HOBART, Australia (CMC):Fast-bowling legend Sir Curtly Ambrose is seeking to fire up underdogs West Indies who face top-ranked Australia in the first of three Test matches from this evening (Caribbean time).Ambrose, the bowling consultant, is insisting that the West Indies have the manpower to challenge the home side in the three-match rubber following their humiliating 10-wicket loss to an inexperienced Cricket Australia X1.Australia defeated West Indies 2-0 in their last series played in the Caribbean earlier this year.”Even though we lost 2-0, there were moments or periods when we had them on the back foot and had their backs against the wall. And we never really finished them off,” recalled Ambrose.”So we believe we can compete, and not only compete, but we believe we can beat them, and that’s our focus: to beat Australia. Not just to compete but to win and, being the underdogs, sometimes it’s good to be that way.”The Caribbean side was able to avoid an innings defeat against the young Cricket Australia’s X1 on the strength of a stubborn partnership between Jason Holder and Kemar Roach.But their defeat has forced former players and commentators to question their confidence going into the opening Test at Hobart.However, the former fast bowler is insisting that given the expectation of the Australian public, the home side is the one under pressure to perform.”We have nothing to lose. As far as we are concerned, Australia is the one under pressure. They have to beat us because Australians expect them to steamroll us. So they are the ones under pressure, not us,” he said.”We’re here to do a job and we’re going to make a good job of it. We’re not going to worry about what has been said about us not being a good team or not going to compete and games being over in three days and all that kind of stuff.”Jason Holder’s men arrived in Australia not having won an overseas tour of note in 20 years and are ranked above only Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.Ambrose has described in-form batsmen Steve Smith and David Warner as the main threat in the Australian batting line-up, but contends that their middle order is vulnerable.”They are in some good form at the moment, and there are two good batsmen and, yes, they will be key. If we can get them out early for not too many runs, I still believe that the middle order of Australia is not that solid at the moment,” Ambrose pointed out.”I think Warner and Smith will be key, and once we get them out early, that could give us some leeway to really test them.”Ambrose has identified the bowling attack as the Windies’ strength and expressed confidence in Jerome Taylor’s ability to lead an attack capable of taking 20 Australian wickets.”Since I joined the team, it took me a little while to get them to buy into my concept because they are accustomed to certain things and, of course, it would not change overnight,” said Ambrose, who took up his consultancy role in February 2014.The first Test will be played at the Blundstone Arena, from Thursday to Monday. First ball is 10:30 a.m. (Wednesday 6:30 p.m. Jamaica time).
FIFA ethics judges open case against Valcke ZURICH (AP): FIFA ethics judges have formally opened a case against Jerome Valcke, who faces a nine-year ban from football. The ethics committee’s judging chamber says it “decided to institute formal adjudicatory proceedings” against FIFA’s former secretary general after studying a prosecution file sent by ethics investigators. The judges acted one day after extending Valcke’s 90-day interim ban by 45 days. Valcke is charged with several violations of the FIFA code of ethics while serving as President Sepp Blatter’s top aide since 2007. The charges include accepting gifts and conflicts of interest. The judges gave no details of the case, citing Valcke’s “privacy rights and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty”. Man United recall winger DORTMUND, Germany (AP): Belgium winger Adnan Januzaj was returning to Manchester United yesterday after his one-year loan spell at Borussia Dortmund was cut short after half a season. The Bundesliga side confirmed that the clubs agreed on “an immediate return”, and that the “last contractual details between the parties are being sorted out”. The 20-year-old Januzaj joined Dortmund at the end of the last transfer period but failed to make his mark with the side. He played just 166 minutes as a substitute in six Bundesliga games, managing four shots at goal, and scoring none. He played two full games in five Europa League appearances for Dortmund, but again didn’t score. Football’s rule-makers discuss approving video replay trials LONDON (AP): Soccer’s rule-makers are discussing whether to approve trials of video replays to assist referees who find it harder to keep up with the faster, modern game. The International Football Association Board first approved technology in 2012 that was limited to systems determining whether the ball crossed the goal-line. But the FIFA-dominated panel met yesterday in London to decide whether to allow the first official in-game tests with video replay systems that could, for example, help to inform referees on whether a penalty should be awarded, a player should be sent off, or consider violent conduct they might have missed. It is “physically harder for referees to keep up,” and high-tech assistance is proving essential, English Football Association chief executive Martin Glenn said. Kiwis beat Lankans by three runs in T20 MOUNT MAUNGANUI, New Zealand (AP): Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson each made half centuries in a 101-run opening partnership to help New Zealand beat Sri Lanka by three runs in the first Twenty20 international between the teams yesterday. Guptill scored 58 from 34 balls to give New Zealand the high-tempo start they needed after Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to bowl first. Williamson supported him with 53 from 42 balls to lead New Zealand to 182-4. In reply, Danushka Gunathilaka made 46 and Milinda Siriwardana 42 to help Sri Lanka keep things close into the final over.