August 13, 2007

Under-19s

The USA's reluctant absentees

Martin Williamson

The real impact of the USA's suspension from international cricket will hit home today when north of the border in Toronto the region's leading teams will meet to take part in the Americas Under-19 Qualifier.

The prize at stake is a place at the ICC U-19 World Cup in Malaysia next February and March. While hosts Canada will be joined by sides from Argentina, Bahamas, Bermuda and Cayman Islands, the USA's young players will be left at home dreaming of what might have been.

The USA were present at the last U-19 World Cup in Sri Lanka - on that occasion the ICC hierarchy commendably decided that it would be unfair to punish young players because of the governance issues affecting the national board . But this time there has been no such concession and so the U-19 side will miss out.

The sadness of this becomes more apparent when you listen to people involved in grassroots US cricket.

Last month, Hemant Buch, co-founder of the California Cricket Academy, told Cricinfo: "There will simply be more and more junior cricket in all parts of North America, and we should have several thousand first-class juniors ready to play competitive cricket by 2011."

When the various factions indulge in their next bout of self-obsessed squabbling for control of the USA Cricket Association, they would all so well to remember that the real victims of their conduct of recent years should be in Toronto preparing for the biggest week of their lives.

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Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

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Posted by Texan on (August 15, 2007, 17:03 GMT)

Asif: i can understand your frustration and your generalized statement about local cricket associations. I did not know which region or which league you play from, so I can not speak about your region or association. I can only speak for my league which is Houston cricket League. I do not see any widespread discrimination as you mentioned. As a matter of fact our league has promoted lots of younger players in past few years and current team which played in CW regional was one of the youngest team. Team Captain is abt 25-26 year old with atleast 7-8 players who were under 25. Othsr 5-6 players were from 25 to 30 years old. Other leagues in CW like NTCA (Dallas), CTCL (Austin and CCL (Colorado) also have many young players. So things are not same in every region or association. I know in Central East (Midwest-Chicago) area there are some problemd from what I hear from people in that region. Have some faith and like I said before it's a shame that Under-19 players are missing the great opportunity in Canada. Let us all work together to get rid of those power hungry people from USACA. It's your vote in coming Constitution rattification and subsequant elections in November make the difference. So pick the right dedicated people for the job and hope for the best.

Posted by Asif Ahmad on (August 15, 2007, 16:42 GMT)

The problem of cricket administration is wide spread. ICC, USACA and local Cricket associations pretty much work the same way. At local level Discrimination is prevalent, even if you are a talented player, you need to know some one to be selected for regional teams. We need new and young , American born people who will be able to run cricket organizations much more effectively with in USA.

Posted by Chris G on (August 15, 2007, 2:50 GMT)

As a player in our local Midwest Cricket League, I can see why U.S cricket is going nowhere. Our local League is poorly run and seems to be going backwards. The ICC needs to go AROUND the USACA if it is remotely serious about promoting cricket here. Lots and lots of people are out there playing the game, a lot more than most Americans would realise, I'm sure. Last I heard there were over 10,000 registered cricketers in the U.S. And that is only counting the USACA stats. The number is probably more like 20,000. Come on, ICC, let the kid play - it's not their fault!!

Posted by Texan on (August 14, 2007, 16:45 GMT)

It's a shame and I feel really sad that we could not do anything for these deserving youngster to participate in Canada for Americas region. After June 9-10 th meeting in Marryland with Mr. Gordon, we thought he would convince ICC to allow US Under-19 to participate. But he was too busy getting his house in order in West Indies. Current USACA Officials have killed the hopes of many young players and nothing bothers them. It's time for all the regional and state wide leagues and local leagues to wake up and make sure that when the new revised Constitution comes for rattification, they are ready to put their two cents into it. After constitution approval the USACA elections will be there in November. Make sure you have the right people who really care for these kids and future of cricket in USA are elected. Atleast we can try to send some message to these people and only way to have your voice heard is to be the part of the process. DO not think nothing will change. Do not give up and stay away. Try your best we can do it together and get rid of these power hungry people with personal egos. Make your voicer heard. We hope that we do not have to face simillar situations in future. ICC is to be blamed for this too. They need to be more pro-active in USA Cricket affairs. Yes good pitches and good grounds are key to good cricketers. In Houston we do not have a good turf wicket but we are hoping within next year or two we can have one. If someone has any suggestions and ideas on how to do it, we can use that information.

