CHAIRMAN of the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force selection panel Rajendra Mangalie has said everyone gets an equal chance to represent the franchise squad, as players from certain clubs are not favoured.
Former Red Force captain and West Indies opener Daren Ganga is questioning why one club in TT – Queen’s Park – gets the majority of the picks on the Red Force, especially at the First Class level.
In the last match the Red Force played in the 2022 West Indies Four-Day Championship, against Leeward Islands Hurricanes, ten players in the starting XI were Queen’s Park Cricket Club (QPCC) members – stand-in captain Joshua Da Silva, Jeremy Solozano, Tion Webster, Darren Bravo, Yannic Cariah, Akeal Hosein, Bryan Charles, Jayden Seales, Anderson Phillip and Shannon Gabriel.
The match, which Red Force lost by 187 runs, ended on Saturday at the Diego Martin Sporting Complex.
Jason Mohammed, a PowerGen cricketer, was the only player in the starting XI who is not a member of QPCC. Red Force captain Imran Khan, who played for Central Sports this season, contracted covid19 before the match against Hurricanes and was ruled out.
In the previous two rounds, Queen's Park had eight players on the starting XI.
Red Force coach David Furlonge was in charge of Queen's Park before his appointment as coach in 2020.
QPCC have dominated domestically and produced Red Force and West Indies players, including Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine and Nicholas Pooran.
On Monday, Ganga pointed to the lack of cricket development in rural areas under the TT Cricket Board (TTCB) led by president Azim Bassarath.
Ganga, the chairman of local club Profilbau Victoria Sports Club, said on social media, “The 2022 TT men’s senior cricket team is a virtual Queen’s Park Cricket Club playing XI and a coach also from that institution. Help me interpret local cricket development, Bassarath’s TTCB leadership, support and value for other clubs & players from remote areas. Is this fair/acceptable?”
Bassarath chose not to comment.
Mangalie said QPCC had been producing the best players.
“Most of the players come from Queen’s Park, if you watch the top-line players, and according to their statistics and runs in trials. We have no alternative (but) to go with statistics and statistics at the point (in time) (to decide) who is better and who is not better.”
The other selectors are Mahadeo Bodoe, David Williams and Furlonge.
Mangalie said it doesn’t matter which club you play for.
“I don’t understand what he (Ganga) is trying to insinuate. Everybody else has been given a chance on the national team, and it is only 11 could play, or 13 or 14 could be picked (on the squad).
“You have to continue scoring runs and keep knocking on the door (and) the opportunity will be there.”
VICTORIA OFFICIAL WANTS MORE ASSISTANCE FOR LOCAL CLUBS
Second vice-president of Victoria, Dhanraj Ramroop, believes more can be done to develop cricket across the board.
“The cricket board is supposed to be the one assisting clubs,” Ramroop said.
Ramroop said the fees to use the nets at the National Cricket Centre in Couva are costly.
“We have to pay $400 to use the club nets for two hours. If they (TTCB) getting subventions from the Ministry of Sport to run the cricket board, and we are playing cricket at the highest level (why must) we have to pay $400 for two hours? $200 per hour to use it?”
Ramroop is supporting Ganga, saying, “So you understand the reasoning, what Daren is talking about?”
He also said the assistance given to clubs is not sufficient.
“We get $30,000 per year as a grant.”
Ramroop said there should be a clear criterion as to what players must achieve to be called up for Red Force trials.
“I have asked the TT Cricket Board what is the criterion for a player to get called for trials, and up to today there is nothing in place, so I can’t hold the board accountable if Mr X scored 500 runs and he did not get called for trials and Mr Y scored 300 runs and plays for another club, but he get called for trials.
“There is nothing in the constitution that states that if you are a batsman and you score 500 runs in the league, that you will be called for trials.
"I am not saying you have to make the national team, but I am saying you are supposed to be called for trials.”