Guess who’s coming back to the ring? Furious Tyson

 

By Zaheer Clarke

Published December 18, 2017

One of the heavyweight division’s biggest and most furious stars is set to return to the boxing ring come 2018. With his return, the heavyweight division will get really interesting. 

 

Anthony Joshua (left) and Deontay Wilder are the current kings of the heavyweight division. A formidable threat to their thrones is returning to the ring.
(Photo source: The Boxing Tribune)

Yes! “Guess who’s back? #ReturnOfTheMac” was the Twitter message that shook the landscape of the heavyweight division last week. For the past year, the heavyweight division in boxing has been tyrannized by its two biggest stars, Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder. All boxers placed before them have hit the canvas emphatically and resoundingly to thunderous right hands and booming left hooks. Joshua is the reigning WBA (Super), IBF and IBO heavyweight champion while Wilder is the WBC heavyweight champion. In light of this, a face-off in the ring between both men is the fight everyone has been clamouring for in the New Year.

However, last week, a neoteric and meritable opponent for either man in the upcoming year has emerged before a potential blockbuster Joshua-Wilder clash can be signed off on. This returning and reputable opponent now makes the heavyweight division come 2018 even more interesting and all I can say is “let the fireworks begin.” Continue reading

We Are Witnessing Two of the Greatest Ever

By Zaheer Clarke

Published December 11, 2017

In Virat Kohli and Steven Smith, we are witnessing two of the greatest batsmen to ever play the game. 

Michael Clarke cracks emotionally during a tribute to Phillip Hughes before play in the first Test between Australia and India on the 1st day, December 9, 2014.
©Getty Images

For me, December 9, 2014, symbolises a remarkable turning point in cricket history. This day marked the beginning of the Border-Gavaskar Test series, which was hotly contested between Australia and India with the Aussies forever hospitable hosts. Two weeks prior, Phil Hughes, one of Australia’s promising batsman and their youngest ever twin centurion in a Test match, died tragically after a bouncer struck him in the neck during a Sheffield Shield match. On the morning of December 9, 2014, the entire country was still mourning. Tears flowed down the cheeks of every member of the worldwide cricket fraternity and it just kept on pouring.

At the beginning of the series, Virat Kohli and Steve Smith were considered batsmen with immense promise. However, they had not delivered on their potential in the most arduous format of the game, Test cricket. At the time, Kohli and Smith were averaging 39 and 40 respectively with the bat in Tests while Darren Bravo, dubbed the next Brian Lara by West Indian hopefuls, was averaging 43 in the same format. Since then, Kohli and Smith’s careers have soared in terms of runs and batting averages while that of Bravo’s has plummeted. Continue reading

The last time West Indies’ middle-order collapsed like dominoes

By Zaheer Clarke

Published December 4, 2017

West Indies’ middle-order collapsed against New Zealand, losing 5 wickets for 22 runs. West Indies’ middle order has had worse collapses in 1957 and 1986. The next time should be 2047 or later. 

Neil Wagner (left) unleashed a flurry of short balls that left the West Indies line-up reeling on December 1, 2017, during the 1st Test between New Zealand and West Indies in Wellington.
©Getty Images

In cricket, the opening batsmen bat at positions one and two, the middle-order is considered to be from positions three through seven, while the tail begins from positions eight to eleven. Last Thursday, at the start of the first Test match between New Zealand and the West Indies, the West Indies team lost their middle-order for a startling 22 runs. It was atrocious, ridiculous and calamitous.

Analysts and statisticians like myself pointed to this being West Indies third-least runs added in Test cricket history for the loss of wickets three through seven in an innings. In an ungodly fashion, West Indies’ middle-order, which was coasting at 79 runs for the loss of two wickets after losing their second wicket at 75 runs, later became unhinged and buckled to 97 runs for seven wickets. It was unbelievable and cringeworthy. West Indies later crawled to 134 runs before being all out in 45.4 overs. It was a wretched performance by the team. To be frank and disappointed, short-pitched bowling, which was once the staple of West Indies cricket, was the ultimate demise of the West Indies middle-order, with Neil Wagner bagging seven wickets for 39 runs. Continue reading