Massiah on money, captaincy and growth Peter Simunovich
USA Captain: Steve Massiah
United States captain Steve Massiah is the international manager of an import and exporting business, which has him tied to a desk for hours and takes him away from home for weeks. He knows the inner workings of big business and what it needs to turn the wheels.
Arguably the most talented batsman in US cricket history, Massiah, who bats at No. 3 with eight international centuries on his resume, told DreamCricket.com in a wide ranging interview that "a lack of funding was handicapping the game in the US.""National team should practice at least once a month"
Massiah, 29, said it was a disadvantage for the national team because the US was such a large country that players did not spend enough time together to prepare for an international. He would like to see a national squad of 16 picked and placed under contract and this would allow them to practice at least once a month to build team unity and know each other better.
The squad, he said, could also visit schools and conduct clinics that would be beneficial to the game at grassroots level. "The foundation is important in the game. I love cricket, I have been a part of US cricket in its embryonic stage and I want to give back to it.""Schools cricket and Twenty20 are the future"
Massiah threw his weight behind the idea of Public School Athletic League (PSAL) introducing cricket at high schools in New York City. "This is the best thing that has happened to cricket in the US. It is where the talent lives. This is where the future is. It is mainly immigrants and some Americans who are now playing cricket. I think Americans will warm to the Twenty20 format. Americans do not like drawn out things," he said. "The Twenty20 game is also a marketable product."
Massiah is like a true captain. He takes the game to heart, cares about its future and growth and is keen to see better facilities available for players. He came to New York from Guyana 11 years ago and began playing right away. He has represented the US for the past nine years."It boils down to funding"
Massiah takes a hard and honest look at cricket in the US and describes it bluntly as "recreational" when compared with the power cricket playing countries like India, Pakistan, the West Indies, Australia, New Zealand, England and South Africa.
He would like to see the USA Cricket Association to make a concerted effort at improving the facilities available to players and spectators, which would include locker rooms and fields.
But Massiah also realizes it "boils down to funding. That is the major, major problem," he said. "The potential is here. Sometimes it is heartbreaking that sponsorship has not been secured. A lot of big companies have money allotted to do certain things."
He hoped the new CEO that USACA is scheduled to appoint soon will be in a position to tap into the market and secure rich sponsorship deals to help springboard US cricket to the next level."We need more international games"
Massiah, who is also the captain of the New York Challengers team in Queens, is enthusiastic and confident about the future of cricket in the US. He proudly talked about the US team's five wins in the ICC endorsed America's Cup tournament.
"We won all five games, but it wasn't that we won, it was how we won and by what margins. It was very pleasing and very convincing," he said.
Another thing that bothers Massiah is the lack of international competition for the US team. "We showed that in the last tournament we can compete with the best," he said. So far there are no Â scheduled international games this season.
Massiah said that as many as 75 percent of the US team were good enough to play with traditional cricket playing countries and with more experience in international games the players would improve even more."I enjoy leadership"
Asked about his captaincy, he said: "I love it. I relish it. I enjoy leadership and lead from the front so others follow. The more experience you get at that level (international) the better you get."
And about his future: "I take great care of myself and I feel I can play for the next 10 years. I want to see the game to the next level and stay involved and give back. I would even look at coaching."