February 24, 2017

What Gayle tells us

T20 batting will move on from him, but for now, as he stands on the verge of yet another monolithic landmark, he is a reminder of what is possible in the game

Centuries were once rare currency. In WG Grace’s first transcendent season, the summer of 1871, when he turned 23 years old, 17 first-class hundreds were scored. The champion accounted for ten of them. By the time Grace made 104 for Gloucester against Sussex at Hove in 1876, to become the first man to compile 50 first-class hundreds, he had more centuries than the next 13 men on the list combined. He got to 100 hundreds in 1895 and the game waited another 18 years for someone else, Surrey’s Tom Hayward, to reach the same mark.

Royal Challengers Bangalore player Chris Gayle comes out of the pavilion for the 1st innings of the match 30 of the Vivo IPL ( Indian Premier League ) 2016 between the Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Kolkata Knight Riders held at The M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore, India, on the 2nd May 2016 Photo by Vipin Pawar / IPL/ SPORTZPICS

Royal Challengers Bangalore player Chris Gayle comes out of the pavilion for the 1st innings of the match 30 of the Vivo IPL ( Indian Premier League ) 2016 between the Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Kolkata Knight Riders held at The M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore, India, on the 2nd May 2016
Photo by Vipin Pawar / IPL/ SPORTZPICS

In 2003, albeit accidentally, cricket reset itself. Batting changed because T20 cricket and the money it generated made it change – and in turn, symbiotically, the shock and awe generated by the new batting generated more money.
In T20 cricket, like cricket in the Victorian age, centuries are rare currency, and like Grace, one man stands apart. Chris Gayle has scored 18 T20 hundreds. The next best is seven, by Brendon McCullum. Only two men, Luke Wright and Michael Klinger, have six, David Warner is next with five. ViratKohli and AB de Villiers have four and three respectively. It’s perfectly possible, perhaps even likely, that Kohli will never get to 18, despite his mastery and his comparative youth.
It’s not just the centuries. Soon, perhaps during his PSL matches, Gayle will score the 223 runs he needs to become the first man to 10,000 runs in T20 cricket. The next closest, Brad Hodge and McCullum, are almost 2500 runs – or 25% – behind him. He has the format’s highest individual score, 175 not out, and the joint fastest fifty, in 12 deliveries. He has hit the most sixes, 717, and most fours, 749, of any player (Kieron Pollard and Hodge are next with 437 and 707 respectively). His innings of 175 contained 154 runs in boundaries, which is more than any other ever played. His 78 half-centuries are also a record (Warner is next, with 59).
The only major batting mark he does not hold is of career average, where his 41.60 is fifth on the list. However, none of the four men above him – New Zealand’s Chris Harris (70.66), South African Pieter Malan (44.08), Pakistan’s Babar Azam (43.68) and the late Phil Hughes (42.69) – have played more than 34 innings for their figures. Gayle has batted 272 times for his.
Perhaps most telling of all, Gayle, statistically, has hit every ninth delivery he has faced in T20 cricket for six (actually just under – his ratio is one per every 8.68 deliveries), a number that has remained broadly steady across his career. Just as Grace made the hundred a new currency of batsmanship, so Gayle has employed the six in the same way. It’s the emblematic moment of T20 cricket, the maximum outcome from any single delivery, and Gayle has employed it the most, and the most frequently. He has reframed it, and he has constructed his image around it, the gym-honed torso rippling under the multi-coloured muscle shirt, the giant bat, sometimes gold, in his paw, legs splayed to anchor this superstructure like with a golfer, providing the resistance against which he swings.
There’s no stat that measures how far each Gayle six goes, but he has seized on the demoralising effect of being able to clear not just boundaries but fences and stadiums. It’s easy to see this as a bullying demonstration of force, yet for all his failings off the field, Gayle has a sharp cricketing intelligence. He has Test match triple-centuries and an ODI double, and you don’t get those by muscling sixes when the fields are restricted. It was Gayle who conceptualised this new way of batting, and worked out a way to execute it. To do so, you first have to imagine what’s possible.
Gayle’s flashy Instagram life has militated against him being taken seriously as any kind of thinker. And for all that he guarantees bums on seats and increased viewing figures, along with the pyrotechnic hitting, the Big Bash knew that its image was more important that any one player, however great, however wanted. It did not miss him this year; respect is worth more.
It took time for Grace’s numbers to be superseded, yet batting moved on, as it must. Fry, Ranji, Trumper, Hobbs and then Bradman and others were playing a noticeably different game, in new styles and with new techniques. They stood on Grace’s shoulders, though, and his philosophy that batting was about attacking the bowler remained his lasting legacy.
Batting will move on from Gayle too. Kohli, who may soon be the pre-eminent batsman of the age, and who has wiped one of Gayle’s significant records from the books with his 973 runs in the last IPL, has a deeper dimension to his batting, and a style that feels more universal and repeatable.
Just as Grace was more physically imposing than most of his opponents, so has Gayle been. Not all of his legacy will be savoury, but in an alt-fact, fake-news world, there is a truth in the idea that he has, like the good doctor, shown us what was possible.(ESPNCricinfo)

