Sunrisers Hyderabad suffered a remarkable collapse as they slumped to a 10-run defeat to Royal Challengers Bangalore in their Indian Premier League opener.

Chasing 164, Sunrisers looked on course to ease towards that target with Jonny Bairstow in superb form and set at the crease on 61.

However, Bairstow's decision to attack a Yuzvendra Chahal (3-18) delivery turned the tide as he was skittled for the first of eight wickets in 26 balls.

Vijay Shankar fell for a duck from the next delivery before Priyam Garg went for 12 and Abhishek Sharma (7) was victim to an incredible mix-up with Rashid Khan (6).

With Mitchell Marsh nursing an injury and demoted down the batting line-up, the lower order wilted, giving RCB a stunning start to their quest for a first IPL title.

Earlier, fifties from Devdutt Padikkal (56) and AB de Villiers (51) helped RCB to 163-5 from their 20 overs.

That total did not look like being defended as the brilliant Bairstow put Sunrisers, who lost opener David Warner (6) to a second-over run-out, in an excellent position.

He hit six fours and a pair of sixes to guide Sunrisers to 121-2 in the 16th over before his ill-advised heave allowed Chahal's floaty delivery to clatter into leg stump.

A googly then removed Shankar first ball and, though Chahal did not claim a hat-trick, Garg soon departed after a failed attempt to ramp Shivam Dube (2-15).

Sharma was run out in absurd fashion as he collided with Rashid, who needed several minutes of treatment before continuing.

He followed Bhuvneshwar Kumar (0) in being bowled by Navdeep Saini (2-25) in the next over as Sunrisers faded badly.

Marsh, who badly sprained his ankle in RCB's innings, did not come in until number 10 and was caught at long-on off his first ball and had to be helped from the field.

RCB's win was then wrapped up in the final over as Sandeep Sharma (9) was caught in the deep by skipper Virat Kohli off Dale Steyn (1-33).


Paddikal proves his worth

The exciting Paddikal got the nod to open alongside Aaron Finch ahead of Parthiv Patel and vindicated that decision with an excellent innings. With Kohli and the explosive De Villiers also in the XI, RCB have a potent batting line-up that possesses the potential to deliver in more devastating fashion than they did in Dubai.

Chahal starts collapse

Seeing off the last over of Chahal, one of the most dangerous bowlers in the IPL with over 100 wickets in the competition, was always likely to be key for Bairstow and Sunrisers. He failed to do so and his poor shot proved a decisive error. Still, even the England international could not have predicted the manner in which Sunrisers collapsed.

After a disastrous World Cup earlier this year when none of their batters lived up to expectation, West Indies women's interim head coach Andre Coley has called upon them to step up during their five-match T20 series that begins on Monday.

"White-ball cricket, and T20 cricket specifically, is about scoring runs," Coley said. "If you watch the history of our cricket, our bowling department has always held its own, done well and been competitive.

"[But] we'll need to post challenging totals and be able to chase them as well. We need to be clear in our roles for each player, and how we want to go about the batting, and we should be okay."

Coley said he was happy with the fact that during the two intra-squad warm-up matches they played in the past few days, the batters did fairly will Captain Stafanie Taylor and Lee-Ann Kirby being the standouts with scores of 71 and 85, respectively.

"It's very good that in all innings that were played, we batted the full complement of overs," Coley said. "And there were individual performances as well as partnerships throughout. It was good for everyone to have had some time out in the middle in a competitive environment, which we haven't had for a while.

Delhi Capitals made the most of a stunning late collapse by Kings XI Punjab to triumph in a super over at the end of an IPL thriller on Sunday. 

Marcus Stoinis made 53 from 21 deliveries as Delhi recovered from a shocking start to post 157-8, though their fightback appeared in vain when their opponents matched their total with three balls to spare. 

However, needing just one more run to prevail, Kings XI were somehow unable to get over the line, losing wickets off the final two deliveries. 

