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Give America’s Cricket Due Credit

By Orin Davidson
June 1st, 2009
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No one doubts that United States cricket has been grossly mis-managed, throughout most of its organized state, more so in recent years.

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.
Just ask the West Indies.

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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Comments
Well done Orin Davidson, you have once again show your knowledge about USA cricket in comparison to those who merely follow it. Thanks for such a wonderful article that highlighted such amazing facts.
Posted by Intiaz Khan, June 1st, 2009

It's nice to see that someone has finally recognized the contribution of the senior team\'s performance in the 2006 ICC Americas Cup in Canada. If one wants to be objective in one\'s anaylsis, it would be clear that this is where the current rebuilding process began. For the record, I was the manager of that team. With a new-look team, which included first-timers Sushil Nadkarni, Carl Wright, Khawaja Shuja and Lennox Cush, just to name a few, the USA was a much improved team from the one which was comprehensive defeated in Ireland a year earlier. These were all young, ambitious and talented players, who, under the capable leadership of Steve Massiah, was ready to take on the World, and as you correctly mentioned, were it not for the rainy conditions, we would have easily defeated Bermuda on that Friday and won the tournament with one more game (Canada) to play. We lost to Canada on that Saturday, and in so doing, handed the cup to Bermuda.However, our team took home the bulk of the trophies from the tournament. I wish to thank you for making mention of where this rebuilding process really began.
Posted by Orville Hall June 1st, 2009 - Former manager USA senior team - Canada-2006

Excellent summation Orin. I think the Cricinfo articles in particular seem to be addressing some agenda which obviously has no direct correlation to reality. It would be extremely fascinating to know if the lead writer on all issues to do with US cricket even bothered to check the websites with regards to the recently concluded U 19 tournament in New York. I have yet to read a cricinfo article detailing how excellent the organization was and how the good the cricket turned out to be. Thus cricinfo obviously would not have been able to comment on how bright a future cricket has in the US. Instead this one particular chap who has been tasked with writing about US cricket ('Williamson')has decided as is the wont of the old colonial masters to denigrate and degrade any accomplishments by their former subjects! If US cricket was purely played and managed not by the immigrant societies but the blue eyed, blond haired brand I feel Cricinfo would have become a rallying tool designed solely to promote all things Cricket USA. Anyhow don\'t despair sites like this Newyorkcricket and Dream cricket are doing a wonderful job and I support all your efforts. Well done to you people for keeping this game alive in this nation.
Posted by Winston Malik, June 1st, 2009

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