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Money Woes For Americas Cup Champs

newyorkcricket.com wishes to apologize for inadvertently posting a picture of Mr. Nabeel Ahmed 1st VP of USACA and associated with this story.

By Orin Davidson

Dec. 10th, 2008
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While United States cricket fans are celebrating the national team’s smashing success in the Americas Cup, the players are in no mood for merry making.

In fact many are intensely angry about alleged bad treatment meted out by the authorities.

Leading players Orlando Baker and Carl Wright claim the team is yet to be paid fully for playing in the Americas Cup and prior in the West Indies Limited Overs Cup championships in Guyana.

The two players said the team is being made to wait for more than a week after being promised a second installment of fees, during the Americas Cup in Florida. The United States convincingly won the Americas Cup title for the first time, beating favorites Bermuda and Canada while winning all five of their matches.

According to Baker and Wright they were paid a total of $1000 each before the Americas Cup and in Guyana and were told the remainder of $1500 each for those who played in both competitions, and $500 for the WICB Cup team members, would be mailed. But up to Tuesday evening, they were still waiting.

The two players are pointing the finger at United States of America Cricket Association (USACA) vice president Munaff Mohamed who allegedly made the promise.

Orlando Baker

Carl Wright

“He said he did not have cash at the time and write down the addresses of the players to mail it (checks), but no one get anything,” Baker stated adding that “he (Mohamed) is not answering his phone when he calls.”

Baker who was captain of the team for the WICB Cup in Guyana said, he eventually made contact with Mohamed through a third party telephone call, but only got more promises. “The players are calling me asking about their money,” he added.

Wright, who blasted a century and was America’s second highest scorer in the Americas Cup, said he was told personally by USACA president Gladstone Dainty that Mohamed has the money to pay, and he is growing angrier without seeing the check in the mail, with every passing day

“This is very disrespectful to the players who all left their jobs to play for the country. We have bills to pay,” said Baker. “Is this the way we must be treated after playing so hard to win the Americas Cup. ” he asked.

The talented all-rounder who produced a match winning five-wicket bowling haul to help the U.S. defeat Canada, referred to Canada’s players who he said were paid before they left home for both competitions in Guyana and in Florida. “They said they would not play unless they (players) were paid first,” Baker added. “Now we go on and win the competition, and this is reward we get,” he said sarcastically.

Efforts to contact Mohamed for a reaction by this writer, got the same result as the players. His cell phone went unanswered and no calls were returned despite messages for a call back.

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Hi All: I just wanted to let you know that I am one of the BODs in USACA. I have neither been appointed by USACA nor obligated to respond to any comments at this site. I just stumbled up on this website and felt I can try and respond to some comments to clarify some issues that are being brought up. My responses are based on my best belief. Now here are my responses to some of the comments.

@DK: When you look at the current Team USA, I believe only 5-6 are Indian or Pakistani heritage. Instead of passing comments on what the situation was like when ever you played, it would be better if you ask the current lot and get their opinion just to make sure if things have changed or not. Come on folks, get above all this petty talk. We now have a guy like Obama as President of this country. What I am trying to say is that times change and so do other things around it. I don't think any one is treated as low class or what ever class. Let's be a bit more realistic on these type of issues.

@Utsav (response to this is going to be a bit long): I don't know how much knowledge you have about cricket in US but to bring you up to speed, USACA got suspended from ICC sometime around 2006-2007. So what ever progress cricket had made in this country (at the international level), it went back to ZERO. But things started improving and a new set of executives got elected in Nov '07. Everything is being built from scratch INCLUDING THE BANK ACCOUNT. No one is going to jump on the wagon and offer a Million Dollar to an organization that had a reputation of being so dysfunctional. So the job of the new executives is to start building that trust back again. Like they say, it is easy to lose trust but is very difficult to build it. Nevertheless, even though this set of executives are so new to their volunteered positions (they don't get paid a penny and rather pay out of their pocket for airfare, hotel, etc. to attend board meetings because of USACA's financial situation), did manage to put in a lot of time and raised some funds on their own. This helped them to send Team USA to Guyana to be part of WICB Regional Tourney just to expose our players so they get noticed by the Island teams. Who knows, based on their performance, some of them may get picked by some of the Island teams like Lennox Cush got the chance to play in Stanford 20/20. The Guyana trip was followed by Americas Cup in Florida which again cost USACA a bundle of money for participating. Our team won all five games and the Championship. Like I mentioned, USACA is starting from scratch and it will take some time to build up ICC's confidence so they can fund us accordingly as a nation where cricket does have some future. We have to make it through in the mean time. As far as paying the players is concerned, the players were paid the per diem amount as promised. What happened is that THEY WERE AWARDED WITH BONUS AMOUNT ($1000 per player) FOR WINNING THE TOURNEY. Since USACA didn’t have that money rightly available, it needed to be raised before they are disbursed. There were some mis-communication regarding this which lead to someone writing this article. I believe the money has been raised since then and disbursed to the players. This should prove to one and all that the new set of Executives who got elected only a year or so ago are doing what ever possible to help in the process of promoting cricket in this country. But they need support from players, public and media. Writing something positively about them would go a long way in pumping some energy in to them and help them work harder for the cricketing community.

