Underdogs Liberty Romp To EACA T20 Title


Liberty SC Captain Danesh Deonarine collected the EACA T20 Championship trophy from James Manbahal

Liberty Sports Club (LSC) turned in a dominating performance on Eastern American Cricket Association (EACA) Finals day to capture their maiden Twenty/20 (T20) championship. Early in the day #TheBlueNation knocked over the undefeated Galaxy Cricket Club (GCC) by 10 wickets in the semi-final at Baisley Pond Park. Having secured a spot in the afternoon final LSC trounced Everest/ACS by nine wickets to close out a perfect Finals day showing.

Semi-Final vs Galaxy CC

Liberty Sports Club won the toss and elected to field first. Terrence Madramootoo knocked over Naresh Persaud in the third over of the match before a double change in the bowling attack proved catastrophic for GCC. Hemendra Ramdihal and Jamiel Jackman took over with GCC making steady progress at 38 for one after 4 overs. Ramdihal struck first to dismiss the aggressive Troy Mars.

A brilliant piece of work by Francis Mendonca to stump Tamesh Balwant off pacer Jamiel Jackman accounted for the third wicket. Jackman struck again in his following over getting rid of skipper Yudesh Bissnauth. Ramdihal removed Rafeek Nazeer to leave GCC at 62 for 5 in the 10th over. Telston Johnson and Shiv Ragubar added 24 for the sixth wicket before Andre Kirton accounted for both of them. Ramdihal returned to pick up the final wicket and to wrap up GCC’s innings at 119 in 19.4 overs.

Needing to score at a run a ball to secure the win the chase turned into the Hemendra Ramdihal “Show” with his side kick Clain Williams. After watchfully negotiating the opening overs Ramdihal got into his regular free flowing batting stride. One maximum and eight boundaries off Ramdihal’s blade entertained the small crowd who showed up to witness the match-up. His ninth boundary brought up his maiden LSC half-century.

The experienced Williams, recognized his partner’s dominance, expertly rotated the strike and picked off the bad balls. He finished unbeaten on 28 which included two maximums. Ramdihal hit two more boundaries and a maximum to finish off the commanding chase in the 14th over unbeaten on 75.

Seven GCC bowlers toiled unsuccessfully as Liberty SC moved on to the final against the winner of the Everest/ASC versus Atlantis CC-NY semi-final at the Baisley Cage, Everest/ACS.


Team Liberty SC post with the EACA Executives and Supporters

Final verses Everest/ACS

A re-match of the 2015 finals saw Liberty Sports Club pitted against the defending champions Everest/ACS. The story in 2015 was flipped for 2016. E/ACS were the underdogs a year ago while LSC marched undefeated to the finals. This time around it was E/ACS who put in a resounding performances in prelude to the final which included a comprehensive victory over LSC.

The toss fell once again in favor of LSC’s captain, Danesh Deonarain, who again asked his opposition to take first strike. Trinson Carmichael, with fire in his eyes, took the new ball from the Foch Boulevard end. The fire burned bright when he had Prashant Mahadeo caught by Danesh Deonarain off the first ball of the match. Eleven balls later, Carmichael’s opening partner, Terrence Madramootoo struck again to trap Amarnauth Persaud in front Leg Before.

Carmichael got rid of Karan Ganesh for nought while Madramootoo took care of Devishwari Prashad to reduce E/ACS to 14 for four in the fourth over. Opener Wasim Haslim found a partner in the veteran Zamin Amin. The pair added 40 for the fifth wicket before Leon Mohabir took out the aggressive Haslim. At 54 for 5 Mohabir turned in a superb piece of work running around from square leg to inflict a run out hitting the single stump target on offer to get rid of Shiv Seemangal.

Amin stuck around after the sixth wicket fell at 55. Looking to navigate his team to respectable total he only managed to get to 36 before being run out as the last wicket in the 19th over. Andre Kirton and Hemendra Ramdihal picked up a wicket each while Madramootoo returned to get one more wicket as LSC wrapped up the E/ACS innings for 87.

Confident off their unbeaten chase in the morning’s semi-final, Ramdihal and Williams took up the chase of 88 for victory. Ramdihal looked set to continue his assault on the day when he handsomely pulled for a boundary over midwicket. He was removed shortly after, to leave LSC at 8/1 in the third over.

Trevor Henry joined Williams in the middle and the experienced duo set about the chase. The two classy batsmen expertly consolidated and then took the attack to the E/ACS bowlers. Williams led the way with four boundaries and cleared the Cage twice to finish unbeaten on 41. Henry braced the fence thrice and cleared it twice for his 36. The duo stylishly wrapped up the chase in the 14th over as their teammates poured onto the field to celebrate their championship victory.

The championship win capped off an splendid couple of years for #TheBlueNation. In 2015 LSC topped the 40-overs league and went on the win the championship. They went on the compete in the T20 finals where they lost to E/ACS. In 2016 once again LSC topped the 40-overs league but were eliminated in the semi-final by eventual champions Atlantis CC-NY. The win on Sunday completed the club’s stronghold in the league over the two summers.


