PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC):West Indies Twenty20 captain, Darren Sammy, has assured the region his squad will not boycott the upcoming T20 World Cup in India next month.Fears the 15-man squad would opt out of the March 8 to April 3 tournament were heightened over the past week when it emerged that yet another contract dispute with the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) was simmering.Writing on the players’ behalf, Sammy told the WICB that the new contracts pay structure was unacceptable, arguing that it represented between a 50 and 80 per cent reduction in earnings.However, in an interview with a radio station on Thursday, he said the squad had never considered skipping the event and were committed to playing even though their concerns were yet to be resolved.”I would like to let it be known that not at any given time did the West Indies team think about not going to the Cricket World Cup,” Sammy said categorically.”We’ve all made it clear that we were going to play the World Cup. At the end of the day, we are professionals, we are paid to play cricket. Iit is our job, it is our life. We just had some issues, some questions we wanted to ask and we asked them, and we’ve just not gotten a response.WORLD CUP A PRIORITY”But we want to assure the Caribbean that playing the World Cup has been at the forefront of all the players’ minds and we will do whatever we can in our power to go out there and win the World Cup for the Caribbean people.”Players complained that under the new pay structure, their guaranteed income for the upcoming World Cup stood at a mere US$27,600.In the past, the lowest paid player was guaranteed nearly US$60,000, with the highest paid player raking in US$137,000.The WICB hit back by outlining the new International Cricket Council (ICC) pay system, which now sees funds to ICC members disbursed over an eight-year period instead of for specific tournaments.Further, the board pointed out that it had, along with players’ union WIPA, the International Cricketers Association and a representative from the International Cricket Council (ICC), engaged in mediation last year to hammer out the new agreement for players – which was then communicated to them.Sammy said even though players would go ahead with the tour, serious concerns remained over the agreement and noted that the WICB and the players needed to continue communication on the matter.”The issues we raised, the questions we asked, when we come out of the cricket, the younger players will get experience and come out and ask the same set of questions, so you need to find a common ground where both parties are happy or we need to find a way to communicate better,” the all-rounder advised.”We must put our egos aside. At the end of the day, the board cannot do without the players and the players need our cricket board in order for things to function.”Sammy said that for many of the seasoned players on the squad, the T20 World Cup could prove to be their final ICC event and this was extra motivation to lift the title.”It’s the format that we’re best at. We cannot ignore that. I believe the squad that has been picked is very capable of going to India and winning the World Cup,” he said.STRATEGISING WITH COACH”We all will be coming from playing cricket … we will have a lot of cricket matches under our belt, and I can’t wait for the opportunity to strategise with coach, Phil Simmons, in order to plan the way we’re going to win the World Cup.”He added: “I know we’re painted … to be a certain type of cricketers, but this could be an end of an era where Dwayne Bravo, Darren Sammy – from Under-15 and Under-19 (level) in West Indies team; this could be the last ICC event that most of these players could be playing so we all are motivated.”I know from speaking to the guys, we will give it our best shot, and hopefully, we can repeat what we did in Sri Lanka (in 2012) in India.”
0Shares0000Mesut Ozil (second right) scores Arsenal’s second goal in a 2-1 win away to Newcastle in the English Premier League on Saturday © AFP / Lindsey PARNABYNEWCASTLE, United Kingdom, Sep 15 – Unai Emery is confident that Arsenal can be the major beneficiaries from Mesut Ozil’s acrimonious retirement from international football.The 29-year-old announced in June that he would no longer represent his country following Germany’s disappointing World Cup campaign in Russia, where they were knocked out in the group stage. Ozil claimed he was made a scapegoat for the high-profile failure, and cited “racism and disrespect” over his Turkish roots as a major factor in his decision to bring the curtain down on a career at the highest level which included 92 games, 23 goals and a 2014 World Cup winners’ medal.After initially failing to impress new Arsenal manager Emery, Ozil has answered the Spaniard’s public call to impose himself more on games, backing up an influential display in the victory at Cardiff by scoring his first Premier League goal since December to help secure a third consecutive victory, a 2-1 win at struggling Newcastle on Saturday.Ozil looked refreshed at St James’ Park after being given time off during the recent international break, playing a prominent role in a deserved success which saw Swiss midfielder Granit Xhaka open the scoring for the Gunners.“Of course it’s a new way for Mesut (after his international retirement), and we want him to show his quality in his performance each day in training and in each match,” said Arsenal coach Emery.“We want to see the best of him and today he worked very well, took his goal nicely and he continues to work to help the team,” added Emery, given the daunting task of succeeding Arsene Wenger as Arsenal manager following the Frenchman’s near 22 years in charge of the London club.– ‘Need to improve’ –Arsenal coach Unai Emery shouts instructions from the touchline at St James’ Park on Saturday © AFP / Lindsey PARNABYAfter leading Arsenal to their first back-to-back away wins in the top flight for 16 months, Emery stressed the importance of finding a consistency of results on the road as he looks to lead the Gunners back towards a top-four finish after a two-season absence from the Champions League.“We need to improve for ourself and for the challenge,” said Emery. “It is challenging away from home, and we need to be competitive.“We are happy to win away and we need to continue that, because we need to improve and be more competitive. Today the team showed us important things.”Ciaran Clark pulled a goal back in stoppage time for Newcastle, but it wasn’t enough to prevent them going down to a defeat to match those they had already suffered by the same scoreline against Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and Manchester City earlier this season.Newcastle remain in the bottom three with a single point, their joint-worst start to a Premier League campaign after five games.But Magpies manager Rafa Benitez remained confident his side could climb away from danger in their attempt to repeat last season’s impressive 10th-place finish.“It’s a difficult time because you have to win games, but I’m not concerned because I know my team and I know that we can do well,” said Benitez.“We’ve run all the top sides we’ve played close so far this season. Arsenal had two shots on target and they scored two goals,” the Spaniard added.“The fans can see the bigger picture. To lose by a narrow margin against the top sides is something we could expect, but having said that we’re not happy about it.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)
Carlos Bacca is reportedly considering a move to West Ham 1 AC Milan striker Carlos Bacca has met with his agent to discuss an offer from West Ham, according to reports in Italy.The Hammers are in the market for a new forward this summer as they look to hit the ground running at their new home, the London Stadium.The club are willing to meet Milan’s £24million asking price for the Colombian but as of yet they have failed to agree personal terms.But that could be about to change as, according to Gazzetta dello Sport, Bacca has met with his agent to discuss West Ham’s offer.The 29-year-old is currently on holiday in Ibiza, but with the season fast approaching he has flown his agent out for crunch talks.Bacca had been hoping for an offer from Paris Saint-Germain, but with no deal on the cards he is ready to reassess his situation.