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July 09, 2020

Lewis: Reinstate Munich Games 400m medallists Matthews, Collett

Caribbean National Olympic Committees (CANOC) president Brian Lewis is calling for the rescinding of a…
July 07, 2020

A sports-base approach is needed to help the youth

Last week, Trinidad and Tobago faced its own Black Lives Matter (BLM) day of reckoning.…
July 07, 2020

CANOC President calls for IOC to rescind life bans issued to athletes 48 years after…

Caribbean National Olympic Committees (CANOC) President Brian Lewis has called for the International Olympic Committee…
July 04, 2020

Matthews and Collett Banned From Olympics

MUNICH, West Germany, Sept. 8 — The International Olympic Committee barred today two United States…
July 04, 2020

Vincent Matthews and Wayne Collett: A Most Casual Protest With Most Striking Consequences

They stood there casually, one barefoot, hands on hips, the other in thoughtful repose, right…
July 04, 2020

Athletes Will Be Banned From Protesting at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. But the Games Have…

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced new guidelines on Thursday that ban athletes from making…
July 04, 2020

RESOLUTION OF THE IOC EXECUTIVE BOARD WITH REGARD TO RACISM AND INCLUSION

The IOC stands for non-discrimination as one of the founding pillars of the Olympic Movement,…

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Team Elite Suits Up for Friday Afternoon Time Trial in San Diego https://t.co/0AUQ471VQK via @swimswamnews
42 minutes ago
TeamTTO Transformational Leadership Webinar Pt. 3 with the lecturer Sport Management, UTT Mr. Stacey Cateau ▶️… https://t.co/MKYVbDMBEA
About 9 hours ago
Lewis: Reinstate Munich Games 400m medallists Matthews, Collett https://t.co/XPaRfGugLX
About 10 hours ago
A sports-base approach is needed to help the youth https://t.co/jPhFCNcTH0
Wednesday, 08 July 2020 19:07

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UPCOMING OLYMPIC GAMES

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If you think Ben Stokes’s bowling was to blame, try hitting four consecutive sixes in front of a global television audience, in the final over, to win a world title when all seems lost. Try it with full tosses, or even with tennis balls. The truth is that what Carlos Brathwaite did at the end of the World Twenty20 final was astounding and inspired.

For many years now T20 cricket has been fetishising crazy run chases and violent batting. But in Brathwaite’s assault on Stokes’s final over we saw belligerence ascend to another level.

Here in Britain, television audiences were absorbing another win for Leicester at the top of the Premier League (the miracle is still rolling) when they turned their gaze to England’s clash against the West Indies. After Leicester, who could be shocked by anything?

Well, Brathwaite gave us something to remember for all our days. Bang, bang, bang and bang again. The life drained from Stokes as sweat drenched his already perspiring body, and he squeezed his eyes open and shut, his mind in a churn: how did that just happen, how could that be possible?

It was horrible for England, in sporting terms, after their “all guns blazing cricket” had lifted them from the nadir of 12 months ago, when they lost to Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in the group stage of the Cricket World Cup. Moeen Ali, Alex Hales, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan, Jos Buttler and Chris Jordan all played in that Bangladesh fixture.

Yet English cricket found a quick route out of despair, with a surge in favour of freedom of expression. That culture shift elevated Root, Buttler and, yes, Stokes, who is a great asset to the English game in all its forms, regardless of what Brathwaite did to him in Kolkata.

Root’s 54 after a poor start by England in a score of 155 for nine put just enough pressure on the West Indies to create the possibility of a barnburning finish. England must have thought a second chance had dropped from the gods. But there is no legislating in Twenty20, or in life, for the kind of grace under pressure Brathwaite laid before our eyes.

If this is to be the new direction of West Indies cricket – hired guns, blasting their way round the 20-over circuit – then it will bring some compensation for their loss of influence in the Test arena. And in all senses Brathwaite was a symbol of something lost but also found, in the new context of crowd-stunning, bludgeoning play.

His first six sent a shiver of trepidation through England. The second was a punch in the guts. The third rendered a West Indies victory inevitable. The fourth was entirely unnecessary, since Brathwaite’s team needed only one more run to win. By then there was no halting his exuberance. Who is to say that if Stokes had bowled the last two balls, Brathwaite would not have sent them into the stands too?

World Cup finals are usually settled by single scores or tactics or moments of fortune. Brathwaite on the other hand took an axe to the odds and a scythe to Stokes’s bowling, which was designed, presumably, to cramp the batsman up around his leg stump. Instead, the new hero of world cricket shifted his body into a position where a huge arc of his arms would lift each delivery far over the heads of England’s fielders and into the steaming grandstands.

No matter how good or bad the bowling, to be this audacious, this precise, four times in a row when a World Cup is on the line, requires a kind of intrepidness most of us will never know. To fixate on the faults in Stokes’s bowling is to overlook a masterpiece of violent but also sensational hitting, which somehow failed to win Brathwaite the prize for man of the match (that went to Samuels).

One day England may reflect that they were simply on the wrong end of freakish human nerve. For now they will think this was a terrible way to lose. It was actually a very good way, because they were destroyed by brilliance: a quality to which they aspire.

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