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Lycans Are 2009 NYPD Champs!

By Lloyd Jodah

August 19th, 2009
Police cars and vans were everywhere as New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly appeared - but it was all good, he was here to spin the toss to begin the 2nd annual NYPD Youth Cricket Championship Finals.

Started last year as part of the NYPD Community Affairs outreach program to the South Asian community and young men aged 15 to 19, the Cricket tournament has been a resounding success for the NYPD, New York City and American cricket. For a second I thought of George Washington spinning the coin when he played cricket with his Troops, but this was 2009 and Lycans won the toss and sent Superstars into bat, shortly after police Inspector Kosseim had inspected the pitch.

Tikki Barber, Lloyd Jodah and NYC Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. Pictured above are the victorious Lycans with Police Commissioner Ray Kelly (Photos by Matthew Patel)

The Superstars managed by former Guyana Under-19 cricketer Ajaz Asgaralli, appeared to be the favorite. They had won all their previous matches, including one a month ago against Lycans. Lycans, on the other hand, had lost their early matches before winning in the later rounds. Their Captain, Arif Uzzaman hit 104* and two 50's to propel them into the finals.

The Superstars had three USA players in their lineup, Azurdeen “Andy” Mohammed and Kavishwar Bridgepaul are currently representing the USA in the Under-19 ICC Youth Cricket World Cup Qualifiers; Andy hit a century in the recent USA National Eastern Conference tournament, whilst Bridgepaul just last Saturday scored hit 54 not out against USA College Champions Montgomery Community College. Trevis Ross had clinched the game for the USA Under-15 Team against Bermuda this past Monday taking 4 for 18.

Tiki Barber, the great former New York Giants football running back, was there with an NBC News film crew to cover the game (the story will be on NBC Nightly News at 6 o'clock Wednesday, August 20), as was the NY Daily News. Mr. Barber drew a comparison between a fast bowler charging up to a batsman and a linebacker attacking a running back.

The Lycans fast bowlers took the early wickets of Andy Mohammed and Trevis Ross. Ross went to a brilliant running catch by Jamaid Hassan in deep cover. The incoming batsman Thakur Singh road blocked Shovan Rahman's hat-trick, and then the Lycans bailed out the Superstars by dropping Singh.

At the other end Bridgepaul restored some law and order by charging the bowling, he off drove for 4, then with a ballet-like twirl reminiscent of Majid Khan hooked for 6. A cover drive, a pull and another cover drive along the ground by Bridgepaul for 4's brought up the 50 with Bridgepaul on 34 in the 9th over. Going for another big hit Bridgepaul was caught deep in the covers.

A couple of quick wickets had the Superstars reeling before Imdad Khan mediated, putting his left leg down the wicket and pulling and off driving for three sixes in his 23, Kowchai and V. Singh contributed 11 each to get Superstars to 118 in their 20 overs, a surprisingly low score by the strongest team in the tournament. Lycans’ Farijee Mohammed took 2 for 14, and Shovon Rahman 2 for 17.

On the sidelines Tiki Barber was feeling the excitement and learning every detail of cricket. Though the temperature was in the 90's the crowd didn't seem bothered by the heat as they were caught up in the moment. Police Officers from the Community Affairs Bureau were closely following the action and fast becoming students of the game

Arif Uzzaman went into action like a SWAT Team Officer blasting two sixes and one four. A cover drive for 6 was a delight to watch, before he opted to sit in the shade, going caught off Kowchai. At the other end bowler Gandhi had pacified Farijee who went for 6. At 57 for 3 in 9 overs Lycans were matching the Superstars' 54 for 3 in 9 overs.

Mahatabul Alam cut a bouncer for 4 and cover drove for 4 whilst Shafiq celebrated 40 years since we landed on the moon by launching the ball into orbit for 6. Despite these shots the Superstars bowlers had arrested the scoring and Lycans were 77 for 3 after 12 overs. Still 40 to get in 8 overs and not a very difficult task, however Shafiq was bowled for 25 by Thakur Singh and the score quickly became 88 for 4. A brilliant running and rolling catch by Kowchai - the fielding play of the day - off Bridgepaul (2 for 22) sent Naimul Islam back to the pavilion and Lycans were worried at 106 for 6.

A run out and a tight 18th over by Captain Andy Mohammed gave Superstars hope. The crowd was feeling the thrill of the finish whilst Officer Jeff Thompson could barely contain himself, then a late cut for 4 by Mahatabul Alam sealed the victory for Lycans in the 19th over. Lycans supporters stormed the field, followed by the NBC film crew.

Afterwards both Captains Arif Uzzaman and Andy Mohammed, both youngsters headed this Fall for John Jay College (CUNY), expressed their appreciation for the efforts of the NYPD, especially Inspector Kosseim, Sergeant Adeel Rana and Officer Jeff Thompson. Arif said, "The work of all the NYPD Officers was amazing." Asked how his team had turned their season around after losing their first set of games, Arif said "We practiced hard." A gracious Andy extended his appreciation as well and exclaimed, "Congratulations to the Champions Lycans".

Commissioner Kel ly presented Awards to all the players and the enormous Raymond W. Kelly trophy to the Champions Lycans. MVP was Mahatabul Alam who took his team to victory with a solid unbeaten 34.

Commissioner Kelly declared, "What an exciting finish! The competition was tough and we had an enthusiastic following (all season). Next year will be bigger and better!"

Commissioner Kelly and Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne took time to get feedback on the Cricket League and were told "it's fantastic.

Connecting with young men, aged 15 to 19 and using their energy in positive ways is absolutely essential. Society benefits immensely from initiatives like the NYPD Cricket League.
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