@Mike J: Well, at least Nasir's age is clear from CricInfo now. Now you know that he is in his early 40s and not in his 50s as you thought him to be. Bottom line is that he was picked based on his experience and current form irrespective of his age. As far as Dwayne or someone else is concerned, has he participated in the Eastern Conference (four regions from East)? If so, what has been his performance? Of course, I am in no position to comment any thing particularly relating to him as I have never seen him play nor do I have access to any stats on him. It is possible that he is a wonderful player. Both Coach Lambert and Captain Steve (both are selectors in a three men pannel) are from NY region and I believe they have reasons (experience, control, etc) to believe that Dwayne is not there yet. If he is a good player, i am sure he is going to come through. I am sure there are many more good leg spinners in US to challenge Nasir but selectors will be able to notice them only if they go on to play and perform beyond club level. That's just my take.

@Nick: Yes, we all are glad to see AD (Thyagarajan) doing so well. He was the MVP in the Western Conference in 2007 and has lived up to the expectations since he got selected for the Team USA in 2008. Kudos to him. The team needed to go in with two spinners.
Posted by Raj on December 27, 2008.

Talking about spinners, Aditaya Thagarajan did better than the rest when given an opportunity. He is a good bat too who scored against all opposition.
Posted by Nick on December 15, 2008.

The last time USA played Australia, that profile said he was 32....
As for a young fit leg spinner, what about Dwayne Smith from New York.
Posted by MJones on December 14, 2008.

I think when you ask players to leave their jobs and home to play for there country they should get paid for it. Well if USACA don't have any more, then don't ask these players to leave their job and go play for free because this is America and nothing is free in this place. Just imagine players leave there job and when they return they don't have a job to return to, people you just talking but look at life in America, I can't blame the two player to talk out for there rights, and i know other players want to talk out to but are afraid to because they may never play again for the USA Team, but i know those two players and they are not afraid to talk there mine and the truth.
Posted by Utsav on December 13, 2008.

What made anyone thinks that anything would change about USACA? I have played for the US on a couple of occasions and players except a few are treated as low class, especially if you are not of Indian or Pakistani heritage.
Posted by DK on December 13, 2008.

Mike...there is nothing fishy what so ever. Players performed well and they should be rewarded. But yes, the announcement was made in a moment of excitement after we won the Championship. Believe me, the current Board is sincere about the players and taking care of them as best as possible. Please wait for more news on this. I am sincerely requesting all to please not spread any more unwanted rumors which has been killing cricket in this country for a very long time.
As far as Nasir is concerned, I am one of those who pushes for young talent all the time. Yes, Nasir is going to be 43 soon (http://content-usa.cricinfo.com/usa/content/player/25625.html) but the Captain and Coach wanted him in and for a valid reason. They wanted to have a leg spinner for better balance of the side and Nasir happens to be the best and fittest leg spinner at this point of time in US. Other leg spinners who got invited (based on performance in various regional tourneys) for the trials were no where close. The top batsman of the team can vouch for that. I am sure there are many other leg spinners around the country but the scenario doesn't permit the selectors to go head hunting during all league matches. What ever on display during the regional tourneys is all they have access to for the most part.
Posted by Raj on December 12, 2008.

Raj why is Nasir Javed in the US team..? i think he is about 50 years old.
Posted by Mike Jones on December 12, 2008.

Something fishy, why were they promised money if there was no money from the beginning.
Posted by Mike Jones on December 12, 2008.

Intiaz, USACA financials are not in good shape. The new board took over the reigns with a lot of debt from previous admin. Debts can't be wiped off overnight. The new board members are not going to contribute money out of their pocket to take care of those debts. As far as the current situation is concerned, the Board never promised any payment since there was nothing in the bank in first place. But yeah, the Board will probably consider rewarding the players as soon as the financial situation bets better. It is just like Obama taking over from Bush. Are you going to say \"SAME OLD THING\" about Obama if people who have lost their jobs don't find a job the next day or month? I understand that you have been frustrated but need to use a bit of common sense before commenting publicly as well.
Posted by Raj on December 11, 2008.

When will USACA get their act together, it seems like it is the same old story with USACA. They do one thing right and follow up with such a mess up, especially since we all know about the economic situation the USA is in right now. There top priority should always be taking care of the cricketers and there well being.
Posted by Intiaz Khan on December 11, 2008.

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