Minister of Sport Anil Roberts stole the show at the press conference to launch the partnership between the T&T Cricket Board (TTCB) and the Government yesterday, when he waded into national batsman Darren Bravo for an unfortunate tweet on Thursday.
Bravo has posted a photo of a dilapidated sink at the National Cricket Centre (NCC) in Couva on a popular social networking site. Roberts, in reply yesterday, said it was unfortunate that he made that public. “That was very unfortunate indeed. Probably if the T&T Cricket Board (TTCB) don’t have to pay big salaries to players then they would be able to bring the centre up to scratch.
“However, I have decided to take a note to cabinet to have the NCC upgraded with better rooming facilities, stands, nets, computer technology etc. This was very unfortunate because when players make ‘duck’ no one tweets that.”
Roberts did not finish there as he said that national players must represent their country with pride and commitment. “It should all be about the red, white and black. However, when greed sets in you get performances that are not inspired.
“Don’t get me wrong, I am one for players being well compensated, but there is a time and place for everything. You need to be there for your country, who invested a lot in you. Players must remember that when thousands show up to see them play, they don’t come to watch individuals but they come to look at the entire team for the brand of cricket they are playing.”
He also made a call to the national team to win every game in this tournament. “We have a very good team and we want you all to win every game in this tournament. We did not do well at the last Champions League so you must go out there and win this tournament convincingly and then go to Champions League and win that too. Had we assembled our strongest team, we could have won that tournament instead of coming home early. If money is the issue, come let’s talk money and take it from there but it must always be about the red, white and black.”
Meanwhile, a carnival village will be set up at the Queen’s Park Oval for Sunday’s opening of the regional T20 cricket series. This, according to Minister of the Arts and Multiculturalism Dr Lincoln Douglas. He said with the opening being beamed ‘live’ by ESPN it was a great opportunity to showcase the country and show the world that T&T had a ‘vibe’ that was worth coming to see. Also on board the project is the Tourism Development Company and the Public Transport Service Corporation who will assist with transport for teams and officials attending the matches.
Deputy general manager in charge of communications at PTSC Carl Ramdeo said: ”We are happy to be partnering with the TTCB and the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) in this venture and it is just another step for us, as we have transformed the PTSC with a number of customer-driven initiatives over the past 24 months.
“The line minister the Honourable Chandresh Sharma has driven the board and management into a customer satisfaction mode and the chairman of PTSC Dr Vincent Lasse, as well as the general manager Ronald Forde have worked tirelessly in changing the image and culture of the PTSC. We see this as one of those initiatives, and I want to assure all the other stakeholders that PTSC would be a strong partner in the set-up.”
Ramdeo added: “PTSC is big on the idea of T&T becoming a sports tourism destination and we take pride in moving people around the country with quality service as we do our part to make this a reality.”
TTCB’s executive member Baldath Mahabir who has done a lot of work in bringing all the parties together said: ”This is a historic event with the TTCB partnering with so many state organisations in hosting this event. It is something that could be looked at by other sporting organisations in this country as they look to improve.”
Gates at the Queen’s Park Oval open on Sunday at 3 pm and the opening ceremony gets underway at 5 pm. Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar will be on hand to officially open the tournament.
T&T will play Jamaica after the opening ceremony in the first match of the tournament starting at 8 pm.