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By David Sentance
Since its founding in June 2003, California Cricket Academy has
galvanized both Northern California and US Cricket in the area of
junior cricket. Seven members on the USA Under-15 team have
participated in matches hosted by the Academy and over 250 active
league cricketers have been trained in the six year existence of the
CCA. Most impressive is the volunteer base of eighty parents, with
seven volunteers assigned to help maintain each of the two Cupertino
grounds at Dilworth School and the Cupertino Library.
Under-13 teams contended for first spot in the CCA 25-over Invitational
tournament which started on June 23rd with an opening ceremony that
included several local Cupertino Council members and the deputy mayor.
The teams participating were: DreamCricket Academy, Northern California
Cricket Association, CCA Champions, CCA Challengers and Los Angeles
Tri-Counties (representing Orange, Riverside and San Bernadino counties
of Southern California).
Pic (Right): True to their name, the CCA Champions were crowned champions in the U-13 tournament
This was only the second tournament for the visiting DreamCricket
Academy team which is coached by Jamaican born cricketer - Earl Daley
and his wife Malika Frank Daley. And it was the first tournament for
the Southern California based team coached by former Sri Lankan test
cricketer, Malayasian National, Australian Level 3, Coach Mumtaz Yusef.
With the most match experience of any team, the CCA Champions, the
senior of the two CCA sides, were the favorites to win the tournament.
The CCA Academy has implemented a winning formula for developing young
cricketers that could be replicated nationwide if funds were available.
to Kinjal Buch, wife of Hemant Buch, who co-founded CCA along with her
husband, the CCA’s Silicon Valley location has a 30% Asian, 12% of
which is Indian. The high educational level of Cupertino’s cricket
parents encourages full parental involvement in an area where median
house prices are in the $1 million range!
Pic (Left): The DreamCricket Academy U-13 boys finished runners-up.
Ajay Athavale, CCA President, remains clear in his training
objective when he says: “We want one great team not eleven
individuals,” he’s also a realist noting that “Cricket was a
Gentleman’s game.” Currently, Maharashtra coach Shyam Oak, lives in
Mumbai and Poona when not coaching in Cupertino, directs a three month
six times a week training regime based on rigorous physical
conditioning applied to technical skills training.
USACA Treasurer John Thickett, a generous individual CCA sponsor in
the past three years, believes the CCA’s youth program is the best
organized in the United States.
Under-13 Day 1: CCA Challengers vs Tri-Counties
Library Ground June 24th: CCA Challengers 94/7 Tri-Counties 70. Challengers won by 24 runs
The Under-13 tournament started on the clay wicket of the Cupertino
Library Fields at 9.30 sharp. The first game was between Challengers -
the young farm team of the CCA, and Tri-Counties. This was Tri-Counties
first competitive match. Challengers won the toss and their opener
Swapnavo Biswas(14) teamed with number 3 Shankara (10) as they put on a
re-assuring 27 run partnership before Shankara was run out by Nihar.
Swapnavo then teamed with Monil Patel (10) before he was caught out
by Arjun off Paras Choudhry’s bowling for a team leading score 14 in 47
balls. The Challengers tail-enders wagged effectively with Apurna
scoring 13 not out in 21 balls. Challengers made 94 (including 41
extras) for 7 in their 25 overs. Tejas Peruvamba was the most effective
of the Tri County bowlers with 1 for 9 runs in 4 overs. In their
innings, Tri-Counties scored a confidence inspiring 70 (including 22
extras) all out. Opener Braham (6) did well to stave off a rampant
Shankara who took a devastating 3 wickets for 2 runs in his 5 over
opening spell. Lakshya Jain took 2 for 15 and Apurva Mishra effectively
staked his claim as an all-rounder with bowling figures of 2 for 20.
Challengers defeated Tri-Counties by 24 runs-a good result for both
Tri-Counties managed by Pradeep Patel and coached by Mumtaz Yusef were well pleased with this first match.
