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Massiah Needs To Call Time On U.S. T20 Career

By Orin Davidson
Feb. 11th, 2010 (16 Comment)
Beset by a series of tactical blunders, the United States crashed out of the World Cup 20/20 qualifying competition, shattering hopes of a potential historic appearance in a prestigious Global championship.

Steve Massiah is seen here pondering his next move in a New York Premier League game last year. Photo Zaheer Saffie.

Given the talent available in the squad, the team management badly misused its resources and emerged with two losses and one win. It proved inadequate to progress to the second round from which the top two of four teams would journey to the West Indies for the 2010 edition of the International Cricket Council’s second most important championship, after the 50 overs World Cup.

In their defeats to Afghanistan and Scotland, the United States was guilty of poor team selection, bad use of bowlers and woeful batting order choices, that gifted their opponents victories that could’ve been denied with more thoughtful and objective decision making in the two main areas of the game.

Against Ireland, the U.S. bowling let them down badly, allowing the former team to pile up a mammoth 202 runs tally, their highest score ever in 20 overs competition and so far the most conceded by any of the teams in UAE.

With Ireland, rated the best team in the competition, and needing a victory to keep their hopes alive of qualifying, after losing their opening game to Afghanistan, they applied intense pressure from the get- go and the U.S. crumbled as a result with the captain Steve Massiah unable to counter Ireland’s early batting onslaught with his bowling tactics.

There was an over-reliance on spin by Massiah who used four slow bowlers, a shocking tactic which allowed Ireland to feast for easy runs.

In limited overs competition, the use of even one spinner is a risk, much less in 20/20 where the bowlers are attacked from ball one.

Massiah committed suicide by giving Ireland 13 overs of spin of the allotted 20 and they capitalized fully, that initiated the beginning of the U.S’s ouster.

With only three matches to qualify for the second round, the U.S. needed to play pressure cricket in all three games but they lowered their guard after defeating Scotland in the first game, where they used 11 overs of seam. They reduced that number in the next encounter and paid the penalty.

The captain’s thinking was mind boggling because he had five seam bowlers in Kevin Darlington, Orlando Baker, Usman Shuja, Tim Allen and Rashard Marshall at his disposal, but chose only seven overs of the faster stuff, which is always more difficult to attack.

To add insult to injury, Marshall is one of the country’s most effective seam bowlers, yet he was not given a single ball in all three matches. They chose to play him as a batsman, but these days Marshall has proven to be a better bowler, but the management was blind to this reality.

Incredibly too, was the decision to use Tim Allen as a spinner when the player has been a specialist seamer all his career.

There is a glaringly good reason why slow bowlers are never used by all teams at all levels of competition, at the death of an innings.

If the team’s use of its bowlers was poor, its batting tactics were worst. Dhaniram who has failed every time he represented the U.S. as a batsman was inexplicably used in the top order.

He never scored more than four runs in all three games, and even though he got a total of five in the two warm up games against the UAE, was still persisted with at number four and five thereafter.

In contrast, Dhaniram has good results as a bowler and should’ve been used as a specialist spinner with no place for him batting in the top five. Why the decision makers could not have adjusted is beyond belief.

At the same time, the team bewilderingly underused Aditha Thyagarajan, their best batsman from the Americas Championships one year ago. A shocking omission from the first game, Thayagrajan was only drafted in for the second encounter because Sushil Nadkarnie was unfit. To make matters worse he was used at number seven in the order and promptly exposed the mistake by slamming an accomplished 72, not out, by far the highest for any U.S. player.

Then, to rub salt in the wounds, the team failed to promote him next game in the crucial run chase against Afghanistan, keeping him at number seven which was much too late.

With all of these factors staring the team management in the face, they still regarded Dhaniram a batsman.

And to crown a dreadfully mismanaged campaign, Massiah failed to lead from the front even though he is supposed to be the team’s premier batsman.

The captain has scored all of his many runs for the team at number three, yet he dropped himself down the order when the team needed him most in all three games. Against Afghanistan he appeared as a tail ender at number eight.

