July 2008 - Posts
In a step in the right direction, the USACA Secretary issued a "what's happening" memo, which he hoped would promote greater communication between the national cricket body and its constituents.
"I have opted to use this method of keeping you up-to-date on what's
happening at the administrative levels in your national organization.
As part of the volunteerism of USACA, it is important that members be
kept up-to-date on what the organization is doing, planning on doing,
and if any, what obstacles are standing in its way," John Aaron wrote
in the memo, a copy of which was obtained by DreamCricket.com from one
of the recipients.
He asked the recipients to share the what's happening
memo with all interested members through the normal communication
channels used in their regions. Mr. Aaron said he was not entrusted
with the management of the USACA website.
The memo confirmed that the Second Vice President Manaf Mohamed was
named the Director of Cricket Operations by the USACA Board, when it
met on April 26, 2008.
A CEO Recruiting Committee was appointed by the board, with
Gladstone Dainty as Chairman and September 1, 2008 was established as
the deadline for the appointment of USACA's CEO. Similarly, the board
also created an Operations Committee with a view to examine proposals
and other financial approaches to USACA. President Gladstone Dainty
will preside over this committee as well. The two committees have not
yet met, the memo informed.
As was reported on this website last week, John Thickett, the
Treasurer, has posted all prior year USACA tax filings to the USACA
website and has provided all board members with a monthly financial
report (April, May and June 2008).
However, the organization's Treasurer has not yet been able to
gain control over the organization's bank account. This, the memo
stated, has restricted the Treasurer's ability to carry out certain
functions as required by the USACA constitution.
With respect to the minutes of the April 26 board meeting, the memo
said that the minutes were prepared and approved by a majority of
Directors and will be posted when the President authorizes the
webmaster to do so.
A second meeting of the USACA board scheduled for July 12th,
2008 in New York, was cancelled on the evening prior to the meeting,
with the President citing a lack of quorum. The memo also informed that
the next meeting is planned for Saturday, August 9, 2008 in Chicago,
The ICC Conference
President Gladstone Dainty and John Aaron, USACA Secretary,
attended the ICC Annual Conference in Dubai earlier this month, as the
representatives of USACA. USACA's presence at the conference helped to
"establish a level of confidence with those ICC officials with whom we
had discussions, as well as our peers from other member countries," Mr.
Aaron wrote in the memo.
"It is my opinion that our organization came away from the
conference with the firm understanding that the ICC, primarily through
its Americas Regional Development
Office in Canada and the West Indies Cricket Board, would lend USACA
whatever assistance is needed to further develop, promote and encourage
the sport in the USA. The WICB's President Dr. Julian Hunte has pledged
his commitment to helping USACA raise the standard of its national team
through bi-lateral tournaments, coaching and organizational support for
event planning and execution. The ICC's Global Development Manager Mr.
Matthew Kennedy said that the resources
of the Regional Development Office were at USACA's ready disposal."
Grants and Fundraising
On the subject of further grants from ICC, the memo noted that
"USACA has the opportunity of acquiring larger sums of money from the
ICC, starting in 2008, through that organization's revamped development
funding plan. However, that plan is based on a number of criteria,
including the implementation of an ICC audited adherence to a budget,
membership head-counts, development programs put in place, appointment
of a CEO, and other performance criteria. Much work is needed to
prepare USACA for the new funding environment."
The memo also confirmed that USACA had received the 2008 ICC
Associate grant of US$90,000 in addition to US$20,000 development
funding. "Most of that money was spent preparing and allowing our team
to participate in the WCL Division 5 tournament in Jersey."
U-15 and U-19
Referring to the selection of a team to participate in the
ICC's Americas Under-15 Cup in Bermuda next month, the memo said that
the "current method of selecting our national teams, including the
appointment of selectors and team management, is seriously flawed and
requires immediate action by the Board of Directors to establish a
process and procedural protocols for the future."
The secretary informed that the Under-19 National tournament
was postponed due to the unavailability of suitable grounds in Florida.
Alternate venues in other USACA regions are now being considered.
With respect to the leagues seeking membership of USACA, Mr. Aaron noted in the what's happening
memo that "the Massachusetts Cricket League has not yet been readmitted
as a member of USACA. Their omission depleted the certification of the
Northeast Region as a bona-fide region, because there were less than
the requisite three leagues within the region. In addition, several
leagues are being investigated or denied membership in their regions.
At least one league has appealed directly to the USACA board." These
issues are expected to be dealt with at the next meeting of the board.
By Orin Davidson
Sparks are about to fly in a potential ugly showdown that can once
again undermine the operations of the United States of America Cricket
At the center of the storm is recently re-elected USACA president
Gladstone Dainty who dropped a bombshell by suspending longstanding New
York coach Linden Fraser, indefinitely from all cricket activities
related to the association.
The fireworks are a repercussion from the just concluded USACA Under-15
championships and the team selection, for which Fraser was one of three
selectors named prior to the competition.
Following the team's selection on Sunday, after the series, to
represent the United States at next month's International Cricket
Council (ICC) Americas Under-15 series, Fraser said he received an
email from Dainty informing him of the suspension.
