March 2009 - Posts
Montgomery College of Maryland won the first American College Cricket Championship in Ft. Lauderdale this past weekend.
From The New York Times
As envisioned by Lloyd Jodah and Nino DiLoreto of the American College Cricket, this championship, to be held over spring break, will become the ultimate collegiate championship in USA. They toiled hard to make that a reality during the first year.
Not since 1881 has USA seen a collegiate cricket championship that has had such an impact. In 1881 U Penn, through the efforts of John B Thayer Jr. joined with Harvard, Haverford, Princeton, Trinity College of Hartford and Columbia to form the Intercollegiate Cricket Association. Cornell was admitted some years later. Columbia, Princeton and Trinity dropped out after the first season but the others continued to play well into the 1890s.
Yes, there are other college championships in America - such as the Intercollegiate Cricket League in the NJ/PA/NY area; MichCA IUST championship in Detroit (which was won by Oakland University), and the MidWest Cricket Tournament featuring some 15 university teams from the midwest (which was won by Columbus).
The American College Cricket Championship kicked things up a notch. Firstly, the championship is designed as a pan-USA championship and colleges from Florida to Pennsylvania entered the tournament. Secondly, they secured some top-notch endorsements and some small sponsorships. Shivnarine Chanderpaul gifted a trophy - a rare feat for USA cricket. The prizes were sponsored by Laparkan, DreamCricket's PavilionShop, and Bedessee Sporting Goods. DreamCricket.com provided media coverage. But the coup de grâce was that they got New York Times and International Herald Tribune to cover the final!
This year, five colleges took part in the event, traveling at their own expense. As New York Times noted - the students "packed their sunscreen and headed to Florida" to play cricket! By all accounts, the students enjoyed the tournament. In the words of Kalpesh Patel of University of Miami: "We always had the desire to play, but there was no real framework for us to get involved. "With that kind of a beginning, the organizers have set the stage for a bigger event next year.
This year, Sumantro Das of Boston University said that his team spent something like $400 per participant - a huge cost for a student. "Who else is doing anything for cricket in this country?" he asks. The Boston University Cricket Club received some help from the university. Lloyd Jodah, the tournament's organizer, hoped that the event would attract greater sponsorship support and the participating colleges would get more help from their universities. With luck, the tournament could be held at the 5000 seat Broward County Stadium that has a purpose-built wicket.
Cricket is not one of the eleven sports covered by HurricaneSports.com - University of Miami's athletic site. But when Miami students broke into "Go 'canes" chants, there was little doubt that they were as proud of their cricket as they were about their baseball.
Check out the following link for the article on New York Times article. Here is the link to the IHT article. Of course, here is the link to the DreamCricket.com article.
Montgomery College wins the Chanderpaul trophy
Mark Hobson describes his cricket field as "a little bit of England" in Climax near Greensboro, North Carolina. He encourages the players to wear whites during matches and even during practice. He is a traditionalist at heart.
Hobson Field, Climax, NC - Aerial View. One man's passion!
The field is on seven acres of property and blessed with the right shape and the right topography for a cricket ground 160 yards long and 150 yards wide. The ground shares the space with a house and what was once a church, has a septic system, a scoreboard - shipped in from Australia - bathrooms (handicap accessible), fencing, bench seating and even some rocking chairs in front of the house that adds to the park cricket atmosphere.
The pitch is made of concrete with outdoor carpeting and three teams play their home matches at the field, which also has practice nets.
The ground features a pavilion and an amazing outfield.
The church house is used as a clubhouse and meeting room while the house reminds Hobson of the Ealing Cricket Club's pavilion in West London where he played cricket before he came to the United States 29 years ago for a two week vacation. He also played junior cricket with Middlesex.
Hobson, now 49, a senior executive with a mattress company and married with two children, remembers when he had $1,200 in his pocket, no job and nowhere to live. But this is a country where dreams can come true.
He now leads a comfortable life, still loves his cricket and still is the wicketkeeper for High Point Cricket Club in the 36-team Mid Atlantic Cricket Conference.
Hobson has a nice success story to tell and how he has helped cricket flourish in North Carolina. But he is reluctant to talk about how he has spent a considerable amount of his own money to buy the land and turn it into a cricket field so the game can grow even more.
The Hobson pitch is concrete with outdoor carpeting selected to get the right bounce.
