American Cricket Champions
On May 18, America’s national domestic cricket league gets underway with a desert clash between the Southern California Cricket Association and the Arizona Cricket Association. ACF CEO Jamie Harrison will be in Phoenix to attend this first-ever American Cricket Champions League match.

Arizona is led by Ajay Bhatia, who recently became the first ACA player to cross 1000 runs in a season, at an average of 60, picking up four centuries along the way. He has also demonstrated his prowess with the ball, taking 20 wickets.

The Scorpions will also be trotting out Fawad Sher, one of the fastest bowlers in Arizona. Sher was the highest wicket taker among 18 teams with a total of 40 wickets and season-best bowling figures of 6/42. Sher also contributes with the bat, scoring 656 runs with a top score of 115, plus five fifties.

SCCA squad is expected to feature US national players like Elmore Hutchinson and Timil Patel, along with top talent Arjun Thyagarajan and Asad Khan.

Other intriguing early season matchups are on offer as well.

The Washington Metropolitan Cricket Board opens their 2014 ACCL campaign at home against the Greater Philadelphia Cricket League on May 24.

While a balanced side, WMCB’s strength lies in the all-round ability of two key players – Richardson Sacrais and Ankur Saini. Both scored over 400 runs in the 2013 season, the only two batsmen to do so, and were among the leading wicket takers in the league – with Richardson leading the league with 31 wickets.

WMCB also has a couple of promising young guns – Akash Pathak, a talented left arm medium pacer, a solid batsman and an electrifying fielder, and Umar Raza, a lively right arm medium pacer who could make life a bit difficult for the batsmen.

Also on May 24, the defending champion Midwest Cricket Conference squad will be led onto the pitch by Nirav Amin, a left-arm spinning all-rounder who led MWCC to the Shekhar Aravind Memorial Unity Cup title last year. The squad also boasts former US national team wicketkeeper Ashhar Mehdi, universally acknowledged to be the finest gloveman in the country.

The MWCC team is also expected to include young Abhijit Joshi, the fine middle-order batsman and medium pacer who was MWCC’s highest run-getter at the North American Cricket Championship in Arizona earlier this year, and has captained the USA Under-15s and Under-19s in the past.

In the Sunshine State, the emerging North Florida Cricket League team is banking on their consistent top scorer Farman Mohmand and fiery all rounder Nathan Stan to give them an edge against the Florida Southeast Cricket League on June 15.

The Midwest Cricket Tournament team features Ohio’s most talented batsman in Nakul Patel. Patel’s aggressive batting, combined with sound technique and fundamentals gives him the capability to demoralize the bowling side. Calmly looking to play long, dominant innings with power to all areas of the field, he once reached 222* from just 90 balls.  Plus, he is regarded as one of the best fielders in the Midwest. Big things await this young star.

MCT also has Hari Sundaram, an opening batsman and keeper, who has represented Tamil Nadu in India. Just last week, Hari delivered 124 runs in 67 balls. Suraj Murali is MCT’s Mr. Consistent with his batting, fielding and off-spin bowling. He has a top score of 188. Another MCT player to watch is all-rounder Mohd Ali Khan, a batsman and a spectacular fast bowler, who played for Rawalpindi in Pakistan.

Later this summer, MCT will face off with division rival Pittsburgh Cricket Association, who will have Sohail Choudhry, a frequent recipient of the league’s “Champion Player” award and the holder of a batting average of 65 over 100 games spanning an eight-year period. PCA also features Ram Paluri, a stylish southpaw who has single-handedly won many a game for his team, and Sameer Damle, whose pace and accuracy has worried the best of batsmen.

ACCL Commissioner Avinash Varma said, “The start of the ACCL season marks an exciting turning point in American cricket.  It will create new rivalries and friendships across the length and breadth of America, give aspiring players a national platform to showcase their talents, and unite American cricket…truly a way forward!

“Above all, the ACCL offers a canvas to finally begin writing the story of American cricket as it should be written – by celebrating the achievements of players on the field and not the intrigue off it.”

Released today is a nearly complete fixture list, which should see a few more additions as leagues are able to confirm dates and venues.
2014 ACCL Fixtures:

Date Division Teams
5/18 Southwest SCCA at AZCA
5/24                                    Mid-Atlantic CLNJ at MACC
5/24 Mid-Atlantic GPCL at WMCB
5/24 Great Lakes MCC at MCA
5/25 Great Lakes MCA at MCC
5/31 Southwest OCCA at AZCA
6/14                          Mid-Atlantic WMCB at CLNJ
6/14 Mid-Atlantic MACC at GPCL
6/15 Florida NFCL at FSCL
6/22 Florida FSCL at NFCL
6/28 Mid-Atlantic CLNJ at GPCL
6/28 Mid-Atlantic MACC at WMCB
7/5 Southwest SCCA at OCCA
7/5 Mid-Atlantic CLNJ at WMCB
7/5 Mid-Atlantic GPCL at MACC
7/5                            Ohio Valley PCA at MCT
7/12                          New England SCtCA at CCL
7/19 New England CCL at MSCL
8/2 Southwest AZCA at OCCA
8/2 Mid-Atlantic MACC at CLNJ
8/2 Mid-Atlantic WMCB at GPCL
8/2 Florida NFCL at FCC
8/3 Florida FSCL at FCC
8/9 New England MSCL at SCtCA
8/9 Florida FCC at FSCL
8/16 New England CCL at SCtCA
8/16 Ohio Valley MCT at PCA
8/17 Florida FCC at NFCL
8/23 New England MSCL at CCL
8/30 New England SCtCA at MSCL
8/30 Mid-Atlantic GPCL at CLNJ
8/30 Mid-Atlantic WMCB at MACC

New England Division
MSCL – Massachusetts State Cricket League
SCtCA – Southern Connecticut Cricket Association
CCL – Commonwealth Cricket League
Mid-Atlantic Division
GPCL – Greater Philadelphia Cricket League
CLNJ – Cricket League of New Jersey
WMCB – Washington Metro Cricket Board
MACC – Mid-Atlantic Cricket Conference
Florida Division
FCC – Florida Cricket Conference
NFCL – North Florida Cricket League
FSCL – Florida Southeast Cricket League
Great Lakes Division
MCC – Midwest Cricket Conference
MCA – Michigan Cricket Association
Ohio Valley Division
PCA – Pittsburgh Cricket Association
MCT – Midwest Cricket Tournament
Southwest Division
OCCA – Orange County Cricket Association
AZCA – Arizona Cricket Association
SCCA – Southern California Cricket Association

About the ACCL:
The ACCL pits league teams against each other in six geographic divisions. These teams will have home and away matches, with three points awarded for a road win, two points for a home win and one point each for matches abandoned due to weather. These 40-over matches will be played under ICC ODI rules.

In October, the six division winners will advance to the national championship tournament in Florida. The winner of that tournament will be the national champion league, and will automatically qualify as the US representative in the North American Cricket Championship, held the following March in Phoenix.

Hammer Cricket, ACF’s equipment partner, will support the ACCL by presenting a Hammer Cricket bat, pad & gloves to the top run scorer in the ACF National Championship Tournament. Also, the ACF Batsman of the Year will receive a full Hammer Cricket sponsorship, which includes two bats, gloves, pads, a bag, additional guards and apparel such as hats and shirts.

ACF Technology partner, CricHQ will officially score all ACCL games.