On April 13, Australian Test bowler Stuart MacGill accompanied USYCA President Jamie Harrison to DreamCricket Academy in Hillsborough, New Jersey, where MacGill spent a few hours working with DreamCricket players and coaches. Welcoming Stu were DreamCricket’s Venu Palaparthi and Kranthi Bayya, along with coach Earl Daley.
Before returning to Australia, Stu sent the following message to Jamie Harrison:
I hope that you managed to arrive safely back in Baltimore after your marathon effort behind the wheel yesterday on behalf of youth cricket in the USA.
Ever since we started The Cricket Club on YouTube & G+, Aakash, Damien and myself have been absolutely stunned (overjoyed) by the level of support and interaction we’ve had with North America. After having spent an afternoon in the nets with a bunch of enthusiastic young American cricketers I’m no longer surprised. When you consider this was just a snapshot of youth cricket in the New Jersey region, it was impressive to say the least.
One of the aspects of the boys skills that struck me most was the fact that they all had their own individual style and technical flair. This might sound as though its a bad thing, but its quite the opposite. Australian coaches in the last 20 years have worked overtime trying to cloning our best players. Consequently we have robbed our young cricketers of the opportunity to become the best version of themselves possible.
Many recent stars have a unique style not found in coaching manuals (Narine, Ashwin, Malinga, Murali, Brian Lara…). That’s not to say that we overlook basic principles of sound technique, but we should incorporate them into an individuals natural game.
In just 3 hours, I saw at least half a dozen young players with the skills to compete for many years to come. We had a wide range of spin bowling talent, a great left arm seamer who improved with every ball he bowled and some real pace from an athletic right armer who if we’re not careful will probably turn his hand to another sport. Its very exciting.
As for the work that you’ve done with USYCA; I am absolutely stunned that you have managed to achieve so much in such a small period of time. In Australia cricket has the benefit of vast resources, TV exposure and almost exclusive use of sporting facilities in the summertime, yet we can’t boast the enthusiasm and growth that you have in the US. Cricket is a game that provides opportunities for ‘regular kids’ to triumph over athletes and every single one of us loves to see a kid being given the chance to win because they deserve it.
I’m convinced that you will have a formidable horde of hungry young cricket players desperate to take on the world before too long. The sooner the ICC realizes the strength of the game in North America rests with its youth and not a bunch of tired ex-pats, the sooner you can genuinely compete on the international stage.
I can’t wait to talk with Cricket Australia about the development work USYCA is doing with schools and look forward to watching you take these kids to the next level.