Minister of Sport Anil Roberts is calling on the Limacol Caribbean Premier League to make a “clear and definitive statement” on the issue surrounding the removal of Trinidad and Tobago from the name of the Red Steel franchise.
In a letter to the Red Steel manager Colin Borde, which was copied to CPL CEO Damien O’Donohoe and T&T Cricket Board president Azim Bassarath, Roberts said he expects Bravo to recant “his unfortunate outburst” and also expects the CPL to make a statement “outlining very clearly the cordial and respectful meetings and discussions that were held before the eventual outcome.”
Roberts’ letter comes on the heels of comments made by Bravo who voiced his disappointment over the name change saying “Whoever made the decision, call them a bunch of jokers. There are other things they should be taking on and studying.”
Although Bravo said he did not know who made decision, he said: “I think whoever made that decision, it’s uncalled for. Ninety per cent of the team are from Trinidad and Tobago. We are using the national colours. All the other islands are proud to use their country name, whether it is the Barbados Tridents, the Jamaica Tallawahs, why not Trinidad and Tobago Red Steel?”
Yesterday, Borde, who is in Guyana with the Red Steel preparing for their game against the Guyana Amazon Warriors tomorrow, confirmed that he received the letter and that it was discussed with Bravo and the team.
However he insisted that “the CPL will comment on those matters regarding Trinidad and Tobago and the name and so on, we are focusing on the team issues and cricket matters here. The CPL will make the requisite comments on that.”
In his letter, Roberts reiterated his position saying “Any national team in this country that has the distinct privilege of calling itself Trinidad and Tobago comprises the country’s absolute best in that sport.”
“How can a team be called Trinidad and Tobago in the absence of Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine, Denesh Ramdin, Lendl Simmons, Ravi Rampaul and others? If we are not offering our best, how is it even possible to even suggest that this franchise team is worthy of donning the name of our sovereign nation. Why would we put that out there as a representation to world of who we are?”
Roberts also pointed out that the change of name followed a series of eight meetings with members of the CPL executive, including one with the CEO, two months ago.
“This was not a decision. It is simply that the protocols surrounding the use of our beloved country’s name would not allow this private team to be branded Trinidad and Tobago. There will be no negotiation, neither any compromise. Trinidad and Tobago’s name, cannot and will not be used in this privately run venture that has absolutely no involvement with the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board, the only recognised cricket sporting body in the world with the right to use our country’s name,” the letter stated.
“The Red Steel Franchise team is not made up wholly and solely of Trinidad and Tobago nationals. It is not selected, endorsed prepared or sanctioned by the sport’s recognised local body the TTCB. Furthermore, the Red Steel team does not represent the best this country has to offer. It is not a Trinidad and Tobago team,” the letter concluded.
Borde said the players were not distracted by the issue surrounding the team name and is focused on their task.
“We have gotten one game out of the way and we are coming up against a formidable team and both parties know each other well. We are as focused as ever. We are here to play cricket as professionals,” the Red Steel manager insisted.