By Dyon Ravello
The New Zealand Cricket Players Association (NZCPA) has partnered with the United States Youth Cricket Association to match New Zealand first-class cricketers with American clubs. This collaboration will include competitive play and coaching by the Kiwis. These will also be a cost sharing opportunities, As the NZCPA will be subsidizing a percentage of the cost for a club to have the player over the summer.

Akeem Dodson one of the few players to have an overseas stint. Photo by Shiek Mohamed

The New Zealand Cricket Players Association (NZCPA) is taking strides not only to keep there players active in the off season, but also developing cricket beyond the test world. The seasons of the Southern Hemisphere are opposite to those of the Northern half of the world. In the frigid months of each new year American cricketers are fortunate to get in a knock in the indoor nets if one is available. Simultaneously the new year bring the busiest cricket in the southernmost reach of the cricket world. Conversely, Americans are able to enjoy the bat and ball tussle between the wicket during the summer months of May through to September. During this time our Kiwi friends are confined by the winter months.

This is very unique opportunity and a step in the right direction for both the players in the American and New Zealand game. This should be a catalyst for future development and talent sharing. As much as the Kiwis are keen to share and enjoy the glitz of America, so too American cricketers should be keen to step out of their comfort zone and venture aboard for further development, knowledge and advancement. In 2005 after the Trinidad and Tobago season had been complete, Justin Guillen (Then a lesser known name to first-class cricket) spent weeks competing in Barbados at the highest level. These overseas excursions lead to Guillen’s selection to his National senior team and eventual West Indies A team. At the youth level Guillen was behind in the pecking order but has now surpass those who were ahead of him then, and he continues to push to become a more significant member of the Red Force Team.

Akeem Dodson too comes to mind, after attending the 2006 youth world cup his visits to England has helped him to force his way back into the senior fold of the US national team. These exchanges are imperative for all stakeholders, from Test playing nations right back to the Affiliates. And the responsibility lies on this the parents, the coaches, the clubs and administration at each level. We can no longer wait for the Board or the Management to help us develop our game (be it as a player or a nation). We all have a role to play to make a difference.

For more info on matching your club with a Kiwi contact ravellod@live.com