GROS ISLET, St Lucia (CMC) – Embattled West Indies face minnows Afghanistan in a crucial series-decider here tonight, needing a victory to avoid not only a devastating series defeat but also the embarrassment associated with losing to the ICC Associate side.What was supposed to be an easy assignment for the Windies to placate their absence from the ongoing ICC Champions Trophy in England, has gone horribly wrong, leaving the three-match series level at 1-1 with everything to play for in the final One-Day International at the Darren Sammy Cricket Ground starting at 14:30hrs.The Caribbean side’s performances have not lived up to expectations, especially against an inexperienced Afghanistan, who are a non-playing Test nation and who have spent most of their time scuffling with the likes of fellow minnows Zimbabwe and Ireland.Perhaps the statement of the series came in the opening ODI last Friday when Windies shockingly collapsed to a stunning 63-run defeat.Asked to chase a modest 213, they stumbled to 149 all out, undermined by the magic of 18-year-old leg-spinner Rashid Khan who took seven for 18 – the fourth best figures in one-day history.Windies hit back strongly through their bowling in the second ODI to win by four wickets last Sunday. They shot the Afghans out for 135 with aggressive, short-pitched bowling but then laboured to reach their target, getting home in the 40th over, as Khan once again caused consternation with three for 26.Bowling coach Roddy Estwick yesterday urged his side to employ the same approach, pointing out that Afghanistan were susceptible to the short ball.“Go at them hard again, stick to your game plan, hit your line hard, make sure you get your field placing right,” Estwick said.“You’ve got to run in and bowl hard and stay aggressive all the way through because as you can see they are not very comfortable with the short ball but you’ve got to earn that right to bowl short as well.”Fast bowler Shannon Gabriel has been forced out of the contest after picking up a side strain in the second game, and has been replaced by Twenty20 specialist Kesrick Williams who was the leading bowler in the recent T20 series with eight wickets.However, it is the batting which West Indies will need to focus on heavily as not a single batsman has passed 50 in the series. Shai Hope, at number three, has been their most reliable player, top-scoring in both games with 35 and 48 not out.Jason Mohammad, so prolific against England and Pakistan earlier this year, has failed to fire with scores of two and seven while Test star Roston Chase, drafted in to the one-day unit, has struggled with scores of zero and nine.In contrast, Afghanistan have managed two half-centuries – one from opener Javed Ahmadi in the opening game and the other from Gulbadin Naib in the second.There was more bad news for the Windies yesterday with the latest ODI rankings showing the Caribbean side had dropped two points to 77 as a result of their loss in the first ODI, seeing them slip further behind in the race to qualify automatically for the 2019 World Cup in England.And even with a win today, the Jason Holder-led side will earn just a single ratings point, meaning they would have ended the series worse off than when they started.
CYCLE coach/organiser Hassan Mohamed will conduct the 16th Annual DeSinco Trading 11-race cycle programme under the company’s Degree brand today around the inner circuit of the National Park.The feature event over 35 laps is open to Schoolboys, Novices and Invitational cyclists and will see Michael Anthony go all out to make a successful defence of the title he won last year in a time of one hour 18 minutes 22.77 seconds.This time around Anthony will have to stave off the challenges of a fit local bunch comprising Raul Leal, Orville Hinds, Jamal John and Paul DeNobrega, who are all in good nick and who have been dominating the 2017 cycle season.Apart from the above-mentioned riders, Anthony will also have to be wary of Alonzo Ambrose, Andrew Hicks and Warren McKay among others.Junior Niles will be defending the veterans’ Under-50 years five-lap title which he also won last year in a time of 12 minutes 45.48 seconds, but will once again get stiff competition from the likes of Warren McKay and the Fernandes boys.Curtis ‘Chappy’ Dey (Trojan CC), Nigel Duguid (Team Evolution), Christopher Cornelius (Team Evolution), Adealie Hodge, Jason Cameron (Trojan PSL) and Marcus Keiler (Roriama) will fight out the Juniors 10 laps race.There will also be races for Ladies, BMX and Mountain Bikers.Action begins at 09:00hrs.
