SERIOUS ACTION When the standard of West Indies cricket was officially recognised in 1928, it signalled a time of jubilation by West Indians, and not even a 3-0 defeat at the hands of England, with each Test finishing in three days and by an innings and 58 runs, an innings and 30 runs, and by an innings and 71 runs could dampen the spirit. In fact, although fast bowler Herman Griffith snatched six wickets in one innings, it was an embarrassing occasion with only three 50s in the series and with not one batsman scoring a century, as the team crashed to totals of 177 and 166, 206 and 115, and 238 and 129. Since those days of mixed reactions, West Indies cricket has come a long way. Riding on the backs of Clifford Roach, George ‘Atlas’ Headley, Learie Constantine, Griffith, and Manny Martindale, the West Indies grew from strength to strength until it joined the world in class with the likes of Frank Worrell, Everton Weekes, and Clyde Walcott, Sonny Ramadhin and Alfred Valentine, Jeffrey Stollmeyer, Allan Rae, Franz Alexander, and Gerry Gomez. Then came the glory days of Conrad Hunte, Rohan Kanhai, Garry Sobers the great one – Basil Butcher, Seymour Nurse, Jackie Hendriks, Lance Gibbs, Roy Gilchrist, Wes Hall, Charlie Griffith when they ruled the world as unofficial champions. Shortly after that came Roy Fredericks, Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Lawrence Rowe, Alvin Kallicharran, Viv Richards, Clive Lloyd, Deryck Murray, Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Colin Croft, Joel Garner, Wayne Daniel, Malcolm Marshall, and Jeffrey Dujon, the all-conquering, undisputed champions of the world. After that, and before the collapse, came a few great and good individuals, batsmen and bowlers like Brian Lara, Richie Richardson, and Carl Hooper, Courtney Walsh, Curtly Ambrose, and Patrick Patterson. On top of everything else, throughout their time, the West Indies have produced many players with the skill worthy of representing the world, and at the same time at that. EXCITING PLAY Trinidad and Tobago, it is understood, have asked the ICC how feasible is it to go it alone, and last week, T&T Prime Minister Keith Rowley said on his return from a CARICOM meeting in Belize that it was decided to terminate discussions with the board and that “the time has come for serious action in trying to save West Indies cricket”. West Indies cricket is strapped for cash, and more than that, every now and then, the board goes to the governments with cap in hand. The cricket grounds around the territories, for example, are owned by the governments. The “serious action”, as necessary as it is, as important as it is, hopefully, does not lead to the break-up of West Indies cricket. The West Indies have come too far to break up now. Think once, think twice, before deciding what to do. The West Indian territories do not possess the money, the numbers, the skill, or probably the desire to make it alone, if they attempt to go it alone. If they take a rest, with the intention of sorting things out before they come back, they may never do so, or it may take a long, long time to come back. And if they really want to go it alone, not one of the territories, not Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, and Guyana, the Leeward Islands or the Windward Islands is big enough, or rich enough, to host a Test series against any of India, England, Australia, or South Africa. The West Indian territories would end up probably only engaging each other. Because of their history of exciting play and the excitement they offered to cricket, it has long been said by the world at large that cricket needs a strong West Indies team. No one, not even in the late 1960s and early 1970s when the West Indies were losing match after match, and except in the early 1970s when a few misguided individuals uttered such sentiments founded on insular selections, ever thought of that. Today, however, following defeat after defeat of the West Indies team, following trouble between the board and the players, following player strike after player strike, following quarrel after quarrel between the board and the CARICOM government, and following review committees set up by the board and the subsequent dumping of committees’ findings and recommendations, there is a growing talk of the West Indian territories going it alone. The three review committees were organised by the board. They were headed by former Jamaica Prime Minister P.J. Patterson, St Kitts-Nevis Queen’s Council Charles Wilkin, and University of the West Indies Cave Hill’s principal Eudine Barriteau. Although it commissioned the reviews, the board ignored their findings and recommendations, forcing Patterson to say that “the status quo is unacceptable”, Wilkin to say that the board members “want to preserve at all costs their position on the board”, and Barriteau to say that “The WICB should be immediately dissolved and all current members resign while an interim board be selected … to install a new governance framework.” “If the heads of government represent the entire population of the region, I don’t know how any organisation that represents just a few persons can, in fact, negate the position of the heads,” said Keith Mitchell, prime minister of Grenada. The resistance of the board to the popular recommendation triggered the whispers of going it alone.
