Using food to cope with emotional distress or emotional eating, as it is called, is part and parcel of a typical existence for many people.  Although stereotypically classified as physical specimens, surprise, surprise, our elite athletes are no different.

Presently, many athletes are sitting at home severely impacted by uncertainty. They are stressed because of it. Some are even adjusting and readjusting to ever-changing curfew guidelines that affect stadia where they often workout.

An article published by SportsMax titled, ‘Are they T20 cricketers or Pillsbury doughboys?’ even admitted that the CPL 2020 teams would have faced some uncertainty at some point before the tournament started.

Though the article focused on how an athlete’s attitude plays a significant role in performing at their best, it didn't do anything to address their mental and emotional states.  Instead, the article compared the cricketers to blowfish.

Athletes get paid to look their best. Their appearance influences their performance, brand deals, sponsorships, I get it. But it’s likely some of the athletes were just reacting to their reality since eating is therapeutic and brings comfort.

Nutrition coach, Gabrielle Julal, who recently accompanied sports nutritionist, Mrs. Patricia Thompson, at the Jamaica Olympic Association's Eat Fit Stamina Workshop, said restricted diets can make it difficult for an athlete to resist certain foods, especially in vulnerable and stressful times.

“A lot of athletes over restrict themselves - they have a lot of restrictions and certain rules in order to maintain their body image. But what most people don't recognise is that when we have these restrictions/mental restrictions it increases our desire to eat certain foods," Julal said.

She suggests, in this case, eating is the way to deal with the constant desire for food.

Julal explains, “A good way to deal with urges is to first remove the rules from your mind - allow yourself to eat. The more you start to eat certain foods that were restricted before, the less likely you'll desire them because you no longer have this ‘forbidden fruit mentally’ towards the food.”

 She added that “It's important to be sensitive to them [athletes] because people expect them to look a certain way and when they don’t, that can fuel disordered thoughts towards eating then can cause them to restrict themselves more.”

Athletes should not deny themselves the physical and the equally important emotional needs that are required as a human being. Still, when eating is the only form of coping, that's a problem.

According to Julal, eating is supposed to be a source of comfort and enjoyment for us but when it’s the only form of coping, she would encourage athletes to seek other ways of coping with difficult emotions like:

Talking to another athlete who is also going through ‘it’ as that will encourage both athletes to share their experiences in a space that allows them to relate to each other.

She also hinted that sharing doesn't have to take place between athletes but can be through honest conversations with a family member or a friend as well.

Julal even suggested that doing some form of exercise, learning new ways to prepare food, and finding other fun activities can lift spirits.

 

Please share your thoughts on Twitter (@SportsMax_Carib) or in the comments section on Facebook (@SportsMax). Don’t forget to use #IAmNotAFan. Until next time!

West Indies legendary fast bowler Sir Andy Roberts has criticised the recent pitches used in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) for offering significant assistance to otherwise average bowlers.

The surfaces at the recently concluded Caribbean Premier League (CPL) were at the centre of attention for most of the campaign.  Many argued that the condition of the surface played a significant part in scores that were much lower than usual.  In the end, the tournament was won by the home team, Trinbago Knight Riders who often did not seem to struggle on the surface.  In fact, the Knight Riders ended with a perfect record.  Also not finding fault with the surface, however, was the majority of the bowlers.

“I know we blame COVID for everything but this is not one of the things we should try to blame on COVID…we are making bowlers look 10 times as good as they are and especially in the spin department,” Roberts recently said on Antigua’s Good Morning Jojo Radio program.

The competition was held in unusual circumstances this season, with all the matches held in Trinidad and Tobago due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.  Roberts, however, still believes the pitches, notwithstanding, could be better prepared.

“You knew about three or four months ago that you’re going to have this tournament in Trinidad, one country, but you have two different facilities that you are going to play at so arrangements should be made to get all the pitches up to a certain standard,” he added.

“When I say all, I mean the entire square, because you can’t just use two pitches for the number of matches you are going to be playing on them.”

Newly crowned 2020 Hero CPL champion Darren Bravo, losing captain Darren Sammy and T20 record-setter Chris Gayle are among 150 players in a pool awaiting selection for the Lankan Premier League set to run from November 14 to December 6.

Shahid Afridi and Trinbago Knight Rider’s Colin Munro are also in the pool for the player auction set for October 1.

Under the rules governing the Sri Lankan T20 league, each franchise can buy up to six international players.

However, according to reports, there are still some loose ends to be tied up before the auction can take place. Among them government approval for a shorter quarantine period for players, officials and broadcast staff.

SLC officials are asking that the quarantine period for those arriving for the tournament be reduced from 14 to seven days.

 

England captain Eoin Morgan conceded his side's poor batting display in the opening 10 overs ultimately cost them in the first ODI against Australia.

Australia earned a 19-run triumph at Old Trafford on Friday, as England failed to hunt down what would have been a record ODI run chase of 295 for the Manchester venue.

Jason Roy and Joe Root both fell in the first 10 overs, while Morgan and Jos Buttler struggled.

Jonny Bairstow and Sam Billings, who scored his maiden ODI century, offered some gallant resistance, but it was not enough to stop Australia – who had Mitchell Marsh and Glenn Maxwell to thank – taking the lead in the three-match series.

"It probably got away from us in the first 10 overs with the bat," Morgan told Sky Sports.

"They bowled outstandingly well, they didn't give us much to get away with.

"I thought we did a reasonable job with the ball, a reasonable score we could chase down with a few partnerships.

"Jonny and Sam, keeping us in the game so long, if we could have extended that partnership past the 40th over we could really have been in an commanding position, but full credit to Australia, they outplayed us today.

"I think they did well. You can always be greedy and want more, but I think we did well too. An area of our game we're looking to improve is taking wickets early and we did that. To be in that position was great. An outstanding performance would have been to continue to take wickets but we didn't."

Billings has made the most of a chance to shine in England's white-ball series this year and capped a fine individual display with an outstanding 118. 

Morgan said of the Kent batsman: "Sam's opportunities over the last four years have been extremely limited and sporadic at times, but to come in and still show hunger and desire in his training and then to come in and get his maiden one-day hundred today is outstanding. It shows a lot of resilience and a lot of character.

"When Ben Stokes is missing he leaves a big hole and we tend to have a lot of players vying for places who bat in the top four for their county.

"So batting at six is an area we need to improve our depth and Sam has added to that today."

Australia took first blood in their ODI series with England as Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell and Josh Hazlewood shone in a 19-run win at Old Trafford, where Sam Billings' maiden international century was in vain.

Without Steve Smith – who suffered a blow to the head in training on Thursday – Australia still managed to set a target of 295, leaving England facing a record run chase in an ODI at Old Trafford to secure victory.

Marsh (73) and Maxwell (77) were in superb form with the bat, with their century stand taking the tourists from 123-5 to 249-6.

Maxwell eventually succumbed to an excellent ball from Jofra Archer, who had dismissed David Warner (6) with a magnificent delivery early on.

Marsh was pinned lbw by Mark Wood as Australia lost late wickets, though hosts England were then reeling at 57-4 in the 17th over of their reply, with Hazlewood (3-26) in fine fettle.

Jonny Bairstow (84) and Billings (118) took the fight back to Australia, yet England ultimately fell short on 275-9 as the world champions succumbed to a second defeat from the last three 50-over meetings with their great rivals.

Archer's wicked bowling sent Warner's stumps flying in the fourth over, and Wood had Aaron Finch (16) walking soon after when Australia's captain clipped an edge to Jos Buttler.

Wood and Buttler combined again to dismiss Marcus Stoinis for 43 in the 16th over, with Adil Rashid dismissing Marnus Labuschagne (21) lbw soon after.

Alex Carey fared little better against Rashid four overs later, yet Marsh and Maxwell steadied the innings.

While Marsh ticked over, Maxwell wasted little time in getting into his stride, and moved to 50 two balls after hitting Rashid for a huge six over midwicket.

Archer was the recipient of similar treatment for back-to-back sixes in the 44th over, yet he had his revenge the next ball when Maxwell dragged a slower delivery onto his stumps.

Pat Cummins (9) fell in Archer's next over, with Wood sending Marsh back to the pavilion and Chris Woakes dismissing Alex Zampa (5), before Mitchell Starc hit a six from the last ball of the innings as Australia finished on 264-9.

Hazlewood started impressively with the ball, taking a wonderful one-handed catch to dismiss Jason Roy (3) from his own bowling in the fourth over, and the paceman had his second wicket when Joe Root edged to Carey on one.

Two fours and a big six from Eoin Morgan (23) got England back on track, though the home captain soon picked out Maxwell from a Zampa delivery.

Zampa had a second wicket when Labuschagne took a smart catch to dismiss Buttler, and it was then that Bairstow and Billings began to unleash some thumping shots.

Bairstow, after hitting four fours and four sixes, was out in the 36th over – Hazlewood racing around in the outfield to take a fantastic diving catch – with Moeen Ali following quickly.

With Billings still in, England had hope, and despite losing Woakes and Rashid, he played some inventive shots as he moved beyond 100.

However, with 28 needed from the final over, England did not have enough fire-power – Marsh having the final say as he ended Billings' defiance to wrap up an impressive win.

Cricket commentator has taken the England Cricket Board to task for not continuing the practice of players taking the knee in support of the Black Lives Matter Movement (BLM) for their series against both Pakistan and now Australia.

Former West Indies skipper Darren Sammy has called on the International Cricket Council (ICC) and other bodies to prioritise addressing racism in the sport, with as much gusto as it tackles integrity of the game issues.

The issue of societal racial inequality barged its way into public discourse after an unarmed African American man, George Floyd, was killed in the United States by white police officers a few months ago. 

As part of the process of reckoning, Sammy had himself reacted with anger when he discovered that the name previously used to refer to him by Indian Premier League (IPL) teammates, a few seasons ago, was the equivalent of the derogatory term ‘blackie.’  Since then, several players have admitted that they too have been impacted by racism in the sport.  Sammy, who has found himself at the forefront of the cricket movement, believes a lot more can be done to address the issue.

 “We made the recommendations.  You know racism is real. It’s not something that we can hide,” Sammy told Reuters news agency in a recent interview.

“So I urge them, the same emphasis they put on protecting the integrity of the game.  Why not protect the integrity of the human being?”

Trinbago Knight Riders man-of-the-match Lendl Simmons revealed that he was spurred on by the previous season’s failure and determined to see them over the line this time around.

In the end, it proved to be a reversed performance of sorts for Simmons, when considering the Knight Riders' previous Caribbean Premier League (CPL) campaign.  Last season, he started the competition well but went missing in the later rounds.  His 1 run against the Tridents, in the semi-finals, perhaps set the stage for the team's loss.

One season later, after a poor start to the competition, Simmons is free to bellow his redemption song.  His 54 from 44 in the semi-final and 84 from 49 in the final game, played a big role in the Knight Riders not only lifting the title but achieving a historic unbeaten season.

“Last year I did well in the prelims and when it came to the semi-finals, I didn’t get a score and we ended up losing the game.  So, I took the responsibility upon myself to make sure we got it over the line this time," Simmons said following the game.

“I did not start the tournament well, but I ended well, and I am happy with my performance,” he added.

Simmons finished the tournament as the top runs getter with a total of 356.

West Indies T20 star Chris Gayle could become the first batsman to hit 1000 T20 sixes if his uncanny obsession for clearing the boundary rope continues in the upcoming IPL season.

Currently, the 40-year-old big hitter has tallied a total of 978 sixes in T20 cricket so far.  If he can add another 22 to his 326 IPL sixes, the batsman will repeat the all too familiar habit of writing his name in the T20 cricket record books.

Gayle will be odds on favourite to achieve the feat as well.  In 11 seasons of IPL cricket to date, he has never failed to hit 22 sixes.  Last season he cleared the boundary rope 34 times and 27 times in the previous season.  Should he reach the tally it would only add to an already impressive resume racked up for the format.

Gayle has scored the most runs in T20 cricket (13,296), has the highest score (175), most sixes in an innings (18), and the fastest 100.  He has also hit the most fours with 1,026.

The West Indian is currently in training camp in Dubai, where he is preparing to face the new IPL season with Kings XI Punjab.  The batsman had been slated to take part in the recently concluded Caribbean Premier League (CPL) for beaten finalist, St Lucia Zouks, but pulled out of the competition due to personal reasons.

Trinbago Knight Riders and West Indies captain Kieron Pollard has identified an inability to adapt to different conditions as one that not only plagued teams throughout the Caribbean Premier League season (CPL) but negatively impacts the regional team as well.

The CPL season was characterized by a spate of low scores, with many fingers pointing towards an unsatisfactory surface for T20 batsman to ply their trade. In fact, the average score per innings score fell around 20 runs from last season’s average of around 151, compared to this season’s average of 122.

Pollard's Knight Riders have hardly been among those struggling to find runs and his blistering 28 balls 72 against the Barbados Tridents, was seemingly made on a different surface than the one others had struggled with.

