More nonsense and shenanigans, as always.
Peter Della Penna — as he always does — has the full scoop over at Cricinfo. And you should really just go read that. But here’s the gist: The USA is scheduled to play their first ever One Day Internationals on US soil this fall as part of the Cricket World Cup League Two. Their opponents are Papua New Guinea and Namibia.
There was a great deal of consternation over what venue the matches would be played at. First it was at a ground in North Carolina, then at one of two different grounds in California, and now finally at Central Broward Regional Park in Lauderhill, Florida, which just recently hosted the T20s between India and the West Indies. Also, because of scheduling conflicts at that stadium, the ODIs that were originally scheduled for Sept. 7-14 have been pushed back a week.
So what’s the problem? Well, first of all, as Peter points out, September is the height of hurricane season in that part of the world. But more than that, because Namibia don’t arrive in the US until Sept. 15, and because the US is due to leave for an extended training camp in India on Sept. 21, all teams will be forced to play games on back to back days. And because of the scheduling quirk, all four of the US ODIs will be played on weekdays, making it very difficult for even the most diehard US cricket fans to attend the matches. Which is a shame both for the fans and the players.
I have followed USA cricket for a long time, and I have grown very used to these types of fiascos over the years, especially when USACA was in charge. But after USACA was given the heave-ho by the ICC and USA Cricket stepped in to right the ship, I thought those days were over. I was, apparently, wrong.
And that’s the thing: As a fan, it’s annoying, but fine. I wasn’t planning on traveling to the games, so the non-weekend really doesn’t affect me. Mostly, personally, I am just annoyed that US cricket is still in such a shambles. Two steps forward, two steps back. It really is a shame. However, from a different perspective, I feel terrible for the players. They seem like a really great group of likable and entertaining cricketers, and they all deserve better than the treatment they are currently receiving from USA Cricket. The fact that two of them — Ali Khan and Hayden Walsh Jr. — turned down central contacts with USA Cricket therefore does not surprise me. I don’t blame them. Normally, in the club v country debate, I always side with country — in cricket at least — but I don’t blame the players at all for doing what they feel is best for the careers considering the ship-shod manner in which USA Cricket is running the show.
I feel terrible, sometimes, for not being a stronger supporter of the US national team. I want to. I really do. But every six months or so something like this happens and I roll my eyes and see what else is going on in the game. And I know that I am not alone in that regard. There’s lots of things that USA Cricket needs to accomplish to grow the game in this country. One of them is convert the already existing cricket fans living in the United States. And they just can’t stop failing at that goal.