Fraser, however is not taking it lying down and has vowed to challenge
Dainty's action even if it means involving the world ruling body ICC.
The coach explained that he was accused by Dainty of releasing the team
without approval, but Fraser explained that the USACA president is
wrong on all counts.
In his email Dainty stated that Fraser released the team publicly without permission and should have known better.
"In my opinion your unauthorized action is damaging to our
organization. I am therefore suspending you from all activities of the
United States of America Cricket Association (USACA)", Dainty wrote.
However, Fraser countered by stating that he did not release the team
to the public, stating that the email with the squad was sent to USACA
operations manager Manaf Mohamed and by error also went to a list which
had only USACA officials including Board members and a few regional
"I was asked by Manaf Mohamed (USACA cricket operations official and
second vice president) to send the team to him and by mistake it also
went to a list that included the names of the other cricket people,"
the coach explained.
He added that as far as he knew they (selectors) were never told that
they were selecting a team that had to be approved by anyone.
"Why then did Manaf not tell me to send the team to Dainty for
approval, instead of sending it to him (Manaf)" questioned the coach.
Fraser also queried whether Dainty has the authority to suspend him without agreement from the USASA executive.
In his email Dainty said the final determination of the suspension
would be subsequently determined by the USACA executive Board of
It is left to be seen the type of support Dainty will get for the ban
as already one official has deemed the action unnecessary and
Fraser has warned that he will go all the way to ensure that Dainty is stopped in his tracks.
Several attempts by telephone to elicit a reaction from the USACA president were futile.
The coach explained the situation developed from a disagreement among
the three selectors over the final composition of the U.S. team.
He explained that the recently appointed coach Anwer Khan, of Pakistan,
who along with Fraser and Prem Suri comprised the panel, was out-voted
on the inclusion of one player.
Fraser said Khan wanted the player to be included and subsequently
refused to sign off on the final list that the former and Suri had
decided on last Sunday.
Fraser said he feels that Khan along with Akhtar 'Chick' Masood, the
USACA representative from Central East had a plan to include a number
of their favorite players.
When the final team list of was eventually released by USACA it contained three changes to the original.
Fraser said New York batsman Qwesi Edmondson who had topscored for his
team twice in the three matches they played in the competition and
ending not out in the other, was one of the casualties.
Pranav Pradham of California and Herno Smith were the others.
"They (three) are all good players, Smith is the fastest bowler around and can bat too," the coach stated.
He disclosed that one of the players was crestfallen after learning he was removed from the squad.
Whether the issues are sorted out and team is allowed to travel to Bermuda or not, it is left to be seen.
The West Indies Cricket Board is planning to hold their regional ODI
competition, the KFC Cup in USA, the Newsday newspaper in Trinidad
KFC Cup will be played in USA
If these plans come to fruition, Ft. Lauderdale in Florida will host
the KFC Cup - the first such occasion that a regional ODI competition
will travel overseas. The newspaper also reported that USA and Canada
may compete in the tournament. All matches are likely to be played in
USA, which marks a departure from the usual practice of playing all the
early rounds on one island and saving the final three matches for
The KFC Cup, played in the ODI format has been around since
1972 and has been called variously as Gillette Cup, Red Stripe Bowl,
and KFC Cup. The tournament usually features six Caribbean teams -
Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Leeward Islands, Trinidad and Tobago,
Windward Islands and one or two invitational teams.
USA took part in this tournament in 2000, it was called the
Red Stripe Bowl that year, and it impressed with a win over Barbados by
two wickets. Amjad Khan top-scored with 36 in a winning effort. Of
course, USA did not leave an imprint and was never invited again.
Canada took part in 1995 and in 2002.
Jamaica are the defending KFC Cup champions, and Lauderhill, also known as Jamaica
Hill, will hope for a repeat performance. Talking about the prospects
for the Broward County Stadium, Faoud Bacchus, former USA captain said,
"I believe Lauderhill is strategically well-placed. We have all the
facilities, hotels and attractions and it's only a short plane ride
from West Indies." Bacchus, who played for West Indies in 19 Tests and
29 one-day internationals before moving to Florida in 1988, predicted
that Lauderhill will be a major cricketing center.
Years later, a Caribbean tournament sponsored by an American company is all set to make his prediction come true.
Former Pakistan test player Faisal Iqbal could face disciplinary action by the Pakistan Cricket Board for appearing in a tournament in USA featuring players from the rebel Indian Cricket League. Faisal's case is expected to be discussed today by the International Cricket Committee.
This latest news comes on the heels of recent reports that VVS Laxman and Piyush Chawla were told by BCCI not to play for Nottinghamshire and Hampshire respectively, since those county teams featured ICL players.
Faisal Iqbal played alongside ICL players Imran Farhat and Imran Nazir in the Pakistan All-Star team at the T20 invitational tournament in May. The All-Star team captained by his uncle Javed Miandad, failed to progress to the finals in that event. However, Faisal Iqbal had a decent tournament scoring 46 not out against the Canadians and 21 in another match against a team captained by Mohammad Azharuddin.
