Legendary Pakistan fast bowler Wasim Akram has recently recalled an incident in which iconic West Indies batsman Viv Richards scared him senseless, during a series that ended with a fiery Test match, in Barbados, in 1988.

Pakistan had strolled to a 9 wickets win over the West Indies in the first Test before the teams drew the second encounter.  The famed West Indies were left battling to stave off defeat when Akram remembers the clash with Richards in the final Test.

“He would have hit me a lot in 1988. He was a muscular guy and I was very skinny. It was the last over of the day and I was bowling at a good pace. I had realized by then that I had become fast. Viv Richards realized I was a difficult bowler and saw I had a quick-arm action. I bowled a bouncer at him, and his cap fell off.  Getting Viv Richards cap to fall was a big deal,” Akram revealed in a recent talk with cricket commentator Aakash Chopra.

  “There was no match referee back then and I went up to him and sledged him in my broken English. He spat after staring at me and said don’t do this man. I understood nothing but just the man’s word. I said ok, no worries and went to my captain Imran Khan and told him Richards was warning not to abuse him or else he will beat me up. Imran Khan said don’t worry about that and just bowl him, bouncers. I bowled him a bouncer again and abused him after he ducked. On the last ball of the day, I bowled an in-swinger and he was bowled. I went up to him and gave him a good send-off, shouted go back and all,” he added.

According to Akram, who had Richards caught for 67 in the first innings, before dismissing him for 39 in the second, the issue was far from concluded.

“I went back to the dressing room with Imran Khan. In Barbados, the dressing of two teams is in front of each other. I was tired and taking off my shoes when a guy told me to come out of the dressing room. I asked, ‘who is calling me’ and he said you better come out man. When I went out, I saw Viv Richards standing without his shirt,” Akram recounted.

“He was sweating and had his bat in his hand, he also had his pads on. I got scared and ran back to Imran Khan. I told him that Viv Richards was waiting for me with a bat in his hand. Imran Khan asked ‘what should I do. It’s your fight, go and handle it’. I said skipper what are you saying, you have developed this strong body and are telling a skinny guy like me to face him. I went out and told him sorry. I told him that nothing of this sort will happen again and he said you better not, I will kill you.”

 

CPL stars Nicholas Pooran, Shimron Hetmyer, Keemo Paul and Brandon King have all been included among the 10 Caribbean players retained by the Guyana Amazon Warriors for the 2020 CPL season scheduled to get underway in August.

Paul and Hetmyer are two of seven Guyanese players retained by the Warriors. Big-hitting Sherfane Rutherford, Romario Shepherd, Chanderpaul Hemraj and Anthony Bramble were also retained as has been the emerging player Kevin Sinclair.

Odean Smith from Jamaica will also be back for the coming season.

“The Guyana Amazon Warriors Franchise has and will always be committed to the continued development of our local and regional players. From the inception of the CPL, we included young Guyanese players in our squad as part of the franchise’s mandate to provide opportunities to young aspiring Guyanese cricketers to assist in their overall development as professional cricketers,” said Omar Khan, Guyana Amazon Warriors Team Operations Manager.

“Shimron Hetmyer, Keemo Paul and Sherfane Rutherford have all benefitted from these opportunities prior to them becoming full-fledged members of our team. 

“We are extremely delighted that we were able to retain the majority of our local and regional players, including Nicholas Pooran and Brandon King, both of whom have been hailed by the cricket pundits as potential future stars of West Indies cricket and who were members of our team last year. The Guyana Amazon Warriors wish all of the retained players great success in the CPL 2020."

Retentions and signings of international players will be announced at a later date.

 This year teams can retain as many players from their 2019 squads as they wish. They could also transfer players to other teams and sign emerging players. 

 The CPL is scheduled to take place between August 19 and September 26, but the tournament organisers are currently watching the current situation with COVID-19 closely and are liaising with medical advisors and governments.

 A decision on whether the tournament can proceed as planned, or at a different time, will be made as soon as possible.

 

Windies spinner Hayden Walsh insists he would have very little issue playing in front of an empty stadium for the upcoming edition of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) as it would be like playing regional cricket.

The CPL is slated to get under way in August of this year but there is a lot of uncertainty, not just regarding its staging, but also the format it will take as well.  One of the ideas being floated around suggests a ‘social distancing’ version of the tournament, which would be held at Barbados' Kensington Oval.

While some players have claimed an empty stadium could be awkward, Walsh, who is a part of the defending champion Barbados Tridents, has insisted it would be business as usual.  Unlike the massive crowds associated with the CPL, the regional competitions do struggle at times to attract any significant crowd following.

