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At the awards night the Oscar went to Cosmos as they celebrated their 30th anniversary at the elegant flavor of India last Saturday. Cosmos rolled out the “red carpet” and acknowledged their achievements for the last thirty years as a club that was focused on doing the simple things right. The club celebrated like a batsman at the end of a marathon inning on reaching a triple century, satisfied and delighted. The evening was decorated with warm sentiments and nostalgia that reflected on Cosmos’s rich history; one that paid tribute to the past stalwarts of the club for laying a solid foundation and their outstanding contributions over the years.

Faisal Taj collects an award from USACA Executive Secretary Mr. Mascelles Bailey.

Cosmos manager Nathan Henderson was graceful as he delivered an invocation that fitted the occasion and highlighted the joy of the Christmas spirit.  It was then over to Cosmos boys on the microphone Carl Bennett and Leonard Achaibar – two former opening batsmen of Cosmos, one left and one right hand, and a right arm fast bowler and a left arm orthodox spin respectively (Yes, that is so), both of whom stroked a few boundaries as they delivered the 2013 program.

Cosmos president Sham Ali in his message reflected on the journey through the many years commencing with the major preparation for their first presentation in 1983 a small apartment in the Bronx to the relaxed environment of present day, and the effort that was required to keep the club together through the years. He noted that “at times the weight became heavy, but such was the test that the race was for the brave and not for the feeble-minded. It was for those who can and were willing to endure the verbal arrows that required only a band-aid for healing. It was for those who had the wisdom to accept the things they cannot change and for those who were willing to put humility before pride.” And through the years he said that ”Cosmos road to success was paved by discipline, camaraderie and commitment, and a few stones on the road were merely reminders that the journey was not promised to be on a smooth road. But predominantly the journey has been full of enjoyment.

John Aaron presents Faisal Taj with one of his many awards.

He also reflected on the novelty of Cosmos early years and the standard of excellence which Cosmos has maintained as the game evolved. Cosmos never gave up on an opportunity to play cricket, and as such they became one of the most travelled clubs going to places wherever cricket is played from England to India to the Caribbean and spanning the United States. And through it all, 30 years later, Cosmos is still ticking. ‘It is an achievement by any standards that is worthy of grand celebration, that is, if we appreciate the efforts, value the achievements, and cherished 30 years of memories.” the president said. Cosmos though had played a vital role in the early years in framing the general well-being of many of their members and it was gracious of Clement “junior” Walsh and Vijai Ankumar to surprise the gathering with their presence and absorbed the evening in fine style.

And 30 years later Cosmos still has a pulse, but not without liability, and not once have they failed to recognized their players and reflect on a season. In 2013, Cosmos effort on the field earned them a spot in the semifinals of all three competitions and a spot in the final in the T20. And in 2013, it was Faisal Taj who excelled with the bat winning the award for most runs presented by the American Cricket Federation Mr. John Aaron. He also took the 2013 MVP award presented by the United States of America Cricket Association Executive Secretary Mr. Mascelles Bailey. Cyril Choy took the batting runner-up trophy while Sajib Salam took the top prize for Most Wickets.  While the senior players accept their awards for another successful season, it was the joyful spark of young dapper Mathew Achaibar who was decked out in his seasonal red and white outfit who hit the sixes. He brought the audience to love and laughter in the Christmas spirit when he received his award for Cosmos entertainer of the year. The innocence of youth often neutralized the wisdom of the learned. He said ‘thanks for giving me this trophy, it is nice and I really like, but I have to go, I am downloading a new app and it is free.”

Cyril Choy collects the batting runner-up trophy from Faizah Ali.

That was a tough act to follow, however, in a rather quiet surprise the most notable tribute of the evening was reserved for Cosmos president Sham Ali; the 2013 inductee into the United States of America cricket hall of fame along with West Indies ace paceman Courtney Walsh.  The distinguished representatives of the cricket fraternity and fellow Hall of Fame inductees, Krish Persaud, Clifford Hinds, Mascelles Bailey, John Aaron, Jeff James, Lloyd Dixon, were all praise in their acknowledgment of Ali as someone who as a cricketer and administrator worked diligently and was focused on raising the standard of cricket in the Metropolitan Cricket League and the New York Region. He is deserving of his award as a United States of America Cricket Hall of Fame Inductee.  Trevor Walfall, president of the Metropolitan Cricket League expressed his admiration of Cosmos as a leader among clubs in the MCL. He said that “Cosmos approach to playing the game and their spirit of friendship over the years has been a benchmark for other clubs, and he hoped that Cosmos will continue maintain their role in the league.”

The evening came to a rousing conclusion with an energized vote of thanks from former Cosmos president Mohan Kissoon who expressed his thanks to all for their support over the years and extend pleasant Season Greetings to all. He affirmed that Cosmos will continue to be lead the way forward, and with that breath of fresh air Cosmos 30 years of cricket lovely cricket concluded with the boys reminiscing on the good old days of pads with buckle and bats with skin while 8-year old Mathew was still downloading his app.
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