FORMER West Indies Under-15 captain Zaheer Ali is challenging the TT Cricket Board (TTCB) to create avenues for cricketers to stay active during the covid19 pandemic.
Ali, who is an attorney and a former national senior cricketer, echoed the sentiments of TTCB president Azim Bassarath in congratulating the Trinbago Knight Riders for winning the 2020 Hero Caribbean Premier League title as it put a smile on the faces of people in TT.
In a media release, on Thursday, Ali said, “I joined hands with the TTCB and all other stakeholders in recognising the sterling performance of Kieron Pollard and his team in the recently concluded CPL.”
Ali, however, is concerned that Bassarath said TKR’s victory was “a timely tonic for a weary nation currently grappling with the effects of the covid which has disrupted the sport and every aspect of our lives.”
Ali believes the TTCB should not depend on TKR to provide relief during the pandemic.
The former Windies youth captain asked, “Did we really require a TKR win to act as a stimulant for the TTCB as the national authority for the administration of cricket in light of the covid19 pandemic? So what if TKR did not win the tournament?”
Ali is calling on the TTCB to develop strategies during the pandemic.
“In full recognition of the Public Health Regulations, I challenge Mr Bassarath and the TTCB to be proactive and find innovative and alternate methods to foster and maintain the interest in cricket and to promote the development of the sport in all areas both locally and perhaps regionally in light of the challenges posed by the covid19 pandemic.”
Technology must be utilised, according to Ali. “I acknowledged that the sport of cricket like other sports were disrupted and the enactment of the Public Health Regulations prevents the actual playing of cricket locally. However, we must effectively utilise technology to foster and maintain the interest among our nation youth and those that are currently involved in the sport.”
Ali added, “In the current climate the TTCB should seize the opportunity to execute virtual coaching and mentoring clinics and club development programmes among other initiatives in anticipation of a return to a state of normal or a new normal. The TTCB must also recognise and appreciate their role in youth and community development in light of our unprecedented challenges.”
Bassarath, in an interview with Newsday, reiterated that the TTCB is trying to follow the Government’s guidelines by limiting gatherings.
“There is nothing that nobody could do at this time…cricket is not a one-man team. The players who are contracted under the board…no more than five are allowed so they are coming in (the National Cricket Centre) to do what they have to do and we are not doing anything to break the rules at this present time. We cannot do it.”
Currently, only gatherings of five or less are allowed. The TTCB president said sessions are being held behind the scenes with TT senior coaches Kelvin Williams and David Williams.
“The coaches are doing what they have to do. From my understanding is that both David and Kelvin are doing whatever they have to do and they are keeping in touch with their charges electronically and also one and one.”
Bassarath said Ali needs to “enquire what is taking place before he makes reckless statements.”