Trinidad and Tobago news January 22, 2013

T&T look to govt to secure their stars for Champions League

ESPNcricinfo staff

Azim Bassarath, the president of the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Association, has asked the country's government to help ensure that T&T players represent their country and not the IPL franchises in the 2013 Champions League T20. T&T qualified for the CLT20 for the third time in a row - and fourth time overall out of five editions - after beating Guyana in the Caribbean T20 on Sunday.

T&T made it to the inaugural CLT20, in 2009, and then the 2011 and 2012 editions. In the inaugural tournament, several of their players caught the eye with their performances, and they finished runners-up behind New South Wales. Those performances - and the ones that followed in later editions - got some of their players, including Kieron Pollard, Sunil Narine and Kevon Cooper, IPL contracts. Thereafter, based on which IPL teams qualified for the CLT20, these players and Dwayne Bravo - who had an IPL contract from the outset - represented the franchises ahead of T&T in the tournament.

"For the past two years that we went to the Champions League, T&T didn't have their best players available. This year, I want to ask for the assistance of the government," Bassarath was quoted as saying in the Trinidad Express. "What I think we should do is that, as early as possible, put something in place where we can negotiate with the personnel of the Indian Premier League, asking and begging and requesting that we have available to us all our international stars."

Bassarath pointed out that this could possibly be the last time that T&T, the country, is represented at the CLT20; from next season, the Caribbean Premier League, a franchise-based tournament, will replace the region-based Caribbean T20 as the West Indies' domestic T20 competition. He said: "We should leave no stone unturned to make sure that we have our best team available for the 2013 Champions League. If we [the officials] have to travel [to India] before the tournament, as I said before, we should travel and we will be begging the Government in that regard."

Last year too, there was uncertainty over who the players would represent after the T&T sports minister, Anil Roberts, said that Pollard, Bravo and Narine would play for the country in the CLT20 instead of their respective IPL teams. An 'agreement' had been reached with the three players to represent their national team, he said. However, the three still turned out for Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders in the tournament.