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

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Can you be successful at both Sports and Education?

By Zaheer Clarke

Published November 27, 2017

Sports and education are not diametrically opposing pathways to learning and success. They can be intertwined successfully by focusing on the bodily-kinesthetic intelligence of student-athletes.

Some individuals believe that Sports and Education are like oil and water, immiscible.
(Source: Wonderopolis.org)

The popular tenet of oil and water being immiscible has somehow trickled down to how we view sports and education. Whether it is locally or overseas, several believe that being successful at both is an unattainable dream. It is like Mathematics and English – for some individuals they believe you cannot be good at both.

Growing up, Mathematics and the Sciences have always been my strong point. English and its myriad of breakable rules have always annoyed me – even to this day. Compared to Mathematics, English has always been too fluid and bendable for me. For every rule in English, there are two, three or more exceptions. You must learn the rules and mind you, all the exceptions. One example involves the plurality of some nouns. For instance, the plural of moose is moose and the plural of goose is geese. English is the weirdest language I know and several individuals believe Spanish is easier to learn. Continue reading

Irving, Celtics set to dethrone the Warriors

By Zaheer Clarke

Published November 20, 2017

Kyrie Irving and his new team, the Boston Celtics, seems set to dethrone the last two NBA champions: the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors.

Kyrie Irving and LeBron James won an NBA championship together. A year later Irving wanted out of the Cleveland.
(Photo credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Earlier this summer when rumours swirled that Kyrie Irving wanted to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers, the question everyone asked was why. Why would Irving want to leave a team that went to NBA Finals three years in a row? Why would Irving want to stop playing with arguably the best basketball player in the world right now, or possibly the second best player of all-time, LeBron James? Why? Why? Why?

Somehow, the Boston Celtics eventually enticed the Cavaliers in a dance and trade that saw Celtics’ Isaiah Thomas and Cavaliers’ Irving switching teams. The Cavaliers got other pieces, but the Thomas-Irving switch was the eye-catching part of the swap. We then learned that Thomas was injured and wouldn’t start for the Cavaliers until possibly 2018. Irving was healthy and rearing to go for the Celtics, who also acquired former Utah Jazz star Gordon Hayward. Continue reading

Joshua vs Wilder: The fight everybody wants to see

By Zaheer E. Clarke

Published November 13, 2017

The fight that might be able to return fans in droves to boxing is an Anthony Joshua versus Deontay Wilder heavyweight bout. It is the fight everyone wants to see. 

Boxing legend Floyd Mayweather faced MMA fighter Conor McGregor in what many called a spectacle. Mayweather knocked out boxing debutant McGregor in the 10th round.
(Source: MMA Fighting)

Earlier this year, ardent fans and non-fans of boxing were treated to arguably a spectacle and not a fight between Floyd Mayweather versus Conor McGregor. Though it was an upgrade to the disappointing Mayweather versus Manny Pacquiao pay-per-view fight of a few years earlier, it was not in the truest form a boxing match between behemoths, which the fans crave. Make no mistake, it was not a Muhammad Ali versus Joe Frazier, Thrilla in Manila or the Muhammad Ali versus George Foreman, Rumble in the Jungle. Nevertheless, it was a spectacle which saw a former five-weight class champion in Mayweather exchange blows with a mixed martial arts UFC fighter in McGregor at the light-middleweight boxing weight class.

In my opinion, outside of the 1980s when “Sugar” Ray Leonard, “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler, Thomas “Hit Man” Hearns, and Roberto Duran delivered breathtaking bouts in the middleweight and welterweight divisions, the heavyweight division decides the popularity of the sport worldwide. When Ali, Frazier and Foreman were kings, boxing captivated everyone’s hearts. Similarly, when Mike Tyson pummelled all before him, boxing caught the attention of the public at large. Continue reading

Remove “interim” tag, name Henry coach

By Zaheer E. Clarke

Published November 6, 2017

Under interim coach Sasher-Gaye Henry, Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls reached the finals of the just-concluded Fast5 Netball World Series. Netball Jamaica should name her the head coach. The players obviously believe in her methods and play for her.

Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls tackled the English Roses in the deciding Test in Coventry.
(Source: Ricoh Arena)

Last year, void of the financial resources to travel all over England to watch the Jamaican national netball team in action, I had no choice but to resort to my telly. After the first two Tests in London and Manchester, Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls and the England’s Roses were locked in an immense battle at 1-1. The decider was being held in Coventry and I woke up early that Saturday morning to catch it on Sky Sports. The final Test was a fierce encounter. However, Jamaica prevailed with especially Shanice Beckford and Jhanelle Fowler-Reid remaining composed in the latter moments of the fourth quarter to push Jamaica ahead. That was the last time, I felt good about Jamaica’s netball until recently.

Since that fateful series win in December 2016, two coaches have resigned, a former national treasure, who was tipped for the top job said she felt slighted and according to some, the program was about to capsize in a pandemonium of emotions and news reports due to discord between some players and one former coach. Continue reading