April 2009 - Posts
The International Cricket Committee has invited US cricket CEO Don Lockerbie to attend its Development Committee meeting in Dubai on May 18, which will give him a chance to present to cricket's world governing body the new strategy and look of US cricket.
This is an important meeting for Lockerbie because it will give him an opportunity to properly introduce his three main initiatives - bring international teams to the US, try to get the US into one of the top 15 ranked teams in the world and qualify for the 2015 World Cup and introduce the game at grassroots level - to the ICC since he took over as CEO of US cricket.
It will also give him a chance to show that US cricket is on track and, as he said, "turned the corner."
He added: "We want to make it clear to the ICC that we are a serious member and are taking things seriously and that we have strategic initiatives that can affect the game globally.
"We also want to show to all the members that we want to attract international teams. It is a very important meeting."
The meeting with the Development Committee will give members a chance to meet and discuss with Lockerbie their plans involving the US. For years the ICC has been keen to get the US to become a successful and serious part of international cricket.
But US cricket has been divided with factions for years and under Lockerbie's leadership, albeit brief so far, the game's leaders across the nation see a ray of hope of it becoming unified.
Lockerbie said he wanted to tell the Development Committee meeting, among other things, that the US cricket fraternity was ready for professionalism and international matches.
"We also want to make sure that everyone knows that the US cricket in this region is the next great destination," he said.
Lockerbie also wants to underline to the ICC that USA will meet the mandate for management of the game at top level.
"We are looking forward to attending all ICC meetings and that the US is represented on ICC boards."
Lockerbie and several key board members will also attend the ICC annual general meeting in London in June when all cricket playing countries are expected to be there. This will give the US another chance to showcase its new look and initiatives.
By Peter Simunovich
Imagine the luxury of playing cricket in winter with the temperature in the mid to late 70s or low 80s. Well, that's where Rod Gohil plays with the Arizona Cricket Club in Phoenix, Arizona, and the reason they play in winter is because it is too hot to play in 115 degrees during summer.
For Gohil, 43, a project manager, the cricket season is a special time of the year and he is the go-to guy with the club he formed five years ago and is president, treasurer, captain, player and coach and works like a groundsman on the team's home field in Gilbert, a suburb of Phoenix. The team is part of a 20-team two division Arizona Cricket Association.
The Arizona Cricket Club home ground in Gilbert near Phoenix, AZ
The field is on about 20 acres and Gohil has an agreement with the Town of Gilbert so his team can use the field for 10-13 home matches a season.
It has a turf wicket area - 30yds by 40yds - that has two pitches, which were prepared by Gohil and Derreck Carter. Several years ago they covered the pitch area with sand and then placed top soil over it.
Three years ago Gohil heard that there was three tons of clay calcium bentonite left over after pitches had been placed at Woodley Field in Los Angeles, California. He quickly went to work, he hired a truck and with Ken Taylor they made the 14-hour round trip to shovel the clay onto the truck and returned to Phoenix and immediately laid the clay.
It was all done in a space of a weekend.
Gohil, an all-rounder who came to the United States 34 years ago with his family from Ahemdabad in India, works up to 10 hours on cricket business a week, including preparing the turf pitches for the next matches. The agreement with the local government allows him and others to cut the grass on the pitch and water the area.
The pitch at the Arizona Cricket Club home ground
Under the arrangement, the team hires the field at $15 an hour for matches and when Gohil wants to water the pitch area there is another fee of $15 to hire the area and the groundsmen turn on the water.
Gohil also rolls the pitch once a year at the start of each season. He would like to do it more times, but it costs $300 to rent a heavy roller. Instead, he uses a sod roller during the season. The money comes from season dues of $200 per player, which is high when compared with other leagues, but that is to cover expenses.
Unfortunately, the field is not exclusive for cricket and football and soccer are also played there leaving the pitch area sometimes chopped up.
But overall, says Gohil, the field, which is in a water basin and about 30ft below street level, is "picturesque. It is beautiful, just perfect scenery. We work hard to keep it prepared and it is a labor of love."
All that effort has not gone unrecognized. When DirecTV needed a cricket ground for a PR event featuring baseball pro Manny Ramirez and cricket pro Shaun Marsh for DirecTV Cricket Ticket, they looked far and wide until they zoomed in on Nichols Park - home ground of Gohil's Arizona Cricket Club.
Gohil added: "Cricket is a passion for me. I am passionate for the game and I want to do it right. Our team provides lunch for visiting teams. We cater food from local restaurants and we vary it, ranging from curry meals to sandwiches to pizza."
While the field may be easy on the eye, players do not have a pavilion to use and arrive dressed and ready to play while others may use the privacy of bushes to change. There are portable toilets at the field with a tent and chairs for players.
Gohil is working with local authorities to have a pavilion and restrooms built to complete his field. That's another project on Gohil's already very busy schedule. He sees 20/20 cricket has a bright future in the US. He said: "If it is televised it will catch on. It has a lot of potential."
By Peter Simunovich
It is Edward Fox's cricket field of dreams. It took him five years to build it the way he wanted it to look and it cost him an estimated $120,000. It was a labor of love and he doesn't really mind that he spent so much out of his own pocket.
The Foxfire field is in Haysville, about 20 miles from Wichita in Kansas. It is not a state of the art field nor is it anything like the Sydney Cricket Ground or the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Australia where he was born.
Foxfire Field, Haysville, Kansas - Aerial View. Field of dreams!
