The Sachin Tendulkar stand which was originally planned to be a part of the ambitious new Brian Lara Cricket Academy stadium will not become a reality, as the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board and local political heavyweights have opposed the move.
The stadium was a project initiated by the Afro-Trinidadian People’s National Movement (PNM) party aimed to take the away monopoly of the Queen’s Park Cricket Club but was brought to a halt after the Indo-Trinidadian party United National Congress (UNC) gained power in 2011.
There was, in fact, no work progress during the 2011 – 2015 period. Not only did the Indian-origin UNC objected the project, they have now also stood against Lara’s idea of a stand named to honour Sachin Tendulkar.
The Indian cricketing legend was one of the biggest names in the invitee list of the inauguration. But, he did not make an appearance which left many Trinidadians confused.
The president of Trinidad and Tobago board, Azim Bassarath, had gone on record saying,
“India have so many stadiums and I don’t know any of them have stands named after any of our West Indian greats so why must we name a stand after Tendulkar. I thought there would be stands named after Ian Bishop, or Larry Gomes or Gus Logie. Not Tendulkar.”
The cricket stadium built after much controversy and delays was inaugurated in May this year and will soon host Caribbean Premier League matches in January. The emergence of this new stadium, situated in near a small village, Tarouba, will directly take some portion of the cricketing action from the existing venue – Queen’s Park Oval.
While the Queen’s Park Oval lies in the heart of the city, the brand new venue is just 50 kilometres away from the Oval.
The UDeCOTT will use CPL to test the facilities the government takeover next year. The initial cost was about 250 million Trinidad dollars but it shot up to 1.1 billion.
“The Caribbean Premier League (CPL) matches are going to be hosted here and the first big match here would be the CPL final,” says our guide, an Indian-origin man working for UDeCOTT, the Urban Development Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago, which is building the stadium.