This week, we continue the series with profiles of candidates for the Club Director position. We hope that you will review all of the information provided and perhaps speak with the candidates before you ultimately exercise your vote.
By Venu Palaparthi
In this series, DreamCricket will focus on some of the prominent candidates for the seven board positions. In a departure from past elections, DreamCricket will not take an editorial stance regarding the candidates that are contesting in the forthcoming election. Our goal is to provide you with brief profiles of as many candidates as possible.
Last week, we profiled the candidates for the League Director
position. This week, we continue the series with profiles of candidates for the Club Director position. We hope that you will review all of the information provided and perhaps speak with the candidates before you ultimately exercise your vote.
John Aaron is well known in the cricketing circles, having served as the Secretary of both USA Cricket Association and the American Cricket Federation. Aaron has a rich cricketing resume spanning three decades during which he worked as Secretary and President of the Atlantic Cricket Club of New York, Secretary and President of Eastern American Cricket Association, and Chairperson of the New York Cricket Region of USACA. Aaron was also a Member of the Constitution Review Committee chaired by Ken Gordon of WICB in 2006, and the Chairman of the League Presidents Reconciliation Commission formed following the second suspension of USACA by the ICC in 2007.
A tireless advocate for junior and women cricketers, Aaron has supported the formation of a women’s team as part of the Atlantis Cricket Club. Atlantis Women have won the Atlanta Women’s Annual T20 Championship four times.
Aaron has helped organize the Rockaway NY Cricket Fiesta T20 and a variety of other junior cricket, women’s and men's tournaments over the years. In his professional career, Aaron has held senior roles in graphic arts industry before switching to higher education. He presently works as Director of Marketing at Kingsborough Community College, City University of New York.
Speaking about his candidacy, Aaron told DreamCricket.com, “I am running for Club Director because I believe that's the position I am best qualified for among my peers. I believe in having strong foundation based clubs, which would lead to stronger leagues, and by extension a stronger and better governed NGB for cricket in the USA. My experience is gleaned from my association with Atlantis Cricket Club - NY, an organization now celebrating its 52nd year as a cricket club. Along with the help of others, I have managed to integrate Atlantis with the community-at-large, and under the banner of Atlantis...more than just cricket!"
"A strong community based club, as opposed to a team, can develop long-lasting and wonderful relationships with other facets of the community, and for the better good of all,” Aaron added.
Aaron was inducted into Hartford’s Cricket Hall of Fame in 2012 and is a recipient of the prestigious New York University Prism Award for outstanding alumnus. Aaron is also an avid writer and received an award for excellence in journalism in 2009 from the Hall of Fame. Aaron graduated from NYU with a Masters in Management and Technology. Since 2017, Aaron has also served as a member of the advisory committee created by the ICC focused on Marketing and Fan Engagement in the U.S.
Ajith Bhaskar is the President of the Long Island Titans Club and the Secretary of the Commonwealth Cricket League (CCL). According to Bhaskar, the CCL is the largest hardball cricket league in North America with over 160 teams. Bhaskar has been playing cricket for over three decades and represented HCL and Oracle in the corporate league back in India before moving to the U.S. in 2007.
Since joining the Long Island Titans CC, Bhaskar has played a prominent role in securing grounds for cricket by working with local authorities. He also advocated for digitizing player profiles within CCL and successfully migrated the league’s 2,000 members to the CricClubs online system for scoring and management.
Bhaskar has successfully pursued sponsors for his club and league, provided coaching to local kids and implemented strict rules and penalties during his tenure at LI Titans and CCL. Away from cricket, Bhaskar is a Vice President of the Kannada Koota in New York, an organization that is involved in promoting the language, arts and culture of the people originating from Karnataka State in India.
“Given an opportunity to serve the board, I will work hard to identify and prioritize the issues which all cricket community is facing across the country and solve them one by one. My plan is to transform the sport cricket from hobby sport to professional sport by creating a proper career path for the young and talented players and inducing cricket at school level,” Bhaskar noted in a written statement.
During the day, Bhaskar is a technologist and has worked in the IT industry since 2003. He is also the COO of CricMap, a company that has developed an innovative training aid that is used by cricketers to check the exact location of the ball’s impact on the bat.
Jag “Uday” Poosarla
Jag “Uday” Poosarla is a widely recognized name in youth cricket circles owing to his role and many contributions as the President of the Dallas Youth Cricket League (DYCL). At DYCL, Uday has greatly expanded the number of junior cricketers from just a handful to a few hundred players.
