Outgoing Secondary Schools Cricket League (SSCL) president Surujdath Mahabir will challenge incumbent T&T Cricket Board (TTCB) president Azim Bassarath for the post of president when the organisation holds it annual general meeting (AGM) and elections of an executive on October 30.
Mahabir filed his nomination on the deadline day Friday and will not contest 11 positions on a slate. Instead, Mahabir will run for president while Shareda Mohammed will run for first vice president. Running for second vice president will be Sukesh Maniam while Altaf Baksh will run for general secretary.
Sharaz Mohammed will run for an executive membership post while Winston Sobers has chosen to run as an independent also for an executive member position.
Speaking to Guardian Media Sports after filing his nomination on Friday, Mahabir said, "I think that the cricketing fraternity has realised that we need a change in leadership. We need a new vision and we need to take cricket in a new direction and post-COVID the road to recovery will require a great team effort, a great amount of knowledge of all aspects of the game and a vision to reach out and reignite interest in young people and among clubs."
Mahabir promised to provide the national community with their vision and plans "for the upliftment of cricket in T&T." He teased it as Project 10,000 where 10,000 young persons, girls, and boys under 18, meaningfully engage in cricket programmes and activities over the next three years.
Meanwhile, the (TTCB) has been applauded for how it conducted its affairs in securing the health and safety of the sport’s fraternity during the pandemic which the North East Zonal Council throwing its support behind the incumbent president Bassarath.
According to the chairman of the North East Zonal Council, Parasram Singh, it is for this reason that the affiliate is putting their support behind the slate of incumbent president Bassarath.
So far, the Central, South, South East, East zones already pledging their votes for Bassarath.
The challenge now is to see who can get 24 of the 46 delegates eligible to vote from seven zones and affiliates (North East, East, North, Central, South, South East, South West, Tobago, Umpires, Women, Primary and Secondary schools)
Singh said cricket was the first sport actively affected by the Covid-19 pandemic as Public Health Regulations were implemented in the middle of a Regional 4-Day match involving the Red Force national team at the Brian Lara Stadium in Tarouba, San Fernando last March.
He said that instead of taking a back seat, Bassarath and the TTCB executive took a proactive approach and began immediately to institute measures to secure cricket’s major stakeholders.
“Immediately under Mr Bassarath, meetings were held to assess the situation and determine what the implications of the Covid-19 Pandemic will be.
“Even at that stage, the TTCB was looking forward to when the sport will resume locally with the TTCB making a priority list. This involved the preparation of the national team for the regional Super50 Cup and the readying of the Under-19 players for selection on the West Indies team for the upcoming ICC World Cup to be staged in the Caribbean,” said Singh.
The North East Zone chairman said the success of the Red Force in the Super50 Cup, and the dominant showing of local players among the regional Under-19s show beyond a doubt that the Bassarath initiatives kept local cricket afloat, and on top during the deadly Covid-19 Pandemic.
He said Bassarath has been spearheading regular consultation with stakeholders to reach an agreement on important challenges facing the sport during this crucial period.
Singh pointed at the decision to cancel the 2020 season was unanimously taken by National League clubs as well as to tentatively plan for a T20, and 50-Over competition when Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.
“The TTCB under president Bassarath, realized that because of the long period of inactivity of cricket clubs, it would take some time to get back to normalcy.
“However he said it was quite reassuring of the TTCB to pledge their support for the clubs and zones as well as the other affiliates to hit the ground running when cricket resumes,” Singh said.
He said the North East Zone is basing their support on the track record and the visionary leadership of Bassarath to continue the growth and development of the game post-Covid-19 Pandemic.