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U.S. Cricket Committee Ignoring Past Mistakes

By Orin Davidson
May 8th, 2009
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If United States cricket is to progress to any level of accomplishment befitting the status of this great country, we have to learn from past experiences – mistakes including.

But our administrators do not seem to understand this basic fundamental for success or are not willing to accept it.

Their approach to the United States Under-19 team’s preparation for two major competitions this year is the latest example.

Linden Fraser

Lester Hooper

Word is that the national cricket committee has ignored Linden Fraser and Lester Hooper for the positions of coach and manager respectively for the team to contest the Americas series.

Actually, committee chairman Kris Prasad confirmed that the most successful management partnership team in America’s junior cricket was not recommended to the national governing body – the United States of America Cricket Association.

Which at this stage is more stupid than shocking.

Any straight thinking or bias-proof cricket follower would agree that Fraser and Hooper have proven themselves the best pair to handle any Under-19 team looking for success.

They have won two national titles, back-to- back for New York in the United States of America Cricket Association (USACA) national Under-19 championship. That alone should’ve made them unanimous choices as no other coach or manager in America’s junior cricket can match Fraser and Hooper’s accomplishments.

Why so? Because on top of their individual strengths, the pair has developed a special chemistry that has been bringing out the best in any type of player.

They also happen to be the core of the Tri State training program in the city which produced the said players who won the titles on 2007 and 2008.

Fraser and Hooper were not handed great players on a platter who merely rolled over the opposition on pure natural ability.

The pair had to work long and hard to nurture the skill of their charges. They instilled a sense of discipline and mental toughness unmatched among Under-19 players here.

Fraser has been coaching players much longer than Hooper has been managing, but the former’s formula for success has obviously rubbed off on the latter.

A coach’s job, especially in the junior ranks is hardest at that stage of a player’s development. It calls for special skills and Fraser has shown he is capable on all fronts. Not least of all is his knowledge of the game that translates into strategic excellence and the ability to communicate that depicts motivational qualities.

And if you are one who places emphasis on certification, which is often an overblown requirement in cricket, Fraser fits the bill fully. He happens to be the holder of a Level Three certificate which demonstrates his deep commitment to the sport.

Hooper has come into his own in a big way since he started working with the New York team two years ago. He normally goes well beyond the call of duty to ensure his charges are best equipped to win.

Any of the players from the 2007 and 2008 could attest to Hooper’s attention to detail that has produced the level of success that qualifies him to handle any U.S junior team.

Instead of invigorating the five-person committee’s thinking to go for the best personnel available, those qualities seemed to freeze their thought process instead. The talk is that they are intent on blindly aping other countries by going for a foreign coach.
And this is merely for a junior team.

The question of familiarity immediately springs to mind because there is no one out- there who knows US junior players better than Fraser.

He does not condone indiscipline regardless of a player’s stature that has always redounded to the eventual good of culprits to cross their path. No player especially those in their formative junior years, are allowed to believe they are bigger than the game.
And with his impressive resume, Fraser should be a slam dunk choice at the expense of any foreigner.

Sadly the committee cannot get it.

It is like selecting a batsman with a runs average of 10 ahead of one with 45, for a team.

One reason the United States has been left on the outside looking in at Canada basking in the glory of another senior World Cup finals appearance in 2011, is due to administrative bungling.

Such mismanagement caused us to be relegated to play the Group Five World Cup qualifying series in the middle of a winter with zero preparation and the team was duly eliminated.

The failure was harder to stomach because the US has a better team than Canada. That fact was proven in the 2009 Americas series and the last one prior to this country’s ICC suspension.

Sadly, however this committee does not get it.

Their decision to ignore Fraser and Hooper proves that our recent painful existence means nothing to them.

The USACA board will meet on Saturday night to make a final decision on the two appointments.

Not too long afterwards Fraser and Hooper will be going for their hat-trick of national Under-19 titles with a fresh New York squad this year. Should they complete the three-peat those dissenting committee members will seem like utter fools.

However, the Board could bail them out and reverse the recommendation in favor of the country’s number one coach/manager partnership.

Send your comment
Orin Davidson Column Homepage

It's not the coach and manager who plays the game it's the ready done players with lots of potential that they get on the platter that makes the two of them looks good. Give it a test let them go in another region and see if they will be victorious. Just leave USACA, and lets enjoy our cricket.
Posted by Cris Mendonza on May 8, 2009.

I certainly agree with you that those two individuals has been and still is the best pair of guys to carry this under-19 team the next level.In NY, these two gentlemen has done what no one else in USA will do or ever do and that is to spend their time, energy and money for those kids. I happen to be a past player for USA and the amount of politics that is being played out in these meetings is prominent amoung our own, by those people who should be our eyes and ears. Week after week these guys are out there coaching and training these kids and no one in USA cares about that. The President of the USACA is not someone you can sit with and have a proper conversation let alone decides who will be coach or manager.
I also agree that you don't need no damn piece of paper to say you are a good coach. I am sure Sir Garry or Sir Vivian Richards don't have one of those. Bottom line politics and the fact anyone who comes up with some bribes will certainly get the job.
I have no respect for USACA.
What makes an outside person can be a better coach? Only time will tell. I have said this a very long time ago that cricket in the USA is not going anywhere and i will continue to believe that especially with guys with no interest in cricket itself but only for their own personal benefits. Until that's change there is no future.
Prove us wrong MR.CEO whoever you are.

Posted by Derick Kallicharran on May 8, 2009.

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