SYDNEY, Australia (CMC):Former Australia captain Michael Clarke believes West Indies players should place more emphasis on playing international cricket rather than campaigning in the various domestic Twenty20 leagues around the world.He was speaking amid the raging debate surrounding the plethora of West Indies players currently signed with franchises in the ongoing Big Bash League, even as the Caribbean Test team faced off in a three-Test series against Australia here.”I think international cricket has to be the priority. T20 tournaments are important and fantastic to watch, but I think there’s nothing more special than representing your country,” said Clarke, who quit international cricket earlier this year.He added: “The players that are here playing in the BBL, I think it’s really disappointing they’re not part of the West Indies Test team. There’s a number of players in Australia who would be in their number one picked Test team.”I think it’s disappointing for the game and Test match cricket. I’d like to see that changed. That will come down to the ICC and West Indies Cricket Board trying to get together to make it work.”Fielding a largely inexperienced side, West Indies were annihilated inside three days by an innings and 212 runs in the opening Test in Hobart.They will play the second Test in Melbourne starting on Boxing Day while the likes marquee opener Chris Gayle, Andre Russell, Darren Sammy, Dwayne Bravo, Samuel Badree and Lendl Simmons turn out in the Big Bash.
LEICESTER, England (AP):Leicester relinquished first place in the English Premier League heading into 2016 after drawing 0-0 with Manchester City in an entertaining stalemate yesterday.Arsenal lead Leicester – the surprise team of the season – on goal difference, with third-place City three points behind after half of the league campaign.Raheem Sterling, the Jamaica-born winger, was a danger in the first half for City at King Power Stadium, forcing Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel into three saves, while striker Jamie Vardy wasted the home side’s best chance by blazing over when clear on goal.City finally managed to keep a clean sheet without injured captain Vincent Kompany (calf) who was ruled out for up to four weeks by manager Manuel Pellegrini after the game but hasn’t won away in their last six attempts.”I don’t think in December that you’re going to win the title,” Pellegrini said. “At the end of January and the first week of February, maybe we can see more who are finally the teams which will be involved in the fight.”After a loss at Liverpool on Saturday, Leicester’s title credentials were questioned by some, especially as they were battling relegation all of last season. But Claudio Ranieri’s side silenced their doubters with another superb performance, holding their own against many pundits’ favourites for the championship.”This league is very crazy . nobody wants to win the league. It’s very strange,” Ranieri said. “We’re the basement and the other teams are a villa with a swimming pool. It’s not easy for us but we want to fight with everybody.”It’s a miracle what we’re doing.”
Warren Blake, the president of the Jamaica Athletic Administrative Association (JAAA), says he intends to offer himself for a second term. Speaking in an exclusive interview, Dr Blake told The Gleaner his time in office had been challenging and successful. He hopes to seek re-election at the JAAA annual general meeting later this year. Blake first took office in 2011, just after the untimely passing of sitting JAAA president, Howard Aris, and served the last year of Aris’ term in office. He was elected in 2012 to continue as president. “I still intend to go again, to offer myself for a second term,” he said quietly, “and the second term would be my final term. “It has been a very challenging four years, and I think the team that I have worked with is a very good team, he reflected.” We have had quite a lot of successes, I would say, and if you look at medal counts, except for that one major games that we spoke about, one medal at World Youth Championships, this has really been the most successful period in Jamaica’s track and field history.” In 2012, Jamaica took home 12 medals with four gold, four silver and four bronze from the London Olympics. That is one more than the previous Olympic high of 11 from the 2008 Games in Beijing. That was followed by a six gold medal portion of a total nine at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow and seven gold from a haul of 12 at the 2015 Worlds. That’s just one short of Jamaica’s 13-medal collection at the 2009 World Championships. That team performance garnered seven gold medals. JAAA elections occur after each Olympic Games. One of Blake’s major objectives for the rest of his current term and any other time he might have in office is to take the JAAA into what he calls ‘a more professional approach to track and field’. One area under his stethoscope is the running of the JAAA office. “Right now, we survive in the office because we have a treasurer, Mr (Ludlow) Watts, who is really a full-time worker without any pay,” he remarked. “He comes to the office every day and puts in a full shift.” According to the president, general secretary Garth Gayle also does extensive work there. “If we didn’t have workers like this who really sacrifice tremendous time and effort to keep the day to day affairs of the organisation going we’d be in serious trouble,” he explained. “I think we do need to find a way, find a sponsor, or find out if our budget is able to pay someone full time to be in the office to do the day to day activities of the association. “I think that is something that must happen,” he asserted. MORE SUCCESS
