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USA Under-19 All-America…All-Proud!

By John L. Aaron

July 17th, 2009
The USA Cricket Under-19 First Team All-America squad finished second to their northern neighbors Canada in the recently concluded ICC-Americas Under-19 World Qualifying tournament held in Canada, however, second place was a justifiably proud spot, as was first-place Canada.

USA Under-19 team with USACA officials. Below, Azrudeen Mohamed, Ryan Corns, Gregory Sewdial, Henry Wardley and Shiva Vashishat.

Finishing in second place ensured that the USA Under-19 team qualified to join tournament champions Canada in September of this year for the Global Qualifier tournament, and back in Canada. The USA and Canada will represent the Americas Region in the tournament, and hopefully both may qualify among the final six teams to advance to the Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand next February.

The fourteen players selected to represent the USA at the regional tournament in Canada last weekend were all named First Team All-America shortly before departing for Toronto, Canada to compete against the Cayman Islands, Argentina, the Bahamas, Canada, and 2008 defending champions Bermuda. No doubt the public acknowledgement of the fine All-America Team was a tremendous boost to the morale and self-esteem of each of the players, and it showed on the field of play through the effort exhibited winning four of their five matches, losing only to eventual champions Canada.

It is the first time in the history of the sport in the United States that a 1st and 2nd Teal All-America has been named, and according to USA Cricket’s CEO Don Lockerbie whose idea it was, “The players earned the recognition based on their performances in this year’s USACA National Under-19 tournament held in New York and they have demonstrated the justification for the award, by their gutsy performances in Canada.”

According to USA Cricket coach Sew Shivnarain, a former Guyana and West Indies Test player, “We may make some slight adjustments to the team, in addition to encouraging the players to not allow the opposition to get into their heads during the matches,” an obvious reference to the sledging of the USA players by their Canadian counterparts during the much anticipated clash between the two top teams, resulting in the USA’s only loss in the tournament.

The USA team management may also be looking to beef up the spin bowling department, as well as ensuring that the USA batsmen get some much needed practice on turf surfaces, prior to the September 1-13, 2009 tournament in Canada. Despite the noted shortcomings, the USA players secured four Man-of-the-Match awards – Ryan Corns, Azurdeen “Andy” Mohammed, Henry Wardley and skipper Shiva Vashishat, along with the Best Fieldsman award going to vice Captain Gregory Sewdial. Five of the USA batsmen ended up in the top 11 overall batting slots in the tournament, while four of the top 12 bowlers in the tournament were USA All-America cricketers.
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