SYDNEY, Australia (CMC):West Indies captain Jason Holder believes parity in earnings will motivate players to focus more on international cricket instead of solely on the lucrative Twenty20 format.Holder was responding to claims by England star Kevin Pietersen that the game’s biggest stars, especially those from West Indies, were being lost to international cricket because of the lure of T20s.Pietersen, a former Test star who now peddles his talents on the T20 circuit, said that the International Cricket Council needed to intervene to ensure that there were competitive financial incentives available to players in international cricket.”I think it’s possibly a way to keep [Test cricket] alive. Obviously, we’re in a situation where the money isn’t great for us at the moment, and we’ve been in numerous battles for that, but that’s beyond our control at this present time,” Holder told reporters yesterday.”At the end of the day, hopefully, somewhere along the line we can have an increase in pay and be paid a little bit better than at the moment.”Pietersen was echoing sentiments similar to those of West Indies’ chief selector Clive Lloyd, who said on Friday that the money on offer on the global T20 circuit had resulted in several Caribbean players opting out of Test cricket.West Indies players like Chris Gayle, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Bravo, Darren Sammy, Samuel Badree, and AndrÈ Russell are all campaigning in the Big Bash League, while an inexperienced Caribbean side has been locked in a three-Test series with Australia.Holder said priority needed to be placed on international cricket and believed players would take this option once there was some balance, financially, with T20s.”I think we need to strike a balance, and I’m not knocking T20 cricket because I love T20 cricket myself, but we just need to find a way where the country comes first and then we are flexible in terms of allowing people to make money outside of international cricket,” the 24-year-old said.”I don’t think we should be playing hardball and deny people from going and playing, but there has to be a situation where we make international cricket our first priority. I think once we get to that stage, the players will buy in.”
CONRAD JENKINS, president of the Jamaica Taekwondo Federation, in response to martial artist Nicholas Dusard’s claims of bias, has issued a press release outlining criteria used in selecting Jamaica’s two-man team for a Pan Am Olympic qualifying tournament in Mexico this week.However, the criteria, prepared by sole selector Jenkins, conflicted with an audio recording of a team meeting during which Dusard had challenged him about his non-selection after trials at the National Indoor Sports Centre on February 26.Dusard, who won the -68 kg category at the February 22-26 trials, complained in a story published in The Gleaner on March 3, that he was denied a chance to compete at -80 kg and was never told that current world rankings would have been a determinant.A subsequent press release, sent by Howard Chin, general secretary, JTF, on behalf of Jenkins, stated three criteria used in selection – results from the 2016 US and Canada Opens, WTF Olympic ranking and ‘athletes with the best competition management and with the least or no illegal acts in the fight offs’.Speaking to The Gleaner after Dusard’s claims, Jenkins insisted the three criteria listed in his press release were the only determinants.However, during an audio recording presented by Dusard, the JTF president was heard singing a different tune when challenged by the fighter, admitting he had not mentioned the use of rankings before the fight offs.In addition, Jenkins went on to explain, at length, to Dusard and the other fighters that accomplishments in competitions “over the years” were also a factor, a criterion not included in his press release list of three.”If it was mentioned, it made no sense none of the -68s fought. If we knew it would have come down to rankings, Raymond, Bruce and I, we had no chance,” Dusard was heard saying on the recording.”A chance should have been given for us to maybe step up to Craig or Jason’s weight class to fight off for that spot. Based on what is happening now, none of the -68 people had a chance of going, so we came here to fight for no reason,” he added, at which point Jenkins interjected.”I understand what you’re saying, you’re expressing a good concern but let me take it another step. The ranking is just one but it’s more than the ranking. When you assess, the second leg of the ranking, let’s put the ranking aside, the second leg of it, we’re dealing with number two, who has been competing and awarded medals in fights over the last couple of years,” the JTF president said, before Dusard objected.”I understand that, sir, but that was never said. That was never said, that’s the issue,” the fighter said, at which point Jenkins agreed.”That part was never said before the fight off, that is true and that is where we take the next step away from the rankings to who has been awarded,” he said.Presented with the recording, to which he listened intently, a defiant Jenkins ignored its contents, saying, “the three criteria were sent”. He also claimed that Dusard’s request to go up in weight class was only made on the day of the fight offs.”On the day of the fight offs?” a stunned Dusard responded when contacted by The Gleaner.”How could I make that request on the day of the fight? Raymond James from New York and I, who fought -68, we both asked on the 22nd if we could fight -80. We both expressed our desire and willingness to fight -80. We were told no by Jenkins,” he said.United States-based fighters, Craig Brown (-80 kg) and Jason Grant (+80kg), winners of their respective divisions, were chosen by Jenkins to represent Jamaica at the March 10-11 Pan Am Olympic qualification tournament in Aguascalientes, Mexico.