But it is his. And the 41-year-old, who is from Grafton, New South Wales, built it for cricket, a game he began playing as a child. Now married with three children - two sons and a daughter - he has lived in the United States for 19 years.
Fox, who is a very much hands-on type of guy and works from his home as an entrepreneur in a number of various small businesses, missed cricket after moving to the US.
He is now captain and all-rounder of the Wichita World XI team, which plays in the Tri-State Cricket League (comprising teams from Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkasas) and, yes, you guessed it, he is president of the league as well. While he loved his weekend playing commitments, it wasn't enough.
After a series of getting through red tape and endless meetings with local government authorities he finally succeeded in building his field of dreams. The field and his home is on 15 acres of land and one of the success stories from the field is his son, Jason, 14, who was selected in the US Under 15 squad as a batsman-wicketkeeper.
"It is basically my field of dreams," he said proudly in an interview with DreamCricket.com
. He bought the land in late 2002 and now the field boasts an artificial pitch, a 30ft by 50ft pavilion with two bathrooms, one shower, a 54-inch TV and 30 seats in front of the pavilion.
Fox's field has free admission on game days and his wife prepares a free lunch with beverages for the 30 to 40 fans, family and friends of players. When Fox isnâ€™t playing and can find a few minutes away from his multi tasking jobs, he is also groundsman of the field.
"I love it. It is a hobby. I could have gone into boating, but I like to see a lot of juniors playing cricket," he said. "When I came here the thing I missed was cricket. I wanted to create a legacy.
"I can now step out of my house and walk 100 yards to the field."
Over the years Fox went to schools and introduced children to schools. He coached them on the finer points of the game. He was making inroads, but it wasn't enough. Fox wanted a field with a pitch and proper facilities.
The wicket area, by the way, is 12ft by 90ft, which he thinks might be "the largest concrete pitch in the US." It is made up of a four-inch concrete base with fiber mesh and topped with good quality artificial turf.
"The goal is to one day have a turf pitch," he said.
The pavilion is adorned by flags of the cricketing world!
Fox describes the Wichita team as the A to Z of cricket. "We have players from America to Zimbabwe and in between," he said.
He described the competition as a C grade pub competition, but quickly added that there were some players who had the ability and talent that could compete at a high level.
Fox has done more than create a legacy. He has introduced cricket, a game he loves and respects to Haysville and has given many players the chance to compete on a better field with facilities that some larger cities in the US do not offer cricketers.
The field is also a starting point for future players to one day represent the US, beginning with his son, Jason, already a junior member of the US cricket team.
By Peter Simunovich
Fontana Field: Just what the doctor ordered
When Asif Ahmad decided to buy and build his own field in Fontana, California, a one-hour drive east of Los Angeles, he went the whole nine yards or in cricket terms, the full 22 yards, the length of a cricket pitch.
The pitch at the Fontana field
The Fontana Cricket Ground sits on five acres of land, has a pavilion, four turf pitches in the center square of the field, the practice nets have three turf wickets, a bowling machine and there are another two concrete pitches that are used during winter.
For those who visit and watch games, says Asif, it reminds them of an English cricket field. But there is a lot more to this than just a nice ground in pleasant surroundings.
More than four years ago Asif made a trip to Melbourne, Australia, and visited the Melbourne Cricket Ground, commonly known as the MCG, then later to Gadaffi Stadium in Lahore, Pakistan, to talk to the groundsmen and get samples of clay that help make up the turf wickets at the two famous cricket stadiums.
Upon his return, he had them analyzed by an engineer, who worked with a brick company.
The pitches in the nets are 90 percent clay and the wickets on the field are 80 percent clay, said Asif, 53, a physician who moved to the United States from Lahore in 1985.
The Fontana outfield is a cricketer's dream!
Asif used hydro seeding as top soil rather than sods, which, he said, made the wickets spongy. "The pitches are very quick," he told DreamCricket.com.
The field has a pavilion, which is really a 1,200 sq. ft. house, built above ground level to give players a better view of the field. The pavilion has two bedrooms, two bathrooms each with a shower and toilet for the players to use on game days.
Dr. Asif Ahmad - Creator of Fontana field
The front of the house is all glass so players can watch the game from inside. Overall, the field is just what the doctor ordered.
Asif played cricket in Multan as a fast bowler while studying at medical school and while he wasn't destined for a first class career he was "quite passionate about the game," he recalled.
When he came to the US he found everything he wanted except cricket, and there was a period from 1985 to 1998 where there was little cricket, there were some games, but no international matches to watch on TV.
"I missed it," he said.
In 2004 Asif began a youth program with the City of La Mirada on a field with tall grass. But he wanted more. A patient told him about a piece of land and after taking a look at it he bought the five acres for about $1 million.
Nina Ahmad - Heavily involved with
Citrus Valley Cricket Club
"It was vacant land with an old shed, I think it was a chicken farm at some point. It was very dirty at the time," he said. Asif went to the local council and it was very helpful as he talked about developing a cricket field.
He had dreamed for years about having his own field so he could start an academy to teach cricket to the youth in the area. The academy has between 60 and 70 aged from eight to 18 coached at a high quality level by Mumtaz Yosuf, a former spin bowler who played Test cricket for Sri Lanka. He later coached Sri Lanka and also coached in Australia.
"It is highly skilled cricket," said Asif. "I want to give back to the kids." The academy is made up mainly of players from India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
"We have a few American kids, but we have found that when they go home cricket stops. They have nobody to talk to about the game or to watch it on TV. The others can go home and talk about the game with their family or watch games on TV," he said.