Mayank Agarwal was the first of those to depart having made a superb 89, the opener rescuing his side after they had slipped to 55-5 in their reply. 

He hit 10 runs off Stoinis' first three deliveries at the start of the 20th over, but the bowler hit back when a wide full toss was slapped to Shimron Hetmyer in the deep.

Chris Jordan then clipped a full toss straight to Kagiso Rabada at square leg to leave the scores level, meaning a super over was required to decide the outcome of a see-saw contest.

Kings XI managed two runs off the opening ball but Rabada then claimed a pair of wickets, leaving Delhi needing three. They easily reached the paltry target to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. 

STOINIS STUNS KINGS XI

Having come together at 13-3, Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant made 39 and 31 respectively. Still, when both fell in successive balls, the Capitals were reeling at 87-5.

Stoinis, though, emphatically changed the tempo of the innings. Kings XI leaked 57 from the final three overs – including 30 off the last, bowled by Chris Jordan – as Delhi finished with a flourish.

PAINFUL OUTING FOR ASHWIN

Playing against his former franchise, Ravichandran Ashwin's involvement was cut short when he suffered an apparent shoulder injury.

The India spinner claimed two wickets in his opening over before getting hurt when diving to stop a ball, forcing him to leave the field with his left arm in a makeshift sling.

PAIR FOR POORAN

It is not often you get to bat twice in a Twenty20 game. However, Nicholas Pooran failed to capitalise on either opportunity he had for Kings XI.

The West Indies batsman was dismissed by Ashwin first time around and then, called into action again in the super over, was cleaned up first ball by Rabada.

 West Indies Women’s team captain Stafanie Taylor has revealed that the team is buoyed by its comfort level, having been given time to settle in England ahead of the upcoming series.

The particular nature of the series, played in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, allowed the Caribbean team to arrive in England at the end of last month.  The players have been since locked away in a biosecure environment where they have had the time to get used to conditions.

“The good thing is that we have been here for a while now.  It feels like home.  Normally when we go on a tour it feels like we are the away team.  This time it feels like we are the home team.

“The girls are in good spirits.  We’ve had a few weeks to get out there and get used to the conditions,” she added.

 All matches will be played behind closed doors at Derby, where West Indies have been based for three weeks.  The England Women has dominated the West Indies in recent meetings and have racked up comfortable victories in multiple formats.   Monday's series opener will be the first women's international since 86,174 people watched Australia defeat India in the T20 World Cup final in March.

West Indies batsman Nicholas Pooran will head into the new Indian Premier League (IPL) season in a record-breaking mood as he looks to topple either the fastest 100 or fastest 50 competition record.

Such marks will, however, not be easy to eclipse.  India batsman K.L. Rahul currently holds the record for the fastest 50, achieved in a meagre 14 balls, in 2018.  The fastest century was smacked by no other than legendary West Indian batsman Chris Gayle who reached the mark, in 2013, in just 30 deliveries.

Pooran has, however, looked in good form recently.  Just last month, he cracked 10 sixes in a 45-ball epic worth 100 runs for Guyana Amazon Warriors in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL).

"Any. Fastest fifty or the fastest hundred,” Pooran replied when asked which record, he would like to break in a recent Espn Cricinfo interview.

The player, however, also reflected on his performance in the IPL, which he believes could have been better.

 "I don't think that I've too many great IPL performances. I had a couple of scores last year and the one against the KKR (Kolkata Knight Riders) was good."

The batsman represented Kings XI Punjab in the IPL last season.

 

 

Ambati Rayudu and Faf du Plessis led the way as Chennai Super Kings won the IPL opener and exacted a measure of revenge for their 2019 final loss to Mumbai Indians in Abu Dhabi.

In a repeat of the final of the previous edition of the IPL - when Mumbai beat the then-defending champions Chennai by a single run - the Super Kings chased down 163 to win.