Under-13 Day 1: CCA Challengers vs NCCA
Library Ground June 24th: Challengers 83 all out NCCA 59/7, Challengers won by 24 runs
After a delicious curry lunch, the second game on the Cupertino
Library pitch was between Challengers and the NCCA. Challengers again
won the toss and elected to bat. The home side scored 83 which included
26 extras. After the Challengers openers were dismissed cheaply with
one run on the board, number 3 Vikram Ramesh(11) teamed with Monil
Patel(9). The pair stabilized the innings scoring a 35 runs partnership
from 76 balls. Apurva Mishra’s match winning contribution of 29 runs
not out in 30 balls, his second undefeated innings, scored more than
half the CCA Challengers runs as he teamed with Lakit Jain for a 24 run
partnership. Apurva, a black-belt in karate, rose to this occasion
after Challengers posted five ducks.
Nikhil was the most economical NCCA bowler with 1 wicket for 9 runs.
Shivane Sabharwal 2 for 15 and Kushal Singh 2 for 12 also bowled well
for the NCCA. The CCA Challengers were all out in 24 overs.
Batting in reply, the NCCA put up a dogged defense using their full
25over allotment, scoring just 26 runs with 33 extras for an innings
total of 59 for 7. No batsman made double figures for the NCCA. Kushal
Singh led the NCCA batting with 7 runs. Challengers won the game by 24
runs. Challengers Monil Patel’s economical 5 runs in his 5 over opening
spell set the tone early in this duel of bowlers. Ajit Kumar was the
Challengers most successful strike bowler with 2 wickets for 12 runs.
Under-13 Day 1: NCCA vs DreamCricket Academy (DCA)
Dilworth June 24th: DreamCricket Academy 83 /6 defeated the NCCA 57 all out by 25 runs
The opening game at Dilworth on the June 24th between DCA and the
NCCA went the full 25-over round. DCA scored 82 (39 extras) for 6 with
opener Vivek Narayan (18) their top-scorer. Kushal Singh 2-16 and
Nikhil 2-20 were the top NCCA wicket takers.
For the NCCA opener Rudrik (16) led the batting ably supported by
number 7 Shivane(11). With five of the remaining NCCA players scoring
ducks they were all out for 57 (including 17 extras) as DCA came out
victors by 25 runs. Vivek Narayan 2 wickets for 5 runs (including a
difficult caught and bowled), Gavranshu 2 for 8 and Raymond Ramrattan 2
for 10, underpinned an economical winning bowling performance for DCA.
Vivek Narayan proved to be the best all-rounder in this game but the
spectators also witnessed some spectacular fielding from the
DCA boys including a juggling catch by Richard Ramrattan and a
spectacular full-stretch catch by Ryan Aravind.
Under-13 Day 1: Tri-Counties vs CCA Champions
Dilworth June 24th: Tri-Counties 58/6 lost to Champions 59/0 by an innings
In the second game at the Dilworth Elementary Ground, Tri-Counties
won the toss and elected to bat on the Astroturf wicket. Shikar (24)
batting number 3 scored over two-thirds of the earned runs as
Tri-County ended their 25overs with 58 (including 21 extras) for 6. All
of the CCA Champion bowlers took a wicket each. Captain Neil Tagare (27
in 46 balls) scored swiftly with M Buch (13 in 39 balls) as they
steered the Champions home to victory in just over half an hour at the
crease. Both opening batsmen were not out, as Champions scored a total
of 59(19 extras) runs for no wicket. The Champions coasted to an easy
victory by an innings in 10 overs.
Under-13 Day 2: CCA Champions vs DreamCricket Academy
Library Ground June 25th: DreamCricket Academy U-13 47/7 lost to CCA Champions 118 for 7 by 71 runs
The Under 13 June 25th day of the tournament continued in perfect
cricket weather as the CCA Champions played DCA at the Library Ground.
Hirsh Solanki was the Champions dominant bowler taking 4 wickets in one
over including a hat trick.
A right hand fast medium pace bowler Hirsh, whose family hails from
Gujarat, bowls off a rhythmic twelve pace run up with a high delivery
release that enables pin-point accuracy for his off-breaks that land on
a full length. Hirsch’s yorkers in the batsman’s block-hole will be
feared in future. One of Hirsch’s wickets in his 5 wicket effort was
caught off a brilliant catch at silly mid-on.
Chasing a mammoth target of 119 on the Libary Ground clay wicket, a
surface that DreamCricket Academy team is unaccustomed to, the boys
showed poise as they dug their way out of the Hirsch induced crisis
with straight bats and determination. Coach Daley has imparted
character to his team, which was demonstrated as the DCA team ended
their innings with 47 runs for 7 wickets.
