IT IS not as simple as it looks to abandon an entire cricket season in the month of May. It is also a scary situation to restart the National Premier League with two matches remaining, which will take up another couple of weekends, with the pandemic still raging in the western world.
The TT Cricket Board (TTCB) could not delay any longer the decision on the continuation or cancellation of the balance of games yet to play. If the season was a normal one, the National League competition would have been over, the 50-over tournament completed and the T20 would have just begun, to be completed in a couple of weeks.
However, the season was anything but normal. Unlike anything we would have experienced in our lifetime, the actual rapid worldwide spread of the coronavirus that gave birth to covid19 came slowly and quietly among us in a way that created doubt at first then panic, baffling medical experts, generating fear and causing death in developed countries to an extent that shocked people – regardless of creed or race, or location on the planet – out of their comfort patterns; exposing man, woman and child to their vulnerabilities as human beings.
In this scenario, cricket, and I daresay, sport in general, seems somehow unimportant compared to the actual threat that surrounds us, the threat to our health and well-being, limiting the ability to work and earn to put on the table the food and drink that commands the sustenance of life itself to Homo sapiens.
If this scourge had happened to third world countries only, help would have been forthcoming from developed nations in rescue missions. But, because of its wide reach, one can only rely on each other in their various fields to ease the pain and suffering and to bring an end to this nightmare.
Bearing all this in mind, with no realistic relief in sight, I can’t see the TTCB having any alternative but to bring cricket season 2020 to its unscheduled end. Although everyone would like to have the cricket, nevertheless, common sense dictates putting a stop to the league.
However, Richard Ramkissoon, described as the owner of Central Sports, remarked in a daily newspaper interview, “In order for your stakeholders to have confidence in your tournament, you have to show that you have made every effort to finish the competition. They have not given it enough time. Whenever it is feasible to restart, you could have continued the league. Cricket is played year-round. Why the rush?”
The way I see it, "cricket is played year-round" is not a valid argument. Of course, there are many different leagues and competitions that are played throughout the year come rain or come shine, but that is just it: what happens with players who have committed to the TTCB dates, but have made other commitments for the rest of the year? It may not be for cricket, but other matters in their own interest. Thus, you tell your player, who has obligated himself to you and your team until June, that he has games to complete later in the year, but you can’t give him a date?
So I can’t see the TTCB having any alternative but to bring the season to a close and in fairness to all concerned, abandon it, for to name a winner after just five of the seven rounds are completed, plus the first four teams all bunched where anyone can emerge the winner, also would not be right.
The places in the standings are: Queen's Park I 104 points; Central Sports 102; Powergen 98; Preysal 94; First Citizens Clarke Road 41 (one game undecided); Alescon Comets 34; Victoria 32 (one game undecided) and Queen's Park II 27.
Looking at the table one can understand the frustration of Mr Ramkissoon. Central Sports is only two points shy of the leader, with two games left, so their chances of victory are good. Having said that, the first four teams are close together, with each one being in a position to claim the title. The bottom half has no chance, so, again, in my view, I don’t think they would be willing to continue, under the circumstances.
It also costs a tidy sum to finance a team to participate in the tournament, so by stopping now, running costs could be avoided and so can the replacement of players. TTCB must also look at some reimbursement to clubs.