For Asif, the field is special to him and his family - his wife, Nina, and two sons, Salman, 17, and Shakeel, 14. "We can enjoy it," he said.
Salman, an all rounder, and Shakeel, a leg spinner, have the potential, says Asif, to play at first class level. "We are working with them every day," he said.
Last year Salman represented the South West California Region Under 19 team and will repeat again this summer and Shakeel will do the same with the Under 15 team.
"When I look at the field I feel very satisfied," said Asif. "It is a true cricket field. The pitches are of a high standard, there are nets to practice. It is a breeding ground for cricket. There is a lot of satisfaction and my wife is heavily involved."
The Citrus Valley Cricket Club, which is made up of Under 18 and older cricketers, play on the field during the Southern California Cricket Association season and youth teams from age 10 and upwards also play there.
Asif praised coach Mumtaz for his patience and quality coaching the Americans, who took a while to understand and get used to cricket.
Asif has two more 10-acre properties near Fontana and one day he might also develop them into cricket fields. But that is another story.
|By Peter Simunovich |
When Ganesh Sanap, the President of the Northern California Cricket Association, saw US cricket CEO Don Lockerbie on his fact finding trip to California last weekend he closed his eyes and thought to himself just how much things had changed in the 13 years he had been involved in the game on the West coast.
USACA CEO Lockerbie with U-15 cricketers in Bay Area
In that time he had not seen a senior cricket administrator from the USA Cricket Association even though invitations and requests had been made many times.
"This is a good sign," said Sanap, who lives in Santa Clara, and heads an association of 37 teams and four divisions, one of the largest and oldest in US cricket.
Lockerbie spent the weekend in northern California visiting administrators, volunteers, players, coaches, umpires and fans to listen to their thoughts and to explain his plans and hopes to revitalize the game in the US and to take the national team to the top 15 in the world.
"He was pretty passionate in promoting the game. He wants to see the US in the 2015 World Cup in Australia and he would like to see more Americans playing the game," said Sanap. "He wants to bring international teams to the US.
"He gave us a vision and we offered our help and if we all work together cricket can go a long way here."
By all accounts, Lockerbie, made an impression on his trip West. Administrators liked what they heard from the cricket chief.
"I came home feeling very energized," said Lockerbie. After talking and listening to many people he felt that cricket in the US was like an underground movement with an ethnic base and private clubs. He also felt the warmth of commitment and loyalty to the game from children to some who had been playing the game for 60 years.
"They were ready to turn it to the wonderful thing that it is," he said.
Hemant Buch, Chairman of the Western Region of US cricket, which includes Hawaii, hosted Lockerbie's visit, said the cricket chief met with more than 100 people, attended a dinner, breakfast, mixed with sponsors, attended Under 13 and Under 11 games at the California Cricket Academy and spoke to the youngsters.
In a conversation with the children, one of them told Lockerbie: "I want to play for the US cricket team," which must have pleased him.
He also watched a match with senior players, visited a field with new turf wickets, attended a fund raiser, met with administrators from a local college about a possible cricket program and his willingness to speak to everyone from children up showed that he cared about the future of the game as a whole and not just the US national team.
"Don certainly has energized cricket here. He also has a sharp marketing mind, which cricket has lacked," said Buch. "He knows the ropes and has cut through the bureaucracies and political fences. I think he will represent us well at the ICC (International Cricket Conference) and lead us in the right direction.
"He was a good listener when he spoke to people and is concerned about the future of the game and knows how important it is to get the game to schools and colleges. He also talked about the importance of fundraising.
Lockerbie met with Bay Area cricketers over dinner on Friday
"It gave me a feeling that he really has a free hand in executing his job, which is a very welcome gesture by the US cricket board." Jaswinder Singh, the Chairman of the Bay Area Cricket Alliance, believes Lockerbie's plan to introduce cricket at grass roots level was the right way to go to help solidify the future of the game. "Yes, I would say he is a guy who can bring the game together. His ideas are to lay the groundwork for a better game," he said.
"His vision is what the game needs. It is very encouraging and his whole concept is unique -- he looks at all aspects of the game and wants to improve the game as a whole and not just with the US team.
"The game needs someone like him. It is perfect timing and the (US cricket) board is behind him and more united than before."
Even though Lockerbie has been in the job only a short time he has shown that he is on the way to unify the different factions that have fragmented the game for years.
"It was a wonderful trip, a whirlwind trip, Don hardly had time to breathe. It was so positive from as soon as we saw him to the time he left," said Raj Padhi, who is the regional representative and a USACA board member. "He spoke to all five leagues in the Bay Area and it was very well received by everyone.
"People are now more hopeful, more optimistic about cricket and because of Don the game is going somewhere. In the past a lot of people were fed up with administrators because they were not giving much hope. That has changed now."
Sir Richard Hadlee threw his weight behind the APL
The newly formed American Premier League generated a lot of buzz helped by media reports that the league signed Inzamam-ul-Haq and six other Pakistani cricketers for its inaugural season.
New Zealand all-rounder Richard Hadlee confirmed earlier today that he has joined APL as an ambassador and executive consultant.
Jay Mir, the President and CEO of American Sports and Entertainment Group Inc, has drawn up plans for a six-team tournament to be played in October at a baseball stadium in Staten Island.
Mr. Hadlee's endorsement is expected to provide new thrust to the infant league that Mir has called 'revolutionary.'