According to media reports, Faisal, who has played 21 Tests and 18 one-dayers for Pakistan, could face either a penalty or a ban. Faisal, who is not centrally contracted, was quoted as saying, "West Indian player Shaun Findley as well as seven or eight other cricketers from Canada" were part of the private tournament held in Florida.
This might set a precedent for similar action by other boards as well. Shabbir Ahmed (ICL player) participated in an invitational tournament in Michigan which also featured several other first class and international cricketers.
A cricket fan in the Midwest noted with amusement,"Cricket in USA is not without its share of controversy, but nobody in their wildest dreams expected the rivalry between IPL and ICL to reach USA! This is beyond silly. I played gully cricket with ICL players when I was growing up! Will BCCI ban me from going to an IPL game?"
The USA Under-15 cricket team was announced by USACA on its website
today. The team will travel to Bermuda to take part in the ICC-Americas
Under-15 Championships to be held between August 2nd and August 9th,
USA U15 are the defending champions
is the defending ICC-Americas champion, having won the championship
when it was last held in 2006. After Tropical Storm Ernesto circled Ft.
Lauderdale and reduced that tournament to a one day 20/20 knockout
format, USA adapted quickly to the new format defeating Bermuda for the
This year, Team USA will be captained by Abhijit Joshi. Abhijit Joshi
and Steven Taylor (named vice-captain) represented ICC-Americas in the
Clico Under-15 World Cup held in the Caribbean earlier this year with
The official team includes 3 boys who were not on a list that was published some days ago on DreamCricket.com. That list was hidden
after it was brought to DreamCricket's attention by a cricket official
that only the USACA Board could release the official list. The
selectors who made the recommendations to USACA were Linden Fraser and
Prem Suri (US National Selectors), and Anwer Khan (Coach of the 2008
National Under 15 team).
According to the official, "although the selectors may have selected
players based on what they saw at the Inter-Zone tournament, factors
such as availability and eligibility are considered before finalizing
the list, which must always come from a USACA official."
DreamCricket.com is announcing FREE use of its
indoor nets in New Jersey to this team should they want to practice
indoors between now and August 2nd. Please write to frontfoot at
dreamcricket.com should you wish to book the facility.]
The Under-15 cricket team (player profiles coming soon)
1. Abhijit Joshi - Captain
2. Steven Taylor - Vice Captain
3. Pranay Suri
4. Arsh Buch
5. Vikram Valluri
6. Krishneal Goel
7. Muhammad Mujtaba
8. Jason Fox
9. Kalim Ahmed
10. Andrew Ajodhi
11. Cameron Mirza
12. Steven Sawh
13. Waqas Shah
14. Chris Singh
Coach - Anwer Khan
Manager - Wesley King
By Mike Makin - A concerned parent
A month in the life of Michigan Cricket Academy provides a vivid illustration of the highs and lows faced by young cricketers and their coaches, reinforcing many of the points made in Dreamcricket’s article on the first 100 days of the new USACA administration.
On the 18th of June six MCA U-13 players flew from Detroit to San Francisco to participate in the National Junior Cricket Tournament, hosted by the California Cricket Association. They were joined by players from the Greater Chicago Cricket Association, the Midwest Cricket Conference, a Dallas club, and the California Cricket Association, to form a tournament XI playing as the Midwest and Michigan Cricket Academies.
The team’s geographic diversity was matched by its range of ages and experience. The composition of the side testifies vividly to the nature of American youth cricket: intense enthusiasm and dedication on the part of a small group of participants, with few match opportunities.
The contrast with the sports widely available to children in the US is striking. The youngest MMCA cricketer in last month’s tournament had played sixteen soccer league matches, but when Neil stepped on to the cricket ground in San Jose on the afternoon of 19th June, he was making his competitive début as a cricketer. Indeed, the same was also true of four older players.
Notwithstanding the challenges, MMCA, coached by Vasanth Krishnaswami of MCA and Shirish Joshi of GCCA, gave a good account of themselves, with major contributions from every player.
MMCA’s tournament record was modest -- they lost their first match, against Northern California Cricket Association by seven wickets, lost to the eventual champions, California Cricket Association Purple, by 53 runs, and then beat CCA Green by eleven runs – but they played better in each successive match, and had many moments to savor.
GCCA’s Parth Joshi was man-of-the-match in MMCA’s victory, scoring a fine twenty-two, which included some beautiful shots on the off side, taking two wickets in an over to help seal the win, and executing two excellent run outs; in the same match MCA’s Rohit Mogalayapalli, coming in later than usual, scored a handsome 33, while Midwest’s P. Pryank, moved up the order, scored an aggressive 31; off-spinner Vivek Joglekar (GCCA) took 3-23; the ground cricket from debutant Ryan Quinlan (MCA) was outstanding, as was his running between the wickets in a key partnership, and Neil Makin secured victory with a fine running catch at midwicket.
