Now, you can get all the USA Cricket updates via Facebook. Also follow us on Twitter via @dreamcricket
By Venu Palaparthi
Creating a strong Inter-league system
A strong and competent zonal cricketing system forms the backbone of the domestic cricket structure in most cricket playing countries. Cricketers aspiring to play for their country must rise through the ranks of club cricket, and pass through inter-league cricket, and from there progress to the national team.
By inference, players should choose country over region, region over league, and league over club. That is the natural order.
In USA, I know of cricketers who would rather play for their club when they could be playing for their league. This is not a case of cricketers choosing to play for an IPL team instead of their country - after all, money is not the draw in USA's club cricket.
In the absence of a clearly merit-based heirarchical selection structure, there is no compelling reason to turn out for the league when they could be playing for the club.
Another reason I frequently hear is that the inter-league is not very challenging. A successful zonal competition presupposes parity among the leagues that take part. In several regions in the US, because not all leagues can put together a 'strong' side, a player might find an inter-club match more challenging than an inter-league match.
This problem be easily resolved by creating a divisional structure so as not to dilute the competition. Even India's Ranji trophy has a super-league and a plate-league!
In summary, players are likely to embrace the zonal inter-league system if the competition forms an integral part of a heirarchical selection structure.
A successful zonal competition also has the potential to generate huge local interest. In theory, two leagues playing each other could attract the support (and eyeballs) of their entire leagues as opposed to two clubs playing each other within a league. This greater interest should be sufficient to encourage local sponsors to get involved at the inter-league.
Atlantic Region Inter-league receives sponsorship interest
The Atlantic Region, like every other USACA region, has had an inter-league tournament as part of its playing calendar for some years now. Even though a good number of the top players do play in the inter-league, a concerted effort is being made by the region to give the inter-league its rightful place in the pecking order.
First things first, the league has received a sponsorship boost.
Radiant Info, a prominent sponsor of cricket in the region has signed on as the Title Sponsor. As a result of the sponsorship initiatives, the tournament will now be called the 'Radiant Info Atlantic Region Inter-league Tournament.'
InfoDrive, CES, New Inning Foundation and DreamCricket.com have joined the list of sponsors. In addition, DreamCricket.com will lend its score repository system for the tournament.
While a trophy and a cash prize of $1000 will be presented to the winner of the inter-league, rewards and medals will also be awarded to the tournament MVP, the best bowler, the best batsman and the best fielder of the tournament. The New Inning Foundation will present a $250 gift certificate and the New Inning Emerging Player award to the region's U-19 player in the tournament.
The prizes, sponsorship interest and greater visibility are certain to enhance player participation in the inter-league. But that is only half the battle. A more important determinant of success is the emphasis that the leagues and the region place in encouraging the best senior and U-19 players to take part in the inter-league.