Pictured above, ICF President Ralph Tamesh (left) presents the winning trophy to Captain of the Caribbean Invitation Team Naeem Arif.
By Sam Sooppersaud
The four days preceding Saturday, August 19, 2017, were not your typical summer days: hot, sunny, clear, temperatures in the eighties, and of course no rain. This type of weather is typical this time of year. To the contrary, the weather was muggy, and rainy. The temperature were below normal for this time of year. Sort of bleak looking. For the cricket lovers it was like “impending doom”. What can be worse for these cricket-loving maniacs than suffering a full, a whole weekend without cricket!
Lo and behold! That Saturday morning Mother Nature gave us all her best smile. The sun came out brightly; no rain was in the horizon. The temperature climbed to the upper 80’s. A slight, calming breeze was blowing. It was an ideal day for a cricket match. And. A cricket match we had. The game was the Indo Caribbean Federation’s Annual Classic. A Guyana Select Xl took on a Rest of the Caribbean (World) Select Xl. The latter squad was comprised of players from the West Indies, Guyana, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Although it was a low scoring game for a 40-Over format, it was not without its moments of excitement for the over 400 fans who turned up at Baisley Pond Park Cricket Field, 150th Street and Baisley Boulevard in Queens, New York. As if following a script, both teams lost early wickets but later partnerships rallied to put some sort of respectability on their team’s score.
The Rest of the Caribbean took first knock. On the 8th ball of the inning they lost a wicket. But a second wicket century partnership between Andrew Davis (76) and Aldane Thomas (39) put their side back on solid ground. A couple of mini partnerships later helped the R of the C to 225 all out. Contributing double figures in the twenties were Faisal Taj (23) and Javien Thomas (24). Taking the wickets for Guyana was: Keon Lake 2 for 48; Telston Johnson, Andre Kirton, Karan Ganesh, Wasin Haslim, and Krishendat Ramoo took one wicket each for 28, 24, 33, 23, and 23 runs, respectively.
In between innings an elaborate and enjoyable program of cultural and traditional singing and dancing was performed. Some western flavor was added by Cliff Joseph doing a Jim Reeves song. I must admit that the audience enjoyed the program immensely, especially the gyrating of the young traditionally dressed dancers. Cliff got a heartwarming ovation.
Next item on the day’s program was the honoring of three persons who had put in an aggregate of over 100 years in the game of cricket. First called up on stage was Umpire Steve Kalloo. He is an umpire extraordinaire. He is a gentleman of impeccable character, on and off the cricket field. He has put in over 25 years, officiating in cricket games in the USA, West Indies, and Surinam and the ICF matches. HIs services is craved by leagues, which want the very best to do their games. Every weekend Steve is travelling to different cricket grounds; either Queens, Brooklyn, Nassau or Suffolk counties. He sometimes travels to distant part of New Jersey to officiate in games. He is called upon to do nearly all the Semi Finals and Finals games in the New York Metropolitan area.
Honored next by the ICA was Mr. Trevor Walke. He is referred to as the “old man of the game” by his numerous friends and admirers. Although 70 years young, he still pust in yeoman service for his club during the weekend. On Saturdays he plays for Everest Masters in the NY Masters League. On Sundays he opens the bowling for the American Cricket Society/Everest in the Eastern American Cricket Association. He has helped his clubs to win over a dozen championships over the years. Mr. Walke began playing cricket almost immediately upon arriving in New York City. He has given over half a century of years to the game. He started off as a googly bowler but now finds that his slow medium stuff gets him more wickets. As John Aaron puts it: he turned to fast bowling because his googlies didn’t turn.
The third honoree for the day was the former West Indies ODI player, Milton Pydanna. He played 21 games for the WI in that format. Many have said that had it not been for Jeffrey Dujon Milton would have become more of a fixture on the WI team. I know Milton since he was in his early teens and playing Primary School cricket. He showed great potentials even at that young are, both in batting and wicket-keeping. I once saw him scored 101 runs in chasing a total of 109. In the 60’s, I myself was a wicket-keeper/ opening batsmen playing for Police Sports Club in Berbice. I spent many, many hours helping Milton to improve his wicket-keeping skills. He needed no help with his batting. He possessed a natural talent with the bat. Milton became so good behind the wicket that once, in a Davson Competition game (Berbice A Division) batting for Police Against Rose Hall Town, I stepped out of my crease for a fraction of an inch, Milton Pydanna, standing behind, whipped off the bails so fast that I was left standing maybe a half an inch out of my crease. I remarked to him, “Good job kid, you learned well”. Milton has completed all the requirements for coaching; he presently is an ICC qualified coach. He spends his weekends coaching the youngsters in the Melbourne New York Alliance organization. He has spent many years working with kids in different clubs.
All three honorees were awarded with a plaque with inscriptions, denoting their services to cricket and society, as a whole. President of the Federation Ralph Tamesh thanked the honorees for their tremendous service to the cricketing community.
The second inning started with the Guyana Xl having to score 226 runs for victory. They lost two quick wickets. Akshay Homraj (30) and Krishendat Ramoo (52 N.O) put on a 46 run partnership. Once the partnership was broken, wickets tumbled like bowling pins. Andre Kirton (26) and Ramoo put on a 48 run partnership. Eventually the Guyana Select Xl fell for 168 runs. Numerous batsmen literally threw their wickets away with bad shot selection. Bowling for R of the C, Albert Small and Ryan Burnett, 2 wickets each for 29 and 42 runs. Charlton Senior and Naeem Arif, one wicket each for 21 and 18 runs. The most successful bowler was Faisal Taj, 3 for 16. With this defeat the Guyana squad has now lost three (3) years consecutive to the Rest of the Caribbean.
A Raffle was held after which a presentation ceremony took place. Awarded for their efforts were: Faisal Taj (Best Bowler: 3 for 16), Andrew Davis (Best Batsman: 76), and Krishendat Ramoo (MVP: 52 N.O and 1 for 23). Afterwards everyone at the park feasted on a delicious dinner of: curried Chicken, Baked chicken, Chowmein, White and fried rice, dholl, curried potatoes, salad, and many more appetizing dishes. I must say, everyone who came out to the park went home happy and satisfied.