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PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad: Indian Premier League (IPL) stars Kieron Pollard, Dwayne Bravo and Sunil Narine will play for Trinidad and Tobago in the Champions League T20 Competition, Sports Minister Anil Roberts has said.
An agreement has been reached that will allow the players to line up for the Twin Republic in the tournament set for South Africa in October, Roberts told the Express Newspaper.
Pollard, Bravo and Narine have all qualified to play for Trinidad as well as their respective IPL franchises for the 2012 Champions League.
However Roberts said the players, who are expected to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) will be in the T&T squad.
“We are hopefully to sign and get down to the nitty-gritty of the details of the contracts, but all three players have said they want to play for Trinidad and Tobago. The Government of Trinidad and Tobago has said they it will match their fees, so that they will not lose anything” said Roberts.
” Some of the Indian teams, the owners are obviously a bit upset…but unfortunately, I told them quite upfront that we are being professional, that we are not holding anything in secret. We are not going to wait until the last minute and then steal the players from under them,” Roberts added.
Last year, T&T just missed out on qualification for the semi-finals of the champions league after losing their two opening matches by the narrowest of margins.
Pollard and Bravo played for the Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings respectively.
This year, Narine has qualified for the Champions League with Kolkata Knight Riders.
“I spoke with Mr. Venky of Kolkata Knight Riders and so on and explained that this is the position we have taken early” the Trinidad Sports Minister explained.
“We appreciate what they have done for our boys but Trinidad and Tobago comes first, we must have our entire team out there to represent Trinidad and Tobago because Sport Tourism is huge”.
Like last year, T&T will have to play in a pre-tournament qualifying phase with the top two teams moving on to the main tournament.
The Trinidadians topped their qualifying group last year.
“We want to win the Champions League, not only for the benefit of Trinidad and Tobago but the pride and passion of winning a world championship,” said Roberts.
“I tell them I am very sorry they are upset, but the (T&T) population wants our best players, the Government wants our best players”.