Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Atkinson, Jagroo, Matthews score 100s; Levy takes five in BCA 40-over

Wycliff Atkinson, Jagnauth Jagroo, and Donovan Matthews scored centuries while Mark Levy registered his second five-wicket haul as the Bahamas Cricket Association (BCA) 40-over league continued last weekend at the Haynes Oval on Bay Street. Atkinson’s 113 could not prevent Western going down by seven wickets to Pacesetters, for whom Matthews made 111 and Levy claimed five for 32. Meanwhile Jagroo’s 101, his second ton of the competition, led St. Agnes to a massive 221-run win over St. George.
Bhumeshwar Jagroo during his unbeaten 57

On Sunday, Jagroo led the way in St. Agnes’ 321 for seven in 35 overs. He was supported by his brother Bhumeshwar Jagroo, who scored an unbeaten 57; Derron Cadogan who made 50; and John Dolphin who contributed 43. Orlando Stewart was the most successful bowler for St. George with three for 70, while Mario Ford claimed two for 47. St. George could only muster 100 in 20.4 overs when they replied. Ford hit 31 while Turan Brown claimed four for six, and Dolphin four for 16. 

Saturday’s game saw Western falling for 202 in 30.1 overs despite Atkinson’s innings. His only support came from O. Clarke who made 31 as Levy ran through the middle order after Lee Melville, who claimed two for 37, struck twice in the opening over. In reply, Pacesetters cruised to 204 for three in 22 overs with Matthews leading the way, while Renford Davson and Jonathon Barry supported with 34 and 31 not out respectively. 

The weekend’s results mean Pacesetters is now the only unbeaten team in the league which continues on April 26 after a break for a two-day game over the Easter weekend. The two-day came will see players using a red ball and white clothing, and play starting at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Batsmen continue to dominate BCA 40-over league

Batsmen continued to dominate the Bahamas Cricket Association’s 40-over league, recording two centuries and seven half-centuries in the latest three matches. Reaching triple figures were Western’s Gregory Irving, who hit 104 against Police; and Pacesetter’s Jonathon Barry whose unbeaten 103 against St. Alban was his second ton of the tournament. Scoring half-centuries were Western’s Dwight Weakley, Hamilton Gilliard, Whycliff Atkinson and L. Liston; St. Agnes’ Earl Thomas; Police’s Gregory Taylor Jr.; and Mark Levi of Pacesetters.

Police's Greg Taylor Jr. plays through the off-side
Levi also returned the best bowling figures over the two weekends, claiming five wickets for five runs from three overs in Pacesetters’ 204-run demolition of St. Alban. The next best figures recorded were those of Western’s George Haye who claimed four for 19 as his team thrashed Police by 180 runs. 

On April 6, Barry’s unbeaten ton and Levy’s 56 propelled Medical Pavilion Pacesetters to 300 for four in their allotted 40 overs. Jeremy Jesubatham and Kevin Surujlall both contributed 34, before off-spinner Levy wreaked havoc on the St. Alban’s batting line-up which could only muster 96 in 18.2 overs. Jesubatham and Surujlall also performed well with the ball; taking two for 15 and two for 38 respectively. Andre Dos Ramos was the only St. Alban’s batsman to put up any resistance. He made 44. 

The previous day Western amassed 339 in 31.3 overs, with Irving’s 104 being supported by Atkinson’s 68, Liston’s 53 and 30 from O. Clarke. Kevin McInniss claimed three for 42 and Jamal Rolle three for 80. In Police’s reply of 159 in 24.1 overs, Gregory Taylor Jr. hit 58 in the face of Haye’s four-wicket haul and Atkinson’s two for 41. 

