PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, CMC – A scheduled practice match between West Indies and a Trinidad and Tobago XI set for today seems to have been scuppered because the choice of venue was not given the thumbs-up by players union, WIPA.
In a statement Sunday, the Trindad and Tobago Cricket Board said Cricket West Indies operations manager Roland Holder wrote TTCB chief executive Suruj Ragoonath to indicate the game could not proceed because of the choice of the National Cricket Centre as the venue instead of the previously agreed Brian Lara Cricket Academy.
“CWI is unable to approve the WI team playing at the NCC,” the TTCB said Holder wrote in his communication.
“The game was agreed on the basis of it being played at the Brain Lara Cricket Academy and that West Indies Players’ Association has not approved of our international team playing at the NCC.”
Bizarrely, the NCC is a regular host venue for matches in the Regional first class championship and Super50 tournament while the Brian Lara Stadium, only opened in March, is yet to host a regional match.
The TTCB said, however, that the Brian Lara Stadium was unavailable because of ongoing work on the pitch and outfield at the newly-completed facility.
“In the circumstances the match is being called off,” the TTCB statement said.
“The TTCB wishes to thank the players for making themselves available for the match in particular Sunil Narine, Samuel Badree, Lendl Simmons and Darren Bravo.”
Speculation was rife the game would have been abandoned regardless of venue, largely because of the involvement of exiled left-hander Bravo.
Media reports last weekend said CWI was upset over the 28-year-old’s inclusion since he was barred from national and international selection after being sent home ahead of last November’s Tri-Nations Series in Zimbabwe for labelling CWI president Dave Cameron “a big idiot”, on the social networking service Twitter.
CWI has demanded Bravo remove the offending tweet and tender an apology, neither of which he has done.
Prior to the game being cancelled, the TTCB said it had been trying earnestly to guarantee Bravo’s involvement.
“[While] the issue between Bravo and the Cricket West Indies remains unresolved the TTCB was making every effort to have Bravo participate in this game in an effort to help ease his return back into first class cricket,” the national board said.
It was unclear if West Indies would pursue other warm-up fixtures with the opening One-Day International against powerhouses India bowling off at Queen’s Park Oval here Friday.