Bassarath wants all TT stars for C/League
By STEPHON NICHOLAS Tuesday, January 22 2013
THE 2013 Champions League will be the Trinidad and Tobago’s fourth appearance in the lucrative competition as well as the last.
It is based on this fact that Azim Bassarath, president of the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB), is hoping to convene all this country’s stars for one last hurrah at the Champions League crown.
The last time a full strength TT team competed in the Twenty20 Champions League they were agonisingly beaten in the final by the New South Wales Blues in 2009. And with the Caribbean Premier League set to replace the Caribbean Twenty20 competition this year, Bassarath is keen on getting the best possible team to fly the flag of the red, white and black for the last time at the Champions League.
Speaking at the VIP Lounge of the Piarco International Airport on the return of the victorious team, Bassarath hailed the national players for securing a hat-trick of Caribbean T20 titles. He immediately noted, however, that he needs the assistance of the Government for 2013.
“We should put something in place to negotiate with personnel from the IPL (Indian Premier League) to get the service of our national stars (for the Champions League),” he declared.
The TTCB boss noted no stone will be left unturned to get all the players available for one last time.
Meanwhile, TT skipper, denesh Ramdin, endorsed Bassarath’s comments and believs the “Red Force” will be able to achieve great things with all hands on deck.
“The first time we went to Champions League in 2009 and everybody saw how powerful Trinidad and Tobago were at the tournament in getting to the final. If it happens we will give out a good show having all our players — the (Sunil) Narine, the (Kieron) Pollard and Bravos (Dwayne and Darren) - those guys who play at that level. It will boost Trinidad and Tobago and be fantastic for us,”
In 2011, TT had to do without Pollard and Dwayne Bravo for the Champions League but still gave a good showing in narrowly missing out on qualifying for the semi-finals by a point.
Last year, the “Red Force” stars again opted to represent their clubs with Pollard, Dwayne (injured prior to the tournament) and Narine not suiting up for the national team. The absence of three key players proved a crucial blow to the TT team which failed to get past the qualifying stage and returned home without a win after just two matches.
Minister of Sport, Anil Roberts, had taken up the mantle of negotiating with the IPL clubs last year to allow the TT stars to play for their national team and even arranged a compensation package for the players to negate any loss of earnings while representing TT.
In the end, though, it was not to be as the clubs were quite keen on holding on to their overseas stars for the big competition.
With TT’s IPL players representing their clubs in the Champions League for the last three years, it is left to be seen if the TTCB could convince the players and their respective clubs to break that pattern in 2013.