With 12 races slated for tomorrow at Caymanas Park, much attention will be focused on the late Super-6, which offers a $3.8 million carryover from Wednesday.This, the twilight six as it is otherwise called, will be conducted from Race Seven to 12, while the first Super-6 will embrace the first six races on the card.We look at the late Super-6 commencing in Race Seven over 1100 metres for high claimers, the field including the recent winners RIO COBRE; UNBREAKABLE, who bids for his fourth consecutive win; and FORCE DE JOUR, who, despite his disappointing run behind ACTION MAN as the favourite over 1400 metres on February 27, can definitely rebound now dropped in class with only 52.0kg.However, with RIO COBRE having resumed winning ways over the straight in overnight company on February 24, the American-bred eight-year-old gelding from the stables of champion trainer Wayne DaCosta is tipped to repeat with four-time champion Omar Walker again in the saddle. RIO COBRE beat EDISON over the straight recently, and with the runner-up having paid tribute to the form by winning in overnight company last Saturday, speaks volumes for his chances.HELLO LADY, with champion jockey Shane Ellis riding for in-form trainer Anthony ‘Baba’ Nunes, showed promise when finishing second to NOLAN HILL in a fast-run straight five race (57.2) on February 20, and now better for the experience, the Fearless Vision offspring should lead home GOLDEN GLORY and LIKE A LADY in a field of 11 maiden three-year-olds.NINTHRACEThe ninth race, confined to $180,000 claimers for the Roderick ‘Pilot’ Francis Memorial Trophy, looks tailored for down-in-class EL CLIENTE, a January 30 course winner at this level. The six-year-old gelding from the stables of Anthony Smith wasn’t disgraced when finishing five lengths seventh to REGGAE GOLD over the distance on February 27 on a $250,000 tag, and now back to $180,000 claiming, should lead home another recent winner, SPORTING CLAY, with Dane Nelson aboard. Top apprentice Linton Steadman has the ride in a 10-horse field.The 10th race over the straight for maiden three-year-olds has attracted five first-time runners in a field of 16, including the Bridled Quest filly DANCEHALL SWEET (working well), with Nelson riding for trainer Gary Subratie. Having looked advanced in her preparation, DANCEHALL SWEET gets the nod over ZANDRINA and BIG MISTAKE from the DaCosta stables.Horse of the Year SEEKING MY DREAM, to be ridden by Omar Walker for DaCosta and Member of Parliament Derrick Smith, beat the best horses in the country in last December’s $6.5 million Diamond Mile, and having followed up over 1500 metres recently, should lead home the 2015 Superstakes winner FRANFIELD (Nelson up) in the Chairman’s Trophy grade one feature over 1500 metres to be contested by six starters.Then, take the course specialist AGAKHAN, with Robert Halledeen up, to win the closing race over the straight (claiming $350,000 – $300,000) at the expense of FRANKENSTORM.SECOND SUPER-6 FANCIES(7) RIO COBRE/FORCE DE JOUR(8) HELLO LADY/GOLDEN GLORY(9) EL CLIENTE/SPORTING CLAY(10) DANCEHALL SWEET/ ZANDRINA(11) SEEKING MY DREAM/ FRANFIELD(12) AGAKHAN
MUMBAI, India, (CMC):South African left-arm spinner Tabraiz Shamsi has been drafted into the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) squad for the rest of the season to replace injured West Indies leg-spinner Samuel Badree.The 26-year-old, who has played 68 first-class matches but is yet to represent South Africa, has gone straight into the final XI for RCB’s game yesterday against Rising Pune Supergiants.Badree sustained a shoulder injury in the final of the Twenty20 World Cup in Kolkata earlier this month against England and has failed to recover.”RCB is pleased to have signed in SA’s left-arm chinaman bowler Tabraiz Shamsi for injured Badree,” RCB chairman Amrit Thomas said.”He is highly skillful, with a lot of variations, and has had success in SA’s domestic cricket as well as in the CPL this year. While we will miss Samuel Badree, we are excited about the variety that Shamsi brings to our bowling attack.”Shamsi is known to Caribbean fans, having proved a sensation in the Caribbean Premier League last season, snatching 11 wickets for new boys St Kitts and Nevis Patriots.Badree, meanwhile, is the second West Indies player to be forced out of the IPL with injury after fellow Trinidadian Lendl Simmons was also ruled out for Mumbai Indians with a back injury.
