President of the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board Azim Bassarath has strongly defended the national selectors and the Red Force senior men’s team from criticism following their disappointing results in the just concluded Regional Four-Day tournament.
Speaking at the annual prize-distribution function of the South East Zone of the TTCB, on Saturday, in Princes Town, Bassarath took aim at comments made by former national captain Daren Ganga, and manager of the Queen’s Park Cricket Club team Jeffrey Guillen.
Speaking to a local television station on Friday, Ganga slammed the national selection panel comprising Raphick Jumadeen, Tony Gray and Lincoln Roberts, and called for the resignation of the TTCB in the wake of the letdown.
Bassarath told a packed Tahir Ali Centre at La Paille Extention Road, that instead of making unfair and demoralising statements in the public domain, he should instead acknowledge the courageous and visionary decisions of the TTCB’s technical team.
He pointed out that ten players on the national team’s roster had no more than a score of First Class matches among them, and were the best-selected based on results of performances in the 2017 season, and in trial matches before the Regional Four-Day tournament.
Bassarath said it was a commendable “leap of faith” by the national selectors to pick Amir Jangoo, Tion Webster, Isaiah Rajah, Jeremy Solozano, Khary Pierre, Bryan Charles, Akeil Cooper, Roston Primus, Steven Katwaroo and Ewart Nicholson.
The local cricket chief also heaped praises on team captain Denesh Ramdin and all-rounder Imran Khan who performed with distinction and both emerged second overall in the regional batting and bowling averages respectively.
He also commended Jason Mohammed for his exceptional batting in the four matches he played, scoring two centuries in the process, after coming off straight from a stint with the West Indies One-Day and T20 International team on tour in New Zealand.
Bassarath also made mention of Yannic Cariah who made an encouraging start to the season with a magnificent century at the Brian Lara Stadium in Tarouba against Jamaica.
“Instead of looking for scapegoats and ascribing blame, Ganga should instead see the bright prospects that these young, talented players hold for the future of Trinidad and Tobago cricket. He should take off his blinkers and give encouragement instead of rubbishing their efforts,” said Bassarath.
He said Ganga continues along a path of negativity that has become toxic and told the audience that the ex-cricketer has been in influential positions where he could have made a meaningful contribution to developing cricket.
Bassarath also responded to comments made in a daily newspaper over the weekend by Guillen who, like Ganga also slammed the national selectors and called for the heads of TTCB officials.
He said he also empathised with the Parkites official whose emotionalism and misguided venom has apparently been caused by his anger at the non-selection of someone near and dear to him.
He said that local cricket is being guided by safe and secure hands and what is needed now is unity and a focus on support for our young cricketers and not on finger-pointing and apportioning blame.
Bassarath, in his wide-ranging address on Saturday also thanked chairman of the Princes Town Regional Corporation Gowrie Roopnarine, for closely working with the South East Zone, describing him as the “best chairman” in the local government system.
The Red Force finished the season at the bottom of the standings with two wins, five defeats and three draws.