TTCB committed to Windies unity

THE TRINIDAD and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) has disassociated itself from recent statements made by national team captain Daren Ganga which suggests that Trinidad and Tobago should break away from the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and go it alone in international cricket.


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Ganga, 32, made the remarks in a wide ranging interview posted on the ESPNcricinfo website on Wednesday which was conducted in Hyderabad, India, where TT are currently competing in the Nokia Champions League T20 tournament.

The TTCB in a statement yesterday pointed out that the opinion and sentiments expressed by Ganga in the interview are his own and do not in any way represent the views of the TTCB.

President of the TTCB, Azim Bassarath said he was concerned that Ganga’s views could be easily misconstrued by the uninformed. He said the national cricket body is totally committed to the preservation of union of the West Indies as a cricket playing entity affiliated to the world governing body, the International Cricket Council (ICC).

"We do not share the view of Mr Ganga that the general public is in support of an independent national team in world cricket. We think this would be counterproductive to the rich legacy of West Indies cricket and a major setback to the efforts to restore the region to its former glory days as undisputed champions of the world for close to two decades," said Bassarath yesterday.

"We are justifiably proud that the TT cricketers can compete at the highest levels of the game as a national team but we believe that they continue to form a significant and important component of West Indies cricket. TT success can be transferred to the regional team through the re-affirmation of the qualities that have earned them international acclaim in the Champions League T20," said Bassarath.

He explained that contrary to what Ganga inferred in the ESPNcricinfo interview, the WICB of which TT is a part, acts as an agent of the Champions League T20 and is contractually obligated to play in the competition through its representative by virtue of winning the Caribbean T20 Championships. "Mr Ganga knows fully well that we cannot qualify for the Champions League T20 without participating in the WICB tournament since these conditions are clearly outlined in the rules. The unique conglomeration of talent in the West Indies allows us to compete as an individual nation at the Champions League T20, only the second in the tournament’s history after Guyana," said Bassarath.

He refuted the claim by Ganga that a TT breakaway from the West Indies setup is inevitable and that it will be a positive development. Bassarath said the idea is not new and was first voiced by a former member of the TTCB.

The proposal then was widely condemned by local cricket fans and their counterparts throughout the region who believed that West India cricket unity was crucial to the development and sustainability of a strong and competitive regional side.

"We remain committed to the ideal of West Indies as a truly regional representative team and the case for working together for the benefit of all the stakeholders in regional cricket is still relevant now as it was many years ago. There are problems we agree but a deterioration in the union is not something we will be party to," said Bassarath.

He said a TT pullout from the WICB would not necessarily present more opportunities for cricketers to perform on the biggest stages as local players continue to dominate the starting lists of all regional teams both at home and abroad.

Bassarath said the emergence of TT players over the recent past has demonstrated that the plans and programmes of the Cricket Board were bearing fruit and he expressed confidence that the structures have been firmly put in place by the WICB to elevate regional cricket to the top of the international ladder once again.