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Prashanth Nair Speaks About His Rise to the National Team

Prashanth Nair, former USA U-19, was selected for his maiden Senior International duty.

Prashanth Nair, former USA U-19, was selected for his maiden Senior International Tour.

Prashanth Nair began his cricket career in India with his local club Tripunithura Cricket Club at the tender age of nine. The Kerala native played at the state level in India at under-13 and under-15 before migrating to the United States of America (USA). In New York Nair joined household names like Linden Fraser, Lester Hooper and Clifford Hinds at Tristate Youth. Nair has represented the New York Region at both the youth and senior level. Nair also featured at the global Under-19 Qualifers in Ireland for the USA. Now Nair who has featured at a number of US Open tournaments has earned his maiden senior team call up.



VC: You have played most of your serious cricket here in New York USA how do you rate American cricket?

PN: I think with the talent we have here in this country, it could definitely improve and I believe it will.

VC: How are you adjusting to life on the national team?

PN: To be honest, nothing much has changed. I am just trying to focus on my preparations for the upcoming tournaments. To make it to the team was obviously very exciting, but the real task has just began.

VC: You are definitely a known commodity to American cricket having played at the youth level, the regional level and at US Open, how have those experiences prepared you for the big stage?

PN: I think competing in all those tournaments gave me an opportunity to compare myself to some of the best players in the country and the rest of the world. I was able to test myself against them and see where I am at and also where I need to improve. Everything has been a learning experience for me.

VC: You were the pick of the bowlers in the CPL XI/USA match how would you rate your performance in that match?

PN: Given the situation of the game and also the quality of the players we were playing against, I think I did well. They are professional cricketers, high quality batsmen, and also they were demolishing us. I think going at a rate of about 10 runs per over. So to come on and bowl in those conditions and pick up three quick wickets, I was very happy about that.

VC: How are you preparing for the busy month ahead?

PN: I have been training hard for the past few months. Huge thanks to Mr. Kerk Higgins who has been helping me everyday with practice. I have been doing a lot of spot bowling to work on my bowling. Also I am doing a lot of running to keep myself fit and ready to go.

VC: Have you recovered from your finger injury?

PN: Yes, all good now!

VC: How concerned were you about your chances of making the team when you got injured?

PN: That definitely was the first thing that came to my mind when I got injured. But thanks to the Almighty, I am where I wanted to be.

VC: What are your short term goals since your selection?

PN: I want to make full use of every single opportunity that I get for the upcoming tournaments. No matter what the results are, I will give more than 100% out there in the field. I want to contribute to the team in every possible way I can for that the WIN every game we play.

VC: Who are some players you looked up too growing up or even now?

PN: Born and raised in India, Sachin Tendulkar is an icon to me when it comes to cricket. Shane Warne and Daniel Vettori are probably two of the spinners that I really look up to as well. Nowadays, Virat Kohli, not just for his batting, but also the way he takes care of his fitness. These men show how much the sport means to them and how much hard work and dedication it takes to be the best at what they do.

VC: You captained your local club Atlantis at a very young age, there has been very few youthful captains like you in local New York cricket in recent years how was that experience?

PN: Captaining Atlantis Cricket Club was an honor. I don’t think there are many cricket clubs in this country that have been around for the past 50 years. I think captaining helped me learn more about cricket. It forced me to think more about different situations of the game and make quick decisions. It also helped me become a better bowler and a leader as well. Without the support of my club and my teammates, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

VC: What would you like to achieve in cricket?

PN: To be the best cricketer I can be. That’s what I tried to do the past off season. I worked hard on my craft. That’s what I will keep doing, and I believe everything else will fall in place. I believe in the saying, the harder I work, the luckier I will get!

VC: How confident are you of the USA’s chances at WCL Division Four?

PN:  We will get promoted to Division Three, no matter what. I am not trying to be arrogant here, but the entire team wants it badly. All of us are ready to work hard for what we want. We might not be the most talented cricketers in the world, but we want to be the hardest working cricketers. Hardwork will pay off! I know we have a huge followers of cricket in this country. They are very passionate as well. We need their support. But as players, its our job to gain their support. And that comes from winning. Guess what? We are ready to do whatever it takes to WIN!


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Interview with Basil Butcher Jr., The American Perspective

Basil Butcher Jr., Coaching at the New York Leg of the American Cricket Combine

Basil Butcher Jr., Coaching at the New York Leg of the American Cricket Combine

VelloCricket caught up with Basil Butcher Jr. former United States of America (USA) Women’s Cricket Head Coach. Butcher has served as USA Youth and Mens Physio and Trainer over the past decade. The son of former West Indies star batsman Basil Butcher Sr., Butch as he is fondly known started his career as a nine years old attending trial matches in his native Guyana where his father was a national selector. Butcher Jr. started playing cricket in the USA in the 1980’s through to the 2000’s.

