The following is a statement by West Indies and Trinidad and Tobago cricket star Sunil Narine, which is in response to an unflattering email—allegedly sent by Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) president Azim Bassarath—about his bowling action and shared with Wired868 by I95.5FM journalist, Andre Baptiste:
I am Sunil Narine, a professional cricketer based in Trinidad & Tobago.
I want to make it known that as a result of the publicity surrounding the alleged emails between Mr Azim Bassarath and other Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board (TTCB) members regarding myself, I have lodged a complaint with the National League Representatives (NLR) and have requested an independent investigation into the matter.
Whilst I have become frustrated of late and it remains harder and harder to keep faith, trust and confidence, when I see emails between Board members on valid and well-known addresses to me and when the alleged authors of these emails deny they sent them, I feel I deserve an explanation as to how they came in to existence.
Who sent them?
I also feel that if indeed the emails were sent by the alleged authors then the ramifications for the TTCB as a credible organisation are significant. Hence why I have called for an independent investigation.
To aid the NLR I have provided them with the following information.
1. On Sunday November 29, 2015, while playing in the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) I was informed by the ICC that I was suspended from bowling from not only in international cricket but also all professional cricket outside of the West Indies with immediate effect. I left Dhaka that same night.
2. It was a time of extreme stress for me and I was grateful when on the next day, November 30, 2015, I received an email from Suruj Ragoonath, the CEO of the Trinidad and Tobago Cricket Board which contained the promise to provide me “with all the necessary support” and invited me to a meeting to discuss how the TTCB could assist me and to get an idea of the support I would require.
3. I did not question the validity or source of the email and the addresses to which it was copied since over the past few years I had interacted frequently with those addresses and in my subsequent responses, interaction or communication with those people whose email addresses these were supposed to be, there was never any question from them or doubt in my mind that these were in fact the valid emails of those persons.
This particular email was copied to the email address that I had for the President of the TTCB, Mr Azim Bassarath (azim bassarath <email@example.com>).
4. I never heard from the CEO or the TTCB on this specific offer again. Fortunately however, I have received several offers of assistance in the past and give credit to the previous WIPA management, KKR, QPCC and the Trinidad and Tobago Government in particular.
5. Mr Ragoonath called me in early December asking me if I was available to play in the Nagico Super 50 tournament scheduled for early 2016.
6. I never heard from Mr Ragoonath again until December 18, 2015 when he emailed me to inform me that the WICB would not allow any person who is debarred by the ICC to participate in regional tournaments until cleared and that the TTCB had withdrawn me from the squad. He offered his commiserations.
7. It was hugely disappointing the time when I was denied entry in to the Players Enclosure during the Nagico tournament and yes it was deeply embarrassing, especially when another West Indies colleague of mine, also a Trinidad and Tobago national, was allowed to stay, but that was not the main reason I declined to attend a reception to celebrate the Trinidad and Tobago Red Force victory.
The invitation was emailed to me by Mr Azim Bassarath (Azim Bassarath <firstname.lastname@example.org>) on 27 January 2016 at 6:12:11 PM GMT-4 and asked that I should reply to Azim Bassarath <email@example.com>.
8. Although I strongly supported the Red Force team and was extremely happy that it had won the tournament, part of my concern resulted from a point made in the same Newsday article of January 21, 2015. The article said, “A day after news broke of a possible local club cricket ban for the Arimian, Narine was yesterday stopped by security during the Red Force innings as he approached the enclosure.”
I was totally unaware that such a move was intended or being made and had it happened it could have ended my career and livelihood as a professional cricketer. It also wouldn’t make sense bearing in mind TTCB had asked me about my availability to play for Trinidad and Tobago not long before.
How could they want to then support a policy banning me from playing club cricket?
9. I did in fact receive confirmation that at a meeting in which the President of the TTCB was present, there was a move to prevent me from bowling at the national level for my club, Queen’s Park, which has been extremely supportive of my rehabilitation effort.
I understand that an attempt was made to change the rules of the national tournament to prevent players suspended by the ICC from participating at the national level.
10. I was therefore not surprised but extremely disappointed and saddened when I saw an email from the address that I have always thought to be that of the TTCB President, Mr Azim Bassarath to the address that I associate with TTCB Executive Member Baldath Mahabir and copied to addresses belonging to other TTCB Executive Members and cricket officials accusing me of “pelting” and “who will he turn to now.”
11. This happened on November 29, 2015, immediately after the ICC sent out a news release on my being suspended and on the same day that Mr Ragoonath sent me the offer of support by the TTCB.
12. In fact, if indeed the letter came from Mr Bassarath and I have to stress the ‘if’ right now, it seems that he must have long believed that my bowling action was illegal, and there was such venom and almost joy in my being suspended that was evident in the email which said, “Let him start to Bowl !!!!!! He was not turning much in d first place!!!!! Straight ball and faster one all the time. !!!! PELTING !!!!!!!”
13. I am now left with little other option but to think that the TTCB’s lack of interest regarding my remedial work, barring me from the player’s enclosure and trying to end my local career were all deliberate actions.
14. I am also grateful to the CEO of the WICB, Mr Ragoonath, who made the offer of help and support to me but it is clear now that steps may have been taken to withdraw the offer without letting me know that it was no longer on the table.
15. I have done my best for Trinidad and Tobago and by performing at the highest levels brought recognition and respect for our cricket and, by extension, the TTCB which also profited from the fees paid by the clubs I represented in numerous global competitions.
16. I feel a little betrayed by the TTCB and Members of the Executive at the moment. Fortunately, there are many of my fellow citizens, my family, friends, colleagues and supporters throughout the country, region, the Diaspora and around the world who strongly support me and are confident that I will be back again performing at my best at the highest levels of the game.
17. I note that Dr Allen Sammy has recently denied receiving the email sent by firstname.lastname@example.org on November 29th, 2015. However, in the chain of emails that I have seen it has the email address that I know through official correspondence of the TTCB to be the official email address of Dr Allen Sammy <email@example.com.
18. Even though I seem to have been denied natural justice by the writer of the email which accused me of “pelting”, I believe that an independent investigation should be undertaken to determine, if it was not Mr Bassarath himself, who indeed was the person who sent the emails using Mr Bassarath’s known and familiar email address as well as Mr Baldath Mahabir.
19. After the said emails was made public, I was informed by the Manager of the Queen’s Park Cricket Team, Mr Jeffrey Guillen who spoke to several Members of the TTCB who were copied on the said email and they confirmed receipt of the emails and the authenticity of the email addresses in the chain of emails on November 29th, 2015. He told me that he thanked them for their honesty.
20. As I stated before, I have taken my case and my cause to the National League Representatives and am now depending on them and the TTCB of which they are a part, to put a process in place that is transparent, fair and objective and if possible to get the necessary technical and Information Technology support to verify whether this was indeed sent by the person whose address it is <firstname.lastname@example.org> and other persons in question in this matter.
I look forward to positive and decisive action on these matters that I have raised and by stating everything here I now leave it to be handled by the National League Representatives and wish to say no more publicly.
I look forward to the continued support of the media.