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Strong New York Under-19s Shooting For Hat-trick

By Orin Davidson
April 30th, 2009
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They might not have the talent of the last two years, but New York nevertheless has its eyes fixed firmly on the hat-trick.

The squad named for the 2009 Under States Under-19 tournament will not have a few key men from last year’s two-time winning lineup, for varying reasons, with one of the requirements catching the team’s management by surprise - but should be strong enough to win an unprecedented three straight titles.

Seven players will be missing from the 2008 squad, but the biggest name in United States junior cricket Gregory Sewdial is back for his third straight year in the New York junior team ranks. He will have his second straight stint as captain and is joined by the likes of Shaan Metha, Keon Lake, Syed Abdullah, Hugo D’Olivera and Cameron Mirza among others from the winning 2008 team.

Gregory Sewdial (top) and Cameron Mirza (below) during a practice match.
(Photos by Shiek Mohamed)

The expected age requirement disqualification has cost New York as is normal, but a new qualification category requirement was unexpected and has sidelined a few vital players. Team manager Lester Hooper said a change to restrict the unlimited number of players in the ‘Open’ category is a setback. `Open’ players do not have to meet the seven- year, national or four-year deemed national requirements.

With only two allowed in the ‘Open’ category in the playing 11 this year, New York has only four in the 14-man squad as opposed to six last year.

A notable omission from the squad is popular all-rounder Asruddin ‘Andy’ Mohamed who is eligible but was not considered by the selectors. Mohamed, an automatic choice last year, reportedly never showed up for any of the training sessions according to the manager, and did not bother to contact the team about his availability.

Also missing are Dominic Gomes, Ron Andrews and Lookesh Subramani who are over the age limit of 19 years after September 2009. Talented batsman Javein Thomas omitted last year for indiscipline missed out again this year as he is now too old.

Rasheem James and Sylvassen Kalimootoo, were included last year, but were left out because Keon Lake, Casper Davis Jr Ileo Freeman and Prashant Nair are the four ‘Open’ category players.

Davis Jr is the son of former West Indies first class level fast bowler Casper Davis and is following in his dad’s mold in the pace department. Nair, is also an interesting talent, capable of bowling spin with left and right hands and may be the first ambidextrous player ever to represent New York.

The team is already well into their match preparation three weeks before the competition starts. Hooper said they defeated Middlesex which competes in the Brooklyn League and were down to play last weekend at Gateway Park but was passed over for the PSAL series.

Two more practice games are scheduled.

New York which won the national titles in 2007 in Atlanta and in 2008 in Florida, will have home advantage this year in the Big Apple where the competition will be staged for the first time. It gets cracking on May 22 to May 25 and New York has no better opportunity to seal the hat trick.

Squad: Gregory Sewdial (captain), Ileo Freeman, Shaan Mehta, Hugo D'Olivera, Regis Burton, Lekiram Latchman, Cameron Mirza, Kavishwar Bridgepaul, Casper Davis, Jr., Chris Singh, Petambar Marlon Persaud, Syed Abdullah, Keon Lake and Prashant Nair.  
Manager: Lester Hooper; coach Linden Fraser; operations director Ms. Dawn Mirza.
Reserves: Sylvassen Kalimootoo, Rasheem James, Steven Sawh and Claymon Rose.

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Orin Davidson Column Homepage

Just to add on Azurdeen Mohammed. I grew up with this kid and I am with him in all aspect of life. Those who know Andy personally will always have great things to say about him. I have never seen him disrespect anyone and I mean anyone. It could be on or off the cricket field. Andy is always one of the most willing and most discipline person. As a young cricketer who like every other young cricketer when they are on tours and in hotels or traveling jokes around, sometimes things get out of control but things of those sort should not make a cricketer indiscipline or less appreciated by anyone, they are all youngster.
I remember when I was selected to play for the Guyana under-19 in 1987, we were in a hotel in Georgetown, Guyana, it was the night before we schedule to depart for Jamaica and a few of the guys made some trouble at the hotel that night, of course it was reported to the president Mr. Norman Mclean, he had a serious talk with the players involved and things just moved forward. That doesn’t make those players any less different from anyone of us, some of those players went on to play the highest level of cricket to name a few Barrington Brown, Colwin Cort and Linden Joseph.
My point is, we have to move forward and Andy is such a magnificent and exciting player that it is dishearting to know that those involved in this issue did not reach out and have a meeting or any discussion with Andy. I really think the policy that was implemented to select the NY team was not the most reasonable method. I say this because, in NY we probably have approx 200 or more youth cricketers who would like to have a chance to play for this region. Having a practice session in the winter is likely the turn out would be very minimal and in this case they had approx 25-30 youths at the practice. We have to take into consideration the youngsters who is working and have other commitment within that period of time.
They all should be called to the trials. This NY region team should be an open selection process not only who have the time to go to Brooklyn in the winter and could afford to pay for the practice sessions the trials is where all these young cricketer should come out and showcase their talent. I would say if Andy was selected on the team and did not show up for practice then of course he should be punished for that, however this practice was before the trials and I think all the youths in NY should be able to have a chance to participate in the trials. For those who don’t know I personally wrote an email and also spoke to the director about this issue before the trials was held and the director told me he personally don’t have a problem with Andy being on the team.
However they never got back to me. For those who wants to know everything in its enterity please do not hesitate to email or call. There is absolutely nothing to hide. The fact is, when you have a coach who would make remarks like "AS LONG AS I AM THE COACH OF ANY TEAM ANDY WILL NOT BE A PART OF IT" where are we going with cricket? When we have a professional coach like that making such statement. My email is ajazasgarally58@aol.com and my number is 646-261-1201.
In conclusion, just want to say there is absolutely nothing to hide about Andy. He is just one of the most gifted and talented 18 year old allrounder cricketer and I wish him all the best.
Posted by Ajaz Asgarally on May 5, 2009.

