Former WI batting star praises Cricket Hall of Fame
Although most of us may not want to admit it, this type of honor is something that we all look forward to, former West Indian batting star Basil Butcher said shortly after he was inducted into the Cricket Hall of Fame at ceremonies held at the Hilton Hotel in Hartford on Saturday, October 6.
Butcher, who along with former teammate Joseph Solomon topped this year’s class of inductees, said that he has a keen interest in organizations like this and hopes that they will continue to recognize good performances. “This honor is something that we will cherish for the rest of our lives.”
In his response, Solomon who played a pivotal role in the historical tied test between the West Indies and Australia backed up the sentiments expressed by Butcher and said that he was proud to have been selected to join all the other greats who have made it into the Hall of Fame.
The pair, who is from Guyana, was joined by seven other individuals John Aaron, Jamie Harrison, Samuel Belnavis, Joseph Buffong, Mahamood “Mo” Ally, Dale V. C. Holness and Andrew “Buster” Headley, who were recognized for their outstanding contributions to the sport in the U.S.
Aaron, former Executive Secretary of the United States of America Cricket Association (USACA), said that although he did not become a top player of the game, he is very content with the contributions that he has made in regards to the development of the sport in the U.S. “My only regret is that my father who encouraged me to get involved with the game is not around to see how I turned out,” he said.
Harrison is president of the United States Youth Cricket Association (USYCA). An American educator, Harrison who was introduced and fell in love with the game in 2008, called for more support in his efforts to get the sport established in schools across the country. Since the launch of the association, the group has delivered cricket sets and training to over 700 American schools, and has brought the game to tens of thousands of children, he said. Because of how well the game is catching on in the schools, he expressed optimism that America will eventually become world champions of the sport.
An individual, who has participated in almost every aspect of the game (player, coach and administrator), since his arrival in the U.S. from Jamaica in 1971, Belnavis who is known for his discipline and loyalty, has demonstrated an innate ability to partner cricket with a number of other initiatives beyond the sport and for his philanthropic work to benefit his community.
Ally, a life-long cricket aficionado with domestic and international experience, who is also from Guyana, told the gathering about the number of efforts and the hard work that he has put in to promote the game throughout the U.S. The president and publisher of the American Cricketer magazine which he founded in 2003 to highlight the status of the sport in the U.S., Ally slammed the USACA for not giving him any support or doing anything to develop the game in the country.
Of the lot, the most joyous inductee was Buffong. Along with being a very successful player, over his vast career, he has held multiple cricket affiliated positions such as president, vice-president, public relations director and manager in Massachusetts. Originally from Montserrat, Buffong said that when the people in the island learn of his achievement, they may decide to declare a holiday in his honor.
Golden Age Award inductee Headley, another American-born cricket enthusiast, who got involved with the game when he migrated to Jamaica in his early years, thanked his club members (Wembley Athletic Club, Inc.) for nominating him. Although going on well in years, he still continues to support and contribute to the game.
Cricket has a bright future in the U.S.
Despite what many people may be thinking, cricket, the second most popular sport in the world, has a very bright future in the U.S. This is the contention of Jamie Harrison, president of the United States Youth Cricket Association (USYCA).
A Baltimore educator, Harrison made the declaration shortly after he was inducted into the Cricket Hall of Fame at ceremonies held at the Hilton Hotel, Hartford, Connecticut, on Saturday, October 6.
The reason why the many individuals who have tried from time to time to get the game in the schools have failed is because they were not going about it in the right way, he said. Instead of trying to teach the kids how to bat or bowl, they should at the moment just concentrate on playing the game with them, he said, and called on the retirees and those involved in the Masters Tournaments to get involved in helping with the promotion of the game.
A history teacher, Harrison said that in April of 2008, he led a group of students on a field trip to Virginia. While at a Civil War site, they were introduced to the sport, which was demonstrated as a historic artifact. He and his students and parent chaperones were invited to play and they immediately fell in love with the game.
Upon returning to Baltimore, his students asked him to moderate their new cricket club, and over the year, he watched American high school students go from cricket novices to fanatics. He also learned the game as they did and became their first cricket coach.
He then pushed on with a pilot program which was sponsored by DreamCricket.com, where he delivered a cricket set and training to schools. The program went so well that Dream Cricket expanded their support to 100 sets. With that, the idea for the youth cricket association was born.