Under Uday's guidance, the organization has also promoted cricket in multiple school districts by training PE teachers. Uday has also served as the youth coordinator of USACA’s Central West Region. In this capacity, he conducted two selection trials working with the nine leagues in the erstwhile region.
Learning cricket from his father, who was the captain of a cricket team in Vizianagaram, Uday took to the sport at a very young age. Uday represented his college, GITAM in Vizag, and also played for the Indian Space Research Organization within the Bangalore corporate league. Following his emigration to Texas for graduate studies at the University of Houston in 1992, he began playing in Houston Cricket League before his move to Dallas.
Uday was part of the organizing team for the first NYCL tournament in 2014. In 2017, he was part of the hosting team for the Texas Independence Cup, a Dallas based age-group competition in U11, U13 and U16 categories. For 2018, the competition will feature 30-over games for U11, U13, U17 age groups and also incorporate a U20 tournament under lights.
As a club director, Uday plans to establish a platform for clubs to compete across regions without incurring huge costs and to publish a uniform calendar of cricket events, so that clubs have the information in hand for next year and prepare in advance. In order to expand the sport beyond the diaspora, Uday plans to establish a platform for schools to register for training and form their own clubs. “The target would be players who are not interested in baseball and would like to try another sport that is similar,” Uday wrote.
Uday also listed sharing of resources such as coaches among regions, a program aimed at improving umpiring standards and a program to bring cricket to smaller communities as well as women as some of his goals as a club director.
In his professional career, Uday is the Founder and CEO of a technology solutions company called Extuit.
Mahammad Ahmed “Maq” Qureshi
Maq Qureshi is a popular name in USA cricket and his name is synonymous with T20 tournaments in an open format that charge entry fees but offer substantial cash prizes as the main draw. The US Open T20 2018 has $100,000 in cash prizes on offer.
Excelling at cricket from a very young age, Maq won two inter-school tournaments in Hyderabad (Sindh) and eventually rose to captaincy of the Jinnah College in Karachi. While in Pakistan, Maq played for Karachi at the U19 level and took part in the Quaid-e-Azam trophy. Maq moved to Florida at the age of 18 to finish college. Once in America, Maq began playing in the Florida South East Cricket League in 1987. In the years that followed, Maq became a successful businessman in a variety of sectors ranging from real estate to technology.
Calling himself a “cricketing philanthropist,” Maq listed many accomplishments over his three decades-long involvement with the sport. These include voluntary coaching stints and financial support for cricket programs at Plantation Middle School, Pine Crest School, North Broward Preparatory School, Broward Cricket Academy and Boyd H. Anderson High School. Maq also noted that he was “very instrumental in the setting up of the Central Broward Regional Park,” which is an ICC approved venue for cricket in America.
Maq’s most notable contribution to the U.S. cricketing calendar is the US Open T20 tournament, which he started in 2008. Even though other prize money tournaments embraced the shorter form before Maq, including the LA Open T20, DreamCricket T20 and ProCricket. Those tournaments were not sustained beyond an initial run of a few years. Maq, on the other hand, has kept the US Open T20 tournament going in Florida without a pause (2018 will mark the tournament’s tenth successive year). For this and for his many contributions to cricket, Maq was inducted into Hartford’s Cricket Hall of Fame in 2011.
"I hope to ensure that the new board is committed to resolve the pressing issues facing clubs and their members. I will also work tirelessly to establish a semi-professional national club structure as one of the first initiatives,” Maq submitted in a prepared response to a question on what he hopes to accomplish as club director. Maq also proposed a ‘National Club Level Championship’ where top 20 clubs from across the country can participate.
Aziz Savul is a Level III umpire who combines his umpiring credentials with the unique distinction of also founding two clubs in Dallas (Nortex CC and Texas Rangers CC) and one in Chicago (Hoffman Estates CC).
Along the way, Savul served two terms as the General Secretary of the North Texas Cricket Association (NTCA), is the President of the Nortex McKinney Cricket Association, and has helped the NTCA in a variety of capacities including coordiation of umpiring, scheduling and operations.
Savul began his US cricketing journey with the Miami Tapeball Cricket League before his involvement with hardball cricket with Hoffman Estates CC in the Midwest Cricket Conference.
“I’ll bring the grass-roots cricket perspective to USA Cricket. I understand the issues of the local cricketers, clubs and leagues,” Savul wrote in his candidate statement. “It’s time for a fresh start in USA Cricket, give our youth the robust infrastructure that they deserve and to build a professional cricket environment in the USA, with a strong national team that our kids can root for,” Savul added.
Note: Two candidates, Biju Nair and Masaood Yunus have withdrawn their candidacy.