See now communication starts. Instead of having a coach who you know has nothing against you be slandered around NY without interjecting, you could have done what you're doing now, call, email, text someone. Had you choose to follow those actions we would not be having this discussion and you would probably be in training with the NY squad. You have my number, you see me on Facebook everyday. Do you really think if you had said to me "manage I can't make it to any of the practices due to job issues" I or coach Fraser would say well "Andy, sorry but you can’t be called to trials?" Is that what you really think? Real talk here. You and I have know each other for quite awhile and you know the rules, I know you do. All you had to do is call and say guys I messed up and I'm sorry but instead you choose to sit back and have people attack a program that you know is 200% dedicated to youth cricket in this region. Andy, I think you're a good youngster that had your share of wrong doings but we are not all perfect. Start taking your matters into your own hands and stop having other people fight your battles. I wish you all the best this year as captain in the EACA and I look forward to seeing you in action. There are no hard feelings on my part towards you and if you need anything in the future cricket wise or other, you know my number. Give my regards to your mom.
Posted by Lester Hooper on May 5, 2009.

People will be surprised. I was accused for a lot of things that happen on tour. I even apologized for stuff I never did but yet its against me. You yourself know that I always play my heart out for this region. All in all everything happens for a reason. Good luck manage.
Posted by Azurdeen Mohammed on May 4, 2009.

Mr. Danny Singh, Linden Fraser is not bias towards any player, especially Andy Mohammed. Last year Linden Fraser called every executive of the EACA to help Andy with a situation he had in the EACA. As I mentioned before, when all the facts come out, many of you will be shocked and surprise. I know Andy and he is a very pleasnat person but as a man sometimes you have to admit when you're wrong, make an apology if needed and move on.
Posted by Lester Hooper on May 4, 2009.

FYI....Kavishwar Bridgepaul, Liekram Latchman and Dominic Gomes all came out of the PSAL and represented the NY region last year. In addition Jason Evans. John Alleyne and a few others were recruited out of the PSAL and played in the tristate under 19 tournament last year, so efforts are being made to recruit out of the PSAL.
Posted by Lester Hooper on May 4, 2009.

If a coach has something personal against a player i would think that the only part of a story one might need. I''ve personally seen this kid Azurdeen single handedly defeated numerous teams in the New York Region Under 19 competition and also won EACA 2 championships. Him being left out of a team because of not attending practice because of work is ridiculous. The public knows that Fraser is bias. i wouldn't even call him a coach. Good luck to the New York Under 19 team and good luck Mr Lester Hooper.
Posted by Danny Singh on May 4, 2009.

My apologies to you Mr. Hooper, I didn't realize you guys made some effort. Well USACA should take into consideration the climatic condition in the USA. Especially if it would be held in NYC.
Posted by Intiaz Khan on May 4, 2009.

In response to Mr. Intiaz Khan statement, several players who are now participating in the Tristate under 19 youth program were recruited from last year PSAL tournament. All though there are lots of young players in the PSAL, they still need a lot of coaching with respect to their game. This year the tournament is being held earlier than usual and as a result we were only able to attend a few games as oppose to the entire tournament last year. This year we sent out emails to all league presidents, managers of last year teams that played in the under 19 tristate youth tournament. In addition, we placed adds on dreamcricket, newyorkcricket and nyyouthcricket. Given the fact that time was against us and we were in the middle of winter, these were the pathways available to us in order to contact players. I personally went on Facebook and sent emails to every under 19 player I know. So when u make it out to appear that efforts were not made( given the time of the year) to contact players, well sir that not entirely true.
Posted by Lester Hooper on May 4, 2009.

All these attacks on coach Fraser are unfair. Gentlemen all I'm saying is know the facts before coming to a conclusion. Some individuals choose to disclose part of the story and that's really unfair.
Posted by Lester Hooper on May 4, 2009.

It is sad the way the NYC under-19 squad was selected. The fact that there was over 200 kids participated in the PSAL and NYPD 20Twenty competition, we hardly see any of them in the squad. I ask the selectors, why? There was so much talented youths in those tournament. Do the region so call administrators does any scouting around for players? When are they going to stop with their foolish ways and just pick who are around them? Please guys give these kids the opportunity they deserve.
Posted by Intiaz Khan on May 4, 2009.

Hmm, so once again there's bias in selecting a team, what's new? Good luck to the players especially the ones in PSAL. Dish out the hat-trick.
Posted by Randy on May 4, 2009.

Andy Mohammed is a great cricketer. All the best Andy. I dunno what the people saying.
Posted by Naeem Hafeez on May 4, 2009.

Andy Rocks! I would be lying if I said that the New York team doesn't need him, but Hey, that's just my opinion.

Posted by Balgobin on May 4, 2009.

In addition to Mr. Asgarally's comment on Azurdeen Mohammed not attending because he had to work... Mr. Fraser was informed of this, contrary to what it claims in the article that the team was not inform.
Azurdeen has endured many unfair placements during his participation on this team and was mature enough to look the other was. He is indeed one of the best young cricketer out there and any team will appreciate having him.
Posted by Sadia Mohammed on May 4, 2009.

On the omission of Azurdeen Mohammed its because he had to work on weekends and Mr. Fraser said to me as long as he is the coach of any team Andy will not be a part of it. I think its more of a personal issue with this young talented player. My number is 646-261-1201 if any need any clarification on this comment.
Posted by Ajaz Asgarally on April 27, 2009.

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