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The USA Academy team on arrival in india.

U 19 Tour Of India A Grand Success

USA Cricket Academy’s (here after referred to as USA) maiden tour of India was a resounding success. All the boys came back with some very high praise for the level of cricket played and the grounds that they were played on. Every stadium was a classy experience for the boys and for the management as well. We were absolutely delighted to have been received by none other than Mr. Hitesh Patel, Secretary of the Gujrat Cricket Association at 4:00 AM at the Airport. The entire tour was nothing but a continuation of the same, very warm reception and very competitive games. We traveled in luxury and stayed at very nice places in all the cities. The highlight of the tour was playing 3 games at the famous international stadium (Sardar Patel Stadium, Motera) where Australia played a one day game at this 60,000 capacity stadium.

The grounds were beyond any question the best that the boys had played in their entire life. I was truly impressed with the hospitality and warmth of all the people that received us and took care of us during the entire tour.

The first game at Vapi was clearly the best ground I have ever seen ( I have been to several stadiums inn several parts of the world). It looked like the greens at the Masters. Our boys played their heart out but lost to a very strong Vapi Micro Ink Select Under 19 team. They batted first and scored 238 for the loss of 7 wickets at the end of 40 overs. Ashok Delker a member of the Gujrat under 19 team scored 94 before being caught by Mathew Hivner and bowled by Kartik Vittala. Brijesh Patel our new ball bowler with 2 for 42 in 8 overs and Kartik Vittala with 1 for 28 in 8 overs bowled well for us. USA in reply could only manage 117 all out in 37.1 overs. Our star opener Ravi Timbawala tried hard to put it together and remained unbeaten with 45. Akeem looked good but got out for 15.

We then traveled from Vapi to Surat a 3 hour journey and stayed at a Taj welcome group hotel. The next day we had to take on a strong Surat Under 19 XI. USA won the toss and put Surat into bat and we did very well with the ball to restrict a strong Surat side to 195 in 40 overs. Nisarg Patel bowled very well to get 3 wickets for 35 in his 8 overs and Surat was 68 for 5 at one stage. But a brilliant 90 run partnership between two left handers, Jimmy Patel and S. Jagan got them out of the woods and posted a reasonable total of 195. Dhiren Patel with 2 for 14 in 4 overs and Dineth with 1 for 18 in 8 overs shared the bowling honors along with Nisarg Patel. USA in reply started off on all cylinders with openers Ravi Timbawala (30) and Saami Siddiqui (28) putting on 78 runs for the first wicket in 16 overs. We soon lost both of them and Gregory Sewdial (our youngest member 16) went in at 3 and scored 17 and Akeem Dodson our Captain scored 10. We were 4 down for 114 and were chasing the remaining runs at nearly 6 per over. In came Nisarg Patel (23) and Mathew Hivner(53). They both batted beautifully, especially Mathew was in great touch. He placed a lot of his shots and we were ultimately staring at 28 runs in the last 3 overs. Mathew and Nisarg got almost all of them. With 6 balls to go Nisarg was out caught and Brijesh Patel came into to face the first ball of the last over. He missed the first two and got a leg bye on the third ball. We now needed 5 runs in 3 balls. Mathew went for a big hit and missed the fourth ball. He then hits a huge 4 over and we are now tied. Just like the Australia/South Africa 99 world cup game Mathew hit the last ball hard at the Midon fielder and ran hard but could not beat the throw and so we ended up with a tie. The umpires later called it a win for USA as they did not have a bowl out rule for this game since they lost 9 wickets and we only lost 6. Great game and a great Christmas gift for the entire team on Christmas day.

Surat District Cricket Assn Under 19 vs. USA Cricket Academy. 12-26-07
Surat batted first and piled on a huge score of 249 in 40 overs with Vikram Patel 56 and Sunil Prasad 81 dominating the game. Dineth Ketagoda with 3 for 58 took the bowling honors shared by Alexander kirton with 1 for 39 in 8 overs and Kartik Vittala and Brijesh Patel with 1 wicket each helped. USA in reply lost Saami Siddiqui early for 12 but Ravi Timbawala and Akeem Dodson quickly pushed the score before Ravi was out for a well made 26. Nisarg joined Akeem and they quickly put on a 70 run partnership. Gregory and Alexander went on to score 32 and 25 respectively to bring us close to Surat’s score but could not finish it for us. We ended up scoring 222 all out in 38.1 overs.

Baroda Cricket Assn Under 19 vs USA Cricket Academy 12-28-07
The rest day did not really help us. Batting first we were all out for a partly 132 our worst performance on this tour. Saami Siddiqui with a well made 30 and Alexander Kirton 24 were the only noteworthy performers on a wicket that was keeping low. Baroda in reply finished the required score for the loss of two wickets but it should be noted that USA made them struggle to get those runs. They won in the 37th over and that was tribute to our bowlers and the heart that the boys showed as a team. Dhruv Mehra with 1 for 16 and Dineth with 1 for 29 were the lone wicket takers for us.

Anand Cricket Assn on 12-29-07
Anand was a short drive from Baroda and this time we put them to bat first and managed to bowl very well. We restricted the star studded Baroda team for 190 runs in 39.5 overs. Nisarg with 2 for 29, Alexander with 2 for 25 and Kartik Vittala with 2 for 20 along with Dhiren Patel with 3 for 33 bowled well for us. Our top order failed to produce runs this time and we lost 4 wickets for just 27 on the board. Nisarg Patel with a brilliant 54 not out and Kartik Vittala with 19 put on a defiant 51 runs partnership before Kartik was out and later Shalin Naik put up some resistance with a quick 16 before being run out. USA ended up with 166 runs this time in 35 overs.

