smith off the bowling of Romario Shepherd.  Edwards (40) and Kavem Hodge will begin the fourth day at 167 for 3 and the Volcanoes still trailing by 76 runs.  

 

Haitian sprinter Bryand Rincher seemed to expect even more on debut for Florida State University (FSU), despite breaking the Haitian national 60m record at the Orange and Purple Elite meet on Friday.

Rincher, who was making his college debut, stopped the clock in a time of 6.60 seconds, which was good enough for second behind North Carolina States University’s Cravont Charleston who clocked 6.59 for first spot.  Rincher’s teammate Kasaun James was given an identical time for third spot.  The time puts the athlete’s third in the early season NCAA rankings.

The mark lowered the national record previously held by Virginia Tech’s Darrell Wesh who set the time of 6.62 in 2016 at the Virginia Tech Challenge. 

Rincher came close to breaking the record in the heats clocking 6.64 to win heat one, good enough to take over the NCAA lead.  The former Piper High athlete, was, however, far from entirely pleased with the performance.

“I had very high expectations for myself, but that didn’t really go as I planned. I had to play catch-up [in the final] because my block start was horrible" Rincher said.

 

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