Unfortunate, but necessary, is how West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) CEO Ernest Hilaire describes Trinidad and Tobago’s senior cricket team player woes for the next round of the WICB Regional Four-Day Tournament against Jamaica.
T&T, already plagued by player absences and injuries, are set to field an even weaker side for Round Five of the tournament after the WICB called up ten players for their pre-tour West Indies camp, as the regional team prepare to face Australia later this month in limited overs games, followed by a three-Test series..
After a break this weekend, the next round will run from March 9-12, with T&T set to host defending champions Jamaican at the Queen’s Park Oval, without the majority of their first team squad.
The TTCB has been reported to have raised reservations over the move, which puts T&T at a disadvantage for the Jamaica clash.
Yesterday the WICB wrote the T&T Cricket Board (TTCB) to clarify their position on the matter, which stems from two policy decisions by the regional Board.
WICB CEO Ernest Hilaire explained that the Board decided that first-class cricket should be played “alongside international tours”, so that players who are match ready could replace players for the international team if needed.
The WICB has also made pre-tour camps ahead of international tours mandatory for regional players.
Stated Hiliare: “All West Indies teams must have preparatory camps, so some people will be affected if their players play for the West Indies. Trinidad was most affected, but that could have easily been Barbados or Jamaica.”
Hilaire also said that the second camp includes testing of players during the first two days, following which players will be selected to the West Indies team.
“Those who are not on the (ODI) squad will go back and play on (their home) teams. The players who are not selected for the ODIs will leave,” Hilaire added.
The first four-day camp starts in Barbados today, and the second from March 5-12, meaning T&T will potentially lose a number of players for the Jamaica match, including skipper Denesh Ramdin, batsman Darren Bravo and spinner Sunil Narine, currently the leading wicket-taker in the tournament.
Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo, returning from the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL), are both expected to participate in the camps. And openers Adrian Barath and Lendl Simmons and pacer Ravi Rampaul will also attend the camp despite being on the injured list.
The WICB CEO also weighed in on the current Guyana Cricket Board (GCB) issue, where GCB president Ramsey Ali stepped down on Tuesday, a day after his house and the homes of other GCB officials were searched under court order.
Hilaire described it as a “continuing saga” stemming from the Guyana government’s intervention into cricketing affairs, and their appointment of an Interim Management Committee (IMC) to run Guyana’s cricket.
The WICB has condemned that government action, and its position is supported by the ICC, which is against government intervention in cricket affairs.
A CMC report also claimed yesterday that court officials seized computers and GCB documents during their action. The WICB will have a teleconference with GCB members today to seek further information on the matter.
“(The court action against GCB is) a major issue and it will be a major issue for (the WICB) as well,” said Hilaire.
“They’ve been told they can’t act as the representative for the GCB. To do so would be illegal. We hope it does not affect the players.
“We will take an official position on the matter over the next few days, so we’ll wait and see (what come out of it).”