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By Peter Della Penna (on Twitter)
With the 2012 cricket calendar winding down, DreamCricket.com is once again wrapping up the year by recognizing the best of the best in American cricket with another edition of the New Inning Foundation USA Cricket Awards.
USA rebounded after a rough 2011 as the women’s team went undefeated to finish a hard luck second place at the ICC Americas Women’s Twenty20 Tournament in the Cayman Islands while the men gained promotion back into ICC World Cricket League Division Three with a runner-up finish in Malaysia. Players from men’s, women’s and junior cricket are being rewarded once again for their hard work which brought about success on the field of play not just for themselves and their teammates, but by doing their best to represent the United States.
In 2012, a total of 57 players managed to take part in tournaments representing USA at the U-18, women’s and men’s senior cricket levels. According to ICC data, the USA has more than 17,000 registered players taking part in leagues around the country. To be in the starting eleven out of this many players is a significant achievement. These awards recognize the truly elite performers this year from among the highest caliber of players in America.
Speaking at the launch of the awards, Ram Varadarajan, the founder and trustee of New Inning Foundation said, “New Inning Foundation is honored to continue its support of the USA Cricket Awards. Over the years, the awards have recognized passion, excellence, dedication and perseverance of the people that are keeping cricket alive in this country.”
Each of the seven player awards will comprise of a plaque recognizing the recipient and a DreamCricket.com gift certificate worth $250 sponsored by the New Inning Foundation.
In addition to the seven player awards, two awards will be presented for worthy achievement off the field. These are the Shekhs Aravind Spirit of Cricket Award and Bart King Lifetime Achievement Award, which will be presented for the second year in a row. Recipients will receive a plaque and a DreamCricket.com gift certificate worth $250. All gift certificates can be donated to USYCA or another non-profit grassroots cricket organization of the recipient's choice.
Kranthi Bayya, CEO of DreamCricket.com said, "Of the many pioneering initiatives that we have undertaken at DreamCricket.com, the USA Cricket Awards are ones that we are most proud of. There are many devoted cricket fans who are quietly going about their job of improving cricket in USA. The awards recognize their efforts."
Three new popular choice awards have been commissioned for 2012: Best Ground, Best League and Best Photo. The winners of the three new categories will be determined by a fan vote on DreamCricket’s Facebook page. Award nominations for Best Ground, Best League and Best Photo will be open on DreamCricket’s Facebook page until Monday, December 31. A vote will then take place on DreamCricket’s Facebook page to help determine the winner of each category.
"In 2010, we presented an award to the Naperville Park District for their outstanding service to the growing population of cricketers in the Chicago metropolitan area. After consulting with New Inning, we decided to permanently introduce Best Ground and Best League award categories to recognize organizations and communities that are helping cricket grow by improving access to the game," Ms. Bayya said.
"I am happy about the addition of three new categories this year. The USA Cricket Best Photo Award will recognize those who have captured the spirit of cricket in the USA through their lens. And for the first time, New Inning Foundation USA Cricket Awards will also celebrate USA's Best Cricket Ground and Best Cricket League or Organization,” New Inning Foundation's Varadarajan said.
The Best Ground and Best League will be recognized by awarding plaques and through a feature article on DreamCricket.com.
For the Best Photo award, the photographer responsible for capturing the photograph will receive a plaque and a DreamCricket.com gift certificate worth $250 sponsored by the New Inning Foundation.
Just as in the years past, the player awards have been decided based on a combination of factors including statistical achievement, delivering under pressure and giving one’s best effort to represent USA in 2012. The players were judged on their performances in USA’s international commitments.
ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier
ICC Americas Women’s Division One Twenty20
ICC Americas U-18 Match Play Camp
ICC World Cricket League Division Four
The K.A. Auty Cup Series