It is really a study in contrasts. While USACA bumbles around with its tournaments, the latest being the T20 nationals held in New Jersey, the young upstarts in the form of California Cricket Academy based in Cupertino, California have pulled off yet another successful youth tournament, this time an Under-17 with representation from the CER and the NY-NJ region as well as two teams from CCA itself. What stands out is the extent of volunteerism and the ability for these volunteers to work together and run the even as smoothly as one can expect. There is much to be admired and to learn from for the rest of us both in the West Coast and US in general.
These tournaments have been conducted from 2006 and for the first few years they included U11, U13, and U15 while this year was limited to U17. CCA has finished at the top each year not just because of their home field advantage but because they appear to benefit from the solid young cricketers groomed under the tutelage of coaches such as Ajit Tendulkar (Mumbai) and Amit Buch (Ahmedabad) over the years. CCA has even sent a few teams overseas to Canada, India and England and surely such experience can only be quite helpful to youth player development.
The finals of this year's edition was between the unbeaten CCA Royals and the Chicago-Michigan combined team which even had a player or two from Florida. The CCA Royals breezed to an easy 10 wicket victory after dismissing the Chicago-Michigan team for 122 runs. This is the fourth in five years that the U15/U17 trophy has been won by CCA. Vikram Valluri was adjudged the Tournament MVP and Best Batsman while Pranav Pradhan was adjudged Best Bowler and Neil Tagare was adjudged Best Fielder. It is indeed surprising that the national youth teams do not have more of CCA's abundant talent given their continued success and diverse experience. To the extent there is bias in USACA against one group or region or the other (and evidence to support this is sadly overwhelming), it is time to put that aside and get the best players playing for the nation.
Those interested in the details of this year and past years national tournaments can peruse the CCA website devoted to them at http://calcricket.org/nationals.