They did so despite losing openers Shane Watson and Murali Vijay in the first two overs of their reply as Rayudu smashed 71 off 48 and shared a third-wicket stand of 115 with Du Plessis.

The South African finished unbeaten on 58 to see his side home alongside scoreless Chennai captain MS Dhoni, with the India great - who recently retired from international cricket - playing for the first time since the 2019 Cricket World Cup.

The defending champions made a strong start and were 46 without loss in the fifth over, but no one was able to go on and make a big total as Saurabh Tiwary top-scored with 42.

Mumbai were 46-6 across the final seven overs of their innings as they made 162-9, with Lungi Ngidi taking 3-38.

The partnership between Rayudu and Du Plessis proved pivotal, though the former perished when caught and bowled by Rahul Chahar with the final ball of the 16th over.

England all-rounder Sam Curran, making his debut for the Super Kings, stepped in at six and his 18 from six balls brought Chennai to the verge of victory.

For once, Dhoni was not 'the finisher' as he failed to score off the two balls he faced, with Du Plessis instead striking back-to-back fours to give Chennai victory with four balls to spare - their first win over Mumbai in five attempts.

 

ANOTHER OPENING LOSS FOR MUMBAI

The Indians have won the IPL a record four times, but this was the eighth year in a row in which they had lost their opening game of the tournament.

DHONI SURVIVES FIRST-BALL DUCK

It had been 437 days since Dhoni last took to the crease - in India's World Cup semi-final loss to New Zealand - and he only just survived a first-ball duck. He was initially given out after appearing to feather a Jasprit Bumrah bouncer behind, but the decision was overturned and Dhoni was there at the end, though, for once, he was not the one bringing it home.

Former Australia bowler Brad Hogg has admitted to being left afraid of the awesome hitting power of Kieron Pollard when the two came face to face in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

After a successful Caribbean Premier League (CPL) campaign, where he captained the Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR) to the title, the West Indies skipper is currently preparing for a tenth IPL season with Mumbai Indians.

With 2755 runs and a healthy strike rate of 146.8, displays of Pollards awesome hitting powerful have been plentiful in the IPL.  Hogg, however, got a firsthand demonstration, while playing for the Rajasthan Royal in 2012.

“It was game 12 in the IPL 2012 and we were playing the Mumbai Indians in the Wankhede Stadium. Rayudu and Pollard had been building a partnership and I had been brought into the attack. I was concerned about Pollard’s big muscles and the power with which he hits straight down the ground,” Hogg recalled on his Podcast.

  “I didn’t want to overpitch because I wanted to preserve my body.  So, I just wanted to bowl back of a length and use the wrong-un to beat the outside edge.  Well, I was a little too short and he pulled me through midwicket for four,” he added.

So, I’m going, get those courage pills, go fuller with the wrong-un because you know he is susceptible to it.  So, I did, came in a little fuller, a little overpitched, and Kieron Pollard absolutely loved it.  He got on top of it and smashed it straight back down the ground head height down the wicket.  Instead of coming to me, it went to his mate Rayudu who was backing up. He’s put his bat up to preserve his body. It’s come off the bat, I’m there backtracking because I’m afraid of the power of this shot.  The ball just drops right in front of me, I could have caught it.”

Pollard went on to make a half-century as Mumbai won the game.

Chennai Super Kings coach Stephen Fleming hopes to draw strength from a nightmare build-up to the IPL season ahead of Saturday's opener against Mumbai Indians.

Fleming is without Suresh Raina and Harbhajan Singh, who opted out of the tournament that has been moved to the UAE amid the on-going effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ruturaj Gaikwad and Deepak Chahar also tested positive for COVID-19, along with several members of support staff, while a number of Fleming's first-choice personnel - the likes of Shane Watson, MS Dhoni and Ambati Rayudu - are short of competitive action due to the wider realities of 2020.

"It has been different, and that's been part of the challenge - understanding the unknown," Fleming said.

"We didn't get off to a great start, with some positive COVID-19 cases, but I think we dealt with it very well.

"We were calm around our approach, looked after the players and staff very well, and the rest of the players were calm in the hotel room. There was a bit of anxiety wanting to get out and train.

"It is what it is, and the players dealt with it very well. In hindsight, the amount of pre-season training that we've done up to now, and the extra few days in the room, was probably a blessing."

Mumbai's reasons for trepidation are more historically based.

The last time the IPL was moved to the UAE in 2014, they lost each of their five games.

"We didn't have a great experience last time yes, but it's a different team now," skipper Rohit Sharma said.

"The thought process is different. Six years is a lot of time. Like I said, it's about understanding pitches and conditions, that is crucial so we are putting a lot of emphasis on that.

"Eventually the pitches will play a big part, so understanding and adapting quickly is important. But yes, the past won't play any part - it was just myself, Kieron Pollard and Jasprit Bumrah from that team.

"I think Bumrah played just one game. So the team is different, the staff is different [and] thought process is different. Looking forward to a great IPL."

Universe Boss Chris Gayle is excited about the release of his new music video done in collaboration with British Indian singer Avina Shah. 

The Indian Premier League returns this weekend, with the creme de la creme of the sport in the United Arab Emirates for the marquee Twenty20 competition of franchise cricket.

Mumbai Indians, the defending champions, face Chennai Super Kings in Saturday's curtain-raiser, which is a repeat of the 2019 final.

Here, we take a look at the players who should light up the tournament.

 

VIRAT KOHLI (Royal Challengers Bangalore)

No man has more IPL runs than RCB captain Kohli, whose 5,412 have been accrued at an average of 37.84 across his 117 matches.

Key Stat: India superstar Kohli is the only batsman in the history of T20 internationals to average more than 50 (50.80) among those with a minimum of 20 innings.

MS DHONI (Chennai Super Kings)

He may have retired from international duty, but Chennai skipper Dhoni is not calling time on his IPL career just yet. You feel the 'finisher' will want to end with a flourish.

Key Stat: Dhoni has made the most runs as a captain (4,142) among the eight skippers. Rajasthan Royals captain Steve Smith is the only man to have a better win percentage (65.5 per cent) than Dhoni's 59.8 per cent too.

JASPRIT BUMRAH (Mumbai Indians)

Player of the match in the 2019 final, it was Bumrah's 2-14 that proved pivotal to Mumbai's success. The seamer has mastered the art of death bowling.

Key stat: No one bowled more balls at the death (overs 17-20) than Bumrah's 172 deliveries in 2019. He had an economy of just 7.7 during that period. 

ANDRE RUSSELL (Kolkata Knight Riders)

West Indian all-rounder Russell is a box office draw for Kolkata Knight Riders having averaged 56.7 with the bat last year.

Key stat: Russell made 510 runs in 2019, of which 85.5 per cent were made from boundaries. That was the biggest percentage for those to have made at least 20 runs.

ROHIT SHARMA (Mumbai Indians)

A record four-time winner of the IPL as Mumbai captain, Rohit made 52 fours last season - the most of his 12-year IPL career.

Key stat: Rohit is 102 runs away from becoming the third batsman to reach 5,000 IPL runs after Kohli and Suresh Raina.

DAVID WARNER (Sunrisers Hyderabad)

Last season Warner won the Orange Cap - awarded to the IPL's leading run-scorer - for a record third time after amassing 692 runs, 99 more than anyone else in the tournament.

Key stat: Warner has now accumulated at least 600 runs in three separate campaigns. Chris Gayle (also three) is the only other batsman to have done so more than once.

DEEPAK CHAHAR (Chennai Super Kings)

Chahar had a breakthrough campaign with the Super Kings last year, claiming 22 wickets - a figure only South African duo Imran Tahir and Kagiso Rabada could better.

