Manchester Tragedy Fuels Friendship & Triumph

By Zaheer E. Clarke

Published May 29, 2017

Ariana Grande
© Getty Images

A week ago, 23-year-old American pop singer and actress, Ariana Grande had just ended her concert performance in the packed out Manchester Arena in England. The patrons, many of them children, were heading for the exits, still in costume, with bunny ears attached to their heads. Several of their parents were outside awaiting them to bring them home. High school boyfriends and girlfriends held hands as they headed to the doors. Friends, filled with excitement – chuckled and laughed – still amazed that they had witnessed their idol in concert. Numerous parents, who had accompanied their kids to the concert, held their children’s hands – in a protective fashion – as they guided them through the crowded maze, thinking only of getting home and getting home quickly.

In one quick expansive bang, the left side of the Arena erupted in chaos, as Salman Abedi, a Libyan expat, had detonated an improvised explosive device, more commonly known as an IED. The explosion killed 22 individuals, several of them children and parents who attended the concert. Also killed in the blast were parents who came to pick up their kids to take them safely home. Ironically, Abedi, the alleged bomber, was only 22 years old.

“Skin, blood and faeces were everywhere”

Kiera Dawber told CNN, “There were just bodies scattered about everywhere … it was just chaos.” Continue reading

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Australia’s Cricket pay dispute turning ugly

By Zaheer E. Clarke

Published May 22, 2017

Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland said, “In the absence of a new MoU, CA is not contemplating alternative contracting arrangements to pay players beyond 30 June if their contracts have expired.”
© Getty Images

Cricket in Australia and Australians playing international cricket might come to halt after June 30 if issues regarding an ugly pay dispute are not resolved between the Board, Cricket Australia (CA), and the players’ association, Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA).

The stump of contention for both parties, the CA and the ACA, lies in a wrangle over the current fixed-revenue-percentage model that has been in place for 20 years. Simply put, the CA wants to replace it while the ACA wants to retain it. This revenue-sharing model or Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between both parties is due to expire on June 30 of this year. Continue reading

Will cricket in Jamaica, West Indies & the USA change?

By Zaheer E. Clarke

Published May 15, 2017

Unique ailments continue to plague cricket in Jamaica, West Indies and the USA. Will we see major and effective changes going forward that will remedy these infirmities?

West Indies players celebrate their win against Pakistan in 2nd Test at Kensington Oval in Bridgetown, Barbados.
(Photo by WICB Media/Randy Brooks of Brooks Latouche Photography)

If you blinked, you might have missed it. However, West Indies won the second Test in the three-match Test series against Pakistan in Barbados two weeks ago. This was accomplished on the back of brilliant knocks and stellar bowling performances by a few members of the team. Roston Chase, Jason Holder and Shai Hope made notable scores of 131, 58 and 90 runs respectively. In addition to the brilliant knocks, pace bowlers Shannon Gabriel and Jason Holder added teeth to the West Indies bite, bagging nine and six wickets respectively in the Test.

West Indies amassed a reasonable score of 312 runs in the first innings and 268 in the second innings. In the past 10 years, West Indies has scored 300 or more in only 54 of 161 Test innings (34 percent of the time). In Test matches, the platform is often laid in the first innings with scores of 300, 400, 500 or more. Interestingly, in the past 10 years, West Indies has scored 300 or more in the first inning of a Test match only 37 of 86 times which is equivalent to 43 percent. Several individuals might think that this is not that bad. However, in comparison to India, who have amassed 300 runs or more in 75 of their 108 first team innings (69 percent); Australia, who have done the same in 74 of their 114 first team innings (65 percent); England, who have reach the mark in 83 of their 126 first team innings; and South Africa with 56 of their 90 first team innings (62 percent) above 300, you can understand why West Indies is not among the elite teams in the world. Continue reading

I’ve got 99 problems and a century is one

By Zaheer E. Clarke

Published May 8, 2017

For most batsmen, the build-up to scoring a century is easy. The issues begin when they get into the nineties, and worse on 99. 

Pakistan’s captain Misbah-ul-Haq smiles as he leaves the field in a Test match between West Indies and Pakistan. Misbah was left unbeaten on 99 not out in the first innings.
Photo credit: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

In cricket, the dream of every batsman when he walks to the crease is to make a century for his team, irrespective of whether he’s an opening batsman or a tailender. A century of runs in an innings is a remarkable feat and if it is a double, triple or quadruple century, the more distinguished and memorable it is.

As players approach this milestone in their innings, for many, their demeanour change drastically. Runs that flowed from their bats like water down the Niagara Falls, often abate similar to the closing of a floodgate. Several players, commentators and fans often call this spate of attrition for batsmen as the ‘nervous nineties’. An almost heartbreaking act is when a batsman gets out or is left not out in the nineties but none more heartrending than when the batsman is on 99. Continue reading