Ahmedabad Cricket Assn U -19 on 12-30-07
This was played at the 60,000 seat capacity stadium and it was a true sight to watch. It’s a shame there were no 60,000 fans watching our boys as they did really good. Ahmedabad batting first was bundled out for 178 in 40 overs. Nisarg Patel with 2 for 38,
Brijesh Patel with 2 for 32, Dineth Ketagoda with 1 for 22, Kartik Vittala with 1 for 19 and Arpan Patel with 1 for 25 were the wicket takers with the boys getting 3 run outs (we were catching on their fever) USA in reply scored all but 9 runs to be all out for 169. So near yet so far away. Saami with 17, Ravi with 28, Nisarg with 38, Anvit Patel with 22 and finally Kartik Vittala coming in at number 10 along with Dhiren Patel at Number 11 tried to win this for USA. They came close but not close enough. Kartik with 15 and Dhiren with 5 almost pulled it off when Kartik was out trying to put one out of park as they had to get 9 runs in 3 balls. I would have called this a win considering the opposition. It was yet another strong team like all of the previous ones, lots of discipline, great fundamentals and great cricket sense. The boys were showing a lot of confidence and that was very encouraging to me. Amongst all these losses I did not see a single kid with his head down before during or after the games. I could not have asked for more from these spirited kids.

REST DAY 12-31-07
A badly needed rest day turned out to be a morning of work out with the top coach from Gujarat. Mr. Vijay Patel the Head Coach of Gujarat Cricket Association met with me thru a friend of mine Anshuman Gaekwad. Mr. Patel was kind enough to dedicate an entire morning with the boys and taught them and the rest of us some fundamentals that are so essential to the game. The boys grabbed most all of it I think because they posted two wins in the next two games. Thanks Vijay Patel ??. We also got to meeting Partiv Patel Indian test Player. The boys were free for the rest of the day and ended up shopping at India’s largest Mall, Iscon Mall. There were more name brand stores from around the world than you would in a mall in America, Lots of European brands along with our regular Nike and Reebok etc. We all said our New Year wishes early as we had a game to play on new years day. Rusty, Akeem, Mathew and I ended up playing a lot of table tennis. Mathew is good. Mathew our stud Kite flying king, enjoyed the place for he could fly a lot of kites all day. He is good at that too. He let me fight a couple of times and I lost his kites for him. Lucky for me that he has more patience than a normal 18-19 year old.

Gujarat Cricket Association 01-01-08
Choosing to bat first Ravi Timbawala, the Captain for this game got out early for 3 and Anvit Patel got out for 7, but Gregory Sewdial and Akeem Dodson batted beautifully with Akeem batting aggressively with 2 sixes and 4 fours in his 37 and the classy Gregory made a sedate 35, Nisarg Patel was out for 14, Kartik Vittala and Dhiren Patel followed quickly leaving Dineth Ketagoda and Alexander Kirton to build a good partnership. Dineth and Alexander our main spin duo put on a 92 run partnership taking the score from a precarious 127 for 7 to 219 for 8 before getting out. GCA’s captain was the main stay with an unbeaten, elegant and entertaining 110 not out. Priyan Panchal had 16 fours in his majestic innings. The game was too close to call with GCA needing 6 runs in the last over. They won with 5 wickets and 2 balls to spare. Nisarg Patel with 2 for 36 and Alexander Kirton with 2 for 33 were the main wicket takers.

Gujarat Cricket Association 01-02-08
Putting them to bat USA bundles GCA out for 153 in 40 overs. Some excellent bowling by Dineth Ketagoda 8-1-17-4 with Brijesh, Ravi and Dhiren getting 1 wicket each bowl out a strong team Priyan Panchal scoring only 5 this time. USA started off strong with Saami and Akeem opening. They put on the biggest partnership that we had for the entire tour 105 runs. Skipper Ravi promoted Shalin Naik to the number 3 spot and Shalin did not let his skipper down. He went on to score an unbeaten 22 with 3 fours, while Akeem played a brilliant knock and scored an unbeaten 60 with 10 fours. Saami had yet another Saami knock of 27 with 5 fours. We WON THE GAME WITH 9 WICKETS TO SPARE and 13 overs to spare. HOW ABOUT THEM BOYS. The boys have really matured. They began to understand how to close out a game. They were in similar situations in the other games but could not close out the game. This time they did it in style. Great bowling by Dineth Ketagoda to get 4 wickets for 17 runs and great batting by Akeem Dodson with 60 not out, our MVP’s for the game.

Same team 10/10 and same result.

USA batted first in an exciting 10 overs a side and ended up with 82 for 8 with Nisarg Patel scoring 20 and Anvit Patel scoring 18. GCA started off with a bang with Panaral and Pavan scoring runs at will and looked like it was no match at all. Panaral scored 22 before getting run out, and Pavan ended up with 35 not out. But the MVP for this game was none other than Nisarg Patel and Alexander (Rusty) Kirton bowling some great overs in the end and Rusty bowling the last over for GCA needing 10 runs. But Rusty bowled a great over giving only 4 runs. Great match, great ending to a great tour.

Special thanks to Ashok Patel, Rashmi Timbawala, J.P. Singh, Chirag Patel and S.B. Naik for their untiring efforts to take care of the boys and all their needs. I would also like to thank Mr. Narhar Amin, President of Gujrat Cricket Association for all his efforts in ensuring that our stay in Gujrat was good and enjoyable.

This report was brought to you by
Arun Vittala
Media Relations & Tour Manager
USA Cricket Academy.

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