Key stat: The seamer bowled 64.3 overs in 2019 and 49 per cent of his deliveries were dot balls - the highest figure among those who bowled at least 10 overs.

KAGISO RABADA (Delhi Capitals)

The Proteas quick made his mark in the IPL last season when he took 25 wickets in the Capitals' run to the semi-finals.

Key stat: Of those who bowled at least 10 overs, Rabada had the best average (14.72) while he and international team-mate Tahir were the only two bowlers to have more than one four-wicket haul.

The Indian Premier League season that many feared would never happen is about to get started.

Where there is a will, and where hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake, there is usually a way.

And IPL chiefs have taken extreme measures to ensure the 2020 campaign goes ahead, taking the league and its teams to the United Arab Emirates for the next eight weeks.

The tournament that brought new levels of razzmatazz to Twenty20 cricket is set to begin behind closed doors, with Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah staging the games.

Can defending champions Mumbai Indians defy the pattern of their previous odd-year successes and retain the trophy, and if not then who will come through?

Here is a look, using Opta numbers, at what we should be looking forward to during the 13th edition of the game-changing league.

The oddest of years is an even year. Does that spell trouble for Mumbai?

Mumbai Indians have become the IPL's dominant franchise, and it is they and Chennai Super Kings who are most widely fancied to take the silverware this year.

Saturday's opener between those sides is a re-match of last year's astounding final, when Lasith Malinga pinned Shardul Thakur lbw from the final ball to nail a one-run win for Mumbai.

Two statistics leap out ahead of the reunion: Mumbai have beaten Chennai in eight of their last nine IPL clashes, including the last five; however, Mumbai have lost their last seven season openers.

Mumbai's last season-opening win came in 2012 – an eight-wicket success against... Chennai Super Kings.

In the last seven IPL seasons, Mumbai have been champions four times, but each time they have followed a title success with a relatively fallow year, finishing fourth, fifth and fifth again between their 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019 success. If the pattern of triumphing in odd years and missing out in even years holds, we are looking for another team to hoist the trophy in November.

Only one team have successfully defended the IPL title, with Chennai achieving back-to-back triumphs in 2010 and 2011.

Will we have new champions?

Of the five franchises to appear in every IPL edition, three of them are yet to win to the competition: Delhi Capitals, Kings XI Punjab and Royal Challengers Bangalore.

It is worth bearing in mind the IPL has visited the UAE before, when 20 games were moved to avoid a clash in 2014 with India's general election.

And Kings XI Punjab will look on that time fondly, having won all five of their matches in the UAE. Mumbai, in stark contrast, lost each of their five contests during that sojourn.

Delhi, as they prepare to begin their 2020 campaign, are three defeats away from becoming the first team to lose 100 matches in the competition.

Are there records on the line?

Sunrisers Hyderabad captain David Warner and Kings XI Punjab showman Chris Gayle are two of the most exhilarating players in the league. Warner last year matched Gayle's record feat of scoring 600-plus runs in three separate IPL seasons when he scored 692 in just 12 innings, so the race is on to see if either man can go above 600 for a fourth time.

Mumbai's Rohit Sharma is 102 short of becoming the third batsman to reach 5,000 runs in his IPL career, while Warner is 294 away from that landmark. The all-time leading run-scorers in the competition are Virat Kohli (5,412) and Suresh Raina (5,368).

Can you keep a tight line?

In a format known for its ferocious hitting, is it possible to stifle teams late in an innings?

Yorker specialist Jasprit Bumrah found a way for Mumbai in 2019, bowling a competition-high 172 balls at the death (overs 17-20) and recording a highly respectable economy rate of 7.7 in those games.

His figures of 2-14 from four overs in last year's final were testament to his talent for keeping run-hungry batsmen tied down. More of the same could keep Mumbai competitive in 2020.

 Alex Robinson, the former Calabar and Wolmer’s Boys track star, who I’ve known since he was born, taught me one of life’s greatest lessons.