Gibson McCook Relays organising committee chairman, Professor Rainford Wilks, believes this year’s 40th renewal is set to be one of the biggest, most exciting, and well-attended while revealing that they are hoping to make it an international staple, and calendar affair using the new media, broadcast and communication platforms of their sponsors.The event is scheduled for Saturday, February 27, at the National Stadium with the organisers making plans to stream and broadcast the event to audiences outside of Jamaica. Entries will close on January 31.The event’s main sponsors include the Wisynco Group, clothing/apparel partner PUMA and communications partner Digicel.The event is expected to attract as many as 4,000 athletes while a total of 37 billed sponsors, returning and new, have snapped up 42 events for the day’s action which will begin at 9 a.m.”We are hoping we can fill the National Stadium and that’s one of the reasons we have tried to keep the entrance fees low for the past two to three years. We feel it’s an Olympic year, so we are going to get a little boost out of that, and it’s two weeks before Champs and everybody will be in Champs mode,” Wilks outlined in an interview with The Gleaner.The chairman revealed that gate receipts are expected to be in the vicinity of $10 million, at the event which he thinks is “comparable to anywhere in the world because our senior athletes are going to be there”.This year, the meet has attracted sponsorship valued at approximately $5 million, which Wilks calls a “substantial amount of money”.”We feel that we will be able to make it an international staple and calendar event not just in Jamaica, but worldwide,” Wilks said.According to Wilks, all the top athletes in Jamaica will compete once available.”We see all of them performing. I expect Shelly (Fraser-Pryce) to be here this year. We can’t give any commitment that there will be star athletes, but we know that because they feel loyal and because they see Gibson as part of their nurturing and development, they always come to Gibson and give back, unless they have some good reason not to,” he told The Gleaner.
The main reason for turning up to vote in today’s elections is for more jobs, two youth electors in St. Andrew East Rural said. “Mi want the increase weh dem promise so mi a vote fi di party weh a go create the jobs dem,” 27-year-old Lorenzo Bennett, who was casting his ballot for the third time, told The Gleaner. Though 23-year-old Alicia Brown remained undecided, she also insisted she plans to hold whichever party wins, to the promise of job creation. First time candidates – the Jamaica Labour Party’s (JLP) Juliet Holness and the People’s National Party (PNP) Imani Duncan Price – are contesting the elections in the constituency which historically has gone to the PNP eight times, with the JLP taking the reins four out of the last 12 elections since 1959. Both candidates have been in the constituency now for a year. For Brown, it was a matter of trying to decide whether “it even matter, to participate.” She laughed at the irony of her leaning against a fence, wrestling with whether to board the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) number 62 bus to head down to her community to vote. “Mi deh pon di fence. Honestly, mi nuh mek up mi mind if mi fi vote or mi nah vote because the two a dem a the same thing,” the 23-year-old said. Whichever way the ballots swing, both youth voters insisted they want more jobs from the party that makes up the next government.
Standings Today’s Games In a bid to go forward and change their fortunes in the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL), former champions Waterhouse have gone back to where they were last season – under the guidance of Anthony Patrick. His first assignment is against Cavalier Soccer Club. Patrick, who quit the club at the end of last season, returned on Thursday last, following the resignation of Calvert Fitzgerald, with the team rooted in the relegation position. This time around, though, Patrick, who first joined Waterhouse in 2007 and remained with them until earlier this year, will work alongside technical director Paul Young, when he becomes available in November. “It was a very warm welcome Thursday morning. It has given me the confidence that I need to go and do the job that is required. The feeling that you are wanted and that you have the support of the players and management is very important,” Patrick said of his return. That welcome, though, will be short-lived, and there is a rescue mission to perform. “The game will be an interesting one. We are at the bottom of the table, so we have to roll up our socks and work hard. “They (the players) have shown a willingness to do that in the two sessions I have had with them, so that is a good start,” added Patrick, who was promoted to the position of head coach at the beginning of last season after assisting the previous season and working with the youth teams in his earlier years. Today’s opponents are in seventh position on eight points, four more than Waterhouse. However, Patrick is confident his group of players have what it takes to win. The veteran, Jermain Anderson, is a proven scorer and a willing servant of the club. The addition of Kemar Beckford and the return to fitness of Kenroy Howell and Gary McIntosh, he said, are major