Boring NBA All-Star game needed to change

By Zaheer E. Clarke

Published October 9, 2017

The NBA All-Star Game had become a circus and an insult to the fans. The NBA announced major changes to the format for the 2018 edition. Will the changes restore the fans’ interest?

A week after the 2017 NBA All-Star game, NBA Commissioner (left) and NBPA president Chris Paul started discussions about possible changes to the All-Star game. The changes were announced last week.
(Source: Slam Online)

The National Basketball Association made a ground-breaking announcement last week regarding the NBA All-Star and how the members of each team will be selected. For 66 editions spanning 67 years, All-stars from one conference played against All-stars from the other conference in the traditional West versus East battle. However, the 2018 edition of the All-Star game will mark a new chapter in the NBA’s Exhibition battle.

On Tuesday, the NBA declared that the East versus West model would be abolished for a model where the opposing teams could comprise players from both conferences as teammates. As in the past, twelve players from each conference will be selected to play in the All-Star game. The starting five of each team will be elected by a combination of voting by the fans, the players and media members. The head coaches will pick the seven reserves from each conference. Nothing new, right? Continue reading

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I was not impressed by the NFL protests

By Zaheer E. Clarke

Published October 2, 2017

Last Sunday, NFL players and owners protested against US President Donald Trump’s comments while the US national anthem was played at NFL games. The act, though warranted, was unimpressive and too little, too late.

Growing up, Dalfus was one of the elders in my community of Simpson Street. He was someone the young boys from the community would look up to and as long as you were respectful, he would share a word or two of advice. If you were not respectful, he would most certainly put you in line.

To provide for his family, Dalfus would do spearfishing, but naturally he was an artist and sculpturing was his passion. He would sit at his shop just outside his front gate and chisel away at raw and misshapen wood until they became beautiful and amazing statuettes. It was while sitting there with him one evening chiselling away at some deformed wood that I learned the priceless maxim, “Money talks and the faecal matter of cows often walk” or something like that. Continue reading

International cricket, a welcomed return to Pakistan

By Zaheer E. Clarke

Published September 18. 2017

With a World XI team playing a three-match T20I series in September, Sri Lanka due in October and the West Indies due in November, regular international cricket is set to return to Pakistan after years of absence.

A Pakistani fan holds a placard aloft to welcome international cricket in the country, Pakistan v World XI, 1st T20I, Independence Cup 2017, Lahore, September 12, 2017.
©AFP

On March 3, 2009, the cricket landscape in Pakistan changed forever.  Sri Lanka and Pakistan were engaged in a three-match ODI and a two-match Test series in January to March of that year. In the first Test, two Sri Lankans, Mahela Jayawardene and Thilan Samaraweera, scored double centuries in their team’s first innings total of 644 runs for seven wickets declared. Pakistan replied with a mammoth 765 runs for six wickets declared, with Younus Khan scoring 313 runs, becoming Pakistan’s third triple centurion. The match ended in a predictable draw.

In the second match, Sri Lanka batted first again and scored 606 runs before being all out on the second day. Samaraweera once again scored a double century. By the end of the second day, Pakistan was coasting at 110 runs for one wicket in 23 overs and four balls. Continue reading

I disagree with Tony Becca’s conclusion

By Zaheer E. Clarke

Published September 12, 2017, in the Jamaica Observer

While Tony Becca and I agree on not knowing whether Kieron Pollard bowled a deliberate no-ball, we disagree on whether Evin Lewis could have reached his century.

Tony Becca (left) is a veteran sports journalist and an esteemed opinion columnist. He has covered West Indies cricket with great ardour for several decades.
(Photo credit: Jamaica Gleaner)

Every weekend while growing up I had to read the Tonys — Tony Becca, Tony Cozier and Tony Deyal. For me, respectively, they are the transition, vocabulary and satire gods among Caribbean columnists. Unashamedly, I am overly biased towards them, since they all loved cricket — my favourite sport — and wrote about it with immense ardour on all occasions.

When I first considered becoming a sports columnist, Becca was one of the first writers I studied fervently. Eventually, Becca’s writing style and strengths subconsciously intertwined with mine and became a component of my own. Week after week I would groom my writing into a mould comparative to him, Cozier, Deyal, and others. Continue reading

West Indian ‘schoolboys’ humble mighty England

By Zaheer E. Clarke

Published September 4, 2017

Described as ‘schoolboys’ playing against men after the first Test, West Indies beat England in the second Test to register their first Test match victory in England in 17 years. 

West Indies huddle up during nets.
(Source: Reuters)

Two weeks ago, West Indian cricketers were quickly labelled as ‘schoolboys’ unfit to play Test cricket. This occurred after West Indies’ unholy capitulation to England by an innings and 209 runs in the first Test match of the series at Edgbaston. The defeat was West Indies’ sixth worst over their 89-year history in Test cricket. Almost instantly, the whispers of an urgent need for a two-tier system in Test cricket overflowed the commentaries in the newspapers, on the radio and on the telly.

West Indian and English legends lamented the inglorious surrender by the current West Indies team. For several of them, it was diametric to the legacy of the 1980s West Indies team, which domineered world cricket.

“This West Indies lot are the worst Test match team I have seen in more than 50 years”

– Geofrrey Boycott

Continue reading