Hobson recalls how he first moved around in Florida, Illinois and Minnesota and how he drove around North Carolina without finding a field for teams to play cricket.
After he bought the land he faced many obstacles before he eventually got the go ahead from local authorities. At first, it was tough, few people in the area had heard of cricket let alone watched it, and there was a mountain of red tape, hearings and letter writing to be completed before he was given the green light. It took him three years to make this dream come true. In the process, he created "a piece of the British Commonwealth in a rural stretch of the Triad," as one newspaper wrote.
Hobson even laughs about it now when he remembers how people thought he wanted to grow cricket bugs for fishing instead of having a cricket field.
Mark Hobson enjoying a match on his ground
Now he has professional landscapers help to keep the field in good shape, neat and tidy and a woman named Pam, who lives in the house on the property, helps with cutting the grass.
"I love cricket. This is the culmination of a dream," he told DreamCricket.com. "I want to give back to the cricket community. I am an immigrant who came here with nothing and got a chance to do something. I was fortunate enough to spend money on this. It is my legacy."
Asked if in the future his field would have a turf pitch, Hobson said: "The game is still recreational and there is too much maintenance."
Hobson describes the standard in his Mid Atlantic Cricket Conference as high. He said: "I am impressed with the players, the spirit and their attitude."
He says the league has about 500 active players with 65 percent from India, 20 percent Pakistan and the rest from cricket playing countries like Australia, West Indies and Britain.
Hobson is clearly attached to his field, the Cape Cod style home and the surroundings, he said: "I might retire in the house one day."
Mark Hobson - what a legacy to leave behind
Mark plays for High Point Cricket Club.
New York, NY
USA Cricket Association (USACA) announced today that its board has appointed Donald Lockerbie as its first CEO.
USACA's first CEO
USACA's Treasurer John Thickett commented, "After a rigorous three-month recruiting process in which we assessed applicants from all over the world, we are thrilled to announce that Don Lockerbie will be joining us. We have great expectations of what he can bring to US cricket and see a bright future under his leadership as CEO. All the Board members are excited about working with Don."
USACA's President Gladstone Dainty remarked that, "Don brings a robust dynamism to USACA at a time when it is urgently needed. His proven track record is exactly what's required to attract interest and support for the development of cricket in America. He's a team-player and will no doubt succeed with the support of America's diverse group of stakeholders, while bridging the gap of interest in the sport between the current enthusiasts and our untapped American resources."
Don Lockerbie is expected to hit the ground running starting in his new role on April 1, 2009. Mr. Lockerbie stated, "I am extremely humbled and honored to be selected by the USACA board for the new post of Chief Executive Officer of the United States of America Cricket Association," adding, "I am familiar with the working nature of cricket on the international landscape and I look forward to utilizing this experience to be a new and proactive resource for American cricket and our dedicated cricketers."
Mr. Lockerbie is currently the President of Olympvs International, LLC, with offices in USA, Switzerland and West Indies. Olympvs is a sports facility and operations consulting firm. He is best known as the Chief Operating Officer and Venue Development Director of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007.
Mr. Lockerbie's appointment reinforces USACA's commitment to creating a new and dynamic organization that will promote cricket in USA with renewed vigor.
Long Track Record
Mr. Lockerbie has a long track record of commercial success in sport combined with exceptional management and organizational skills, and has earned respect in all areas of the sports profession.
As an athlete in the 1970's, Mr. Lockerbie competed successfully in Track and Field on the collegiate, national, and international levels and was a two-time national champion. With competition and professional experience covering over 80 countries, Mr. Lockerbie developed an invaluable perspective on international sports facilities and major event operations.
In the 1980's, Lockerbie became the Head Track & Field Coach at the University of North Carolina - which boasted nine outstanding All-America athletes.
Organizational and Infrastructure Experience
USA Cricket needs innovative ideas for development of cricket venues and monetizing existing venues so that they can attract major sporting events and bring money and attention to the game. Mr. Lockerbie appears uniquely positioned to make that happen.
Between 1991 and 1994, Mr. Lockerbie served as a venue Design Manager and a senior consultant for FIFA World Cup Soccer USA 1994, where he was primarily responsible for all planning and construction at Giants Stadium, site of seven games in the New Jersey venue. He was also in charge of Turfgrass construction and maintenance for all nine World Cup venues.
