Fort Lauderhill, FLORIDA: The previous news item highlighted the fragmented cricket community in the USA which is believed to be one of the hindrances in the expansion of the game in the USA.
On the other side the recent happening of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) games in Florida is seen as a ray of hope by local organisers.
- M. A. Qureshi, is one of the cricket organisers and the chairman of the Cricket Council USA, has been staging events in the USA for years now and claims to be the one who introduced the T20 format to the USA audience. “Cricket council USA has been promoting cricket in the USA for more than 16 years now and has invested millions of dollars into the efforts to promote the game in the country”, M. A. Qureshi said
“We introduced T20 cricket to the USA people way back in 1999 at the Dania Beach in Florida and since then staging tournaments across the country. In fact we have had over 100 tournaments since then”, Qureshi added
Mr. Qureshi, known as MAQ, is a Florida-based businessman and his passion for the game of cricket prompted him to establish an entity with the name of Cricket Council USA, under which he has organised number of cricket tournaments across the USA. MAQ recalled that about eight years back he staged a star-studded tournament in Fort Lauderhill, Florida in which former Indian, Pakistan and West Indian players took part. “On the memorial day weekend in 2008, the Cricket Council USA initiated a T20 event with the name of MAQ-T20 at the Broward stadium. We spent about $1.4 million on the event in which former stalwarts like Javed Miandad, Muhammad Azharuddin, Richard Richardson along with a number of regional players participated”, MAQ recalled
“There was an opening ceremony of the tournament too which was also held at the BROWARD county cricket stadium”, MAQ said
“From the following year, the event was renamed to US Open Cricket and it’s a regular annual spectacle since then”, MAQ added
MAQ was of the view that recent interest of the ICC, in the region, would give impetus to the development of the game in the USA. “Recent matches of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) received overwhelming response. I believe the ICC’s measures are steps in the right direction for the betterment of cricket in this part of the world”, MAQ opined
MAQ also touched upon the upcoming edition of the US Open Cricket which, he said, has the backing of the ICC as well. “This year’s event will be held between November 24th and November 27th and a number of international stars will be featuring in the tournament.”, MAQ said
“I can’t share all the names at the moment but Herschelle Gibbs, Hassan Raza and a lot of other players will be in action this year”, MAQ added
“US Open offers the cash purse of $100,000 which is the highest prize-money in the history of the cricketing events in North America”, MAQ concluded