Indo-Caribbean Federation Game | Photo Gallery
By Sam Sooppersaud
Hundreds of cricket fans turned up at beautiful Baisley Pond Park Cricket Field, Queens, New York, on Saturday, August 2, 2014, to witness and enjoy the 24th Annual Indo-Caribbean Federation Trophy Game, played between Guyana and Rest of the Caribbean (R of C).

The R of C also included a guest player originally from Pakistan. (That is one of the numerous aspects of the ICF, inclusiveness). It was a hard fought match with Guyana coming out on top. The fans had a great time, watching cricket and catching up with old friends and acquaintances.

The game, originally planned 40-over game was reduced to a 35-over affair due to inclement weather conditions. An incessant rain had fallen on Friday evening. Scattered showers lingered throughout the morning of game day It was even feared that the match would be a washout. The drizzle was not letting up. Then suddenly, around 10:00. A.M. there was a turn around of the weather.  Mother nature, probably, considering the wonderful job ICF is doing in the community, gave us some sunshine. Not a very bright sunshine but enough to dry off the wicket and field.

From very early in the morning of the game President Ralph Tamesh and some of the Executives of the ICF had turned up at the park. They had set up the four tents furnished with chairs, and a couple of tables on which to rest the containers and containers of food that had been prepared by them for the occasion. Cricket commentators, Lenny Achaibar and Carl Bennett had also set up their equipment ready to call the ball by ball play. It would have been a great disappointment to all had the game been forced to cancel out. But, as faith would have it, cricket was played.

Prior to the start of play, WICR Radio personality, Robert Mohammed, took the microphone to welcome everyone to the park and game.  He then introduced ICF President, Ralph Tamesh, who echoed the welcoming sentiments and wished every a “great day of cricket and meeting friends”. Ralph then introduced the players as they lined up on the sidelines.

The two managers, Sew Shivnarain (Guyana) and Dr. Sham Ali (R of C) stood with their respective squads. The umpire, Steve Kalloo and Ashook Breijcoomar` joined the group for the introductions. Tamesh then announced that “this 24th Annual ICF Game is dedicated to the memory of Jimmy Maharaj, the captain of Trinidad team in the first ICF game, played a quarter of a century ago at Ferry Point Park Whitestone Bridge”. Yes, folks, Jimmy were a good friend to the game and to all who knew him. A moment of silence was observed in his memory.

The toss was spun. At approximately 1:15. P.M. Umpires Kalloo and Brijcoomar took their positions on the field. Guyana elected to take first strike. Opening batsmen, Mohsin Khan and schoolboy wonder, Derrick Narine walked out to the middle. The 24th Annual ICF Game was on… The two openers gave Guyana an excellent start. Both scored half centuries: Khan 74 runs and Narine 50 runs. The left-handed Narine was the first to go. He offered a return catch to Richie Siuchan on the very deliver he bowled. Guyana
91 -1 in 15 overs.

As if Khan and Narine did not inflict enough punishment on the bowlers, Guyana National batsman, Jonathan Foo, walked out to the wicket and unleashed an unrelenting barrage of “big shots” all around the field and over the boundary ropes. Mohsin Khan resorted to playing a supporting role to Foo, rotating the strike. Khan was the second Guyana wicket to fall, 165-2, in the 25th over. He was run out when on 74.

Guyana skipper Karan Ganesh collects the winning trophy.

New man in, skipper Karan Ganesh (22 runs) played second fiddle to the rampaging Foo.  By the time Foo was caught by Troy Mars on the long-on boundary he had swatted 7- 4’s and 8-6’s in his 62 ball stay at the wicket.  No bowler was spared his wrath.

Guyana completed their innings at 281 runs for 5 wickets.  Vijay Seunarine was not out on 16. Bowling for Rest of Caribbean, Troy Mars 2 for 31, Richie Sieuchan 1 for 56, and David Mohamed 1 for 34.

Needing 282 for victory, the R of C sent in hit man, Faisal Taj and Javin Thomas. Taj had scored a century in the 2013 ICF game. They went about their task aggressively, scoring at the rate of 10 per over. Then in the fifth over, Taj was out, “holding back” his shot and offering a sitter to Zamal Khan at short cover. He scored a quickfire 28 runs:  4-4’s and a maximum.  Marvin Darlington joined Thomas. They kept up the 10 an over run rate. But, with the score on 78, Darlington (15) was out caught by Khaleem Bux off the bowling of Karan Ganesh.78-2 in 8.3 overs.

With the fall of two more wickets, Troy Mars (14) and Keith Edie (5), David Mohamed and Richie Sieuchan combined for an apparent game-saving partnership of 63 runs. But just when it seemed that R of C was near to  ” stradde the hurdle” Siechan went the LBW route, giving Khaleem Bux his second victim. From here David Mohamed found no useful partner. They simply came to the wicket and left. None scored in the double figures. Mohamed was eventually caught, in the deep, in his effort to rally his team. He scored 40 runs in 36 balls.

Bowling for Guyana: Andre Stoll 1 for 33; Karan Ganesh 1 for 42; Udesh Bissnauth 1 for 26; Khaleem Bux 2 for 40 and Vijay Sieunarine 3 for 25.

During the halftime intermission the large crowd was treated to grand performances by some local artists. First up on stage was Shivanie Sookdeo Winner of the dance competition at the East Indian Arrival day Celebration in June from the Shelly Ramanand (The Dancing Queen) Dancing School. She entertained the fans with the latest Bollywood moves. She was followed on stage by our local “Jim Reeves”, Cliff Joseph. Son Son and Gopaul gave us some chutney and masala. Sean Kulsun, a Youngman, a prolific dancer, then closed off the show with his moves.

Indo-Caribbean Federation president Ralph Tamesh (left) presents an award to journalist and educator Sam Soopersaud.

Noted cricket administrator, John Aaron then took over the microphone and invited cricket journalist, Sam Sooppersaud, (yes, that’s me) on stage. President Ralph Tamesh presented a plaque to him on behalf of the Federation, thanking him for the work he was doing for the organization. Mr. Sooppersaud replied that “rather, it should be I thanking the ICF, for giving me the opportunity and privilege of working for such a worthwhile cause”.

The program then moved on to the saddest part of day’s proceedings. That was the presentation of a Certificate of Appreciation to Mrs. Asha  Maharaj, the wife of the late Jimmy Maharaj, in his memory. Their three children, sons Sanjay and Sunil, and daughter, Sandy Thakurdeen Maharaj accompanied their mother on stage.  They thanked the ICF for remembering Jimmy in such a tangible way. They told of his love of the game and those connected with the game.  Asha Maharaj then instituted a monetary award to be presented to the two most outstanding players in the present game and for ICF games in the next five years.  What a sentiment to her departed spouse! There wasn’t s dry eye around!

The day ended with the presentation of awards: Most Promising Player, Derrick Narine; batting, Mohsin Khan, Richie Siechan, David Mohamed; bowling, Troy Mars and Khaleem Bux. The MVP award went to Jonathan Foo for his very entertaining innings of 101 runs in 62 balls.

After the presentation, the raffle was drawn; first prize, an airline ticket to Guyana compliments of Fly Jamaica; second prize, a cricket bat, signed by the Executives, cricketers and umpires of the Indo-Caribbean Federation. The members of the ICF, players, and fans then enjoyed a dinner of home-made delicacies by the Tamesh family. It was another successful event