Following that, in the fall of 1995, Lockerbie resumed similar duties and tasks as a Consultant to the Venue Planning Department of the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games.
In August 1998, Mr. Lockerbie's team was retained to plan and oversee the construction and preparations for all 7-competition venues for the 1998 Goodwill games in New York. At the same time, Lockerbie provided Olympic event consulting services for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Overlay Project.
Mr. Lockerbie has served as a programming consultant and has helped venues in Munich and Raleigh monetize their facilities.
Lockerbie is a graduate of the UNC - Chapel Hill where in 1979 he completed a degree in American Studies specializing in literature and military history. His leisure activities include playing golf, running, and attending sports events around the world.
Manny Ramirez, baseball's second-highest paid player at $25 Million per annum, tries his luck with cricket.
Ramirez hits one past the fence
Baseball players and cricketers have interacted on many occasions in the past. In fact, baseball drew its first professional players from cricket. During the baseball boom of 1866, Baseball Hall-of-Famer Harry Wright moved to Cincinnati on salary at the Union Cricket Club and then became the nucleus of the Cincinnati Red Stockings. Several other members of the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings, baseball's first fully professional team, were cricketers first.
When Bradman and the Australians came visiting in 1932, they went to watch a game at the Yankees Stadium in New York in the company of Babe Ruth. "A beauty in the right spot," Don Bradman exclaimed as Yankees' Frankie Croesetti drove a home run! Fleetwood-Smith said "That was off a google (as googly was called those days)."
Some years later, Babe Ruth broke a few cricket bats himself in a promotional event while on a tour of London.
Yesterday, it was the turn of baseball superstar Manny Ramirez, 36, a baseball player who had never held a cricket bat previously, who took the willow as he made a pit-stop at a cricket ground near Phoenix, Arizona.
When the bowler, Souvir Bhuta, aimed for Manny's foot, a worried Ramirez reached for his box just to reassure himself that he was well protected. Ramirez exclaimed "I want to have more kids."
Bhuta, who plays for the Arizona Cricket Club's Division A team - the Vipers, is among the leading wicket-takers in the Arizona Cricket Association, which is the state's cricket league. Impressed by Bhuta, Ramirez offered to connect him with Frank McCourt - the Dodgers' owner saying, "we need some good pitching".
When Ramirez was out on the third ball, he asked for another chance. He then took a baseball like approach to the cricket ball, hitting most of the 8 balls he faced. For their part, Arizona Cricket Club bowlers indulged him by bowling some slow ones. The club was selected for the promotional event because they are the only team in Arizona who play on a privately owned natural turf ground.
Ramirez acknowledged that the game was like baseball and needed a lot of hand-eye coordination. "I have faced some tough pitchers before, but we don't have to ever swing at a bouncing ball that is rising as it passes us," he noted in a press release.
Manny gets tips from Shaun Marsh
The baseball player was surprised about the lack of gloves while fielding. "It's unbelievable," Ramirez said. "The ball comes like 110 (mph) and they catch it with no glove."
The DirecTV organized event was originally planned for Fort Lauderdale with Matthew Hayden providing cricket lessons to Ramirez. But Manny's nogotiations with Dodgers intervened and the event was postponed.
Australian batsman Shaun Marsh replaced Hayden as Ramirez' cricket guru, giving his student a few cricket lessons.
Some day, when his $45 million contract is behind him, the Dodgers slugger might play cricket in his retirement.
By John L. Aaron
Organized women's cricket has long been dormant in the United States, however, that is about to change as the International Cricket Council (ICC) encourages all 104 of its member-countries worldwide to help develop and promote the sport among its female cricketing counterparts.
Roselyn Emanuel - Captain
The United States of America Cricket Association (USACA), an Associate Member of the ICC has "signed on" and will hold its first organized tournament on March 28-29 this year at the Broward County Cricket Stadium, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The Eastern Conference versus the Western Conference match-up will see players primarily from New York, New Jersey, Washington, DC, Philadelphia, and Florida, compete with the Western Conference's top female players from California, Michigan, Minnesota, Texas, and Chicago, among other States. New York Blazes A Trail
The New York Cricket Region kicked off its search for female players some three months ago, under the guidance of the region's Women's Cricket Coordinator Venelda Wallace, a former USA national netball player and cricket club manager, and USACA Regional Representative Krish Prasad, along with a supporting cast of committee members, including former St. Lucian and West Indies female player Roselyn Emanuel, who has since been selected as the Eastern Conferenceâ€™s captain.