“We still have quite some time to try and get ready while we are waiting for the tournament to come around. We see some progress with the region recovering from the virus, and probably at the start, it may affect the tournament where the social distancing is concerned, and it might not, but I am used to playing in front of an empty stadium in regional cricket where pretty much no one comes sometimes, so I guess it would be business as usual,” Walsh told the Antigua Observer.

Walsh, the tournament’s top wicket-taker last season, was one of nine Barbados Tridents retained.  The list also includes captain Jason Holder, Johnson Charles, Shai Hope and Raymon Reifer, Ashley Nurse and Johnathan Carter.

 

West Indies cricket legend Deryck Murray believes the current generation of cricketers has, to some extent, lost the meaning of what it means to represent the regional team.  

The 76-year-old former wicketkeeper played 88 matches in 10 years for what is generally referred to as the ‘all-conquering’ West Indies squad.  The team proved themselves to be the best in the world after capturing back-to-back ICC World Cup titles with wins over Australia and England at the 1975 and 1979 editions. 

For the current crop, however, those glory days have long faded.  The team has captured two world titles of its own in the freshly minted T20 format, but when it comes to the traditional ODI and Test formats, they have for the most part lost far more often than they have won.

Murray believes a part of the team’s recent failures is down to losing the significance of what it means to be on the pitch for the West Indies and the passion required to succeed.

“I’d love to give them an understanding of what it really means to represent the West Indies.  I think that is something that would be difficult to assimilate without the kind of mentorship that I had and I’m sure a number of youngsters coming into the team in my era had,” Murray told Barbados radio show, Mason and Guest, recently.

“I think now people talk about cricket as a job, you have to be professional. You have to do this you have to do that.  You have to hit a 100 balls in practice.  That’s not what international cricket is about.  International cricket is about the desire to play a Test match, to win a Test match, to win a Test series,” he added.

“It has nothing to do with how much you get paid or how much the coach gets paid or whatever.  It’s about wanting to do something, and you want to do it and go out and train.  Because you train for 35 minutes a day you recognize you really could train 40 minutes and it won’t hurt me.  When you do 40 minutes you think I can do an hour and you keep going.”

“…You need to get into the passion for what it is that you are doing and how you are doing it.  You need to believe that there is a meritocracy and feel that if you are the best the coaches and selectors will pick you…it’s as much as about the psychological game as much as the actual technique of batting and bowling.”

According to Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) general secretary, Dalton Wint, the potential of changes to the hexagonal stage of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying could hurt the Reggae Boyz chances of making it to Qatar in 2022.

Wint was responding to CONCACAF president Victor Montagliani’s comments about the possibility of the six-team final round going through changes because of the delays in sports on account of the worldwide spread of Coronavirus.

Montagliani, who witnessed FIFA’s cancellation of friendly windows in March and next month, is doubtful that matches can be played in September when the hexagonal section of CONCACAF qualifying is set to resume.

According to Montagliani, the hexagonal may involve more teams but that how that would look would depend on a new calendar coming from FIFA.

Wint explained that playing more games would mean a greater financial burden that the JFF had not bargained for.

“It depends on how the fixtures are set up because we do have a plan in our heads that we are approaching corporate Jamaica with, and that is to play 10 games. If we are having more games with a shorter time, then you might have some difficulty in acquiring the services of your best players, the facilities that you might need may not be available to you if you have more games, and the timeline in which to complete these things could cause us not to be prepared as properly as we would have wanted,” explained Wint.

Teams vying for a place at the World Cup in Qatar were to be given the opportunity to play in the CONCACAF six-team final and Jamaica, who now stand at fourth in the region, were preparing for that eventuality. The cut-off point for those rankings to count would have been June.

However, with teams not getting the opportunity to play for a spot in that six because of the COVID-19 issues, CONCACAF may be forced to make changes. As it stands, Mexico, the United States, Costa Rica, and Honduras are also among the six top sides.

“It might be disadvantageous to us,” said Wint, although he was keen to point out that a solution that was reasonable would not be met with opposition from the JFF.

England Test captain Joe Root is in support of finding a way to make sure his side can welcome a visit from the West Indies as early as July.

For that to happen, the players would have to go through rigid isolation and testing protocols, as well as austere social distancing measures.

Of course, the proposal will include officials as well as media and the England skipper thinks it can work.

“I’m optimistic about it. It would be a real shame if it doesn’t happen. The public are desperate for some live sport and the guys are missing it,” said Root.
“The players would be sectioned off in one part of the hotel and would be in isolation together. There would be no interaction with the media, the TV crews or even the opposition when off the pitch.

“We would have separate lunchrooms. It would have a different feel to it but it’s probably manageable. Hopefully that is the case.”

According to the proposals, the three Tests would be played at ‘bio-secure’ venues behind closed doors.