Mr. Mir also told Reuters that England spin bowler and ICL coach John Emburey had agreed to be coach of a 'Premium World' team. Richie Richardson is named as coach for Premium Windees. The event and the teams
According to APL's website - www.AmericanPremierLeague.us
, six teams - Premium Bengalees, Premium Paks, Premium Indians, Premium Windees, Premium World and Premium Americans, are expected to take part in this tournament.
Premium Paks team featuring Moin Khan (coach), Inazimam Ul Haq (sic) Captain, Imran Nazir, Imran Farhat, Rana Naved, Toufeeq Umar, Abdur-Razzaq, Shahid Nazir, Shabbir Ahmed and Humayun Farhat is listed as one of the teams. APL deemed 'Unauthorized' by ICC
Cricket administrators reached by DreamCricket.com said that they had neither been formally approached nor had approved the event.
ICC issued a memo in which it noted that members are "precluded from releasing their players to play in this event until such time as ICC confirms that the event has been approved."
According to UK's Telegraph newspaper, David Collier, chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board, last week told counties to warn players against signing up to the American Premier League.
Mr. Mir appears to be unfazed and plans to go ahead with the tournament. Tickets selling fast
The APL website suggests that the tickets, priced between $50 to $25,000 are selling fast.
Click here for details.
President Obama's cricket lessons from Brian Lara were cheered loudly in blogs and forums across USA today.
The President, who is known to have played baseball and still plays basketball when time permits, is a confirmed sports fanatic. But he is not the first president to wield the willow.
President Obama gets some expert coaching
President Obama, however, will be remembered as the first president to attempt a left handed cover drive.
On second thoughts, Obama may also end up as the first president to be banned from cricket by Lalit Modi for taking lessons from an ICL player!
Legendary batsman Brian Lara gave Barack Obama some batting lessons on the sidelines of the Fifth Summit of the Americas at the appropriately re-named Obama Terrace, Hilton Trinidad on Sunday.
President Bush learns how to duck
Lara also gave the President an autographed bat on which he wrote: "To the President of the United States, Barack Obama, in appreciation of your visit to T&T Best Wishes."
"I always wanted to meet with the Michael Jordan of cricket," Obama is said to have told Lara. Lara told The Guardian newspaper, "Despite these responsibilities, he seems to have a great liking for sport, and we both enjoyed our short time together."
Cricket afficianados will remember that the former President Bush famously ducked a ball bowled to him during his brief encounter with cricket whilst on a visit to Pakistan. Training that eventually helped him duck a shoe thrown at him.
The lessons helped him in the long run
Clinton got the game
But not with that bat!
Bill Clinton got his own dose of cricket. Former English Prime Minister John Major presented him with an autographed book - More Than a Game. On another occasion, John Major, gifted President Clinton with a Surrey County Cricket Club cap and three umbrellas.
President Clinton, who was the first US President to attend Oxford may have understood the game better than his predecessor, President George Bush Senior. In John Major's words: "I tried explaining the game to George Bush Senior, but when I told him that it could last for five days and there might not be a positive result, I could see his eyes glaze over."
These are just recent presidents to have experienced the game. USA cricket history is lined with stories of past presidents enjoying the game. When Chicago hosted Milwaukee in a 1859 cricket match, Abraham Lincoln was among the spectators. That's right.
George Washington was a cricket buff
In 1753, when the British General Braddock marched on Fort Duquesne (later to be renamed Pittsburgh), he brought heavy rollers with him so he can make a cricket pitch. The resulting massacre - in which Braddock died - was the first time the supposedly invincible British had been defeated on American soil. With the British went the cricket pitch but one young 23 year old American officer who had served as aide-de-camp to General Braddock began to enjoy the game. His name was George Washington.
In 1775, Washington was appointed the commander of the American forces, this time to fight the army of King George. Having survived a savage winter in Valley Forge in 1878, George Washington rebuilt his army's shattered morale with theatrical entertainments and cricket. Historical records show that on May 4, 1778, George Washington played cricket himself. "This day His Excellency dined with General Nox" wrote first lieutenant George Ewing in his diary, "and after dinner did us the honor to play at Wicket with us." A festival match to commemorate an anniversary of the occasion was organized near Wayne's Woods below the Memorial Arch in the summer of 1993.
Other founding fathers are known to have been cricket buffs. It is believed that the rules of cricket were formalized in America in 1754 when Benjamin Franklin brought back from England a copy of the 1744 Laws called the "London Method." This gave cricket a 100 year lead before the first book of baseball rules was published.
In 1776, cricket came up in the debate at the Independence Hall over what to call the new nation's head of state. John Adams disapproved and noted futilely that "there are presidents of fire brigades and cricket clubs."
By Peter Simunovich
Rajeev Kohli played a little cricket while growing up in New Delhi,
India. He wasn't really good, but this did not stop him from becoming
passionate about the game. And like most youngsters in cricket playing
countries he remembers listening to Test matches broadcast on the radio
when the Indian team visited England and Australia.
Legendary radio broadcasters like John Arlott, of England, and
Australia's Alan McGilvray painted a vivid picture of what was
happening on the field as the young Kohli listened intently while
following the fortunes of the Indian team.
Prof. Kohli of Columbia
Now Kohli, a professor in marketing at the Business School
of Columbia University in New York, is involved in a cricket project
with three different groups of his students.
The groups, which are made up of four students each, are
involved in a study of how to best develop the game in the US and the
potential of the 20/20 format.
