Greetings: Trinidad and Tobago skipper Denesh Ramdin, left, greets Minister of Sport Anil Roberts at Capital Plaza, Port of Spain yesterday. Roberts was just leaving a Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board press conference while Ramdin had just arrived at the hotel where the T&T squad will be based for the Trinidad leg of the 2013 Caribbean Twenty20. —Photo: MICHAEL BRUCE

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Minister promises Cricket Centre upgrade

By Roger Seepersad

The National Cricket Centre in Balmain Couva is going to get a much needed upgrade after a tweet from Trinidad and Tobago senior cricketer caught the eye of the Minister of Sports Anil Roberts.

Roberts, speaking at a Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) press conference to announce the TTCB's partnership with various government ministries at Capital Plaza, Port of Spain yesterday, revealed that he is going to take a note to Cabinet to refurbish the Cricket Centre with a view to making it a first class facility for cricket development.

Partnering with the TTCB to host the Caribbean T20 are the Ministry of Sport and Multiculturalism, the Ministry of Sport, the Tourism Development Company, the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of National Security, the team sponsors, the National Gas Company and First Citizens Bank.

Before making the announcement, Roberts said that while T&T are inviting the world for the 2013 Caribbean Twenty20, he was saddened to see that a tweet was sent out showing a toilet and a sink in a dilapidated condition.

"Maybe it would not have been (in that state) if they had not paid the cricketers so many high wages but from today I could tell you that that tweet will never happen again," he said.

"...Because I am going to take a note to Cabinet in consultation with the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board to rehabilitate, refurbish and develop the Balmain Cricket Centre so that we have a first class area for playing cricket at the regional first class level," the Minister added.

"We will develop the stands, the changing room, and the pitch. We will put practice nets, computers and analysts. Everything that is required, the government will work with the TTCB to develop that facility," he insisted.

He also urged the T&T cricketers to remember that it is first and foremost an honour to put on the Red, White and Black to represent the country.

"As we welcome the Caribbean to T&T, this tournament is going to be about Red, White and Black and we need to remember what that means because in recent times...we have lost that especially in cricket," he explained.

"In other sports, like track and field, in swimming, in sailing, in boxing, we see that spirit emanating from our athletes who work hard, who train six-seven hours a day and sweat for the Red, White and Black. (They) cry, push themselves, become depressed, become joyous free of charge.

"But in cricket something has been raising its head and we need to control it. I believe anyone who is plying their trade needs a fair wage and fair share but when greed steps in it leads to performances that are not inspiring.

"So to all our cricketers...it is first and foremost an honour to represent your country and put on that Red, White and Black.

"You must never lose sight of the fact that your country comes first...you are here to inspire a nation.

"Yes your wages are important but it must be done in a timely manner and that will never impact on the performance of the team," the Minister added.

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