After spreading the word on the internet and social media, he along with two other enthusiasts, Edward Fox of Kansas and Rakesh Kallem, Connecticut, created the association and were joined by many other like-minded individuals across the country.
Since the launch of the association, the group has delivered sets and training to over 700 American schools and brought the game to tens of thousands of children in the country. USYCA has since launched a number of programs that will allow these children to play outside of school and receive proper coaching. This will be the start of what will eventually become new junior teams and leagues, all across America, he said.
Harrison is so confident that the sport will become very strong in the country that he has expressed optimism that America will one day become world champions of the sport.
Cricket Hall of Fame 2012 class of inductees
By STAN WALKER
Former West Indian Test cricket stars Basil Butcher and Joseph Solomon top the list of inductees that have been recommended for this year’s induction into the Cricket Hall of Fame. Seven others, who have made outstanding contributions to the sport in the U.S., John Aaron, Jamie Harrison, Samuel Belnavis, Mahamood “Mo” Ally, Dale V. C. Holness, Joseph Buffong, and Andrew “Buster” Headley, have also been nominated for induction.
This year’s ceremony is set for Saturday, October 6, at the Hilton Hotel, downtown Hartford.
Born in Port Mourant, Guyana, Butcher who developed his talents in the game at the community center’s field in the village, became a very prolific batsman that led to him being invited to national trials. He made his debut for Guyana in 1955 and his consistent performances led him to being invited to West Indies trials in 1957. He was an integral part of the formidable West Indies batting line-up in the 60s.
Solomon, also a Guyanese who comes out of the same club as Butcher, represented the West Indies in 27 tests, starting in 1958 against India. He played a big role in the result of the first tied test in history between the West Indies and Australia when he ran out Ian Meckiff with a direct throw at the stumps. During his test career he aggregated 1,326 runs at an average of 34.00
Aaron, the former Executive Secretary of the United States of America Cricket Association (USACA), considers himself a “servant of cricket.” Aaron, who is from Guyana, is viewed by many as being extremely pivotal in the reconciliation efforts within USA cricket, following two suspensions by the International Cricket Council (ICC), based on poor governance of the sport in the U.S. Many have described his views and actions as one of the most positive turning points for U.S. cricket in the past decade.
Harrison is the president of the United States Youth Cricket Association (USYCA). A history teacher in Baltimore, Harrison was introduced to the game, while on a field trip with some of his students in Virginia. The game was demonstrated as a historic artifact while they were visiting a Civil War site. They fell in love with the game and upon returning to the school he was asked to moderate a cricket club. He learned the game like his students did and became their first cricket coach.
Belnavis, who developed his love for the game in his hometown in Jamaica, has been involved in almost every aspect of the game since his arrival in the U.S. in the fall of 1971. A founding member of the Villagers Cricket Club in New York, he has served as the director of the popular Red Stripe Cricket Competition (2000-03), the premier cricket tournament in the U.S. at the time, as president of the 124-year-old New York Metropolitan Cricket League, a leader of the USACA Council of League Presidents, and coach of the New York Women’s Cricket team.
A life-long cricket aficionado with domestic and international playing experience, Ally is the publisher of a lifestyle magazine for cricket fans, the American Cricketer. He started the first cricket teams in Minnesota and Miami and was responsible for getting the fields (Brian Piccolo Park) in which the league games were held. He was also instrumental in getting land in Gastonia, North Carolina, to build a cricket ground and hosted the first international team from South Africa.
An avid cricket fan and former player, Holness who served as Commissioner and Vice Mayor for Lauderhill in Florida, played a big role in the building of a Cricket Stadium in the County, which is the only stadium in the U.S. that is certified and sanctioned by the International Cricket Council (ICC).
Buffong, who is from Montserrat, has served as president for the Massachusetts State Cricket League (MSCL) four separate times. He has also been a regional representative for the northeast U.S. and the MSCL, a number of years. Over his career, he has made quite a bit of contribution to the sport in the Boston area and has held multiple cricket affiliated positions such as president, vice-president, Public Relations representative and manager.
After many years of service to the New York Cricket League (NYCL), while being a member of the Montserrat Cricket Club, Headley was very instrumental in the forming of the Wembley Athletic Club, which was one of the greatest promoters of the game in the city. He still remains very active in the club which is now in its 57th year. He is respected for his history of dedication in the NYCL, the club and cricket in general. Headley who was born in Boston grew up in Jamaica.
