Adds Star Power To Richmond Hill
By Orin Davidson
Nov. 26th, 2008
Zaheer Saffie came with a loaded reputation and delivered the goods
whenever and wherever he played in New York City this past cricket
At the end of it all he walked away with the Eastern American Cricket
Association’s (EACA) Most Valuable award after a number of eye-opening
displays in the EACA League, the Ahmad Caribbean Cup and the Inter
Saffie (left) is congratulated by USACA secretary John Aaron.
Saffie (right) collects the Eastern American Cricket Association
MVP award from Jerry Persaud.
In the West Indies,
Saffie had played his way into the top echelons of Guyana’s
junior competition, including a three-time Under-19 team stint that
laid a solid foundation for a high profile senior career.
But he is giving his senior years to New York and eventually America
cricket which is why at 22 years old, he is a rarity among the West
Indian players who pop up here every season.
You will not find him appearing in the Summer and disappearing afterwards
when the curtain draws on the season and the perks dry up.
Saffie is here to stay permanently and to give his young years to
New York which already has every reason to be grateful for his presence.
He is an attacking top order batsman who became the fans’ most
sought after player from May to September this year. The runs flowed
from his bat almost every time he took the crease and at the end of
the day, Richmond Hill was propelled to second place in the tough
EACA championship and Guyana took home the Caribbean Cup for the umpteenth
And he can bowl too. After 17 wickets and 220 runs, Saffie became
the undisputed EACA MVP, as no player, even those from the 2008 champions
East Bank, came near to challenging him.
Two high class half centuries for Guyana in the Caribbean Cup were
among Saffie’s highlights in the Big Apple’s most prestigious
competition, in the process coming close to recording the competition’s
lone century, falling short by three runs against Barbados.
His big regret this season was ending up with his teammates on the
losing end to East Bank in that heart- stopping final of the EACA
Big Four series. Saffie made 25 in that game, a low scoring affair
and would’ve liked to cap his first full season here in a blaze
of glory. More so, especially after he chalked up a rare century in
half of a season in 2007 for Richmond Hill.
But he subsequently made up for that disappointment this year, at
the top of the top order for Guyana which steamrolled its way to its
third straight Caribbean Cup title, without losing a game. It landed
him the team’s Best Batsman prize ahead of a slew of batting
stars on the rooster.
Were he eligible, Saffie could’ve been a certainty in the United
States team that played in the just concluded West Indies Cricket
Board Cup and the current Americas Cup competition.
He expects to confirm his eligibility within two years as Saffie sees
a role for himself in the national team, while settling- in, in the
Mecca of New York cricket in Queens.
Saffie (second at far right) with Richmond Hill teammates. Photos
by Shiek Mohamed
With the huge
amounts of money up for grabs in West Indies cricket these days, Saffie
is happy to make a home for himself in Queens instead. He has forgone
the urge to join the mad scramble for places in the Guyana team, the
Stanford All Stars and West Indies teams.
One of his ex Guyana under-19 teammates Leon Johnson is close to cashing
in on the millions, having already made the West Indies squad which
just concluded a limited overs series against Pakistan.
Saffie was once offered a contract to play in the English leagues,
from which Johnson graduated into the Guyana and WI sides, but he
passed up the opportunity because he had no family there.
But they are all in Queens which means he is here to setup roots.
Orin Davidson Column Homepage