Women's Cricket Coordinator
The New York ladies got off on the right footing by helping themselves secure funding to defray some of the expenses associated with getting the Eastern Conference XI to Florida. A Sunday morning fundraising breakfast, complete with a Karaoke session was held in Queens, NY and was well attended by friends and supporters of the female cricket initiative. In addition to raising funds, the group is very grateful for a very generous donation of cricket gear from Chubby Bedessee of Bedessee Sporting Goods, an ardent cricket supporter. Mohamed Rana of SA Sports, Ravi of Cricket Zone, and Lesly Lowe, President of the Commonwealth Cricket League in New York and an entrepreneur, also contributed items of protective cricket gear to the ladies. DreamCricket.com
has arranged for DirecTV to sponsor shirts for the team.
With the outdoor weather not conducive to proper practice, the ladies turned to the recently opened facilities of New York Indoor Cricket in Brooklyn, for four weekends of indoor net practice, and under the watchful eyes of youth coach Linden Fraser and others. From all reports the women have been gelling as a very supportive group. Two joint training sessions between New York and Atlantic Region players, were organized at the Brooklyn indoor nets and the Indoor Cricket USA facility in New Jersey. Following the joint training session last Saturday in Brooklyn, a squad of fourteen (14) players was selected. A manager and coach are expected to be named shortly. Star-studded Line Up
The Eastern Conference squad includes Roselyn Emanuel (Capt.), Sana Razzak (Vice Capt.), Shirley-Ann Bonaparte, Indomatie Goordial-John, Joy C. Jones, Tamika Kowlessar, Doris Francis, Diana Richelieu Lisa Matthew, Deowantie Lisa Persaud, Isolyn Sutherland, Olga Charles, Ivy Mahabir, and Devonie Vanessa Hayles. The squad includes a number of experienced cricketers who have played first-class cricket for their native countries, including Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Pakistan, St. Vincent, and Trinidad & Tobago, among others.
New York's female cricketers are
the UN of cricket
Some of the standout players on the squad selected are, Shirley-Ann Bonaparte (Trinidad & Tobago and the West Indies), Skipper Roselyn Emanuel (St. Lucia and the West Indies), Vice Captain Sana Razzak (Lahore Region and Pakistan), Joy C. Jones (Grenada and West Indies), Indomattie Goordial-John (Trinidad & Tobago and West Indies), and Deowantie Lisa Persaud (Guyana and West Indies Youth), Doris Francis (Dominica and West Indies), Isolyn Sutherland (Jamaica), and Olga Charles (Trinidad & Tobago).
Several other players have been placed on stand-by for the Florida tournament. The United States is expected to compete in the ICC Americas Women's Cricket Championships scheduled for May 17-24 this year, at the same stadium in Florida, and a number of the players participating in the East-West Conference tournament are expected to be selected to represent the USA at the ICC Americas tournament.
That tournament will include teams from Argentina, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Trinidad & Tobago, and the United States of America.
Roselyn Emanuel - Captain - Played for St. Lucia and West Indies
Sana Razzak - Vice Captain - Played for Lahore Region and Pakistan
Deowantie Persaud - Played for Guyana and West Indies Youth
Shirley Ann Bonaparte - Played for Trinidad and Tobago and West Indies
Joy Jones - Played for Grenada and West Indies
Indomattie Goordial John - Played for T&T and West Indies
Doris Francis - Played for Dominica and West Indies
Isolyn Sutherland - Played for Jamaica
Olga Charles - Played for Trinidad and Tobago
Ivy Mahabir - Women's Cricket Coordinator for Atlantic Region
2008 Americas Development Awards
A record number of nominations (103) were received for the eight regional 2008 Development Awards.
Martin Vieira, Regional Development Manager commented, "It is great to see the interest generated among our member countries by the number of nominations received. While the focus will be on the winners I congratulate all individuals and events nominated. They represent the heart and soul of our development programme and without their support we would not enjoy the success we have achieved."
Bermuda lead the way with three awards, Chile captured two with Argentina, Canada and USA getting one each.
Best Overall Development Programme went to the Bermuda Cricket Board for the second consecutive year.
