Legendary Windies batsman Chris Gayle is expected to suit up for the St Lucia Zouks in the upcoming edition of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), having recently not being retained by Jamaica Tallawahs.

The 40-year-old batsman had a rough campaign in a forgettable season for the franchise of his birth country.  Gayle managed 243 runs in 10 matches, second behind Tallawahs scoring leader Glenn Phillips' 374, but one of those matches featured his tournament-high score of 116, registered early on against St Kitts and Nevis Patriots. 

The player, who averaged 24.30, failed to get any 50s for the tournament.  Gayle, who led the franchise to title at the 2013 and 2016 editions, had only returned to the Jamaica franchise last season, having left to join the Patriots in 2017.  His return was not a happy one, however, as the team slumped to 8 losses and only managed two wins in a last-place finish.

In February, KPH Dream Cricket Private Limited, Kings XI Punjab's parent company, purchased the St Lucia Zouks franchise and appointed Andy Flower as head coach. Gayle currently plays for Kings XI in the IPL.  The team will be captained by former West Indies T20 captain Darren Sammy, who was pleased to have Gayle on board.

"This is great news for St Lucia Zouks and for me as a captain to have the 'Universe Boss' on my side," Sammy said.

“Chris is one of the most successful T20 batsmen in the world and with his experience with our young openers, a lot can be learned from Chris.”

Daren Sammy will return as captain of the St. Lucia Zouks for the 2020 season.

Former England star Kevin Pietersen has named West Indies six machine Chris Gayle as the greatest Indian Premier League (IPL) batsman of all-time.

Generally speaking, the 40-year-old Windies batting legend has dominated T20 cricket on a whole, scoring more runs (13,296), sixes (978) and 100s (22) than anyone else.  Gayle has, however, reserved a special type of carnage-filled slugfest for the IPL.

 In 125 matches, he has put up a staggering 4484 runs, which is sixth overall but with fewer matches than everyone above him except David Warner.  When it comes to clearing the boundary at the Indian tournament, however, the big left-hander has no equal.  Gayle’s 326 sixes put him 114 clear of second-place AB de Villiers.  With such a prodigious talent to blast the long ball, it’s little wonder the West Indian commands the undying affection of a rabid fanbase.

“Gayle has lifted the IPL for a number of years,” Pietersen told the Uk-based Metro.

“He bats at the top of the order and has brought so much sexiness to the tournament and he has been very smart in the way he has approached his batting,” he added.

“He has seen off some of the good bowlers and against the one he thinks he can hit from Bangalore to Mumbai, he sends them all the way. ‘He creates so much excitement and he has an aura around him when you see him.”

Gayle also currently holds the record for most IPL sixes and the highest individual score in T20 with 175 off 66 balls, which was set at the tournament in 2013.

 

 

 

 

 

Danielle Williams, the 2019 World Championship bronze medallist, says she is humbled that she will be enshrined into the NCAA Division II Hall of Fame as a member of the 2020 Class.

Amidst money worries and their ongoing dispute with FIFA, the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association now has to contend with a demand from former coach Russell Latapy who says the TTFA has owed him money for years and he needs to be paid immediately.

President of Cricket West Indies (CWI) Ricky Skerritt has insisted he has no regrets regarding the controversial move to replace the team’s regional head coach, just a few weeks before the 2019 World Cup, because it gave a West Indian the chance to shine on the world stage.

With less than two months to go before the tournament, Skerritt replaced then-interim coach Richard Pybus with Floyd Reifer.  The move was opposed by many, at the time, not just for its potentially disruptive nature, but also the fact that Pybus was perceived to have done a good job with the team, particularly in a 2-1 Test series win against England in the Caribbean prior to the start of the tournament.

The West Indies went on to have a disastrous showing at the tournament, finishing second from the bottom of the table with two wins and six losses.  Despite an inexperienced Reifer not going on to distinguishing himself in the role, Skerritt, in hindsight, still believes the decision was the correct one.

 “I have no regrets because that was about promoting the West Indies A Team coach to give him an opportunity to go to England and to Ireland before then [the World Cup] and to show what he is worth and give him an opportunity to get the experience so that we could have at least one coach in our armoury that has World Cup experience and to give West Indians a chance to shine on a world stage,” Skerritt said on a recent edition of the  Good Morning Jojo Sports Show.

Former West Indies player Phil Simmons was officially appointed to the post of head coach two months after the conclusion of the World Cup.

Legendary Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi has admitted that bowling to West Indies legend Brian Lara was, for him, always a terrifying experience.

Despite managing to dismiss Lara on a few occasions, Afridi, a fearsome hitter of the ball himself, admits that he was never confident while running up to bowl to the often-brutal left-hander.

