By Sham Ali
(Celebrating 40th Anniversary – Match #1108):- In the last schedule game of the 2019 fixtures, Cosmos boys showed that they are not to be taken lightly as Kevin Balgobin, Alex Chunilall and Devon McCarthy stood tall against a reasonably formidable opponent and added that bit of flare and flamboyance to the entertainment of T20 cricket.
This Cosmos outfit, like those of earlier years, batted with a sense of purpose. Alex Chunilall and Devon McCarthy began to repair the inning after Shane Grant was sent back in the first over. The fearlessness of Cosmos youths was on show. First, it was the diminutive baby faced eighteen-year old Chunilall; who looked too small for his two size larger pants, raised heads when he drove the left-handed paceman, Mikhel Miller’s, out swinger through mid-off with an aristocratic nonchalance that made him blushed. In the next over he effortlessly unleashed a sumptuous straight hit over the mid-off boundary for six and looked at his bat with surprise. It was just a well executed stroke from a Cosmos youth with some potential. McCarthy though, appeared unwell and had to retire after the pair posted a 41-run partnership.
Then came in Kevin Balgobin, Cosmos budding all-rounder, who seems to be in shock of his performances lately. Especially when he gunned down 110 runs in the last eight overs against Staten Island a week ago, came to the fore again. This pair at the wicket appeared as though they switched uniforms with Balgobin’s shirt freeing itself out of his eight pack while Chunilall had more, much more, than was needed to cover his two pack. And speaking of pack, Balgobin can pack a punch, and his colleague, McCarthy may add a few other delicacies to it. Balgobin and Chunilall teamed up for a solid 42-run 3rd wicket partnership before Chunilall was adjudged run out on the second run for an impressive 31 runs off 37 balls which included two sixes and two fours.
With the score on 83 for 2 in 11 overs, McCarthy resumed his inning with Balgobin, and they proceeded entertain the crowd with a bit of T20 highlights in another solid partnership worth 51 runs. However, during that period, there wasn’t much class or anything to crow about, but disappointment as some fast bowlers cannot appreciate a young cricketer’s effort. But instead chose to target him with bouncers just because he does not have a helmet. Certainly, the intent was not to hit the stumps or the helmet (oh, there wasn’t any), thankfully it missed the mark, but hopefully, not the point; there will be enough helmets soon.
The response from Balgobin was vintage, hooking instinctively as the ball sailed high over the square-leg boundary on every occasion. He followed up with another five, well executed, maximums before he ran himself out for a breezy 53 runs off 21 ball which included 7 sixes. McCarthy, whose stony occupation at the wicket became a trademark, was equal to the challenge as he matched Balgobin stroke for stroke with some exquisite drives to the cover and extra boundary, he even added a hook to his collection.
The senior McCarthy then went in the same over for a composed 40 runs (7 fours) off 47 balls with the score on 134 in the 16th over. Cosmos needed some sparks from their lower order in the last four overs, but could only manage to get to 149 for 5. The opposition, in reply, the made light work of the target as former West Indies and current USA batsman Xavier Marshall cracked a good century against a relatively schoolboy bowling attack.
But that is T20 Cricket for you!! Some call it entertainment, some say it is good for game in this time, and some have a few choice words which cannot fit on this page to describe T20 while they refused to even call it cricket. Whatever one’s opinion may be, T20 cricket is not going away anytime soon, actually it is popping up all over and is becoming quite convenient for the local social feat-match cricketers, as well as a competition on League fixtures. The future cannot be more dismal when white-ball and T20 cricket seems to saturate the thinking of the stakeholders. If T20 is viewed as cricket on steroids, then it is equivalent of feeding an addictive drug to the younger generation of cricketers to perfect a muscle swing (if there is such a thing), of hit or miss. The finer points of the game, technical aspects of batting and bowling that is crucial in early development will eventually be lost as it is being thrown on the way side, and the game may eventually fall on its own dagger.
However, on this day the T20 cricket match was lost along with a few other things, but Cosmos boys, ably led by Khamraj Conyers, surely won the day as they completed the T20 competition, and with a few more friendly games to be played before fall arrives. And while some walls crumble on the slightest touch and a few unkind souls have written the last rites of Cosmos on too many occasions, the club, like an oak tree, continue to grow roots from the inception with Vijai Ankumar (president) and Ashmul Ali (captain). They ticked off a jaw-dropping ONE THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHT MATCHES (1108) to date in the club’s 40-year history. The youths were lauded with praise and encouragement from one of the Metropolitan Cricket League stalwarts, Keith Sang, and the league’s vice president Dervon Wallace (who probably couldn’t wait to play in this match) as a young team that persevere despite a tough season, and with the right purpose in mind. See you next year.