By Jai C. Singh
FDR cricket team won the 2011 NYC PSAL cricket championship in an exciting match that could easily have been scripted in Hollywood, or perhaps more accurately, in Bollywood. Batting first at the newly renovated Baisley Park-surely one of the finest ovals in the city- the much vaunted Cougar batting line up wilted under the pressure of some fine bowling (Rana 3 for 18 and Devendra Singh 3 for 16) and managed 100 for 9 wickets at the end of their allotted 20 overs.
Wilting under pressure was not the sole domain of FDR, however. After a confident but cautious start, the Bulldogs of LIC lost their bite and went from 18 without loss to 38 for 5. Once again Devendra Singh showed why he should have been awarded Man of the Match honours with a solid 23 and he got much needed help from Redwanur Khan and M. Hossain, but at 80 for 8 after 17 overs the Bulldogs began to look like lost puppies.
To coin a phrase, in cricket anything is possible and at Baisley that afternoon, amidst unbearable tension, we saw the truism in that. The Bulldogs rediscovered their bark and their bite and at the last ball they tied the score, thus sending the game into the Super Over (equivalent of a penalty shootout.)
Today, however, the music would die. LIC inexplicably managed only 4 runs in their turn at bat and 2 balls later the Cougars had triumphed, winning their first City Championship.
Earlier LIC were warned about their catching, bowling too many wides, and not running hard for their singles. They held magnificent catches, but bowled 21 wides (2ndtop score) and lost the game in regulation time by failing to convert at least one single into a two. This is not to take away from the sterling performance of the star studded Cougar team. Bowling to defend an unimposing total (100 runs), they applied pressure from the first over, held their catches and restricted the LIC batsmen with athletic out fielding.
Other pertinent facts; LIC will lose only two seniors come 2012 and will be optimistic. Of the 22 starters, 13 are from Bangladesh, 8 from Pakistan and only 1 from India. There are many skillful players from the Caribbean (West Indies) also scattered throughout the school system, and it is not unthinkable that soon American born athletes will take a second look at cricket.
Last year my favorite (player’s) name was Milton Milton (I kid you not) and this year it’s Dhanraj Hansraj.
Under the watchful eyes of administrators Lorna Austin, Bassett Thompson and Ricky Kissoon, high school cricket will only grow and prosper.
(The writer is a cricket enthusiast with a fondness for events beyond the boundary)