Floodlights Masters vow championship repeat at Florida Cup

Captain of the Guyana Floodlights Softball Cricket Association (GFSCA) masters team, Ricky Deonarain is highly optimistic his team can retain the Masters championship in this year’s Florida Cup annual tournament slated to be played from February 24-26.

floodlightsAccording to the veteran right-handed Deonarain, the side is loaded with a plethora of experienced campaigners and feels everyone can give a good account of themselves. He also stated that they are buoyant and ready to remain on the podium.
Reflecting on what had transpired last year, Deonarain mentioned that the success was purely on total team cohesion and no doubt they will apply similar efforts later this month at the picturesque Brian Picollo Park in Cooper City.
“We [are] definitely confident of winning the Masters category again; we played committed and hard cricket in 2016 and my players are ready to go again,” Deonarain commented.
Quizzed on the composition of the lineup, Deonarain immediately acknowledged that the setup has a great deal of all-rounders while the specialist batsmen and bowlers should be able to create an impression too.
“We have got some seasoned players; very experienced and are capable of doing well; our preparations also demonstrated that we are equipped to be a triumphant unit in 2017 at this big tournament,” the 52-year-old Deonarain related to Guyana Times International Sport.
In the final last year, GFSCA team trounced South Florida Softball Cricket League by a handsome eight-wicket margin at the Central Broward Stadium in Fort Lauderdale and that gives Deonarain the confidence they can return to Guyana with the winning trophy for the second year in succession.
“I am very much confident of lifting the trophy for the second time; last year was very successful with all our matches unbeaten and that showed that we were well-prepared and now ready to defend the championship,” Deonarain explained.
Having emerged victorious at their own tournament, the Guyana Cup 6 last year, Deonarain revealed that would have also inspired them immensely to keep the winning momentum progressing. He attributed that success also to hard work and diligent cricket.
He will be banking heavily on some of the reputable players to cash in on the overseas trip. Players like himself, Wayne Jones, Gordial Mattai, John Sumair, Kash and Ravi Lutchman (brothers), Ramo Malone, Anil Beharry, Uniss Yusuf, Jagdish Persaud among others to come to the fore.
Apart from the GFSCA Masters, the GFSCA Legends will also be participating for the ninth consecutive years among other Guyanese teams for both the Masters and Open categories. Teams are expected from New York, the hosts city and Canada to be part of the action as well.(Contribution made by Ravi Madholall)

Ming elated over blazing start to 2017 season

Guyanese race car sensation Calvin Ming has continued to swift ascendency into the history books with a stupendous start to his 2017 season. Two weekends on the track thus far and the son of veteran Guyanese racer and businessman Stanley Ming, has already secured two podium finishes.