CRYSTAL PALACEVS ASTON VILLAAston Villa won five away games in the Barclays Premier League last season, including the 1-0 victory at Selhurst Park. Yet they beat AFC Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on the season’s opening day and must decide whether to give a first start to new striker Rudy Gestede. Palace miss Fraizer Campbell while Villa are without Gary Gardner, Chris Herd and Jack Grealish.LEICESTER VS TOTTENHAMLeicester City have a 100 per cent record from two games, their best start to a top-flight season for 88 years. A third win would represent their best ever start at this level. Tottenham Hotspur, meanwhile, have yet to win this season but they have beaten Leicester on their last two visits.NORWICH CITYVS STOKE CITYNorwich have never lost at home to the Potters in the Barclays Premier League, winning one and drawing two. Stoke last won at Carrow Road in March 2008, in the Championship, while they have never won there in the top flight, in 24 attempts. Overall, Stoke have won just three, lost 12 and drawn nine.SUNDERLAND VS SWANSEA CITYSunderland failed to win in their last three Barclays Premier League last term and have started as they finished, losing both games and conceding seven goals in the process – their worst top-flight start for 10 years, when they lost their first five. Swansea have failed to score in three of their four Premier League visits to the Stadium of Light.WEST HAM VS BOURNEMOUTHIn five games in all competitions Bournemouth have never beaten West Ham, drawing two and losing three. Three home games have seen the Hammers win all three and scoring nine goals. Bournemouth have lost their first two in the Barclays Premier League, their worst start at any level since 2001. They last lost their first three in 1994 (they actually lost their first seven in the old Second Division).WATFORD VS SOUTHAMPTONOver recent years these teams have been more used to meeting in the lower leagues; this is their first clash in the Premier League since April 2000 when Saints won 2-0 at home, while Watford, who have opened this Barclays Premier League season with successive draws, won 3-2 at Vicarage Road that season.
BEIJING, China: Sprint king Usain Bolt will lead the Jamaican trio completed by Asafa Powell and Nickel Ashmeade into the semi-finals of the men’s 100 metres with one eye locked on the final a couple hours later as the IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China kicks into high gear. Bolt and Powell were both comfortable in winning their respective heats with the other main players Americans Justin Gatlin – now unbeaten in 30 consecutive races – and Tyson Gay, also easing to victories in the opening round of the marquee event. Jamaicans have won five of the nine available medals in the men’s 100 metres since the 2009 World Championships in Berlin and have won the gold medal at each event since then. There is a real threat that this streak will be broken this time around with Gatlin showing the type of form he has for the past two seasons. The world leader looked ominous, advancing as the fastest qualifier after he stopped the clock at 9.83 seconds to win his heat, even if there was an illegal +2.1 metres per second wind pushing him along. Bolt, who says he is fit and ready to run fast, shows why his handlers have become so confident that he will retain his title over the past few weeks, nonchalantly winning his heat in 9.96 (-0.2) with Powell, 9.95 and Gay, 10.11 also keeping a lot in the reserve tank ahead of today’s expected double assignment. The men’s 100-metre semi-final faces the starter at 6:10 a.m. with the final set for 8:15 a.m. Also today, Commonwealth champion and national record holder O’Dayne Richards will start his campaign in the men’s shot put at 6:30 a.m. In yesterday’s men’s 400m hurdles action, the Jamaican pair of Annsert Whyte – the national champion – and Leford Green booked their spots in today’s semi-final round, where they, too, will be looking to qualify for the final set for Tuesday. Roxroy Cato struggled to get going and never looked comfortable from the beginning in the end and finished sixth in his heat with a time of 49.47. The event was won by Kenya’s Nicholas Bett in 48.37 seconds ahead of Russia’s Timofet Chalyy, 49.05 with Jeffery Gibson of The Bahamas taking third place in 49.09. Leford Green 49.33 had a nervous wait to see if he made it through as one of the fastest athletes outside of the automatic spots and couldn’t contain his excitement as he booked his spot after an aggressive run in his heat. Green took on the entire field from the sound of the gun, but faded towards the end with his legs getting heavier with each stride as he crossed the line in fifth position behind winner Boniface Mucheru