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Shahdon Winchester was named by Trinidad and Tobago head coach Stephen Hart as the replacement for injured "Soca Warriors" midfielder Keron "Ball Pest" Cummings.
 
The W Connection attacking midfielder is expected to figure in the upcoming Copa America Centenario qualifier against Haiti on January 8 at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez at Panama City, Panama.
 
Cummings was shot and wounded in the right leg early Sunday morning after returning to his family's Petit Valley home. 
 
The player is currently warded at the POS General Hospital.
Cricket commentator Fazeer Mohammed has been banned from interviewing any West Indies player currently in Australia taking part in the Sir Frank Worrell cricket series. 
 
Mohammed made the trek from Trinidad to Australia to work as a radio commentator for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and has been commentating since the first Test in Hobart. 
 
He told Guardian Media yesterday that he was banned after he made comments about the team on a radio talk show prior to the start of the second Test that is currently on in Melbourne.
Australia wrapped up a comfortable 177-run victory over West Indies on day four of the second Test in Melbourne to take an unassailable 2-0 series lead.
 
An overnight declaration on 179-3 set the tourists an unlikely 460 to win.
 
Wickets fell regularly but Denesh Ramdin (59) and Jason Holder (68), who came together at 150-5, hit half centuries in a 100-run partnership.
 
Mitchell Marsh, who finished with 4-61, dismissed both men as the Windies lost their last five wickets for 32 runs.
 
West Indies captain Jason Holder said after the match, "I thought most of the guys applied themselves, which was really commendable. Credit to the way Australia played, they outplayed us. We had to keep wickets in hand, occupy the crease. Our plan was for me and Ramdin to stick on till the end of the day. Carlos came in and showed spirit [in the first innings], and bowled well. We have been criticised from all different angles, but I've just stressed to the team to keep faith. This shows what we can do if we apply ourselves. We just need to keep that belief and keep pushing Australia."
 
Australian skipper Steve Smith expects the West Indies to show more resistance in the final Test match, "We made it difficult for ourselves, overstepping, we had to take 23 wickets, not 20. I thought Mitchell Marsh was impressive today, he really charged in, hit the pitch hard, got it reversing. Usman is playing beautifully. I've put myself down at No. 4 and I think it's a good decision. He's made three hundreds in a row, and another in the Big Bash as well. Lyon is bowling extremely well at the moment and is taking crucial wickets. Hopefully he can continue doing that for a long time. You want to try and wrap up the series 3-0. The West Indies fought really well and I'm sure they'll come back hard at Sydney as well."
 
***CRICKET…Kieran Powell, who last played for the Windies in June 2014, is in Bradenton, Florida, preparing for a tryout day at the IMG Academy on January 13.
 
He will showcase his batting and fielding skills in a bid to be signed by a Major League Baseball franchise.
 
Having fallen out with the West Indies cricket board, Powell is committed to ensuring the move is a success.
 
***Shimron Hetmyer has been named captain of West Indies for the Under-19 World Cup to be held in Bangladesh in January-February 2016.
 
Hetmyer, who was also featured in the 2014 edition of the tournament in the United Arab Emirates, is one of two players along with Alzarri Joseph, the pacer, to have first-class experience.
 
Hetmyer made his first-class debut for Guyana in April 2014, and has played five matches since.
 
***England have "a way to go" to find the consistency needed to top the Test rankings, says coach Trevor Bayliss.
 
A thumping 241-run victory in the first Test in South Africa was England's sixth win in 14 matches this year.
 
They regained the Ashes in the summer but lost to Pakistan in the UAE and drew with New Zealand and West Indies.
 
***FOOTBALL…National Senior Men's Team midfielder Keron Cummings underwent surgery at the Port of Spain General Hospital on Wednesday morning.
 
CUmmings, who suffered a gunshot wound on Sunday, had been warded since then prior to surgery which was performed by Dr Marlon Mencia and his medical team at the hospital.
 
TTFA Medical consultant Dr Mario John, who is an orthopedic surgeon based in Orlando, was able to observe the procedure.
 
***Lionel Messi scored on his 500th Barcelona appearance as Luis Enrique's side finished a magnificent 2015 on top of the La Liga table.
 
Heiko Westermann's own-goal - after Neymar's controversial penalty had hit the bar - gave Barca the lead.
 
Messi recovered from a knock which forced him to go off for treatment to double the lead before Luis Suarez scored twice after the interval.
 
Barca finish 2015 with 180 goals in all competitions, a Spanish record.
 
***GOLF…Sachin Kumar finished tied fourth in the Junior Orange Bowl golf tournament which ended yesterday. 
 
He was competing against some of the top junior golfers in the world in Orlando.
 
Kumar totaled 285 (one over par) and finished five strokes behind the overnight leader and eventual winner Kristoffer Reitan of Norway.
 
***ATHLETICS…Jamaican sprint star Usain Bolt beat professional tennis player Novak Djokovic and Argentine footballer Lionel Messi to take the International Sports Press Association (AIPS) Best Male Athlete 2015 Award.
 
The AIPS said that in a year dominated by athletics feats and tennis dominance, Bolt and American tennis star Serena Williams were voted the best athletes this year by a panel of sports journalists from 91 countries.
 
Bolt, regarded as the fastest man on earth, secured 804 votes in the AIPS Best Athlete poll, followed by Djokovic with 774 votes, and Argentina and FC Barcelona's Messi with 380 votes.
 