Racing in Mexico in the FIA NACAM F4 Championships, the young speedster secured his third podium place in two weeks despite serious car troubles.
In an interview with Guyana Times International Sport Ming in speaking of his performances explained that “My performance in Mexico was pretty good, it was a lot of hard racing, in the first race I had a little bit of problems, my teammate got in front of me and was pulling away slowly, but I managed to pull him back.”
He added, “Everyone was telling me I was on fire since I was really fast and it was a track that you had to take risks to be fast.”
The Ram Racing driver was hard at work over the season break as other than winning the championship title, he is eager to undergo testing of a USF 2000 which is the equivalent to F3 car in Europe.
“I have been training for the last two months since I wanted to see what results I can get in preparation for USF 2000 later this year; my plans for the new year is to bring home some championships, and make it all the way to the top,” the driver revealed.
Though, making it all the way to the top is certainly an illustrious goal for Ming, his love for the sport is what constantly motivates him to do well.
“My ultimate goal is not necessarily to be an F1 driver, it is just to be a professional driver and make this sport my career, I just love to race, it is very competitive and it gives an adrenaline rush; it is really hard to say how far you are from achieving it, you just have to focus on the races you have now and try to be the best “the former Go-kart champion disclosed.
The future engineer is adamant that if corporate support comes his way they will only benefit as he continues to represent Guyana proudly.
“When we get sponsorship, I will be able to compete and move into higher categories internationally, Guyana and the sponsors will be able to get allot of recognition on the world stage,” the Florida International University student explained.
The talented Ming should be back on the track this weekend again as his busy season has begun.

England reach Blind Cricket World Cup semi-finals

England’s Visually Impaired cricketers have booked their place in the T20 Blind World Cup semi-finals after beating the West Indies by six wickets in Bangalore.
After a tricky start to the tournament, in which they lost three of their first four games – against India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka – England have now won five in a row to finish fourth in the table, meaning they will face Pakistan in the last-four.
England didn’t have it all their own way as West Indies racked up 232 for 4 from their 20 overs. DennalDeboya Shim smashed his way to 106 from 61 balls with an impressive 15 boundaries.
Ed Hossell led the reply with 64, sharing stands of 56 with Matt Dean and 48 with Peter Blueitt, the man of the match, who continued his incredible run of form with an unbeaten 74 to see the side home with five balls to spare.
Justin Hollingsworth provided able support with a quick-fire 47 in a stand of 79 that broke the back of the run chase.
“It feels fantastic,” said England’s captain, Luke Sugg. “We knew what we needed to do today. The boys are in a good mood and are ready for the semi-final on Saturday.
“We knew they [West Indies] would be a strong side with the bat. They’ve scored a lot of runs in the tournament and they showed that again today. It was great preparation for the semi to be pushed like that. Pakistan won’t be easy but we know now that we can chase big scores.
“We’ve talked about how we can adapt to their strengths and really take the game to Pakistan. We can’t wait.”
England are an outside bet to reach the final given the strength of Pakistan’s team – they won their opening encounter of the tournament by 95 runs. However, England’s coach, Ross Hunter, is happy that his side have fulfilled their expectations so far.
“I’m really pleased that we are in the knockouts,” said Hunter. “It’s where we wanted to be at the start of the tournament.
“We’ve had a culture shift in trying to play a different brand of cricket. We have a nice mix of batters and the recipe is there to score 270-300 – we just have to put it into practice now.
“Pakistan will be a huge challenge but we’ve learnt a lot this week and if we play well we will give ourselves an opportunity.
“Tomorrow is all about how we prepare our players to be ready to compete on the big stage. The semi-final will be a day they will remember for the rest of their lives.”(ESPNCricinfo)

Gonsalves, Chan, Petterson cash in big

The Guyana Amateur Powerlifting Federation (GAPLF) opened their 2017 season in smashing fashion with the Junior/Novices Championship seeing a fair amount of success on Sunday at the Banks D.I.H. facility, Thirst Park.
With 22 lifters taking to the mat, Cavis Rodney endured the challenge of Indra Mekdeci to win the overall novice female unequipped prize. The 29-year-old Rodney squatted 140 KG; bench pressed 77.5 KG and dead lifted 150KG to amass a total of 367.5KG.
After the competition, Rodney said she was a bit nervous going into the competition but attributed her success to hard work and the efforts of her coaches.
Meanwhile, in the overall male junior equipped category, Hardcore gym’s Kevin Briglall amassed 474.132 wilks points with the 20 year old squatting 202.5 KG; bench pressing 112.5 KG and dead lifting 207.5 KG. Briglall piped Total Fitness gym’s 22 year old Arif Immamdeen who totaled 446.205 age-wilks points. The pair was trailed by Immamdeen’s gym mate, 21 year old Brad Davin with 417.885 age-wilks points.
Romario Gonsalves was crowned overall junior unequipped winner, with a total age-wilks points of 467.179 as the 18 year old bettered Carlos Petterson who smashed the National squat record (260 KG), lifting a total of 710 KG but the 23 year old had a 448.578 age-wilks points. Demetri Chan of Buddy’s Gym shattered three national records in the 74Kg class totaling 500KG.
Total fitness gym’s Thristan Kamal carted off with the overall novice male unequipped prize with 352.362 wilks points, eight points ahead of challenger, Triel Benjamin of Hardcore gym.
Marley Vyphuis won the overall novice male unequipped with 339.228 wilks points as he leaped the competition with a total of 540KG.

