Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Texas wins Major League Cricket Interstate Tournament

Texas easily beat Virginia in the finals of the new Major League Cricket Interstate Tournament at Brian Piccolo Park in Broward County, Florida. Teams from 16 states participated in the tournament, with Washington in third place. (Texas 140 for 3 (21.1 overs) beat Virginia 138)

The tournament has had a tortured beginning, with Bernard Cameron being snubbed by the USA Cricket Association three years ago for proposals of a national tournament, and interference by New Jersey politicos when the tournament was planned in the NY/NJ region. MLC decided to go it alone, stepping away from the cesspool of US cricket federations, and opted for Broward County, Florida, more in the news for 'hanging chads' in the 2000 Presidential elections.

The tournament had to be postponed after Katrina's devastation, and it's successful completion has vindicated the MLC proposition - that cricket is a viable sport in the United States, and with sufficient encouragement and funding, could rival the other major sports in the country. Broward County has also been validated as a cricketing center, being the only officially certified site in the United States for the 2007 Cricket World Cup.

The finale was even more impressive, with two exhibition matches against top teams from the Players' Associations of England and the West Indies. Although both matches were lost by the US teams, the US players performed admirably and gained considerably in terms of experience playing against top international cricketers.

This has to be contrasted against the continuing inability of the USA Cricket Association to get their act together. The most recent scheduled meeting of the USACA in Dallas last week was scrubbed after a quorum of attendees failed to show up. US Cricket's eclipse after the excellent cricketing year of 2004 has saddened many fans. The technicalities of the crisis are intricate, but an overview is available on cricinfo.com about the US cricketing standoff

Will MLC create a new viable platform for cricket in the US, or will it be stifled by internecine politics and grandstanding remains to be seen. The tournament is a good start, though, and should encourage players.

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