pluses. “I am going for a win. I have seen Cavalier. They are a good, talented bunch, but we are confident that we have what it takes. “It will be tough, but as long as we do what we are capable of doing, we will get the three points,” the confident Patrick said. Cavalier’s technical director, Rudolph Speid, gave some insight into Patrick’s confidence. “Waterhouse owned us last season. We led in all three games last year, and they came back and won. They are like a bogey team for us, added to that the fact that Patrick was the coach last season. That is not a good sign for us,” he said. Despite that fact, Speid said the intention is to make this game a season-defining one for his team. “This is a game that could shape our season. We have played well in all departments, with the exception of our goalscoring. “We have tried, but we are still not scoring the goals and that is why we are where we are. We have to do much better in that area. We have some young players who we are persevering with,” Speid noted. In previous seasons, Girvon Brown and Claudious Blackburn led the team in goalscoring, but both departed for UWIFC and Harbour View, respectively. Interestingly, they are yet to find the back of the net so far this season. “We do not have a lot of good strikers in Jamaica, more so Cavalier, but we are hopeful that we will get it right. We have O’Shane Jenkinson returning to form, there are some quality young players who could be involved, and we have Akeem Shackleford with us. Shackleford is our most prolific scorer in training, so it is just for him to carry that over into the games,” explained Speid, whose top player is Chevonne Marsh. Tomorrow’s game n 8:45 p.m.: Arnett Gardens vs Tivoli Gardens at Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex n 4 p.m.: Montego Bay United vs Harbour View at Wespow Park n 4 p.m.: Portmore United vs Humble Lion at Middlesex Int’l College (Clarendon) n 4 p.m.: Rivoli United vs Reno at Spanish Town Prison Oval n 3:30 p.m.: UWI FC vs Boys’ Town at UWI Bowl, Mona n 4 p.m.: Waterhouse vs Cavalier at Drewsland Stadium Teams P W D L GF GA GD Pts MoBay Utd 6 4 1 1 13 4 9 13 Portmore 6 4 1 1 6 2 4 13 Reno 6 3 2 1 8 5 3 11 Arnett 6 3 1 2 9 2 7 10 Tivoli 6 2 2 2 9 5 4 8 Humble Lion 6 2 2 2 4 5 -1 8 Cavalier 6 2 2 2 3 5 -2 8 Rivoli 6 2 1 3 4 7 -3 7 H View 6 1 3 2 4 7 -3 6 Boys’ Town 6 1 3 2 6 12 -6 6 Waterhouse 6 1 1 4 4 9 -5 4 UWI FC 6 1 1 4 1 10 -9 4
PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC): Embattled West Indies spinner Sunil Narine has been banned from participating in the NAGICO Super50 series to be played in Trinidad and Tobago and StKitts from January, cricket sources in the twin island republic have reported. The West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) has reportedly rejected a request from the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (T&TCB) to allow the off spinner to take part in the tournament. The Guardian newspaper has quoted a source within the T&TCB as saying that the request was turned down because the WICB did not want to go against the findings of the International Cricket Council. He recently failed a test on his bowling action at the Loughborough University testing centre in England. Narine bowled T&T to the Nagico title last season, with figures of six wickets for nine runs.
HOBART, Tasmania (CMC):The Big Bash League (BBL) has blasted comments by Chris Gayle made to a female reporter during a live television interview as “disrespectful and simply inappropriate” and says it will be meeting with the West Indies star over the matter.Following his explosive 41 for Melbourne Renegades yesterday at the Bellerive Oval here, Gayle openly flirted with Network TEN’s Mel McLaughlin during the interview, telling her: “I wanted to have an interview with you as well, that’s why I’m here.”He added: “I get to see your eyes for the first time, it’s nice. Hopefully we can win and go for a drink after.”Don’t blush, baby.”However, BBL head Anthony Everard said Gayle’s behaviour had no place in the glitzy Twenty20 tournament.CONDEMNATION”I heard Chris’ comments and they’re disrespectful and simply inappropriate. We’ll certainly be talking to him and the Renegades about it,” Everard said.”This league is all about its appeal to kids, families and females. There’s just no place in the BBL – or, for that matter, cricket anywhere – for that sort of behaviour.”The Renegades franchise also condemned Gayle’s remarks, echoing similar sentiments to those of the BBL head.”I heard Chris’ comments and we agree with both Cricket Australia and Channel TEN that they’re disrespectful and simply inappropriate,” Renegades Chief Executive Stuart Coventry said.”We’ll certainly be talking to him in association with Cricket Australia about it. The Melbourne Renegades is all about its appeal to kids, families and females. There’s just no place for that sort of behaviour.”Channel 10 subsequently announced they would be dropping Gayle as an interview option.”We won’t be using (Gayle) in the game anymore,” Channel TEN’s head of sport David Barham said. “Unless things change in the next few days, it’s not happening.”Renegades captain Aaron Finch, with whom Gayle shared a sizzling 84-run first-wicket partnership off 36 balls to set up yesterday’s win over Hobart Hurricanes, said the Jamaican had apologised to McLaughlin.”Chris has apologised to Mel. As an organisation, we don’t condone it,” Finch said following the five-wicket win.”Between Chris and everyone else, they’ve addressed it … he’s apologised.”