Cameron meets cricket stakeholders in New York

(L-R) James Archibald, Dave Cameron, Charles Simpson, John Melbourne (93.5 FM/formerly of WLIB) and Gerry Hopkin.

(L-R) James Archibald, Dave Cameron, Charles Simpson, John Melbourne (93.5 FM/formerly of WLIB) and Gerry Hopkin.

President of the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB), Dave Cameron was the special guest at the New York Metropolitan District Cricket Association (NYMDCA) last Wednesday (January 11). The occasion was the professional business networking session.

In the President’s remarks, Cameron noted that the visit to New York was to meet with local cricket organizers and players, as well as with city government officials to explore ways of further developing the growth and popularity of cricket in the Diaspora.

It was pointed out that securing a stadium for cricket in New York City is one of the goals of the NY Metropolitan District Cricket Association, which the WICB encourages and supports.

Cameron also highlighted that in managing the WICB as a business, there are some key priorities which includes meeting players’ needs to facilitate best performances on and off the field. “The team I am a part of now has helped the organisation to move from a deficit to having a surplus of funds,” Cameron noted.

Additionally, he mentioned that currently all West Indian cricketers registered with the WICB are enjoying improved salary arrangements with reasonable wages, which ensure that they can give cricket full-time attention, without the need for a second job.

Currently, compared to four years ago, where there were only 15 full-time players employed by the WICB, there are now 120, with entry-level players getting at least $30,000 (USD) per year.

The event was organised by After Networking Wednesdays (ANW) Coordinating Cohost Gerry Hopkin and Primary Cohost, Edmund Sadio. The meeting was also addressed by Cliff Roye, the president of the New York Metropolitan District Cricket Association, who expressed optimism for the future of cricket in New York.

Michael Roberts of Commonsense Strategies, who along with James Archibald, worked with the leadership of NYMDCA and Charles Simpson in planning the media and other government engagements of Cameron’s Itinerary.

Other planned events on Cameron’s three-day itinerary, included visits to various cricket playing fields, a press conference on the steps of City Hall in Manhattan with NYC officials on Thursday and a Meet & Greet reception at Brooklyn’s Borough Hall, hosted by Borough President Eric Adams, on Friday.


GFF aiming to give players more overseas exposure

GFF Technical Director Ian Greenwood; Mark Wronge, GFF President Wayne Forde, and Akeem Bollers

GFF Technical Director Ian Greenwood; Mark Wronge, GFF President Wayne Forde, and Akeem Bollers

With a wealth of young talented football players in Guyana, the governing federation will be implementing a strategic approach in which they allow these players to be exposed to foreign teams, this is according to President of the GFF Wayne Forde.

Forde spoke to the media and explained, “The Technical Director [Ian Greenwood] has what he terms an exit strategy for players, his vision is that we need to do a bit more and his concern is that we don’t want to expose players to teams that the likelihood of them making the cut is remote.” Forde is of the view that these players should be exposed to teams that they have a realistic chance of being signed.

“It is better to expose players to teams that are likely to make the cut, he [Technical Director] is deliberate in how we identify these players and how we expose these players and it needs to be a structured programme” he stated.

However, the President will not stop private citizens who wish to provide opportunities for player signings but the process must go hand in hand with the vision of the Technical Director.

