• Let's just admit it: Twenty20 Cricket is the future of the sport. I don't want to see test cricket die and I don't think it will, but I expect ODIs to eventually disappear.

  • I'm moving to New York to begin my next adventure and becoming more active in cricket. Follow my adventures as I learn and share more about U.S. Cricket on the East Coast.

Today begins the World T20.  A jubilee of cricket is here!  It made the front page of ESPN.com (congratulations to Peter Della Penna, a fellow CLNJ Colt) and is being broadcast to an American audience on ESPN3. ESPN even put together a neat one-pager to explain the sport to an American audience.  Let us rejoice!

And I’m just going to say it, this is the future of the game. [Continue Reading...]

Today on, well, the “Today Show,” Weatherman and All-American personality Al Roker learned to play cricket, as well as a little cricketing history.  Unfortunately, like most American media coverage of the sport, it is treated with hyperbole and humor that only reinforces Americans’ perception that the game is silly, outmoded, and boring.  American stereotypes about English landed gentry and tea abound!

It’s a shame that cricket isn’t in the Olympics.  That would expose Americans to the high quality competition in the sport.  And like most Olympic sports (e.g. Curling, Beach Volleyball, Gymnastics, Track & Field, Water Polo, etc.), a US audience would tune in to watch every four years.

Watch the video below:

From Jamie Harrison, President of the United States Youth Cricket Association:

Are you with a league, club or other organization that wants to start or grow a youth cricket program, but don’t know where to start? No worries! USYCA has an easy, no-cost, out-of-the-box solution, that leaves you in complete control of your program. It’s a tested, scalable blueprint for youth cricket development and mass adoption.

No strings, no demands, no hassles. Just cricket.

The United States Youth Cricket Association was created in 2010, and its first task was to initiate mass participation in introductory cricket in America. Since cricket was virtually unknown outside traditional demographics (families with roots in cricket-playing countries), the challenge presented was not insignificant. To accomplish this objective, USYCA has:

- donated over 1,200 cricket sets to US schools

- worked with individuals, leagues and clubs to conduct free training sessions

- launched new junior cricket programs almost entirely composed of children with no cricket experience

- tirelessly promoted cricket in local and national media

- forged partnerships with major brands such as Reebok, MetLife and DreamCricket

USYCA is also keenly interested in the promotion and expansion of youth cricket programs where they already exist. To help these programs grow and develop, USYCA has:

- Helped to fund new cricket pitches

- Acquired the use of Foxfire Field in Kansas as a site for national youth tournaments

- Brought top-level coaches, such as Irish women’s wicketkeeper Valmai Gee and international fielding coach Mike Young to youth cricket programs

- Donated cricket sets to programs looking to expand into area schools

- Publicized youth cricket activities in local and national media

Next year, USYCA will :

- add more schools playing cricket

- add more new junior cricket programs

- create new junior cricket leagues

- donate to local pitch construction

Are you and your group ready to get started? Tired of talking about youth cricket, but never actually DOING youth cricket? The next step is the easiest: just contact USYCA at info@usyca.org. We have the experience, a track record of success and the resources to get your youth program started immediately.

We look forward to hearing from you soon!

For more information about the USYCA, visit its website @ http://www.usyca.org/

 

My thoughts go out to all of the families and the community affected by the shooting at the Sikh temple.  No one in the United States should have to worry about the safety of their loved ones because of their race or national heritage.  Senseless violence has no justification and is pure evil.

For a moment, let’s consider the Back to the Future-like consequences of watching cricket in America.

Right now the Olympics are taking place in London, which presents the quadrennial question: watch live or time-shifted?

NBC Sports is broadcasting a multitude of competitions daily on seemingly every channel under its corporate umbrella.  Even Bravo, a channel famous for giving us reality tv shows about fashion and desperate housewives, is in the mix.  Fortunately (unfortunately?) Bravo’s coverage isn’t on salacious Olympic scandals or athletes’ trashy spouses.

Read The Atlantic’s take on there being two Olympics: online and on the television screen.

The most discussed (lambasted) aspect of NBC’s coverage, however, is its decision to time-shift the opening ceremony and highest profile competitions to primetime.  A problematic consequence of this in the age of instantaneous news and twitter is that the results of these biggest events are widely announced before American viewers get a chance to watch.  Spoilers abound! I opened CNN.com the other day and read that Gabby Douglas and the Fab Five had won team gold in women’s gymnastics several hours before it was broadcast on NBC.  It was still fun to watch, but knowing the outcome killed the suspense and tension.  Imagine if Kerri Strug’s 1996 vault had been announced and widely written about hours before it was shown on television.  Would watching that moment have been such a visceral experience?

After all, part of the wonder of watching sports is the anticipation and suspense in the performance and outcome.

