June 18, 2011

USACA's 2011 T20 tournament: A muddling, puddling event

It was sunny and warm in Plano, Texas the weekend of June 18/19 which was supposed to be the site of USACA's first T20 tournament.  Thanks to extraordinary changes effected by Munaf Mohammed, the USACA operations czar, the tournament was moved abruptly to New York.   Reasons for this sudden venue change were never clearly explained but clarity has never been the strong suit of the always-secretive USACA of the last decade.  One vacuous explanation was that hotel rates were too high ($90/night with a hot Texas breakfast included) but at least they didn't need a bullet-proof cashier window like the ones in East Orange, NJ where our finest cricketers are lodging.

The first day of the tournament (on Friday) was washed out and the picture of a puddle-ridden field with grass high enough to hide a cricket ball framed the bungling that USACA routinely seems to get away with.

There was some action on Saturday but only after the brave among the cricketers proceeded to remove pieces of glass (that once cradled cheap beer)  all over the alternate not-so-puddled cricket field.  Think about sliding to stop a boundary and instead cutting yourself silly.   It was confusing as well to follow these matches from afar as none of the changes to the tournament format were announced by USACA on their website.  But for Dreamcricket's live coverage, it would have impossible to know who was playing who, when and where even if you lived in NJ.

Four ~15-over "group" matches were played Saturday (CER bt NWR, NYR bt SER, SWR bt CWR, NWR bt SWR) while four more "group" matches were played on Sunday (NER bt SER, ATL bt NYR, CWR bt CER, ATL bt NER).   The teams with the best records in the Western and Eastern conferences played the final (a 12 over per side affair) and the Atlantic region came away winners.

The selectors (yes, all of them) watched the rain, the glass picking, and the cricket to soon select a team that will play first against its Americas peers in Florida in July.  Assuming the US do well, they will go to the UAE to play against other wannabes to gain the right to be on the field at the World Cup T20 tournament. 

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