Last week was rather interesting. Let’s recap: The previous week, when the bunny sent me an email with the link to his article I informed the wcl community that such an article existed and those interested in it can reach out to me (I assumed the writer sent similar emails to others around the league). Little did I realize that it would cause such a stir. I guess this is the last time I’ll be the messenger who alerts people that an article has been written by someone and posted on THEIR OWN WEBSITE….I repeat: That article was NOT POSTED on our website. I simply posted a message that said that someone has posted an article which referenced various people in the wcl. I didn’t even post the link to the article on the wcl fb page. Interestingly, since I had not provided the link, several people requested me to provide a link on the wcl fb page. I did not do that. Someone else did. Not sure why some folks blamed me for someone else’s writing/views on THEIR website. Anyway, it is what it is. So first let me provide my take on anonymous articles in general. It is obvious that not everyone is cut out to be a writer. Some people think that they can write articles with an axe to grind. The article was mean spirited and it seemed like the writer was trying to settle some personal scores with people he probably had issues with. His attacks were personal in nature and not focused on issues. What was the result of his article? Such articles don’t have much credibility as the readers are smart enough to see through them. I do not believe that such articles adversely affect those targeted. In fact, I believe such articles only show the writer in poor light. Now let’s move to the anonymous writers who write weekly picks. For some reason (I haven’t been able to figure out what it is) a few members of the league have been upset with the “High Roller” for his views. I’ll admit, I haven’t read all his articles, but the ones I did read seemed rather innocuous. There is nothing wrong with mildly teasing or making fun of teams/situations as part of the weekly write-up. That’s what makes the reading more interesting. Over the years, we have allowed weekly picks written by anonymous writers for a simple reason: The writers have stated to me, “We have seen how the readers respond to your articles and honestly we can’t handle the hate and the criticism that you put up with. We don’t want to lose friends over this”. There is a lot of truth to it. Over the years, as a result of my articles/views, a lot of people don’t like me. But I personally don’t care as it comes with the territory of expressing views/opinions. But not everyone can handle that type of hate/blow back. So they wrote anonymously and provided a service for the wcl community, who want to read such articles. I’ll admit, I haven’t edited or greatly scrutinized what was written by these anonymous writers, but generally, they have not been controversial. If the league now decides that it won’t allow weekly picks by anonymous writers, that’s their prerogative but I think there is a better solution. For example, when we post something on our website, we are taking some responsibility and the league can hold us accountable (to a certain degree) for the content. Instead of banning anonymous articles carte blanche, the league should publish a “behavior policy” that outlines what type of language and commentary is allowed on it’s social media. Then, if the content does not meet the criteria, the league officials can censor that article/comment on a case by case basis. This allows the league to enforce standards, and not make arbitrary decisions, and it provides writers the guidelines for what is acceptable. This is how even “semi Professional organizations” function. So for the record, we have received at least one more D1 playoffs picks article, which we plan to publish. The writer is known to me but wishes to not use his name. If the league decides delete the link to his article (they shouldn’t have to as the article is not offensive to anyone), then readers can simply come to our site every Thursday (through the playoffs) and read playoff picks by anonymous writers.

On another subject, I don’t quite understand the purpose of involving the WCL Board of Directors (BOD) on judicial/executive matters. For example, Anand Patel posted that the EC had made a decision on the Dulles-Kensington game, but an appeal had been made to the BOD. I would think the purpose of the Board of Directors is to promote cricket, provide guidance on strategic issues, and provide their views on issues where the Executive Committee seeks guidance. Day to day admiration, including judiciary matters, disciplinary matters, or adjudication of game disputes should be handled by some combination of the EC and Judiciary committee. After all, the Executive Committee is the accountable entity, directly elected by the member teams. The Board of Directors is not accountable to anybody. It is not an elected body and its membership appears to be long term (not sure how many years a person can be on the Board, who nominates them, and how they are selected). This makes it all the more imperative that the body that is directly accountable to the membership has more power and is the decision maker on not only day-to-day matters, but also on all disciplinary and game matters. The powers and functions of the BOD should be narrow in scope, specific, and clearly articulated in the WCL constitution.

The information provided by Mahesh Naidu from Dulles, if true, raises certain questions about how the game was conducted and adjudicated. In cricket, the umpire is the ultimate authority and manager of the game. If the umpire had reason to believe that scoring wasn’t being done appropriately, then he certainly has a right to keep score to ensure fair play. He also has the right to require the opposing team to provide him with the current score at end of every over, if he so chooses. If the batting team’s scorer refuses to do so, then he should penalize them (delay of game, for example) with penalty runs. That would very quickly bring them into compliance. The point is, that the umpire is responsible to ensure the integrity of the game, and the league should provide him with the ability to do so. The EC should provide specific guidelines to the teams and umpires before the playoffs begin, so such an incident does not occur.

