West Indies middle order batsman Nicholas Pooran was named the T&T Cricket Board (TTCB) "International Player of the Year" when the TTCB held its award ceremony at the Centre Point Mall in Chaguanas, Saturday.
The left-handed former WI white-ball captain was in tremendous form for the Caribbean team this calendar year and in franchise cricket and newly minted captain Shai Hope stood head and shoulders above their teammates during the ill-fated ICC World Cup Qualifiers in Zimbabwe in which the two-time champions failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in its history.
Pooran scored 428 runs in nine One Day Internationals with two hundreds at an impressive average of 61, scoring a further 234 runs at an average of 39 in eight T20 internationals.
Darren Bravo, the new captain of the Red Force, was named the "National Player of the Year" for his hundreds at the regional level.
Merryboys Cricket Club, who regained promotion to the National Premiership I, was named the "Club of the Year" after adding the Premiership II North 50-over title to the Two-Day title which earlier won them promotion.
Marchin Sports, the Premiership II South 50-over title and Two-Day title champions, who also gained promotion to the Premiership I, were also acknowledged for winning a hat-trick of titles this year including the Premiership II T20 title.
Speaking during the awards, Cricket West Indies (CWI) president Dr Kishore Shallow praised the TTCB's development programme, describing it as a path sustainable, winning cricket, "Eventually, Cricket West Indies will adopt the programmes from the T&T Cricket Board.”
Shallow also acknowledged that local and regional fans will be in for a treat as "2024 will be the biggest year in the history of the West Indies, as the region will welcome 20 teams to the Caribbean for the ICC T20 World Cup."
In her feature address, Sports Minister, Shamfa Cudjoe said "A better athlete is a student-athlete" as she encouraged sports to take a bigger role in the lives of children and called on clubs to step up as they would disappoint many children if they don't run their affairs in a proper manner.
In praising some initiatives implemented by Central Sports for their work in the past year she called on other clubs to follow this lead and not only focus on the big events. In stressing the importance of sports she said: "If we can spend money on prisons, we can spend money on sport so people will not go to prisons."
Cudjoe was hailed by TTCB president and CWI vice president Azim Basarath as "our favourite Sports Minister", in reference to a former sports minister who had chastised the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) and by extension the TTCB and WICB in a recent social media post.
He reminded the former minister, who served between 2010 and 2014, that the CPL was supported by the then government in 2013 when it was launched, and the tournament has provided local and regional players with opportunities, while the CWI has not held players back from earning money around the world.
A special award was presented to Andrew Rambaran who captured the Sonny Ramadhin Trophy as the "Youth Spinner of the Year".
Honorary awards for long and distinguished service to the development of cricket went to Dudnath Ramkissoon, Lalman Kowlessar (posthumous) and Patrick Rampersad (posthumously).
In other awards, Bassarath was named the "Administrator of the Year" and Ammar Samaroo was recognised for his "Dedicated Service to the TTCB".
Brendan Boodoo, the "Most Valuable Player" (MVP) in the U-15 category, was also named the "Best Youth Player of the Year".
Other outstanding youth players rewarded and applauded were Reyad Jerome, the U-13 MVP, Aadian Racha, the U-17 MVP and the U-19 MVP, Andrew Rambaran.