Recently, Mark Wronge and Akeem Bollers, managed to gain acceptance to participate in a student athlete soccer tryout in South Carolina and Louisiana, United States of America, on January 21 and February 18-19 respectively.

This tryout is part of a process to achieve a student athlete scholarship. The tryout will be held at the Anderson University Athletic Campus (South Carolina) and Mike Getman Soccer Camp (Louisiana).

Bollers is from Cougars FC and Wronge plays for Rosignol United FC and both are expected to depart on January 17, 2017.

This opportunity was made possible through ReelaSmc and done on invitation. ReellaSmc is a non-profit organization based in Lawrenceville Georgia. The purpose of the organization is to offer opportunities for student athletes to try-out for academic/sports scholarships in the USA.

Fruta Conquerors’ Jeremy Garrett is also another young player who managed to gain the attention of top Portuguese club, Sporting Clube de Portugal.


Du Plessis only has eyes for a whitewash

iThere are ways of saying things and then there is the Faf du Plessis way of saying things. It’s considered rather than clichéd and direct without being dismissive, an especially important quality in a series like this.

South Africa have dominated to the extent that Dale Steyn’s “quietly confident,” pre-series prediction that a 3-0 whitewash could be on the cards now seems a certainty. Apart from the first day of the first Test, Sri Lanka have failed to put up a concerted challenge to South Africa in any department and the sting of this series has long left the bee.

Despite that, du Plessis did not disrespect the opposition and offered a measured explanation for their lack of fight. “We don’t see them as weak, we just see them as not being as good in our own conditions as we are,” he said.

At the Wanderers, that will only be highlighted more. Even though the groundsman Bethuel Buthelezi, has said, “there won’t be as much in the wicket as there was for Stuart Broad last year,” he has promised bounce and carry and Sri Lanka’s batsmen will need to find a way to cope.

Du Plessis’ advice to Sri Lanka is to be patient, because that is the only way to prosper on seamer-friendly surfaces. “In the batting department, they just haven’t had guys anchoring the crease and applying themselves for long enough. We also find the conditions challenging but we’ve just been more patient in waiting for the bowler to make a mistake,” he said.

Sri Lanka’s pace pack, though, could have more to look forward to. Du Plessis remains wary of an attack that have barred their teeth on occasion and that he thinks are not far away from biting. “They’ve got the seam bowlers in these conditions to challenge us, but they just haven’t done it consistently. If they start doing that then they can do exactly what we’ve done with them,” he said.

South Africa’s aim is a whitewash, which they were not able to achieve in Australia as Australia showed up well to win the floodlit Test in Adelaide by seven wickets.

“You don’t get opportunities like this very often so for me that becomes the focus – to try and make sure that we dominate a team we are on top of at the moment,” du Plessis said. “We had an opportunity in Australia, we didn’t take it – the pink ball is something the Australian team are quite successful with – but it’s another opportunity for us to try and go 3-0.”

Apart from the unknown of a first day-night Test, South Africa’s quest for 3-0 Down Under was derailed by the distraction surrounding du Plessis’ ball-tampering hearing and ultimate conviction. Then, du Plessis was disappointed that took away from the team’s achievements.

A similar thing has happened now, with Kolpak signings making the headlines and South Africa’s series win relegated to inside pages. Du Plessis has admitted he does not enjoy seeing performances brushed aside for bigger issues and would like to try and bring the actual cricket to the forefront again.

“In this series, once again, we’ve played amazing cricket, we’re 2-0 up, dominating a team and there’s other stuff that influences and takes the shine off the performances and that is draining. In a perfect world, you don’t want that,” he said.

“But it is what it is. We respect Kyle’s decisions. It’s now time for us to focus on this next Test match and look forward to how we can build a new bowling unit and see who are going to be the guys who will lead our attack in the next five years.”

Wayne Parnell has been confirmed as Abbott’s replacement and du Plessis is looking forward to seeing his progression first-hand but he is also excited about the prospect of Knights’ quick Duanne Olivier, who may have to wait to make his debut but who is definitely in the long-term plans.

“I’m excited to see how much Wayne’s game has improved. He played one Test for us last time and did really well, and I think he’s a better player than he was then,” du Plessis said.