We attended the same church and were grounded by similar principles, and in an interview, I did with him in 2015, he spoke about his struggles with injury and disappointment. During that interview, he uttered this gem, “life doesn’t end when we pause”.

It shook me to my core.

That same year he picked up a bronze medal in the Class One Boys 110 metres hurdles as Calabar ran away with Boys’ Champs.

I’ve never forgotten about that statement, and in this year of years, it resounds in the most telling ways.

When the 2020 ISSA Boys and Girls track and field championships were cancelled because of COVID-19, I knew that it was for the best as the country needed to have been extra cautious in that initial stage when we knew very little about the coronavirus. Keeping Champs the way we knew it would have been akin to setting off a biological bomb in the heart of Kingston, Jamaica.

This is an event that sees well over 30,000 people in attendance from all over the island and the world. Tracing COVID-19 after that sporting spectacle would have been difficult… as is the situation now… but I digress.

The announcement of the cancellation of the championships affected me in ways I didn’t quite expect.  It’s not because I get to miss out on covering the event, but I know many of your stories. The commitment to your craft is an art. Many of you see it as a way of either furthering your education, coming out of poverty, or both. The same can be said of many of my young footballers who won’t be taking part in the Manning and daCosta Cup competitions this year.  This hurts me, but not as much as it hurts you, I’m sure.

But life doesn’t end when we pause.

How do you cope during this time? Always keep in mind that you’re not alone in this situation. And, if you feel you are alone, you shouldn’t be. Remember you are a part of a school community, which is there to mould, uplift, teach, and advise you through varying circumstances. I know it’s scary that your teachers and principals are learning as they go through this pandemic, but this is your time to reach out and to let them know how you feel. They won’t be able to adapt unless they know your situation. So do not suffer in silence. Your school should also have access to information in regards to your nutrition.

You’re not allowed to give no as an answer when called upon in class, so your school should endeavor to find solutions to the issues you have. It’s difficult to move the needle sometimes, but when you do, it opens a lot of doors.  This should be your quest as future leaders of your family and community.

You must also continue to work hard at your craft. However, in actively pursuing training, the same commitment must be made for schoolwork. Organize with your school’s physical education department to see how training and exercise can be done while adhering to safety protocols. Staying at home and jogging on the spot can do only so much and no more.

However, keep in mind that you must be protected, so training with masks on when you can’t avoid social distancing is imperative. It’s not ideal, but it is better than doing nothing.  Remember the main reason you’re protecting yourself is for your family. Going home to mommy and daddy or your grandparents without the virus is a massive win.

Quite a few of you elite athletes are associated with clubs, which should not be playing a dormant role at this time. These clubs have access to fields and recreational areas that must be utilized. Encourage them to operate a schedule where a limited number of you can take part in training throughout the day. If your club cannot accommodate this… find a club which can.

And finally, endeavor to utilize your environment to get your goals. Growing up in Allman Town in Kingston, Jamaica, was a challenge. However, I was fortunate enough to align myself with people who meant me well. Most of that alignment came from the church I attended. My church played cricket, I did commentary at their games, and those tapes were used as my resume. And at the age of 17, I got a job offer from Radio Jamaica. Life.

Your circumstances don’t determine your outcome in life. And, life indeed doesn’t end when we pause. There is always a path to success. Your success is defined by your attitude and ultimately your commitment to a cause.

I’m longing to say your names on commentary again.

 

Donald Oliver is a football and cricket commentator and a senior producer at SportsMax. Learn more about him at www.thedonaldoliver.com or email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

President of the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA), Keith Wellington, is urging student-athletes to continue training for their various disciplines, in order to be in a position to capitalize on any opportunities to compete in this academic year.

The governing body for Jamaican high school sports has already cancelled all sporting activities for the remainder of 2020 due to a spike in COVID-19 cases across the island.

