Under-19 Team Woes Not Surprising
By Orin Davidson
Jan. 21st, 2010 | (Comments)
Now is as good a time as any to be the fly on the wall at meetings
among United States of America Cricket Association decision makers
in the wake of another poor display by the national Under-19 team,
at the World Cup in New Zealand.
Crushing defeats in all
three of the team’s group matches have left a sour taste in
the mouth and prove no improvement was had from the last time this
country played in the World Cup four years ago.
USA Under-19 before their game against South Africa. USA team
(below), get some words of advice from ICC Match Referee Javagal
Srinath. Photo courtesy of USACA.
You wonder what those
decision makers are saying to themselves now, in light of the officials
appointed to handle the team.
As from all indications
from New Zealand , the team is suffering from abject management
and many players are demoralized. The batting has been a disaster
and has been mainly responsible for huge losses to Australia, South
Africa and Ireland.
The contingent of officials
with the players in New Zealand is the largest ever to travel with
any U.S. team, yet no solution was found to arrest the batting failures.
A source close to the
team said the players are lacking instruction and motivation and
thus are helpless to improve from match to match in the group competition.
That is despite the fact
there is a Level Three qualified coach among the panel of three
there, in Reggie Benjamin, who also has wide experience coaching
The others are not as
qualified in head coach Sew Shivnarine and Victor Benjamin, who
But according to a source
in New Zealand, Reggie Benjamin is being underutilized and has had
little to do.
In other words he is
a glorified passenger with the team.
Which is a gross indictment
on the suitability of the head official making decisions there.
It brings us back to
the vexed question of the modus operandi of certain decision makers,
especially the ones who make appointments for national and regional
teams and otherwise. Are they working in the interest of the development
of United States cricket or that of their own? Every development
occurring now and in the past, would lead you to believe it is the
Organized cricket in
this country is many decades old, but some officials are having
a difficult time changing their thinking from the early days when
the game was treated as a mere social activity for people who had
nothing else much to do in the summer time.
Favoritism was paramount
in every decision made then and despite the fact that the national
ruling body now has a new constitution, a paid Chief Executive Officer
and has teams playing in World Cup competitions, it still exists.
Appointments and selection of teams strictly on merit, have no place
in the thinking of some people who have no qualms sacrificing professionalism
It is why so much stink
was raised by supporters following the appointment of officials
for recent teams including this very under-19 squad. Proven coaches
are ignored for friends, relatives and associates.
This Under-19 team was
not expected to beat Australia or South Africa, but you expected
better from the players, which should’ve been enough to defeat
fellow associate member nation Ireland, given the talent at the
disposal of the head coach.
Now, America has no chance
of finishing even among the top eight.
It is now three competitions
this U.S. team has failed to live up to expectations.
In the Americas Championship last summer they were expected to win
the title following the success of the previous teams, but failed
to do so.
And in the World Cup
qualifiers shortly afterwards they ended fifth and barely made the
World Cup after a promising start.
are not the cause of the players, but of the officials in charge
of the team, and by extension those who appointed them.
Despite the good work
of a few in the administration of U.S. cricket, some are undermining
the development thrust.
In this case, underutilization of available officials is hurting
this Under-19 team as it clear that the coaching roles in New Zealand
are in wrong order.
Which brings us to the
apparent blacklisting of New York coach Linden Fraser by some decision
Despite carrying the
best record of all U.S. coaches in national competitions including
Reggie Benjamin, Fraser is being ignored for reasons clearly unrelated
His success is based
on his tremendous motivational skills and tactical acumen, yet he
was never coached a national team. Add his extensive experience
which started in England and his qualifications, you have the ideal
candidate for any national junior or senior team.
Which is why it is time
someone in high USACA office like CEO Don Lockerbie needs to put
a foot down to arrest a long standing problem.
Lockerbie does not carry
the mentality of the bad old days. His experience in sports administration
was shaped in an environment of strict professionalism, in a non
U.S. cricket environment.
He was appointed to fast
forward the development of the sport, by the world ruling body (ICC)
but this Under-19 team performance is a big letdown. Which is why
he should insist on a thorough investigation of the handling of
the squad in New Zealand.
Let him interview all
the subjects involved --- the players, coaches, and the ones from
Cricket Zealand from whom he negotiated to help the U.S. squad,
and pick sense from nonsense.
