NY Mayor's Cup
The 2010 U-19 USA Team Top the 2006 U-19 USA Team?
Jan. 7th, 2010
With Team USA now in New Zealand to continue preparations for, and
to compete in the ICC 2010 Under-19 World Cup, it’s a good time
to take a look back at the USA Under-19 team's sterling effort at
the 2006 World Cup in Sri Lanka.
USA under-19 2006 team in Sri Lanka.
The USA, captained by Hemant Punoo, was one of the only non-Test playing
countries to qualify for that World Cup, despite the fact that the
US had only begun an Under-19 Tournament just the year before. The
team did so well that Cricinfo.com reported, "It was the first
US team ever to manage a clean 4-0 sweep in an ICC tournament (the
Qualifier in Canada. It was the first (USA Team) to qualify for a
World Cup tournament. Even in losing, the USA posted better performances
than any first-time team in a World Cup. They also made the semi-finals
of an ICC tournament (the Plate Championship) in their very first
appearance on the international stage."
Andre Kirton, Romeno Deane and Sumon Bari were three of the players
on that 2006 Under-19 squad, managed by Ashok Patel. Patel, of the
USA Cricket Academy, along with coach Linden Fraser, was one of the
few people at the time trying to develop youth cricket. Kirton, Deane
and Bari recently talked about their World Cup experience.
What was it like to be in Sri Lanka for
the World Cup?
Sumon Bari said, "It was an awesome feeling, I had never had
Kirton said "It was the best tour, the cricket was competitive
- we wanted to beat the guys from Test countries, and they didn't
want to lose to us. The Sri Lankan hospitality was awesome."
Deane too, Had a great experience, the place was so beautiful and
the people so respectful."
What could Team USA have done better?
The players were unanimous in feeling that the 2006 USA Team had
the ability to match the other teams. However they felt they "lacked
cohesiveness, preparation and experience." In fact they said
that they had no experience playing with a white ball prior to the
World Cup, and this made a huge difference.
Kirton explained "There is a big difference between playing
with a red ball and a white ball, for example the white ball swings
differently. It was good to see the 2010 Team USA (U-19) getting
more preparation and coaching from the New Zealand coaches."
What advice would you give to the 2010 U-19
Kirton cautioned, "Don't go in thinking you can win the World
Cup, take one game at a time. When you have the pressure on the
other team, don't let up, don't try anything fancy, just stick to
Kirton also felt we should learn from the other teams."Watch
how they will take singles and put pressure on the fielders, remember
a misfield on those smooth outfields can result in two more runs
or even a boundary. Take singles but be careful, the ball will also
get to the fielders quicker than on our slower grounds."
Bari added, "Stick to your priorities and don't lose sight
of the purpose."
Deane said, "On a tour it can be tempting to go out or party,
but winning is the most fun."
In 2006 Hemant Punoo made the highest score (65) for the USA and
captained the team well by all accounts, but now he no longer plays
competitive cricket. Meanwhile many of his contemporaries in the
Test-playing countries have progressed, some to playing Test cricket.
Do you see better prospects now for the
USA Under-19 cricketers after they return and have outgrown the
Kirton said, "Of the 16 USA players from 2006 only Akeem Dodson
has made it into the USA Men's senior team, so it can be discouraging
but the biggest thing happening for cricket right now in America,
is the American College Cricket Championship. It is going to be
bigger than most people can imagine, it will blow up man!"
Deane added, "It will bring out so much talent, like the IPL
did in India. Plus, many of the guys on the current Under-19 USA
team are presently enrolled in universities and would love the chance
to be part of the American College sports scene."
Bari concluded, "Now, young American cricketers will have more
do you think we will do at the 2010 World Cup (Under-19) in New
Deane, was quick to state, "We have the talent to match up
against the world's best...we just have to focus on winning one
game at a time."
Bari wishes the players, all the very best, adding, "I hope
they will do even better than the 2006 Team. Good luck."
Kirton remarked, "I know a lot of the guys, and they have their
heart in this. The opponents will be tough but I think we have a
very good motivated team."
The village of Port Mourant in Guyana, has produced some of that
country's best Test batsmen including Rohan Kanhai and Alvin Kallicharran,
so when I was asked this past summer if I wanted to play as an "Honorary"
Port Mourantian in a Reunion Match in Queens, NY, I was honored.
Like those great batsmen I went in at number three and shared a
good partnership with someone who batted like a great batsman. I
later found out that the batsman was Hemant Punoo, a player, who
would have been an extraordinary talent on the current USA Under-19
squad in New Zealand.
Contributed by Lloyd Jodah