By Sam Sooppersaud
“….I am not saying that we will definitely win, but we have a competitive squad and the boys will play hard. Myself and the rest of the guys are going down to Florida to have a good time…” this is part of what Ricky Singh, told me earlier tonight when he called me. Mr. Singh is one of the founders of the United Chargers cricket team.  He assured me that with the caliber of players that the Chargers have on their roster, they are going to put up a “dog fight”.

United Chargers campin during the 2009 New York Premier League tournament. Photo by Shiek Mohamed

What’s happening in Florida? Well, cricket fans in the New York Metropolitan areas, the cricket season may be over in these parts, but in the warmer parts of the USA cricket is still in the parks. Starting Friday, December 3, and through to Sunday, December 5, 2010, Cricket Council USA will stage an extravaganza of a cricket tournament.  Twenty 20 cricket will once again entertain fans.  CCUSA has surpassed its previous tournament endeavors by putting up for grabs a $25,000 winners’ stake. Yes, folks, you read correctly. The champions in this tournament will walk away with Twenty Five Thousand USA dollars.

Twenty teams will vie for this coveted championship. This can be said to be an international tournament as players from several countries around the world will be participating for honors.  There are players from Pakistan, India, Jamaica, Barbados, Guyana, Trinidad, to mention a few countries that will have representatives in this the biggest tournament, in terms of the number of teams competing.  Two English County squads will do battle with teams star-studded with present and past test players, present and past national players of the USA and other countries. Some big names are Lennox Cush, the only 20/20 players in the world to have gotten two hat tricks in this format of the game. There is also Denesh Ramdin,  Ramnaresh Sarwan, Narsingh Deonarine, Irfan Pathan, the Indian All-Rounder, Darren Ganga, the former West Indies opening batsman. Joining the lot will be on again, off again WI star Lendl Simmons, along with his 2010 Champions Trophy teammates Sherwin Ganga, Dave Mohammed, William Perkins. Hard hitting Dwayne Smith will be on hand to do his thing. The list goes on and on.

The United Chargers are one of the leading contenders for the prize. They have some very exciting players in their squad. They will be led by present USA captain Steve Massiah, who only recently led the USA to the ICC Fourth Division Championship (Associate Members). Under his charge will be present WI player, the stylish batsman Ramnaresh Sarwan. (He was left out of the WI squad now touring Sri Lanka for idiotic reasons).  The exciting Narsingh Deonarine will be plying his trade for the Chargers in this tournament. He is the batsman who hit the “shot heard around the Caribbean”. That was in the inaugural Stanford Twenty20 when he hit the last ball of the game for a six to overcome a shocked Trinidad side.

The Chargers are themselves champions. They are the winners of the  2009 NYPL (New York Premier League). During that tournament they played unbeaten. This year’s Chargers squad still has on its roster a few players from 2009. Including USA players Carl Wright, Adithiya, Nandkarni, and as mentioned before, the USA skipper, Steve Massiah. They will be strengthened by the addition of Sarwan and Deonarine, and former Guyana national batsman/wicketkeeper Vishal Nagamootoo along with his brother, former West Indies  legspinner, Mahendra Nagamootoo.

]In 2009, after the season was over in the New York area, the United Chargers went to Guyana and took part in a Twenty20 Tournament , playing against national teams from Jamaica, Barbados and Guyana. They came in second place winners. In 2010 for various reasons the NYPL tournament did not come off. But, all the US players on the Chargers squad were involved in various leagues around the country. They are in form and have promised their New York fans and followers that they will bring home the Cricket Council USA Championship trophy.

Over the years many have worked tirelessly to build a winning team. They have spent time and resources in this endeavor. Among them is Ricky Singh from Singh’s Sporting Goods. It is said of him that he is ” big at heart, vociferous in public, and guaranteed to be a figurehead at any location”. Bayo Mohabir, is a silent backer of the side, who is quiet and level-headed. A staunch community affairs backer. Star Party Rental’s Ramesh Ramnarine involvement with the United Chargers is one of his many associations. He supports social and cultural events, including the very famous Duck Curry Competition. The Birdman, Insaf Ali, is always willing and ready to lend a hand when called upon. He is the major sponsor of the Annual Guyana Inter-County Games. Indo-Caribbean Federation’s head, Ralph Tamesh, is the inspiring Chairman of the United Chargers. He is quick to assure you that the Chargers are a well-balanced squad that can “beat anyone at any time.”

Well, Ralph, time will tell. The Chargers will be put to test during this weekend’s contests in Lauderhill Stadium, and surrounding fields, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I will be there to see every ball bowled and every run scored!


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