Best Ever U.S. Americas Cup Display
By Orin Davidson
Dec. 10th, 2008
Leave your comments below
It’s been a long time since fans were made to feel good about
United States cricket.
The exploits of the senior squad though, in the just concluded Americas
Cup in Florida proved that our cricket standard is not as bad as recent
Nadkarnie with the MVP award.
The team not only
won the Cup, they dominated the series in the manner true believers
expect it should, given the talent available and the work put in by
coaches, trainers and some officials from California in the West to
New York in the East.
In winning all five games it contested, the United States amended
for a disastrous display in its last international series where it
failed in the lowest level of competition organized by the International
Cricket Council’s (ICC). That was just a few months ago in the
2011 World Cup qualifying series held just off England in the tiny
island named Jersey.
In almost the blink of an eye, the U.S. was a transformed team.
In flattening Bermuda and Canada, two teams ranked in the highest
categories among ICC Associate Members, en-route to claiming the Americas
title for the first time, the United States proved it deserves to
play with and among the best countries without Test status.
It was a thoroughly efficient team performance which showed that America
can play to its full potential when not underprepared and fielding
the right players.
In Jersey, as was the case two years prior in the 2007 World Cup qualifiers
in Ireland, the U.S. rushed off to play in unfamiliar conditions,
long after the completion of the official seasons in temperate cities
like New York.
This time around, they were just off the summer season and when most
of the team had just made a surprise appearance in the West Indies
limited overs championship.
Based on the ICC rankings, Bermuda and Canada are much better than
the likes of Afghanistan and Jersey which topped the Group 5 competition
at the expense of America which could only finish fourth.
But as was stated in these columns at the time, the U.S. could beat
any of the Group 5 teams at home even if not 100 percent prepared.
And they proved they are even better than that prediction by hammering
Bermuda which qualified for the 2007 World Cup from Group 1, not to
mention Canada which also plays in that Group.
America’s performance is now asking the ICC a serious question
about the real quality of this U.S. team which will not be among the
countries to comprise the lineup for the next World Cup in India,
Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
Awan with the best bowler award.
In an ideal world,
the team could’ve demanded a second chance to compete for a
World Cup place. But that is not going to happen. There is no second
chance for any team to qualify for the World Cup which leaves America
with the small consolation of the Americas Cup championship title
to hold onto for the next two years.
The United States of America Cricket Association (USACA) has now learnt
a serious lesson about the requirements of the international game.
No team can be successful by just taking off and showing up at competitions
and not making the effort to make available the best players possible.
For the Americas Cup, the U.S. team comprised most of the top eligible
players around, with the possible exception of one controversial selection,
that has affected the team more than once in the recent past.
Nevertheless the selections were an improvement this time around as
the embarrassment of the Jersey experience obviously stung the powers
that be to do better.
And the team responded with solid consistent performances by almost
everyone that took the field at the new Broward County Stadium and
Brian Piccolo Park.
Opening batsman Sushil Nadkarnie once again showed his class by opening
his huge appetite for runs to top the tournament with more than 400.
For once Steve Massiah did not emerge as America’s leading scorer
but he scored enough to maintain his high status. Unlike in past years,
the team was not wholly dependant on Massiah for runs as Carl Wright,
the former Jamaica national player, showed why he was good enough
to make that country’s national team before current Test stars
Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels and the now fading Wavell Hinds. Wright
gave the batting much needed solidity at the top and formed a formidable
opening partnership with Nadkarnie.
Lower in the order Aditya Thyagarajan established himself as a top
batsman regardless of the opposition.
If it was not known before now, there is no doubt that Orlando Baker
is a very valuable player in the team. His bowling was among the best
on show for America simply because he can master the technique of
swinging the ball at will with unerring control. His five-wicket haul
almost singlehandedly torpedoed Canada in the most anticipated game
of the series. It followed up on a similarly excellent showing against
Barbados in the WICB Cup where he nailed four top order batsmen, which
proves that Baker is for real. When you throw in his useful batting
ability into the equation, the point is made clear.
Fast bowler Imran Awan always had pace, and is now using it to greater
effect by posting two very productive performances in Guyana and Florida.
He topped the team’s wickets tally without which the team’s
success would not have been as emphatic in Florida. Along with the
effectiveness of Lennox Cush whose off spin seems to be effective
in any type of limited overs competition, and the quality stuff from
Thyagarajan, who has made a claim as a successful spinner, and the
promise of paceman Timroy Allen, Bermuda, Canada, the Cayman Islands,
Argentina and Suriname had no chance.
This team has now set the standard for the future.
It is up to the administrators to maintain it.
Orin Davidson Column Homepage
of all congratulations to Team USA on winning the ICC America’s
Cup which was recently held in Florida. It is one of the most
balanced team for the longest while. Kudos to the hard hitting
Kulkarnie and Awan and receiving the top awards. And i hope
USACA will maintain a balance team as this one in the future.
Great story, keep it up Orin.
Posted by Intiaz Khan on December 11, 2008.
The USA also won the America's Cup in 2002.
Posted by Orville Hall on December 10, 2008.