By Sham Ali
(Celebrating 42nd Anniversary – Match #1186):- The 2021 season will soon come to a close in about three weeks, weather permitting, and after two full competitions and a packed season so far, teams are in their quest for another silverware and prize money as the competition wines down and heats up. It was a rather dreary day at Flushing Meadows Park last Sunday when Cosmos took on Warriors. The conditions did not look too favorable at the schedule start, but once the rain stopped we were able to get a 15 overs match despite conditions being damp side.
Warriors won the toss and elected to bat. Their opening batsmen, Akshaya Persaud and Cornelius Jaisingh, got off to a flying start courtesy of two early blunders by Cosmos in the first three overs. Jaisingh lobbed the third delivery in the first over to mid-on where A. Chunilall made a meal of a simple chance and then in the third over Persaud miscued to extra cover where T. Thakoordeen made a mess of another simple chance, both off S. Ali. Those blunders have been the bane of Cosmos’s disappointments throughout the season, and again in this match they paid the price. Warriors raced to 94 runs in the 9th over before T. Thakoordeen had a bit of reprieve when he had Jaisingh (62) taken by N. Persaud at deep extra-cover. It was a much needed breakthrough, but the Cosmos attack could not halt the flow of runs. They attack kept leaking runs with too many full-tosses and short deliveries. R. Doorjansingh managed to pull things back a little in the closing overs picking up 3 for 14 before the warriors inning closed on 156 for 4 off their allotted 15 overs.
A few drizzle arrived during the course of the match, however, despite the heavy overcast and given that the playing conditions were already on the damp side, it did not hinder the progress of the match. It was interesting to see how classy some teams responded to situations in comparison to some of those we saw recently. The teams were there to play and they did. Earlier, once the umpire instructed us, at about 2:10, to lay the matting, that we did, promptly! Play the game, win or lose, that’s the way. Stand clear of the sanctimonious ‘saintly’ characters sailing on moral turpitude, the kinds of underhand schemes involved in a claiming game, the cry of bruised egos or the attempt to engage next-to-kin to solicit sympathy to mask those insecurities that feeds and runs after cheap popularity to accumulate pieces of decorative fragments. To put quite simply bro, the need to feed such appetite at all costs is where some serious help is needed.
Conversely, there must be, at least, a little respect and regard for the future of the game and the younger generation who will be entrusted with the responsibility of keeping the game alive, whether you like the direction or not or is afraid that the game will soon be in your distance past, and hence the need to run after every carrot. Many have cross these shores already, and many more will do so, and on every occasion others have taken up the mantle and move forward. Even those who were steeped in shameless hypocrisy and at times too self-serving in their ambitions of conquer and control, still paved the way for others. It is naïve to think that the game will come to a screeching halt if some are not in charge.
A cricket match was a place surrounded by many who come from near and far, a place where friendliness, compassion, and kindness were the noblest of goals, where character, erudition, and empathy were hallmarks of those who led. Those values were held dear until some brazenly chose to reject those basic human qualities in their quest to grease the ego by acquiring some-kind-of-leadership, or engage in some of those deceit we see play out on the field, and then engaged in the caustic attempt to silence the pen that speaks. There may be some convenient satisfaction from the enablers where no value can be gathered. Undeniably, our unquenchable passion for the game has played a major role in preserving a vital part of our culture, even as tangential as a pastime activity, and that must not be compromised. It is only a game, play fair that is how it must be, always!
And so, in their reply, Cosmos found themselves in some early trouble as they got off to a shaky start with A. Chunilall (4), and R. Doorjansingh (4) followed each other back to the pavilion. Y. Shivpersaud and N. Persaud posted a 32-run partnership before Persaud top-edged a full-toss to short third-man in the 6th over. A. Rahim joined Shivpersaud and the pair made a gallant push towards the target, but two tight overs, the 10th and 11th, gave warriors the initiative to take full control of the match. With the score on 93 for 3 and the asking rate in double figures, Cosmos needed a cameo if they were to challenge the target. Rahim looked like the man for the task with his partner playing a steady role, but then went he in the 13th over for a 28-ball 39 runs (3-4’s, 2-6’s) in a 78 runs partnership. Any surprises thereafter were on the shoulders of Shivpersaud who had put together an inning of character thus far, but it was not to be. He remained not out on a good 36-ball 50 runs as the Cosmos inning closed on 128 for 4 off their allotted 15 overs, and warriors sealed a comfortable 28 runs victory.