By Sam Sooppersaud
(Reporting from Lauderhill, Florida)
For over two months now Cricket Council USA has been advertising, and finalizing preparations for the staging of another edition of its Twenty/ 20 Tournament. The winners take home $25,000. Responses came in from all parts of the country from teams wanting to take part in this cricket festival. Twenty teams were signed on for the contest which got underway, today, December 3rd and will conclude on Sunday, December 5th, with the winners taking home the first prize monetary award.
Cricket fans were ecstatic to learn that several international cricketers from various test playing nations, and numerous national players from several West Indian, and from Guyana, will appear in this showdown. The folks at Cricket Council USA, Jeff Miller and his people, from all indications so far, had a well planned tournament. They had secured five very suitable venues, and had put into place all logistics. But just prior to the first ball being bowled, the tournament was rocked by some very disappointing news.
The international players and the nationals were, in fact, “forbidden” to take part in the tournament. Ramnaresh Sarwan, Narsingh Deonarine, Samuel Badri, Sherwin Ganga, Daren Ganga, Navin Stewart, and company would not be playing cricket at Fort Lauderdale, Florida. What was the problem? Politics and rivalry won instead of cricket, I would suggest. Cricket was put on the back burner. People lusting for (more) power at times tends to put this in the way of the true essence of what they are about. Unfortunately people in the USACA thought that they cannot allow other organizations to outshine them. Whereas Cricket Council USA is promoting cricket, the folks in USACA are promoting the administration of cricket. The USACA folks are not so much concerned with the cricket on the field but rather who has the power, the authority, who is the “honcho” in the lot. Who is the “straw that stirs the drink?”
Now to the disappointing news, the “disgust” of this tournament. According to the top man at CCUSA, Jeff Miller, the United States of America Cricket Association was contacted by the West Indies Cricket Board – that the CCUSA tournament was not sanctioned by USACA. The WICB folks, claiming to follow ICC guidelines in turn informed the international and national players that the board is “advising” them not to take part in the CCUSA T20 tournament. Further WICB was told by the USACA people that for them to “get approval” they -CCUSA- will have to pay a licensing fee to USACA. A licensing fee! What nonsense. There are several present and potential USA players who are taking part in this tournament. USACA does not “own” these players, does not have them on contract. This CCUSA T20 tournament is a regular cricket tournament. Since when does an organization have to get USACA’s permission to stage a tournament?
In addition to asking for a “licensing” fee, USACA also had informed CCUSA that the $25,000 prize money that will be awarded to the winners of the tournament will have to be put in escrow. The reason being that USACA “does not believe that CCUSA will have the money” to make the award. They “USACA” are looking after the interests of the winners of the tournament! A whole lot of bull, I may say!
I spoke to cricket fans watching the play at the Lauderhill Cricket facility in Broward County, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The general consensus was that the USACA people have failed miserably in their efforts to promote cricket in this country. On the other hand the Cricket Council USA organization has experienced success after success in the promotion of their T20 Tournaments. They have received positive reviews from cricket fans, cricket administrators, and cricketers alike. But what do we get from the USACA organization, chaos, chaos, and more chaos. CEO Don Lockerbie was “let go”, with USACA offering no direct reason (s) for his firing. First Vice President Nabeel Ahmed resigned from the USACA administration because as he stated, to put it mildly, USACA is simply dragging its proverbial feet.
What is the relationship between the West Indies Cricket Board and United States of America Cricket Association! Fans may remember when USACA was suspended for the second time as an ICC Associate Member; ICC had asked WICB to “big brother” USACA, to sort of “show them the right way; to lead them in the right direction”. Have these two controlling cricket bodies now become “two sisters”? Why have the WICB acceded to USACA’s detrimental ways (to cricket). Time may give us the answer.
There is a feeling in the USA that better days for cricket in the USA are at hand. Interpretation! Comes the next USACA election, clearer heads will prevail and the malcontents presently holding high places in USACA will get their marching papers.
As usual I end this article with “what’s your opinion, I ‘like to know”. Send comments to me at Ssamrajs@verizon.net, or call me at 718-844-7236. We may not share the same opinion. I know that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Tell me and the crickets fans how you feel.
The views expressed here are those of the contributor, and do not necessarily reflect those of www.newyorkcricket.com