“For me throughout the tournament, if I were to be a little critical, the pitches weren’t up to standard for batting. But what I have seen as well is the guys have not mentally changed their game to suit the conditions,” Pollard said at a pre-game press conference.

“That is something that is not only harming is in CPL but harming us in international cricket as well.  We can’t complain about the pitches all the time and we are not changing as individuals,” he added.

“I didn’t see the mental fortitude of the batmen throughout the tournament in the other teams. I all honestly wit TKR we have tried to adjust to the situation.”

 

St Lucia Zouks captain Darren Sammy is confident the team will be able to rely on its mental toughness in a difficult battle against the heavily favoured Trinabgo Knight Riders, in the Caribbean Premier League final.

The rugged Zouks have shown plenty of determination so far.  In battling their way to the CPL final, without an established superstar, few would disagree that they have defied the odds. 

Even that, however, might not be enough against the Knight Riders, who have been the league’s best team by a distance this season, winning 10 straight matches.  Sammy insists the underdogs will not be overawed.   

“It will all come down to execution.  It’s a big final they have an experienced team with guys who have played finals before, but the mental toughness of my team showed throughout the tournament,” Sammy said at a pre-match press conference on Wednesday.

“We don’t give up until it’s over and I know that can pull us through.  I know I will have a full team believing they can go out and play a full brand of cricket,” he added.

Former West Indies captain Darren Sammy insists the underdog St Lucia Zouks have bold ambitions of claiming a first-ever Caribbean Premier League (CPL) title on the back of the team’s most successful run in franchise history.

In Tuesday’s semi-final, the Zouks annihilated last season’s finalist Guyana Amazon Warriors in a crushing 10-wickets win.  The Warriors were shockingly bowled out for 55, the second-lowest total in CPL history, before the St Lucia-based franchise easily eclipsed the total.

The win was, however, even more, significant for the franchise who prior to this season had never made it to the playoffs let alone put themselves in a position to claim the title.  Facing the rampaging Trinbago Knight Riders, who are yet to lose a match this season, the St Lucia Zouks will find themselves in a similar position, that is playing the role of underdogs.   

“I told the guys. We didn’t come here to celebrate a semi-final.  Nobody gave us a chance.  From the start, I’ve said we have some effective guys.  We don’t have guys in the top five in the runs but we play as a team, especially when we are out there in the field,” Sammy said.

“We want to win.  Obviously TKR they are the team to beat.  We have said in our dressing room if you want to win the final you have to go through TKR.  It was a similar situation with the West Indies.  We said if you want to win, you have to beat India and we have our silent confidence in the dressing room.”

 

 

 

England's Dawid Malan has replaced Babar Azam as the world's best T20 batsman in the ICC's latest T20 rankings.

Malan, who remains without a central contract with the England and Wales Cricket Board, was fifth in the previous standings but scored a series-leading 129 runs across the three encounters with Australia.

Having amassed a combined 108 in the first two T20s, Malan had a higher average than Virat Kohli - the highest T20 ranked batsman of all time - though his average has slipped to 48.71 from his 16 internationals after he was out for 21 on Tuesday.

His previous highest place in the rankings was second last year but Malan has now gone ahead of Pakistan captain Babar by eight points.

Babar, Australia captain Aaron Finch, India's KL Rahul and New Zealand's Colin Munro make up the rest of the top five.

Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan remains the top-ranked T20 bowler, though England's leg spinner Adil Rashid has moved up two spots to seventh in a top 10 that features just one seamer - Australia's Kane Richardson in 10th.

There was no change at the top of the all-rounder rankings either, with Rashid's international team-mate Mohammad Nabi remaining ahead of Australia's Glenn Maxwell, who moved up to second above Zimbabwe's Sean Williams.

 

 An inspired St Lucia Zouks skittled perennial finalists Guyana Amazon Warriors for the second-lowest team total in Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) history and blazed to victory in just 27 balls to complete one of the most dominant performances in T20 history. In doing so they booked their place against the Trinbago Knight Riders in Thursday’s final, the first in the St Lucia franchise’s history.