Tumuti, 48.79, also of Kenya; Michael Tinsley (USA), 48.91, and and Puerto Rico’s Javier Culson, 49.02. “I tried a new strategy here in this race. I decided I was going to attack the race, run aggressively from the first hurdle, and it’s a strategy that I will be using as I go through the rounds,” explained Green. Despite a early scare in his event when he clipped the second hurdle and lost some momentum, national champion Annsert Whyte was the most impressive Jamaican of the lot and was relatively comfortable in crossing the line fourth with a time of 49.10 to claim an automatic spot to the next round. Kerron Clement (USA) in 48.75 was the first athlete to finish the race with Great Britain’s Niall Flannery, 48.90 and Kariem Hussein (Switzerland), 49.08 taking the top-three spots. There were a couple of high-profile casualties in the events as world leader and gold medal favourite, American Bershawn Jackson, 50.14, who finished seventh in his heat, and defending champion Jehue Gordon of Trinidad and Tobago, also seventh in his heat in a time of 49.91. Both failed to advance in the event. Danniel Thomas became Jamaica’s first World Championships representative in the women’s shot put, but she had to settle with a 12th-place finish in her qualifier and a mark of 16.62m, which was sandwiched between two fouls. There was success for Jamaica’s female triple jumpers, with Kimberly Williams and Shanieka Thomas both qualifying for Monday’s final. Williams was third in her qualifying group with a 14.23m effort with Thomas finishing fourth with a mark of 14.05m. HURDLES ACTION
SEOUL, South Korea (CMC): Jamaica were outplayed by South Korea 3-0 in a friendly international here yesterday ahead of their crucial World Cup Qualifiers starting next month. South Korea broke the deadlock 35 minutes into the game and scored twice again in the second half, denting Jamaica’s confidence as they prepare for important qualifiers in November and March next year. The South Koreans breezed to an easy victory over the Reggae Boyz on an opening goal from Ji Dongwon, a 57th-minute penalty from captain Ki Sungyueng, and a 63rd-minute conversion by the lurking Lee Jaesung. The Jamaicans were not all out aggressive against the Koreans, sitting deep while employing a counterattacking style. But the home side dictated the pace of the match as Ji Dongwon opened the scoring by nodding home a header from a left-sided corner. Ki Sungyueng doubled the score 10 minutes into the second half after the Japanese referee wasted no time in awarding a penalty when a Korean player went down in the area under minimal contact from Shaun Cummings. Final blow South Korea delivered the final blow by punishing Jamaica for conceding possession at the back. Lance Laing’s underhit cross-field pass was picked off by an alert South Korean, who dribbled to the edge of the area before rifling a shot, which AndrÈ Blake could only parry into the path of Lee Jaeung, who delivered the ultimate punishment. In fact, Blake was the standout performer for the Reggae Boyz by way of his quick reactions that consistently denied the rampaging Koreans. South Korea have now recorded their second win in their three-match history with Jamaica, which also includes a nil-all draw. Jamaica used the match to prepare for their World Cup Qualifiers against Panama on November 13, Haiti on November 17 and Costa Rica on March 25, 2016.
VISAKHAPATNAM, India (AP):Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin recorded the best bowling figures by an Indian in Twenty20 Internationals to help his side beat Sri Lanka by nine wickets yesterday and clinch the series 2-1.Ashwin ripped through the top order with 4-8, improving on his own best of 4-11 against Australia at the World Twenty20 two years ago as Sri Lanka were bowled out in only 18 overs for 82, their lowest T20 total.In reply, India reached 84-1 in only 13.5, overs with opener Shikhar Dhawan top-scoring in the third and final match with an unbeaten 46.Ashwin drew first blood with his third delivery as a vicious spinner beat left-handed opener Niroshan Dickwella (1) for Mahendra Singh Dhoni to complete an easy stumping. The spin bowler then trapped Tillakaratne Dilshan leg-before wicket off the last ball of the over to trigger a collapse.Captain Dinesh Chandimal (8) fell to the first delivery of Ashwin’s second over, caught on the off side while trying to clear the infield. Debutant Asela Gunaratne (4) was his fourth victim, caught at leg slip by Suresh Raina as Ashwin finished his three-over spell at 4-5 and the score at 20-4.”I want to keep the batsmen guessing and (getting) wickets makes me a different bowler,” Ashwin said. “I’ve the courage to go for runs. That’s why I’ve the courage to flight the ball.”