The groups are made up of all Americans, a mixture, including
one from India, and the third of predominantly women. Only the student
from India was aware of cricket as a whole when the project began about
three months ago.
Prof. Kohli, who moved to the US as a student in 1978 and has
been at Columbia since 1990, said that developing the game from
grassroots level, which was the most difficult, but had the most
potential, has emerged along with the 20/20 format.
The 20/20 game showed potential to attract spectators in the
US and create a large following that could become passionate as, say,
baseball, soccer or in traditional cricket playing countries.
The project involves market research and the development
concept. The students are now finalizing the project, which has a
business perspective and is part of a MBA course, and they will submit
their reports to Prof. Kohli in about three weeks.
The idea of the project came over a conversation between Prof.
Kohli and I.S. Bindra, the former president of the Board of Cricket
Control in India and now International Cricket Control board member, in
January in New Delhi.
At the time Prof. Kohli hosted a group of more than 20
students from New York to New Delhi for a week, which was part of a
semester course on the aspect of innovation in India.
On the cricket project, US cricket CEO Don Lockerbie was
invited to take part in a teleconference call with Prof. Kohli and the
students to answer questions and share his ideas on marketing and the
growth of the game.
Prof. Kohli said he would read the reports when they were submitted, then condense them and make them available to the ICC.
"If something comes out of it we could take it to another level," he told DreamCricket.com.
NWCL won North West Region's 2009 Inter-League championship for the second successive time. The final between Northern California Cricket Association and North West Cricket League was a nail-biting affair in which NCCA won high praise for coming so close in a 250 plus chase.
With 15 runs needed from 14 balls, and with Saqib Saleem and Rishi Bhardwaj cruising, the match was in NCCA's bag. But NWCL were relentless and things changed in a dramatic fashion in the space of a few balls.
NWCL were the winners in North West Inter-league tournament
Batting first, NWCL put on a respectable total of 253 for 6 in 50 overs. Man of the match Srinivasa Raghavan top-scored with 53 and Vijay Beniwal played a captain's knock of 41.
In reply, NCCA had a sub-optimal start but regained momentum thanks to some disciplined performances by Srinivas (56) and number eight batsman Rishi Bhardwaj (49). The tail performed courageously, but ran out of luck with 7 balls left and just 9 runs shy of what might have been a spectacular victory.
NWCL Captain Vijay Beniwal led from the front
Speaking on the occasion, NWCL Captain Vijay Beniwal told DreamCricket.com, "This is probably the most competitive Inter-League tournament played in our region with excellent hospitality and organization off the field. I am not surprised that it ended with so many exciting and well-fought games. It also allowed players to step up to showcase their talent in this competitive environment. This is certainly a very positive step towards building a solid North West Regional team for the nationals."
Speaking about his team's performance, Mr. Beniwal added, "Every year we participate in this tournament as underdogs competing against other well prepared teams and on unfamiliar grounds."
"Being that it is held in April, it is almost impossible to play outside and get any match practice, so these are our first games we play in the season. In spite of all odds, I am extremely impressed by the performances of the NWCL players and most importantly as a Team."
"The close win by six runs against BACA yesterday (April 11th) and by 9 runs against NCCA today showcases our team spirit and the strong will to win in each game. We certainly would have closed the games more easily had we have taken the catches and had some umpiring decisions gone in our favor but overall I couldn't ask for more as it was more than 100% team effort to win the Cup."
"Lots of credit for this team goes to Coach Mark Demos who has worked with the team for last 3 years. Mark created an atmosphere where positivity and performance are the emphasized. We owe our success to his dedication as much as players' talent. Our Manager Dhananjay has also be very helpful in our preparation and instrumental in keeping the team morale high throughout."
Krish Goel got 3 for 31 for CCA
In the other games over the long weekend, BACA lost to NWCL in a close game. BACA was which was at one time strongly positioned at 80 for no loss until 17 overs drink break started losing wickets to NWCL's spinners.
In the NCCA vs CCA match, chasing 156, NCCA got a minor scare when they lost 8 wickets for 145. Spirited bowling by Pranay Suri (2 for 32) and Krish Goel (3 for 31) caused some tremors. But Saqib and Carmo helped NCCA regain its balance and the target was reached without further problems. Given their lack of experience at this level, CCA must be commended - its bowling was effective and if the batsmen get more practice, the youngsters cannot be taken lightly at all.
By Michael Makin
Motown Cricket Club took home the Open Division trophy in the inaugural Michigan Sixes indoor tournament, hosted by Michigan Cricket Academy on Sunday, April 12, while Greater Detroit C.C. Colts won the Junior Division.
Nine teams competed in the six-a-side, six-over tournament, which provided an opportunity to prepare for the beginning of the local outdoor season, eagerly anticipated by the stir-crazy cricketers of upper Midwest.
Motown Cricket Club (l to r) Back: Satish, Anas, Vijay, Kashif (captain), Ali, Nadeem, Neill; Front: Gordon, Arman
The tournament's organizing committee, MCA Head Coaches Vasanth Krishnaswami and Shyam Mayasandra, plus MCA Information Director Michael Makin, judged the tournament a success, and hope to make it an annual event on the Michigan cricket calendar. They were delighted that players had driven up to three hours to participate, and noted with pleasure that some sixty cricketers filled the dome at Total Sports, Wixom (one of Metro Detroit's top indoor sports facilities), with the sound of leather on willow for six hour on Easter Sunday.
