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Cricket letter…cricket letter
Remove Massiah As USA And New York Captain


To The Editor:
Several Founding Fathers of the United States were known to be avid cricketers, John Adams among them, stated in the US Congress in the 1780s that if leaders of cricket clubs could be called "presidents", there was no reason why the leader of the new nation could not be called the same! Cricket embodies the Anglo-American virtues of strength, persistence, courage, camaraderie, and sportsmanship. Cricket is a respectable game, a Gentleman’s game. Cricket the game of glorious uncertainty is on the threshold of taking the American market by storm. Thanks in part to strenuous efforts of immigrant Americans mainly in the inner cities across the country. To America they brought their love for the game. In America, they embraced creative enterprise and entrepreneurship. There is however a gaping hole between the love for the game, the newly discovered enterprise and the ability to build the required social infrastructure to promote the game in the national interest. This disconnect is fostered by ignorance, cultural insecurities, and incompetence as regards the finer aspects of building bridges that add value to relationships and is manifest most in the current captain, Steve Massiah.

New York / USA deserve a captain who will lead by consultation, consensus and proper example. In Massiah they have a leader who leads by coercion and subterfuge. In New York there is a widely held view that Massiah selects his friends. Massiah is not a selector and should not sit to select a team however in reality the dysfunctional New York / USA administrators do not recognize such a conflict of interest and according to Glen Hall, Massiah told him to represent New York. The same way Imran Iwan of Atlantic Region represented New York in the 2008 tournament at the behest of Massiah at the expense of Dominique Audin.

“I think it was just a matter of trying in whatever way I can to make an impact or to assist any player who has the potential to represent America,” said Massiah. “I thought probably in the past year or so he had some difficulties with Atlantic. So I just wanted to bring him on board and to really and truly utilize his talent and not see it go begging.”

Further seven of eight USA probables called up from New York represent Massiah’s United Chargers in New York Premier League many have said openly that Massiah promised that they will represent USA if they play for his team.

Ten years ago Massiah was the most promising batsman in America and justified his selection in the Richard Staples led team. His record – one List-A hundred in seventeen at bats; one first class hundred in four innings and twenty three runs in his two ODI appearances. Since then however his batting as deteriorated and his limitations has become obvious. In part because of the level of competition he plays against in the Nassau League and because of the advent of the T20 version of the game. According to Jeff Boycott who was famous for netting with local bowlers wherever he toured, he said and I paraphrase ‘in one session you may see one test match ball’.

In the 2008 Ed Ahmad Cup T20, Guyana vs. Jamaica at Idyllwild Park, New York Massiah took three consecutive deliveries from Powell and hit them all in the air to mid-off, he was dropped the first two times and caught the third. In the 2008 Inter League against Metropolitan League at Floyd Bennett Park, Massiah score 32 runs in 35 overs, Metropolitan League had nine players; Melroy Kingston tied him up and took his wicket caught at point. Kingston has played on Massiah lead teams either as 12th man or a number 8 batsman who never got a bowl. In the recent T20 Tournament in Guyana, United Chargers vs. Jamaica; Chargers were 54 for 2 in 7 overs when Massiah went to the crease; Chargers 124 for 5 in 20 overs; Massiah not out 26. The US and Charger captain felt better coming not out than going down fighting. I submit that it is American to go down fighting – one of the batsmen who did not bat may have played a cameo to win the game. We will never know.
At age 31, Massiah is one of the more accomplished batsmen in America however his batting in not good enough to guarantee a place in the side. The title of the most promising batsman in America belongs to one of the youths. Therein lays his most dangerous issue he is fearful of giving the spotlight to the youths. This is the main reason he should not be captain.

Field placing

One of the main jobs as captain is the stewardship of the team on the field of play, this involves conduct of the players, rotating the bowling attack and field placing. Massiah is not an astute leader in this regard. July 2009, at the Eastern Conference Final in Washington, Andy Mohammed of the Directors XI made a well played century against the Massiah led New York region. New York’s main strike bowler Kevin Darlington bowled to Mohammed with five men on the boundary including a man at a wide, deep long-off on the boundary. Massiah should have attacked that batsman to the end. He did not and conceded a century. The pick of the bowlers that day was Dennis Evans three overs, nine runs and two wickets, Massiah give him the ball when all else failed. Eye witnesses of the USA loss to Afghanistan May 2008 in Jersey testified that Massiah bowled the last ten overs in the 50 over encounter without a sweeper on either side of the wicket. This is unheard of in international cricket.

After observing Massiah for several years it is clear that he values winning therefore he insists on having an all-star team of former Guyana / West Indian players and his friends including 59 years old Nasir Javed and 44 years old Sudesh Dhaniram. This is the only way he thinks he can win. In the interest of New York / USA cricket that approach is very problematic for two reasons. First of all young Americans without a past in Guyana / West Indies do not have much of a chance to play and when the young Americans do play Massiah have them bat after the bowlers. Secondly in America where champions are born and made everyday Massiah does not offer his team that opportunity. Like any other competitive sport, cricketers can and must be motivated to do well. Massiah either does not have that ability to motivate or does not see the value in motivation. We are at war in Afghanistan and USA cricketers were offended when we were beaten by Afghanistan with Massiah at the helm.