Cricket was once a popular sport in the U.S.
The recent T20 tournament between the West Indies and New Zealand which was held in Florida drew a number of criticisms from some so-called fans of the sport. Many who were of the opinion that the sport does not have any future in the U.S. However, if they had taken some time to check out its history, they may have thought otherwise.
To the average American cricket today is a somewhat mystifying game. But if one was to do a brief research of the sport, one would find out that the game was once very popular in the U.S. The history of the game in the U.S. can be traced back to 1737. It was reportedly played at that time at the nearby coastlines by many of the colonists who had brought the game with them from England. In fact, the first international game between England and the U.S. was played in Hoboken, New Jersey, on October 3, 4 and 5, 1859.
Before the bitter Civil war which broke out in 1861 between the North and South, cricket was an established game in the U.S. There was a time when Philadelphia cricket was judged good enough to play in first class English counties competition. And at one time, America had one of the top bowlers in the world, J. B. (Barton) King, who went to England to play. Baseball at the time was mainly a backyard sport that was played by students and neighborhood children as a past-time.
Because it became somewhat difficult to get equipment and to maintain the playing area during the four years of the conflict, with the end of the War, it was decided to establish baseball as the national game. It was much easier to throw down four bags to mark bases and play baseball on any ground that was available. Ironically, most of the early baseball players were former cricketers, notably Henry Wright and A. G. Spaulding. Both of whom formed sporting goods firms that are still active today. It is also understood that it was a group of English cricketers who actually started the sport of baseball.
In 1965, the United States was admitted to the associate membership of the International Cricket Conference (ICC) and is today a regular fixture in their trophy tournament in which teams from all over the world take part.
Although the game has taken a backseat among the American populace, today the game in a way is still flourishing in places like New York, which at one time had as much as 200 teams that participate in a variety of leagues during the summer.
A brief history of Cricket American style
At the time of the Revolution, Cricket was a game in flux. The actual laws of the game first published in 1744, had not changed. But, there was a significant change in the way the game was played and in the equipment, starting about 1770. It is impossible to say how far these changes had been assimilated into the game as played in America by the outbreak of the war, but it is probably safe to say that the first areas to be affected would have been the large seaports. Thus, it can be assumed that both versions of the game co-existed, for many years, perhaps until after 1793, when a print of Dartmouth College shows the other still being played.
Basically, the game consists of two sides of indeterminate size. A grand match normally consisted of 11 a side, but six-a-side was a recognized form of the game, and in cases where one side was acknowledged as more skilled, the other side might, as a handicap consist of 18 or 22 members.
In each inning, one side is in the field, the other at bat. The side in the field has two bowlers, one at each end of the pitch, who alternate every four balls (an over), except that once in every inning, a bowler may change ends and bowl two overs in a row. The side at bat has two batsmen, one at each end of the pitch. The one to whom the bowler is delivering the ball is the striker. If the striker has the ball and elects to run to the other end of the pitch, the other batsman must also run. Each time they safely change ends, they score a notch, as a run was called then.
The actual laws reproduced elsewhere, define the ways a batsman may be gotten out. This basically involves knocking down his wicket. The inning continues until all the batsmen but one has been given out. At that point the inning is over and the other side goes in to bat.
Another version of the game, called single wicket, was played when there were only six or so players available. One batsman would be up, and the others would field and alternate bowling until the batsmen was given out. Then the next fieldsman would go in to bat, and the batsman takes his place in the field. The game was therefore not side versus side, but player versus player to see who could score the most notches.
The change which came over the game starting about 1770 involved the delivery of the ball. Until 1770, it was literally bowled that is, delivered underhand and rolled at speed along the ground. For this delivery the bat used had some resemblance to a hockey stick, curving at the bottom (these bats are no longer made), and you must make one yourself or have it made for you.
By 1770, however, some bowlers, with permission, had begun to lob the ball into the air, again with an underhand delivery, so that it bounced several times before reaching the wicket. By 1774, they were even giving a length delivery, where the ball did not touch the pitch until just before reaching the wicket.
Batsmen found it very difficult to block the wicket against these two deliveries with a curved bat, so the modern straight bat was introduced prior to 1774. Because of this, it would be possible to play the newer version of the game with a modern bat if all the logos were stripped off and the rubber handle grips replaced with wrapped black linen cord. Just make sure the shape of the bat is described as classic.