WESTERN BUREAU: THANKS to goalkeeper Amal Knight, UWI FC won their first away game in the 2015 Red Stripe Premier League season, a commanding 3-1 victory over FC Reno at Frome Sports Complex yesterday. Knight was superb in goal for UWI, pulling off no less than five fantastic saves – without which the home team would easily have won the fixture. In between his spectacular performance, however, UWI grabbed the lead against the run of play when Patrick Brown toe-poked home his effort from the top of the area in the 15th minute for the opener. Forward Girvon Brown then took his chance to score his eighth goal of the season, making it 2-0 in the 40th minute from the penalty spot, before second-half debutant Anthony Grant netted in the 72nd minute. FC Reno replied through substitute Alburn Facey, who tucked in his effort after Knight had saved brilliantly off a sizzling free-kick from Roshane Sharpe. “I am really pleased with my performance and that of the team today. I think it was an excellent performance from the team on a whole,” said Knight. “We have been playing good football since we have settled in the League, and now we are looking towards greater things,” he said. Knight told The Gleaner he believes UWI can challenge for a place in the final four and that it is not beyond them to believe or show they can do so. “With the table congested the way it is, I believe we stand a great chance if we remain consistent,” he stated. FC Reno, meanwhile, are still searching for goalscoring answers after another sub-par performance. However, they could be in for some good news after club officials revealed that top striker and last season’s Golden Boot winner, Craig Foster, will be making his way back to the club. Coach Michael Graham said Foster’s return and some January signings will help rejuvenate the club, which has lost four of their last six matches.
WESTERN BUREAU:Junelle Bromfield of St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS) looks like a girl on a mission, after clocking 5:14.07 to easily win gold in the Class One 1500m at Tuesday’s County of Cornwall Athletics Association (COCAA) Western Championship Girls qualifiers.However, defending champions STETHS trail Rusea’s High School heading into Saturday’s final.Rusea’s lead the chasing pack after racking up 134 points from 15 completed events. STETHS are next with 86 points. Petersfield High, 64 points, Herbert Morrison 35.5 pts and Frome Technical 30 points rounding off the top five places.PEAK FORMBromfield dismissed the field without breaking a sweat, then told The Gleaner that she was in peak form and looking to the finals on Saturday.”I just came out here to win the gold. It wasn’t a fast race, but I am very satisfied. It was just my plan to use as little energy as possible to win, which I did, so I am pleased,” Bromfield said.Shanice Bradman of Rusea’s ran across the line for second in 5:24.28, while Maldon High’s Nadine Martin finished third in 5:39.06.Bromfield, the 2015 CARIFTA champion over 400 metres, said she is in excellent physical shape and could surprise in the final of the 1500m and 400m on Saturday by running record times, if the conditions are perfect.”I think you should expect a lot in the final, especially the 400m, as I have been putting in the necessary mileage. Last year was a very good year in terms of time, but this year I am hoping to better that,” she said.”I will be running for the times and if a record comes then so be it,” added Bromfield. “But on Saturday, God’s willing, it will be another good day on the track for me.”There were several other outstanding performances on Tuesday, including Colistia Baker’s winning 5.49-metre leap to top the field in the girls Class One long jump and also placing first in the girls 17-18 high jump.Baker of Petersfield High logged the distance on her third attempt and held on for the win, as Besilla Haughton of Rusea’s placed second with the same distance, 5.49m. Rennee Pearson of Herbert Morrison was third after leaping 4.08m.Baker matched that success in taking the gold with a jump of 1.65m in the Class One high jump. Herbert Morrison’s Kishauna Smith’s 1.45m was good enough for silver and Haughton (Rusea’s) bronze with a similar 1.45m effort.The boys’ qualifying will take place today at the Herbert Morrison Technical ground, with all finals set for this Saturday, February 6 at the Montego Bay Sports Complex.