In 2005 Butcher Jr. was part of the team that developed the Tri-State brand. Alongside Linden Fraser, Lester Hooper and Clifford Hinds, Butcher Jr. and his colleagues pooled together teams from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Washington D.C. into an Under-19 (U-19) league. It is here Butcher Jr. began his coaching career at the helm of the New Jersey unit. From there Butcher Jr. coached the Atlantic Region U-19 at the USA National youth tournament. Butcher’s rise continued when he was named the Physio to the USA U-19 team at the 2006 ICC U-19 World Cup in Sri Lanka. Up till 2015 Butcher has had up to 10 years service at the national level with youth, women and senior teams.

VelloCricket: What is the highlight(s) of your career to date?

Basil Butcher Jr.: There are a number of fond memories along the way. USA’s first win at a World Cup over Namibia in 2006 U-19. Then in 2011 I was at the helm with Atlantic Region taking the USA National Twenty/20 (T20) tournament at home. There were close misses in 2006 and 2009 when the Atlantic Region U-19 lost in the finals. I served as Assistant coach in the Atlantic Regions triumph in 2006 and runners up in 2010. Being the Head Coach for the National Women team was very auspicious as we won each match only to lose out on net run rate as our match with Canada in the regional qualifiers in 2011 was rained out. At the World T20 Qualifiers in United Arab Emirates (UAE) I was able to get a first hand view of the who’s who in the Associate world of cricket.

VelloCricket: Whats has the past year been like?

Basil Butcher Jr.: The past year has been a turbulent time with the suspension. I had the opportunity to observe and participate in the American Cricket Combines in New York and New Jersey. I also attended the High Performance coaching seminar in Florida during the Caribbean Premier League (CPL). I have continued speaking with and mentoring National players and players on the cusp of the national team. Our players are eager to make to step to the next level but they are unaware of what type of preparation is needed to succeed at the next level. I have even developed a workshop to help these players during the off-season. The workshop targets how one should practice, how one should train and is geared towards improving a player’s skill set.

VelloCricket: What are your thoughts about the talent at the Combines?

Basil Butcher Jr.: There was nothing to write home about. I don’t believe that the Combines were the right process for selecting the best players. Those responsible for putting the Combines together did not reach out to those familiar with the local landscape. We have a proven pathway here in the USA, from the clubs were get the best players playing Inter-League, then on to the Regional teams at National tournaments. Also the national selection panel should have been implemented before the Combines, in that way the selectors would not have only seen the best players for selection, but they would have been able to earmark players for the future. In my opinion the ICC Americas have come in reinventing the wheel. It seem that they were of the belief that we here in America are not able to structure cricket, yet they have selected the same players United States of America Cricket Association (USACA) would have selected.

VelloCricket: Can you elaborate on your experiences at the High Performance Seminar?

Basil Butcher Jr.: Just all the insights from the different coaches and presenters and those who have been successful at the international level; Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Tom Moody, Eric Simmons, and Trevor Penney. The all spoke to coaching and how to coach varying scenarios. Kumar Sangakkara spent 45 minutes presenting on what is needed to develop the level of batsmanship that has brought him success over time. He spoke to preparation and more so the aspect of mental preparation.

VelloCricket: What are your thoughts on Team USA’s chances at World Cricket League (WCL) Division Four?

Basil Butcher Jr.: Firstly, I will like to wish the team well! There are several players who have played for USA in the team but there is still a need for some more experience in the lineup as many of the players will be making their debut at the 50 over level. Also there is going to be a new captain and he will be new at the job. The Auty Cup would serve as a good preparation as Canada is a quality opponent. Two key components for success would be the players maintaining their fitness over an extended period and them being consistent in the discipline of the sport; batting, bowling, fielding and catching.

VelloCricket: Who would you say the selectors missed for this tournament?

Basil Butcher Jr.: Steve Massiah should have been selected in the initial 30 man squad. His experience leading the batting and the intangible assets that he can bring to the team at this level. Massiah turned up at the Combines showing his desire to continue playing for his country. I would say Raj Bhavsar and Savan Patel from New Jersey were unfortunate not to progress out from the Combines. Also Francis Mendonca was unlucky not to move on beyond the 30, he probably missed his chances against MCC where Syed Abdullah took his opportunities.

VelloCricket: Randall Wilson scored 70 odd against MCC any thoughts on him?

Basil Butcher Jr.: There are lot of people pushing for Wilson, but he takes too many deliveries to score and he does not score off the bad balls as frequently as he should. He does have a good temperament to bat long and a good demeanor in general, so I would like to see him capitalize on taking advantage of those loose deliveries a bit more often.

VelloCricket: Keifer Phil has been around the youth setup for the past 3-4 seasons do you see him as one for the future?

Basil Butcher Jr.: Phil has all the raw tools, he can bowl fast, he has the ideal physique for a quick and the agility to go along with it. I have spoken to the local coaches in New York as I can see Phil as on of the emerging players, because he has the potential to bowl quicker than he is bowling right now. Another player that comes to mind is Rao from North Carolina, like Phil he has the pace to unsettle batsmen as there are very few genuinely quick fast bowlers in the Associate world of cricket.

VelloCricket: What are your thoughts on the latest developments with USACA?