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP): The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has seen “no evidence” so far to support allegations of possible bribery in the bidding for the 2016 and 2020 Games, an IOC spokesman said yesterday. The IOC said it has applied to be a party to the investigation by French authorities into corruption in track and field that could spread to possible bribery in Olympic bidding. The IOC said it was in “close contact” with French prosecutors, who have been investigating bribery and money-laundering involving doping cover-ups at the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). The Guardian newspaper reported yesterday that the prosecutors have widened the probe to include the bidding for the 2016 and 2020 Olympics, which were awarded to Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo. “The IOC has been in close contact with the French prosecutors since the beginning of this investigation last year,” the Olympic body said in a statement. “The IOC’s chief ethics and compliance officer had already asked for the IOC to be fully informed in a timely manner of all issues that may refer to Olympic matters and has already applied to become a party to the investigations led by the French judicial authorities.” IOC spokesman Mark Adams, speaking to reporters, said no proof of any Olympic wrongdoing had been uncovered to date. “At the moment, there is no evidence,” he said. “We have the structure in place. We have an independent ethics commission. But so far there is no evidence. When we get evidence, we have shown we will act on it. “It is any easy thing to talk about, but no one has any evidence,” Adams added. “There is nothing that has been put forward to us. At the moment, there is nothing to act on.” The Guardian reported in January that it had seen leaked e-mails linking the son of former IAAF President Lamine Diack to alleged “parcels” to be delivered to six IOC members during the bidding for the 2016 Games. The British newspaper said the e-mails were sent by Papa Massata Diack to a Qatari business executive in May 2008. The Qatari capital, Doha, was bidding for the 2016 Olympics at the time. The Guardian said the email suggested that six people, referred to by their initials which corresponded with six IOC members at the time, requested “to have their parcels delivered through Special Adviser in Monaco”. The paper said the “special adviser” was believed to be Lamine Diack, who was then an IOC member. The Guardian said it wasn’t known whether any “parcels” were sent. In any case, a month after the email was sent, Doha failed to make the list of finalists in the 2016 bidding. Papa Massata Diack was banned for life by the IAAF ethics commission in January for corruption and cover-up allegations linked to Russian doping. He has appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. Papa Massata Diack is also wanted for questioning by prosecutors in France. Interpol has issued a wanted notice for him to face corruption charges in France. The elder Diack, who headed the IAAF for 16 years until he stepped down in August, is accused by French prosecutors of pocketing more than 1 million euros ($1.1 million) from bribes in exchange for covering up doping cases, mainly involving Russian athletes. Lamine Diack resigned as an honorary IOC member in November, a day after he was provisionally suspended by the IOC executive board. He served as a full IOC member for 15 years until 2014.
LAST year’s Class Four sprint double champion, St Jago High’s Joanne Reid, says she has no competition in the Class Three 400 metres at this year’s ISSA/GraceKennedy Boys and Girls’ Athletic Championships. The lanky 14-year-old cruised to victory in heat two of the girls 400m qualifiers in 57.77 seconds, and despite producing only the ninth fastest time in her category for the day, she is confident that she could take the record along with her as well. “I am very confident of winning the event,” she told The Gleaner. “There’s nobody (competitions) right now, and I believe I can run a record time.” Reid described her race as easy and the Class Four 200- metre record holder expects a much stronger performance from herself when she turns out for the semi-finals and final. “It (heats) was alright. It wasn’t my best time, but it (race) wasn’t hard, it was a comfortable race,” she told The Gleaner. “But I expect a much better performance from myself for the semi-final and final. I don’t know what time I might run as yet, but I expect to win,” she stated confidently.