DUBAI, UAE (CMC):AndrÈ Russell’s cameo was not enough to save Islamabad United as they plunged to a comprehensive eight-wicket defeat to Quetta Gladiators in the opening game of the inaugural Pakistan Super League yesterday.Sent in at the Dubai International Stadium, Gladiators finished on 128 for seven off their 20 overs with West Indies all-rounder Russell blasting a quick-fire unbeaten 35.They were slumping at 63 for six in the 15th over when Russell joined captain Misbah-ul-Haq to post a frenzied 57 from 27 balls in an entertaining seventh-wicket stand.The right-handed Russell faced 20 balls and struck four fours and a six while Misbah top-scored with 41 from 28 deliveries, with four fours and a six.Left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz finished with four for 13 from his four overs.In reply, Gladiators raced to their target with four overs to spare, thanks to English opener Luke Wright’s terrific 86 not out off 53 deliveries.He counted 11 fours and four sixes and put on 53 for the first wicket with Pakistani Ahmed Shehzad (11) and a further 59 in an unbroken third-wicket partnership with Nawaz, who stroked a run-a-ball 22 not out.Medium pacer Russell was expensive in his two-over spell, conceding 31 runs, while West Indies leg-spinner Samuel Badree also went wicket-less from three overs, which cost 25 runs.
The victory by the young West Indians in last week’s Under-19 World Cup is brilliant news. It offers hope that the West Indies has the gumption to organise to win important tournaments in world cricket. It could be a launching pad to a new era of success. However you view the stumping controversy that arose early in the tournament, it must have loaded pressure on the West Indies team and its management. It’s even more reason to tap them all on the back. With Shivnarine Chanderpaul gone and the likelihood of other veterans going in the next few years, the young West Indies could be playing senior international cricket in the near future. Their watchwords must be patience and practise. Both will be needed to hurdle the challenges ahead. The sobering truth is that some young prospects never blossom. In 1995, Obea Moore ran 45.14 seconds for 400 metres to win the Pan-Am Junior title. His form then, at age 16, boosted his Muir High School team to a Penn Relays 4x400m record and vaulted him into the imagination of American track fans. A decade earlier, Richard Bucknor of Calabar held off another US sensation, William Reed of Central High, to secure 4x400m honours at the 1986 Penn Relays. Reed had already run the 400 metres in 45.17 seconds though just 15. Bucknor went on to a noteworthy career as a 110-metre hurdler for Texas A&M University and reached the semi-finals at the 1988 Olympics. By contrast, Reed and Moore faded as they grew older. Neither ever qualified for the US Olympic team. The young West Indians need to work diligently to avoid a similar fate. More than that, those who helped to mastermind their wonderful victory must keep working to groom them. With the cricket classroom of English county cricket long gone, the development of alternative methods of nurturing the region’s young crickets must continue. In this age when the Internet has brought copious knowledge to our fingertips, while also shortening attention spans, this effort must be extended. With a smaller talent pool than Australia, England, India and South Africa, success depends on keeping the champion team and other young West Indies prospects in the game. Late bloomers can jump into the pool of possible selection when the time is right. When the celebrations end, and no one should begrudge the team if it carries them on a bit, we can look to the future with optimism. All stakeholders will have to rally around the West Indies with the needed goodwill, ingenuity, and resources to make Test cricket success a reality again. If the story of these world champion West Indians is to have a happy ending, it’s the only way. – Hubert Lawrence has watched Champs, international cricket, and schoolboy football at Sabina Park.
President of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association Dr Warren Blake would like to see sport being given its own ministry, as well as the development of more regional sporting facilities, when the new government unfolds. Blake told The Gleaner that a separate ministry for sport would aid in the long-term planning and development of sports locally. “The importance of sports to Jamaica has really grown, especially over the last four years, it has grown tremendously and there are really lots of things that sports can do for this country,” Blake told The Gleaner at the G.C. Foster Classics at the G.C. Foster College of Physical Education and Sport on Saturday. “Having a separate ministry for sports would help make this happen and it would help not only track and field, but all sports, so you could start to plan long-term for the development of the country,” he added. Dr Blake added that he would like to see more synthetic track and field surfaces being built across the island. The only all-weather tracks which exist currently in Jamaica are at the G.C. Foster College, the National Stadium, Stadium East, Calabar High School and the Montego Bay Sports Complex. “I would like to see the development of a number of mini-stadia across the island so that synthetic surfaces could be not only in Kingston and Montego Bay. There is none in the centre or the eastern end of the island, so we would like to see more synthetic surfaces placed across the island,” Blake said.
RICH FORM MoBay United are in a rich vein of form, winning four of their last five matches in the Red Stripe Premier League, with forward Owayne Gordon having the time of his life. Gordon, who has 13 goals this season, struck back-to-back braces recently in League play and will be hard-pressed to contain. “This is something they have done before, these kinds of competition. The players know what is required and as a club we look forward to moving beyond this round,” Davis added. The host may have to do without two key defenders in John Barrett and Cordel Simpson, both of whom are nursing injuries. Davis, however, is cautiously optimistic that they will be ready in time for either of the two assignments. “John and Cordel are two of our better defenders, and we will need them to be fit and ready, but if that’s not possible we will have to win without them. I am very confident in the abilities of my players,” he said. WESTERN BUREAU: As Montego Bay United prepare to host teams in Group Three of the 2016 Caribbean Club Championship at the Montego Bay Sports Complex, the club’s head coach, Paul ‘Tegat’ Davis, is warning his team not to take anything for granted as none of the teams will be at a disadvantage. Davis, who has been putting the players through a rigorous training regimen since last week, told The Gleaner that if his players perform anywhere as impressive as they currently do in the Red Stripe Premier League they should finish on top and advance to the next round. “Playing these games at home offers us no distinct advantage because all the teams participating are professionals and will be coming to play hard football,” said Davis. MoBay United will first tackle Cayman’s Scholars International on Wednesday, before taking on Trinidad and Tobago’s Central FC on Sunday, March 13. Before that, Scholars meet Central on Friday, March 11.