Basil Butcher Jr.: Now that ICC is considering the latest draft of the USACA Constitution, it is very likely that USACA’s membership maybe reinstated very shortly. Quite frankly I am disappointed with the performance displayed by the ICC Americas in the administration of American cricket. Following USACA’s suspension there should have been a local interim body to oversee American cricket rather than the ICC Americas. It seems that ICC believes that many people here are pro-USACA wherein the case would be that we are for the best cricket in America and that does not have to be partisan USACA. ICC Americas came in with the misconceived notion that USACA were not picking the best players, yet they have wasted time and money to come up with similar results. Even the NAGICO Super 50 team was a vindication of the USACA’s selection panels abilities.

VelloCricket: What is your viewpoint on those selectors and coaches imported for the Combines?

Basil Butcher Jr.: That was a colossal waste of time and money. I spoke to the then Regional Development Manager about the report before USACA suspension. The report mentioned that coaches were contacted, yet only Robin Singh and Kenny Thiruman who were not familiar with the local operations of USA cricket were contacted. There were opportunities for this latest ICC Americas regime to speak to their predecessors like Wendell Coppin and Andy Pick about what would work here in America.

In sum I am quite please with the work of ICC President Manohar Shashank as he has changed the tide set out by former president N. Srivasan and Co. who had set about dislodging USACA from the helm of US Cricket. Dave Richardson also admitted that, “We probably went too far with our investigations into US Cricket!”


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Vello Interviews Steven Taylor, The American Perspective

Interview with American Cricketer Steven Taylor

Steven Taylor

Steven Taylor

Steven Taylor is an American born cricketer who plays for the United States of America and the Barbados Tridents in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL). Taylor has represented his country at two youth qualifying tournaments while playing List A and Twenty/20 cricket at the senior level. Steven is one of the more experienced players in the USA squad selected to contest the Auty Cup and the World Cricket League Division Four tournaments.

VelloCricket: You missed World T20 qualifying last year for CPL, how does it feel to be back in American colors?

Steven Taylor: It feels great to be back in USA colors, even though I missed out because of CPL it was like I was still there because I was always watching the scorecards of every game they played.

VelloCricket: Definitely a team man, there in spirit! do you feel like if you were in Ireland, USA would have been able to get the elusive one win to have another crack at making it to India this past spring?

Steven Taylor: Good question!But I did feel like we would have won one more but it’s cricket anything can happen at any given time.

VelloCricket: How difficult was the decision to choose CPL over World T20 Qualifiers?

Steven Taylor: The decision was every difficult one but CPL was the one in the end I had to choose because playing with International/Franchise cricket was always my dream.

VelloCricket: The players in the Caribbean have to contend with the Club vs Country dilemma, were you ever concerned about being victimized for choosing the CPL over Team USA?

Steven Taylor: I didn’t think that much into it.

VelloCricket: How was the mood of the camp in Indianapolis?

Steven Taylor: The mood in the camp was good everyone knew what they were there for and made the best of the time there.

VelloCricket: Sounds really good just about two weeks before the Auty Cup, how are you preparing for this month’s busy schedule?

Steven Taylor: In Jamaica as we speak doing some training here.

VelloCricket: Tell me more about the Jamaica training?

Steven Taylor: I’m training with the Jamaica national First Class team on their preparation for the 4-Day Regional Tournament West Indian, Professional Cricket League (PCL).

VelloCricket: You have been involved with CPL, ICC Americas in List As and now training with the Jamaica First Class team, how do you rate these experiences?

Steven Taylor: It’s a not big difference just the level of players are better and physically stronger, because cricket is their profession where we in the States/Americas we have to work outside of cricket.

VelloCricket: What do you make of United States of America Cricket Association (USACA) $70 million deal?

Steven Taylor: I think the USACA deal is something good for cricket in the USA bringing more eyes to the country to let people know that cricket is a big game in the United States of America and you never know might end up getting a sponsor for the national team an making cricket a top sport in the country like baseball and football.

VelloCricket: You are American born you must have played other sport growing up what were some other sports your played?

Steven Taylor: Yes as an American born I played other sports. I played football for a little local park in my neighborhood called SWABJA park did three years of that, Middle school soccer but favorite sport outside of cricket is basketball had a chance to play in high school but the dedication wasn’t there like how it was for cricket.



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Vello Interviews Linden Fraser, The American Perspective

Linden Fraser

Linden Fraser

Linden Fraser has been involved with American cricket since 2002. Fraser started his career as a youth player in 1983 before breaking into the Guyana First Class team in 1984. Following a tragic career-ending injury Fraser took to coaching in the United Kingdom. Fraser coached three years in Scotland then four years in Lancashire, England. Fraser played alongside the likes of Vasbert Drakes, Wendell Coppin, Ezra Moseley, Mark Taylor and Carl Hooper in the English leagues. Here in the USA, Fraser has been at the helm at a number of organizations as Head Coach; at New York Region, Tristate Youth Development, Tristate Lynx Women and presently at USA Global Cricket Academy.

VelloCricket: What has been the highlight of your coaching career?

Linden Fraser: Being the coach, grooming now national players through their formative years like, Akeem Dodson, Prashanth Nair and William Perkins (Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies). Also winning three consecutive national championships.

