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No Sachin, Michael Phillips for Lara cricket opening

No Sachin, Michael Phillips for Lara cricket opening

Sachin, Michael Phillips

Former cricket legends Brian Lara (right) and Sachin Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar won’t be in Trinidad on May 13 after all.

The most prolific run scorer in history had been billed to feature in an exhibition match between a Tendulkar XI and a Brian Lara XI to mark the opening of the Brian Lara Stadium in Tarouba, but the now-retired master batsman is unable to make the trip because of what Trinidad and Tobago Sports Minister Daryl Smith described as “scheduling conflicts”.

Minister Smith, while speaking on the issue on CNC3’s Morning programme yesterday, also debunked reports that Tendulkar pulled out of the visit to the twin-island republic because of planned protests over one of the stands at the stadium being named after the Indian cricket star.

“It has nothing to do with the naming of it or anything like that. It’s really honestly he’s a very busy man. This guy has almost 30 million likes on his Facebook, Tweets and followers and so on, he’s very busy. He has a movie going on now and the window was very small in itself. He was just literally flying in and flying out and again; it’s some scheduling issues there,” he explained.

The sports minister had announced on April 20 that tickets would go on sale for the match between the teams to mark the opening of the stadium, the construction of which had been marked by significant cost overruns over the period of a decade.

Sports Minister Daryl Smith

Sports Minister Daryl Smith

“There were a few windows, very, very small windows that we were talking about to get him here but that window has closed because of scheduling conflicts and the show must go on,” Smith said.

“He (Tendulkar) may come at some other time later on in the year but at this particular point we don’t want to push back or change the opening date to suit that so we have to move forward.”

He said he did not feel the announcement of Tendulkar’s proposed visit was premature.

“No, the Cabinet instructed me,” he said.

“So it’s not a matter of premature. We are working with a super superstar here that we were privileged to get him even discussing with us. I think he will probably try to come down some time later on in the year and we will move forward but the change of the plans won’t spoil the party, we have some really cool names that we are looking at.”

Michael Phillips meanwhile has resigned as Chairman of the Trinidad and Tobago Sports Company (SporTT) after just 18 month at the organization.

Phillips, who took up the post in November 2015, has cited the time consuming requirements of the post as the primary reason for his decision.

Phillips who is a promoter and owns a bike store called Mike’s Bikes claims he has been unable to attend to his business, but claims to have been to grateful to serve in the position.

“I would like to take the opportunity to notify the public that I have tendered my resignation as chairman of SporTT . I am proud to have been able to make a contribution to the development of sport in Trinidad and Tobago in this capacity.  I thank the Prime Minister, Corporation Sole and the Minister of Sport for having the confidence in me, to lead this organisation,” Phillips said.

“Regrettably, I have found the requirements and time needed to effectively remain as chairman is more than I am able to extend at this time. However, I will continue to engage in the community programmes and activities that I have established in my personal capacity.”