And the fact that he never scored more than five runs in the three competition games and a total of 13 in the two warm-up matches, raises serious doubts about his future in the team for 20/20 matches.
Massiah is accustomed to having his way in almost all team matters whether it is team selection, batting order placements or tactics on the field.

And unless there was a steep change of team policy, the disastrous showing of the US team in the Middle East has justified the critics claim that he has no place in the 20/20 team.

If there was no change in that policy, then coach Clayton Lambert’s position should also be in jeopardy as those tactical blunders were inexcusable.

Significantly, by getting dumped in the first round, the U.S. failed to justify the ICC wildcard entry it received for this competition to the annoyance of other teams.

Massiah is more comfortable in the 50 overs version as a batsman and should remain there in the U.S. team setup.

Ricky Ponting, has relinquished his place in the game’s shortest version for Australia and so has Andrew Strauss for England.

Therefore, there is no humiliation in the U.S. captain following suit, given his shortcomings.

And any explanations of the U.S. losing to better equipped teams would not wash with anyone. Does Afghanistan, a war thorn country, among others, have superior facilities, better domestic competitions or better coaches?

The answer is a resounding no.

Send your comment
Orin Davidson Column Homepage

Mr. Singh we are speaking about qualified coaches. Reginald Benjamin is the most qualified of them all. I challenge you to name me 1 more coach who is more qualified than Linden Fraser and please be objective. In addition, please ask your so called friends in USACA why Linden was black listed.I\'m sure their response( if the truth is told) will surprise even you.
Posted by Lester Hooper on Feb. 14th, 2010

Only one thing i wanted to ask usaca selectors that is, Timroy Allen fast bowler or spin bowler?
Posted by Cricketer on Feb. 14th, 2010

I took the time out to read these mail and I can see where this is going. I shoiuld state here that the reason why we keep talking about this is because we are not satisfied with what we are getting from these people. When it comes to coaching and I am sure most people will agree that the best coach in this country by far is that guy from California. I can recall talking with linden Fraser and he told me that himself. It seems like there is this on going campaign to let us all beleive that Fraser is the man for the job we are all getting tied of it. I am sure there are a few other coaches that here that are highly qualified and does not get notice. Mr. Davidson I would hate to bveleive as a journalist that you allow yourself to be reduced to a closed minded idea. I took the liberty of seaching amount of article that i deemed to be self promoting and Linden Fraser and it is quite a few. I have not seen any interview or article on none of the other top coaches.
I am challenging you to get an Interview from a coach from every region and do a real story instead of this self promoting mess. I happen to know that these coaches can be easily reached. Shivnarine and Lambert can be easily reached. I dont know about Benjamine in california or the U-15 coach in california as well, but enough of this. I have friends that are close in USACA and they are very aware of who should be coaching the senior team and the under 19 team. I want our readers to do a google on these coaches fou yourselves. On a final note, coach Benjamine was black listed by Dainte and buddies for almost 7 years now, linden your name was just added so relax.

Posted by Ravi Singh on Feb. 14th, 2010

I am going to cut directly to USACA problems. If you are not from guyana, have the guyanese connections, you don\'t kiss these so call bosses a***** you are 99% eliminated for selections, coaching position, captain, and the position you bat or bowl. The coach, captain, cricket commitee, president, selectors are all from the same cloth. in India we have politics but it is no where close to the what i witness here in this country. We can talk until our teeth drop out it will be the same thing.

It happen in New Zealand with the Under 19, with people that have no idea of coaching doing the job. It is the same thing in Dubai. USA cricket is a launghing stock to most, the only reason why they keep trying to help us is because of potential revenue. i have news for them because people here even former cricketers do not go and watch games. China is hot on the heels of cricket and the day they get that first big win, they will sell kore seats in a match than the USA.
I wish that the USACA will have these people that are running our cricket sit on a program and explain anything. Lets have the coaches and selectors first. These are the people that is the true faces of cricket in America.
Posted by Ravi Singh on Feb. 14th, 2010