March 30 produced the closest game of the competition to date, with Western squeezing out a two-run win over St. Agnes. On the back of Weakley’s unbeaten 72, Gilliard’s 58 and 39 from Irving, Western reached 250 for six in the allotted 35 overs. John Dolphin, Jagnauth Jagroo and Turan Brown claimed two wickets each for 19, 37 and 51 runs respectively. In reply, St. Agnes looked a beaten side with the score at 166 for eight, however Thomas had other plans. He added 82 in 11 overs for the ninth wicket with Bhumeshwar Jagroo to carry this team to the brink of victory. In the end they could not complete the task when Jagroo was dismissed off the last delivery of the final over, leaving Thomas unbeaten on 75. Dolphin also contributed 46 earlier in the innings while Andrew Nash claimed three for 47 and Irving two for 52.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Batsmen dominate opening matches of BCA 40-over

Five centuries and eight half-centuries were recorded after four matches in the Bahamas Cricket Association (BCA) 40-over league in Nassau. Some of the usual suspects: Jonathan Barry (148), Julio Jamieson (128), Ryan Tappin (103), and Marc Taylor (101) took advantage of perfect batting conditions over the three weekends to pass triple figures, and they were joined for the first time by Jagnauth Jagroo (103). Half-centuries also came from the bats of Kevin McInniss (95), Kevin Surujlall (65), Turan Brown (62), Albert Peters (61 not out, 56 not out), Heskett Dean (59), Earl Thomas (57) and G. Ganpat (56).

While the batsmen feasted the bowlers struggled, with only Andre Dos Ramos (six for 55) recording a five-wicket haul, although Gregory Taylor Jnr. and John Dolphin had four-wicket returns. 

Barry’s and Tappin’s exploits ensured Pacesetters a perfect 2-0 start to the league, while Jamieson and Marc Taylor also set up victories for St. Alban’s and Police Royals. Jagroo’s ton, for St. Agnes, was in a losing effort to Pacesetters. 

Jonathan Barry and Ryan Tappin
In the latest game (March 23), Pacesetters beat St. Agnes by 76 runs. The winners amassed 318 for nine in their 40 overs with Tappin hitting 103, Peters 61 not out, Kevin Surujlall 43 and Donovan Matthews 40. Dolphin claimed four wickets for 40 runs, including three in four deliveries. St. Agnes replied with 242 for nine in their quota of overs. Jagroo struck 103 and Brown 62 while Peters claimed three for 17. 

On March 16th, St. Alban beat St. Agnes by 45 runs. St. Alban reached 335 for eight in 40, with Jamieson 128, Ganpat 59, and Sheridan McCoy 41 not out leading the way. St. Agnes’ reply ended at a spirited 290 in 39.3 overs with Heskett Dean making 59, Earl Thomas 57 and D. Cadogan 33. Dos Ramos claimed wickets consistently to end with six for 55 while McCoy took two for 38. 

On March 15th, Pacesetters crushed Police Royals by 200 runs after amassing 370 for five in 35 overs. Barry’s 148, Surujlall’s 65 and Peters’ unbeaten 56 were the main scores against the two wickets each picked up by Greg Taylor Jnr. and R. Charles. Police’s reply ended at 170 for nine. McInniss made 95 and Mark Levy claimed three for 35. 

The first game of the league, on March 9, saw Police whipping St. George by eight wickets. St. George were dismissed for 188 in 23.4 overs with Jermaine Adderley making 30, and Greg Taylor Jnr. and Marc Taylor claiming four for 36 and three for 44 respectively. Police raced to 189 for two in 12.4 overs thanks to Marc Taylor who blasted 101. McInniss also contributed an unbeaten 49. 

Two more matches are scheduled for this weekend, at the same venue, the Haynes Oval on Bay Street.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

MP Pacesetters win BCA T20

Despite the heroics of Wycliff Atkinson the Medical Pavilion Pacesetters emerged winners of the Bahamas Cricket Association’s T2 with a 27-run victory over Western’s in the final at the Haynes Oval on Bay Street.
Medical Pavilion Pacesetters

The margin of victory does not reflect the tension prevalent during most of Western’s innings as Atkinson led his team towards what seemed inevitable victory. Chasing the formidable 190 for five in 20 overs made by Pacesetters, Western were cruising at 149 for four in the 15th over with the rampaging Atkinson on 86 when it happened. The unorthodox right hander, who struck six sixes, an equal number of fours, and a five, had already taken 16 from Kevin Surujlal’s final over when he top edged a sweep for Narendra Ekanakaye to pouch, running to his left at short third-man. To say the floodgates were opened and Pacesetters swept through them would be an understatement. Three more wickets fell without addition to the score and the new champions duly wrapped up the victory in the final over.