In the present debacle in New York Cricket many cricketers, fans and other stake holders are unaware of the circumstances surrounding the removal of the Chairman, Manager and Coach. According to Peter Della Penna, “New York Region and USA Steve Massiah declined to comment when contacted by phone.” http://www.cricinfo.com/usa/content/story/433155.html That is very disturbing because Massiah was present at the selection of the new team, manager and coach, he was also present in Washington when the team had the remarkable come from behind win. Why did he not say something to the selectors? The only plausible conclusion is that he was part and parcel of the decision to remove the Manager and Coach and change the team. Politicians will do what their constituents allow. Our constituent must not allow Massiah that latitude. Some Directors prefer Massiah as captain as a tool to manipulate other Directors while Massiah for his part does not mind being used as a tool once he can have his way with the team. As a native New York that trade-off system is not good enough for us; Massiah must go as a first step to making the best of this emerging market. According to the constitution of the United States of America the President of American has to be a native born American; I propose that the captain of America meet that same standard.

Yours truly
Jeff Jones
Cricket Fan
Editor’s Note: This letter was sent to Steve Massiah to respond but declined.

Send your comment


You seem to have an eye for details.
In 2006, after the U-19 World Cup in Sri Lanka, I advocated, in an article in CRICKETSTAR, that Hemant Punoo should be made captain. Now you must be wondering where the heck is Punoo. Some USACA officials have contributed to his leaving the sport prematurely.
One of the youngsters embroiled in the current brouhaha is Andre \"Rusty\" Kirton. I remember quite vividly when a so called coach, doing the nasty deeds of his earls, lords and dukes, threatened to discipline him with non-selection if he played in a certain match. Rusty played in the match as he had given the sponsor his word - something this so called coach should learn about.
Whether or not we agree with it , nepotism will continue to rear its ugly head. What continues to puzzle me is the convulted selection process of USACA Board of Directors. Some of these blokes certainly don\'t deserve to be on the board.
One of the responders, apparently in defense of Massiah, referred to the ICC Americas Cup Tournament where the US triumphed 5-0. Guess what? Sushil Nadkarni pretended to be Sachin Tendulkar for a few days when he was basically a one man gang,pulverising and terrorising opposition bowling in the process.
With all due respect to Cush, he is not the man to lead US cricket.
A word of caution - be careful of the racism tag. Same allegations were made when Punoo was being dealt with utterly unfairly.
Let\'s see, with winter approaching, maybe I\'ll take up permanent residence in front of a fireside somewhere and do an expose soon.
All the best to the US teams. Represent the Stars and Stripes to the best of your ability.
Posted by Ray on Nov. 14th, 2000

In response to Raj, coach is still the same in Lambert,manager is the the English/Paki fellow Khan and most importantly, Shiv is still the only selector that has been publicly acknowledged by the USACA cricket comittee. Massiah has and will continue to have a great deal of influence on the selection of the US team. Don\'t let me start with the relationship he has with the CEO. The man has his number on speed dial.
Posted by William Tucker on Nov. 13th, 2000

USA 20/20 Captain should be Cush, he is the best man for the job, Steve should not be in that team, please do the right thing and let Cush lead this team, we need a leader that will not select friends.Steve your time is up 20/20 cricket is not for u, keep playing 50 overs games.
Posted by Sanker on Nov. 13th, 2009

Hmmm...interesting! I have never met or know Massiah. But I am just wondering if the author of this article is in touch with latest developments. The last tournament USA particiated in was the ICC Americas Cup. Massiah was the Captain and USA won all five games in that tourney. So when the team is performing that well under his leadership, how can we say he is not a good Captain? Also, it is not worth talking about Jersey trip. That is long gone and many things have changed including, manager, coach and selectors of the national team.
Posted by Raj on Nov. 13th, 2009

Good article guys we need a young National USA Team to Start with. USA Cricket is going to go Downward like its doing right now if these so called administrators don\'t heed the peoples\' call and select a younger team.
Steve Massiah is still a fine Player and should be among the younger team. We should start the selection process with the Under 19 Team.
Posted by Royo Sankar on Nov. 13th, 2000

I could not agree with this article more. That is one of the reason why USACA get these yes men as selctors and coaches. The team that went to Jersey most of the players and coaches should be gone period. We have some really good young outstanding players and coaches in this country. This idea that we need former cricketers from other countries to waste our time for a year is a joke. I know of a few young coaches that is highly qualified but never get a chance because of politics. I spoke to one that everyone know and respected highly and he said this is what will happen, "USACA will hire a foreign coaches from Australia or England pay them big bucks while the many coaches that did the hard work that never received a penny will be forgotten.\" I am waiting to see if his words is true.
Steve is hype for too many years and it is time to turn the next page. Shiva is a young leader and with a couple years of development he can be a captain of the future. I am happy to see someone have the will to write this article.
Posted by Ravi Singh on Nov. 13th, 2009

Cush is correct in his assesment. He should take a leadership role. He would be my captain in the upcoming tour to Dubai
Posted by Roy Singh on Nov. 13th, 2009

Wow, what an article. you are a true cricket fan. I think it\'s time that we appoint a young captain with a lot of fire, who wants to win games for USA. We have way too many old players that has played domestic cricket elsewhere. We should select a new team of youngsters (Made in USA) that wants to win and take this game forward. Open your eyes selectors. These 40 year olds and 35 year olds are not the only ones that play cricket in USA.
Posted by Mannu on Nov. 13th, 2009

I have watched Massiah many a times this 2009 season. he is still an excellent batsman. I feel he does deserve a pick on the national side, but then to be the captain, i feel he is not up to the task. He should, and must be replaced. As per your point that the cricket captain be an American. I seel no point in that.
Posted by Sam Sooppersaud on Nov. 13th, 2009
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