Over the entire tournament Ani Mayasandra (MCA,) captained with maturity, while, in the first two matches, Gordon Makin (MCA) shared with Rohit Mogalayapalli in two fine opening stands, which could, with a bit more luck, have provided the basis for victories; Gordon Makin was also top wicket-taker for MMCA with tournament figures of 5-61 for his leg spin, while he and Rohit Mogalayapalli shared wicket keeping duties in the first two matches to good effect. Jai Sura’s competitive début was crowned with a fine 15 in the second match, and Jaffer Shahabuddin went home to Dallas cherishing a nice caught-and-bowled among other accomplishments. California’s Pratik Bhatt provided his temporary team mates with excellent support in the field throughout the tournament.
In other words, the entire XI, assisted by the rotational policies of coaches Krishnaswami and Joshi, made great developmental strides, and fully justified the efforts it took to put a tournament side together.
MCA’s six, fired up by their California experiences, returned to Michigan with a predictable question on their lips: “When will our next match be?” The answer, alas, is uncertain.
MCA is the only fully developed youth program in the state, so matches are hard to come by and require considerable commitment from every family. For the younger players a cross-border series in Toronto in late August, when the Michigan teams will be coached by the Academy’s other head coach, Shyam Mayasandra, might be the next chance to hone match skills; in the mean time MCA’s older players will have some limited opportunities to play on senior sides in the Michigan Cricket Association’s leagues; and, of course, everyone will play in MCA’s own annual Labor Day tournament. But that’s not a whole lot of matches to look forward to.
All the same, the Academy, in its four years of existence, has gone from strength to strength, largely through the tireless efforts of its two head coaches, Krishnaswami and Mayasandra, who work entirely without compensation (another striking contrast, of course, to soccer, where coaches from across the world can make handsome livings out of the youth game).
MCA has been assisted by generous local sponsors, but it has had no national support -- a reminder that the youth game remains a poor relation of the adult version and a dramatic contrast with other participatory team sports in the USA. True, USACA’s home page has what appears to be a link entitled “Cricket Development: Junior Program”, but it opens nothing, while the link for “Academies” on another page opens an error page.
Last week the national U-15 tournament took place in Chicago – as Dreamcricket noted, a sign of improvements on the national scene. But reports indicated that organization left something to be desired and the view from Michigan is especially bleak: no tryouts were held in the state, even though the Great Lakes Cricket Conference has been prominent in USACA recently (Michigan’s other league, the Michigan Cricket Association, has apparently paid its USACA dues and is awaiting reinstatement).
A gesture was, nonetheless, made by the Central East Region to MCA, which is not currently a USACA member: a few days before the U-15 tournament was due to begin, MCA coaches were informed that a C.E.R. selector would visit MCA practice. Emails and phone calls went out to all Academy members, and a large number of players gathered at the Lyon Oaks Park ground (Wixom). Practice began, the nets were very active; the selector, on his way to the ground, called a coach for directions and then … failed to appear. Players, coaches, parents went home astonished and disappointed. The contrast with other youth sports was, yet again, stunning. Many MCA players have extensive experience of the challenging and usually well-run, open tryouts for soccer, basketball, baseball, and hockey – whether for clubs or for elite, highly selective programs. Cricket, it seems, had let them down again.
In the next few days a flurry of emails and phone calls between Michigan and Chicago clarified little – “politics” was the word mentioned most often to explain what had happened. When the pool of available youth cricketers is so small it seems particularly odd that selectors neglected MCA, while the enthusiastic players who expected to display their skills to a regional selector, even if, for many, it would simply have been a “learning experience”, were given another stimulus to choose a different sport. To cap it all, Michigan’s neglected players will have noted that the selectors, one of whom apparently decided en route not to turn up at MCA practice, put together a zonal team that seems to have lost every match at the tournament
If cricket is to thrive long-term in the United States, there surely have to be more highs and fewer lows for youth players; national organization must be better and more open; and the big fish in the small pond of US cricket might consider setting aside personal issues for the benefit of the game.
Click on the links below for some photos:
MMCA team, with coach Vasanth Krishnaswami and team family members Neill Quinlan, Derek Fish, and Michael Makin
Lunch on the first day
MMCA openers Gordon Makin and Rohit Mogalayapalli take the field at the start of the first match
Gordon Makin batting against NCCA
P. Pryank looks to get on top of the bowling
Rohit Mogalayapalli goes after the CCA Green bowling
Parth Joshi, man-of-the-match against CCA Green, challenges the batsmen
Parth Joshi attacks the bowling
Parth Joshi, excellent stroke maker
MMCA Captain Ani Mayasandra fires it in
Debutant Ryan Quinlan at the crease
Neil Makin bowling against CCA Green
Gordon Makin, top wicket-taker for MMCA
Gordon Makin’s leg spin
MMCA’s youngest player, Neil Makin, is chaired off the field by captain Ani Mayasandra, after ending the match against CCA Green with a fine running catch at midwicket
Debutant Jai Sura at the crease
Last week marked the
100th day of the election of the current USACA administration. Although new
USACA administration was not expected to fire away on all engines immediately,
there have been a few outward signs of progress - the national tournaments have
all been announced (some have been held) and efforts by grassroots volunteers at
the school level have borne fruit in California and New York.
strategy standpoint, those who were expecting fast and proactive steps must
rightly be a bit disappointed. Because progress has been somewhat slow - like
watching an iceberg melt.