VelloCricket: How has United States of America Cricket Association’s (USACA) three suspensions affected American cricket?

Linden Fraser: In 2006 USA were at the World Cup Qualifiers and were unable to attend the 2009 Qualifiers due to suspension. Both the seniors and the youth were affected it was a real low point for the development of American cricket. Most significantly it was demotivating for the players to remain committed to playing.

VelloCricket: Has these suspensions contributed to USA’s gradually decline over the past 12 years?

Linden Fraser: Yes these suspensions have had a telling effect on American cricket.  We were having national tournaments for both the youths and the seniors, but once we were suspended that affected our funding and our ability to put on these tournaments. I must say kudos to USACA President Gladstone Dainty as he continued work tirelessly to assist  with underwriting the cost of these tournaments. When we were mandated to have CEO’s as part of the suspension resolution, moneys which should have gone to our infrastructure was now going to the CEOs. That too reduced our ability to maintain the national tournaments, which had been the backbone of our national teams.

VelloCricket: How have you received ICC Americas’ leadership of USA cricket?

Linden Fraser: Prior to this current ICC Americas leadership the ICC Americas were doing a great job. Now with this new leadership I am still puzzled as to what is the agenda of ICC Americas. They have implemented Cricket Combines and I do not believe that Combines does any justice for American cricket. The national tournaments would have been better served.  The ICC Americas leadership of American cricket has not gone to the people, the clubs, the leagues, the regions who are familiar with the players and the local landscape. I have worked with the ICC Americas leadership locally here in New York as well as at the West Indian youth tournament in 2014, but they have ignored my expertise as it relates to player evaluation at the Combines. ICC Americas has spent loads of money selecting the same players USACA would have selected. USACA did the same job that the ICC Americas is doing at a faction of the cost. ICC Americas approach maybe good for public relations and the perception of the game outside the local cricket community. I am certainly not impressed by the work that the ICC America’s leadership is doing as it seems shrouded in nepotism. A critical change that came with this latest ICC Americas regime is the removal of the ICC Americas Women and Under-15 tournaments. At this point I am predicting a USACA revival.

VelloCricket: Did you apply for any coaching or selector positions posted in the USA in the past year?

Linden Fraser: I did apply for the national senior men’s coach. ICC Americas Leadership does not know the landscape of American cricket. Basil Butcher Jr. is the best trainer in cricket in the country and he was not contacted to work with the national team. We have been working with the players from the grassroots and we are being bypassed. ICC has come with a different agenda. The selectors for the Women team were clueless about the players. The Women players were unknown to the coach as well. Coaching women and men are not one and the same. The 22 players selected for the MCC matches were not the best players available. The players at the matches were mis-managed due to the coach having little knowledge about the players, their skills, strengths and roles.  Triholder Marshall was available and she was listed as being unavailable. Candacy Atkins the best batswoman in the country, was notified only two weeks prior to the tournament. When ICC knew about the MCC tour since March 2016.

VelloCricket: Do you feel like local cricket community has been disenfranchised by ICC Americas Leadership of American cricket?

Linden Fraser: ICC Americas came in with the notion of fixing American cricket, while to date much is still the same and some things may have even been on a declining gradient.

VelloCricket: One would say that the CHALLC failed, Overseas League failed what makes this latest deal a genuine savior for USACA?

Linden Fraser: The idea of having our national players on contract augurs well for both the Men and Women national programs. Also like I mentioned earlier, we do not need CEO’s we need a Cricket Operations manager, someone like a Jeff Miller, someone who would be able to implement a structure for our cricket.

VelloCricket: Caribbean Premier League (CPL), West Indies (WICB) and India (BCCI) benefited from playing cricket in Florida this summer, can USACA tap in to this revenue stream?

Linden Fraser: The sanctioning fees paid for these matches around $200,000 were sub par. These fees should have been closer to $750,000 to a $1 million. I am hopeful that USACA can generate much needed revenue from its new deal with Global Sport Ventures. Also USACA needs to form a strong lasting relationship with the WICB. That way we can have a USA team at each of WICB’s tournaments annually.

VelloCricket: What is being done to improve the local infrastructure here in New York?

Linden Fraser: There has been conversations between an investor, the American Cricket League (New York) and Brooklyn politicians about placing turf pitches at parks across Brooklyn, namely Roy Sweeney Gateway Oval, Canarsie; 108th Street, 88th Street and 80th Street.

VelloCricket: Do you think that the selection team missed a player or two for the World Cricket League Division Four tournament?

Linden Fraser: Not taking anything away from the players who have been selected there are a few players that I thought should have had a better chance at addressing the selectors or otherwise been selected.  USA’s best player since 2010 is not in the squad. Mohammed Ghous has been the most economical bowler in USA cricket. Even though he may not be a wicket taking bowler like a four day match-winner, Ghous builds sustained pressure which allows the bowlers on the other end to make inroads. One may say that Ghous’ omission may well be politically motivated. Steve Massiah attended the New York leg of the American Cricket Combines and he is still the best List A/50 over batsman in the country. Massiah does not have to be the captain, but he should have been in the squad to add some much needed experience to the batting lineup.  Abhimanyu Rajp is an offspinner, who attended the Combines as well and is the biggest turner of the ball in the country. Also there is Francis Mendonca who has been impressing with his glove-work behind the stumps. We should want to send a message to Division Three. As much as I am confident that we will be able to advance from Division Four, it should be with a commanding performance and without the likes of those mentioned above I feel like we may just stroll over the line.

