COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (CMC):Legendary all-rounder Sir Garry Sobers believes West Indies’ downward spiral will continue unless players begin to pledge their allegiance to the Caribbean side over the lucrative Twenty20 leagues across the globe.The 79-year-old said that many of West Indies’ best players were often unavailable due to their T20 commitments and unlike other cricketing nations, this was having a significant impact on the team’s development.”I think the Twenty20 is taking a toll. It seems to be more so on West Indies cricket than any other nation because we seem to be finding it more difficult to put good teams together,” said Sir Garry, who arrived here earlier this week as a guest of the Sri Lanka Cricket Board.”England had limited their players from going to play in the IPL (Indian Premier League). If you look at the West Indies, a lot of players are there.”West Indies players have become fixtures in the IPL in recent years, with the likes of opener Chris Gayle, all-rounders Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo and AndrÈ Russell, along with mystery off-spinner Sunil Narine, all attached to franchises.In their absence from the longest format of the game, West Indies have continued to slide down the rankings, and are now ranked number eight – only above minnows Bangladesh and Zimbabwe.Once the number-one side in the world during their heyday, Sir Garry now fears for the Windies’ future, especially if some of their best players continue to opt for the T20 format.”Until we can get people who are willing to play for the West Indies in the right way, I think we are going to be struggling for a long time,” the former West Indies captain said.”Other countries are going to come and surpass us.”Sir Garry has long been regarded as the finest all-rounder to play the game. He scored 8,032 runs, snared 235 wickets and 109 catches in a 93-Test career that spanned 1954 to 1974.He perhaps became best known for his World record 365 not out against Pakistan in 1958, a mark eventually overtaken by batting prodigy Brian Lara in 1994.Referring to his time in the game, Sir Garry pointed out that his only commitment then was to West Indies cricket.”My whole obligation was to the West Indies cricket. I have never made a run for me … records meant nothing, the team was always important,” he stressed.
LANCASTER – A jailed teenage boy who killed another with a baseball bat made a brief appearance Friday in court, sharing hugs with family members but getting no closer to his hope for a reduced sentenced. A resentencing hearing for the Palmdale youth whose murder conviction was reduced to voluntary manslaughter was postponed because a new attorney is coming in to handle his case. Greg Harris Jr., now 15, entered Lancaster Juvenile Court wearing silver-rimmed glasses, a light-gray sweat shirt and dark pants, about a head taller and more hefty than when he last appeared in court in 2005. After the short hearing, Harris was allowed to hug his parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles and family friends before going back to the court lockup. While they stood in line at the snack bar, Rourke teased Harris about losing a game and pushed him, witnesses said. Harris hit Rourke in the knee with an aluminum bat, then seconds later hit him on the neck, severing an artery. The maximum penalty for voluntary manslaughter is 11 years. Second-degree murder carries a term of 15 years to life. email@example.com (661) 267-5744160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! A state appeals court in January threw out Harris’ second-degree murder conviction for killing 15-year-old Jeremy Rourke and ordered he be resentenced on the lesser charge. Harris was sentenced in July 2005 to the California Youth Authority until he is 25. Rourke’s parents also attended the hearing. The appellate court found that Harris, 13 at the time, did not harbor an intent to kill. The appellate decision noted Juvenile Court Judge Richard Naranjo’s statement about Harris’ emotional state – that he was upset, angered and “in the heat of passion.” Rourke, a Highland High School freshman described by family and friends as an avid athlete who enjoyed being a junior umpire, died within hours of being hit in the head April 12, 2005, at the Palmdale PONY League baseball complex, where he was a spectator.