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Bassarath wants T&T top players for IPL
President of the T&T Cricket Board (T&TCB) Azim Bassarath, yesterday called on government intervention in an attempt to have local cricketers who are contracted with their respective franchise teams, available for T&T at the Champions League, which will be staged in India, from September 16.
Speaking at the return of T&T’s cricketers, who less than 24 hours secured their third consecutive Caribbean T20 crown, at the expense of Guyana in a nine-wicket victory, at the Beausejour Stadium, St Lucia, Bassarath appealed to government to negotiate with the players’ Indian Premier League (IPL) teams, in order for T&T to be at its strongest.
The Champions League T20 tournament will be the final one in which a country from the Caribbean will be able to qualify for, due to the introduction of the franchise-based T20 tournament, which will replace territorial Caribbean islands with top clubs from around the region.
The team returned on a delayed flight along with its management including manager Omar Khan and coach David Williams. Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard were the only players who did not return with the team.
Bassarath said the team members had their minds set on winning the Caribbean title with the intention of qualifying for the Champions League T20, after being unable to advance to the main draw last year.
“In the past two years in the Champions League, T&T did not have its best players available. This year, 2013, I want to ask for the assistance of the government of T&T, that if representation has to be made to the IPL in India, then I think what we should do is we should, as early as possible, put something in place where we can negotiate with personnel of the IPL. I’m asking, begging and requesting we have available to us all our international stars.”
“We should leave no stone unturned to see that we have our best team available. If we have to travel, as I’ve said before, we’ll be begging the government to help in that regard.”
Bassarath congratulated the team on a series of nearly flawless performances which began after a no-result in the opening match against Jamaica. That was followed by five consecutive victories against, Combined Campuses and Colleges (by five wickets), Leeward Islands (by 95 runs), Guyana (by 80 runs), Windward Islands (by eight wickets) and Barbados (by 5 wickets). It was, in fact, against Guyana in which T&T recorded its highest team total of the tournament, 191/4 (20 overs), before the two teams met in the final, on Sunday. T&T batted second in the final and matched Guyana’s total of 116/6 (20 overs), in only 12.3 overs.
Shannon Gabriel was named player of the match in the final after taking two wickets in four over, while allowing just 16 runs.
Darren Bravo, who was not even summoned to bat in the final was named man of the series with a total of 225 runs in six innings with a strike rate of 151.00. In the tournament Bravo made three half-centuries slapping 16 fours and 13 sixes in the process.
Bassarath also commended the players who made a symbolic lap of honour, at the final round-robin match played in T&T against Guyana, in tribute to the fans. “I think they used their own initiative ensuring that they showed appreciation to their own fans.” The team also made a lap of honour following the final, which was witnessed by scores of T&T supporters in St Lucia.
Bassarath then turned his attention to the issue of elite athlete’s funding for cricketers. “It has been brought to my attention that the programme has since been squashed. I would like to make a special appeal to the Minister of Sport and the Sport Company, that they should restart that programme.”
He said the only sporting organisation which is bringing “good tidings” is the TTCB. “We should then make sure and do what is necessary to ensure that we support our national cricketers. He said that not just some, but all national cricketers should be included in the programme.
Bassarath opted to justify his statements when he noted the number of local cricketers, eight, who were included in the West Indies team which won the ICC World T20, in Sri Lanka, last year.
Permanent secretary at the Ministry of Sport Anthony Creed, who also addressed and congratulated the players, sought to remind Khan and the TTCB that $3.2 million was disbursed for the development of the sport last year, with almost an additional $4 million given to cricketers who are part of the Elite Athletes Programme. He said any issues with this should be formally addressed to the Ministry of Sport.
Also speaking at the welcoming ceremony was captain Denesh Ramdin, who said the results, although it appeared to be straightforward, was not easy to achieve. Ramdin also implied that the team’s main objective was to qualify for India after a disappointing showing in both 2012 and 2011.
“It could not have been possible without the great players in here. Some are missing.”
“Young players like Shannon Gabriel, who did not have the opportunity in T20 cricket for T&T stepped up as an international bowler, when we didn’t have the likes of Ravi Rampaul; Young Evin Lewis coming in for two games and batting like a seasoned campaigner.”
Lewis, who had only three appearances in the T20 format for T&T prior to the Caribbean T20 played in two matches, the final round-robin match against Barbados and in the final, where he scored 24 and 32 runs, respectively.
CARIBBEAN T20 FINAL RESULTS
2010: Guyana beat Barbados by 1 wicket
2011: T&T beat Hampshire by 36 runs
2012: T&T beat Jamaica by 63 runs
2013: T&T beat Guyana by 9 wickets
2013 TOURNAMENT AT A GLANCE
AT QUEEN’S PARK OVAL
T&T vs Jamaica – Match abandoned due to rain
Barbados beat Leewards by 9 wickets
Guyana beat CCC by 2 wickets
Barbados beat Jamaica by 5 wickets
T&T beat CCC by 7 wickets
Jamaica beat Windwards by 12 runs
T&T beat Leewards by 95 runs
Windwards beat CCC by 42 runs
Guyana beat Barbados by 42 runs
Leewards vs Jamaica – TIE (Jamaica won one-over eliminator)
CCC beat Barbados by 12 runs
Windwards beat Leewards by 10 runs
T&T beat Guyana by 80 runs
AT BEAUSEJOUR CRICKET GROUND
Jamaica beat Guyana by 5 wickets
T&T beat Windwards by 8 wickets
CCC beat Leewards by 4 runs
T&T beat Barbados by 5 wickets
Guyana beat Leewards by 14 runs
Windward beat Barbados by 4 wickets
Jamaica beat CCC 7 by wickets
Guyana beat Windwards by 4 wickets
Play-off: Guyana beat Jamaica by 6 wickets
Final: T&T beat Guyana by 9 wickets
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