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Sewdial One Step Closer To Cricket Stardom

By Orin Davidson
After an Under-19 debut to remember, only the ultimate pessimist would dispute the feeling that Gregory Sewdial is the brightest prospect out there for the future of United States cricket.

That is unless everything doesn’t disintegrate into a fight for power between the Asian and West Indian fraternity in the sphere of United States cricket administration.

With the deadline for USACA elections approaching, the saber rattling from the West that has the respondents in the East fuming, is a sign of the times.

Such a scenario would make it impossible to convince the International Cricket Council (ICC) this country is ready for a harmonious existence that is necessary to have the world ban lifted on America.

But supposing the two fraternities put the game first and set aside their personal agendas and the elections are held by the November deadline, and the ban is lifted, Sewdial will have that golden opportunity to develop into one hell of a player. Not only on the domestic scene but in any type of competition, anywhere around the world.

He has those qualities within him now, even if he is only 16 years old.

If you saw him for the very first time at the national finals three weeks ago in Florida, you can say you had the opportunity to see the youngster setting the foundation for a special career.

Sewdial was easily the best batsman on show among the four teams and when he was given the opportunity to bowl, he was almost unplayable.

There aren’t many players who could win the Most Valuable Player award in a debut performance at national level. And when you consider that Sewdial might've been the youngest player among the 56 to make the cut, it makes his back to back half centuries and three wicket-haul for miniscule runs from four overs in two games, better than any other performance ever in the United States Under-19 competition.

On top of that, Sewdial remains the lone player to score a century in recognized USACA junior competition. The fact he achieved it at Under-15 level, justifies the hullabaloo the youngster is creating in New York after his exploits among the Under19s.

All of it though, might not have been possible without intense support from his father Mike.

Talent can take you only so far, honing it is even more important. And it is exactly what Mike Sewdial has been doing from the time the youngster understood what cricket was all about.

Parental management has made some of the world's biggest sports stars into the success stories they became, in recent years.

And in Mike Sewdial we might well have the Richard Williams of cricket fame, doing what the latter did for tennis with his daughters.

Although he was born and bred in the United States, Gregory Sewdial has been brought up in cricket, perhaps more intensely than many West Indian players, where his parents originated.

The youngster was made to utilize most of his free time to bat, bat and bat more. In between he got in some bowling which makes his ability to master the skills of leg spin even more remarkable.

Sewdial said he has already developed the ability to deliver the googly at will. It is no wonder he is the dynamic player close observers expect him to become.

Every summer for the last four years, the right-hander became a playing fanatic. He was even bowled to at home and when the New York Junior Youth Development Program came on stream in 2003, Sewdial ate, breathed and slept cricket.

At 13 years old he was playing in the New York leagues in serious competition against men old enough to be his father two times over.

It is why when he shaped up against the opposition from Southern California and Northern California this year in Florida, it was like child's play to him.

"I expected more from the two teams, I thought it would have been tougher," Sewdial explained.

He batted with such command, it belied his age and now that he has four more years at Under-19 level, the best opportunities await the Bronx youngster to set all the batting and bowling records in United States junior cricket.

It helps that Sewdial plays baseball for his High School - Metropolitan and it goes without saying he is good enough to make the team's playing rotation.

Although he might not have realized it, Sewdial's exposure in American's great pastime would've helped develop the aggression he displays with the willow now.

When he first appeared on the scene Sewdial was a correct looking batsman who had trouble getting the ball off the square.

Now Gregory hits the ball as hard as any junior around and with the frequency that has transformed his game into the attacking type ideal for limited overs competition.

Maturing physically, has a lot to do with his attractive style. He has grown so fast, Sewdial now towers over his dad.

This season gave him the ideal preparation to launch his career for the New York Under19s

A steady diet of competition in the Tri State series with Eastern American Youths, was aided by Sewdial's regular appearances for his club in the Eastern American Cricket Association (EACA) senior league competition.

Then, six weeks of intense preparation under the eyes of the successful management team that took the squad to the national Under-19 title, brought out the best in the youngster.

As a result of his exploits spearheading this Region to its second national junior title triumph, Sewdial is the most sought after young player now.

He is wanted by the Academy junior team from New Jersey to tour India this Christmas.

But before that, the Guyana squad which swept the Ahmad Caribbean Cup series this summer wants the 16-year-old on their trip to Guyana next month.

For someone who was not wanted for any of Guyana's key games this year in the country's biggest competition, to being invited for a major tour, Sewdial made gigantic steps by season's end.

But it's only the beginning, America would do well to prepare itself to welcome its first cricket superstar.

Orin Davidson Column Homepage

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