Chile captured the "Best Cricket Promotion and Marketing Programme" with their Beach Cricket Festival. Stiff competition in this category came from Bermuda and Canada (CIMA).
The North West Cricket League (USA) won the "Best Women's Cricket Initiative" award for establishing a league designed for women players consisting of four to six teams. This initiative combined with the activity in the New York area will ensure the USA fields a National Squad for the Americas Championship.
Bermuda won their second award for the "Best Junior Cricket Initiative". The BCB has established a well run formal structured program ranging form U6/8 to the U19 National Team. Competition in this category came from the USA (NYC, PSAL Program), Argentina (Winter League) and Mexico (Schools Initiative).
The "Photo of the Year" category attracted the most nominations and judging was very difficult. Argentina's submission "Hang in there" best described the commitment needed in the development of players. Bermuda's "Padding Up" and Mexico's Schools Children were the main competition.
Bermuda's "No Child Goes Without" captured the "Best Spirit of Cricket Initiative" bringing their total to three awards for 2008.
Both the Volunteer and the Lifetime Service Awards attracted a high quality of nominations and it took the judges several sessions before deciding on the winners.
"Volunteer of the Year" went to Chile's Patricio Caamano who edged out Argentina's Rob Prata and Costa Rica's William Lewin.
The Lifetime Service Award proved to be the toughest of all categories with several excellent nominations. In the end Canada's Austin Ward received the most votes with Bermuda's Reginal Pearman and Brazil's David Gilman following in that order.
Regional Development Manger, Martin Vieira stated, "I congratulate all who were nominated and wish the winners good luck in the Global judging. I was particularly pleased with the number of nominations, the quality of the events and individuals, and a special mention of the very professional format of nominations submitted by the Bermuda Cricket Board."
2008 ICC Americas - Development Awards
|Best Overall Cricket Development Programme
||Bermuda Cricket Board|
|Best Cricket Promotion and Marketing Programme
||Chile - Beach Cricket Festival|
|Best Women's Cricket Initiative
||USA - North West Cricket League|
|Best Junior Cricket Initiative
||Bermuda - U6 to U19|
|Photo of the Year
||Argentina "Hang in there"|
|Best Spirit of Cricket Initiative
||Bermuda "No Child Goes Without"|
|Volunteer of the Year
||Chile - Patricio Caamano|
|Lifetime Service Award
||Canada - Austin Ward|
|Experimenting with de facto turf pitches in NY |
Turf pitches - well, sort of - have been put down in two fields in Brooklyn and Queens in New York, and will be used in games as an experiment as soon as this summer.
NY is experimenting with turf wickets
The turf wickets have been placed on either side of matting pitches in Canarsie, Brooklyn, and Rosedale, Queens, said John Aaron, the United States Cricket Association Executive Secretary.
He said the wickets were not made up of the soil and ingredients that make up the regular turf pitches, but if the tracks advanced enough over the next couple of months they would probably be used in matches this summer.
This is a breakthrough for the USACA, which has been keen for years to have turf wickets in New York so players can get the experience of playing on them as part of the preparation when they play in other states that have turf tracks or in international matches outside of the US.
Philip Abramson, a spokesperson for Parks and Recreation said: "The turf wicket ingredients are a mixture of clay and sand (mostly clay). Â The type of clay is a harder kind than standard ball field clay. Â We expect them to be playable by summer."
Aaron said: "We will see how advanced the pitches are when the season begins and we may be able to play on them. It will help players to experience the turf wicket conditions they will encounter overseas.
"We'll just wait and see how it works."
US cricket coach Clayton Lambert, who played in Seven Tests with the West Indies and has played in England, Australia, South Africa, Bangladesh, the Caribbean and the UAE, welcomed the experiment. He said: "There should be turf wickets all over the US. It will help players when they compete in international matches.
"The batsmen can benefit from turf pitches and bowlers have to be more consistent and work harder on turf wickets. To get help from the turf wickets you have to be a better bowler and work harder."
USACA officials have been involved in talks with the local government administrators about laying turf wickets for cricket. The cost of the turf pitches has been picked up by the City of New York.
"We have been encouraging them to have uncovered pitches next to the matting pitches," said Aaron who added there were about 15 turf pitches in Florida, California and Texas.
