July 28, 2011

"Making USACA Pristine"

"Better late than never" as the saying goes means "better just before the elections" in USACA-speak.  This email started the "making USACA pristine" campaign.

Dear USACA Members

USACA is moving very meticulously towards building a pristine organization, a world class sporting body and every member of USACA is requested to fully cooperate in this endeavor. If you know of any missing leagues please forward this email to them. 
Having said that, I would like to mention the following:

1.      It is imperative that all leagues registered with USACA must submit the survey spreadsheet (previously sent) by the extended deadline of August 2nd.
2. All worksheets must be filled within the spreadsheet. Leagues who have filled only one or two worksheets, needs to resubmit the complete spreadsheet.

3.      There is no further extension to complete the survey spreadsheet.
4.      All regional elections that have already occurred will be null and void.

5.      Regional elections will follow once the spreadsheets are collected from the leagues based on the information collected and compliance recorded.

6.      Regional elections will be monitored and supervised by USACA board.
Thank you for your cooperation.
And when folks (rightly) objected to Mr. Dainty Gladstone's right-hand man/enforcer being the chief compliance officer, what follows was sent out, post haste.
Dear USA Cricket Members:
It is imperative that I mention the USACA Compliance Officer, Mr. Shelton Glasgow is a brave man to have subjected himself and family to such warrant less insults and threats.   Mr.Glasgow’s work has produced a body of evidence which is clearly demonstrating that the USACA honor system of compliance has been abused by several leagues and officials.
The volume or work needed to complete this necessary task is now beyond USACA’s internal management.   It is therefore necessary that we turn this job over to a capable third party.
Within the next few days an independent accounting or law firm will be engaged with the expectation that  all USACA leagues and officials will cooperate to the fullest including a stay of all elections until this process is completed.  
I am aware that some regions have held elections, leagues within these regions will also be required to pass this compliance test..
Gladstone Dainty
President USACA
Lets hope (actually pray) that the "third party" law/accounting firm that is being retained is not run by Mr Dainty's close Demerara friends.
Some would say Mr. Mugabe and Mr. Karzai can learn a thing or two of how to make an awful mess, pristine, from Mr. Dainty.  Time will tell, not that we have enough of it as far as orderly US cricket goes.

July 18, 2011

NWR wins the 2011 National U15 Tournament (Again)

NWR is making a strong claim to be called the cradle of US youth cricket.  The NWR U15 team finished with a perfect 5-0 record beating the New York Region's U15 in a closely contested final.  In the past year, the U17 team from CCA (which is in the NWR) easily won the National Invitational and the NWR U19 is arguably the best regional side having beaten all the teams in the Western Conference Tournament and then beating SER and SWR in the curtailed National U19 Tournament in December 2010.   In this context, it is remarkable that USACA continues to not recognize the strength of this region by routinely ignoring its proven talent.  This needs to change for the sake of US youth cricket for the bias is clear as daylight.

July 14, 2011

Rocky Road for the US to the 2011 U19 ICC World Cup Qualifiers in Ireland

July 14, 2011

For the first time, USA U19s  batted first after winning the toss and in what can be called in improvement over the first two matches, they built their total to 133 in the fourth and final match against the West Indies U19 team. There were a couple of partnerships for the US team but many batsmen did perish of their own doing. There was a paucity of singles and twos and a penchant to go for big shots. The West Indians made very quick work of the total as if they had an afternoon appointment.  Opener John Campbell slashed, slammed and pulled his way to a 100 of just 69 balls against insipid bowling by the US, particularly and worryingly by the pacers.  Despite not being in the twelve for the match, the mystery keeper, Chris van Tull, played in the match while Steven Taylor, the regular keeper, tried some spin.   Of course, US administration has said nothing of all this -- van Tull is not even in the probables but may well find his way into the 14 ahead of more deserving players.  One thing we can say about US cricket -- we start young -- with the politics, that is.

The US boys have two weeks to get ready for Ireland.  First and foremost, they need to really improve their catching and fielding. They need to bowl consistent lines and length instead of going for pace or trying random variations as spinners. They need to take all the singles and twos on offer and wait for loose deliveries to dispose for boundaries instead of taking unnecessary chances or get bogged down.  If they do the basic things right, they will perform creditably in Ireland.

July 12, 2011

A better performance by the US team in its third match although the West Indian team's batting improved as well.  The net-net was a 220 run victory for the West Indian U19 who were put into bat and had two centurions in Campbell and Mayers.  US's Prashanth Nair who took 5 wickets for 57 from 9 overs was the standout bowler.   The US batting which began circumspectly (for a change) got to its highest total in this series of 101 for 5 in the allotted 42 overs (D-L reduction due to rain).  Cameron Mirza played a steady innings of 34 with the first wicket partnership of 29 with Taylor being the largest of the innings.  Clearly, the US is out of its depth against the West Indian side but they can take heart from their improved performance in all three aspects of the match, thanks to Coach Robin Singh in no small measure.

