Former T&T Cricket Board (TTCB) Chairman of Selectors Tony Gray has questioned the dismantling of the panel under his chairmanship. A TTCB release on Wednesday confirmed Gray’s departure with Rajendra Mangalie, the TTCB’s Sponsorship and Marketing Committee chairman, assuming the role with former T&T players Mahadeo Bodoe, Richard Kelly Jr. and the national team coach under his guidance. The T&T captain will be a consultant on the panel.
Gray occupied the position for the past two years. Kelly Jr. replaces Keno Mason who was not retained after one season. However, the former West Indies fast-bowler, Gray, questioned why the board would change the panel. “Firstly, let me say this, it is always a privilege for me to represent my country and my history will show that in an emphatic way. However, if we are looking to take T&T cricket and by extension West Indies cricket forward then attitudes must change,” Gray, who is also a University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT) coach said.
Gray, who played five Test matches for the regional side, as well as 25 One Day Internationals (ODIs), said the TTCB president Azim Bassarath should address the public on this matter. “We have to ask ourselves why certain selectors weren’t reappointed,” Gray told Guardian Media Sports in an interview on Wednesday. “Why change the selection panel that has done so well? Why dismantle something that has worked? We have gone from the last place on the Regional 4-Day standings to second in two years. The Super50 team got to the semi-final of the tournament with seven wins out of eight. We have seen players be fast-tracked from the regional set-up to the West Indies team, players like Joshua Da Silva and Anderson Phillip. The same selectors dealt with major issues and injuries in a professional manner,” Gray lamented.
When Guardian Media Sports contacted Bassarath on the matter he did not take our questions.
In his first statement as chairman of selectors, Mangalie said his experience as a past national cricketer will bear fruit in this position. He also said there will be equal treatment for all players aspiring to play for the senior men’s national team.
“I am obviously pleased with being asked to serve in the capacity of chief cricket selector. I believe that not only will my experience as a national cricketer be brought to bear on my duty but I will be also relying on my connection with zonal and club cricket which comprise the foundation of the game,” said Mangalie.
His aim is for the T&T Red Force to go one better next season in the first-class competition and win its first four-day title since 2006. T&T finished second to Barbados with two rounds to go in the tournament last season. The final two rounds of the competition were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The board is hoping the 2021 domestic season can bowl off next month “pending the all-clear from Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.” He told TTCB Media that he hopes that no cricketer will feel left out or believe that they have not been given fair consideration when the selection panel gets down to work, and once selected on the national team can be assured that they will be given ample time to prove their true worth. Mangalie stated that consistency will be applied as a standard across the board and will hold the key to the Red Force playing to its fullest potential and claim the major championship in the upcoming regional season.
He also expressed confidence in his fellow selectors who he says share his commitment to seeing local cricket elevated to the top of the regional ladder.
Meanwhile, David Furlonge, who was also a former member on the senior panel has now been made the chairman of the selectors for the T&T Under-19 team. Heading the Under-17 panel will also be former national player Aneal Rajah while Glen Dwarika will chair the Under-15 panel.
TTCB assures transparency in coaching selection
The TTCB has also moved to assure the public that its search for a new head coach will be a transparent one. In a release that immediately followed that of the new chairman of selectors, the TTCB stated it expects “to have a full-time head coach by the first week in December as the Red Force readies itself for the regional cricket season which bowls off in February 2021 with the Super50 Cup.”
Former coach Mervyn Dillon was not retained this year after his contract was up. Instead, he was one of 18 applicants to throw his hat in the ring for the job. Earlier this year, TTCB’s executive appointed a five-member panel interview committee with the mandate to find the most suitable candidate for the position of head coach.
The release stated that the interview panel has now been requested to proceed with the interview process of 18 candidates who have applied for the job and a recommendation is expected by the first week in December.
TTCB SELECTION PANELS
TT Senior Selectors
Rajendra Mangalie (Chairman)
Richard Kelly Jr.
National Team Coach
National Team Captain (Consultant)
TT Under-19 Selectors
David Furlonge (Chairman)
TT Under-17 Selectors
Aneal Rajah (Chairman)
TT Under-15 Selectors
Glen Dwarika (Chairman)