BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC):Former West Indies Women captain Merissa Aguilleira believes that the regional side is capable of securing championship honours in the forthcoming T20 World Cup, which starts next month in India.West Indies women have reached the penultimate stage of the competition on three successive occasions, but the Trinidad and Tobago wicketkeeper-batsman believes that they can go all the way this time.”I am really excited about this tournament because I truly believe it is time for us to win this T20 World Cup,” said Aguilleira.”It has been three consecutive times we have reached the semi-finals, so it’s about time, but I have all faith in the girls, and I truly believe we can cross that mantle.”Aguilleira has been in prolific form since she was relieved from her duties as captain, a title that has been handed to Jamaican cricketer Stafanie Taylor.She roared to two powerful half-centuries in St Lucia last October to help West Indies Women come from behind to beat Pakistan in an ODI series 3-1 and said consistency would ensure that Windies Women lift the World T20 trophy.LACKING CONSISTENCY”I must say consistency because we have been lacking that for quite some time,” said Aguilleira, a 10-year veteran who has played 86 ODIs and 73 T20s.”One minute we are up; next minute, we are down. But I think once we get that consistency going, everything will fall into alignment.”Aguilleira is part of a squad that includes a number of reserve players in a training camp at the West Indies High Performance Centre in Barbados, preparing for a tour of South Africa before the ICC World Twenty20 Tournament in India. They are participating in an on-field training programme as well as a number of personal-development sessions before leaving for South Africa in two batches on February 9 and 10.”I will be going forward in South Africa with full fire, trying to continue from where I left off in St Lucia,” she said.”I have really been putting in some work so, hopefully, I can go out there and contribute for the team.”
CRICKET:CHENNAI, India (CMC):West Indies Women will begin their Twenty20 World Cup campaign later this week with question marks over their batting, after another brittle performance left them with a 43-run defeat to Australia Women in their official warm-up game here yesterday.Chasing 140 for victory at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, the Caribbean collapsed to 96 all out off 19 overs without a single player passing 20.The total was their third low score in four T20 contests in recent weeks, following on from their 2-1 defeat in their three-match series against South Africa Women.Stacy-Ann King top-scored with 19 not out to lead five players in double figures, but the next best was captain Stafanie Taylor with 14.West Indies Women lost teenage opener Hayley Matthews for four to the third ball of the innings to be four for one, before crawling to 38 for two in the 10th over. However, Taylor’s dismissal triggered the final side as the Windies Women lost their last eight wickets for 58 runs.Leg-spinner Kristen Beams picked up three for nine, while seamer Rene Farrell finished with three for 18.Earlier, Australia Women eased to 139 for three off their 20 overs after they were sent in. Opener Elyse Villani stroked 51 from 42 deliveries, while captain Meg Lanning hit an unbeaten 49 from 39 deliveries.The right-handed Villani struck eight fours as she helped add 70 for the first wicket with wicketkeeper Alyssa Healy, who made 18 off 24 balls before she was caught and bowled by off-spinner Taylor in the 11th over.Villani fell soon afterwards in the 14th over but Lanning, who counted two fours and three sixes in her knock, combined with Alex Blackwell (14) to put on 47 and ensure Australia Women finished strongly.West Indies bowl off their group campaign tomorrow against Pakistan at the same venue here. They are in Group B also alongside India Women, Bangladesh Women and England Women.
NEW YORK (CMC): Jamaican sprint star Usain Bolt says he is targeting a sub-19-seconds run in the 200 metres and has cast doubt over whether he will wind up his illustrious career following the Rio Olympics in August. The reigning World and Olympic champion in both the 100 and 200 metres, Bolt is seeking to become the first athlete to win the events at three successive Olympiads, following his conquests in Beijing in 2008 and in London four years later. “Just to defend my titles, to do the three-peat. That’s my main goal. That’s my main focus,” Bolt said here. “My secondary goal is to try and run sub-19. That’s something I really want, and I hope that everything goes smoothly and I can get it. That would be a big step for me.” The 29-year-old, who holds the 200 metres world record at 19.19 seconds, has struggled with an ankle injury this year but has slowly worked his way back into fitness and is scheduled to make his season debut next month at the Cayman Islands Invitational. Bolt is also expected to appear at the Ostrava Golden Spike later in May before participating in his own track club’s meet, Racer’s Track Club Grand Prix, in June, ahead of the Jamaica trials. “I’m feeling OK. My coach (Glen Mills) says my fitness is not exactly where he wants it to be,” Bolt said. “Starting out this season, I had a problem with my ankles, and it was a setback, but not that bad. We’re getting back on track, and he’s happy with the progress I’m making.” He added: “I have two months before trials and three and a half months before the championships. I’ll keep pushing myself, and hopefully, everything smooths out and I’ll be at my best when the Olympics comes around.” KEEPING OPTIONS OPEN Though he has hinted at retirement after Rio, he said Mills had urged him to keep his options open regarding the issue. “Coach says I shouldn’t say I want to retire just yet. I should focus on the year and see how I feel after the World Championships (in London),” he said, in reference to the IAAF event next year. “And if I still feel like I want to retire, I should. But he says to give it a chance because I think my coach is pushing for me to go a few more years. We’ll see what happens. “Personally, I don’t really want to continue for years and years because it’s getting hard. I have to sacrifice more and more. It takes up so much of your time.” He continued: “I’m never going to come out and joke or be a joke in a season. I’m a winner. I believe in winning. I hate to lose. I will never come out and say it is a farewell tour. I will want to compete at my best, go to the championships and win again.”