This brings up an important question for American cricket fans.  With the exception of series played in the West Indies, cricket matches are played on wildly different, international schedules, like the Olympics.  Thus, watching cricket often poses a tough question: time-shift or watch live?

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Introduction

There’s an art to playing short midwicket. You don’t have a lot of time to react when the ball is hit.  Sometimes you’re alone on the leg side, asked to single-handedly cover a significant portion of the field. The ball can come low off the turf. Before your higher cognitive functions can take hold, your primitive brain has already decided to flop your body to the side to try to stop the ball.  The ball, if you’re fast enough, slips crisply and assertively into the palm of your hand. A zinger.  Other times, it deflects wildly off the tips of your fingers causing your arm to tingle and vibrate as the momentum of the ball speeds through your tendons and metacarpals.  Sometimes you miss and you drag yourself off the ground–covered in grass stains–and sprint after the ball.

When the ball isn’t hit into your general fielding domain, a short mid-wicket must take account of the moving pieces that is a fielding side in cricket.  Another fielder is moving to cover the ball, the batsmen are exchanging, the throw is in the air…  Do I cover the stumps? Do I back-up the throw? Do I cut-off the throw and relay it to the wicket keeper?

It’s an art.  One that can be taught and diagrammed.  But also one that takes a zen-like focus and the urgency of a lawyer chasing an ambulance to master the position.

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Just a quick post to follow up on my last post about partnerships.  I’ve written in the past about Harish (a.k.a. “Little Tiger”), a player for the Cricket League of New Jersey Colts, a youth cricket team I’ve been playing with/helping coach for the past couple of weeks.  This past weekend, Harish played his last game of the season before he and his family travel to India to visit relatives.  During the game, he shared a partnership with his father.

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There are certain skills that one would think intuitively cross over between baseball and cricket.  Setting aside the issue of players not having gloves in cricket, the mechanics of fielding seem to be prime candidates for dual-use classifications.  In both sports, fielders are expected to manage the trajectory of fly-balls, chase down grounders, hit cutoff fielders, and be able to throw the ball.  Oh, there’s also the crow hop.

That said, I get the sense that there is often a greater emphasis placed on proper fielding technique in baseball than in cricket.  In cricket, we define players primarily in two ways: batters and bowlers.  This dichotomy, I believe, reinforces the emphasis on these two areas of the game to the detriment of other areas.  While bowling and batting are certainly the focus of the sport, a lack of form or attention in the rest of the sport can be disastrous.  It simply isn’t enough to practice taking a couple of throws at the stumps.

How often do we see young professional cricketers make fundamental mistakes?  Often it seems they come in the form of misfields (unnecessary mistakes that cost runs).  Sometimes the misfields are the result of poor judgement.  Other times its just plain bad form.

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I’d like to draw your attention to one of the greatest children’s movies of all time: “D2: The Mighty Ducks.”  While this film may only receive 5.4 stars out of ten on IMDB, it is firmly ensconced in the hearts and minds of the youth of my generation.  This is largely due to its embodiment of mid-1990s confidence, prosperity and nationalist/consumerist pride.

For those unfamiliar with this cinematic gem, here is a brief synopsis: Coach Gordon Bombay, a former lawyer and minor league hockey player played by Emilio Estevez, returns to coach the Ducks, a ragtag team of misfit hockey players whom he previously led to a Minnesota state championship in the trilogy’s first installment, “The Mighty Ducks.”  This time, however, he and the team have been tapped to represent the USofA in the Junior Goodwill Games (think Junior Olympics).  In the end, the Ducks are forced to face the bigger and badder Iceland team in the gold medal game.  Not to spoil the movie (watch it anyway), but cue sitting around the campfire and singing the following Queen classic:

Why, you may be asking, am I writing about a nearly two-decade old movie about hockey?  Because the Colts, a youth cricket team I’ve been playing with/”coaching” for the past couple of weeks, won their first match.

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One of the particularly unique aspects of cricket is the batting partnership.  To Americans only familiar with baseball, cricket has two players up to bat at a time.  While only one batter (the ‘striker’) faces a particular delivery–the other batter waits to run at the opposing end of the pitch like a runner on base–the two work together to score runs.  To score a run, each batter must run to the opposite end, a distance equal to the pitching mound to home plate, thus swapping places.

The first time I batted, my teammate at the opposite end was more than twice my age.  Recently, I experienced the reverse.

I wrote about Harish previously, but in my second week with the colts he outdid his previous performance.  He’s thirteen years old.  ”The Little Tiger,” as our coach Earl Daley called him on Saturday, stands low above the wicket.  When he bends down to play his shots, the bails seem to be at his shoulders.  He wore pads and carried a bat, junior-size of course.  His performance, however, was anything but pint-sized.

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American Cricket Federation

Support a new effort to develop a sustainable organization to govern American cricket.