With Joe Flacco joining Drew Lock on injured reserve, the Broncos head into Sunday’s game against the Browns with two quarterbacks, Brandon Allen and Brett Rypien, who haven’t thrown a single pass in the NFL. Allen is a 27-year-old, fourth-year pro from Arkansas who becomes Denver’s sixth starting quarterback in the post-Peyton Manning era when the Broncos (2-6) host the Browns (2-5). His backup is the nephew of 1992 Super Bowl MVP Mark Rypien and was promoted from the practice squad Friday when Flacco went on IR with a herniated disk in his neck. The quarterback that general manager John Elway really needs to get on the field is Lock, according to the arguments raging on airwaves and social networks. That way, he can see what he has in the rookie before diving into next year’s draft.It’s a safe bet Elway will draft another quarterback in sixth months whether Lock, a second-rounder out of Missouri, plays this season or not, whether he lights it up, stinks it up or shuts it down. The Broncos appear headed for a prime draft slot and Elway owns seven picks in the first four rounds and could have as many as a dozen selections once the compensatory formula is factored in. Awaiting NFL teams in April is a QB-rich class featuring the likes of Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, Jake Fromm, Jacob Eason, Joe Burrow and Jordan Love, among others.The Bengals (0-8) decided this week to bench Andy Dalton so first-year coach Zac Taylor can see what he has in fourth-round pick Ryan Finley, and the Redskins (1-7) are giving first-rounder Dwayne Haskins his first start Sunday at Buffalo, but that’s because Case Keenum is still in concussion protocol.Finley and Haskins may very well be the future of their franchises. Finley has been getting live reps in Cincinnati, unlike Lock, whose sprained thumb in the preseason landed him on IR and stunted his growth as a pro QB, prompting Elway to declare he’s not ready to return to practice. Lock has been limited to virtual reality training and classroom work. Once he returns to practice this month, he’ll resume his transition from the shotgun and spread he ran in college to the pro system that calls for him to line up under centre, progress through reads while backpedalling and refine his footwork and release points. Lock was eligible to return to practice Oct. 14, but the Broncos delayed a decision in case they got back into contention and needed to activate players at other positions from injured reserve.Because they’ll have a 21-day clock upon Lock’s return to practice to decide whether to activate him or not, Elway said he didn’t want to burn the upcoming bye week during that window, so Lock won’t return to the practice field until Week 11. Not that any of this will prevent Elway from grabbing another QB next year.Taking Jimmy Clausen in the second round in 2010 didn’t prevent Panthers GM Marty Hurney from drafting Cam Newton No. 1 overall the following season. When Brett Favre was penning his Hall of Fame career and returning the Green Bay Packers to prominence in the 1990s, GM Ron Wolf was stamping his own ticket to Canton with his scouting philosophy on QBs: There’s room for only one to start but you can never acquire too many. In Favre’s peak years, Wolf selected a quarterback in seven of eight drafts between 1992-99, not only to keep the game’s premier passer on his toes but to polish the newbies for roles as a backup or trade bait. Among the extra arms he acquired were Ty Detmer, Mark Brunell, Matt Hasselbeck and Aaron Brooks, all of whom became starters elsewhere.Since drafting Tom Brady in the sixth round in 2000, Bill Belichick has drafted 10 more quarterbacks even as he and Brady have won six Super Bowls together. Among them are Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett. Garoppolo is 16-2 as a starter and he has the 49ers off to an 8-0 start, the NFL’s only unbeaten team outside New England, where Brady also is 8-0. Brissett has prevented the plunge so many predicted for Indianapolis after Andrew Luck’s shocking retirement last summer, and he has the Colts (5-2) atop the AFC South.While Lock awaits his turn, Allen gets his first start Sunday since leading the Razorbacks over Kansas State in the Liberty Bowl on Jan. 2, 2016. That came 66 days before Manning called it a career and sent Elway on an unremitting search for a worthy successor as he shuffled through Mark Sanchez, Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch, Brock Osweiler, Keenum and Flacco. As Elway said at last year’s NFL scouting combine, “Believe me, I’m not done swinging and missing. Misses don’t bother me. We just have to figure out a way to get it right. That is what we are working on.” Written By LIVE TV SUBSCRIBE TO US FOLLOW US First Published: 3rd November, 2019 13:56 IST WATCH US LIVE Last Updated: 3rd November, 2019 13:56 IST Up In Arms: Elway Still Searching For Broncos’ Quarterback With Joe Flacco joining Drew Lock on injured reserve, the Broncos head into Sunday’s game against the Browns with two quarterbacks, Brandon Allen and Brett Rypien, who haven’t thrown a single pass in the NFL. COMMENT Associated Press Television News