US captain Steve Massiah endorsed the turf pitches: "This is a great idea and they should test to see how they go. Matting is artificial. The younger players will learn from playing on a turf wicket. They have trouble adjusting from playing on matting then moving on to a turf pitch."
Leagues in New York have for many years tried to get turf wickets on fields where cricket is played, but with little success because of lack of money, the severe winters and seasons lasting just 10 to 12 weeks.
And New York leagues have tried to have a field solely for cricket with locker rooms for players and restrooms and small stands or bleachers for fans.
Aaron said the fields in Queens and Brooklyn where the turf tracks had been laid had been upgraded with bathrooms, concrete walkways, bleachers seating and a manual scoreboard. Before they had been open fields.
This was also a major plus for cricket in New York - for players and fans.
There are legendary stories in New York over the years how players would dress before a game in cars or behind trees and spectators did not have the use of restrooms. After a game, players did not have the use of a locker room to shower or facilities to bathe to freshen up.
On one occasion there was a tree in the middle of a field where a game was being played and some spectators climbed and sat in the tree to watch the game.
There have been games where cricketers have had to share the same field with a baseball game. And once, dirt bike riders rode through the middle of the playing area while a cricket match was being played.
Aaron said that as a national organization, the USACA was not in a position to establish its own field in New York because member leagues would then ask why there were no fields in their regions of the country.
"But I know that the USACA would not discourage corporations, investors and local governments to help get a field," he said.
Is the current USA team the best ever?
Playing their best cricket in years, the USA defeated Suriname by 208 runs, Argentina by 7 wickets, Bermuda by 86 runs, Canada by 81 runs and the Cayman Islands by 87 runs in November of 2008 making a clean sweep to be crowned ICC Americas Cricket Cup Division 1 Champions.
The team's excellent performance, prompted several folks to say that this is one of the best, if not THE best, team ever. There are some others who disagreed as they walked down the memory lane.
Captain Steve Massiah, for his part, acknowledged the accolades: "I am very honored to have captained one of the best USA teams that ever walked on a cricket field."
Rizwan Mohammed, currently the president of the Florida Southeast Cricket League (FSCL), who was born in India, endorsed that view: "I believe the current USA team that won the Americas Cup, should be ranked as one of the best ever to take the field.
"The team had a good mix of youth and experience. The selectors and management did a fantastic job, after the debacle in Jersey earlier. Hats off to Steve Massiah who marshaled his resources very well. Kudos to Sushil Nadkarni who dominated the bowling and scored at will throughout the tournament. From an FSCL standpoint, Nasir Javed delivered as usual with his experience, guile, and wily spin. My congrats and best wishes to the team for 2009."
While not wanting to get drawn into making any comparisons, USA team manager and selector Imran Khan said "The team that played in ICC Americas was physically fit, mentally focused and spiritually at ease with itself. A perfect combination for a championship squad! Players like Aditya Thyagarajan, Orlando Baker, Steve Massiah, Carl Wright and Sushil Nadkarni just to mention a few are simply class acts and we need to appreciate their abilities."
While agreeing that the current team is very very special,some who had seen the action in the 70s and 80s, felt it necessary to gently remind USA about some really strong teams in the not too distant past!
Fast bowler Melford Roach, who hails from Montserrat, and made a tremendous impression on Australia's captain Ritchie Benaud, while representing the Leeward Islands in 1965, and was thought at that time, to be a very good West Indies fast bowling prospect.
After migrating to the USA in 1966, Roach went on to play for the USA and represented Paterson in the New York & Metropolitan League. He said, "I don't mean to belittle the present team." He felt that things were harder in his day as there were fewer opportunities.
"The present crop of players play more often, go to exciting places, and are more motivated as a result. Former players like Milton Wisdom, Carlyle Miller, Albert Thomas, Hume Parris, Ivan Atherley, Crichlow, Taylor, Dyer and Edwards, who were all very good players, and who already had a taste of first class cricket in their homelands (with the exception of Thomas), could have been much better had they had the same conveniences (and opportunities) as the present crop of players."
David Small an all-rounder who hails from Barbados, was an elegant right-hand batsman and medium pace bowler. Small, represented Jamaica AC and Paterson in the New York & Metropolitan League, before going on to represent the USA in Canada in 1981. Small recalls playing with and against, outstanding players the likes of Ken Williams, Sew Shivnarine, Gus Logie, Ramnarace, Grantley Riley, Stockie Blackman, Compton Adams and Mickey Lashley. Sew Shivnarine (a former USA captain) and Logie played for the West Indies.
