NY Mayor's Cup
Give America’s Cricket Due Credit
By Orin Davidson
Justifiably, the national ruling body has been criticized, thrashed and in some cases written off, from all quarters.
It does not mean however, that every development relating to America’s cricket should be painted with the same brush of indignation.
You that impression though, from the reactions to the International Cricket Council’s decision to allocate the U.S. a place in the qualifying tournament for the 2010 Twenty20 World Cup.
For the record, the United States was elevated from Division Five of the Associate member list, to join the six countries with One Day International (ODI) status along with hosts the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to compete for two places for the T/20 finals set for the West Indies.
It is also a fact that the United States failed in its attempt, one year ago to qualify from Division Five for the 2011, 50 overs World Cup which comprised elimination competitions from that group and also through Four and Three.
The United States senior cricket team in reality though, is much better than Division Five, Division Four or Division Three status.
But for those who seemingly will forever have an axe to grind with this country’s cricket, the ICC committed a heinous crime by expanding the competition to include this country.
Surely, the decision was made with revenue potential in mind, but for those who pretend not to know, or who do not know, the cricketing evidence that influenced the decision, is fully justified.
You can go back to the records as recent as November of last year when the United States crowned itself Americas champions. In so doing, they played unbeaten, soundly defeating Canada and Bermuda along the way.
Canada happens to one of the two teams that qualified for the 2011 World Cup finals this year and Bermuda which was good enough to make it to the 2007 World Cup, is another team with ODI status.
That display, was not a flash- in- the- pan performance by any stretch of the imagination, if the records are thoroughly checked. In the last Americas competition, in 2006, the United States was poised to win that competition too, with the same two top teams involved, were it not for rain that denied them victory in one crucial game.
So, all this ranting about Namibia, Afghanistan and others being hard done, by America’s elevation, is unjustified.
The critics also refer to the United States’ ‘jolly’ in the 2004 Champions Trophy competition where they lost big, to heavyweights Australia and New Zealand among others.
But that is only one side of the story. The U.S.
was not gifted a free ride to England then, they had to earn their
way. They won the ICC Six Nations Cup, by topping the likes of the
UAE, Netherlands and Scotland among others, all top ranked Associate
member teams. Then without any preparation, at home or anyplace
else, they encountered the world’s most powerful team in early
autumn, in seaming unfamiliar English conditions, which is continuing
to undo professionals these days.
In Jersey island, the identical problems faced the U.S. team which placed fourth in Division Five. The hapless United States of America Cricket Association (USACA) was unable to prepare the team and they paid the penalty, as was the case when they failed in the previous World Cup Group Three elimination series, in Ireland.
It is also said that the U.S. is not ranked among the top 20 associated teams, but for those who pretend not to know, this country’s Division Five status was a demotion from Division Three, due to the ICC imposed suspension, at the time. It was not from any on-field failure.
The U.S. must not be classified by the Jersey performance because any well- prepared unit will outperform those countries on any level playing field.
Canada and Bermuda discovered that reality when they ran into a battle hardened U.S. squad that competed in the West Indies Cup, just before winning the 2008 Americas title.
The ICC took those factors into consideration and sure enough they handed America much needed help, which is what they supposed to do for any deserving nation.
The world ruling body also knows that cricket is growing and improving, in America which is evidenced by the performance displayed in the just concluded national Under-19 championships. Not to mention the women team’s second place finish in their version of the Americas Cup, after only three months in existence.
“Seeing is believing,” is a well worn
expression. Therefore, those who merely visit America for Disneyland
and South Beach, should check the records for objectivity first,
then add cricket to their itineraries next time around.
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