USA star banned ... for playing cricket
The lack of cohesion between the various regional organisations in the USA was highlighted by the decision of the Midwest Cricket Conference (MCC) to ban a 15-year-old, and five other adults, who represented a different region in the Central East Regional tournament.
Among those barred was Abhijit Joshi, a 15-year-old who last month represented the USA at the Clico International Under-15 event in the Caribbean. Joshi was actually presented with a special award at the Central East Regional tournament by a vice president of USACA recognising his performances in the West Indies.
The six were not included in the official MCC side and, as happens with many players, they opted to turn out for another league in which they also play. MCC did not select their squad until shortly before the competition itself. Joshi had agreed to turn out for the National Cricket League, as he also plays in their games, before MCC announced that anyone turning out for any other league would be punished.
On May 31, the MCC said that the six had been suspended. Joshi turned up for a club match the next day only to be told he could not play. "He moped around for all 80 overs cheering a nine-man team onto a brave win from the sidelines," an eyewitness told Cricinfo. "The other suspended players are all over 30 years of age, and a weekend off meant more time with family. But the tragic news of a 15-year-old being suspended for actually playing cricket has stunned folks."
"People should understand that this is not a disloyal act," one of the six told dreamcricket.com. "It's not Kevin Pietersen turning up to play for UK because he did not get on the South African team. Playing for multiple leagues is a done thing in Chicago. A lot of my friends play in multiple leagues. We do this because we like to play more cricket than what just one league can afford. In my case, the two leagues also play a different format."
Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa