Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar
By Tahir Ali
Shrewsbury : The New England Cricket Association (NECA) just finished off their ‘hard tennis ball’ cricket season. A total of 18 teams contested for the final spot. Similarly, ‘hard ball’ Massachusetts State Cricket League (MSCL) was not too far behind closing on their season finale. A week earlier the junior league – mainly comprising of second generation kids under 16 – completed their season.
Cricket is now becoming increasingly popular in Massachusetts. However, cricket is not new to Massachusetts. The cricket tournaments go back to 1867, and were played for 30 years in Needham just a few towns away from Shrewsbury. The team Albion Cricket Club was ranked third in the cricket tournaments played at the time. This time period can be likened to the movie ‘Lagaan’ where the British brought their favorite sport wherever they went: South Africa, Australia, India and, of course, United States.
Nitin Vaidya, wrote on Aug. 31, 2014, "In recent decades [cricket] has undergone a resurgence fostered by immigrants from countries of the British Commonwealth. There are at least 32 teams of skilled amateur adult cricket players registered with the Massachusetts State Cricket League (MSCL) and an additional number that are part of the New England Cricket Association [NECA]."
Cricket celebrities in town: Former Pakistani cricketer Yousuf Yohana visited Massachusetts. Shaheen XI and MSCL and other players participated in the celebration. In one of the pictures Najeeb is shaking hands with Youhana as Fazal Alam and Shujaat look on.
Indian team player Suresh Raina was also in town. In one of the pictures he is seen with with yours truly. Both Lokvani and Indian News carried the news. Anil and Ranjani of Lokvani Magazine also visited the venue. Upendra Mishra of New England Indian News sums it up as follows:
Indian Cricketer Suresh Raina is in Boston and will meet and greet cricket fans and enthusiasts at 7:00 pm on Thursday at a restaurant located at 1000 Boston Turnpike (Route 9) in Shrewsbury, MA, said organizer of the event Tahir Ali.
Raina is visiting Boston to visit a family friend and touring the United States, Ali said, adding that there is no entrance fee and everyone is welcome to meet and greet the Indian cricketer. "I just want Suresh to get a proper tribute and maximize participation," Ali said. "I just do not feel it proper to have a hindrance between the national hero and his fans. Suresh also was gracious enough to agree with me on this. So we are on the same page."