VelloCricket: Who would you pinpoint as a possible captain?

Linden Fraser: Steven Taylor would be a good candidate, especially with his experiences playing in the CPL. He is young and eager and it may well do good as he has the responsibility of the batting on his shoulders.

VelloCricket: The Under-17 Combines here in New York, were short of New York players, especially, when New York has the country’s number one High School cricket tournament in the Public School Athletic League (PSAL).  What would you say would have contributed to that?

Linden Fraser: It shows that the screening process for the Combines is flawed. There is a need for the Leadership especially for Combines and selection, to approach us the local coaches and the schools at the grassroots level so that we can present the best players for consideration for national selection.

VelloCricket: What do you see in the future for American Cricket?

Linden Fraser: The leaders need to step away from the personal issues and serve cricket.

Overall it seem as the ICC Americas Leadership has been trying to reinvent the wheel, wasting time and money. We need to go back to the national tournaments instead of the Combines, perhap we can have a Combine after the selectors has seen the players at the national tournaments. The last USACA CEO had a campaign of, “Empowering Regions” that should be the approach of any American Cricket Leadership. There has also been questions from other ICC Americas members like Bermuda and Suriname, questioning, “why is there such an emphasis on American development to the detriment of other members?” I am pleased with what I have seen so far from Manohar Shashank and his philosophy for the ICC.



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The State of Caribbean Cricket

Commentary on West Indies Cricket

Former West Indies Coach, Phil Simmons

Former West Indies Coach, Phil Simmons

West Indies cricket has never been without drama and bacchanal. Just as carnival is to Caribbean culture, so too is West Indies cricket. It’s in our blood and our love for it runs deeper than supporting 11 players on the field. Territorial identities are thrown out the window when the boys in maroon are in action.

But within recent years and as the relationship between players and the WICB became acrimonious and hanging by a thread, we seemed to have shifted from that single identity as a West Indies supporter. Trinis (Trinibagonians) started pointing fingers at Jamaicans and Bajans (Barbadians) and vice-versa. Brian Lara has publicly stated his reason for early retirement was the West Indies cricket board and their micro-management of the team he captained.

Fast-forward almost a decade and history is once again repeating itself. Denesh Ramdin was unceremoniously removed as Test captain, replaced by the false-ripe Jason Holder. And let me tell you, his appointment is a separate contentious issue. Yes it can be argued that when one starts a new job they will learn and adapt to the position, but as the leader of a team, you have to have considerable experience to fill that role. Several cricket commentators from around the world have questioned Holder’s appointment as Captain. Some of them even went so far to say that he was appointed as a “Yes” man to the cabal that is the West Indies Cricket Board, because of his immaturity and young nature. But my take on this is, no one forced Jason to take the position offered to him, I am sure he was not poke and prodded with an iron staff in a corner and told “You must take up the offer”. I believe it was a thought of showing up more senior guys on the team who should have been considered ahead of Holder for the Captaincy. It reminded me of being a kid in school and came the first day of school with the latest pair of Nike shoes and would walk around unnecessarily to show it off to your contemporaries. But in the middle of the term everyone realised they weren’t genuine Nike, but a knockoff that your mom bought because it started “laughing” to the front and sides and you had to put “krazy-glue” to hold it together.

Well let me assure you that no “krazy-glue” can hold together the disaster that is the current West Indies ODI and Test teams led by said Jason Holder. Add the sacking of Phil Simmons and the dropping of Darren Sammy and the pot bubbleth over. Jason holder as a player has not been scoring runs nor taking wickets for the West Indies. In a 4 match Test series versus India, albeit the fourth test was abandoned, he scored 132 runs and took ONE wicket. One wicket and his function is primarily as a bowler. It is my view that because of his position as Captain, that he is preventing another player who can perhaps make a more significant contribution from getting picked on the team.

His fellow Bajan Andrew Mason recently called for his sacking as Captain of both the Test and ODI teams and reiterated the point of Jason’s leadership inexperience. There’s an old Caribbean saying “Time longer than rope”, meaning that, time will be given but eventually it will run out. This seems a fitting comparison to Holder’s captaincy, and we can see  the results from the series against Pakistan; where it already 6-NIL.

Some argue that WICB pick and choose who they want in order to carry out their mandate and they are replaced if opposition is received. Case in point Phil Simmons despite the little progress he was able to eke out of a very contentious team. Why hasn’t the WICB taken swift action to remove Holder as Captain seeing that he has not had positive results since his assumptions is beyond me? However what I can say is that it has been noted by the upper echelons of the WICB, but they’re still trying to figure out how to approach the dismissal and who to replace Holder with. But the WICB seem very good in making dismissals and appointments willy-nilly so I count the days until we get an announcement from them.

