By Orin Davidson
Performing like a well oiled unit, the group of cricketers representing Connecticut (North East Region) carted off the United States national women’s title with two clinical performances last weekend in California.
Once again it was Linden Fraser, the coach the United States of America Cricket Association (USACA) seems to love to hate, but who orchestrated the triumph with unerring efficiency.
Fraser marshaled his forces into an unstoppable unit that resulted in Connecticut hammering New York and Western Region Chargers with such ease, the girls were capable of winning both 40 overs- a -side matches in one day, according to observers.
Comprising a squad of six New Yorkers, two Floridians, two Marylanders, one Californian, one India-based, and two from Connecticut, the team took out New York by six wickets after destroying Western Chargers by a record 232 runs.
The team’s success added to Fraser’s list of accomplishments, with silverware at every level in United States competitions, following triumphant results with teams at the senior and junior categories. Now Connecticut has given him his fifth title.
Yet the team’s brilliance did not occur overnight.
According to Fraser they were training for eight months since last October. “ The girls were super fit because we started working since October. I got trainer Basil Butcher to work with the squad on weekends and all the hard work paid off,” the coach explained. “ This is the best group of players I have ever worked with. The girls never complained, they were always willing to work, to the extent that the out of town ones often travelled down to New Jersey from California, Florida and Maryland at their own expense”.
And that was not the only admirable feat, as the players raised money on their own to cover all their expenses to California through a bus ride and a dance. Bedessee Sports, Ancil Steeple Sensie and Dreamcricket.com also contributed and the team is grateful.
The outstanding handling of Connecticut by Fraser, who USACA seems to have blacklisted from national teams for no good reason, should be an eye opener to the myopic thinking of the national body’s decision makers.
Six of Connecticut’s players were named to the national squad to play Canada in a best- of- three tie for a place in the World Cup 50 overs qualifying competition.
Notable omission is batter Shebani Bhaskar who is 15 years old, and according to reports, was technically the best player in the competition.
The question is whether any of the selectors were present to see her bat.
Bhaskar is based in India and plays at a high level in junior competition there, and would be an asset to any United States team.
The released team list does not identify a captain and vice captain but according to inside information, the selectors have recommended Goordial-John and Durga Das to the two respective positions. It means no leadership role for Connecticut’s captain Candacy Atkins, who was also the national team vice captain last year.
But such is the workings of the USACA decision makers, politics and not merit remain the prime criteria especially with this national selection panel.