Stage Set For Defining Period In America’s Cricket
By Orin Davidson
Brian Lara said it is an honor to play in New York, having never done so before in serious competition.
Ramnaresh Sarwan and Shivnarine Chanderpaul have also graced grounds here and in Florida, but have never been more excited to return to the Big Apple to show off their skills.
Dwayne Smith has never visited, nor has Fidel Edwards and while Chris Gayle and Wavell Hinds have participated in benefit games here, they all regard the West Indies versus United States two-match series next weekend as their most important undertaking in this great city.
Many attempts have been made in the past to have West Indies perform in New York’s as a collective unit, but those efforts always crashed because the stakeholders never went the extra mile to make the games a reality.
This time it is different because the professionalism in the planning process has been of the highest grade
It explains why all of the players approached are all enthusiastic to be a part of the first ever clash between the West Indies and United States teams.
Not only was the concept of the series impressive to the players, the follow up interaction with them through a West Indies based agent, procured by the Cricket International/ Floyd Bennett promotion team, and personal visits to the players in Guyana, convinced them of the magnitude of the event.
That visit not only cemented the relationship between the contracted players and the organizers, it created new ones with those West Indian players not among the squad to contest the two July 8&9 games, thus paving the way for future undertakings.
Having set the stage for a fabulous weekend of cricket of the highest standard possible this summer at least, the promoters have done their bit.
It is now left for the New York cricket public and those from around the country to chip in and give this weekend’s series the success it deserves.
Not only must the adult fans show up in great numbers, they should also make every effort to have the kids attend these games because it could be the beginning of a defining weekend in America’s cricket development.
It is not everyday we get the opportunity to have one of the world’s greatest players ever, compete here while still in the peak of his powers.
In his interview with Cricket International in May, Lara reiterated the importance of his presence here next weekend.
“Getting international players over to show their talent is one side of it, you get the crowds out, you get the interest and you need to get it into the schools. You need to get it appreciated by Americans,” the double world record holder stated.
It does require Lara to visit New York every summer for him to appreciate the need to have the youngsters involved at an early age.
And this weekend is the best possible time to start.
Lara, Sarwan, Chanderpaul and Gayle are some of the biggest names in the sport, and their influence would be invaluable not only from their performances, but from the impact to be made from the youngsters seeing those players up close and personal and interacting with them.
The series is also an opportunity for our aspiring young players to impress the powers- that- be, not only in America but around the world that United States cricket is going places.
It was commendable for the selectors to name two fine teams comprising young, promising and seasoned players to contest the two games.
The onus is not only on the promoters to plan and execute a grand show, or the fans to make full use of the occasion, it is also incumbent upon our players to prove their mettle.
Now that all the barriers have been cleared, it is now left for us to capitalize on this fabulous opportunity.
Let’s show up in mammoth numbers to make next weekend the turning point for cricket in New York and all of America.
We fully deserve it.
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