It is the best
way to start repairing the damage.
Orin Davidson Column Homepage
You miss the point Wayne, insularity ? What are talking about? Right
now you are whining about \"NY Clique\". What will you
do when all these NY High school players are knocking on the door.
I don\'t care what part of the USA the cricketers come from, but
what is happening in NY is great for cricket in the USA.
by Tom on Jan. 23rd
Tom: with a vision of insularity you won\'t achieve too much. Brian
Lara identified this as the WI biggest problem. By your reasoning
it should be USA vs. NY, wonder if the ICC would accept a new affiliate
member in NY.
I didn\'t want to dignify Tom\'s comments with a response based
on his lack of vision but we need to remember we are the USA.
by Wayne on Jan. 23rd
I think the "big guys" in cricket are more concerned with
themselves owning a position in the high chair of America. To produce
a good team you must start with talented players. Many players that
represented the U.S are good cricketers but are pushed for something
they arent prepared for...You dont have to go to take the youths
to foreign countries to improve cricket, that can be done here in
America. When players who are averaged and selected to represents
us play amongst elites how can u expect them to prosper? Cricket
has to improve in America then when the hidden talents are found,
we will have our own elites to combat other countries...GREAT CRICKET
STARTS AT HOME WITH GREAT SUPPORT!!!
by Anonymous on Jan. 23rd
FYI Wayne, NYC has a High school cricket league going into its 3rd
year with over 30 school Teams. The NYPD has a youth league which
had 10 Teams in its 2nd year. The USA Under 19 Teams of the future
will be dominated by players from these leagues. An East vs West
U 17? nope....that\'s old school, many of the NYC high school Teams
could beat an East or West Under 17.
What is happening in NYC is a revolution and people will have to
understand and not attribute it to any "NY clique"
by Tom on Jan. 23rd
For those of you who say, "don\'t blame management, blame the
players". You clearly don\'t have a good grasp of the function
of management. Management\'s job is to motivate and inspire. Based
on the feedback I have gotten from New Zealand, these elements were
clearly lacking on this tour.There were reports of managers laying
in trees, support staff showing up at pratice sessions sporting
tee shirts rather than in the team\'s colors, and incidents of bad
behavior by one member of the support staff. I think someone forgot
to tell them they were not on vacation, but there to represent the
USA. Once again, I am laying blame where it should be; on the doorstep
of the USACA board. They knew this management team - with the exception
of Benji from California - was not qualified for the assignment,
but they put patronage before principle. One \"big Up\"
cricket official from the New York area was even overheard in Fort
Lauderdale at the last pratice session, saying \"we running
\'tings now\" referring to the Guyanese. These kinds of statements,
coming from officials are pathetic, and anyone of that mind-set
should NEVER be allowed to oversee cricket operations. I hope the
CEO is paying attention. I would also expect a full accounting from
all the management personnel once this U-19 tour is over. The USA
is getting ready to embark on another tour to Dubai and Nepal. I
hope some lessons were learned for this U-19 tour. However, It doesn\'t
appear that any of the board members got the memo. However, I wish
the team good luck.
by Jason Brigs on Jan. 23rd
For those of you who think that management and support staff is
on vacation when on tour, here is what Mark Ramprakash had to say:
"I required the England coach, and his support staff, to prepare
me fully for the big games. I needed to organise my method, and
I needed someone to talk to about it.
Posted by Andrew
Singh on Jan. 23rd
You do not want to call names, but then again you referred to the
management as the \"NY clique\" How is cricket going to
excel in the US with this approach?? Players, coaches, and management
should not be blame for failure. USACA ought to do a better job
in preparing out national players for \"grand\" tournaments.
This is where $$$ comes in play. Preparation requires alots of money,
tours to different cricket playing nations, etc... I recalled couple
years ago, Mr. Ram Varadarajan was the leading contender to become
He was willing to contribute his own \"funds\" in USA
cricket, and many did not support him. I ask why?
Posted by Youth Cricketer
on Jan. 22nd
I earlier made the observation that while we were selecting our
team Canada was already playing Intl warmup matches. I had very
little confidence in the batting depth especially against spin,
weak seam bowlers, and unfit players. Lack of prep was not there
from the point of selection. None of these players should be blamed.
