Under beautiful weather made for cricket and reportedly ordered by Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, Cosmos Kings winning the toss, offered first strike to Punjab Youths who responded with a splendid 181 for 8 in the Twenty20 match-up. An asking rate of 9.05 per over can at times extract the energy and taste of victory from tougher competition. However, on this day it appeared as though the Kings would not be denied their just ransom, even if the asking rate was 29 per over. Judging from the aggressive manner in which the young Cosmos Cricket Club players approached the task.
Punjab Youths’ 181 primarily came of the bats of Muhammad Asad, 63 (6x4s and 3x6s), Noman Syed, 37, Bilal Ahmed, 23, and Irfan Mazhur, 16. Abdullah Syed with figures of 4-0-35-3 was Cosmos Kings’ best bowler, followed by Rasheem James’ 4-0-22-2, and Kishan Dass’ 4-0-36-1.
In reply, Cosmos Kings started out a bit cautious, but quickly realizing the task at hand attacked the Punjab bowlers, as they hunted for runs to keep abreast with the asking rate. L. Latchman, 19, R. Rampersaud, 23, and W. Hakim, 28, had set the pace, with the latter two batsmen exiting via the run-out route in their search for quick runs.
With 97 runs on the tins and three batsmen back in the stands, a tall thick young man began to wield his willow at anything that came within three feet of either side of him; and with remarkable success. The 17 year-old Rasheem James had already captured two wickets and contributed to a run-out, but his contribution was far from over. His job it appeared was to drive the fear of God into the hearts of the Punjab bowlers, and his approach was nothing shy of exactly that. James’ onslaught on the seven bowlers used by the Punjab Youths XI was merciless, as he raced to 73 not out (5x6s and 3x4s), but not before he was joined in the middle by another hard hitter of the ball, Dominic Gomes.
With all due respect to Rasheem James’ magnificent 73, it was the heroics of Dominic Gomes that brought the crowd at the small cricket circle in Brooklyn to their feet. Entering the fray with only four overs remaining and Cosmos having lost their third wicket, the captain of the victorious 2008 PSAL Newcomers High School XI, Gomes put on a punishing display of batting genius that is very refreshing for the future of cricket in the USA. Needing 16 runs off of the last five balls, Dominic Gomes delivered the victory in an excruciating manner, that is, for the Punjab bowlers, as the Sri Lankan youth hit three successive sixes, clinching the inaugural NYPD Youth Cricket championship for his Cosmos Kings. The young batsman knock read 1, 1, 4, 2, 1, 6, 6, and 6. It was 27 runs deserving of a round of applause, as the batsman responded positively to his coach Ashmul Ali, youth manager Ricky Kissoon and club president Sham Ali on the sidelines. No doubt club manager Shadi Khan was also hoarse from shouting words of encouragement.
Rasheem James, who had earlier taken the wind out of the sails of the Punjab bowlers, stood admiringly at the non-strikers end, only offering punched fists shakes and smiles between the final three deliveries. The Cosmos Kings had ruled over the Punjab Youths with 184 for three in 19.4 overs. A magnificent victory for the Cosmos Kings, a very encouraging win for the NYPD’s cricket program, and a refreshing success for US youth cricket.
The two teams were the only ones left standing from the group of six teams that started in the tournament. The Punjab Youths had earned the right to be in the finals, and they put on a splendid batting display to post a respectable 181 in 20 overs. However, the Cosmos Kings batsmen proved too costly for the Punjab bowlers, who appeared at times to lack both line and length, deficiencies the Cosmos Kings batsmen took full advantage of in bringing home the bacon.
The Cosmos Kings proved that exploiting the weaknesses of one’s opponent is as important as demonstrating one’s own strengths. It is a credit to the Cosmos Cricket Club organization for the manner in which they continue to nurture and mold some much disciplined youths in their organization. The only regret here is that more cricket clubs in a cricket-rich metropolis such as New York City does not follow a similar pattern. With senior cricket waning every year, the time has come for the replenishment of the inventory, and now is the moment when senior players must make room for some of the youth on their teams.
Hats off to Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly and his Community Affairs department staff for ensuring a successful tournament. What Deputy Inspector Amin Kosseim, Sgt. Hodges, POs Jeff Thompson, and Adeel Rana, and I am sure countless others have accomplished in such a short time is indeed commendable.
The tournament has been a success on different levels, resulting in win-win situations all around. The NYPD has established a sense of trust within the participating communities, alleviating the fear of police officers, so common in some ethnic groups, while establishing a mutual friendship through organized sport.
Commissioner Kelly is a visionary, who understands
the inherent nature of good community policing, and is using all the
tools at his disposal to ensure good community police relations, in
some very harsh socio-cultural times, we are now experiencing in our
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