“Today was the first time I faced Duanne and there is just something there. I really like what I see. I also like a guy coming to the nets, picking up an old ball and starting to bowl with it. Generally you get guys wanting a new ball – obviously you want to impress – but he took an old ball straight away and was just getting stuck into his areas. It’s nice that he is 24 as well, there’s a future there. I am excited about the talent.” (ESPNCricinfo) doseMoonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent


GTTA seeking Pan Am Juniors qualification

The Guyana Table Tennis Association (GTTA) will host the Caribbean Junior and Cadet table tennis Championships from April 14-19 at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall, Homestretch Avenue Georgetown and that competition will be used as the qualification event for the second Pan American Junior and cadet table tennis Championships to be held in the United States of America in September.

The top four teams from the Caribbean will join the top four teams from Central and South America to compete at the Pan Am event.

“The GTTA will be gauging the players’ progress over the coming months to arrive at the best possible team to compete at the championships,” stated a release from the association.

According to the GTTA release, in an effort to enhance the training of the junior and cadet players, the GTTA will have the senior players train with members of the junior team in an effort to reinforce the fundamentals of the players and increase their technical and tactical awareness.

According to the GTTA all the top countries in the region are expected to descend on Georgetown since the qualification event is compulsory.

The Caribbean tournament will provide opportunities for 32 of Guyana’s top junior athletes to compete against the region’s best for regional honours.

Last year the Guyana junior boys team secured silver medal in a three-way tie between host and eventual winners the Dominican Republic whom Guyana defeated by a 3-2 margin in Trinidad and Tobago.

This year the locals will look to use the home advantage to go one better and win the regional tournament which will qualify them for the prestigious Junior Pan American Championships.

The junior boys team boasts a formidable line up with the likes of Miguel Wong, Elishaba Johnson, Kyle Edghill, Sheldon Atherley, Nicholas Romain, Tyriq Saunders, Jamaal Nicholas, Terrence Rausche, Yeudister Persuad, Kaysan Ninvalle, Brandon Jaikarran,  Navindra Persaud, Jeremey Singh Isaiah Layne, Nryron Bissu, Khalil Ninvalle, Jonathan Van Lange and Ty Dixon.

Priscilla Greaves is expected to lead the female challenge, with support from Neveah Clarkston, Selenas Jackman, Abigale Martin, Onieka Philips, Davona Bess, Thuraia Thomas and Kristie Lopes.

The categories to be contested are boys singles and doubles, girls singles and doubles and the mixed doubles events.


WICB names Johnny Grave as new CEO

Johnny Grave

Johnny Grave

The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has appointed Johnny Grave as its new Chief Executive Officer, following a rigorous recruitment process led by Pricewater house Coopers, Barbados.

Johnny joins the organisation with a wealth of experience from both the Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) in the UK, where he has been the Commercial Director for the past 9 years and Surrey County Cricket Club, where he held several senior leadership roles.  During his time at the PCA, Johnny has significantly grown commercial revenue streams, as well as building excellent relationships and partnerships between the players, the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and a wide range of commercial organisations.

Among the new CEO’s tasks will be developing and delivering the WICB’s strategic plans, and building on the existing framework started by former CEO, Michael Muirhead. The top priorities for the new CEO will be the management and oversight of the WICB’s US$40 million budget, the creation of new commercial opportunities, helping to drive revenue into the whole game, along with an increased focus on player relations and improved performances on and off the field.

President of the WICB, Dave Cameron welcomes the new CEO to the team commenting, “Johnny has a proven track record of success in his career to date and a huge amount of relevant experience and will add exceptional value to the organisation.  Johnny was the unanimous choice of the interview panel and clearly shares our vision for the future of West Indies Cricket.”

Johnny commented, “I am delighted to have been given the honour of becoming the new CEO of the WICB. I am genuinely excited by the opportunity of improving cricket at all levels within the region and am looking forward to working with the many stakeholders who are committed to the long-term development of West Indies Cricket.”

Johnny holds an Executive MBA from the Cass Business School in London and is a graduate from the University of Leeds.

He will be fulfilling his contractual responsibilities at the PCA and is unavailable for further media comment until he officially begins his role with the WICB in February.

He will be based in Antigua at the WICB headquarters.