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Vello Interviews Akeem Dodson, The American Perspective

Akeem Dodson, USA Men's National Wicketkeeper Batsman

Akeem Dodson, USA Men’s National Wicketkeeper Batsman

Akeem Dodson is an American Cricketer who bats in the top order and wicketkeeps. Dodson has represented United States of America since the youth level through to the Mens senior team. Dodson is the most tenured batsman going into the World Cricket League (WCL) Division Four tournament scheduled to begin on October 29th in Los Angeles.

VelloCricket: You were one of the leaders at the World T20 Qualifiers, what is your mindset heading into the Auty Cup and more importantly the WCL Division Four?

Akeem Dodson: Heading into these tournament I want to stay as positive and free minded as possible. Now is the time I want to peak; more so in WCL Division Four than in Auty Cup, one of my initial goals is to use Auty Cup as a warm-up for WCL Division Four, so come October 29th my confidence and skill will be at optimum levels.

VelloCricket: Good news, you had a good World T20 Qualifiers but no so good Regional Super 50 tournament what are some talking points you take from the Regional Super 50?

Akeem Dodson: After taking time to look back on my performances in both tournaments, i think the biggest difference for me was my level of comfort in the side and my confidence in my existing  role. In Ireland my role was clearly defined, I knew exactly what I had to do to make the difference for my team. Where as at NAGICO I was in the midst of the tournament still trying to figure out how to play the roll that was required of me, and I didn’t spend enough time at the crease to learn from my mistakes and eventually correct them. Also my keeping was the real highlight for me at T20 Qualifiers. And in the Super50 where the team structure was much different, it so happened that I wasn’t required to keep as much as I did in Ireland, and that may have affected my performance with the bat. I was able to learn a lot thought those experiences, both good and bad, that has been able to allow me to refine my game both on and off the field.

VelloCricket: What are some steps you are taking prepare for this busy month?

Akeem Dodson: Usually a month before major tournaments the work load gets intense. weight and fitness training, lots of cricket training. The only “special” thing I do really is I remove all social media apps from my phone – it’s just one small thing I adopted as a part of my Mind/Brain training. I feel that FOCUS is key to our success in Division Four, and this helps my focus as I try to free myself from distractions.

VelloCricket:  How confident are you in Team USA’s chances at gaining promotion from Division Four?

Akeem Dodson: I am very confident that we will gain promotion. I think our chances are very high. Within the team there is a genuine hunger to take Cricket USA forward and winning promotion is one of the hurdles we need to get over if we want to see progress.

VelloCricket:  You spoke about role at the Super 50 and the World T20, what kind of role are you expected to play this month or what kind of role would you like to pay ?

Akeem Dodson: This is a confidential topic but I have a full grasp of my role and I have confidences in my ability to execute that role.

VelloCricket: What are your cricket goals for the next 12 months?

Akeem Dodson: Firstly I would like to be able to say I am still playing cricket and performing at the highest level; overall I would say, 12 months from now I would like to be batting and wicketkeeping USA to more progressive pastures.

VelloCricket: Very insightful, what is you take on the approach of the ICC led Admin here in the USA?

Akeem Dodson: I think what the ICC’s work here in the USA has been a positive thing. They have helped to keep cricket moving while USACA gets things in order, and has kept young American Cricketers still hungry for success and progress at the National level. it is not my place to involve myself with the politics of that situation, however from a player’s standpoint I personally was very worried when USACA was suspended because I know what suspension of your governing body can feel like for a young cricketer having gone through that experience before; I remember I missed my final chance to play Under-19 World Cup because of the 2007-2009 suspensions that stagnated USA cricket. From a cricketer’s perspective the ICC presence here in the USA while USACA works toward reinstatement. is that we all have to make an effort to make sure cricket USA does not get stagnated again. because for sure the progress of American Cricket is the progress of Cricket Around the world.

Akeem Dodson: The Word to the USA Cricket Community: Lets Move Forward, Together!


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Vello Interviews Kerk Higgins

Interview with Kerk Higgins!


Prashanth Nair, former USA U-19, was selected for his maiden Senior International duty.

Prashanth Nair, former USA U-19, was selected for his maiden Senior International duty.

Kerk Higgins has been involved in New York and American cricket over the last 20 years. After a successful career Higgins moved into Management and Coaching in 2009. Higgins has featured on the Management team for Bedessee Destroyer and other franchises at both local and national tournaments such as the US Open. Higgins’ most significant appointment to date has been his assignments with the ICC led USA national setup. Following his appearance as a coach at the New York Combine last June, Higgins has featured as manager to the US National Trials at the end of July in Florida, as well as the ICC Americas Under-19 Manager at the West Indies Under Tournament in St. Vincent in August. Higgins then returned to manage a New York Selection against MCC in New York in September.

VelloCricket: How was your transition from a player to coaching and management?

Kerk Higgins: It wasn’t too bad at all, for the simple fact that I played with most of the players and they were easy to work with.

VelloCricket: You have now managed at the National Men’s Trials and at the National youth Level what were those experiences like?

