Mark Deyal, the Zouks' rising talent from Trinidad and Tobago

By Mariah Ramharack September 06, 2020

On many a Sunday, I realize that people have looked at the stories they have seen throughout the week with different lenses. I have my own personal take on some of these issues and I will share them with you. Welcome to #INCASEYOUMISSEDIT

  1. St. Lucia Zouks’ Mark Deyal is turning heads with his CPL performances.

The St. Lucia Zouks franchise has never won a CPL title. Entering the 2020 edition of the tournament opinions were mixed about whether the Zouks would qualify for the top four. Upon studying the new team fielded for 2020, interviewing the new Coach Andy Flower, and accepting the new conditions created because of COVID 19, I saw the Zouks putting up a great fight.

One new addition to the team’s roster, Mark Deyal, has sparked interest based on his exploits in all three departments of the game - bowling, batting, and fielding.

So far, in the 2020 Hero CPL, Mark has a top score of 40 off 33 balls when he blasted five fours against the Trinbago Knight Riders on Saturday. In the seven games he has played, Deyal has accumulated 105 runs.

He has also been handy with the ball despite not bowling many overs. In the four overs bowled he has taken one wicket at an economy rate of 3.50. His athleticism and awareness also make him an asset on the field where he has taken four catches. In my estimation, if Mark continues working and converts his starts into bigger totals, the right people will notice him.

In an exclusive interview that I conducted with Mark, he expressed his delight representing the Zouks.  “It’s really pleasing personally because this year with this team I have more responsibilities and it’s something I'm really excited about,” he said.

On his performance in the CPL so far the 27-year-old all-rounder said, “I would have to say it is below par for me because I personally set high expectations for this year although I had a couple of good performances. Luckily, the tournament is not over so I still have time to have an impact.” 

The young Trinidadian says making the Windies limited overs team is at the top of the list of his personal goals and he sees the CPL as the ideal place to turn the right heads and gain recognition.

He also revealed his aspirations for playing in the Indian Premier League. “That’s also a dream of mine, which is why it’s important that every chance I get I showcase my ability in all areas, batting, bowling and fielding so that I can make the move up from CPL to IPL.”

The St Lucia Zouks, who are third on the CPL table with 10 points, have already made it to the semi-finals. They have one more match, against Jamaica Tallawahs. If they win that by a big margin, there is still a chance they could finish second, on net run-rate.

 

  1. Better Luck next time St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots.

St Kitts and Nevis Patriots suffered an early exit from the 2020 Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) after heavy rain forced a no-result in their match Thursday against Jamaica Tallawahs at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Trinidad. They ended their 2020 run with three points.

Their highest total this season was the 150 they scored against the Guyana Amazon Warriors. Despite the team’s failure to advance to the semi-finals, the Patriots 2020 showing is not a proper representation of the individual talent that the team possess.

 

 Patriots Captain Rayad Emrit in an exclusive interview explained what he believes to be the reasons behind the team’s failure this season.

 “It has been a very tough tournament for us. Firstly, losing our head coach then Dennis Bulli due to COVID 19 and then the biggest of all, Fabian Allen missing his flight. I think we missed these players and coach. We haven’t batted well in the entire tournament and to date we only had two guys scoring half-centuries,” he said.

“I think the bowling was decent in most games but still we haven’t been as consistent as we should be. We have not learnt as a team as quickly as we should have. I know players have not been playing for close to six months and T20 can be a very cruel game.

“Joshua Da Silva has been okay for us playing his first T20 tournament, and John Russ Jaggessar has been good as well. I think we have to regroup and come back a lot better next year if we are to compete in this tournament, especially with the CPL getting better every year.”

 

  1. Can Messi genuinely enjoy football at Barcelona anymore? There are so many unanswered questions.

Ten days after he stunned the world of football and informed Barcelona that he wanted to activate the release clause in his contract, Lionel Messi has decided he will stay at the club he has called home for almost 20 years. Barcelona has been extremely silent since Messi’s public statement Friday that he will stay at the club.

 Club President Josep Maria Bartomeu has not spoken in public since the interview. 

There are so many unanswered questions swirling around. What we do know is that Messi will take his coronavirus test and then return to the club’s training on Monday. How will the Messi and coach Ronald Koeman relationship unfold? Will Messi remain as captain? What does his future at the club look like? Only time will tell! 

 

 

 

 

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    Messi attempted to leave the club during the transfer window but was unable to engineer an exit after something of a power struggle played out in public with president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

    He has since affirmed his commitment to the Catalans for at least the final year of his contract, but his performances have not been up to his usual standards in 2020-21.

    In four LaLiga matches, Messi has scored just once - a penalty in the 4-0 win over Villarreal last month - and has zero assists.

    He has created just six chances, well short of the league-leading numbers of David Ferreiro (22), and only five from open play, eight fewer than Sevilla's Jesus Navas (13).

    With 11 dribbles completed from 19 attempts, Messi has a success rate of 57.9, well down on last season's average of 64.3, which further highlights his relative struggle to impact upon Barca's play - a problem that came to a head in their 1-0 loss to Getafe.

    However, speaking ahead of their first Champions League group game against Ferencvaros, Koeman made it clear he is happy with Messi's efforts and believes the player himself is feeling positive.

    "There is always pressure to win games as a player or coach at Barcelona. We know the club's situation; there are things outside the pitch that we can't influence," he said on Monday.

    "What we can do is work with the players to adjust to the new system and we have a lot of new and young people, but we're optimistic about the game tomorrow. I think the best way to think right now is game by game.