If players are injured on the tour, why are they not being sent home for reserve or under 19 players? USACA is very shallow with their thinking. I understand they want an experienced team but whats going to happen when they stop playing? USA is gonna go back to the lowest division in world cricket if they dont blend their youths with the experienced guys.
Posted by GT Player on Feb. 13th, 2010

"I'm very surprise to see Gregory Sewdial name as the future when he can’t be consistent at club level, also he can’t move in the field. Cricket is not a FAT MAN game. I also agree that cricket should not play with names; Dhaniram should stick to club cricket and beat soft bowling.
Posted by Mr. Aussie on Feb. 13th, 2010

Well our opportunity of playing in the Twenty20 World Cup is over, whoever needs to be blame should take that responsibility and give some answers, it is absolutely disgusting to see USA players performing so miserably when on tour. On Most tours, they excel in one or the most two games, why is that so? My second question is, why was Sushil Kulkarnie and Glenn Hall taken on tour when the selectors knew they were injured. The reason Hall is not playing is because of some injury he had before leaving for the tour. Steve Massiah needs to stop telling people if they play for him they will make the USA team, this is one of the reason why the team is in this mess. So call USACA president Dainty act now before it is too late. In this world everyone has their own objectives, which is all good, but we must look at the big picture.
Posted by Mr. Intiaz Khan on Feb. 13th, 2010

They need good selectors why Imran Awan is not playing and there is more good youngsters not only Corn and Saleem and Regis what did they do in worldcup nothing. Players like Cameron, Bridgepaul, Abdullah, Keon Lake, Rusty and many more good youngster, you guys should not only stick to 1 team. There is great talent in USA and good luck to USA cricket.
Posted by Mr. Cricket lover on Feb. 13th, 2010

I think it\'s time to drop all them old guys form the team and play younger guys nobody nah wanna see a team that have 3 or 4 playes in the 40s.

Posted by Mr. Right on Feb. 12th, 2010

Three of the biggest failures on the middle east tour: Massiah, Dhaniram, Marshall. Where is the transparency in American cricket structure. Kudos to New York Cricket for keeping us in the loop. We need to get coverage of all the trial matches so that the cricketing public can be aware of the daily successes and challenges within US cricket. No fingers pointing, we need to leave the village mentality behind. We live in a country of great diversity a country will increasing potential. Let us put a stopper on the continuous embarrassment and take our place amongst the best in the world, we can all be a part, all contributors to American cricket not just the parasitic oligarchy of yesteryear. Best wishes to the team in Nepal I am counting on four wins and for those who failed in the Arabian sands to prove the critics wrong on the foothills of the Himlayas.
Posted by Eyes on the ball on Feb. 12th, 2010

The woes of the US senior team continued in U.A.E and it appears that everyone is shocked by the results.All of a sudden Massiah\'s abilty to play on the UST20 squad and captaincy comes in for some heavy criticisms. To put it all in perspective while Massiah defintely is not a great T20 player, he still is US most sucessful batsman since the US has been playing as an Associate nation from the 1970\'s.From among all the former West Indian test player who\'s represented the US at the national level like- Bacchus, Mattis, Shivnarine,Lambert - he stands head and shoulder above them all.
In the longer version of the game at present it is only Nadkharni that is close to Steve\'s scoring - not even the dimunitive Wright. With that being said the US will win in Nepal -we could see some good scores from Massiah, Wright, Nadkharni.From Mr. Davidson readings - Marshall still had ample opportunity to bat -but if you follow NY local cricket, Marshall cricket over the last 2 years has backtracked. Glen Hall has outscored him by and large in local cricket for some time now.As for Daniram his batting has headed southwards everytime he has represented the US.
O.D once again writes with a poisonious pen since his \"boy\' was passed up for the coaching position and everyone can read between the lines!
If by now fans are feeling patriotic to Uncle Sam, then forget the US senior men\'s cricket team and tune in to the Vancouver Winter Olympics - where you\'ll see what it is to defend this country in sporting \'war\' at the highest level.Cricketers are yet to understand the implications of such an honor. Our cricket administrators have let the USA down once again -it\'s not all the players fault! Efficient board equals good cricket team!
Posted by ThirdMan on Feb. 12th, 2010

