When Sports Take a Backseat to Life

By Zaheer E. Clarke
Published November 12, 2018, in the Western Mirror

Sometimes even sports has to take a backseat to the meandering emotions of everyday life. 

In memory of Garfield and Jacqueline: Haggai 2 v 9

Sometimes you get a phone call that you dread.
(Getty Images)

Late Thursday nights or early Friday mornings are the time when I usually pen my Monday sports column for the Western Mirror. Years ago I would have started writing my columns earlier in the week, but with added challenges and responsibilities, I’ve had to make necessary adjustments to the headache of my editors. Last Thursday like so many other Thursdays, I sat to compose my weekly sports column; however, lately, I am finding it hard to write about sports.

It was a minute before midnight on Thursday night that I saw my phone light up. Typically, I don’t call individuals after 8 p.m. nor before 8 a.m., so I usually expect persons to observe similar etiquettes. However, this call was not an ordinary call. The name of my childhood friend of over 28 years appeared on the caller identification. Initially, I wondered if his phone dialled mine by mistake in his sleep at this late hour of the night. The proposition is not farfetched since I have been guilty of having my phone do the same to others. After answering the phone, the tone of my friend’s voice revealed my lingering fear; something was gravely amiss. Continue reading

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Shimron Hetmyer reminds me of Brian Lara

By Zaheer E. Clarke

Published October 29, 2018 in the Western Mirror

At 21 years old, Shimron Hetmyer reminds me of a young Brian Lara. 

Shimron Hetmyer was all business, slogging the ball into the leg side and racing away towards a hundred during the 2nd ODI between West Indies and India. © Associated Press

Sometimes, when you see a player for the first time, you can summarise their future and potential instantly. Other times, it might take you a look or two, to properly evaluate whether stardom or slumdog awaits them. In 2016, during the ICC under-19 World Cup, Shimron Hetmyer, who was the captain of the West Indies under-19 team, was one of those players whom many believed had the potential for future greatness. However, at the onset of the tournament, his star never shun bright.

Hetmyer registered 0, 6 and 17 in the first three matches in the under-19 World Cup. West Indies made it out of the group stages due to a last over mankading incident where quick thinking Keemo Paul saw his Zimbabwean opponent drifting out of his crease during Paul’s delivery stride. Captain Hetmyer and his team came under severe scrutiny regarding how the game was won and whether it was in the true ‘spirit of the game’. Some individuals believed Hetmyer and his men followed the laws of the game. Others believed that they broke the spirit of the game. Hetmyer defended his team and their play, and it was thereafter Hetmyer came into his own. Continue reading

Nike hits a homerun with Kaepernick

By Zaheer E. Clarke

Published September 24, 2018

Nike’s decision to use the controversial Colin Kaepernick to headline the 30th anniversary of their “Just Do It” ad campaign was the right move financially and historically.

Nike latest anniversary ad campaign featured the controversial Colin Kaepernick … and it was a hit.

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” This famous quote is often wrongfully attributed to Edmund Burke with philosopher John Stuart Mill being the likely source. In 1867 in an address at the University of St Andrew, Mill said, “Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends than that good men should look on and do nothing.”

In 2016, Colin Kaepernick – then the starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers – thought he had to do something. For years, for centuries even, individuals who possessed a certain pigmentation have been discriminated against by entrenched systems within the fabric of the American society. This discrimination is not unique to the United States, but for several African-Americans, the American justice system, including the police force have not treated them fairly in comparison to other ethnic groups. Kaepernick felt that he had to give a voice to highlight these injustices and hopefully disinfect them from the American society. Continue reading

Cooky, the last of a dying breed of Test specialists

By Zaheer E. Clarke

Published on September 10, 2018, in the Western Mirror.

Alastair Cook bucks the trend in an era where the demand for T20 cricket specialists is high. He is a specialist Test cricketer and likely the last of a dying breed.

Alastair Cook announced his retirement from Test cricket.
(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Last week, Alastair Nathan Cook announced that he would be retiring from Test cricket at the conclusion of the enthralling England-India Test series this week. For the average cricket fan engulfed in the razzmatazz of Twenty20 cricket, Cook would hardly feature on their radar.

For the better part of 12 years, Cook has been a mainstay in the English cricket team, albeit, mostly their Test team. Before his last Test match which begun last Friday, Cook has appeared in 161 Test matches for England, scored over 12,000 Test runs, amassed 33 centuries and 57 half-centuries, at a respectable average of 45.35 runs per dismissal. Continue reading

Can Kohli & India emulate Bradman & Australia?

By Zaheer E. Clarke

Published September 3, 2018, in the Western Mirror

Kohli and India are poised to comeback from 2-0 down in the five-match series to defeat England. Their fightback would rival Bradman and Australia’s in 1936-37 against England.

Kohli and India can emulate Bradman’s Australia during the 1936-37 series against England.
(Source: Cric Wizz)

Eight one years ago in his 29th Test match, Sir Donald Bradman stood as captain of Australia for the first time in his career. Though Bradman had pretty much dominated the world rankings and the world records since his seventh match, captaincy of Australia was not bestowed upon him until eight years after his debut.

Interestingly, Bradman was given the captaincy after the leanest period of his Test career and after facing a near-death experience. His career-best batting average of 112.29 runs per dismissal after his 19th Test fell to an astronomical 89.55 runs per dismissal by his standards after his 26th Test. Bradman had not seen his career average fall so low since prior to his seventh Test.

After attaining his career-high batting average in February 1932, Bradman and Australia were commissioned for an extensive promotional tour of North America during the summer of 1932. Bradman and the Australians played 51 one-day matches in 76 days across Canada and the United States of America. Unfortunately, upon Bradman’s return to Australia, he grew gravely ill. Bradman’s poor health and mysterious illnesses would linger for two years into the English summer of 1934 when Bradman was struck down by appendicitis and then peritonitis – a condition which was often fatal in 1934 and for which drugs were in the experimental stage at the time. Continue reading