North East Celebrates championship in champagne style. (Photos by John Aaron.)

By Orin Davidson
Performing like a well oiled unit, the group of cricketers representing Connecticut (North East Region) carted off the United States national women’s title  with two clinical performances last weekend  in California.

Once again it was  Linden Fraser, the coach  the United States of America Cricket Association (USACA) seems to  love to hate, but  who orchestrated the triumph with unerring efficiency.

Fraser marshaled his forces into an unstoppable unit  that resulted in Connecticut hammering  New York  and  Western Region  Chargers with such ease, the girls were capable of winning both 40 overs- a -side  matches in one day, according to observers.

Comprising a squad of six New Yorkers, two Floridians, two Marylanders, one Californian, one India-based, and two from Connecticut, the team took out New York by six wickets after destroying Western Chargers by a record 232 runs.

North East skipper Candacy Atkins receives the championship trophy from West Region's Hemant Buch (left) and Rajesh Padhi (right).

The team’s success  added to Fraser’s list of accomplishments, with silverware at every level in United States competitions, following triumphant  results with teams  at the senior and  junior categories. Now   Connecticut has  given  him his  fifth title.

Yet the team’s  brilliance did not occur overnight.

According to Fraser they were  training for eight months since last October. “ The girls were super fit  because  we started  working  since October.  I got trainer Basil Butcher to work with the squad on weekends and  all the hard work paid off,” the coach explained.  “ This is the best group of players I have ever worked with. The girls never complained, they were always willing to work,  to the extent that the out of town  ones  often travelled down to New Jersey from California, Florida and Maryland at their own expense”.

And that was not  the only admirable feat,  as the players raised money on their own to cover all their expenses to California through a bus ride and a dance.  Bedessee Sports, Ancil  Steeple Sensie and also contributed  and the team is grateful.

The outstanding handling of Connecticut by Fraser, who USACA seems to have blacklisted from national teams for no good reason, should be an eye opener to the myopic thinking of the  national body’s decision makers.

Six of  Connecticut’s  players were named to the national squad to play Canada in a best- of- three tie for a place in the World Cup 50 overs qualifying competition.

Notable omission is batter Shebani  Bhaskar who is 15 years old, and according to reports,  was  technically the best player in the competition.

The question is whether  any of  the selectors were present to see her bat.

Bhaskar  is based in  India and  plays at a high level in junior competition  there, and would be an asset to any United States team.

The released team list does not identify a captain and vice captain but according to inside information, the selectors have recommended Goordial-John  and Durga Das  to the two respective positions. It means no leadership role for  Connecticut’s captain  Candacy Atkins, who was also the national team vice captain last year.

But such is the workings of the USACA decision makers, politics and not merit remain the prime criteria especially with this national selection panel.