Management\'s job is to train, develop, motivate and inspire, this
was the key and was not there. I witnessed this lack of management
interaction first hand every step of the way while here in Fl. Not
calling names but we could have done alot better minus the NY clique.
I predict we\'ll see a repeat performance with the senior team in
Time for accountability.
I would like to see a Under-17 competition with the boys eligible
for the next U-19 WC. Prep has to begin now. Let's have a East U-17
vs. West U-17 play on going matches with good coaching starting
Posted by Wayne on Jan. 22nd
The USA national teams should be coached by qualified coaches that
have experience in other cricket playing nations. Why do you think
a partnership was formed with New Zealand?? Mr. CEO knows what he\'s
doing. Don\'t be suprise if Mr. Patel and other qualified coaches
are given the opportunites to excel US cricket. Maybe, this would
be the BEST approach for US cricket... especially for youth cricketers.
LONG TERM PLAN!!!
Posted by Youth Cricketer on Jan. 22nd
i think u guys should have picked bridgepaul and abdullah in the
usa team ....
Posted by Cricket
Player on Jan. 22nd
Why blame the management of the team, they are not playing. The
team has failed to perform at all levels. The bowling lacks penetration
and the batting is nowhere as was expected. The management does
not bat or bowl. You guys always try to resort to the issues that
are not. Put the blame where it ought to be place on the team. The
team is selected, thay take the field, they MUST perform. What the
critic should be taking about is the composition of the team The
captain has failed to score runs, the batsmen with the exception
of two have not produced, the bowling is weak. That is where the
problems lie,; with the team The problem is not the management.
Posted by John Bown on Jan.
Hello Mr. Davidson, From reading your article on the unfortunate
record of ths USA U-19 in New Zealand, I get the impression that
you think Mr. Fraser should be the coach and is comparing with others
including Reggie Benjamin from California. No one in the world except
you would think that Mr. Fraser is a better coach than Benjie. For
the record Benjie has never coach the SWR U-19 team in a national
tournament. So for you to make a statement of reference you should
clarify that for the records. Again, I am sure that Mr. Fraser did
a great job but not because your region won national tournaments
the coach should be the automatically awarded the U-19 coaching
position. If it was so, then the senior coach shopuld be Zamin Amin
because NY won the National Senior Tournament. I am from New York
and more to California a few years ago, I can tell you this Mr.
Davison no one has black listed more than Benjie. So, you should
do your research. I am sure after all when the squad return from
NZ, it will be only fair to do a interview with Shivnarine and them
Benjie. The bigger question is how many people that were interview
for the coaching job? Who conducted the interview?
all know that to be given a coaching job for USA the place of birth
must be from Guyana.
I hope you will have the guts to investigate the guyana connections.
by Ravi Singh on Jan. 22nd
has to take a look at the make-up of the management group -95% of
them from a particular country - and what makes it worst, they are
not even qualified to be there. nepotism, cronyism, you name it.
Where is the USACA board? Why can\'t they see what every other cricket-loving
person can. I hope the New Zealand fiasco is a wake-up call. But,
then again, this probably wouldn\'t bother them, once their friends
get appointed.What a dog-and-pony show. Mr. CEO, are you paying
Posted by Jason Brigs on Jan. 21st
We are talking about Linden Fraser again. Maybe Linden should run
for President of the US?? Please let us all understand that PLAYERS
WIN MATCHES!!! The US U-19 boys were not well prep. One weekend
in \"Sunny\" Fort Lauderdale and a few weeks in New Zealand
will not cut it to compete with some of the best in the world. FAIL
TO PREPARE AND PREPARE TO FAIL!!! Why should Don Lockerbie investigate
the US U-19 touring party?? Is he working for the CSI?? \"It
is what it is\"
Do you really think that some can put their personal \"agendas\"
aside and focus on the interest of cricket?? Off course not....
We will continue to model cricket in the US as a \"social sport\"
and ignore the importance of youths.
Posted by Youth Cricketer on Jan. 21st
Orin, did you believe they were going to do any better
than they did? I expected the same result and could not agree with
you more.Frasier should have been there.One thing they have perfect
record.Lockerbie is no different.
Posted by Left Hander on Jan. 21st