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North Zone welcomes T&TCB symposium
The ideas, suggestions and criticisms presented on Saturday to the T&T Cricket Board will have a profound effect on its governance structure and the way the game is played. This is the opinion of Azim Bassarath, president of the T&TCB in his opening remarks when the national cricket organisation started the first in a series of national cricket symposiums.
Opening with the new ball was the North Zonal Council which was the first to play hosts at the Tranquility Secondary School in Port-of- Spain. The meeting attracted representatives of diverse stakeholders who engaged the leading T&TCB officials in lively, animated discussions. At least six of the 10 clubs in the North Zone were represented including Harvard, Invincible and Ebony; along with several members of the T&T Umpires and Scorers’ Council who were vociferous in raising their serious concerns with the T&TCB. Bassarath said T&T cricket was currently enjoying unrivalled success on the international stage and this was demonstrated by events which unfolded in Florida, USA recently. He said five T&T players including Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard and Sunil Narine were included in the West Indies team to play New Zealand in the Digicel T20 and ODI Home Series.
Bassarath said that T&T should also feel justly proud that two local umpires stood in the middle in the T20 leg of the current tour and the T&T coaches recently dominated at a Level II Coaching course also conducted simultaneously with the international cricket in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He said the T&TCB was keen to expand their network of activities and embrace the WICB initiative to expand the game in the hemisphere namely on the US mainland. Bassarath said in the present dynamic and ever-changing cricket environment, elected officials do not have all the answers nor are able to deal with all the challenges that confront them so it was especially important that the series of symposiums attract maximum participation.
“We expect quality input from the participants and I am pleased to see the level of representation at the North Zone meeting. The T&T Cricket Board is listening and will implement all suggestions that are practical and beneficial,” said Bassarath. He personally recognised the input of North Zone officials including Don Asgarali, chairman; Stephen Martel, secretary; and Patrick Rampersad who was recently appointed to head a special T&TCB Zonal and Affiliates Committee. Just as in the first National Symposium several weeks ago, T&T umpires took the opportunity to highlight problems they are facing as they grapple with inadequate renumeration, player indiscipline and what they describe as a lack of recognition.
North Zone clubs were especially concerned with a falling level of player participation and the difficulties a number of clubs face to field a first team in zonal competitions. Several participants also spoke of the declining standards in the zone and improper facilities at the Queen’s Park Savannah where there are no toilets, changing rooms or secure places to store the clubs’ matting and other gear.
However all were in full support of the T&TCB’s initiatives to generate interest and accept feedback from the zones in an effort to develop the sport and engage stakeholders in meaningful and productive dialogue. Also present at Saturday’s event was T&TCB general-secretary Arjoon Ramlal who acted as moderator and wellknown sports administrator Paul Clarke together with officials of women’s cricket.
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