According to Wellington, ISSA is now using the period to assess what events, including the ones that were scheduled for this semester, could be held next year.

He pointed out that sports like table tennis and swimming are among the favourites to see competition first in 2021.

Wellington suggested that sports like basketball, football, netball and track and field might be the most difficult to stage.

Specifically speaking to the popular ISSA Boys’ and Girls’ Athletics Championships, Wellington told the Commentators podcast, “I know that a lot of people would have said athletics provides for social distancing.”

“On the field of play it does but if you think of our track and field activities, it doesn’t have to be that way, the norm is that you have persons travelling right across the island, thousands of kids from dozens of communities across the island,” he added.

“That is something that would be difficult in this time because you could have somebody from Hanover travelling to Calabar to participate in a meet…they come into contact and right away you have a spread right across.”

Speaking with Donald Oliver and Ricardo Chambers, Wellington also made it clear he did not see testing as an option, at the moment, for any sport given the financial costs associated. 

However, the man who took over the top job in June 2019, says he is committed to ensuring that student-athletes across as many sports as possible get opportunities to compete.

To athletes, he said, “all is not lost.”

“We define luck as preparedness plus opportunity. Right now, there is little opportunity, but you still have a responsibility to be prepared so that when that opportunity comes you will be lucky.”

“I would say to them (athletes) to do all that you can to prepare yourself mentally and physically to play sport. We at ISSA are serious about providing that opportunity to make your luck and we are going to do whatever we can to provide you with the opportunities in whatever format.”

 

West Indies all-rounder Rakheem Cornwall insists he was ready to go for the St Lucia Zouks, despite not being picked to bowl in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) final.

The decision not to bowl Cornwall, who recently came back from representing the West Indies in England, raised a few eyebrows.  But, the spinner has not been among the tournaments leading wicket-takers for several seasons.  In addition, Zouks captain Darren Sammy had a battery of spin bowlers at his disposal, which included Roston Chase, who took more wickets than Cornwall in England.

In the end, after making it to their first CPL final, as heavy underdogs, the Zouks fell short to the Trinbago Knight Riders.  Cornwall has insisted he was fit and ready to perform but his omission from the line-up was the captain’s choice.

“It was basically the captain’s decision; maybe it was his gut feeling to go for the other bowlers.  He thought he didn’t need me at that time so he went for especially his depth bowlers,” Cornwall recently told the Antigua Observer.

"The pitch was a spin bowlers pitch and I am always ready for whenever he calls on me and if he doesn’t then it is the case but I’m always set and ready if I am called upon,” he added.

 

Well-respected retired cricket umpire John Richard Gayle died peacefully at home on Tuesday, September 15 in the presence of family members. He was 96 years old.

Affectionately called Johnny, his involvement with sports as a cricketer began at Highgate in St. Mary in 1953 while sharing his agricultural duties at the Orange River Agricultural Station. At first, cricket was a weekend past time and he became a member of the Highgate Cricket Team. 

In his desire to remain in close contact with the game he loved from he was a youth saw him successful in passing the written examination set by the Jamaica Cricket Umpires Association in 1964, the first Umpiring organisation to require recruits to pass a written test before they could officiate in a match. As expected, he did not confine his service to the field of play as he was deeply involved in the administration and training of recruits.  His commitment to the game as an Umpire since 1964 and as an Administrator from 1970 to 2004 was exemplary and worthy of emulation. His contribution to the sport was recognised by the Government of Jamaica when he was conferred with the Order of Distinction in 2000.

After serving as a member of the Managing Committee of the Jamaica Cricket Umpires Association and as Treasurer, he was elected  Secretary in 1970, a position he held for 20 years while simultaneously occupying the post of Area Vice President of the West Indies Cricket Umpires Association for 8 years and later as Secretary for 17 years.  He was then elected President of the Jamaica Cricket Umpires Association in 1990 and served in this capacity unopposed for 12 years.

