Here is a photo that captured the incident where Sudesh Dhaniram was giving out LBW by umpire Sam Soopersaud. Photo by Shem Rodney

Eastern American Cricket Association
By Sam Sooppersaud
The Preamble – The Spirit of Cricket
Cricket is a game that owes much of its unique appeal to the fact that it should be played not only within its laws but also within the Spirit of the Game. Any action which is seen to abuse this spirit causes injury to the game itself…        

Nearly after a month since a report was made, the Disciplinary Committee of the Eastern American Cricket Association (EACA) met to attend to a Player Dissent matter, involving Mr. Sudesh Dhaniram, a Richmond Hill Cricket Club player.  To recap, in a game, Richmond Hill vs. Big Apple, played on June 8 of this year, Mr. Dhaniram was given out LBW. In a complaint to the EACA, it was alleged that he committed the Player Dissent violation.

A letter received by me from the EACA’s Secretary Mr. Johnny Sanasie, stated in part, that, “the EACA executives and Disciplinary Committee has concluded their investigation and came up with the following recommendation – “A letter of apology from Richmond Hill Cricket Club signed by Sudesh Dhaniram and directed to Umpire Sam Sooppersaud for the player’s over reaction to the LBW decision.” This is how the EACA views a player’s dissent – Over reaction? Preposterous. The decision further specified the manner in which the letter should be handled and sent to the Umpire.

My first reaction – An apology to Sam Sooppersaud the Umpire?  Hey, wait a minute. Why should Mr. Dhaniram have to apologize to him? Sudesh Dhaniram did not do the Umpire any harm. He abused the spirit of the game and caused injury to the game itself. The player should have been directed to apologize to the EACA and the cricket fraternity. Not to the Umpire, an individual. This decision could be interpreted as saying that Mr. Dhaniram did not abuse and cause harm to the game, but to Umpire Sam Sooppersaud. Ii is my belief that the EACA has erred in its interpretation of The Preamble, as stated above.

The EACA’s decision went on to state, that “If Richmond Hill and Mr. Dhaniram does not comply, further action would be taken by the EACA.” What further action? Would the Disciplinary Committee wait another month and then meet again to decide what “further action would be taken?” Why wasn’t a suitable penalty prescribed for non-compliance? You the readers, decide for yourselves.

The EACA Disciplinary Committee’s decision was made, as I mentioned above, nearly one month after the incident. Between the time that the report was made to the league and the hearing, I constantly kept contacting the league for information on the matter. The answers I got were: “no one showed me a letter”; “we would take care of the matter ‘sometime this month’ “; “I’m going to Brazil, when I get back we’ll take care of everything”; “people are not getting time to meet.” The excuses kept piling up. However, I kept badgering the league for action.

One of the jobs of the media is to look at issues that are important to public stakeholders and to seek answers to questions raised. That was exactly what I was engaged in doing. The EACA saw it differently. The executives accused me of “unprofessional behavior”; of not having patience, and not wanting the issue to be taken care of in a fair and equitable manner. Well, cricket fans, if in attempting to get at the facts I am accused of unprofessional behavior, then I’ll gladly welcome that label. I feel that the mere fact that I was working at getting the matter resolved in a “reasonable time” would suggest that I want justice.

I am well aware of the fact that cricket league administrators volunteer their time. It is an unenviable job. Only a few put themselves on the “firing line.” I know because I served in several leagues and in executive positions since 1969, as President and as Secretary, in this country. Yes, and I know it is a thankless job. The amount of time that must be spent doing cricket business! But then, it is a job that each administrator takes on voluntarily. He or she says, at election time, “Yes, I want this job because I can find the time to do it.” So why the complaint “people can’t find the time.” If you can’t find (make) the time to serve effectively, then graciously quit. Don’t make excuses.

The EACA, at the disciplinary hearing, complained that “you went further and complained to various people and organizations.” May I point out to the EACA that the “various people and organizations” are Mr. Lester Hooper, Chairman of the New York Cricket Region (NYCR) of the United States of America Cricket Association, the other being Mr. Fitzroy Hayles, President of the United States of America Cricket Umpires Association (USACUA).

The EACA is part of the NYCR; hence it comes under the umbrella of that body. In fact, Mr. Rudy Persaud, the EACA’s president is the Cricket Committee Chairman of the NYCR. So, I don’t know what the fuss is all about. The umpires that stand in the EACA scheduled games are from the USACUA. So I do not know what the EACA executives are really complaining about. If something goes wrong, then that body must be kept abreast of it.

The EACA is planning to hold a meeting, sometime in the future, to address the problem of “substandard umpiring,” as they put it, in their correspondence to this writer. Yes, I would admit that umpiring mistakes are made. Not only in the EACA but in other leagues as well. In fact, if you watch international cricket you would see that “every now and then” those international umpires get it wrong. It’s the nature of the game and umpiring. Umpires are only human and mistakes would be made. International cricket uses the Decision Review System (DRS), frequently, and even then some decisions are open to criticism.

This writer wants to know, and I am sure the cricket fraternity also wants to know, how did the EACA executives arrive at the conclusion that there is “substandard umpiring”? Were written reports received by the EACA to substantiate that conclusion? If so, then why only now, do these gentlemen see it fit to address that question?  Mind you, club executives and Umpires are encouraged to send in a Match Report after each game. If a player felt that an Umpire’s performance was below standard, then he should have reported that to the league. If he did not, then it is fair to assume that “all’s well.”

As the writer, I have said enough on this matter; more than I wanted to, but, I found it necessary to do so; to “set the record straight.” And, by the way, the EACA executives deemed certain correspondence from me as “putting a feather in our cap.” Well, my friends, if you got into voluntary offices in order to “put a feather in your cap,” then I would suggest that you find a more meaningful way to do it. The reason for getting into the administration of cricket is to serve and to accumulate accolades.

I encourage readers to freely express their views on what I have written above. Yes, I know we may not all agree on numerous things, but that is the beauty of our First Amendment Rights. Each one of us can express his opinion freely. This is what I have done. You may direct your comments to me. I will do my best to see that they are made known to the public. You may also reach me at (718) 844-7236 (Cell) or at my e-mail address Ssamrajs@verizon.net

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