After a two-year hiatus, USACA (the national cricket board) has revived the national U-15 tournament, although the format is somewhat different from previous years. The Western Conference tournament will take place at the Woodley Cricket Field, in the Van Nuys district of Los Angeles, over Thanksgiving weekend ( 29 November– 1 December 2013). The team that wins this tournament will play the winner of the Eastern Conference tournament in June 2014.
The Central East Region, of which Michigan forms a part, is fielding a team, under the direction of Mir Ali, C.E.R. Youth Coordinator and an official of the Bollingbrooke Premier League in Chicagoland. Mr Ali has asked MCA to find up to four U-15 players for the team, which will be coached by Hasan Khan of the BPL.
Players interested in participating should contact the MCA Information Director, Michael Makin, as soon as possible, but should bear in mind the following:
- Almost all of the cost of participation will have to be borne by players’ families. Assuming that air tickets will cost at least $600, players should anticipate expenses in the region of $1,000. A generous sponsor has covered the cost of the coach’s travel, but players’ families will have to pay for accommodation, transportation, and meals.
- Players should fly to LAX on Thursday, 28 November, returning to DTW late on Sunday, 1 December or even, perhaps, very early on Monday, 2 December. It is hoped that the Michigan contingent will fly out together, ideally with at least one adult accompanying them (unaccompanied minors flying across the country present problems for ticketing).
- Each team will play three forty-over matches; cricket whites are required.
- The team hotel is the Airtel, opposite the ground
- The leading teams in this tournament will be very well-prepared. North West Region (essentially, Northern California) has already announced what will certainly be a strong team, based around players from the top cricket academy in the USA, the California Cricket Academy. The C.E.R. team will be travelling “for experience”, although, of course, everyone will work hard to try to win matches.
In the past, MCA has regularly contributed players to C.E.R. U-15 teams. For example, MCA players participated in the national U-15 tournaments in 2009 (Northern California), 2010 (New Jersey), and 2011 (Connecticut), with the C.E.R. team finishing third, third, and seventh, respectively in what was in those years a single, nation-wide tournament. Reports can be found in the archives on this web site. The leading members of those C.E.R. teams had quite extensive experience of age-level tournaments and some had played several years of league cricket – for example, MCA’s three representatives on the C.E.R. team two years ago had played in many youth tournaments over several years (California, Chicago, Toronto, etc) and all had played a significant number of matches for teams in Mich-CA league tournaments – ie, they had played quite a lot of adult club cricket, in addition to age-level tournaments. While this year’s Michigan players are likely to be far less experienced, they should expect an enjoyable tournament and, with the squad size anticipated to be quite small, ample playing opportunities.
Players interested in participating in this tournament (preferably in the age range 14/15) and willing to countenance the expenses involved should contact Michael Makin immediately. C.E.R. hopes to announce the final squad on the 20th, possibly after a training session in Chicago.