As he heads off to the 2023 International Cricket Council (ICC) Men's Cricket World Cup to fulfill commentary duties with Star Sports, former West Indies leg-spinner Samuel Badree said he feels "honoured" and "motivated" to have received the Hummingbird Medal Gold.
Badree, 42,was awarded the prestigious honour along with TT Cricket Board (TTCB) president and Cricket West Indies (CWI) vice-president Azim Bassarath during the national awards ceremony at President's House in St Ann's on Sunday. Badree was recognised for his work in the fields of education and sport.
The World Cup will be held in India from October 5-November 19. It will be Badree's second time commentating in a World Cup tournament, as he had a commentary stint during the 2022 T20 World Cup, held in Australia.
Badree began his commentary journey after retiring from West Indies duty in 2018. He has now become a staple in the Republic Bank Caribbean Premier League (CPL) tournament and he says he is enjoying the challenge his new career path has brought.
"It's something that is a different challenge altogether. It's something I quite enjoy," Badree told Newsday.
After his duties at the upcoming World Cup, Badree will return to Trinidad and Tobago for the latter part of the CG United Super50 Tournament, which runs from October 17-November 11.
"I have also been involved as a coach in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and with Cricket West Indies (CWI) at various levels. That too has been something I quite enjoy," Badree said. "It's really a combination of coaching and commentary I'm very much interested in and inclined towards. But to stay involved in the sport and give back to the young cricketers coming through the system, has always been my goal."
At 31, Badree debuted for the West Indies versus New Zealand in a T20 international in June 2012. A T20 specialist of some pedigree, he helped the regional team to a pair of T20 World Cup titles in 2012 and 2016 – forming a deadly partnership with his countryman Sunil Narine in the 2012 tournament. Badree played a total of 52 T20 internationals for WI and took 56 wickets.
Badree, who has also been an educator for over two decades, said he was surprised to receive the award.
"It's something I was not expecting. I have never done anything in my life – whether in the sporting field or educational field – with any sort of reward in mind. I have always done it because of the great joy it has brought to me.
"I feel quite privileged to receive this national award. I'm thankful to all of TT for their support and encouragement over the years. I feel even more inspired now to continue doing the work I do with young people in the country to give them opportunities and show them the pathways for success."
Even when he's abroad, Badree still manages the activities at Badree's Academy of Sport Education. The academy caters for roughly 150 children and has sessions every Saturday at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy in Tarouba, Trinidad. There are also programmes in Penal and Vessigny.
Badree says his own story shows anything can be accomplished with hard work and dedication.
"Despite the challenges they may be facing, as long as they are disciplined and committed, and as long as they understand that they need to work hard in order to achieve success, it is possible. My story is one of overcoming tremendous challenges, coming from a single-parent home and being successful in both sport and education and to show the relationship between the two. And yeah, just to provide that encouragement to the young people of the country to strive for excellence.
"It just adds to the motivation for me to continue doing what I do."