Adil Bhatti has been representing the USA since 2012 and expressed the high quality and professionalism in the Minor League Cricket Exhibition games. He scored a fifty in each of two innings. USAcricketers.com asked him a few questions regarding MiLC, and below are his responses.
Describe some of your experiences in the recently completed Minor League Cricket exhibition matches.
I enjoyed the two games I played for DC Hawks. The two games played were well organized, and we won both playing away in Philadelphia.
What was your most memorable moment during those exhibition matches?
The most memorable moment was beating the Empire State Titans. It was a high scoring and competitive game, and I must say very entertaining. We played as a team. Personally, it was satisfying to score against the Titans and to help my team win.
How was your overall performance in the matches? Would you do anything differently if given a chance to replay any one of the 2020 exhibition matches?
We played only two games, and I scored two fifties. I felt terrific about both knocks. I would not change much. I contributed to the winning effort, and I look forward to scoring big runs for my team in the future. I felt good about my bowling and fielding as well.
How different was the experience playing for a franchise team from your usual club or team?
It would benefit all of us if we could play more of these guys throughout the season. The competition was on another level. The professionalism displayed by the teams set the bar high. Between traveling and away games, it was a lot of joys and challenges. In all honesty, the club games don’t even come close to this. Maybe one or two games per season are highly competitive, but those usually are playoff games.
How did you prepare for the matches during the current COVID-19 pandemic?
It was undoubtedly a challenge to train and even play much cricket during the COVID-19 pandemic. What worked for me was the continuous training throughout the year. I take days and sometimes weeks off, but I always get back into doing fitness, bowling, and batting drills, even if I have to do it alone. Over the years, I have come across very few players who can keep up, train regularly, and have the same hunger to keep pushing consistently. So, I have learned to train alone, and I have never looked back.
What improvements, if any, would you like to see implemented during the upcoming 2021 Minor League Cricket season?
From what I have witnessed in the two games we played, I can’t say much. The teams were very competitive (a mix of young and senior players). The umpiring was good, the grounds were well-prepared, and outside sitting areas were organized. Each team traveled with supporting staff, including coaches, physio/trainers, etc. The food and refreshments were delicious. But If I have to pick something that can be improved, it would be the match fee for everyone. I don’t want to sound greedy, but not only the players should be looked after, but the owners should also have more for them so they can invest back into the players.
Is there any particular area that the team owners of Minor League Cricket need to improve to benefit the league?
I am not sure about others, but DC Hawks had a very family-oriented environment right from the start. Everything was well communicated and on time for players. For the most part, we already knew each other, and that helped us with team chemistry.
Should more under-21 players be added to the roster of each franchise?
I am always in support of younger players. Indeed, they are the future. We must expose them early to competitive situations, so when they are in their mid-20’s they may be representing the USA national team. We need to look after the youth, be welcoming to them, and train them alongside our seniors and pros in the Minor League teams.
What would attract more fans to any matches of the franchise to which you belong?
First of all, inviting family members of the players to come to these games and then asking them to invite their friends from time to time. These games should be advertised within the cricket community to start with and reaching out to the leagues for support. Besides cricket, there should be some other forms of entertainment for the fans, such as music, food, prizes or goody give-aways.
What is one positive non-cricket experience you took away from your participation in the exhibition matches?
The coming together of everyone, including the owners, coaches, supporting staff, and the players, was a positive experience. I must say that we gelled together so well because our team’s owner made such a friendly environment for all of us. It was a lot of fun and positive vibes in our dugout.