Mercifully, the modern cricket ball is identical to those made starting about 1760.
During this time women’s team were, if not common, at least not uncommon, largely through the patronage of the then Duke of Dorset.
2011 Inductees with Hartford’s Mayor Pedro Segarra. From left, Clarence Modeste, Lawrence Rowe, Mayor Segarra, Mahammad Qureshi and John Gayle, OD.
Lawrence Rowe receives proclamation from Mayor Segarra.
Cricket Hall of Fame is a welcome treasure
Hartford’s Cricket Hall of Fame is a welcome treasure that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. This was the consensus of this year’s crop of inductees who had the opportunity to visit the Main Street facility, prior to their induction into the prestigious institution at ceremonies held at the Marriott Hotel, downtown Hartford on Saturday, October 1, 2011. Their only contention is that they could not understand how such a gem could be found here in the U.S. and not in one of the more recognized cricketing areas possibly the West Indies.
The induction ceremony started at 8.00 P.M. Hartford’s Mayor Pedro Segarra, led the procession to the head table then welcomed the visitors to Hartford and congratulated the Cricket Hall of Fame for the work they were doing in the city. He next read a proclamation declaring October 1, 2011, Cricket Hall of Fame Day in the City of Hartford and congratulated the honorees on their accomplishments and wished them continued success.
Seated at the head table were Mayor Pedro Segarra, Mayor of Hartford ,the inductees Clarence Modeste from Staten Island, Mahammad Qureshi from Florida, Lawrence Rowe and John Gayle from Jamaica, and the Presidential awardees Rev. Patricia Jackson and Aston Archer of Hartford, DeMaio of New Britain, Sidney Schulman, Mayor of the town of Bloomfield and Shirley Matthews, President of the Cricket Hall of Fame.
After some difficulty with the sound system, a brief delay that would have unraveled some seasoned entertainers, the talented and gifted Sola Rowe, the nine-year-old daughter of inductee Rowe, treated the crowd to what some described as a “Whitney Houston” rendition of the national anthem.
Reverend Jackson pronounced the invocation, the food servers started service and the gala affair was off to a great start.
Topping the class of inductees was West Indies and Jamaica batting legend Lawrence “Yagga” Rowe. He was joined by former West Indian Test umpire John Gayle, O.D., former president and CEO of Cricket Council USA (CCUSA) Mahammad Qureshi and Clarence Modeste, a stalwart of the game in New York.
Three other individuals Mayor Schulman of Bloomfield, Aston Archer, head of Hartford’s Community Soccer League, and the Rev. Jackson, as well as the New Britain Parks & Recreation Department represented by Mr. DeMaio, were presented with Presidential Awards for their contributions to their community.
Two former inductees and stalwarts of the game in New York, Roy Sweeney and Denzil Powell were recognized for their continued contributions to the game in the U.S. with the presentation of Lifetime Achievement Awards.
Certificates of Appreciation were awarded to Godfrey Mitchell from New York, who sponsored the Induction of Lawrence Rowe, Former Councilwoman Veronica Airey-Wilson, Councilman Corey Brinson and Council President RJO Winch for their financial contributions to the Cricket Hall of Fame.
Director of the Cricket Hall of Fame, Michael Chambers in an emotional introduction of Rowe stopped short of calling for a boycott of West Indies cricket, if immediate actions were not forthcoming in dealing with the Chris Gayle incident. “What happened to Lawrence Rowe should not be allowed to happen to Gayle,” he said.
Following his induction, Rowe who holds the record of being the only cricketer to make a double century and a single century in his first Test match, expressed his gratitude for the recognition that has enabled him to join the many other greats of the game as a member of the prestigious institution.
“I understand that I was nominated to become an inductee some years ago, but for some reason it was delayed. Now that it has happened, I am very honored and proud,” he said, adding that nothing generally happens before its time.
”One of four West Indians who have scored a triple century in an inning, Rowe, who was at one time hailed as the best batsman in the world, while reminiscing on some of his experience during his playing days, said that he was told by many that his 300 innings was the best of the lot.
Rowe also spoke briefly about his experience in South Africa, 1982-83, where he led a West Indian rebel team during the apartheid days, when the country was isolated from world sport. It resulted with him and the others of the team being banned from cricket. The ban was lifted in 1989 when leading South African freedom fighter Nelson Mandela, who eventually became the country’s first black leader was freed from prison.