Atkinson was supported in his efforts by Liston who hit 33 in a fourth wicket stand of 83 after Western were reduced to 46 for three. Pacesetters’ captain Albert Peters was the most successful bowler with three for 41 while Lee Melville had two for 29, and there was a wicket each for Ekanayake and Mark Levi who was most economical, conceding 18 runs from his four overs.  Surujlal, whose four overs cost a whopping 54 runs, took consolation in the fact that he removed both Liston and Atkinson.

Earlier, Pacesetters were indebted to half-centuries from openers Renford Davson (54 with 8 fours and 2 sixes) and Ryan Tappin (64 with 10 fours and a six) for their impressive total. The pair posted 123 for the first wicket before Jonathon Barry (36) provided the late flourish.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Taylor slams century; Police, P'setters win in BCA 20/20

Marc Taylor slammed a century and four other batsmen passed 50 as the Bahamas Cricket Association (BCA) T20 league continued with two matches over the weekend at the Haynes Oval in Nassau.
Renford Davson and Ryan Tappin after their unbroken stand

Playing for Police, the left-handed Taylor blasted an unbeaten 124 to lead his team to a 45-run victory over Westerns on Saturday. His knock and 24 each from his brother Gregory Taylor Jnr and R. Thomas ensured Police amassed 204 for four after a late start necessitated a reduction in the overs to 15. For Westerns, Gregory Irving and Cliff Atkinson picked up two wickets each.
Westerns were spirited in their reply, reaching 159 for six when their 15 overs expired. Atkinson and Irving where once again to the fore, hitting 73 and 46 respectively while R. Charles claimed three wickets for nine runs.
On Sunday, St. Alban’s posted a challenging 166 for six in their 20 overs but were helpless in the face of a brutal assault by Pacesetters’ openers who carried their team to a 10-wicket victory in 15.5 overs. Andre Dos Ramos 64, Brent Fullerton 36 and R. Coakley 34 were the main contributors for St. Alban’s against Mark Levi’s two for 41. Ryan Tapping and Renford Davson then slammed 87 and 71 respectively in an unbroken opening stand of 167 to lead their team to an easy win.
The competition continues next weekend with two more matches at the same venue.

Monday, January 6, 2014

My new year wishes for the West Indies team

As is customary when a new year approaches almost everyone is making resolutions and wishes for the coming 365 days. If the old year has not been very kind to you your resolutions tend to be more drastic. In the case of the West Indies cricket team the resolutions should be top-of-the-line drastic. In my mind I can hear Bob Marley singing about total destruction being the only solution and though it appears mighty tempting I must reluctantly admit it is not realistic. So I will settle for a wish-list that can be described as a sane one.

One of the first things Dwayne Bravo did when he arrived in New Zealand to take over leadership of the West Indies team for the limited-over matches was tell the world that there was disunity in the ranks. I do not believe it was his place to announce it but then again he has not proven to be very savvy when dealing with the media.

Anyway, there have been suspicions for some time now after the manner and margin of defeats in India and the Tests in New Zealand that all was not well in the camp. Darren Bravo’s sudden withdrawal from the tour for ‘personal reasons’ only adds to the feeling that this West Indies team is in shambles. Former captain, now manager, Richie Richardson admitted there is indiscipline in the camp, and blamed it on the system.

If there is disunity and indiscipline in the team it goes without saying that management is not doing its job. When Darren Sammy was installed as captain it was primarily to provide stability for a team in disarray after coach Ottis Gibson’s ‘purging’. His many critics were never shy of pointing out that his skills were not sufficient to guarantee him a spot and though I’m one of his supporters I must admit his production has been seriously lacking of late. Thus if he is not producing and cannot provide leadership he has to be relieved of the captaincy.

Richardson should also be shown the door. It is not surprising that disciplinary issues have surfaced under his management. When the reports of indiscipline first became public in the early 1990s guess who was in charge? That period also coincided with the start of the great decline. He’s too much ‘one of the guys’ to be tasked with maintaining discipline.

