Speculation is ripe that Mumbai Indians hard-hitting batsman Keiron Pollard may be returning to T&T to play for the Trinbago Knight Riders (TKR).
Guardian Media Sports understands that negotiations are on the way to have the champion T20 practitioner ply his trade for the Trinbago Knight Riders in the upcoming Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) T20 tournament.
The tournament has been shifted back a few weeks and will get on the way on September 4 and ends on October 14. This was done to make way for the Indian tour of the West Indies which is carded for after the World Cup in England in July. The Indians are expected in the Caribbean in early August and the two Test matches are expected to be played in Trinidad and Jamaica. The T20 matches will be played in Florida and the ODIs are likely to take place in Guyana.
According to sources close to the situation, Pollard is likely to follow the lead set by Chris Gayle, who is returning to play for the Jamaica Tallawahs in this year's tournament after a two-year absence playing for Skitt/Nevis Patriots.
Gayle who was part of the Tallwahs team that won two CPL titles between the period 2013 to 2015, was captain of the St. Kitts/Nevis Patriots last year. Pollard, on the other hand, was in charge of the St. Lucia Stars. Prior to his appointment as captain of the St. Lucia Stars, Pollard was captain of the Barbados Tridents.
Pollard is expected to come in as a marquee player for the Trinbago Knight Riders. This is to prevent him from being on the auction block, when the CPL draft is held in London on May 22. At the draft, the rest of the TKR team led by Dwayne Bravo will be finalised.
Mallya out, Tridents set for new ownership
Meanwhile, embattled Indian business tycoon, Vijay Mallya, will not have ownership of Barbados Tridents for the upcoming CPL season, organisers revealed last week.
Speaking at a media conference, CPL chief executive Damien O’Donohoe, said the league was in the process of wrapping up discussions with the relevant parties and that new owners should be in place before the players draft scheduled for May 22 in London.
Mallya is currently fighting extradition from the United Kingdom to his native India where he is wanted by authorities to face alleged bank fraud and money laundering charges amounting to nearly US$ one billion.
His mounting legal and financial woes have also impacted the franchise with players yet to be paid in full for the 2018 season which wrapped last September.
“That’s obviously been a big headache for us … [but] that issue in relation to Barbados will be getting resolved in the next two to three weeks,” O’Donohoe said.
“We will also have a change of ownership which we hope to announce in two weeks time and that’s a very experienced owner who is going to come in, and it’s something that we’re obviously excited about and we’re looking forward to a fresh start at the end of this month.”
The 63-year-old Mallya secured ownership of the Tridents in 2016 – the same year he fled India to avoid attempts by authorities to recover millions in unpaid bank loans. He has since been holed up at a mansion in Hertfordshire, East England.
Tridents players also suffered non-payment issues following the 2017 season and were only full remunerated just ahead of the 2018 draft.
In recent months, former Barbados and West Indies batsman Dwayne Smith, a marquee player for Tridents, has been critical of CPL and the franchise over the matter and called on both entities to speak to the issue.
However, CPL chief operating officer, Pete Russell, expressed gratitude to all affected players for their professionalism and assured the non-payment of salaries would be resolved shortly.
SSCL finals on today
The finals of the PowerGen Secondary School South Zone U-16 tournament will be played today after rain badly affected the game on Friday at the National Cricket Centre (NCC) in Couva.
The finals will now be played today at the Evergreen Cricket ground in Woodland today starting at 10 am. On Friday Naparima College batting first made 115 for five off 20 overs, the match being reduced from its original 40 overs.
Presentation College in response reached 25 without loss before the rain came again to wash out the game. Organisers SSCL decided to replay the game today and since there is another game carded for the NCC, the game will be played at Evergreen grounds.
This coming week is a very busy period for the Secondary Schools Cricket League, as they are hosting the finals of the Intercol tournament between Hillview College and Presentation College Chaguanas on Friday at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy. That game starts at 6.30pm and prior to that, the girl's finals will be played between Barrackpore East and Holy Name Convent.
Tomorrow the SSCL will host the pre-finals press conference at the Hasely Crawford Stadium at 10 am. Captains from the four teams will all speak to the press about their team's chances in the championship match.
Hillview will start as favourites in the finals, as they have dominated schools cricket over the past few years. They come into the contest as the defending champions.