Here is a quick report card starting with the
- As expected, $110K in annual ICC funding has been reinstated and USA stands
to gain from increased development funding that ICC has announced for countries
with a robust cricket program.
- Manaf Mohammed, Second VP, has taken over cricket operations and the
national tournament schedule was announced ahead of time, a departure from
last-minute scheduling surprises of the past.
- Nabeel Ahmed, the First VP, has been a constant presence at cricket events,
sometimes helping the organizers from his own resources, as in the case of the
forthcoming Night Cricket tournament in Chicago. His show of support has
rejuvenated the organizers and participants alike.
- The newly constituted regional boards have infused more vitality in the
regions. For instance, the Western Region has undertaken various initiatives
both on and off the field including a planned junior tour of England.
- John Thickett and John Aaron, Treasurer and Secretary respectively, have
done their bit to improve transparency - the USACA website now has sections for
financial information and
meeting minutes although recent minutes remain unpublished.
in some areas
However, in the key areas of fund-raising and cricket
development, progress has been lackluster. Here is the status of some of the
In a position paper titled
Path to Success" published ahead of the April election, Gladstone Dainty
wrote "During the first year, we will budget $25,000 for each Region." He
promised that USACA would "contribute $3 for every $2 raised by the Regional
Entities for the development of cricket in each Region. Matching funds to
Regions would be limited to the first $10,000 raised."
administrator, speaking on the condition of anonymity told DreamCricket.com, "We
have not seen the money yet and this is putting tremendous pressure on the
region and leagues. Players end up paying their own tickets to tournaments. The
problem is that not all of our best players can afford to pay for their travel.
Cricket activities have gone up but we need resources to support these
Absent a clear roadmap to secure funding through improved
marketing efforts, USACA would continue to rely on meager ICC life-support and
donations of the many volunteer-organizers, Dainty himself being among the more
generous contributors. Even if such generosity is commendable, it is only a
Hiring a CEO:
USACA has said that it
plans to hire a CEO. About the plan for hiring a CEO, Dainty wrote "funding will
be secured from various sources including membership dues, sponsorship, grants
and tax deductible contributions." CEO hiring was put off until September and
progress on this is eagerly awaited.
Reuniting the USA cricket
WICB chief Dr. Julian Hunte, ahead of the USACA election,
was hopeful that the current regime will act promptly in reuniting the USA
cricket fraternity by inviting non-member leagues into the USACA fold. Progress
on that front too has been slow. DreamCricket has spoken to four such leagues
that are waiting to be reinstated and we estimate that at least 10 other leagues
could be convinced to join the USACA fold. Not only will greater participation
in USACA aid grassroots cricket development, it will also generate incremental
Decisions on membership should be fast-tracked and
not have to wait for board meetings. Also, membership criteria should be
reviewed and, at the minimum, be outside the purview of the regions. That is
because the regions have every incentive to manipulate membership to their
Cricket development - The aspiring youth
Although, USA cricketers' dreams of qualifying for the
2011 World Cup have now been put to rest, the real silver lining has been youth
When it comes to junior cricket, progress in the boardroom has
not kept pace with real progress on the field. These youngsters have shown that
they are the real deal - and here is where the board's attention is most
Two USA cricketers,Abhijit Joshi and Steven Taylor, excelled as
part of a combined ICC Americas team at the recently concluded Clico U-15 World
Cup in the Caribbean. Abhijit hit 4 consecutive fifties in the tournament. With
their successful campaign, the two lads continued USA's recent record at
international tournaments - USA had won the ICC Americas Under-15 Tournament in
2006 and put up some great performances at the last edition of the ICC U19 World
Even in domestic cricket, the energy at junior level has remained
high. The National Junior championship matches in California have reaffirmed the
giant strides being made by the next generation of cricketers. An inter-zone
junior tournament this past weekend in Chicago too has shown that there is a
groundswell of interest from youth cricketers.
A recent international
coaching program run by DreamCricket.com was attended by over 20 youngsters.
"USA could be the place to invest some time and money if Twenty 20 is to take a
grip around the world", said Ian Pont, at the end of his first fast bowling camp
at the DreamCricket Academy. "I've seen some raw talent worth developing but
there's a serious lack of formal coaching at present. The lads are starved of
quality support but they are keen, knowledgeable and willing to learn."
Tamil Nadu Junior Cricket Coach Bharath Kumar, speaking after his
coaching stint in New Jersey said, "The enthusiasm of these kids is infectious.
I have no doubt that USA will have a solid team in the near future if these kids
stay motivated and get the support they deserve."
The two coaches, who
came from England and India were quick to note that having the raw talent does
not equate to a national program. That takes "the spark of money and time to
create an atmosphere that cricket can thrive in and the desire to create
something new and exciting," Ian Pont, a Level IV international coach said.
Bharath said he was puzzled about the frequent complaints about about
lack of quality wickets in USA. "I agree that the grounds are not comparable to
England. But I think that is only a small part of the problem. If you look at
India, not all first class venues had natural turf pitches and even as recently
as the nineties, Ranji matches were played on matting wickets." Talking about
local weather, he said "I am quite impressed with the DreamCricket facility,
which is an all-weather facility. Only a handful of Indian cities have such a
Bharath said the real problem was that the cricketers needed
a nurturing environment where their commitment to cricket would not go to waste.