Congratulations to Star Cricket Club for their promotion to PD. Hope they enjoy their playoff run, because next year will be quite a challenge. It is my understanding that Star has already started their planning for next year. If that is the case, that’s wonderful. Nobody wants to see a team work so hard to come up and then struggle and get demoted right away. On the topic of demotion, I have a feeling that both Nitro and Sri Lankan are not too disappointed about going to D1. They just might enjoy playing there a lot more. I’ve also heard (but not confirmed directly) that Urbana had requested last year not to be promoted to PD, but the EC declined. If this is true, then I hope EC would re-consider their policy. This is a recreational league and teams shouldn’t be forced to play at a higher level than they wish to. PD is not for everyone and if a particular team does not wish to play there, the EC should not force them to. If Urbana wants to come down, then it’s a great opportunity for the EC to reduce the number of PD teams. As I stated in my previous article, I think PD should be reduced to 8 teams. If that’s too drastic for the EC, then perhaps start with 10 and then gradually reduce to 8.

Similarly, congratulations to DC United for their promotion to D1. I’m sure you will acquit  yourself well next year in your new home 🙂

Now moving on to the PD playoffs: First a disclaimer. I haven’t followed wcl cricket this year. I’ve only been to 1 game this year and that too for a very short period of time. I don’t know much about most of the players playing for playoff teams so take this analysis/predictions for what it’s worth (not much). There are only 2 games in the PD this week. The #3 seed 22yards play the #6 seed Titans. Both teams had tough losses in the playoffs last year in this very round, where both were in winning positions. Both want to exonerate the ghosts of that loss. It appears the Titans have significantly changed their line-up the last couple of games and scrambled to qualify a couple of people. Ameeq has been doing well at the top of the order with his aggressive batting while Agha and Saqib have been holding up the middle with Chris Powell providing the end of the innings impetus with some big hits. But Titans have bolstered their batting with additional quality players such as Jagrit Anand, Mustafa Syed plus a couple others that I don’t know much about. On the bowling front, the team is greatly relying on their pace attack (Chris and Shiraz primarily) plus Agha and Shah Rukh for spin bowling. Last week, when the two teams met in the season finale, 22yards comfortably handled the Titans bowling. Perhaps the game didn’t mean much to Titans and the intensity level wasn’t there, or the fact that they were defending a small total and thus couldn’t put adequate pressure. This week there are no second chances and if Titans don’t bowl better to put pressure on 22yards batting, the results won’t be to their liking. It does appear that 22yards has a better and more diverse bowling attack then Titans. They also appear to have more batting depth with the addition of key Pakistani first class players. I believe 22 yards is a more well rounded team and I expect them to win this game, but not with as great a margin as last week. This will be a close and competitive game. Pick: 22 Yards.

The Wolves vs Virginia game is an interesting one. The two teams have met in the playoffs the past 2 years and the winner has gone on to claim the championship. Last year, Virginia played with a chip on its shoulder on a very hot day as they wanted to prove a point to Hemanth, who had taunted Virginia players after the previous year’s win. This year, the Virginia team wants to win this game because some of their players think that I’m somehow behind the bunny article. I’ve always found Shahzad Haider to be a sharp guy with ability to reason and I would think that he knows better and that I’ve got nothing to do with the Bunny and I’ve got nothing but respect for his team and their accomplishments. But I also suspect he lets the rest of his team continue to think that way as he feels that it motivates them. Like I said, he’s a sharp guy with great tactical skills. The team is lead by two of the league’s best players: Juicy and Najaf Shah. Juicy has had an amazing year and scoring a 1000 runs in a season is no mean feat. He takes so much pressure off the rest of the team that they can play with ease and before you know it, the team has scored over 240 runs. Then, Najaf Shah comes in takes out the opposition’s top order and ends all drama. This one two punch is the most lethal in WCL. Wolves are a scrappy team that has been led by 3 guys in batting: Milind, Gourav and Kaushal. The rest of the team has not been consistent in scoring. And word is that Milind has already left the country and won’t be available. This adds significant pressure on the rest of the team to score consistently, especially if they are chasing a 240+ total against a quality Virginia bowling attack. Wolves are the only team in the PD playoffs to not register a win against any of the other playoff teams. With no outside players playing for them during these playoffs, the odds of their winning are significantly low. If Wolves are to cause an upset, it has to be with their bowling and fielding. They have to keep VCC to under 200 runs to have a chance. Anything above that score will be difficult for the Wolves to chase against VCC’s bowling. It’s a tough ask and Wolves have to play a near perfect game and hope that VCC plays below it’s ability. Pick: Virginia.


1 Comment

  1. Akshar says:

    Anurag bhai,

    Aisa kya likha hai us article main. I was ignoring the article, but after the FB and now this article, I am intrigued. Please email me the link if possible.


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