West Indies fast bowler Sheldon Cottrell, who has been sidelined by injury, is eyeing the impending WICB NAGICO Super50 Tournament as the perfect launch pad to solidify his comeback when he turns out for the Jamaica Scorpions.The left-arm seamer, who has been making steady strides in the limited-overs arena in recent years, recently recovered from a knee injury that he sustained during a West Indies training camp last summer.Since then, the 26-year-old has gone on to represent Jamaica Scorpions in two matches in the WICB First-Class Championship, which is currently on a midseason break.”For me, it (Super50) is a comeback tournament, and I want to make a big statement,” he explained.”I am coming off a knee injury and have been steadily getting in the groove since, and this tournament, I want to finish high on the bowling list.”Cottrell, who has been particularly good in Twenty20 matches and has been a leading figure in the Caribbean Premier League Twenty20, is set to spearhead Jamaica’s bowling attack in the absence of fellow West Indian Jerome Taylor, who is currently in Australia.Taylor, like batsman Jermaine Blackwood, is earmarked to join the Jamaica team after their first three group-stage matches. The team is scheduled to play six matches, and Cottrell wants to make a big impact.”With me likely to lead the bowling attack, I intend to be aggressive up top and take wickets,” he said.”I want to make batsmen as uncomfortable as much as possible, with regard to my pace and control. If I am able to do that, I know it will be better for me to take wickets, which should put the team in better positions to win matches.”Cottrell has represented the West Indies in two one-day internationals, six Twenty20 internationals, and two Tests.The Scorpions’ other specialist fast bowler in the 14-man ssquad is the up-and-coming Marquino Mindley.GORDON ADDEDReserve pacer Nicholson Gordon, in the meantime, has been added to the squad as cover until Taylor joins the team.Champions of the regional one-day showpiece event five years ago, Jamaica Scorpions are slated to face stiff competition in the group stage of the Super50 tournament.Pitted in Group A, they will battle co-hosts Trinidad and Tobago Red Force and Barbados Pride for one of the two available semi-final spots. Guest team ICC Americas is the group’s other contestant.The other two-semi-finalists will come from Group Two, which includes Guyana, co-hosts Leeward Islands Hurricanes, Combined Campuses and Colleges Marooners and Windward Island Volcanoes.Jamaica will bow into action tomorrow against Trinidad at Queen’s Park Oval in a day/night encounter. Match time is 12:30 p.m. Jamaica time.
NINE-DAY WONDER The sport of athletics needs a complete overhaul. The idea of men of ‘integrity’ volunteering to ‘serve the sport’ without any monetary reward has now been officially debunked. The findings of the Diack Pound-led WADA probe must never be allowed to be a nine-day wonder. The officials who have been indicted and suspended are but the tip of a very large iceberg. There many associates of the sleaze previously known as the IAAF that have to be exposed and removed from office. The call by British Athletics to expunge all the previous world records and to start anew may be extreme, but it is an idea that needs to be contemplated. This column has long reminded readers that there were leaders of athletics in many of the countries who were of the opinion that the ‘stars’ of the sport should be mollycoddled and supported no matter what and that any positive drug test by a ‘star’ must be (a) vehemently denied, and (b) if the tests are conclusive, blame the test, blame the tester, blame the procedure, but under no circumstances blame the athlete. We now know that many of the world’s top athletes have been able to be one step ahead of the tests and testers, and it is now conformed that some among the complicity of doctors, laboratories, and dope-control officers have been corrupt and complicit in allowing cheaters and downright crooks to continue to ‘trick us’. The Pound-led probe has exposed the dark underbelly of a corrupt organisation that can only begin to restore trust if ALL the principals of the organisation are removed. There can be no sacred cows. A fresh start is mandatory. The second aspect of the WADA-commissioned report on corruption in the sport of athletics was published last week. In summary, it stated that not only did the IAAF ‘s president and a powerful rogue group extort athletes and allow doping athletes to continue competing, but more damningly, the report stated that “far more members of the IAAF staff knew about the problems than has currently been acknowledged”. The present president of the IAAF, Lord Sebastian Coe, was a vice-president and an acknowledged “disciple” of the previous president, Lamine Diack, for eight years and yet swears that he knew nothing, he saw nothing, and heard nothing that could have aroused his interest or suspicion while the acts of corruption and bribery contained in the report were committed. Astonishingly, Lord Coe remains unfazed by these reports and continues as the leader of an international organisation that has lost all its credibility and the trust of athletes and fans worldwide. The leaders of football (FIFA), athletics (IAAF), and cricket (WICB) have been exposed by whistle-blowers (insiders and previous board members) and yet continue to insist that ‘everything criss’ until the police became involved. The world owes whistle-blowers a debt of gratitude that only time will be able to quantify.