Rowe said that although many may not have been aware, the rebel team at the time was the second best team in the world. We also won a match against the South Africans which made it the first time that they were beaten at home.
Gayle congratulated the Hall of Fame for the great efforts that it is making to conserve the history of the game in the U.S. and thanked the institution for honoring him. “I am proud of what you are doing and hope that you will flourish and become even more successful in the years to come,” he said.
Qureshi, who is committed to develop and make the game one of the top sports in the U.S., related the efforts that he is making, which includes the large amount of funds that he has put forward to help get this to happen.
The T20 format of the game was first introduced into the U.S. in 1999, at a beach tournament that he created, he said. The now very popular U.S. Open T20 tournament, which was created in 2010 by (CCUSA), has expanded to more than 16 regional tournaments. This year (2011), the teams participating in the Championship Series which will be held at its usual venue in Florida, will be battling for $50,000, he said.
Modeste, who has been described as a true cricket man who puts the sport ahead of himself, in his response, gave the audience an insight of the history of the game and that of his organization, the Staten Island Cricket Club, which was formed during the 18th century. U
Former WI cricket stars top this year’s class of inductees
By STAN WALKER
Former West Indian Test cricket stars Courtney Walsh, Lawrence Rowe and Deryck Murray top this year’s Cricket Hall of Fame’s class of inductees. The annual ceremony is set for Saturday, October 1, at the fabulous Marriott Hotel, across from Hartford’s Convention Center. We will be celebrating our 30th anniversary.
Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Walsh represented the West Indies from 1984-2001. Captaining the team in 22 Test matches, he is best known for a remarkable opening bowling partnership with fellow West Indian Curtly Ambrose. He held the record of most Test wickets from 2000, after he broke the record which was held by Kapil Dev of India. Walsh’s record was later broken in 2004 by Muttiah Muralitharan of Sri Lanka.
Rowe is another West Indian cricketer who was born in Kingston, Jamaica. An elegant right-handed batsman, Rowe was felt by many of his peers that his ability was so extraordinary that he could have been the greatest West Indian batsman ever. He was a West Indies batting hero in the days before Sir Vivian Richards. He, however, became infamous in 1982-83, because he led a rebel tour to South Africa during the days of apartheid.
A wicketkeeper and right-handed batsman, Murray who was born in Trinidad, kept wicket for the potent West Indian fast bowling attacks in the 1970s, which included Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Joel Garner and Collin Croft. His efficient glove work effected 189 Test dismissals and greatly enhanced the potency of the bowling attack. Murray captained Trinidad and Tobago 1976-1981, and was vice-captain of the West Indies sides which won the 1975 and the 1979 World Cup. In his later career, he served as a diplomat in the Foreign Service of Trinidad and Tobago in 1978-1989.
Two other individuals Mahammad A. Quereshi of Florida and Clarence Modeste of New York will be the local honorees. Former West Indian umpire Johnny Gayle, O.D., will be the recipient of the “Golden Age Award” which was introduced for the first time last year.
An ardent lover of the game, Quereshi, the Chairman and CEO of MAQ Group, Inc., one of the largest real estate and financial investment groups in the U.S., and of his foundation, Cricket Council USA, said that “I dream of the day that I can open my morning newspaper to the Sports Section and read about last night’s American cricket league games alongside articles about the Dolphins, the Marlins and the Panthers.” The Council has been spreading the wonderful values of cricket throughout the homes, schools and community recreation parks in the United States and Canada for more than 10 years, he stated. “I know in my heart that cricket is on its way to becoming a mainstream sport in the U.S.A.,” he added.
Born in Tobago, Modeste is currently president of the Staten Island Cricket Club, the oldest continuously active cricket club in the United States. He has held that office for more than 20 years. Under his guidance, the club has been able to maintain its historic longevity and its association with its ground at Walker Park in New York, which has been unbroken since 1886. The continued survival and success of the club could not have occurred without the contribution of Modeste.
A very good cricketer in his young days, Gayle took up umpiring after his playing days were over. He successfully passed the umpires examination which was held by the Jamaica Cricket Umpires Association, the second oldest umpiring organization in the world, and went on to become a very outstanding official of the game. During his first class career which lasted for 20 years, he stood in three Tests, 32 first-class matches, and a host of One Day Internationals. After retiring in 1990, Gayle served on many occasions as referee in regional matches and as a third umpire in Test matches at Sabina Park.