Those venues, the proposal points out, are those that have hotels on location, like Manchester, Southampton and Headingly.

Root, while optimistic, is cognizant of the fact that Cricket West Indies (CWI) would have to take the risk.

In response, West Indies Test captain Jason Holder, has said his side would have to be certain of their safety before saying yes to such a proposal.

“This thing has been really, really serious as we all know and has claimed quite a few lives throughout the world and that’s the last thing any of us would really want,” said Holder.

“I think we’ve got to play the safety card first before we can even think about resuming our normal lives.”

In the meantime, CWI Chief Executive, Johnny Grave, has said the England Cricket Board’s proposals were being considered but that first all the moving parts would have to be understood.
England will be desperate to get back the Wisden Trophy they lost to the West Indies last year for the first time in a decade.

Tom Brady joined LeBron James and a host of other sports stars from the United States in calling for a federal investigation into the fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery.

In February, Arbery was killed while out jogging through a residential area of Brunswick, Georgia in broad daylight.

Father and son Gregory and Travis McMichael were arrested and charged with murder on Thursday after mobile phone footage of the 25-year-old's death emerged. Gregory McMichael used to work for the local police department.

Brady was one of the players to sign a letter by the NFL Players Coalition, which was sent to US Attorney General William Barr.

The letter called for action in order to restore a measure of faith in America's justice system – citing the local investigation and a failure until this week to arrest or charge the McMichaels as problematic.

"We must strive to achieve the lofty but basic promise of equal justice, a promise on which our democracy depends," the letter read.

"Having the DOJ [Department of Justice] intervene in this case and lead the investigation immediately will help us move toward that goal.

"If it does not, but instead choses to turn its back on this obvious injustice, the DOJ will relinquish its role as the champion for the defenceless and send the unmistakable message that the federal government will not protect us from violence, prejudice and injustice in our communities."

Brady's former New England Patriots team-mate Julian Edelman and Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr were also among the 64 signatories.

On Twitter, James expressed his indignation over Arbery's death.

He wrote: "We're literally hunted EVERYDAY/EVERYTIME we step foot outside the comfort of our homes! Can't even go for a damn jog man!

"Like WTF man are you kidding me?!?!?!?!?!? No man fr [for real] ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!!!

"I'm sorry Ahmaud (Rest In Paradise) and my prayers and blessings sent to the heavens above to your family!! #StayWoke #ProfiledCauseWeAreSimplyBlack"

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden also called for justice, saying the video showed Arbery was "killed in cold blood".

 Emerging West Indies stars Keemo Paul, Rovman Powell and Oshane Thomas will be featured in a series of films developed in part by the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL).

The Hero CPL has worked with Trombone Productions and Sunset+Vine to create films that tell the stories of these most exciting of Caribbean cricketers.

In each film, these talented young men travel back to their home towns to meet the people who helped them become the cricketers they are today.

“We also hear from some of the superstar cricketers who they have played with in their career, with the likes of Chris Gayle, Andre Russell and Shoaib Malik giving us their thoughts on these players,” CPL said. 

Oshane Thomas visits the site of his brother’s murder, talks about how this impacted on his life and how he overcame this to become an international cricketer.

Keemo Paul grew up in a tiny fishing village on the Essequibo River. His house had no running water and no electricity. It is more than 30 miles from the nearest road. This is where he first learned to play cricket, and the film takes viewers back to visit the community that made him the man he is today, and somewhere he still calls home.

Rovman Powell takes the cameras to meet his mother who raised him and his sister on her own, sometimes working three jobs to give him the start he needed to excel at cricket.

"When documenting sports people it is their on-field talent that is usually the focus, but behind every successful athlete is a story of where they came from, the people who made their careers possible and the defining moments in their lives that give them the drive and focus to become the best in the world at what they do,” said CPL’s Head of Production, Paul Pritchett-Brown.

“It was a privilege to be able to go to where these impressive young men came from and to tell their stories."

You can watch the first of these films featuring Oshane Thomas via https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=915x1fBODE0.

All three films will be available on the Caribbean Premier League YouTube and Facebook pages. They will be premiered on the following dates: Keemo Paul – May 22, 2020, Rovman Powell – June 5, 2020

Lawyers representing the ousted executive of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA)  led by William Wallace have written to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) expressing concern over what they have described as a “number of irregularities which have arisen, irregularities that have caused their clients to believe their right to a fair hearing has been impugned.”

Wallace and his executive have taken FIFA to CAS over the latter’s decision to appoint a normalization committee to oversee the running of the TTFA, which in effect sidelined the Wallace-led executive that was constitutionally elected in November 2009.

