By Orin Davidson
If the reports are accurate from Hong Kong, the United States of America Cricket Association needs to seriously take note of the attitude of certain players in that fifth place game the United States senior team lost to Denmark on Saturday.
It is not the losses that rankle, more than anything else, it is the reported gross unprofessional approach in the field by some senior members that stunk the most.
Team manager Imran Khan attributed the poor displays in general to under-preparation.
No one can disagree, because the “failure to prepare is to prepare to fail” warning was not observed by the powers- that- be although it was a very important ICC Division Three competition.
There can be no excuse however, for the uncaring, sloppy fielding display by players who should know better, against Denmark, that laid the foundation for the U.S’s fourth loss in the competition.
When you have certain players pulling out from catches, misfielding from slovenly actions that their grandfathers can be excused for, and displaying a general lackluster effort, it tells you everything to know about cricket in America – that the curry-goat mentality is still prevalent among the majority of the country’s best players.
Indeed, the results from that fifth place game would not have impacted on the U.S.’s quest to qualify for Division Two, as they were already relegated to Division Four.
The game was merely to determine which of the two bottom- of- the table teams would finish last or second-to last. But from all reports some players seemed not to care and started the game as if they were better off any place else than the Mission Road ground, and went on to disgrace the blue and red uniforms of the country.
These players have to understand that every time they don the country’s colors they are duty bound to give of their best regardless of the circumstances.
In more ways than one, the accused players set a horrible example to the young team members and all the observers from near and afar.
There were thousands of fans supporting the team also, and you have to wonder whether those players understand the importance of their duty to the development of the sport generally.
This latest display of unprofessionalism tells you that much work has to be done to instill the correct mentality in players, in our quest for advancement, as the said unpardonable behavior was displayed by the U.S. team which included a number of the same players, a few years ago when in a similar position on the points table, in a ICC Divisional competition.
The offending players must have strikes against them for future consideration and would be expected to go the extra mile to win selection from here onwards.
Khan explained that it was difficult for the team to summon the energy for the final game, because of their tremendous disappointment of not advancing and being demoted. That however, would hardly wash with the more disillusioned fans back home.
Those players are senior members, involved in international competition for several years, so disappointment should not be an excuse, rather it is part of the game.
It was the duty of the coaches and Khan to motivate the players in such situations, not making excuses.
As far as the public knows, the team did not even have a three- day camp, much less months of training and warm-up games, as their rivals like competition winners Papua New Guinea, benefitted from.
It is known that the United States of America Cricket Association (USACA) has been broke for the longest while, and the reasons for such ineptness are well known.
So, no money was available to prepare the team.
Now that real money will soon be available to USACA, no excuse will be entertained if ring rusty teams are ever again sent to overseas, to embarrass the nation, in the future.