Small thinks the teams before, like in the seventies and the early eighties, were better because the opposition at that time was much better. "Today the opposition is much weaker," he says. USA played against Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh - teams that attained test status in the years to follow.
Brian Edun who hails from Guyana agreed with Small. "The opposition one plays against plays a big part in victories. The US played well at the ICC Americas, and had a good team, but was certainly not the best," he said.
Ivor Henry, also a former SFCA vice president, was born in Nevis said, "It is never easy to name an all time best team based on any one performance, but I will give it my best shot."
In his view - "2004 was a very good year for the USA team, and in my humble opinion the following players made up the best team ever: Richard Staple (captain), Nasir Javed (v. captain), Mark Johnson, Steve Massiah, Howard Johnson, Charles Reid, Rohan Alexander, Donovan Blake, Zamin Amin, Jagnash Desie, Clayton Lambert, Ejav Ali, Amir Affaludin and Rahul Kulkreti.
"In March 2008, they won the 6 Nation championship in Sharjah. In May they played a 3 day game against Canada at Brian Piccolo Park, Florida. In July they participated in the Americas Cup in Bermuda, where they also played a first class 3 day game. Later in September, they visited England and played against the likes of Australia.
"In summation, to be honest, I only know a few of the current players, and they are: Steve Messiah, Carl Wright, Lenox Cush, Steve Pitter, Nasir Javed and Masood Mohamed. While I congratulate the team for winning the recent competition played in South Florida, however, I will not rate them as the best ever with one good performance."
All of this debate is really a compliment for the current team. There is now once again a buzz surrounding the team and they should be proud to bring about this kind of chatter and excitement. And if someone thinks this team is not the best, that should only serve to inspire the team to aim higher and destroy all kinds of opposition. The proof - as they say - will be in the pudding. For Team USA, that means winning even more matches.
Massiah on money, captaincy and growth Peter Simunovich
USA Captain: Steve Massiah
United States captain Steve Massiah is the international manager of an import and exporting business, which has him tied to a desk for hours and takes him away from home for weeks. He knows the inner workings of big business and what it needs to turn the wheels.
Arguably the most talented batsman in US cricket history, Massiah, who bats at No. 3 with eight international centuries on his resume, told DreamCricket.com in a wide ranging interview that "a lack of funding was handicapping the game in the US.""National team should practice at least once a month"
Massiah, 29, said it was a disadvantage for the national team because the US was such a large country that players did not spend enough time together to prepare for an international. He would like to see a national squad of 16 picked and placed under contract and this would allow them to practice at least once a month to build team unity and know each other better.
The squad, he said, could also visit schools and conduct clinics that would be beneficial to the game at grassroots level. "The foundation is important in the game. I love cricket, I have been a part of US cricket in its embryonic stage and I want to give back to it.""Schools cricket and Twenty20 are the future"
Massiah threw his weight behind the idea of Public School Athletic League (PSAL) introducing cricket at high schools in New York City. "This is the best thing that has happened to cricket in the US. It is where the talent lives. This is where the future is. It is mainly immigrants and some Americans who are now playing cricket. I think Americans will warm to the Twenty20 format. Americans do not like drawn out things," he said. "The Twenty20 game is also a marketable product."
Massiah is like a true captain. He takes the game to heart, cares about its future and growth and is keen to see better facilities available for players. He came to New York from Guyana 11 years ago and began playing right away. He has represented the US for the past nine years."It boils down to funding"
Massiah takes a hard and honest look at cricket in the US and describes it bluntly as "recreational" when compared with the power cricket playing countries like India, Pakistan, the West Indies, Australia, New Zealand, England and South Africa.
He would like to see the USA Cricket Association to make a concerted effort at improving the facilities available to players and spectators, which would include locker rooms and fields.
But Massiah also realizes it "boils down to funding. That is the major, major problem," he said. "The potential is here. Sometimes it is heartbreaking that sponsorship has not been secured. A lot of big companies have money allotted to do certain things."