Faisal Sultan, Captain of Greater Detroit CC, picks up the runners-up trophy, Open Division
Seventeen matches were played in that period, with the quick-fire format rewarding clever batsmanship, good running between the wickets, intelligent bowling, and athletic fielding.
Motown (captained by Kashif Akhtar) were joined in the open division by runners up Greater Detroit CC (Faisal Sultan), who lost in the final by thirteen runs, and by joint-third-place teams Greater Toledo CC (Azmat Khan) and Grand Rapids CC (Fahad Ilahi), as well as an ad hoc team representing the University of Michigan (Ali Iftikhar), who very narrowly missed the playoffs, despite inflicting a defeat on the eventual champions.
Matches were played in quadrants on the dome's full-sized Astroturf soccer pitch, using a revised, indoor version of the familiar six-a-side rules.
These rules kept the ball in play and kept fielders, perhaps lethargic after months of snow and cold, active: balls hit to the dome walls remained live, while the only scoring boundaries were fours, making batsmen place their shots and fielders chase the ball on the ground. Every player was required to bowl one over per innings, leading Motown's regular wicket keeper, Nadeem Muqueem, to comment after the final match that "if not for my bowling spell, we would probably have [won] by a much...much wider margin."
Some observers thought that Nadeem's modesty was, perhaps, excessive, while everyone enjoyed the quick turns of fortune guaranteed by a format in which players found themselves in unfamiliar situations, whether behind the stumps or with the ball.
Greater Detroit Cricket Club Colts, Michigan Sixes Junior Champions
In the Junior Division GDCC Colts, captained ably by Haris Ahmed, carried all before them, defeating the host club's senior team, the International Challengers (Anurag Yerabati) and junior team, the Michigan Royals (Mahesh Rao). The Royals (average age eleven) also held a single-wicket competition for team members, which was won by the youngest player in the tournament, their wicket keeper, nine-year old Neil Makin, who narrowly beat big-hitting twelve-year-old Shriman.
In the Open Division the MVP trophy went to Toledo's Ravi, whose forceful batting and economical, accurate bowling carried his team; the spectacular hitting and elegant stroke play of Fahad Ilahi of Grand Rapids won him the Best Batsman award, while the Best Bowler was judged to be Grand Rapids' Arun Kumar, who combined penetration with the economy vital for success in this, the shortest of all formats.
In the junior division, GDCC Colts' Wasim Patel was the unanimous choice for MVP, outstanding with both bat and ball, while Deepak Chilla's controlled aggression always kept MCA's Challengers in contention and won him the Best Batsman award, and MCAâ€™s rapidly-developing off spinner Pawan Canchi again demonstrated the value of a cool head and a good line and length, to take the Best Bowler award.
At the awards ceremony which concluded the tournament the organizers thanked umpires Jayanth Canchi, John Titus, and Philip Allen who showed great skill in adjusting rapidly to the particular conditions of small-sided, limited-space indoor cricket (not to mention adjusting to the intensely competitive spirit it engendered among players), and also expressed their particular gratitude to Shahid Ahmed, Chairman of the Michigan Cricket Association, whose support and promotion of the tournament had been essential to its success. In his turn, Mr Ahmed spoke of his hope that the tournament would become an annual fixture.
MCA players celebrate individual achievements: left to right, back row - Jai Sura (International Challengers and Royals), Anurag Yerabati (Captain, Challengers), Pawan Canchi (Challengers, Best Bowler, Junior Division), Deepak Chilla (Best Batsman, Junior Division); front row - brothers Neil Makin (Royals, Champion, Single-Wicket Competition) and Gordon Makin (Motown CC and Challengers)
Junior Division: Omar Khawaja (GDCC Colts) batting against MCA Royals (Neil Makin keeping wicket)
|By Dr. Gangaram Singh|
The author is a professor at San Diego State University and President of SDCC. Dr. Singh subscribes to cricket legend Bishan Singh Bedi's creed that "cricket builds character."
Often universities initiate scientific, economic, or philosophical innovation. But sometimes our fine institutions can also be at the root of cricketing innovation.
San Diego Cricket Club was initiated just over 12 years ago on the campus of the University of California, San Diego. For sure, it wasn't for science, economics, or philosophy. It was initiated by a bunch of expatriates, looking for some fun. It is this reality that is at the base of most recreational leagues (some would argue almost all) around the country. But what sometimes starts as recreation can grow, and if that growth is not managed properly, then it can result in disenchantment, severe criticism, and lawsuits. Negative vibes, for sure, can suck the fun out of cricket (or anything for a matter of fact)!
San Diego Cricket Club is one of the many clubs in the United States which has experienced rapid growth. From its modest beginnings on the campus of UCSD, it is now a vibrant organization with a very complicated strategy, organizational structure, processes, people, and rewards. Above all, it is administered by a group of volunteers, who have built a community around cricket.
Dr. Singh is working within the community,
to introduce the game to San Diego youth.
Highlights of SDCC include:
Grounds: It was displaced from UCSD (not enough faculty/students) two years ago. An immediate need was to secure grounds. Senior members of the Club engaged local politicians and volunteered their services on the local recreational council to cooperate with baseball, soccer, and football to promote cricket. The City of San Diego has now awarded two grounds for cricket.
Three Teams in SCCA: With this base, SDCC was able to provide the opportunity for 3 teams to compete in Southern California Cricket Association. Based on its seniority, SDCC was offered playing status at the premier facilities at Woodley. SDCC turned down the opportunity simply because it felt that it was important to "spread" cricket.