    "Maybe Messi's form could be better at this moment, but he's happy, he's training well, he's focused, he wants to play and he wants to be captain of the team and he's improving. I haven't got any complaints.

    "He also had bad luck with the ball that hit the post and with the final play of the match. Normally, he puts it between the posts! I have no doubt about his form and we'll see that in the coming games.

    "I'm not worried because we've scored eight goals in four games and I don't think many teams have done that. It's normal that, against Sevilla and Getafe, it's more difficult to create chances.

    "I'm not disappointed with the players. I see a happy team. I can never be disappointed with a player who works their hardest."

    Given Barca's 8-2 humiliation at the hands of Bayern Munich in last season's quarter-finals, Koeman accepts his side are unlikely to be considered firm favourites for this term's trophy.

    However, he is keen to get their campaign off to a strong start in a week that ends with the first Clasico of the season at Camp Nou.

    "We know that, with what happened last time, we're not the ultimate favourites, but we can go far," he said. "You always play to win games and trophies at Barca, in Spain and in Europe, but there are more favourite teams, like us.

    "We want to start the Champions League on the right foot. The most important thing is to prepare for two difficult matches at home that we have to win.

    "It's not an easy game and we don't think about resting people for Saturday because Saturday isn't important right now, only tomorrow is."

  • Messi is a step ahead of everyone else, says Inter star Lautaro Martinez Messi is a step ahead of everyone else, says Inter star Lautaro Martinez

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    Martinez had been tipped to join his compatriot at Barcelona during the transfer window, but the Catalans were unable to strike a deal with the Nerazzurri even after Messi had ended his attempt to leave Camp Nou. 

    Still, Messi and Martinez have played together for Argentina since the latter made his international debut back in 2018. 

    The 23-year-old says he always tries to learn from the six-time Ballon d'Or winner – a player he claims understands football on a different level to his contemporaries. 

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    Inter are preparing to get their Champions League campaign underway on Wednesday, when they host Borussia Monchengladbach at San Siro. 

    Martinez remembers watching Jose Mourinho's treble-winners defeat Bayern Munich in the final in 2010, when compatriots Diego Milito, Esteban Cambiasso, Javier Zanetti and Walter Samuel all played. 

    Zanetti, who is now Inter vice-president, was hugely important in helping Martinez settle in Italy after his move from Racing two years ago. 

    "Javier is a very important Inter man, and for us [players] as well because he passes down to us everything he's experienced at this club," Martinez said. 

    "He did so to me when I first came to Italy. Whenever I've needed something, he's always tried to help me. He always lends an ear and asks how I'm doing or gives me a hand with anything I might need. 

    "He's always there to make sure I'm alright inside the club and outside too. Above all, he helped me with the language when I arrived, with what the club meant and how we train. He was very important in those matters, so I'll always be grateful to him. He really helped me out when I got here." 

  • West Indies captaincy in good hands West Indies captaincy in good hands

    On many a Sunday, I realize that people have looked at the stories they've seen throughout the week with different lenses. I have my own personal take on some of these issues and I will share them with you. Welcome to #INCASEYOUMISSEDIT

     

    1. Windies captaincy in good hands. Time for the rest of the team to rally.

    West Indies named the Test and T20 squads on Friday that will face New Zealand in three T20 Internationals and two Test matches from November 27 to December 15. The captaincy of both the Windies squads is in good hands. It is now up to supporting cast to do their part and contribute.

    Jason Holder continues as Test captain having grown as a leader since making his debut against New Zealand in 2014 in Bridgetown.  New Zealand won that match by 53 runs and Holder bagged two wickets and scored a total of 76 runs.

    The 28-year-old going into this match will be confident having performed well against the Black Caps in the past. 

    In the last Test match he played in Manchester in July 2020, England won by eight wickets. Holder got two wickets and made 58 runs. On current form, Holder has attained the highest points tally by any West Indies bowler in 20 years, reaching a career-best second place in the Test Rankings after playing a crucial role in his side's four-wicket victory over England in Southampton that helped take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.

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     2. Can Liverpool win the Premier League without two key players?

     Liverpool departed Goodison Park disappointed by the 2-2 draw against Everton on Saturday.

    The real tragedy, however, is that the Reds will be without two key members for some time due to injuries sustained during the match.  Though defender Virgil Van Dijk and midfielder Thiago Alcantara suffered serious injuries it is not over yet for the Premier League champions. However, Jurgen Klopp and the rest of the team have some work to do to cover for the absence of their two world class players.

    Van Dijk’s leadership, organizational skill and passing range will be missed as his ACL injury will see him out for more than six months. The 29-year-old Dutchman was a key figure in Liverpool’s dominance having played every minute of the team’s 74 Premier league matches since his move from Southampton in 2018.

    In the 2019/2020 Premier League season, the towering centre-back played all 38 matches, scored five goals and had an assist for his club. More importantly, he helped Liverpool’s defence evolve into one of the stingiest in all of Europe.

     The season before, he also helped Liverpool become the best defensive team in England.

    His prolonged absence this season is a major blow to Liverpool’s chances of successfully defending the league title and to also make another run at the Champions League title they won in 2018.

    Thiago Alcantara also suffered a knee injury against Everton in what was his first start for his new club. He also faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines as a result of a reckless tackle from Everton forward Richarlison.

    Despite these injuries to key players, it would be foolhardy to rule the Premier League champions out. However, a lot will depend on Jurgen Klopp to get his players to fill the massive void created by the absence of these two stars.

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