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IPL players free to represent T&T
The elite T&T athletes who play in the Indian Premier League (IPL) are not bound to those clubs when it comes to Champions League cricket.
This was revealed by Minister of Sport Anil Roberts, yesterday. He said that there was no contract for the government to buy out as far as the IPL teams were concerned and hence if the players wanted to play for their country in the upcoming Champions League, it would not cost anything.
“I have noted with much interest the comments made by the president of the T&T Cricket Board (TTCB) Azim Bassarath and the director, Baldath Mahabir. I cannot understand why these gentlemen are not coming out and letting the public know what is the situation. They are not telling the truth and they need to come out and make the situation public so the people of this country could have a better understanding of the entire scenario.”
Last season Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo and Sunil Narine missed out on playing for T&T in the Champions League, opting instead to play for their IPL clubs. This time around, if their clubs qualify, a similar situation could arise and Roberts has decided to make the facts of the situation public.
Roberts said: “If these guys want to play for Trinidad, the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board does not have to pay their clubs one red cent. If they opt to play for the IPL clubs like what they have done in the past, then the TTCB receives a transfer fee for each player.” The transfer fee in this case works out to be around TT$500,000 in total.
Roberts said he tried last year to get the players to play for this country in the Champions League in South Africa but was left very upset after all his efforts were denied by the players. In 2011, the TTCB also tried with no success.
Roberts recalled: “On August 9, 2011 Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard came to me deeply upset that the TTCB did not make a financial offer to them to play for this country and the team was due to be named on August 14.
“In July 2011, the players apparently informed the TTCB that they were going to play for their clubs and this is what got me upset at that time with the board because they did not inform me. I then made a promise that if the team qualifies again in 2012, I will leave no stone unturned in getting them to play for us.
“From every early when we qualified, I got information and was in constant contact with the players’ agent and even the players themselves. I went to Cabinet and got TT$5m to negotiate with these players.
“I decided that the three players would get TT$3.3m which they would have earned if they played for their club. I was left with a total of $1.7m to negotiate performance bonuses with them. Imagine, I had to fight and battle hard to get TT$4m for the TT Pro League football. Here it is I got $5m for three players. On August 1, 2012 I met with Pollard and Bravo—because Narine was out of the country—and made the offer to them. On August 3, their agent, some Mr Tollshard in England, called me and said they would play for their clubs instead. This got me very upset indeed.
“I have in my possession the contracts they have with their IPL teams and nothing in it says that there is a contract to be bought out. The decision is for them and if they want to play for their country they are free to do so.
“I want the TTCB to come clean with this and stop calling on the Government to buy out men contracts.
“This is wasting energy on a non-issue. What I want them to do is to call me or send me their budget for preparations for the upcoming Champions League and let us work on that. Let us start to build a team around the young players who we know will play for us at the tournament. And let us look forward to that and stop wasting time.”
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