The Trinidad and Tobago Red Force cricketers as well as members of the T&T Cricket Board (TTCB) and its staff at the Balmain head office have all received at least a first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
And TTCB president Azim Bassarath is hoping that it is the first step on the path to getting local team sports back up and running.
Bassarath also expressed his gratitude to the Minister of Health Terrance Deyalsingh as well as Minister of Sport Shamfa Cudjoe for helping to facilitate the vaccination drive. Speaking with the Express yesterday, Bassarath revealed that 95 persons received their first dose of the vaccine on Monday and are expected to receive their second dose next month.
“I had written the Minister of Health to see if they could accommodate the cricketers and also members of the staff as well as board members. We also sent a request to the Minister of Sport, and we got a date for yesterday (Monday). We sent a list of 95 persons and all 95 went and were vaccinated with the first dose,” Bassarath confirmed.
“I want to express on behalf of the cricket board our appreciation and gratitude to the Minister of Health and the Minister of Sport for facilitating the TTCB on our request. We got 100 per cent of what we asked for. I look forward to when the entire population can be vaccinated and when team sports can be given some clearance to resume,” he added.
In a letter of appreciation to the Minister of Health, Bassarath stated that the TTCB “continues to take a concerted and necessary approach in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the government’s policy regulations, so as to do our part in eliminating the risk of spreading the coronavirus.”
Bassarath also believes that mass vaccination of local athletes will give local sports a lifeline in terms of resuming activities sooner rather than later. Local cricket was halted in March last year and T&T has gone through various levels of restrictions since.
“All sports have been suffering in the country and I think the quicker we all get vaccinated, the quicker we can back on the field of play, and I know that is what the sportsmen and sportswomen of the country want and have been looking forward to,” said Bassarath.
“It has been more than 18 months now that they have been off the park, and I know they are eager to get some competition. I am appealing to the population to go out and get vaccinated. It is important that the sporting fraternity get vaccinated so that sporting activities can resume safely,” he added.
Meanwhile, Red Force head coach David Furlonge said the vaccination status of the players is unlikely to change how they approach training sessions. The team will continue their training programme while they await confirmation of playing two trial matches in the near future.
Bassarath said they were still awaiting the directive from Cricket West Indies (CWI) to proceed with the four-day games.
“There is a CWI meeting scheduled for next Thursday and we hope to get a decision then and there so we can proceed to have the two games played,” he concluded.