By Sham Ali
(Celebrating 29th Anniversary):- For the 900th time on Sunday June 26, 2011 Cosmos walked onto the cricket field at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn against Progressive to mark their 900th match. It seems like not too long ago when Cosmos took those steps and delivered their first ball as a club. Actually, it was 29 years ago when Cosmos captain Ashmul Ali had led Cosmos on their first step onto the cricket field on May 15, 1983 against the Poughkeepsie based River Valley team at Wards Island in Queens.
It was the beginning of the journey of a small club determined to chart their course in uncertain times. They announced themselves as cricketers to a sport that has been coined a gentleman’s game of glorious uncertainties. That initial step ultimately blossomed into a rich legacy as Cosmos forged ahead to stamp an immeasurable contribution to the game in North America.
Cosmos, a new comer to the metropolitan Cricket League took on river valley in their first match on a new wicket that was laid only two days before the match. A station wagon was used as the heavy roller. It was driven on the wicket to smooth it, somewhat, one may add. The score card may offer a hint either about the readiness of the pitch or maybe the quality of the batsmen. It was a sign of the times of the effort that was required to play cricket as a recreation in the United States.
It was an eventful year for the club as Cosmos embarked on their first tour to Canada on September 4, 1983 and honored that itinerary for the next twenty years. On that tour in 1983 against Scramblers, Cosmos amassed a massive 352 for 8, with captain Ashmul Ali registering a record 245 not out (29 4’s, 9 6’s), with their captain leading by example, announced their presence as a force to be reckoned with.
Cosmos grew in strength and ability as the years rolled by to become a force in the metropolitan cricket league. They would seal five championships in their history, but that thriller of a championship in 1999 against progressive will be the most cherished and talked about in the MCL for years to come. Progressive manager Jeff James said on Sunday that, “Progressive and Cosmos have shared a special relationship over the years and the final which Cosmos took out of his hands in 1999 still lingers fresh in his mind. He wished that other teams will play their cricket in the spirit friendship and competitiveness the way these two teams have done over the years.”
To the average cricketer and especially in the United States, the 900th match may seem like just a number and may soon vanished into oblivion, that is if one has never had a hand in the building of a club but played the game just to fulfill one’s own appetite. However, in the greater context of the game of cricket, for a club, such as Cosmos to have achieved such a milestone in the United States is perhaps the ultimate definition of dedication and commitment since the life of a large percentage of cricket clubs in these parts is about five years. Ironically, this Cosmos team in 2011 has many of the markings of the team then and that may just be a refreshing sign for the longevity of the club. However, we are expected to remain guarded under the current climate and changing dynamics of the game in these times.
Cosmos had set high standards for themselves from the inception with discipline as a firm foundation and managed to rise above their own expectations with such an achievement. It will be a task to forge ahead, but for a team that prides itself on Achieving Excellence Through Perseverance, the future like the past weighs heavily on the perseverance and continued effort of its dedicated membership to embellish that Cosmos’s love for the game shall unequivocally remain unparalleled.