TOTTENHAM (4-2-3-1)LLORIS, WALKER, ALDERWEIRELD,VERTONGHEN, DAVIES,DIER, DEMBELE,SON, ERIKSEN, CHADLI,KANEDEENEY, IGHALO,JURADO, WATSON, CAPOUE, ABDI,AKE, BRITOS,CATHCART, NYOM,GOMESWATFORD (4-4-2)Tottenham Hotspur are riding high after winning 3-0 at Norwich City on Tuesday. It was Spurs’ fifth win in a row in all competitions and third in the Barclays Premier League and it rook them to third place, leap-frogging near neighbours Arsenal.The win at Carrow Road meant that they have now gone 11 away games without defeat for the first time since they went 16 without lost away in 1985.And Spurs have an impressive scoring rate with 44 goals; only Manchester City, with 46, have more. And 22 of those have come at home, where they have won six and drawn four of their 12 games.Watford have won four and drawn three of their 13 away games but when these teams met at Vicarage Road in last December Spurs won 2-1 with goals from Erik Lamela and Heung-Min Son, a result helped by the fact that Watford were reduced to 10 men with the score at 1-1 after Nathan Ake was dismissed.In all competitions, Spurs are unbeaten in eight games home and away against Watford, while the Hornets have lost both Premier League visits, conceding seven goals in the process (3-1 and 4-0).And Watford have lost on their last five league visits to White Hart Lane, conceding 15 goals. Their last league win there was nearly 31 years ago, in May 1985, when they thrashed Spurs 5-1.At Norwich, Spurs forward Dele Alli’s goal was the fourth quickest in the Premier League this season (1 min 36 secs) and Tottenham’s quickest in the Premier League since Boxing Day 2014 (Harry Kane vs Leicester, 57 seconds).Kane added two goals at Norwich but Alli undergoes a test after being withdrawn at half time with illness.
NORWICH (4-1-4-1)RUDDY,PINTO, KLOSE,MARTIN, BRADY,O’NEIL,REDMOND, HOOLAHAN, HOWSON, NAISMITH,JEROMEAGUERO, BONY,SILVA, TOURE,FERNANDINHO, NAVAS,CLICHY, OTAMENDI, KOMPANY, SAGNA,HARTMANCHESTER CITY (4-4-2)Manchester City are 10 points behind Barclays Premier League leaders Leicester City and, with Tottenham Hotspur without a game and Arsenal in FA Cup quarter-final action, at home to Watford, City can move into third spot with a win at Carrow Road.After this game, City entertain Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League then have another home game, against rivals and neighbours Manchester United in the Premier League.However, City’s 15 league wins include 10 at home and only five away while they have just 13 goals on the road; their previous fewest goals on the road is 17, in 2005-06 and 2007-08. In each of the last two season’s City have scored 39 away goals.When the teams met in October, City needed a late Yaya Toure penalty to beat Norwich and stay top of the Premier League. Nicolas Otamendi’s header put the hosts in front, before Joe Hart inexplicably dropped the ball at the feet of Cameron Jerome for a Canaries equaliser.A frantic finale followed, as Toure scored from the spot after Russell Martin’s red card for handball. And before the end Aleksandar Kolarov missed a penalty.And in January City won 3-0 in the FA Cup at Carrow Road. Sergio Aguero scored in that tie to maintain his record of always scoring when he starts against Norwich. So far the Argentine has played five full games against the Canaries, scoring a total of six goals.Norwich test Sebastien Bassong, Robbie Brady, Andre Wisdom and Steven Naismith but Alex Tettey is out for the season. City, meanwhile, are still missing Kevin De Bruyne, Fabian Delph and Samir Nasri.