Orin good article i must agree with one of your comment on Massiah he select his friend usaca need to investigate him. Imran Awan his friend Cush, Dhaniram and Darlington are recycle player they need to go. Lambert as well Massiah need drop from side right now Give nankarni the job.
Posted by Cricketer on Feb. 12th, 2010

Mike: I am all for youths, but we must blend the team with experience and youths. Not taking anything away from the youths, but after a poor performance at the U-19 World Cup, it\'s very difficult for selectors (if we have any??) to consider USA youths. The likes of Ryan Corns, Andy Mohammed, Asad Ghous, Saqib Saleem, Akeem Dodson, Karran Ganesh, Andre Kirton, Steven Taylor, Rasheem James, and Casper Davis Jr. are very promising youngsters. I did not include Sewdial, because he was given opportunities and did not live up to expectation, but feel that he\'s still capable of competing at the high level. I strongly feel that Lenox Cush, Kevin Darlington, Carl Wright, Nadkarni, Tim Allen, Baker, and Thyagarajan are valuable players that can still perform at the “high” level.
We must groom the youths, and let them know that a \"spot\" is not automatic at the senior level. Performance on the cricket field is all that matters. Some of the youths need to disengage themselves from the \"fashion statement\" of cricket. For example, who has the best “sun glass” and who has the best “make-up” of sun cream lotion?
Posted by Youth Cricket on Feb. 12th, 2010

I was waiting for some one to write an article. Where should i start, ok. Steve Massiah needs to be investigated, he only cares about his friends, Lennox Cush, Dhaniram, Kevin Darlington and the rest. Steve thinks he is the best player in the USA and we all know now that is garbage he needs to hang his gloves up now. We have a lot of good youngster around. Now is the time to groom them. Guys like Gregory Sewdial, Karran Ganesh, Assad Ghous, Sahid, Ryan Corns, Andy Mohammed who made a century against New York in Washington in the senior tournament, why isn’t he on the team to Nepal, thats a 50 overs competition, what are these selectors thinking. We have youths and you are trading it for old men who can’t field when they finish bat. R rather you take the young blood who will hussle on the field, common how worst can it get. Steve don’t like youths, all he cares is for his friends and himself. Someone needs to get up and start talking. The selectors are scared of Massiah If Steve continues to have his way no youths will ever play in the senior team. Mr. Dainty please use your authority and do something before things get worst, make some changes on the team to Nepal. Sewdial, Assad Ghouse, Dodson, Karran, Steven Taylor, Sahid, Corns and Andy Mohammed. Mr. Dainty please do something for our cricket save USA, we have alot of young talent.
Posted by Mike on Feb. 12th, 2010

We cannot continue to select national players based on \"names\" At least three players from the US squad are not suitable for the T20 format of the game. You can name the three players....
Posted by Youth Cricketer on Feb. 11th, 2010

These are decisions that make me scratch my head. I have some questions.

1) Why did they take Glen Hall when we all know he was injured before leaving the US?
2) Why is Tim Allen batting at #5 in front of Baker and Adithya?
3) If Clain Williams scored all his runs in the 20/20 practice games in the US, why is he not in the 20/20 team but in the team to Nepal to play 50 overs where he did not do as well?
4) Why were Marshall and Dhaniram given so many chances(5 games) when you have other middle order batsmen to try?
5)Based on Messiah's statements......u promote guys who can hit the ball (by the way only one guy was promoted Tim Allen) up the order to chase 136 but you dont do the same chasing 202 the previous day?....hmmmmmmmmmmm
Guys in December I was in Florida to watch the MAC T20 Tournament and based on what I saw, Messiah, Wright. Allen, Marshall and Hall ll make up one big clique. As a result, he is unable to separate friendship from his duties as a captain. Marshall had scores of 0,0,0,3 and 19.....in all the games ( I stand corrected) and was not dropped.
Posted by CRICKETBULLY on Feb. 11th, 2010

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