By Dr. Linden Dodson
Cricket New York / United States of America have continued to evolve in spite of the countless demagogues and numerous disingenuous actors in the body politic of the sport. In the interest of cricket, parents and other stakeholders wish for the day when we recognize a clear pathway for growth and development of the individual so that this honorable vocation can become a career path for our children.
There are bright spots in New York / United States cricket including the PSAL in New York public schools where thirty five public schools participate in inter-school cricket. A few of these budding stars have gone on to represent the United States at the Under 19 level. The challenge is to have these students matriculate to colleges where they can play cricket and continue to develop and / or participate in a welcoming and meaningful environment in the local leagues as a place to hone their talents.
College cricket is another bright spot; the number of colleges with competitive teams increasing every year however colleges with more diverse curricula and the participation of more women will be helpful. Further New York Cricket Region (NYCR), United States Cricket Association (USACA) and International Cricket Council (ICC) needs to embrace USA College Cricket and partner with this critical niche to develop the sport.
Currently the brightest spot in USA Cricket is USA Senior Team, during the past eighteen months
– ICC Americas T20: Team USA won 4 lost 2
– ICC T20 World Cup Qualifier: Team USA won 3 lost 3
– ICC WCL Division 4: Team USA won 4 lost 2: promoted to Division 3
For once USA has a “Team”; of course work has to done with their fielding, field placing and match awareness but they are definitely something to be proud of in USA cricket.
In the just concluded ICC WCL Division 4 competition, Jessy Singh was introduced into the bowling attack first change against Bermuda after the two opening bowlers did not break through. Jessy immediately took the ball up to the bat, had one opener caught by the wicket keeper then had the next batsman cleaned bowled. He bowled with enthusiasm and spirit. It was Jessy who caused a timely run out against Italy that broke an opening stand of 118 then in the same game hit the run that tied the game then ran to the danger end for the winning run. Again in the finals against Oman it was Jessy, 37 not then 3 wickets to earn him the man of match in the finals. His story is the classic American story of the under dog who was not the first pick for the team but got his opportunity and became the man of the match in the finals.
At the critical times he had the correct intensity of play; some thing you cannot coach but at the deciding hour champions have it.
More can be done in New York and many other areas around the country to enhance our game; there is need for standardizing of the playing facilities including the use of turf wickets, improvement in facilities to include change rooms with bathrooms, side screens, scoreboards and sustained manicure of parks during cricket season.
Current ICC Chairman, Mr. Shashank Manohar while meeting with USA stakeholders September last opined that an organization can have any constitution however without good men the organization will be dysfunctional. This sentiment expressed by the Chairman is today echoing throughout the halls of influence in USA cricket; resonating especially in NYCR and USACA.
In New York the selectors of the T20 Team scheduled to participate in the National Championship November 18 – 20, 2016 with the help of NYCR executives demonstrated clearly that demagoguery is rife.
In 2015 NYCR appointed Steve Massiah, Captain for the regional team to participate in the T20 National Championship; Massiah opted out because of his disappointment with certain members of the team specifically sighting leg spinning, all rounder Andre Kirton (pick on those you consider politically vulnerable – classic demagoguery). Several others subsequently opted out; the most egregious was former West Indian fast bowler Jermaine Lawson for whom an airline ticket was purchased for travel to Florida. One hour before departure efforts were being made to get him to take the flight. He did not travel alleging that he was promised money to represent NYCR.
NYCR participated with ten players and the manager Cliff Roye. We lost in the semi finals.
This week NYCR selectors named another T20 Team including Jermaine Lawson.
What changed over this year?
Money; rather the promise of money is the carrot. USACA has indicated that out of this tournament possibly six cricketers will be selected for contracts with Global Sports Ventures (GSV) to promote and get ready for the proposed professional cricket league.
Where is the outrage?
The outrage is with the long held well protected culture in USA cricket – “go along to get along”. How does this indecency serve the interest of New York / United States cricket?
After several months of consultation and discussions the eminently qualified and carefully put together Nation Advisory Group revised and proposed a constitution for USA cricket which was accepted by the ICC board and given to USACA for ratification.
The constitution seeks to unify cricket stakeholders across the USA; it is compliant with ICC and United States of America Olympics Committee. In particular it gives voting membership to individual members and shifts the work of the directors away from day to day cricket to policy making.
Individual members provide USA cricket with a priceless database and allows for vital fund raising.
All of cricket stakeholders in USA and around the world hold their breath waiting for good men in USA cricket to step up and reject demagoguery and act in the interest of cricket to move USA cricket to its rightful place in World Cricket.
Dr. Linden Dodson
President Sheffield Cricket Club
NYCR representative to USACA
Former Secretary NYCR
Former Member Competitions Committee, Guyana Cricket Board of Control
Former Treasurer Malteenoes Sports Club
The views expressed here are those of the contributor, and do not necessarily reflect those of www.usacricketers.com