By Sean Devers in Barbados
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The Election of Donald Trump as America’s 45th President is already affecting West Indies cricket, forcing the ICC Americas to be without one of their top batsmen when they face the Guyana Jaguars at the 3Ws Oval in the Regional Super50 tournament from 09:00hrs today with neither team capable of advancing to the semi-finals which starts next Wednesday in Antigua.
Fahad Babar was born in Pakistan but migrated to USA at 14. He represented that country at U-19 level and is one of six Muslims in the ICC Americas team including Akeem Dodson whose father is Guyanese.
The 24-year-old was forced to return home after playing against the Jaguars for fear of being banned entry under US President Donald Trump’s recently imposed immigration ban.
Following the ban on Muslim immigrants from seven countries by President Donald Trump, Babar is a green card holder and Pakistan is not one of the countries on the banned list. But Babar has returned to the United States on the recommendation of his lawyers.
“He’s from Pakistan which is close to those other countries and might be next on the chopping block. If he’s out of the US when they say, ‘okay we’re extending the ban to Pakistani people’, Fahad will be barred. He will not be allowed to come back into the United States even if he’s traveling for cricket and that’s what we’re scared of,” Said Babar’s lawyer William McLean in a statement.
While the ICC Americas had an upset win in their last match on Tuesday against CCC Marooners, the Jaguars suffered back-to-back last over defeats in their last two games against unbeaten Barbados Pride and Jamaica Scorpions who have both qualified from zone ‘B’.
Against Jamaica, in a must win game, the usually frugal Steven Jacobs leaked 54 from his eight overs after conceding 46 in the previous game against Barbados, while Veerasammy Permaul’s eight overs cost 44 runs and Devendra Bishoo had seven overs and gave away 37 runs. All three slow bowlers went wicketless.
Raymon Reifer (4-38), Ronsford Beaton (2-33) and Christopher Barnwell (2-45) shared eight wickets between them but got no support from the spinners as 10 fours and 15 sixes were scored by the Jamaicans in the 255.
Guyana’s two leading run scores failed to fire in the must win game; Skipper Leon Johnson, the team’s only batsman with 200 runs, made three and Shiv Chanderpaul, Guyana’s only centurion, fell for 17, while three run outs did not aid Guyana’s cause.
Assad Fudadin and Reifer got fifties, while Permaul and wicketkeeper Anthony again contributed in the lower order.
Today the Jaguars might toy with the idea of replacing Chanderpaul, Barnwell and Jacobs with Jonathon Foo, Shemron Hetymer and Paul Wintz in a match only of academic interest for them.
Reifer has shown he is the Jaguars’ best all rounder, while Johnson (230 runs with three 50s) gets another chance to get a big score and pick himself for the England and Pakistan home series, while Fudadin, who got a century last year, gets a chance to get another three-figure score today. Hetymer and Foo, if selected, should be given the clearance to play their shots and enjoy their batting.
ICC Americas, with one more game after this to play, will hope to end their tournament with a couple of upset wins and will depend on Skipper Nitish Kumar, Kamau Leverock and Timroy Allen, who all scored fifties in their first win in this competition against CCC, which broke a 10-match losing streak that began in last year’s Regional Super50 tournament. Off-spinner Nikhil Dutta, left-arm spinner Saad Bin Zafar and leg-spinner Timil Patel should enjoy the 3Ws Oval track.
But with rain forecast for today it could be a gloomy end to the Jaguars campaign and still without a title since 2005.
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