ACF Volunteer Recognition Award
The American Cricket Federation (ACF) today announced its second Volunteer Recognition Award recipient.

“All these things, of course, can only be done by a politics-free national body which is united and has a vision toward growing the sport in this country – they are the only ones who could ever have the resources to work with any sort of effectiveness in that direction.” – Sadiq Yusuf, the second cricket volunteer this year, to be recognized by the ACF.

Sadiq Yusuf is an ardent cricket supporter and volunteer in the Midwest region of the United States, and is associated with the 50-team Midwest Cricket Conference (MCC) – a member league of the ACF.

Born in Bombay, India where he first learned to play cricket, Sadiq now calls Skokie, Illinois home, located in the suburbs of Chicago. Sadiq has played cricket at the school, college and club levels, but more importantly it’s his volunteerism that attracted his nomination for the ACF Volunteer Recognition Award.

Sadiq Yusuf (Standing at far left) with ACF 2013 National Champions - Midwest Cricket Conference.

Sadiq who started as an umpire some ten years ago, is now a certified cricket umpire in the Midwest region, and has been volunteering as an umpire for the MCC twice each weekend, and has been doing so for the past decade.  A member of the MCC’s Umpiring Committee and the Senior Men’s Selection Committee; he is also a member of MCC’s Youth Selection and the Rules committees of the league. Sadiq has been a part of the effort to certify umpires in the Midwest, and hopes that one day all of the matches in the Midwest region will be officiated by certified umpires, and as part of the certification process of the MCC.

Sadiq Yusuf has served as manager for several Midwest touring squads in the past few years, however, 2013 has been the most satisfying, with the team’s biggest accomplishments being winning the Unity Cup and the ACF National Men’s Title six weeks later.

As a member of the MCC’s Youth Selection committee, Sadiq has been an integral part of organizing youth cricket opportunities – from the creation of the first-ever Youth Squad to participate in MWCC’s 20-20 Night Tournament, to the selection of the MWCC Youth XI that won the Gold Medal in the Inaugural Cricket Event at the Youth Olympics organized by the Michigan Cricket Association (MichCA), another ACF member league, in Detroit earlier this year, to organizing a youth cricket tournament between Chicago and Atlanta last year.

The former weekend “warrior” cricketer turned cricket volunteer with a passion for the sport, its growth and development, tries his utmost to bring a degree of hard work and organizational skills toward accomplishing his goals.  Asked what changes he would like to see most occur within US cricket, he responded, “They are myriad and too numerous to mention.”  Hastening to add that cricket in the USA needs a total revamp. “Decisions need to be made based on the good of the game rather than politics; and there needs to be a large-scale vision developed and worked towards, for the growth of the game in this country.

The existing college cricket structure needs to be increased, so there can be more competitive regional and national tournaments organized on a larger scale. Cricket needs to be taken into high schools and middle schools, across the country – so similarly regional and national tournaments can be organized at those levels. Those must be the feeder systems into the club and regional tournaments – which will lead up to the national tournaments and Team USA. It is only with the indigenous development of youth and college cricketers that cricket in the USA can improve and go to the next level, rather than remaining what it currently is – almost exclusively an immigrant sport.”

Commenting on the infrastructure needs of cricket in the USA, Sadiq said, “There must be attention paid to the creation of natural turf pitches, at least one in each region.” He also feels that the focus on sponsorships needs to be increased, so that many of the initiatives aimed at growth of the sport can be realized, particularly with regard to coaching of our youth players.

An occasional writer on cricket issues, the cricket volunteer has had a few articles published on Cricinfo in its early days.

The American Cricket Federation is very pleased to recognize the efforts of Sadiq Yusuf and others like him, who are voluntarily helping promote the sport of cricket all across America, every day.

Congratulations Sadiq Yusuf.