Posted by Marcus on (August 14, 2007, 6:57 GMT)

As someone who's been interested in the progress of American cricket for a while, I have to say that it's truly a shame how the USACA are handling this whole affair. But I also have to say that the ICC are equally to blame in this instance. If they were going to let them compete in 2005, then what's changed so they can't make the same concession?

I think the best way forward would be for someone, like Major League Cricket, to start playing Twenty20 games in state-based teams. Then they should be able to come up with a USA team, which can then apply to join the Stanford series and maybe even host some of the minor established teams and "minnows." It's probably not going to happen any time soon, though.

Posted by Cat on (August 14, 2007, 5:29 GMT)

The sure sad thing of this development regarding the non-participation of the USA U-19's is that the USA probably has one of the highest participation rate of actual cricketers in the world, yet they are not playing or being represented at the elite international level! I feel that the ICC has to realise that the dimensions of administrating cricket in the USA is much more difficult than in smaller countries in size. There are so many vast regions to consider, with limited resources in a country where cricket is not one of the major sports. Yet there is a person down in Texas throwing his money into cricket in Antigua, seems all very sad to me. Please, everyone in USA cricket and the ICC, put your heads together for the good of the game. The world NEEDS a strong united presence in USA cricket, so please work together to sort it all out!!!!

Posted by Asif Ahmad on (August 13, 2007, 21:29 GMT)

This is really hurtful to many of our Under-19 and youth players. We have some really really strong Under-19 players , but they will stay home and will face the saddest day of their life. They will neither forget , not forgive the parties responsible for this mess. Power hungry and irresponsible people. How could you sleep at night when you know , you have the capable team and they are banned because of you. Let us start a new era in youth cricket, so no young player can ever be disappointed again. I feel your pain Under-19 players.

Posted by Mike P on (August 13, 2007, 19:35 GMT)

The state of cricket here is simply unbelievable. I am getting my house in order and start pushing in some meaningful way on my local level. America deserves the same reputation as Australia, if history has anything to do with it! It is a goal of mine to begin a cricket surge here. There is only two things keeping it from happening outside of simple unawareness: selfishness and corruption. Let those complete nabobs keep sitting around doing nothing. We need a cricket revolution over here - pure and simple. Pitches are so scarce here that I feel that is where we need to start. I've already had a hand in building one, now to make more!

Posted by Asif Ahmad on (August 13, 2007, 18:41 GMT)

This is when it really hits hard . There are several player in the US who can and will play a competitive cricket against any team in the world if given the proper facilities and opportunity. There are several private cricket academies who are capable of producing young cricket players here in USA, but one has to go beyond USACA. I think ICC has a lot of work to do. They have to understand,cricket is not going to be like in any other country when you want to see this game flourish in USA. In US, cricket can develop rapidly,if private teams are allowed into competitions. USACA, and other so called official authorities are not the way cricket can be developed in US. For example, if any one is allowed to participate in U19 tournament, we can gather a good team today and take it for competition, let every one have the opportunity to represent USA, if they are capable of. It is a shame that after recent U-15 tournament, kids are not even allowed to participate in Americas regional tournament, however, the need of good playing surfaces can not be over looked. Good grounds will produce good players. Matting pitches and clumps of grass on baseball fields will only produce marginally skilled players. They may look good at home but will fail miserably on turf pitches.

Posted by under 19 player on (August 13, 2007, 16:16 GMT)

It's easy for you guys say not to give up. But for some of us Under-19 players it is our last year and guess what we are done! There is no senior cricket in USA. This is bull man. Shame on you USACA!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Martin Williamson
Executive editor Martin Williamson joined the Wisden website in its planning stages in 2001 after failing to make his millions in the internet boom when managing editor of Sportal. Before that he was in charge of Sky Sports Online and helped launch and run Sky News Online. With a preference for all things old (except his wife and children), he has recently confounded colleagues by displaying an uncharacteristic fondness for Twenty20 cricket. His enthusiasm for the game is sadly not matched by his ability, but he remains convinced that he might be a late developer and perseveres in the hope of an England call-up with his middle-order batting and non-spinning offbreaks. He is now managing editor of ESPN EMEA Digital Group as well as his Cricinfo responsibilities.

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