American Cricket Revolution: Charting The Course
by Dyon Ravello
As we continue to ponder which organization will taken us forward, where is the money going to come from or how can we bridge the gap between the expatriates and homegrown Americans. There is a simple and immediate solution, which can help improve the quality of cricket in America. Not to say that leadership, funding and expanding constituencies is not important, as they are like the boulders in the bucket, a work in progress toward being effective.
So here comes the sand; as one continues to observe this fledgling sport, one synonymous to a neglected child screaming for attention, one can notice some simple habits, which can go a long way. Whether you arrive to the park as a player, a coach, a sport journalist, an umpire or as starved fanatic there is no differentiation it’s cricket as usual. Players of various ages backgrounds talents and experiences grace the fields throughout the summer months competing for supremacy, bragging rights, records, and most importantly selection.
At any given club match there is very little if not any pre-match preparation. Compare cricket to other sports be it lacrosse, soccer, track and field you name it, there is always some segment of time allocated to pre-match preparation better known as “warm ups.” This is a necessary aspect not only in sport but should be applied in ones everyday life for the athlete as well as those not so athletic. For the simple reason the warm up gets the body ready for the day’s proceedings as a driver warms his engine especially during the cold months. Secondly the warm up serves as a revision period for the muscles, a reminder of the talent, and skill harnessed by the beholder.
To examine cricket more closely, American cricket is saturated by the; Twenty/20 frenzy, League 40 and all that comes in between. To be frank I am not one to preach doom and gloom when it comes to Twenty/20, as it has surely shaped cricket for the better if not only commercially, especially with America, of all places waiting to exhale. Like Twenty/20, 40 over cricket definitely has a place but to what degree? Are we as Americans content with the numerous festivals across the national being the only significant and immediate aspiration after league cricket?
Take us Combine Under-19 2013 as the primary example, 15 of the nation’s most talented youth cricketers with a chance to earn the right to play at the Under-19 World Cup with the opportunity to be notice by scouts, clubs and franchises. Unfortunately with four 50 over matches played last July (2013), the likelihood of half the squad having had the experience of an extended match was non existent, with only captain and national senior team batsman Steven Taylor having such prior exposure.
As an enthusiast, and a planner one cannot recommend far less dictation to leagues, organizations, and promoters to implement 50 over competitions so that our nationals, those who are directly entrusted with our hopes of progression are better prepared. But this is an open challenge to administrators from the parks of Long Island in the east to LA in the west, to implement “Two-Day Two Innings” competitions. This therein will help our batsmen develop a greater appreciation and appetite for batting. Our bowler will now have to become wittier in their strategies and in so doing covering the 50 faults as well as preparing us for the possibility of first class play at the Intercontinental Cup.
Dyon Ravello is a sport journalist based in New York, with experiences in coaching, umpire, scoring and administration.