He hoped the new CEO that USACA is scheduled to appoint soon will be in a position to tap into the market and secure rich sponsorship deals to help springboard US cricket to the next level."We need more international games"
Massiah, who is also the captain of the New York Challengers team in Queens, is enthusiastic and confident about the future of cricket in the US. He proudly talked about the US team's five wins in the ICC endorsed America's Cup tournament.
"We won all five games, but it wasn't that we won, it was how we won and by what margins. It was very pleasing and very convincing," he said.
Another thing that bothers Massiah is the lack of international competition for the US team. "We showed that in the last tournament we can compete with the best," he said. So far there are no Â scheduled international games this season.
Massiah said that as many as 75 percent of the US team were good enough to play with traditional cricket playing countries and with more experience in international games the players would improve even more."I enjoy leadership"
Asked about his captaincy, he said: "I love it. I relish it. I enjoy leadership and lead from the front so others follow. The more experience you get at that level (international) the better you get."
And about his future: "I take great care of myself and I feel I can play for the next 10 years. I want to see the game to the next level and stay involved and give back. I would even look at coaching."
By Peter Simunovich
Ivy Mahabir is always in the thick of things. Even in women's cricket, which is virtually non existent in New Jersey, she is in the middle of it trying to recruit players and setting up a league in the Garden State.
It was only a few weeks ago that Ivy, 45, who is originally from Trinidad & Tobago, set off on a mission to try to get women to play cricket. It was almost mission impossible, but not for her.
Ivy put the word out and she received just eight responses - not even enough for one team, but she kept at it. The number grew to eight, then 15 and now she has 25 contacts - 23 from the West Indies and two from India - enough for two teams. She still wants more and the word will go out again.
The plan is to get about 50 and form a three team women's cricket league, the first in New Jersey, to play 20-20 matches in Essex County. "I'm still trying to get the word out," she said.
A cricket lifer, Ivy began playing cricket from age five and now she wants the game to grow in the United States. The immediate plan is to pick a team from New Jersey and New York to take part in the US National Women's Tournament in late March in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
It will be a two team tournament with players representing the Eastern and Western conferences. Then the US women's cricket team will be selected to play in the eight nations ICC Women America's Cup in May in Florida.
Ivy said: "I am seeing growth in women's cricket. I think that when it gets warmer and we start practicing and playing outside more will see women playing and, hopefully, join and we get up to 50 women playing.
"So far the women we have are aged between 16 and 45 and we want all women who want to play."
Ivy has already organized coaching sessions to be conducted by former West Indies Test player Neil McGarell and Basil Butcher and Leon Copeland. She has already arranged some sponsorship, raised some money and donations of uniforms and equipment.
The first team, by the way, will be the Garden State Smashers and the second team's name has been suggested as the New Jersey Warriors. After a shaky start it is now on solid ground thanks to the multi tasking of Ivy.
It is an old saying that says if you want a job done give it to a busy person. Ivy fits into that category.
Right now her schedule looks like this: Studying for a Master's degree in International Business and wants a second masters in Management, works part time as a Certified Patient Access Representative with a New Jersey hospital, is the women's cricket coordinator for eight states in the Atlantic region, the first and only woman cricket umpire in New Jersey, writes a cricket column for her local newspaper in Essex County, does PR for the Garden State Cricket League, and when she has spare time she runs her own online travel agency - bookwithivy.com.
She is also a mother of 21-year-old cricketer Reyaz Karim and in February she celebrated her first year of marriage with her second husband, Ramesh Ramnarine, who also plays cricket with the Combined Island cricket team in New Jersey.
Ivy has her hands full and she is coping with it all. The end game is a thriving women's cricket league in New Jersey.
New York - The United States of America Cricket Association (USACA) deplores the heinous act perpetrated yesterday against the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore, Pakistan.
We join with all our cricketing brothers and sisters around the world in extending our condolences to the families of those who died defending the cricketers and the freedom of sport. The United States of America Cricket Association (USACA) deplores the heinous act perpetrated yesterday against the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore, Pakistan. Our prayers and thoughts are with the cricketers and officials who were injured in this reprehensible, unwarranted and unprovoked attack, and we wish them all a speedy recovery.
We join with the Sri Lankan and Pakistani cricketing communities, especially in the USA, in condemning the actions of the few who would use such attacks to make political statements. We are confident that cricket will survive this, and endure as it has done for the past 100 years.
USACA Media Release
John L. Aaron
United States of America Cricket Association
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