“That would have to be Brian Lara. I got him out a few times but whenever I was bowling to him, I always had the feeling in the back of my mind that he is going to hit me for four the next ball. He had an effect on me. I never bowled with any confidence to him,” Afridi said in a recent interview with Wisden.

Lara scored some 11,953 Test runs and 10405 ODI runs in a star-studded career, which included setting the highest individual score recorded in a Test match with 400.  Lara scored his highest total against Pakistan with a double century, at Multan, in 2006.

“He was a world-class batsman who dominated the best spinners he came up against, even the likes of Muttiah Muralitharan in Sri Lanka. His footwork against spinners was brilliant, and the way he batted against such bowlers was a wonderful sight. He was sheer class.”

 

Former Grenada coach Shalrie Joseph perhaps says it best when he offers that the Concacaf Nations League (CNL) has “revolutionized football in the Caribbean”.

Few, if anyone, would disagree with him.

The success story of Grenada in the inaugural 2019-2020 season of the Confederation-wide competition is mirrored by other islands, which have found a new lease on life with the arrival of CNL.

“I think us in Grenada, one of the many islands in the Caribbean, absolutely benefitted from the new format, which is the CNL, which has revolutionized football in the region.

“Now countries and FAs are going into competitions with a stronger belief that their countries can now qualify for tournaments, like the Gold Cup and the World Cup because of the way the CNL is structured,” Joseph told Concacaf.com.

Joseph said that the CNL’s impact on smaller members of the 41-member Concacaf is felt as much as it seen.

“I think the dreams of fans and players are being realized in this tournament, and if the CNL did not have this format, a small country like Grenada would not be able to play these different teams and would not be able to get this far.

“I think it is important that Concacaf continues to do things like that, especially for a small island like Grenada, where we got to play different countries and visit different places, got to meet new people and have new experiences… We wouldn’t be able to do that if the competition was formatted differently. 

“I also think it’s ideal that these games are scheduled during the international window, which allows the overseas-based players to come back and play for their country,” Joseph expressed.

The former New England Revolution standout was able to help navigate his country of birth to the top of Group A of League B unbeaten. 

As a result of the Spice Boys’ eye-opening performance --- winning four games and drawing two --- they earned promotion to League A and a spot in Concacaf’s marquee national team championship, the Gold Cup.

“We won our group and were undefeated in the competition, so I absolutely loved the outcome of my team in the competition. I thought we were very outstanding in every aspect of the games. I believe the team was extremely hard-working and did everything right from the perspective of following what the coaching staff expected of them,” Joseph noted.

In its Group A run, Grenada’s results in home and away play read: Saint Kitts and Nevis (2-1, 0-0), Belize (2-1, 3-2) and French Guiana (0-0, 1-0). 

For Joseph, the CNL campaign gave rise in confidence and self-belief among the more youthful players in the squad.

“We had some individual players who were standouts who gave their all defensively and offensively. We also got to play some young players and gave them their first caps nationally and gave them their debuts in the CNL, which will be fond and everlasting memories for some of these kids with some of them just turning 19 and 20 years old. 

“So overall, I thought it was a great experience for me and the staff, but more importantly for the players. The experience of coaching in the CNL was great, enjoyable, fun, outstanding and every adjective you can find to describe the experience,” said the former Seattle Sounders midfielder.

Joseph, 41, said it is not easy to zoom in on one factor that led to the team’s success, opting to pin it down to a collection of things.

“It’s hard to pinpoint one thing being the key to Grenada’s success in the CNL. I think there were a lot of contributing factors, but one of them is the brilliant play we brought to the field every time we stepped out.

“We also had a bit of luck in a game here and there, plus we had some late winners in game which showed the character of the players on the team. I think, most importantly, we believed in each other and we believed we were going to win games, irrespective of what it took,” he asserted.

When it came to team tactics and general approach to matches, Joseph relied on a match-by-match strategy.

“Our strategies and tactics were different depending on the teams we played, some teams we pressed and other we allowed to build, but it was always all about us and how we wanted to play. 

“In some games we would play a more open style in terms of our front three, and some games we would play narrow, but it was always us trying to implement our style on the opponent,” he explained.

Joseph reasoned that the balance of overseas-based professional and young starry-eyed talent lent itself to the depth and range of the team.

“The team was a mix of local and overseas players, and a country like ours we need to have overseas players to bring that professionalism. They also inspire the younger players, give them belief and let them know that they are important to the success of Grenada’s football and where it’s going,” Joseph concluded.

Caribbean Premier League (CPL) Chief Operation’s Officer Pete Russell has revealed the league’s hopes of being a major signal the region is once again open for business in the aftermath of the coronavirus.