Also getting the axe on my wish-list would be the selectors. I’ve been known to defend these gentlemen (after all the players they choose are the same ones who keep dominating the regional tournaments year after year), but I cannot forgive them for rubberstamping the team that was thrashed so soundly in India and sending it to New Zealand. It won’t hurt to have some fresh eyes too.

On to Chris Gayle! I’m still not convinced he is committed to West Indies cricket and thus should be allowed to play his 100th Test (not my idea but I like it) and then be set free to roam the world adding to his considerable fortune in the various T20 leagues.

Like with the selectors coach Gibson can only work with what is before him, and that is the same set of people who keep performing regionally year after year and yet cannot make the transition to the next level. However, his job is to help them make that transition. If he cannot then he has failed. My wish is to keep him until the World T20. If WI defends their title successfully then he stays until the World Cup in 2015. If not, he joins the others in walking through the door.

Now that I’ve completed my list of those who should be on their way out let me wish for some other potentially pleasant things.

I wish the young fast bowler Miguel Cummins would get a look in at the senior level. I also wish that Jerome Taylor would prove his return to full fitness and reclaim his spot in the team. I see Taylor, Cummins and Roach forming a formidable attack going forward.

I wish the Board would publish the list of contracted players which should have been out since last September (maybe we’ll learn then the reason for the recent upsurge in ill-will). And last but certainly not least I wish the WICB would put a gag on Dwayne Bravo.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Manage Pooran carefully!

"It's a heck of a challenge. The modern cricketer is challenged more than any other generation before with the different formats and the adaptability required to go across the formats. I think it will be very hard for most cricketers to play all three formats. It is a real challenge for young cricketers to try to develop their game to be chopping and changing so much and playing so much T20 cricket early on. What it requires to be a good hitter is very different to what it requires to be a good batter." The above are the words of former Australian captain Greg Chappell who, as Cricket Australia’s talent manager, is tasked with ensuring the future of the game ‘is in good hands’.  

Nicolas Pooran
I came across this article a few hours after I finally decided to comment on an issue that has been on my mind for a long time and which became foremost in my thoughts during the second game of the Caribbean Premier League on July 31. Back then I asked some colleagues why was 17-year-old Nicolas Pooran turning out for the Red Steel instead of representing Trinidad and Tobago in the Under-19 tournament taking place simultaneously in St. Kitts. One response was that the CPL would be good exposure for the youngster.  Pooran proceeded to unleash a barrage of breathtaking strokes on his way to a 24-ball 54 that belied his years. Thanks to television I, and viewers around the globe, caught a glimpse of the left-hander’s undoubted talent, a talent which needs to be channeled very carefully.

The regional selectors obviously think highly of Pooran, enough to reserve a place for him on the West Indies Under-19 against their Bangladeshi counterparts even though he missed the St. Kitts tournament. They should be mindful though that he is still learning his craft and adjusting his game across all three formats is not going to be easy. More experienced players have struggled to adapt, resulting in quite a few being pigeon-holed as specialists. Pooran’s countryman Kieron Pollard, who is yet to play a Test, is one such who is making a decent living as a globetrotting T20 professional. Another countryman was not so fortunate. Adrian Barath had quite a promising start to his Test career but lost his place when it became painfully obvious he had no idea whether he was playing in whites or colours. The glitz and glamour, and lucre, of the shortest version of the game would no doubt prove attractive to youngsters but for this writer Test cricket is still the ‘real thing’ and emerging regional players should be nurtured with this in mind. 

Pooran’s scores since that innings at Providence read 0, 20 not out, 3, 1, 10, 14 (in the CPL), 8, 6, 11, 15 (Champions’ League), 0, 23, 4 and 10 (WI Under-19). Not very flattering statistics! And what the statistics do not show is his cavalier approach to batting in the 50-over Under-19 matches, which can be interpreted as the youngster being unable to adapt to the change of format. His ultimate goal may very well be to make his living on the T20 circuit but it would be a shame to not see such a talent brought to its full potential.  

There are and will be many more like Pooran and there will be issues handling them. Another Australian great Rodney Marsh has suggested T20 be reserved for players over 30; this writer believes they should be kept away until they are over 19 at least.