"What USA is lacking is perhaps a system that rewards these kids' cricketing
abilities. The simple question on every kid's mind is - I look at Tendulkar
or Dhoni and I will motivate myself to play great cricket, like my friends who
play tennis. But what will that get me in terms of international exposure? Will
it help me secure a scholarship for college?". Cricket administrators should
ensure that the young cricketers have the same opportunities as their peers in
other sports, Bharath noted.
The way forward
If USA wants
to make a mark on the world stage, it has a better chance of doing so at the
2012 U-19 World Cup in Canada and the 2012 Twenty20 World Cup in Sri Lanka. But
USACA must formulate a strategy and a long-range plan for a successful campaign
in these two tournaments.
Hemant Buch, who has organized the national
junior tournament for three years said, "I agree that to drive youth cricket
forward, we need a solid national youth development program. I wish we had the
funds for this."
Chidamber Joshi, who played a key role in organizing
the inter-zone tournament said,"I firmly believe that there is a need for
National Cricket Academy. To the academy, we need to identify the top 25 in each
of U-15, U-19 and U-25 (or open) levels nationally and adopt year-round,
sustained programs - such as high Performance training, sustained home and away
tournaments with neighboring countries and beyond. It is just not sufficient to
conduct tournaments and believe that they will pave the way for the future -
that is just a small and needed step towards the bigger and visionary goal."
In fact, Dainty too has recognized the need a national approach in his
white paper when he wrote "The national body will aggressively plan and
establish training and development programs to be administered by the regions."
Progress on this important goal too is eagerly awaited.
Domestic tournaments - Criteria
Another much awaited
development is a harmonization of eligibility criteria for the national
tournaments. "The constant shifting of eligibility criteria, and in some
instances the tournament rules themselves, are aspects of USA cricket that we
need to change as a priority," one administrator said. Selection criteria too
need to be made more transparent and harmonized across the regions, he
Next 100 days
Cricket's growth potential in USA is
undeniable, and everybody from Allen Stanford to Lalit Modi have painted their
vision for USA cricket. But realization of this potential needs strategic
planning, management and infrastructure - and intertwined with these factors is
funding. It is hoped that the President and his board will deliver on its many
promises in the days to come.
Recognizing the young cricketers who
will put USA cricket on the world map
The future USA team will most
likely include these names -
Gregory Sewdial, Abhijit Joshi, Steve
Taylor, Akeem Dodson, Dominic Audain, Mohammad Rehman, Saminda Siriwardena, Ravi
Timbawala, Mital Patel, Brandon Dunbar, Varun Vallur, Vaibhav Nayar, Cameron
Mirza, Akash Jagannathan, Hemant Punoo, Abhemanyu Rajp, Dunae Nathanial, Sumon
Bari, Anil Deopersaud, Balaji Giridharan, Mihir Deo, Arsh Buch, Pranav Pradhan,
Rishi Patel, Raman Nelakanti, Roshan Varadarajan, Sunil Deopersaud, Saurabh Deo,
Alex Kirton,Kapil Talwalkar,Adhiraj Watave, Jacques Gerber, Kwiese Edmondson, G
Domaille, Ani Mayasandra, Adithya Nagaraja, Jodhbir Singh, Pranay Suri, Jason
Fox, Krish Goel, Kalim Ahmed, Vikram Valluri, W Jamil, Herno Smith, Steven Sawh,
Andrey Ajodhi, and Salman Ahmed.
At the Under-13 level, Mohak Buch,
Hersh Solanki, Neil Tagare, Abhimanyu Vaidyanathan, Akhil Ghirnikar, Sandeep
Padedda, Arun Chakravorty, Immanuel Amirtharaj, Mihir Athavale.
know of other promising young cricketers whose names are missing, please alert
us by writing to frontfoot @ dreamcricket.com.
''America Can Provide Next Twenty 20
With the completion of the inaugural session of the DreamCricket
Academy, DreamCricket.com has taken yet another small step in cricket
development in USA.
the successful launch of an indoor cricket practice facility,
inaugurated by former test cricketer Chetan Chauhan in September of
2007, DreamCricket has continuously improved the facility by adding
Bola bowling machines, Pro Shop, and membership options.
This year, DreamCricket has kept its promise of bringing world class
coaching expertise to USA by inviting two experienced coaches as part
of the DreamCricket Academy initiative. "Prior successful coaching
experience was something we looked for in a coach and we are happy to
have started on the frontfoot with two experts in their fields,"
Kranthi Bayya, CEO of DreamCricket said.
International Coach Ian Pont supervising a batting drill
This year, DreamCricket has kept its promise of bringing world class
coaching expertise to USA by inviting two experienced coaches as part
of the DreamCricket Academy
initiative. "Prior successful coaching experience was something we
looked for in a coach and we are happy to have started on the frontfoot
with two experts in their fields," Kranthi Bayya, CEO of DreamCricket
Over twenty cricketers, including four who were part of the national
championship winning junior team trained at the DreamCricket Academy in
its inaugural session between June 23rd and July 6th. Speaking about
the cricketers in the junior cricket camp, Bharath Kumar said, "The
enthusiasm of these kids is infectious. I am also quite impressed with
the DreamCricket facility. The facility is on par with what is
available in Chennai and other Indian cities."