For now, the CPL has decided to take a wait and see type of approach as it relates to keeping its original scheduled launch date in September of this.  Although the virus has largely, comparatively had less of an impact on the Caribbean to date, Russell insisted the CPL were keeping a close eye on things.

There are contingencies in place that could see the tournament played behind closed doors and without overseas players, at one stadium in Barbados.  With a few months still left to go before the scheduled start of the event, Russell is hoping things will get better.

"It's good that the Caribbean has locked down early, and it hasn't been hit in the same way as the UK, for example," Russell told Espncricinfo. "We're looking at different permutations in terms of what could or couldn't happen, but the lucky thing is that we've got a bit of time - we don't have to force a decision,” he added.

"I don't think there's any question that we'll be able to play it. We're only going to play if it's safe to do so, but we've been approached by a lot of the countries who want it to happen. The reason [for that] is that it's a big sporting event, and it could act as a sign or a marker that the Caribbean is open for business again." 

The England Cricket Board (ECB) is expected to announce the postponement of the upcoming series against the West Indies, as the body continues to figure out the game’s scheduling in wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The series, which consists of three Test matches, was scheduled to begin in London on June 4, followed by matches at Edgbaston and Lord's starting on 12 and 25 June respectively.  As the world battles to contain the pandemic, playing the series in the heavily hit England looked increasingly unlikely.

Initially, it had been suggested that the West Indies would be willing to step in and host the series, but Cricket West Indies CEO Johnny Grave was quick to paint the suggestion as a highly unlikely scenario.

With all professional halted until May 28, the ECB has had to reckon with the prospect of starting the season later than expected.

The West Indies could have the option of playing the series in two potential windows, either side of their home Test series against South Africa at the end of July.  The series could be squeezed in at the start of that month or in September, which would allow England to play their three-Test series against Pakistan as planned in August.

Jamaica’s 400m hurdler Dinsdale Morgan is to be inducted into the USTFCCCA NCAA Division II Track & Field Athlete Hall of Fame as a member of the 2020 Class.

Lawyers representing William Wallace and his executive have threatened legal action against First Citizens Bank in Port of Spain should they find that the bank has changed signatories to the accounts of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) without the required authorisation.

Former Aston Villa and Manchester United star Dwight Yorke has a struggle on his hands.

Just as he did when he tried to break into Premier League football in England, so it is today, where the Trinidad and Tobago native, the most successful footballer in the countries history, is finding it today.

Based in Dubai, Yorke is now trying his hand at managing but has found that the colour of his skin provides barriers just as it did during his playing days.

"I'm actually trying to get into coaching here, which is another challenging part of my career. It's a different challenge now," said Yorke during an interview with T&T radio station i95FM.

"The challenge was to break in as a black player in the UK,” said Yorke speaking of his 10 years with Aston Villa where he scored 97 goals before becoming a household name with Manchester United in a famous partnership with Andy Cole.

“I managed to do that, and now I have to fight extremely hard and ... it's the same thing coming to management. You have to fight extremely hard to get a look-in to it,” Said Yorke.

"You just have to look around the world; it's very challenging. I'm not ashamed to say it - the black aspiring managers are not getting a look-in. You look in the Premier League and you look around globally."

Former Manchester United star and Trinidad & Tobago’s most successful footballer, Dwight Yorke paints a picture of frustration at not being able to contribute to the development of sport in his country.

According to Yorke, a member of T&T 2006 World Cup team to Germany, he remains available to give back in whatever way he can.

“I would always love to contribute to my country the experience that I’ve gained at the level I’ve played at for so many years. You would’ve thought I would’ve been involved in Trinidad and Tobago football, certainly in the future,” said Yorke during an interview with T&T radio station i95FM.

Yorke explained that he was fortunate to have been given much from the sport of football and would only be too happy to give back.

However, Yorke said, there has never been an approach for such an occurrence to take place.

“I've always wanted to contribute to my country, I always want to help. I feel that with the experience and knowledge I've got, I could certainly help out in some capacity. However, that hasn't happened, I haven't been approached," he said.

The former striker, who scored 27 times in 72 appearances for the Soca Warriors says, the problem is not one he faces alone, with stars like Brian Lara and Russell Latapy finding it difficult to make their marks.

"It does make me feel a little bit concerned that someone like Brian Lara, who is the most accomplished cricketer in the West Indies, hasn't got a role in West Indies cricket," said Yorke.

“[…] the reality is there is no greater accomplishment than Lara, Latapy and myself. Why would you not use that to your benefit? I find that very, very strange, when other countries would love to use our expertise in trying to find out what it takes, what it means ... to be out there.

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