Growth in popularity of cricket in San Diego: With a large influx of "technology workers," the demand for cricket in San Diego grew significantly. Hungry cricketers roamed around the City on weekends in search of an empty space to play tape ball (later leather ball) on any acceptable surface.
SDCC responded to this demand by sponsoring a "winter league." Cricket in San Diego is now organized around 6-9 teams competing in the winter (and for the first time this year in the summer) in the 20/20 format. SDCC still maintains three teams in SCCA. With close to 150 active cricketers, SDCC is now well positioned to take cricket outside the "expatriate community."
Junior cricket: SDCC collaborated with the YMCA to introduce cricket to a wider/younger cohort. It first conducted a 2-hour cricket clinic. With 32 kids and a few Kanga sets, a whole new generation was introduced to the game. SDCC now runs regular 6-week session, with 16-20 kids per session.
Naturally, the parents of these kids have become interested in cricket. An Over 35 (SD Vintage) team is in the planning phase. The objective of this idea is to motivate parent/child interaction and fitness. It is fun too!
Community outreach: Each year, for the last five years, SDCC was invited by the San Diego Padres (Major League Baseball) to demonstrate cricket at PETCO Park just before a major league game. This year we have kids to demonstrate cricket.
We believe that our success was derived from a vision to promote the game and a set of dedicated volunteers. It was a love for the game and the vision to see it prosper which provided the energy for the volunteers.
A disaggregation of the responsibilities and a centralization of coordination provided the structure to accomplish the strategy. A fair and transparent process on and off the field provided the culture of "giving back to the game."
Rewards (recognition) for those who contribute to the game was at the root of motivation. Together, a clear strategy, structure, processes, people, and rewards resulted in the desired behavior, which fostered a culture of giving back and a code of high performance.
Close on the heels of the American College Cricket tournament that saw teams from the Eastern US compete in a Twenty20 tournament in Lauderhill, Minnesota held its tournament which attracted several college teams from the MidWest including the hosts Minnesota State University as well as visiting teams including St. Cloud University, North Dakota State University, South Dakota State University, Dakota State (Madison, SD), and University of Minnesota.
“It is a great opportunity for the domestic students and community members to learn about a sport that is loved by millions in Asia, Europe, Australia, Africa and Central America,” says club member and co-organizer Irfan Bangash.
The tournament was dedicated to College of Business Dean Scott Johnson, a strong supporter of the three-year-old tournament and of the campus Cricket Club. During the tournament the club will present Johnson with a cricket bat signed by captains of the participating teams. “Scott has really helped us. If we ask him for $500, $600, he’s OK with that,” Bangash said of the monetary support received from the College of Business fund for student activities
The tournament was sponsored by Campus Recreation, Student Allocation Committee, the Colleges of Business and Science, Engineering & Technology, International Student Association, David Cowan and Mike Levine.
Brian Ojanpa of the Mankato Free Press, in a detailed article on the tournament, noted that fourteen teams from five states took part in matches held behind Gage Center and in Myers Field House.
MSU, a member of Minnesota Cricket Association was represented by four teams in the tournament.
Bangash told Mankato Free Press that he and other players are looking forward to a cricket field with a clay surface in the middle being installed at MSU. “It’s been asked for and approved, so hopefully we’ll have it next year.”
Indoor matches are held in cavernous fieldhouses such as Myers because its hard surface lends itself to the bowlers’ bounced pitches.
For larger pictures and complete article at the Free Press, Mankato, click here.
If you know who won the tournament or want to share your experiences with college cricket, please leave your comments below.
Cardinal Gibbons, a private Catholic school in Baltimore, Maryland takes great pride in its heritage and is regarded as one of Baltimore's strongest centers of learning.
Originally named St. Mary's Industrial School for Orphans, its alumni includes the baseball great Babe Ruth. In fact, the legendary Babe Ruth once organized a fund-raising drive that netted well over $100,000 for the school, a massive amount of money at the time. Babe Ruth's old home houses the school's fine arts building.
A part of cricketing folklore is the meeting between Babe Ruth and Don Bradman at the Yankees stadium when the Aussies toured USA in 1932. "Us little fellows could hit them harder than the big ones," the baseball great famously said. And that was the school's only brush with cricket. Until recently, that is.
Students from Cardinal Gibbons have been working hard to grow local interest in cricket.
On February 28th, their efforts received a huge boost when they were visited by Gladstone Dainty, the president of the U.S.A. Cricket Association. Gladstone Dainty told players, their efforts will play a major role in moving cricket into the mainstream of American sports.
The Cardinal Gibbons cricket team was visited by Gladstone Dainty, President of USACA
"It underlines the significance of what we're doing," Gibbons coach Jamie Harrison said. "If cricket is ever to go from being a niche sport to being a mainstream sport, it has to crack into the American-born market."
Gibbons soon might get company with both Loyola and John Carroll in the process of beginning teams. Washington DC is also readying plans for a local youth cricket league. So the prospects look bright in the region.Courtesy: Rich Sherr, Baltimore Sun
Picture Courtesy: Jamie Harrison
|April 4, 2009 |
DreamCricket Academy had a surprise in store for its Under-15 cricketers on Saturday, April 4, 2009. Just as the boys were padding up at DreamCricket's indoor cricket arena on a windy day in New Jersey - they were joined by the legendary cricketer - Sunil Gavaskar.
Whilst on a visit to Wharton India Economic Forum, when DreamCricket.com requested the Little Master to visit the DreamCricket Academy, Mr. Gavaskar immediately agreed despite his hectic schedule.
Mr. Gavaskar connected with the kids instantaneously. Noticing the hands go up reluctantly when he asked who the DreamCricket Academy's opening batsmen were, he joked "I don't blame you. You have to be crazy to be openers!" The kids were not old enough to have seen the Little Master in action during his playing days, but they were awestruck when they were told that the man in front of them was test cricket's best opening batsman ever.
In a short and inspiring speech, Mr. Gavaskar reinforced the importance of sport. "Remember that, above all, this is a sport. You have to enjoy sports. Participating in sports is the biggest high that you can have. I mean, as you get older, as your body gets a little tired, you will feel like I wish I could do this, I wish I could play, but age doesn't allow you, so while you are young, you have the energy, you have the abilities, you must enjoy yourselves."
Mr. Gavaskar told the kids that cricket was a metaphor for life. "The game of cricket is one which tells you what teamwork is all about. It's a reflection of the society that you are in. Sometimes, the better batsman looks after the lesser batsman, the better bowler looks after the lesser bowler."
"The better batsman will not be able to score a century if the lesser batsman doesn't stay at the other end with him. Similarly the better bowler won't get wickets unless the lesser bowler is able to keep some pressure, unless he has the cooperation from the fielders who are taking catches and stopping the runs."
"There are times when the good batsman is struggling, and the lesser batsman comes in and he faces most of the bowling till the good batsman starts to get his form back, starts to get his feet moving, so it is all a matter of cooperation and teamwork. And that's what life is all about."
"Cricket is just a reflection of how to go about life where you try and help everybody, so that it becomes a very peaceful society where everybody helps each other," Mr. Gavaskar added.
About the game's ups and downs, he told the kids not to worry. "Some days you really feel good playing sports, everything falls into place, if you are a batsman, you are hitting the ball, you are getting hundreds, if you are a bowler, you are getting wickets doing everything. On an another day, nothing, not a thing can work. Still you have to go out there with the knowledge that you are putting everything into it. Effort has got to be there 100%. When you put your head on the pillow at night, it should be with the knowledge that you gave it 100%. And then success and failure is in the hands of God."
U-15 cricketers bowled to the Little Master in the nets
"Always wear a helmet," was Mr. Gavaskar's advice to everyone present. These words acquired even more weight because they came from a batsman who never wore a helmet, even as he played the most vicious fastest bowlers cricket has ever produced. He repeated the advice as he sat down to watch the kids play in the nets.
When asked whether American born cricketers had a chance to play cricket at the highest level, Mr. Gavaskar said: "I think that with effort comes better performance. When you perform, you get noticed. And higher honors await you. Throughout the process, enjoy the sport and get the thrill of participation." Mr. Gavaskar was quite impressed with what he had seen and offered some helpful suggestions to popularize the sport.
In her welcome address, DreamCricket.com CEO Ms. Kranthi Bayya said, "It is an amazing honor to have a living legend at the DreamCricket Academy." Noting that it was Mr. Gavaskar's opening partner, Mr. Chetan Chauhan, who opened DreamCricket's indoor facility in the winter of 2007, Ms Bayya said, "it is a dream come true for us at DreamCricket to have India's best opening pair visit the facility."
Kranthi Bayya, CEO of DreamCricket.com
welcomed Sunil Gavaskar to the indoor facility
Talking about his many accomplishments as a player, commentator and writer, Ms. Bayya quoted Tony Lewis' tribute to Mr. Gavaskar from the 1989 Wisden: "You would not wish to be Mr Gavaskar's opponent in any field."
Mr. Gavaskar's quick wit was on display throughout his brief visit. When a parent noted that Sunil Gavaskar held the records for both the most runs and most centuries during his playing days. Mr. Gavaskar shot back, "that was in the last century." And as a woman was struggling to open the plastic wrapper off a DVD that she had brought for his autograph, he said "give that to me, I am the opener!"
Following the speech, Mr. Gavaskar spent an hour in the nets with the kids as they got a chance to bowl to the legend. He then watched some of the kids practice their batting. "The kids are on the right track. I don't see any baseball influence here. I think the coach is doing a wonderful job by focusing on cricketing technique," he said complimenting Coach Earl Daley.
Gavaskar signed autographs for all present
Mr. Gavaskar posed for pictures with those present and signed autographs. Before his departure, he toured DreamCricket.com's facility, which includes a cricket store, indoor nets and houses its collection of memorabilia in addition to the DreamCricket Academy.
Sunil Gavaskar visits DreamCricket.com.
Sunil Gavaskar gave an inspiring speech to the kids
U-15 cricketers bowled to the Little Master in the nets
Sunil Gavaskar poses with the DreamCricket family
Sunil Gavaskar tours the store
Parents of the U15 boys take a picture with the Little Master
The Gazette, a Maryland newspaper, wrote:
"Montgomery College-Rockville campus boasts the top-ranked cricket team in the United States. On March 23, its first-ever squad beat the University of South Florida to capture the inaugural American College Cricket Championship, held in Lauderhill, Fla. They did so in complete obscurity. Montgomery College does not recognize cricket as a varsity sport, or even a club team.
So how did they get so good?"
Click here for full article.
Charles E. Shoemaker/The Gazette: Gaithersburg resident Mohammed Khamran demonstrates the technique that helped Montgomery College-Rockville win the inaugural American College Cricket Championship tournament in March.
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