West Indies legend Everton Weekes dies at 95

News Network
July 2,2020

Jul 2: Cricket's biggest names, most of whom could hear only stories of Sir Everton Weekes' exploits from the bygone era, on Thursday remembered the "great" batsman and a "greater human being" in glowing tributes after he died aged 95.

Weekes, who formed the famous three 'Ws' of West Indies cricket alongside Clyde Walcott and Frank Worrell as part of a formidable batting lineup for more than a decade, died on Wednesday.

His death left the cricket world in a state of mourning.

"As one of the remarkable 'Three Ws', along with Sir Clyde Walcott and Sir Frank Worrell, who together struck 39 Test centuries, he played an important hand in a period that marked the rising dominance of West Indies cricket," the ICC said in its obit.

The 1925 Barbados-born Weekes made his Test debut against England in 1948.

"On behalf of CWI I want to publicly express our deepest sympathy to the family of this remarkable Iconic sportsman and gentleman, who passed away earlier today," Cricket West Indies president Ricky Skerritt said in a release.

"I never had the opportunity to see Sir Everton bat, but I had the opportunity to get to know him a little in his later years. I learned about his incredible career by reading about him and looking at old videos when I could.

"His performance stats were excellent as he set tremendously high standards for his time."

In his career, Weekes played 48 Test matches and made 4,455 runs at an average of 58.61 per innings. That included a world-record five consecutive centuries in 1948 — scores of 141 against England in Jamaica, followed by knocks of 128, 194, 162 and 101 in India. In his next innings in Madras, he made 90 when he was controversially run out.

Skerritt added, "... Sir Everton was, therefore, a most amazing pioneer in West Indies cricket; a gentleman and quite simply a wonderful human being."

The modern-day cricketers also mourned his death and paid moving tributes.

Former India captain Anil Kumble tweeted, "Saddened to hear about the passing of WI legend Sir. Everton Weekes. Had met him during the ICC conference in Barbados. He remembered a conversation we had during his time as a match referee. Condolences to his family and friends."

Kumble's former India teammate VVS Laxman wrote, "Heard about the passing away of West Indies legend, Sir Everton Weekes. He was one of the greats of the game. My condolences to his family and loved ones."

Mike Atherton, the opener who led England in the 1990s, was also disappointed to know of the legend's passing away.

"Very sad to learn of the passing of Sir Everton Weekes. A humble man who wore his greatness lightly."

Former West Indies pacer Ian Bishop said, "I had the great privilege of spending time in the company of Sir Everton on several occasions over the past 2 decades. Never once did I leave his presence without feeling a sense (of) warmth, cheerfulness & having learnt something rich & endearing each time. A truly great human being. The Marylebone Cricket Club said in a statement: "Everyone at MCC and Lord's are saddened at the news of Sir Everton Weekes' passing,"

"He will forever be remembered as one of the West Indies' finest cricketers."

Former India player and current coach Ravi Shastri said, "Saddened by passing away of Sir Everton Weekes who was the last of the famous 'Three Ws'. A true humble great of the game. My thoughts and prayers are with Sir Weekes' family and fans in this hour of grief. RIP Sir Folded hands."

All three -- Walcott and Worrell, Weekes -- were born within a couple of miles of one another - within 18 months in Barbados between August 1924 and January 1926, and all made their Test debuts within three weeks in early 1948.

Worrell died in 1967 and Walcott in 2006.

Weekes' average of 58.61 runs places him along with George Headley in the top 10 Test averages of all time.

Darren Sammy, who captained West Indies few years ago, took to Twitter and wrote, "We lost a legend today. Sir Everton Weekes is part of @windiescricket great history and legacy. He also was a great human being. Condolences goes out to his family. May he Rest In Peace."

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Anirban Lahiri back in action after 5 months, joins Atwal at Wyndham

News Network
August 12,2020

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Greensboro (US), Aug 12: India's Anirban Lahiri is finally going to tee off at a PGA tournament this week when he plays at the Wyndham Championship, ending his five-month long coronavirus-forced break.

"It's been a long, long time," said Lahiri.

"I am hungry and all ready to go. I came to India for the Hero Indian Open and then had to stay back as the Covid outbreak started spreading all over."

This week Lahiri and Atwal will play in the Wyndham Championships at the Sedgefield Country Club.

Due to the long break, Lahiri was not even able to go back to the US because of travel restrictions.

But now he is back in the US and excited about playing his first event since early March.

"I'm feeling excited. It's not something I've felt like in a long time," Lahiri said.

"It's like going back to school after a summer vacation. It's a good thing."

Lahiri, who spent a lot of the time in India with his parents, later moved to Ahmedabad to be with his coach, Vijay Divecha, and started working on his game.

"Mentally, I decided that I was going to focus on the next 2020-21 season, instead of thinking about the ongoing one. I took it as an opportunity to work on my game and rebuild it," he said.

"After all, how many times does anyone get a chance to work on the game and assess it with one's coach and stay away from tournaments without needing to worry about the Tour card.

"This was one such chance," added Lahiri, as the PGA Tour decided that all players would keep the status they had for the 2020 season.

Lahiri had a proper status.

"I got to spend six weeks with Vijay which I haven't done in like five or six years. It's a big reset and I was able to work continuously with him," said Lahiri, who has gone through a lean spell.

"That was the reason I needed and wanted to work on my game. In the past few years I would get short periods of practice with Vijay and we would try fix the problems. They were just that – fixes. Now, I had a proper stretch of time, and I grabbed it."

With a hearty laugh, he said, "I was telling someone, that basically (we) disassembled the engine and put everything back together."

Lahiri and Divecha worked on just about everything.