On interviewing CCA's Hirsch Solanki after his match winning
performance, Hirsch gave credit to training at the DreamCricket
Academy's fast bowling camp, conducted by Englishman Ian Pont, and a
CCA organized cricket tour to Maharashtra with its enhanced
opportunities for gaining mental toughness playing against well coached
opposition on turf wickets.
Under-13 Day 2: DreamCricket Academy vs CCA Challengers
Library Ground June 25th: DreamCricket Academy U-13 53 beat Challengers 42 by 11 runs.
A nail biter of a game played out between the CCA Challengers and the
Hillsborugh based DreamCricket Academy at the Library Ground's clay
wicket. CCA Challengers lost the toss and soon had DCA reeling
DreamCricket openers were dismissed cheaply out LBW to S.Srikantan and
Vivek Narayan, a usually reliable opener who plays men’s league cricket
in New Jersey.
Gauranshu Sharma repaired the damage with a determined 14 runs off
63 balls, scoring more than half DreamCricket’s batted runs and ending
highest individual score for the visitors. Wickets tumbled regularly as
DCA put just 24 scored runs on the board. The highest scorer was extras
with 29 as DCA finished their innings with 53 runs in 24 overs on an
The Challengers bowlers were devastating with S. Srikantan taking 3
wickets for 6 runs in 4.5 overs finishing with a 2.00 bowling average.
This stunning bowling performance was beaten by Apurva Mishra who took
3 for 4 in five overs for a superlative bowling average of 1.33. Lakit
Jain mopped up with 3 for 8 and a third place average of 2.67.
Challengers could easily be forgiven for assuming victory was theirs’
for the taking.
Challengers got off to a wobbly start when their openers
S.Srikantan(2) and Ajit Kumar were easily dismissed by DCA. But with
V. Ramesh stabilizing the innings for over an hour scoring 16 in 48
balls and Ramesh also in control, Challengers were cruising comfortably
An all CCA final looked firmly set for the following day, then
according to a proud Coach Daley who played his cricket for Milburn CC
in Jamaica, “...came a brilliant full-stretch catch to his weaker side
by Ryan Aravind who caught Ramesh’s hard stuck on-drive at ground-level
for a brilliant caught and bowled.”
The young Challenger team were awestruck as their in-coming batsmen,
drained of confidence fell cheaply to the DCA dream team. None of the
remaining seven batsmen scored more than 3 runs as Challengers scored
25 runs. Including extras, Challengers were all out for 42 in 22 overs.
DreamCricket Academy's stunning snatch of victory from the jaws of
defeat was secured by tight bowling, which by Under-13 standards, gave
up a miserly 17 extras. Ryan Aravind’s (16), the highest score for
DCA, followed his dominating 4 for 11 bowling resulted in a 2.75
bowling average; definitely a man of the match performance.
Talking to the Coaches Daley after the match - the following day -
Malika Daley, a therapist by training, was effusive about Aravind’s
performance. It was a sure reminder that one young man most certainly
can make a difference. Ryan’s turn around effort had a primal,
dramatic, unforgettable quality. South African singer Miriam Makaiba
sang Malika as a theme song against apartheid in 1960, a song so unique
in resonance that it recalls a troubled time and place. This day it was
Ryan Aravind’s effort that resonated as he carried his team triumphant
into the finals.
Under-13 Day 2: Tri-Counties vs NCCA
Dilworth June 25th: NCCA 104/9 defeated Tri-Counties 68/8 by 36 runs.
The June 25th morning game at Dilworth was between Tri-Counties and the
NCCA. NCCA won the toss and decided to bat. Batting number 2, R.Sauthur
(15) played a captain’s innings for the NCCA who struggled to score
runs as Tri-Counties gave them away instead as the NCCA as ended 104/9
innings helped by 68 extras.
T.Peruvemba was the most successful Tri-Counties bowlers with 2
wickets for 13 runs ending with a team leading bowling average of 6.5
runs. In reply, S. Gupta (14) batting number 2 played a captain’s
innings but found little batting strength to rely on for the rest of
the team. Kanth (5) was the next highest scorer as Tri-Counties fell
short of their goal by 36 runs, ending their innings at 68 for 8. In
addition to two runs out, six wickets were evenly distributed between 6
NCCA bowlers. S.Sabharawal won the NCCA bowling honors with 1 wicket
for 3 runs in 4 overs including a maiden.