***AND IN BOXING…Manny Pacquiao is set to return to the ring with a fight against Timothy Bradley in Las Vegas on 9 April, according to promoter Bob Arum.
 
Pacquiao, 37, has not fought since he was convincingly beaten on points by Floyd Mayweather in May.
 
Arum claims the Filipino's fight against WBO welterweight champion Bradley, 32, is a "done deal".

Soca Warriors arrive in Panama

Trinidad and Tobago's senior men's team touched down in Panama City shortly after 9am on Wednesday ahead of Friday's Copa America Centenario qualifying match versus Haiti at the Estadio Rommel Fernandez.
 
Head Coach Stephen Hart and his 22-man squad seemingly brought some Caribbean sunshine with them as the conditions have been mostly rainy and overcast in Panama for the past few days. 
 
The Haitian team also arrived on Wednesday intent on booking their place in the prestigious Copa America.
 
Hart also reacted to news of Kenwyne Jones’ move to the Middle East from Cardiff City.
 
The Soca Warriors coach is concerned over the travel time it would take Jones to arrive to training in the Caribbean ahead of Trinidad and Tobago’s busy international schedule in 2016. 
Regional players return to the field for the first time in this New Year, when the NAGICO Super50 Tournament opens on Thursday in St. Kitts and here.
 
Trinidad & Tobago Red Force will open their defence against long-standing rivals Jamaica Scorpions at Queen's Park Oval in a match televised on ESPN Caribbean, after Barbados Pride and ICC Americas get the ball rolling at UWI SPEC, a few miles east of the T&T capital.
 
Up the island chain, Leeward Islands Hurricanes host the Combined Campuses & Colleges Marooners at Warner Park in St. Kitts, where Guyana Jaguars, last season's beaten finalists, tackle Windward Islands Volcanoes in the rural village of St. Paul's.

Gayle to launch defamation action

Gayle's management have retained the services of a "leading Australian media lawyer" with the intention of "immediately" launching defamation action against Fairfax Media over allegations that he indecently exposed himself to a woman in Sydney during the World Cup last year.
 
The allegation arose following Gayle's widely decried actions in an interview with the Ten Network sports presenter Mel McLaughlin while playing for the Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash League.
 
The Renegades fined Gayle $10,000 for the incident, and the Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland declared the West Indian opening batsman would be facing far more severe consequences if he transgressed further.

Windies draw final Test

Opener David Warner hit an unbeaten 122 as Australia drew a rain-affected third and final Test against West Indies.
 
A draw was inevitable after only 86.2 overs were possible on the first four days after heavy rain in Sydney.
 
The West Indies, who resumed on 248-7, were 330 all out before Warner hit an 82-ball century, the quickest ever at Sydney, as Australia reached 176-2.
 
Australia were already 2-0 up in the series, but the draw stops them from moving top of the Test rankings.
The West Indies captain Jason Holder declined an offer to make a game of the rain-ruined third Test against Australia in Sydney.
 
Ausie skipper Steven Smith had offered Holder the chance to defend 370 runs off 70 overs on the final day, with Australia declaring their first innings at 0 for 0 then offering scoring opportunities to the visitors. 
However, Holder maintained that this was not the best thing for his team at that stage in its development.
 
"He [Smith] came to us and made an offer, I just went back to the team and we thought at this stage of our development it wasn't the best thing for us," Holder said. "We had [Denesh] Ramdin who was scoring well and looking well, so just give him the encouragement to go out there and build an innings and build some confidence.
 
"We set out at the beginning of the series to bat 90 overs each time we batted and get past the 300 mark. That was one of the things that we wanted to achieve today and we achieved that. It was a team vote, team decision. At that stage of our development and the phase we're at we thought it was the best thing for the team.
 
"We started in Hobart and we didn't play well at all there, we showed improvement in Melbourne and we just had to come here to improve as well. I think we just need to take it step by step, it's not a case where you can just jump from losing Test matches to winning in one transition, especially against good opposition like Australia."
 
Both teams played out the final day wearing black armbands in restect to the father of  opening batsman Rajendra Chandrika, whose father Baljit died suddenly overnight in the Caribbean. 

Stern John coaching Central FC

Former national striker Stern John has been doing some coaching with Digicel T&T Pro League outfit Central FC, according to reports in the Trinidad Guardian.

John started working with the team a few days ago and could be there for the rest of season.

The Guardian reports that the ex-striker was said to have been the replacement for Ross Russell who was sacked by the Central 'Sharks' recently.

Russell has since been signed by North East Stars and replaces Roland Clarke, who returns to his duties as Academy coach.

On the dismissal of Russell, Central FC operations manager Kevin Harrison said, “It’s a results game,” Harrison said this week. “But [the decision by the club to sack Russell] wasn’t purely down to the two games we lost. It was about the performance of the players… perhaps they weren’t giving him their all.

“We won seven trophies (four of them major titles) last season and already we have dropped the First Citizens Cup. We couldn’t risk carrying on that way.

“It just happens—sometimes a good coach comes into successful team and it just doesn’t work. We see it happening all the time in world football.

“We made the change while we still have time. While we want to win everything else on offer, our two major aims now, is to make sure and defend the Pro League and Caribbean Club Championship titles.”

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