THE TT Cricket Board (TTCB) will organise a national symposium on local and regional cricket in August/September, which is expected to provide a comprehensive blueprint to inform on the way forward for the game in the West Indies.
This was announced by TTCB president Azim Bassarath last Saturday, when he delivered remarks at the annual prize distribution function of the Ramlagan’s Balmain United Literary and Cricket Club.
The function was held at the Sir Frank Worrell Development Centre in Balmain, Couva at which Arima Mayor Lisa Morris-Julian delivered the feature address. Also present was Member of Parliament for Couva South, Rudranath Indarsingh.
In a media release, the TTCB boss said that a “meeting of the minds” was both timely and urgently required following the disappointing performance of the West Indies team at the recently concluded ICC World Cup in England and Wales.
The Caribbean cricketers failed to progress from the ten-team preliminary round-robin phase, winning just two of their nine matches despite starting their campaign with an impressive victory over Pakistan.
“We want everyone who has a genuine interest in local and regional cricket to let their voice be heard. So, we expect them to show up at the symposium and do their part in helping us as administrators to get an honest feedback from the public who are the major stakeholders in the regional game,” said Bassarath.
As a director on Cricket West Indies, the TTCB chief said that he has spoken to CWI president Ricky Skerritt and vice-president Dr Kishore Swallow and both are supportive of the initiative.
Bassarath expects the two top officials to attend the symposium, the details of which will soon be finalised.
At Saturday’s function, Bassarath congratulated Ramlagan’s Balmain United for their uninterrupted participation in local cricket since 1943, which he said could be a record for a local village club.
He also responded to a request made by the club’s president Mishri Lutchmedial for financial help to alleviate some of the costs which are incurred to field a team in the National League and zonal competitions.
Bassarath said that, since coming into office, he has been making requests in the annual budget submitted to the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs for funds to help all clubs affiliated with the TTCB.
He acknowledged that government cutbacks have had a very serious effect on the ability of the TTCB to successfully complete all of their programmes involving club and youth development, and the staging of competitions across the board.
He said it was important that at the end of the season, cricket clubs reward their players at an awards function which the TTCB has promoted through the granting of stipends to cover its cost.
He said that in anticipation of the drafting of the National Budget for 2019/2020, the TTCB will submit proposals that will ask for close to $1 million from which each zonal club will get $10,000, including Tobago, and the Women’s Federation affiliates.
In the proposal, the top tier of local cricket, the Premier League I clubs will stand to collect $100,000 per season, while those in the second tier will each pocket $30,000 to assist in their development and other expenses.
He agreed with Balmain United’s president Lutchmedial that cricket is an expensive game and lauded their effort in holding an annual boat-cruise fund-raiser which greatly supports the club’s participation in its competitions.
Bassarath said that the club’s sponsors Ramlagan’s, whom he was told has been associated with Balmain United for the past 30 years, must be congratulated for their outstanding commitment to youth, sport and national development.