By Lloyd Jodah | Photo Gallery
Superstars and Stallions faced off in the Finals of the 2010 NYPD United Cricket League on Monday at Marine Park in Brooklyn for the Commissioner Raymond Kelly Trophy.

Victorious Superstars with the coveted NYPD Trophy. Photos by Shiek Mohamed

New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly asked “What do you think of the level of play?”  It was easy to answer truthfully, even without a lawyer present or being read one’s Miranda Rights, “the level of play was tremendous.”

Some of the talent on display: for the Superstars, Andy Mohammed who was impressive in the 2010 Under 19 World Cup and is possibly the best batsman in the USA. Kaveshwar Bridgepaul, one of our best all-rounder in the Imran Khan vein. Trevis Ross has already represented the USA at the Under 15 level as well as other talented players like Thakur Singh, Rocky Kowchai and Amarnauth Persaud.

Stallions had Zahib Tariq who scored 186 runs at an average of 93.00 with one half-century (57 not out vs. Central East) and one century (112 not out vs. South West) in the National Under 15 Tournament. His Franklin D. Roosevelt High School teammates; older brother Jezeb Tariq, who scored two centuries in 2010, and Abrar Zafar who led the NYC Public High schools with most runs scored this year.

Kaveshwar Bridgepaul during his splendid knock of 94 not out.

Superstars batted first and lost their first 3 wickets quickly to run outs, Amarnauth Persaud, Thakur Singh and Rocky Kowchai. Then Trevis Ross was caught off Abrar Zaffar and Superstars were reeling at 33-4 in 3.4 overs. Andy Mohammed was still at the wicket, and joining him was Kaveshwar Bridgepaul.

They started to methodically take the Stallions’ bowling apart. Andy on his knees drove over mid-on for 6, and then cut a short one past backward point for 4. Bridgepaul extended his front foot and launched one to Mars and Superstars rallied to 87 for 4 in the 12th over. Andy pulled over square leg for 4 whilst Bridgepaul brought up a marvelous 50 with 2 sixes, one over midwicket, another straight driven overhead.

Andy celebrated with a sweep for 4, but had been indulging in his propensity to charge down the wicket, skied one and was caught at long on. Superstars were 121 for 5 off 14.3 overs. The partnership had rescued Superstars and the pair put on 88 in 11 overs.

The talented Abrar Zaffar of Stallions.

Bridgepaul continued his rampage; he went down the wicket and cover drive gloriously along the ground for 4. Another 4 and 3 sixes took him to 94 not out before the 20th over ended. It was a superb innings with an array of strokes, many along the ground and technically sound, but when the 6 ft powerfully-built Bridgepaul went over the top it seemed logical. He is one of the USA’s faster bowlers, but he could easily play as a specialist batsman. Superstars made 172 for 8. No one else got into double figures. Tall Abrar Zaffar took 2 wickets for 15, and Zahib Tariq 2 wickets for 20.

Zahib Tariq and Abrar Zaffar opened the batting for Stallions, and Zaffar galloped to a great start with Zahib playing a smart supporting role. Gary Sobers has a story about how Rohan Kanhai dissected his field placements, and that’s what Zaffar did, cutting for 3 consecutive fours in the point to backward point area, off Andy Mohammed bowling medium pace. Zaffar then flicked high and a difficult chance on the boundary was dropped by Thakur Singh, a cut, a glorious off-drive, a lovely straight drive and an exquisite on-drive and Stallions were 46 without loss, after only 4 overs. The 17 year old 6 ft 1 inch Zaffar on 39 with 9 fours.

After his 10th boundary Zaffar was dropped by Amarnauth Persaud at midwicket, so the next ball he cover drove flat along the ground for 4, then lay back and cut for 4 more. From Bridgepaul and Andy Mohammed to Zaffar it was a cornucopia of stroke play, a banquet of beautiful shots…a feast for the eyes at the NYPD United Cricket Finals.

Kaveshwar Bridgepaul collects the MVP awards from Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.

Finally in the 11th over Trevis Ross got the vital breakthrough Superstars needed when Zaffar swung, missed and was bowled by Ross. Ross then got Jezeb Tariq and Shah for ducks whilst Bridgepaul came back off a short run up and got Saif for 14. Kowchai kept his end going well whilst Gandhi dismissed Zahib Tariq who played a solid 29.

In the fading light Superstars took over and the young Stallions could only muster 138 for 9 off their 20 overs.

Trevis Ross took 3 for 19 and Bridgepaul 2 for 17 and Superstars were Champions!

Asked how he felt when Zaffar was on the go, Superstars Captain Andy said “With the total we made Zaffar or his teammates would have had to bat like that all the way through and that’s difficult. This win was particularly satisfying because this is the last year playing the NYPD League for 5 of our players, including myself.”

The Stallions Coach Hussein Tariq, father of the Tariq boys said, “Sure we are disappointed, but we have a very young team, and they will all be back next year. We are happy at this opportunity the NYPD has given us.” he also added that one of his favorite cricketers was the great Alvin Kallicharran.

Stallions celebrates the fall of a Superstars wicket.

In fact Stallions Captain Jezeb Tariq said when he moved to the USA 3 years ago the PSAL and the NYPD were beginning their first seasons, so he felt “lucky to come to NY at the right time”. Who are Jezeb’s favorite cricketers? “In batting Sachin Tendulkar and in bowling Shoaib Akhtar.”

Superstars Coach Ijaz Asgarally could not escape being doused with a cooler of ice-cold water whilst thanking “Commissioner Kelly, Jeff and the NYPD. The Stallions have some talent but Kaveshwar was the man” he added.

MVP Kaveshwar Bridgepaul, who has had a fantastic career as a youth player culminating in winning the Commissioner Raymond Kelly Trophy was asked what next ”College Cricket” was his answer, ” I want to play in the American College Cricket Championship.”

Commissioner Kelly spent a lot of time taking photos with fans and discussing cricket – he showed a genuine interest in the future of the players coming out of the NYPD League and asked PSAL Cricket Commissioner Basset Thompson and American College Cricket President Lloyd Jodah about the potential for scholarships.

The Coaches and players were effusive in their appreciation of the efforts of Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, Inspector Amin Khosseim, Sergeant Rana, Officer Jeff Thompson in particular and the NYPD in putting together another successful season for NYPD Cricket League.

Lloyd Jodah is the President of American College Cricket