The conduct of the US cricket administration got worse, if that can be believed.  They introduced a hitherto-unknown keeper -- not in the 14, not even in the reserves and never has been to trials.   They also brought in Kalim Ahmed, who is a reserve, into the match after saying just yesterday that there will not be any changes to the squad.  So much for that.  The West Indian team management did appear to question how non-squad members can be randomly inserted onto the field of play but they chose not to sustain a protest.  Perhaps, they have now realized that US cricket is devoid of anything resembling due process and proper etiquette.

What is very apparent is that USACA does not seem to bother with how others (in and out of the US) perceive them as long as they get to do what they want.  There is no one to hold them accountable -- they know that, we know that.   If any of you feel aggrieved (and many do), I suggest you email to enquiry@icc-cricket.com with your feedback on the state of US cricket.   It cannot hurt when ICC sees multitude of emails from US rank-and-file cricket enthusiasts.

July 11, 2011

Never an off day when USACA politics is in full swing!  Two extraordinary decisions (both from the very top) -- one was to replace an already selected US T20 player (Nauman Mustafa from NWR) with another who should have been selected in the first place (Sushil Nadkarni of CWR) and the second was to invite a seemingly random assortment of U19 players (mostly from Washington DC and South Florida) to the "training camp" alongside the U19s.   Manaf Mohammed, USACA's operations chief ominously added "the squad remains the same for now." 

One has to feel terrible for Nauman who did nothing wrong and because he belonged to an anti-Dainty region, he was seen as expendable.  What is worse is that such actions are par for the course in the US -- a few will bark but there is never any bite.

As for the additional invitees for the U19 camp, it makes no sense given that only one of them appears to be from the reserves.  It almost has to be a quid pro quo between USACA and a region or two, the details of which we can only speculate.  It would not be surprising if one or two of the current "expendable" players in the squad are excused and replaced with the "trainees."

What is surprising is why someone like Coach Robin Singh would put up with such zaniness in the midst of a serious training camp that he has promised.  How he reacts and what he does will tell us a lot about his character.

July 10, 2011

Things got from quite bad to much worse in the second match as the West Indians piled up 339 runs in the allotted 50 overs with opener John Campbell scoring a seven-life unbeaten century.  The US could only manage 71 runs in return with extras top scoring and no batsman even making into double figures.  It does appear that this team is disoriented technically, mentally and physically.   Coach Robin Singh, who joined the team today, did seem to take this performance in stride in his post-match comments but he has quite a few holes to plug and plug quickly and effectively.  The next match is scheduled for Tuesday and a day's gap can only come as a welcome one for the US team and its coach as they scramble to look like a cricket team that can qualify for the 2012 edition of the U19 Cricket World Cup.   As of now, they look like pretenders.  

July 9, 2011

The West Indies U19 overwhelmed the US U19 in the first match winning by a whopping 215 runs. Areas of real concern from this match for the US are the poor catching and fielding and the very brittle batting display.  Bowling was quite good by the front-line bowlers despite lack of catching support.   While one does not expect the US U19 to consistently match up well against a member country's U19 side, there is room for lots of improvement in the next three matches.
July 8, 2011

Rain showers forecast for the entire week in Florida where the West Indies U19 play the US U19.  Should anyone be surprised by this -- after all, this is the start of the hurricane season in that part of the world.   But don't tell that to the organizers at USACA of such events.   They seem to have a knack of picking the wrong place to have tournaments of late.  Lets hope enough matches get played to completion.

Per Dreamcricket's Peter Della Penna, the weather at the stadium is very good but despite that the match got postponed (last night) to Saturday.  Some disturbing points mentioned in Peter's article -- Greg Sewdial appears unfit (he is recovering from serious injuries) and he is the captain and main middle order batsman;  Gurpreet Sandhu has not arrived and may not due to inability to enter the US on a valid visa;  Masood Chik (Ex-CER-USACA-Rep) still involved with the team;  Amarnath Persaud being trained to be a backup keeper as there are no real keepers except for Stephen Taylor.

July 6, 2011

Time for the US National Cricket Teams to Play and Play Well

July 6, 2011

The selections for the US T20 senior side and U19 side are done and dusted.   They have been critiqued here and elsewhere.  There have been some shocking exclusions and a few strange inclusions, with a lot of speculations on the reasons behind these.  But there are also many deserving players who have been selected, presumably on merit but one can never tell as little is known on how selections work and how selectors think.

Much is at stake as the US senior and junior sides get ready to participate in international tournaments in July and August.   For the senior side, the goal is to finish in the top two to qualify for further T20 competition leading to the T20 CWC in 2012.  For the U19 side, the goal is to finish in the top six of the ten teams that will compete so that they can qualify for the U19 CWC also in 2012.  Neither of these goals should be considered gimmes.

In a few weeks, we will get a chance to reflect and analyze how these teams did and, in turn, how the coaches and selectors did.   Until then, lets enjoy watching, hearing and reading about our national teams' performances and lets hope that their campaigns are successful.

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