Under-13 Day 2: NCCA vs CCA Champions
Dilworth June 25th: NCCA 61 lost to CCA Champions by 8 wickets.
The afternoon game at Dilworth between the NCCA and Champions
started at 2.08 with a solid partnership of 30 between NCCA Captain R
Suthar(6) and A Prabhu(7). They crafted a solid foundation which was
not built on by successive NCCA batsmen. The NCCA 20 scored runs were
greatly aided by 41 extras at the Champions gifted as the NCCA innings
closed at 61 for 9 wickets in 25 overs. For the Champions, Dasarthy (4)
and Khasigwala’s (7) opening partnership was broken up early by Kushal
Singh and R Suthar. The Champions reliable Avinash Ghimikar (15) and
Champions captain Neil Tagare (22) were easily up to the task, as they
overhauled the NCCA total in twelve overs, steering the Champions to
victory by 8 wickets.
Under-13 Day 3: CCA Challengers vs CCA Champions
Dilworth June 26th: U13 CCA Champions 175/2 defeated U13 Challengers 72 all out by 104 runs
The following morning at 8.53 the U-13 CCA Challengers took on their
CCA academy rivals the Champions, on the Astroturf of Dilworth. CCA
records tumbled as the Champions R Khasgiwala (59) and S Dasarthy (61)
scoring at the rate of just under a run a ball, opened with a 134 run
partnership that lasted over an hour and half. After Dasarthy was
bowled by A Kumar and R Khasgiwala was run out, Champions captain Mihir
Athavale (15) was joined by A Murthy (13) with the score on 154.
Both batsmen combined for an unbeaten 20 run partnership as
Champions finished their over 25 over allotment with a total of 174,
the largest innings of the Under 13 tournament. To the Challengers
credit there were only 28 extras in the 174 total, a testament to tidy,
economical bowling under adverse conditions. The Challengers showed
character under pressure-a good omen for their future as a cricket
team. Wicket-taker A Kumar was the most effective bowler for the
Challengers taking 1 for 24 in 4 overs. Faced with a daunting task the
Challengers got their collective heads down as left-hander S Srikarnan
and right-handed batsman Mohil Patel opened with a respectable 28
partnership which was broken up by a catch to mid-wicket. Wickets fell
rapidly after that wicket-keeper Shashir Dholakia (4) showed resistance
until Neil Tagare ran him out.
The tail wagged as A Kumar(14) and Satish Ghimikar(2) posted the
Challengers second highest partnership of 8 runs. Helped by 27 extras
combined with 45 earned runs, Challengers resistance lasted for just
over two hours, their combined efforts recorded as a reasonable total
of 72 runs. A Murthy 3 for 9 (average 3), R Bise 3 for 5 (average 1.67)
and M Buch 2 for 6(average 3) were the Champions most successful
bowlers as Challengers lost by 104 runs.
Under-13 Day 3: DreamCricket Academy vs Tri-Counties
Dilworth June 26th: DreamCricket Academy 131 defeated Tri-Counties 43 by 88 runs
On June 26th at Dilworth, Tri-Counties won the toss and decided to
field. With openers Vivek Narayan(1) bowled N. Shah and S. Singh(3) run
out, Ryan Arvind (32 not out) was called on to right the ship which he
did effectively with his captain V.Barbhaiya who played a spectacular
knock of 34. The two featured in a 72 run partnership.
Ryan Arvind retired not out with the score at 100. S Gupta then ran
out two DreamCricket Academy batsmen before taking a wicket himself. N
Shah got the remaining wicket for Tri-Counties as DCA finished their
innings with a score of 131 for 6 including 52 extras. Shah was the
Tri-Counties best bowler taking 2 wickets for 9 runs in five overs
which included 3 maidens, a fine performance. Tri-Counties were all out
for 43 in 24 overs, including 18 extras, losing the game by 88 runs.
Ryan Arvind led the DreamCricket bowling taking 2 wickets for 1 run in
three overs to end the game with a .5 bowling average for another Man
of the Match performance. His effort was aided by Humzah (2
wickets) and Rohan (1 wicket). For Tri-Counties A. Patel (11) and
S.Peruvemba (6) showed some resistance with a seventh wicket
partnership of 15 runs, thereby avoiding a rout.
