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Indo-Caribbean Federation 20th Annual Cricket Match

By Sam Sooppersaud 
Oct. 6th, 2009
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A crowd of nearly 1,500 people was on hand at Baisley Park, Queens, NY, on Saturday, September 26, 2009, to watch the 20th Annual Indo-Caribbean Federation (ICF) cricket match.  Not in recent times had such a crowd showed up to witness a cricket match played by the local boys. 

Karan Ganesh was superb as he smashed an unbeaten 95 that included nine sixes.

A few years ago over 3,000 persons had showed up at Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn, NY to watch the West Indies team take on a local All-Star Eleven.

But again, that was a Test playing team, hence the large crowd. The annual ICF match was started in 1990 and is a part of the celebration to observe "Indian Arrival Day" - East Indian "migration" indentureship to the West Indies. The first group of 149 was put on board the Whitby on January 13, 1838, which set sail for Berbice, British Guiana, where the passengers were to work on the sugar estates.

It had been agreed in the Council of Britain, earlier, that those laborers would work on the estates for a period of five years. Once they have fulfilled their obligation they would have the choice of being returned to India or remaining in their new homeland to continue their lives.  Most decided to remain. Today, we, the Indo people in the Caribbean are the descendants of those people who sacrificed much, so that we can get a better life. We are thankful for their courage and their sacrifice. 
Numerous groups around the USA and Canada mark the Annual Arrival Day with various activities. In May of this year - the 171st Anniversary of Indian emigration - the ICF held several events to observe the milestone. The federation presented the "Biggest Talent Competition Ever," at Smokey Park in Richmond Hill, NY, on Sunday, May 17th, 2009. The show included artists from Guyana, T&T, USA, Jamaica, and Suriname. It was ably supported by the numerous Indo-owned businesses in the area, and was a resounding success, as all had a good time.
Back to the cricket match. This annual spectacle has always pitted a Guyana XI against a Trinidad XI. The rivalry between the two Caribbean nations (Guyana is actually in South America), have always resulted in a fierce but friendly battle. Each trying to win, but in the end what counts was the feeling of camaraderie and friendship that exist among all. It's an occasion when old friendships are renewed and many new bonds are made. It is a time when relatives who may not have met in decades get together. After all,  this is one of the main functions of the ICF, to bring together and unite the Indo-Caribbean people. But the efforts do not stop there. The organization extends itself to people of all races, culture and ethnicity. This was evident by the large number of non-Indian people at the park for the cricket match.

ICF President Ralph Tamesh and his group did a splendid job. They were able to "sign up' some of the best cricketers in the New York area. I must say, however, that the game itself was a one-sided affair, as Guyana dominated their Trinidadian counterparts. But spectators were treated to some excellent cricket. Most entertaining of all was Karan Ganesh, who, batting for Guyana scored an exciting 95 not out, clobbering the T&T bowlers for nine sixes. Five of those coming off the bowling of former Trinidad national player David Mohamed, three in succession, in one over. Vishal Nagamootoo showed his aggression with a quick 35, while USA Under-19 opening batsman Andy Mohamed got 44 runs. The USA senior team captain Steve Massiah was his usual classy self scoring 51 runs before he retired. In their 40 overs Guyana scored 242 for the loss of only 2 wickets. Former Trinidad national bowler Richard Sieuchand claimed both wickets, while conceding 43 runs.
Trinidad did not fare too well when their turn at bat came. In the very first over they lost opener Ganesh Ramsingh. By the time they had posted 50 runs, they had already lost 4 wickets. The tenth-wicket partnership of 47 runs between G. Phillips (21 n.o.) and R. Khan (90) provided the little resistance that Trinidad offered. They were routed for 146. Telston Johnson (2 for 17), H. Bissnauth (2 for 21), and S. Singh ( 3 for 18) were the main architects of Trinidad's downfall. K. Brigdepaul and S. Massiah got one wicket apiece for 32 and 10 runs respectively.
During the half-time spectators were treated to a spectacular on-stage show. The MC for this part of the day's celebration was none other that Robert Mohamed of WICR radio. Lalita Ramnauth, the 1st place dancer in the May Talent Show, "oohed and aahed" the large crowd with her gyrating to the Anand Yankarran song "Joe, Joe Nah."  As if this was not enough, a second female dancer went on stage and did her thing, much to the delight of the male dominated crowd.  This was followed by Pali Das, the male singing champ in the May show. He rendered his winning song, "Laggi Rey...".
Following the show, was a more serious part of the day's activities. Three 'servants' of cricket were honored for their contributions to the game. First was Trinidadian Shadi Khan, presently an administrator with Cosmos Cricket Club. He was honored for his dedication in working with various cricket concers around the New York area in helping to improve the game. Next to be honored was Selwyn Caesar, former Trinidad national opening bowler and former Treasurer of  USACA. Last of the three to be honored was Sew Shivnarain. He is presently the coach of the USA Under -19 squad, and just last month coached the USA boys to a qualifying berth in the ICC Under-19 World Cup scheduled for New Zealand next January. Shiv, as he is fondly called, has represented Guyana several times and the West Indies in Test matches. He is hard working and very active in developing young cricketers. Our kudos to those gentlemen.
The day's activities were well planned by the executives of the ICF. As usual Ralph Tamesh was the workhorse behind everything. The ICF would also like to thank all the sponsors for helping to make the day a success: Bayo at Liberty Gold, Bhola Ramsundar Insurance and Travel Services,  Jagdesh Mohunlall, C.P.A., Stanley Raj of Main Street Insurance, Dave Naraine West Indian Products, Dave West Indian Radio Show, WICR Radio, City Bias & Stitching Co., Singh's Sporting Goods, Marine Funding, Star Party Rentals, Hollywood Real Estate Institute, Coffee Distributing Corp, YDK Driving School, Naresa Palace, Gold Palace, Kaiteur Restaurant, New Upscale Construction Corp, Memvar Realty, Nest Restaurant, Edoo Beauty & Spa, Rockaway West Indian Roti Shop, Two A's Mechanics, Stonewall Construction, Ozone Press, Prince Seating Products, Salim Auto Sales, H & N Insurance, Ammana, Bamboo Garden, B.J. General Home Improvemant, E & D Fashion Boutique, S & A West Indian and American Groceries, A & R Sewing, West Indian Variety Show, The Bhawanie Singh Show, Indo American Show, LMN Television, Sounds of Music, Caribbean Spotlight, Best by Request Show, Aap Ke Liye, Jodha Talk Show, RBC Radio. Various individuals, too numerous to mention, have contributed their time and money to this ICF affair and we thank them all. 
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