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‘Red Steel’ can hamper ‘Red Force’ brand

Sunday, August 4 2013

THE Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel cricket team currently participating in the inaugural Limacol Caribbean Premier League T20 is not truly representative of the twin-island nation.

In fact the Red Steel, just like the other competitors in the six-team contest is a franchise team made up of West Indian and international cricketers and does not represent the Red Force.

The TT Cricket Board is seeking to make a clear clarification on the issue since some confusion was created at the start of the CPL last Wednesday.

There is also the serious concern that the poor fortunes of the Red Steel team in the Limacol CPL can have the effect of eroding the strong brand created by the TTCB with the Red Force.

Over the past years, TT through their development programmes and investment by supportive sponsors have created a team which has grabbed international headlines. The Red Force has won the Caribbean T20 Championships for the past three years in a row and won support for their exciting brand of cricket while playing in the CL T20 in India.

Their performances in the Champions League T20 has established a slew of TT players who have made a name for themselves and have become headlines in franchise competitions throughout the world.

They include Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine, Lendl Simmons, Dwayne Bravo, Kevon Cooper and Samuel Badree.

However with the advent of the CPL, mixed teams have been picked to play not under their national flag but under the banner of names such as the Antigua Hawksbills, Barbados Tridents, Jamaica Tallawahs, Guyana Amazon Warriors and St Lucia Zouks.

Chief Executive Officer of the TTCB Suruj Ragoonath, a former TT opening batsman explained in no uncertain terms that the Red Steel is not the Red Force team groomed and cultivated over the years.

“We wish to kindly advise that the TT Red Steel team is not the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force Team, neither is it affiliated with same. The Trinidad and Tobago Red Force is a team made up of players from Trinidad and Tobago only.”

He added, “This is a team that has built up a strong reputation in the region and the Champions League T20 over the years. The TT Red Steel team is a franchise team with local, regional and international players. Please be guided accordingly.”

Baldath Mahabir, an executive member of the TTCB and director on the West Indies cricket Board was more fortright.

“Let’s be strong on this. When this team loses we run the risk of international damage to our reputation and our proud brand.These players are not representing an official Trinidad and Tobago team,” Mahabir, president of the First Citizens Clarke Road United Premier League team said.

Mahabir said the records and statistics of the Limacol CPL will not be recorded and credited to Trinidad and Tobago. He said the matches will not count as TT matches. Mahabir emphasised that TT is a sovereign state, not a city or provincial town and the TTCB has registered its disappointment on the “frivolous way” the CPL is treating local cricket administrators.

Mahabir pointed out that when the Red Steel loses, Trinidad and Tobago’s worldwide reputation will take a major hit and local fans will be in uproar especially those unclear about the significant difference between the teams.

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