Kerk Higgins: It’s always great doing anything with cricket, but those two assignments were good experiences for me, especially the tour to the West Indies Under-19 tournament. The West Indies Under-19 tour was a learning experience because it was my first to tournament being run by a Test playing nation.

VelloCricket: You have probably seen it all in US Cricket over the past twenty years. How would you rate the current ICC led administration of US Cricket?

Kerk Higgins: I like what ICC is currently doing, why I am in favor of what they are doing is because it is benefiting the players. There are a lot more players getting a chance to compete for a spot in the national team. Also, we are seeing the players have training camps and so on.  So for those reason I agree with what ICC is currently doing here.

VelloCricket: How did your view of the game change after taking up management and coaching?

Kerk Higgins: The game has definitely changed a whole lot. For one, the batters are a bit aggressive and the bowlers are always under pressure.

VelloCricket: From the players you have seen this season in the US being around tournaments over the last seven years, what kind of chance would you give Team USA heading into the Auty Cup and World Cricket League (WCL) Division Four next month (October 2016)?

Kerk Higgins: Well starting with the Auty Cup, I think it will be a very good test for the US boys, Canada always seem to have an edge over USA, so hopefully with all the work the coaches have been doing with the boys we will see an improved performance against the Canadians. As for the WCL Division Four, I don’t know much of the teams that the US will be competing against, but I do think that we have a good, balanced team that will be competitive in every game and advance to Division Three.

VelloCricket: What do you see for yourself and US Cricket in the future?

Kerk Higgins: I would love to be part of the management staff of US Cricket.

VelloCricket: Any hope for US repeating Afghanistan’s feature rising through the ranks to the upper eons of World Cricket?

Kerk Higgins: Definitely! That’s what we all should be striving for.

USA National Team For Auty Cup and WCL Division Four:

Akeem Dodson, Alex Amsterdam, Danial Ahmed, Elmore Hutchinson, Fahad Babar, Jasdeep Singh, Muhammad Ahsan Ali Khan, Nicholas Standford, Prashanth Nair, Srinivasa Santhanam, Steven Taylor, Syed Abdullah, Timil Patel, Timroy Allen.


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Baksh, Byrappagowda Lead List of USA National Umpires


The following umpires have been selected to the National Panel for 2016-2018 seasons:

USACUA Elite Panel

  1. usacuaMr. Mohammed S. Baksh, New York
  2. Mr. Ravishankar Byrappagowda, California
  3. Mr. Mohammed Ally, Florida
  4. Mr. Sylvan Taylor, Florida
  5. Mr. Neelkanth Jammula, Florida
  6. Mr. Jermaine Lindo, Georgia
  7. Mr. Vijay Mallela, Maryland
  8. Mr. Anil Pap, Virginia
  9. Mr. Dyon Ravello, New York
  10. Mr. Samir Bandar, Texas
  11. Mr. Mangesh Rane, Massachusetts
  12. Mr. S. Yussuff, New York
  13. Mr. Aditya Gajjar, Georgia
  14. Mr. Anuj Patel, California
  15. Mr. Nur Uddin, Georgia
  16. Mr. Partha Pattnaik, California


  1. Mr. R. Khan, New York
  2. Mr. D. Sewananan, New York
  3. Mr. Raj Jalli, New Jersey
  4. Mr. K. Howell, Massachusetts
  5. Mr. R. Nayak, Nebraska
  6. Mr. Sundaram Subramanyan, California

USACUA Women’s Panel

  1. Ms. Petal Samuels, Georgia
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Atkins, Arora Lead 22 Selected To USA Womens Camp

United States of America Women Cricket

Candacy Atkins

Candacy Atkins

The USA Women’s Selection Panel has today announced a squad of 22 players to take part in the development camp in Philadelphia from September 9th – 11th.

The squad contains a combination of developing players who took part in the USA Cricket Combines earlier in the year as well as some more experienced women whom have represented the USA at National level in the past.

Commenting on the squad Chairman of Selectors Ricardo Powell said “We are keen to reward some of the women who were able to come to the Combines and show their commitment and ability, however we understand not everyone was able to make the Combine so have included some talented players who have plenty to contribute to the women’s game in the USA. This squad is a development squad, we know there are other women and young players across the country that the selectors would also like to see in the future.”

The camp will be coached by Anand Tummala, a past Ranji Trophy and USA player, who is now a Level 3 coach. He will be assisted during the camp by female selectors Patricia Whittaker, Julie Abbott and Joan Alexander-Sorrano.

The USA Women’s Development Squad is:

Akshatha Rao
Anahita Arora
Candacy Atkins
Erica Rendler
Hannah Solomon
Jyotsna Dixit
Mahika Kandanala
Melissa Sandy
Muneshri Persaud
Nadia Gruny
Onika Wallerson
Samantha Ramautar
Samikshya Aryal
Sara Farooq
Shandell Ward
Shebani Baskhar
Sindhu Sriharsha
Sindhuja Reddy Salguti
Sugetha Kalyanaraman Chandhrasekar
Swati Mishra
Vritti Sethi
Zeenat Kausar

We wish all involved the best for productive few days for women’s cricket in Philadelphia!


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