Having coached Holland in the years leading up to the World Cup
2007, Ian Pont is familiar with the obstacles faced by an ICC Associate
country such as USA. "USA could be the place to invest some time and
money if Twenty 20 is to take a grip around the world", said Ian Pont,
at the end of his first fast bowling camp at the DreamCricket Academy.
"I've seen some raw talent worth developing but there's a serious lack
of formal coaching at present. The lads are starved of quality support
but they are keen, knowledgeable and willing to learn."
"Because the lads are mostly of Indian or Pakistani parents,
they have a passion for the game and a natural flair. All it needs is
the spark of money and time to create an atmosphere that cricket can
thrive in. That means ICC investment or a private business with a
desire to create something new and exciting," Pont said adding that he
was pleasantly surprised with the talent on display.
Coach Pont guides Cameron Mirza.
an international Level 4 coach, is renowned for his coaching expertise
and has worked with international bowlers such as Dale Steyn. Ronnie
Irani recently remarked "I wish that I had met Ian Pont ten years
before I did. He is an expert in his field and has some excellent ideas
on how to engineer a bowling action." Pont is the author of the
best-selling book "Fast Bowler's Bible." An aggressive fast bowler who
played first-class cricket for Nottinghamshire, Essex and Kwa-Zulu
Natal, Ian is renowned for his naturally gifted and powerful arm - he
has recorded the second longest throw of all time with a cricket ball.
Pont has already recommended at least one fast bowler from the
DreamCricket fast bowling camp to two English counties and plans to
bring a second player to the UK to play in 2009. He has plans to return
to the US and continue his coaching duties here with DreamCricket. ''It
only takes one guy to breakthrough and the flood gates could open'',
Pont said adding, ''I want to be there when it happens.''
Bharath Kumar coached youngsters between 9 and 14 years of age at the
DreamCricket Academy was similarly optimistic. "Building a world class
cricket team takes perseverance and investment," Bharath Kumar. He
hoped that cricket programs are launched at schools from coast to
coast. "The boys needed motivation and if schools are supportive, that
is a huge boost. School cricket ensures that the kids stay engaged with
the sport," he opined. Bharath, who is a former Tamil Nadu and South
Zone player and coach is a Level 2 certified coach. After a successful
stint as Tamil Nadu's Ranji coach and junior selector, he is now a
coach with the Tamil Nadu Cricket Academy.
Practice makes perfect: Harsh Patel tries a shot.
Coach Pont guides Mittal Patel.
Coach Bharath Kumar watches closely as Tribhu bowls during practice.
Nauman and Rushi get the bowling machine going for some batting drills at DreamCricket's Hillsborough location
Team Chargers huddle with Coach Bharath during a break in practice
Team Royals huddle with Coach Bharath during a break in practice
Bowling supervised by Coach Bharath
Zina Kumok of Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper reported on July 3, 2008 on how cricket is taking roots in and around Memphis, Tennessee. Here is the summary. It is heartening to see so many folks participating in grassroots level cricket.
The Arkansas-Tennessee Cricket League (arktenncricketleague.com)
includes the Germantown Cricket Club, Bartlett Cricket Club, Bartlett
Youth Cricket Club, Memphis Cricket Club and the Memphis Jackson
"We've come a long way," said Berzin Devlaliwalla, a member of the
Bartlett Youth Cricket Club and emigrant from Bombay, India.
"Immigration and a lot of help from the cities and parks and all that
has certainly helped."
With members from India, Pakistan, South Africa, Australia, New
Zealand, England and the West Indies, the teams are diverse. Despite
the sport's exponential rise, they still have work to do.
Photo thumbnail courtesy MCA: James Avenell of the Germantown Cricket Club bats during a recent game.
"We're fledgling," said MCC president Murali Balasubramanyam, another Bangalore native. "We don't even have our wings."
The MCC spent close to $4,000 refurbishing its field in Collierville.
In a tournament that provided all the
twists and turns that you would expect to see in a National contest,
the hosts, Central West nosed ahead of their rivals from the west coast
to win back the Western Conference title after being runners up the
previous year in LA. For once, both the last day's games had tremendous
significance in determining the final outcome.
Click here to read first-hand report from Vinod Periagaram.
Now that is something that does not happen very often in USA!
Community Activist Dennis Hardial was honored with his own day by the Lauderhill city. June 9th has been proclaimed Dennis Hardial Day!
Among the many contributions for which Dennis was thus honored were - developing a sister-city relationship between a borough in Trinidad and Lauderhill, bringing cricket to the city and organizing the Trinidad and Tobago Celebration.
The USA cricketer congratulates Dennis Hardial.
Philadelphia Weekly's Steven Wells watched a recent match between British Officers' Cricket Club and Montego Bay at the Haverford College cricket ground.