After several years officiating in the various local cricket competitions, he was appointed for his first regional first-class match in 1970 – Jamaica vs Barbados, during the 1966-1987  Shell Shield cricket competition, the glorious years of West Indies first-class cricket, when six territorial teams contested the competition.  When Gayle spoke of this match he said: “ This was the most thrilling contest in the history of inter-territorial cricket. I was happy to be involved in this tournament as an umpire for sixteen years 1970 to 1986.”

On February 16,  1972, his ambition to Umpire a Test Match was realised when he was appointed along with Douglas Sang Hue to officiate in his first Test Match at Sabina Park – West Indies vs New Zealand when Lawrence Rowe created history. Then in 1986 and 1987  -West Indies vs England and New Zealand followed by Shell Shield matches in Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad.

On the recommendation of the West Indies Cricket Board, he was invited to Belize, Cayman and Toronto to conduct Umpiring Seminars along with Douglas Sang Hue and to give an account of their experiences during their years of service.  During his period of administrative service, he enjoyed a cordial relationship with all those administrative contemporaries, both at home and abroad.

 After his retirement from officiating in first-class matches in 1990, after serving for 20 years, he continued to umpire in local matches and as a referee in regional matches at Sabina Park and acted as the television replay official during the West Indies vs England Test Match in 1998 at the same venue.

During his career, he officiated in 32 first-class matches, 3 tests, several limited over matches and served as emergency umpire on many occasions. 

Among the many awards are the Gleaner Independence Cup, presented annually by the Jamaica Cricket Association for exemplary service on 4 occasions, the Carreras Sports Foundation Certificate of Merit, the Private Sector Organisation/Jamaica Civil Service Award for Sports, the St. Elizabeth Home Coming Foundation Sports Award, the Parish of his Birth, the Shell Shield Cricket Award, in addition to other special awards from Trinidad and the Cayman Islands, for being instrumental in forming their Umpires Association. 

He was made an Honorary Life Member of the Jamaica Cricket Association, the Jamaica and the United States of America Umpires Association in addition to being made an Honorary Member of the West Indies Cricket Umpires Association.  He was also presented with a citation from the President of the Borough of Brooklyn in recognition of his service to Cricket and was inducted in the United States of America Cricket Hall of Fame in Connecticut in 2011 along with Lawrence Rowe, who he was associated with on two memorable occasions. 

Johnny was an avid reader of cricket history.  He has written several articles relative to Umpiring for inclusion in the Biennial Magazines of the West Indies Umpires Association,  in commemoration of its 70th year of existence, a body reputed to be the second oldest umpiring organisation in the world surpassed only by the Cricket Umpires Association of Victoria.

Regarded as a consultant on matters pertaining to local umpiring and because of his longevity and long association with this indispensable, but controversial facets of the game, his advice, knowledge and opinion were highly respected. 

His contribution to agriculture in Jamaica cannot be overlooked as he spent his entire working life in the Ministry of Agriculture. He was trained at the Jamaica School of Agriculture which was then at a site now occupied by the University of Technology. He worked and later managed the Beverley Research Station in St. Ann and used this opportunity for his cutting-edge research on the crop pimento. He wrote the book “PIMENTO The Allspice Story”. He has been hailed by Kenneth Magnus, CD, PhD. Professor Emeritus, University of the West Indies, Mona, to quote,  “Johnny Gayle is a retired expert in the tree crop pimento, one of Jamaica’s ‘best in the world’ products. His agronomics expertise and experience with this crop leaves us with a blueprint on how to proceed with its agricultural future.”  He did everything with perfection and thoroughness.

 In 1952, Johnny was married to Marjorie Jefferson, who passed away in 2019, after 67 years of marriage, and was the proud father of 3 children – Errol, Ruth (aka Leith) and Everton (aka Val). He is a very loved grandfather to his grandchildren, other relatives, and friends.

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