Under-13 Championship Match - CCA Champions vs DreamCricket Academy
Dilworth June 27th - CCA Champions 146/5 beat DreamCricket Academy 70/7 by 77 runs.
The Under 13 final was web-streamed live by eParasaran on the
internet as CCA Champions took on DreamCricket Academy, based in New
Jersey. The CCA Champions were fresh off a dominating batting
performance against Challengers. On this occasion Neil Tagare (76)
their most prolific batsman, the Champions' young Tandulkar, combined
for a opening partnership of 119 runs with M Buch (35) aided by weak
fielding on the part of DreamCricket Academy. That is when Richard
Ramrattan broke through taking Buch’s wicket caught and bowled. Vivek
Narayan captured Neil Tagare’s wicket after the Champions posted their
second consecutive century opening partnership in the tournament.
Hirsch Solanki (8) moved the score along briskly before he was
run-out. At this point, Richard Ramrattan established himself as the
strike bowler for DreamCricket Academy match as he enticed Mihir
Athavale(11) and A Murthy(1) into giving up their wickets, tempted by
his flighted balls to be stumped by the alert wicket-keeper and captain
for the championship game V. Barbhaiya. This left Khasigwala (7) and
Darthy not out at the end for a total of 146 which included just eight
runs in extras, a testament to DreamCricket Academy's tidy bowling.
In response DreamCricket Academy put on 20 for the first wicket.
Opener Vivek Narayan (9) was tempted out of his crease by the
right-handed spinner Mihir Athavale and stumped by wicket-keeper Vijir.
S Kripilani (4) put up less resistance being caught by Bhise off A
Ghirnikar’s bowling. Ryan Ardvind (4) batting number 3 was also out
cheaply as DreamCricket Academy failed to get traction in their batting.
G Sharma (10 not out) and Richard Ramrattan(8) had good innings but
DCA scored just 41 with 29 extras for a final innings score of 70 as
the over allotment ran out.
CCA Champions lived up to their name with the strongest batting
line-up in the tournament. DreamCricket though handily beaten by 77
runs were the most dangerous bowling side, giving away the least extras
of the tournament while defending and winning with low scores. On this
occasion the bowlers were dominated by the batsman, particularly
right-hander Neil Tagare of Champions who with his big frame, strong
forearms and supportive family will be a batting force to be reckoned
with in future.
Neil Tagare was by far the most dangerous and aggressive batsman in
the Under 13 tournament. Mohak Buch was the most economical bowlers for
Champions with just 2 runs and over while A Ghimkar was the leading
wicket taker with 2 for 14 in four over for the Champions best bowling
average of 7.
Under-17: All Stars vs CCA Champions
Spartans Ground June 24th: U17 CCA All Stars 124 lost to CCA Champions 125/3 by 7 wickets.
The Under 17 Tournament play started on June 24th at the Spartans
Cricket Club ground in San Jose. It was hoped that an east coast team
might participate but no team materialized. The U17 tournament was
played between three teams, the CCA Champions, CCA Challengers and the
All Stars drawn from Northern California league teams. The All Stars
opened the Under 17 US Invitational against CCA Champions with a
depleted team. The Under 17 age group remains hard to capture for
cricket events as school pressure for college entry is tough at that
age and cricket has yet to achieve National Collegiate Athletic
Association scholarship status.
The All Stars scored 124(29 extras) with Ramnarine 25 and wicket-keeper
Z.Sattur 38 scoring the majority of runs. The CCA Champions A.Watave,
brought on late as number 8 bowler, ripped through the All Stars side
with 5 wickets for 11 runs-an impressive performance earning a 2.20 run
The CCA Champions replied with A Talwalkar (21) and A Buch (20)
putting on 45 for the first wicket. Batting number 3, A. Watave’s 43
not out in 58 balls broke the back of the All Stars team as he combined
in a 57 runs partnership with A Buch. Champions captain V.Suni scored 6
before by Nazeer off V.Sehgals’s bowling for 6 runs. Singh, Ramnarine
and Sehgal were the wicket takers for the All Stars and Sehgal ended
with 1wicket for 8 runs in 3 overs-the best bowling performance for the
All Stars. The Champions A.Watave was definitely man of the match
taking 5 for 11 and scoring a match-winning 43 not out.