Zouks captain Daren Sammy put the Amazon Warriors in, but even he could not have seen this coming. Brandon King toe-ended to keeper Andre Fletcher and Shimron Hetmyer inexplicably left his first ball to let it crash into off-stump. Nicholas Pooran denied Scott Kuggeleijn a hat-trick, but only a single and a wide followed, and Mohammad Nabi followed up with a maiden to leave the Amazon Warriors 2 for 2 after two overs.
Pooran immediately counter-attacked, slashing Kuggeleijn over the slips then dismissively driving him down the ground for back-to-back fours, but he fell trying to loft Nabi down the ground thanks to a wonderful catch by Mark Deyal diving forward from long-off. Chandrapaul Hemraj and Ross Taylor cautiously played out the rest of the Powerplay, at which point the Amazon Warriors were 21 for 3.
Taylor, so often the rock around which recoveries are built, fell LBW essaying his favoured sweep off Roston Chase, who anticipated the stroke well and bowled accordingly. Deyal almost pulled off another amazing catch at long-off as Hemraj drove Zahir Khan aerially, but it just fell short, and a fifth straight over with only three runs off it passed, leaving the Amazon Warriors 27for 4 off eight overs.

The extent to which the tension was pressing on the Amazon Warriors was obvious. Hemraj got a friendly full toss from Chase but only pushed it for two, nearly holed out next ball, and then Keemo Paul did hole out with a swipe down the throat of Kesrick Williams at deep square leg. Hemraj finally hit the innings’ first Hero Maximum off its 56th ball, slamming Zahir over deep midwicket, but at halfway the Amazon Warriors had crawled to 42 for 5.

Chase’s first over after the chase was quiet, but the next was anything but. Amazon Warriors captain Chris Green smashed Javelle Glenn’s first ball for a Hero Maximum and seemed to have done so off his second ball but Nabi pulled off a brilliant balancing catch at the boundary’s edge.

With spin so dominant, Sammy went to Deyal who answered the call emphatically with two wickets in two balls - Hemraj inside-edged onto his stumps via his pad, and Romario Shepherd first ball pushed a simple catch back to the bowler. Again there was no hat-trick, but the Amazon Warriors innings was not long for this world.

Fletcher showed sharp glovework to stump Kevin Sinclair off Zahir, and even sharper moves in celebration and the Amazon Warriors’ ignominious innings ended next ball as Rakheem Cornwall plunged forward to take a sharp slip catch off Imran Tahir. All six Zouks bowlers had taken a wicket, and the innings had lasted just 13.4 overs.

Cornwall showed that a low target wasn’t going to temper his belligerent instincts, launching two Hero Maximums in Green’s first over, whipping Tahir for four through short fine leg and nearly breaking the stumps at the non-striker’s end with a straight drive. Deyal hit fours off each of his first two deliveries, and the Zouks were almost halfway to their target after two overs.

Naveen-ul-Haq was visibly furious with how the evening had gone for his team, bowling a bouncer that sailed even over the towering Cornwall for five wides. Cornwall continued his merry mayhem by walloping Naveen through long-on for four, and Deyal picked up a Hero Maximum for himself with a gleeful mow over midwicket. Cornwall blasted Tahir over long-on for his third Hero Maximum, Deyal closed the fourth over with his third four, and captain Green went down with his ship by bringing himself on for the fifth with just three runs to win.

 

St Lucia Zouks 56/0 (Cornwall 32*, Deyal 19*) beat Guyana Amazon Warriors 55 all out (Hemraj 25; Deyal 2/2, Zahir 2/12, Kuggeleijn 2/12, Chase 2/15, Nabi 1/6, Glenn 1/8) by 10 wickets

 

Trinbago Knight Riders captain Kieron Pollard is confident the team has the hunger and desire to end the season with a perfect record and a fourth Caribbean Premier League (CPL) title.

In Tuesday’s semi-final, the unbeaten Tridents continued their sensational run after brushing aside the Jamaica Tallawahs in a nine-wicket win.  The victory marked a 10th in a row for the Tridents and just one more will see the team create history by being the first to claim the trophy without losing a match.

The Knights Riders would, however, do well to learn from history’s lessons.  Just one season ago the Guyana Amazon Warriors, who have never lifted the title, experienced unthinkable heartbreak after losing to the Barbados Tridents in the final.  Pollard will be eager to avoid a similar fate and on home soil no less.

“We have come here and played fantastic cricket throughout the tournament so we need to have that cherry on top of it,” Pollard said following the match.

“I know the guys.  I watch the faces of the guys in the dressing room, I don’t see overconfidence.  You are seeing guys looking level, wanting to come out, and wanting to perform each and every time.  We have that hunger for one more time, hopefully we can go all the way.  If we do that it will be unprecedented.”

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