Frustrated Smith wants Tridents to pay up as Mallya legal issues mount

Thursday, December 20, 2018

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — Leading Barbados Tridents batsman Dwayne Smith says he and other team members are yet to be paid all monies owed from this year's Caribbean Premier League (CPL) campaign, and believes the situation could hurt the image of the popular tournament.

Smith is also worried that the pending extradition from the United Kingdom of Tridents owner, Dr Vijay Mallya, to face alleged fraud and money laundering charges in India, could further exacerbate the situation.

“There was payment. It is the last payment that we're waiting on and nobody knows what's going to happen,” Smith said in an interview with Line & Length Network.

“I think it's something that the CPL should have sorted. They said the last time it happened, it wouldn't happen again. They gave us their word that they would make sure that this doesn't happen and it's still happening.”

He continued: “I don't know what they can do but this is something that could hamper the tournament. The CPL has been a talk-about tournament since it was introduced and I'm sure that people love to come to the Caribbean to play the cricket and I would never want to see CPL finish but it is something that we really want to get sorted.

“If it happens before the end of the year I would be happy. The last time we only got paid like two days before the draft. You don't want that again, but at this point in time, no one knows what's gonna happen.”

Mallya, an Indian business magnate, purchased the Bridgetown-based franchise two years ago but has been beset by financial and legal issues in recent years.

He fled India in 2016 and has been exiled in England since, battling extradition to face what the Indian courts say amount to nearly US$1 billion in unpaid debt.

Last week, a London court ruled Mallya could be extradited to face charges, pending Home Office approval.

Smith described the development as “disturbing” and said what was even more frustrating was the lack of information.

“We are unsure about what's gonna happen. The news about Dr Mallya is even more disturbing. The thing is, we're trying to get information. I don't know, but I've been trying to get information,” Smith said.

“If I sign a contract and I fulfil my contract, I'm supposed to be paid. It is something that is bothering a lot of the players and some won't speak out. I know I may get bashed for it, but I am one that speaks out and I would like to know what's happening.”

Smith and Tridents endured a tumultuous campaign in the CPL this year, losing eight of their 10 games to finish dead last and miss out on the playoffs for a second straight year.

For his part, Smith struggled, gathering only 185 runs from seven matches, with a single half-century.

The 35-year-old said it was important the Tridents franchise honoured its commitment to players.

“Everybody knows that Dwayne Smith loves Barbados, but Dwayne Smith also needs to be paid, he needs to feed his family. This is the third time this is happening and you don't know about it,” said Smith, who now specialises in the shorter formats following his international retirement.

“I've probably had one or two times [when payment was delayed) but it wasn't for such an extended period of time. This is creeping in now and if it doesn't stop, you're not going to get any players so it really needs to get sorted.”

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