Santa Clara Cricket Club Ground June 25th: CCA Challengers 53 all out lost to All Stars 54/0 by 10-wickets
On June 25th, the U17 CCA Challengers played the All Stars at the
Santa Clara Club ground and lost by ten wickets. Challengers were all
out for 53 and the All Stars captain J.Singh scored 39 runs in 25 balls
including three 6’s while his opening partner Z.Zadoo(2) remained
content to anchor the partnership. The slaughter lasted less than two
Under-17 Championship Match
Santa Clara Cricket Club June 27th: All Stars 180/5 defeated Champions 115 by 65 runs
While the CCA Under 13 Champions side dominated the competition
things played out differently at the Santa Clara Cricket Club ground
where the Under 17All Stars took on the CCA Under 17 Champions team.
Put in to bat by Champions, the All Star team changed their line-up
from the previous game with the addition of players not previously
available owing to school constraints during the week. Openers, J
Singh(38) and Z.Zadoo(9) posted a strong partnership of 52. Singh
dominated the Champions bowling as he saw Pradhan off with two
consecutive 4’s in the first over. Bowling fast from the other end A
Buch bowled unchanged in his eight overs. He had Singh caught by
Watanave to break-up the 52 run opening partnership in his seventh
over- a wicket-maiden.
The All Stars strong batting continued with R.Ramnarine (20) and
wicket-keeper Sattaur(54) adding 17 for the second wicket and 30 for
the third. CCA Captain P.Suri enticed both batsmen into giving up their
wickets as Ramnarine was caught by Buch and Sattaur stumped. The All
Stars batting showed its depth as S.Abudlghani scored 17 runs before he
was caught by Buch off Vardarajan’s bowling with the score on 136.
Sattaur(54) was the last All Star wicket to fall with the score on
173. There were just 20 extras in 40 overs given by the CCA Champions
as the All Stars closed their innings at 180/5.
In reply the Champions were all out for 59 with Watanave (20) P.
Singh (16) and D.Parikh (16) their top-scorers as the rest of the team
combined for just seven runs. Wickets taken by the All Stars were
evenly distributed with openers Akhtar and Niazi taking 2 for 32 and 2
for 23. J Singh took 2 for 25, S.Abdulghani 2 for 13 while S.Sehgal had
the best bowling spell of all, with just 2 runs off 4 overs ending with
a 2.00 average, by far the most economical outing of the All Star
bowlers. The Champions were a stronger bowling than batting team and
will need to hone their batting skills against top-notch competition if
they want win. Amazingly the All Stars gave away over 56 extras as
Champions were 115 all out in 34 overs. The Champions lost by 65 runs.
PostScript: Historical Resonance
Having watched the sixth CCA US Invitational Tournament one could
clearly see cricket’s future in the US building on a strong foundation.
Several names come to mind as potential future stars but they have
their own story. Having earlier written the history of the Citrus
Colony Cricket Club which existed from 1895 to 1900, the achievement of
the California Cricket Academy has strong historical resonance. Located
east of Sacramento, near Rocklin, a British colony grew up with its own
club house and a strong interest in sports. Most residents came from
India and grew fruit for a living. They played hard and as their
cricket improved they took on the best California Cricket Association
(founded at the Occidental Hotel on Montgomery Street in San Francisco
in 1892) teams. Within six years the CCC sides were the best in
The CCA has had greater impact as it has leveraged internet savvy
executives with strong management skills in conjunction with USACA
sanctioned events such as the second US Women’s Trials. Citrus Colony
did not have a schools program nor does the CCA but that is set to
change with Vijay Pradhan’s leadership of the schools program. Vijay
plans on using six certified coaches in the local schools combined with
a summer camp to reinforce skills. Hitesh Lokanki the CCA webmaster has
planned enhancements to the CCA website to make it more interactive for
The future looks bright for the CCA as it has shown the ability to
attract strong successor leadership. Ajay Athavale who has succeeded
Hemant Buch, has a clear vision for his organization but most
importantly he remains a team player, modestly acknowledging the
achievements of his executive team. This frankly I found most
impressive and hopeful aspect of the whole tournament.