He added, "This time, we have rebuilt from scratch. It was like I was starting golf again -- right from the basic, the grip, posture, the fundamentals. It was a re-set button. In a way it was like writing something new on a clean slate."

This week Lahiri will have Arjun Atwal for company at the Wyndham Championship. This is where Atwal won India's first and only PGA Tour title.

Lahiri has played at the Donald Ross-designed Sedgefield Country Club, in the past.

"It is tree-lined and you have to shape shots. There's a good mix of lengthy holes and shortish holes. If you get hot, you can make lots of birdies and rise up the leaderboard."

Lahiri did not watch much of golf during the last few months.

"I would follow scores maybe once a day, not like looking at my phone every few minutes. I was focused on working on my game and I feel good about it. So, I am excited."

The Wyndham Championship is the final event of the Regular Season.

For Lahiri, who is way down in the FedExCup points list, it is more a question of testing his game and then getting ready for the new season which begins right after the Play-offs.

Atwal, who had a few starts last few weeks, is 215th and Lahiri is 219th.

So, getting into 125th is a long shot, unless Atwal or Lahiri can pull off something big on Sunday.

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It will be a full-fledged IPL most likely in the UAE: Chairman Brijesh Patel

Agencies
July 21,2020

New Delhi, Jul 21: With the T20 World Cup's postponement clearing the decks for a full-fledged IPL, the glitzy event's Governing Council will meet in a week or 10 days' time to plan its next course of action, eyeing UAE as the host this year.

An IPL between September and early November has been made possible by the ICC's decision on Monday to postpone the T20 World Cup in Australia, scheduled for October-November, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The IPL GC will meet within a week or 10 days and all decisions (including final schedule) will be taken there. As of now, the plan is to have a full fledged IPL comprising 60 games and most likely in the UAE," Patel told PTI.

Asked about the main challenges in conducting the event in current scenario, Patel added: "Just the operational side of it. Whether you do it here or outside, it doesn't matter (with no crowds)."

The franchisees had already been working on their plans for the IPL even before the ICC announcement.

With majority of the Indian players not having access to grounds amid the pandemic, teams will need at least three to four weeks to get them match ready.

Foreign players will fly in directly to the UAE from their respective countries.

"Our players will need at least three to four weeks of training, if not more. We will finalise all our plans once the BCCI announces the dates. It looks like the IPL will be in the UAE and we are ready for that," a team owner told PTI.

Since India tour Australia for a four-Test series right after the IPL, training of the Test players is also an important issue.

Test specialists like Cheteshwar Pujara and Hanuma Vihari, who are not part of the IPL, are likely to train for the eagerly-awaited series in a bio-secure environment at the newly-renovated Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad during the time of the IPL.

A few fringe players are expected to join them at Motera along with the Indian team's support staff, which is free during the IPL.

Work from home has become the norm amid the pandemic, therefore, there is a possibility that IPL commentary will happen from the comfort of the living room, a safer and cost effective-option considering the likes of Sunil Gavaskar, who is 71, are involved.

The viewership is expected to be a record one with people craving for live cricket, something KXIP co-owner Ness Wadia has said.

However, it remains to be seen how much the broadcasters and teams are able to attract from the sponsors in the current financial climate.

More moot points and questions ahead of the IPL GC meeting:

1) More double headers expected (original schedule had only five double headers).

2) BCCI will need to provide a Standard Operating Procedure to IPL teams even though they will have their own SOPs in place.

3) Will the BCCI compensate teams for not being able to generate gate money this year?

4) Will there be virtual commentary from Star Sports? It was seen in the recent 3TC event in South Africa with the likes of Aakash Chopra, Deep Dasgupta and Irfan Pathan commentating from home.

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Zero tolerance policy applies only to me: Kaneria criticises PCB after Umar Akmal's ban reduced to 18 months

Agencies
July 30,2020

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New Delhi Jul 30: After Pakistan cricketer Umar Akmal's ban was reduced to 18 months, Danish Kaneria criticised Pakistan Cricket Board's (PCB) policies and said that the 'zero tolerance policy' applies only to him.

"Zero Tolerance policy only apply on Danish Kaneria not on others, can anybody answer the reason why I get life ban not others, Are policy applies only on cast, colour, and powerful background. I am Hindu and proud of it that's my background and my dharma," Kaneria tweeted.

Earlier on Wednesday, Akmal's three-year suspension was reduced to 18 months by an independent adjudicator, former Pakistan Supreme Court judge, Faqir Mohammad Khokhar.

On April 27, the Chairman of the Disciplinary Panel, Justice (retd) Fazal-e-Miran Chauhan, had banned the wicketkeeper-batsman for three years after finding him guilty of breaching the PCB's Anti-Corruption Code in two separate incidents.

Akmal, on May 19, filed an appeal against the three-year ban imposed on him, seeking a reduction in the duration of the sanction. He will remain suspended effectively from February 2020 till August 2021.

The batsman said he might appeal again to get the ban "reduced further".

"I am thankful to the judge for listening to my lawyers properly. I will decide about the remaining sentence and try to get it reduced further. For now I am not satisfied and will consult my lawyers and family how to take this ahead," ESPNcricinfo had quoted Akmal as saying.

"There are many players before me who made mistakes and just look at what they got and what I got. So all I say right now is thank you very much," he had added.

On the other hand, Kaneria was found guilty of spot-fixing while playing for English club Essex and was banned from the sport.

Earlier this month, Pakistan's cricket governing body 'advised' Kaneria to approach England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) if he wants to play domestic cricket after the cricketer had appealed to the PCB, seeking permission to play domestic cricket. 

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