PRESIDENT of the Merry Boys Cricket Club, Sebastian Edwards, has been appointed by the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) as the new manager of the TT Red Force.
The career public servant, employed with the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure (Drainage Division), got the overwhelming approval of the TTCB national executive, which met on Saturday at the Alloy Lequay Administration Centre in Balmain, Couva.
The selection of Edwards comes on the heels of the naming of David Furlonge as the Red Force coach two weeks ago. The national cricketers who are already in training will soon be joined by their colleagues currently on West Indies and franchise club duties in preparation for the regional Super50 limited overs competition slated for February 4-27 in Antigua.
Speaking on Sunday, Edwards said he was humbled to be given the opportunity to serve as Red Force manager, which he said was totally unexpected, and vowed to do his best to help produce the results the cricketers are capable of.
He said he and Furlonge are members of the National League committee, overseeing the top tiers of local cricket, and have a good relationship which will translate into a focused and seamless objective to help bring success to the Red Force.
Edwards has a long and established background in managing cricketers, having been associated with the Diego Martin-based club for the past 15 years, and has been credited with keeping the club together after the sudden passing of its longtime president and benefactor Patrick Rampersad two years ago.
Success was not long in coming, as Merry Boys claimed two Premier I league championships and further embellished their reputation with a couple of T20 Festival crowns, of which Edwards is extremely proud.
His credentials were further advanced by commendable stints as manager of the North Zone Under-23 team in the inaugural inter-zone competition last season in which they reached the finals. Edwards was also named manager of the North team in the annual North-South Classic.
His standing in the cricket community also propelled him to assume the management of the North team in an exhibition match at the official opening of the Diego Martin Multipurpose Stadium last year.
He was also at the helm of the Best of Diego Martin team against the Best of Santa Cruz to celebrate the 50th birthday of batting legend Brian Lara last year.
Looking forward, he said one of the greatest challenges he will face will be keeping the Red Force cricketers focused in the new normal caused by covid19, when the team will be isolated and confined to a bubble according to the current stringent health protocols.
However, he said the top players have already been exposed to what is required of them which will make his job as Red Force manager less difficult, but he is committed to leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the faith the TTCB has placed him is justified.
Edwards and Furlonge will get down to work in earnest when the TTCB stages an inter-zone 50-Overs tournament starting on January 6 in preparation for the CWI Super50 Cup, with the leading cricketers turning out for North, South, Central, and East/Tobago bidding for places on the Red Force squad.
At the TTCB executive meeting on Saturday, president Azim Bassarath said he had written to Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh seeking approval to stage the matches for the national team, observing all covid-19 protocols and without spectators at the venues.
He said the TTCB had initially planned to bowl off the new season this month but had been forced to push back the programme because the covid19 regulations have not been relaxed.
He said pending a change of the situation the TTCB hopes to start the National League 50-Overs Sunday League competition on March 7, which will be a one-round affair. The T20 tournament will get under way on May 20, pending approval from the Health Ministry.