In a nicely written article, published on June 12, 2008, upon running into Americans who quite enjoy the cricket game, he wonders how he could write an article about cricket in America "without the stereotypical straight–from–central–casting stereotype of the American who hasn’t got a clue what’s going on?"
Steven is of the view that cricket will get its chance, just as Soccer did.
At the moment only a few Philadelphians seem to have latched on to the joys of spending a summer’s afternoon watching an alternately fast–and–violent and slow–and–thoughtful game surrounded by nature at its most manicured and well–behaved. And even fewer play it.
But that could change. In the 1960s hardly any kids in the U.S. played soccer. Now it’s second only to basketball as a youth sport. And last Sunday more than 80,000 turned up to watch the U.S. men’s soccer team play Argentina in Giants Stadium. It’s called globalization—the same historical force that brought cricket to these shores in the first place—and if you think so–called ”American” sports are going to stay unchanged and unchallenged forever, you’re crazy.
Here is the link to the full article.
Tim Chapman of Daily News Record wrote on July 5th about how, at the James Madison University campus in Harrisonburg, cricket forms a common connection between Indians and Pakistanis living in America.
Indo-Pakistani politics, not surprisingly, couldn't be further from the Hillside players' new lives in America.'
"That's been going on for ages," said Vinny Ravash, a 36-year-old Indian immigrant. "Over in the States, basically, that wall falls down."
Added Shafaqat Mehmood: "The basic thing is the governments are fighting with each other, not the people."
The people - many of them, anyway -- are playing cricket, making it a common bond for people from the Subcontinent who have moved to America.
Full article here.
Former West Indian batsman Gus
Logie says the International Cricket Council
(ICC) should use Twenty20 to popularize cricket in the US to make cricket a
truly global sport.
Lauding the success of the Indian
Premier League (IPL), the West Indian said Twenty20 was the only way to
promote cricket around the world.
"The IPL has shown how popular this
format of the game is. Look how the connoisseurs have liked for its
I feel Twenty20 is the way to give exposure to
cricket around the world," he said.
He suggested that the ICC should first help raise the level of
the sport in all associate member nations by giving them more funds and
technical support. "Then, the ICC should target America which has a
huge expatriate population. T20 will be very popular in America."
Zach Hosseini of Otago Daily Times writes about his prediction when he was still an intern at Boston Globe, that talk of Adam Gilchrist joining Boston Red Sox, was just a stunt to raise the profile of Red Sox in Australia -
At the time, Fox Sports quoted Jon Deeble, Red Sox scout and
Australian: "We expressed interest in him and we think he has
a lot of potential, and the club has tapes of him batting."
"Boston has a payroll of $160 million a year and it's
something worth having a look at."
Nothing ever came to fruition with Gilchrist and the Sox, and
lo and behold, Boston did raise its profile in Australia and
have signed some intriguing Aussie prospects.
Zach then presents a list of his top baseball-cricket transitions:
Opening batsman: Derek
Jeter, shortstop, New York Yankees.
While his skills are diminishing as a baseball player, Jeter
has also been an example of cool under pressure as a batter
and fielder and has show immense discipline and technique as
Though I'm obligated to hate his guts because he is a Yankee,
I secretly took joy rooting for him when he played for the
USA in the World Baseball Classic.
Number three and four batsmen: Chase Utley, second
baseman, Philadelphia Phillies; Alex Rodriguez, third
baseman, New York Yankees.
With apologies to David Ortiz, Albert Pujols and other big
boppers around the league, Utley and A-Rod get the call not
only because of their hitting ability, but also their
The worse thing imaginable would be watching Ortiz field.
Think of a taller, rounder, happier and less-mobile Jesse
Utley is an immense young talent, showing atypical power and
patience from a second baseman.
A-Rod is rumoured to be dating Madonna
and has blue lips. 'Nuff said.
Lower middle order batsman: Vladimir Guerrero,
rightfielder, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
"Vlad the Impaler", as he is known, uncorks some of the most
powerful, and explosive swings in baseball and often swings
wildly from the heels.
With quick wrists and great eye-hand co-ordination Guerrero
hits "junk", or pitches in the dirt quite often. A cricket
switch could make sense.
Wicket-keeper: Joe Mauer, catcher, Minnesota Twins.
Mauer, though just 25, is lauded for his maturity and
professionalism when handling the Twins' young pitching
He hasn't shown great power as a hitter, but possesses great
patience and regularly makes contact.
Pace bowler: Jonathan
Papelbon, relief pitcher, Boston Red Sox.
Papelbon, the Red Sox closer, is probably insane, is as close
to a John Belushi as you'll find in a professional athlete,
and throws gas.
At this point, he is probably the most feared closer in
baseball as his on-mound demeanor fierce and
fastball/splitter repetoire is lively.
Spin bowler: Justin Duchscherer, relief pitcher,
Besides having a great name to try and pronounce when you're
drunk, Duchscherer has an array of off-speed pitches and has
carved out a nice career for himself on guile and location.
How we wish all these players played cricket just once, perhaps against a visiting British team. Just the kind of publicity stunt cricket needs in USA.
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