Among the concerns to which the lawyers - Dr Emir Crowne and Matthew Gayle - refer arose from correspondence from CAS in which it mentioned hiked costs Wallace and his executive are being compelled to pay in advance of the tribunal hearing while at the same time declaring that FIFA will not pay arbitration costs in advance in matters such as these.

The costs mentioned amount to 40,000 Swiss Francs or approximately US$41,000, which the Wallace-led executive, the Appellants, must pay in full. The lawyers said that they are unsure how CAS facilitates access to justice with such extravagant fees.

According to the correspondence obtained by Sportsmax.TV, CAS indicated that “as a general rule, FIFA does not pay any arbitration costs in advance when it acts as a Respondent in a procedure before CAS, which is admissible to CAS pursuant to Article R64.2 of the Code. This means that, according to the same provision of the Code, the Appellant has to pay the entirety of the advance of costs.”

In response, Dr Emir Crowne penned a letter to CAS on Thursday, May 7, arguing that the costs are unfair “…particularly since the hearing would have likely taken place by video conference and the usual travel costs of the panel and the CAS’ counsel would have been eliminated.

“To that end, we are genuinely unsure how the CAS facilitates access to justice with such extravagant fees. The Appellants are not from the developed world, nor are they as well-financed as the Respondent.”

The lawyers also argue that the matter is made even more alarming since the tribunal accepted without question FIFA’s submission that they wanted the matter heard by three arbitrators, thus tripling the associated costs.

“On its face, therefore, the CAS appears to be a willing participant in the Respondent’s gamesmanship, especially if the CAS had institutional knowledge that the Respondent – an entity with immeasurable financial resources – would not be advancing their share of the arbitration costs,” the lawyers said.

“This is at least an unacceptable display of apparent institutional bias.”

In light of the development, the lawyers revealed that FIFA subsequently issued a letter to the CAS indicating that they (CAS) must suspend FIFA’s response to the Appellants until the Appellants pay the full costs. CAS, they said, has agreed that FIFA should be able to benefit from the extension.

“As it stands, there are very real doubts that the CAS remains an appropriate and fair forum for the resolution of this dispute,” the lawyers concluded.

 

 

 

 

Veteran West Indies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo has rated the current squad of players as better overall than past T20 World Cup-winning teams.

Under the captaincy of Darren Sammy and with the likes of Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels, Kieron Pollard, and Dwayne Smith the West Indies captured the world titles at the 2010 and 2016 editions.  The current set-up, while having some of the same players who played in the previous edition, like Pollard and including Bravo, mostly consists of a new generation of West Indies talent.

Bravo, who was recently recalled to the team, admits that the most impressive aspect of the new guns is a deep and talented batting line-up, which interestingly is absent top T20 batsman Chris Gayle.

“In the last series in Sri Lanka, we had a team meeting, and coach Phil [Simmons] put the team down, the list, and he put it down in batting order, and he had my name down at No. 9," Bravo said in a recent interview with Espn.

"And I said to the guys, I said listen, I don't think I was ever involved in a T20 team when I am down to bat at No. 9,” he added.

"I'm just in awe of our batting line-up, and I said to the guys, I said listen, I think this team is actually better than our World-Cup-winning team, and that is no joke because at the end of the day, you have batting all the way down to No. 10.

"And imagine, Sunil Narine is not even in the team as yet. So just imagine, when Sunil comes into the team, Sunil will be batting at No. 10, or No. 11. He's an opening batsman now in T20.

"So just imagine a full-strength West Indies team, everyone is on deck. As a bowler, you get Evin Lewis out, [Shimron] Hetmyer comes in. You get Hetmyer out, [Nicholas] Pooran comes in, you get Lendl Simmons out, [Andre] Russell comes in, you get Russell out, [Kieron] Pollard comes in, you get Pollard out, Rovman Powell comes in, and it keeps going, going, and then you reach the champion DJ Bravo.”

The West Indies were in the middle of preparation for the next edition of the T20 World Cup before the coronavirus pandemic struck.  The tournament was scheduled to take place from 18 October to 15 November 2020 but could yet be pushed back.

Former West Indies wicketkeeper/batsman Denesh Ramdin said he is looking forward to playing with the St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots for the upcoming season of the Caribbean Premier League CPL.

Captain Jason Holder said the Barbados Tridents are eager to build on last season’s title success as the team announced the retention of nine Caribbean players for the upcoming season of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL).

For the past couple of seasons, the Wonder Twins, Tina and Tia Clayton have excited fans of track and field across the globe with their brilliant exhibitions of raw speed.

Former West Indies fast bowler Kenneth Benjamin says Lance Gibbs’ criticism of Rahkeem Cornwall’s bowling is off the mark and shows that he is out of touch with the modern game.

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