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Overlooked New York player seeks Connecticut selection

By Orin Davidson
May 9th, 2009
Playing in the upcoming United States Under-19 cricket championship has become a desperate need, at least for one young New York player.

Rasheem James is a promising young allrounder who did not make the cut in the Big Apple team’s 14-man squad for this year’s tournament. He only managed a spot in the reserves which gave him a minimal chance to make the squad, only in the event of a withdrawal.

Rasheem James (right) and Dominic Gomes shares a moment during the NYPD Twenty20 final last year.

With a chance to play in the ICC Under-19 World Cup up for grabs this year, as the ICC Americas championship and the Qualifying tournament are all scheduled for this year, playing in the Nationals is a big deal for all concerned.

It was disappointing situation James found himself in. With this year being his last to play at Under-19 level, his club coach Ricky Kissoon made a crucial decision which it is hoped will not affect the player’s career in the future.

Kissoon’s charge is trying out for a spot in the Connecticut team, which is a much easier hurdle for James to overcome in order to make an appearance in the Nationals to be staged in New York.

Kissson said he has already secured approval from Connecticut officials to have his player partake in the Region’s final trial match set for over the weekend.

From all appearances, the player has satisfied the eligibility requirement to play for a Region he is not domiciled in. Normally a player is required to be attached to a club in a league under the jurisdiction of the Region he wants to represent.

In James’ case that is not too clear, but from an ability perspective he should make the Connecticut team easily. The Region has been the weakest in the Eastern Conference throughout the life of the Under-19 championships since it started in 2004.

Also James is one of the better New York players who did not win selection. He made the squad last year and helped New York win the title mainly through a MVP performance in one game. He scored 42 runs and took two wickets against Florida in the semi-finals.

New York coach Linden Fraser explained that James was not considered on two counts.
He said the youngster’s form has dipped since last year and he was nosed out for the all-rounder spot by his club mate Regis Burton. And because the number of open category places were reduced this year, James could only nail down a reserve place.

Fraser added that an unlimited number of open category places were available prior to this year for players who did not meet the residency requirement of seven years or for deemed nationals of four years residency...

This year only two open category positions are allowed in the starting 11 and New York selected four in its squad of 14. James falls in that category as he has been living the United States for two years.
But he wasted little time in establishing ability. He was spotted after helping his team win the inaugural JYPD youth competition last year, by scoring a match winning 72.

Kissson then drafted him into the Bronx-based Cosmos club which competes primarily in New York junior competitions.

James thinks highly of his batting, explaining that he batted number four for his native Dominica in West Indies junior competitions. But he was used more for bowling by the New York squad He bowls medium pace and his main weapon is the in-cutter and he is working on developing the off-cutter.

Fraser recognizes James’ talent and points out that he selected the youngster last year after observing him play only once.

But he feels the player’s bowling lost some of its effectiveness over the winter break and would’ve liked to work more with the player during indoor trainings sessions this year.

The coach added that the player did not help his cause by not giving those sessions top priority over those staged by Kissoon’s Cosmos.

As a result James will join another overlooked New York player Aszuddin Mohamed who reportedly is also trying out for Connecticut.

Hopefully these decisions will not affect these players’ careers in any way where New York cricket is concerned. Officials will do well to avoid victimization and allow the players to develop their games for the common good of United States cricket.

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