WCL 2013 Awards Banquet

 

Washington Cricket League hosted its 2013 Awards Banquet at the Clarion Hotel near National Harbor on Saturday evening. The turnout was very good with 100+ members attending. All the teams that were receiving trophies and individual awards were present in good numbers. The Executive Committee, dressed in formal attire, greeted all attendees as they walked in. Tables were reserved for the various teams and most people had arrived by 7:45 pm.

The special guest for the evening was the USACA Chief Executive Officer Mr. Darren Beazley. This was a good opportunity for the WCL players to meet with Mr. Beazley and get his views about the future direction of US Cricket. Mr. Beasley did not disappoint. He graciously honored the various picture requests from attendees and answered their question. Mr. Ali Ibrahim took lots of pictures, many of which can be found on the WCL facebook page.

After dinner, the main program started. Mr. Shakeel Yusuf, who was the host for the evening, took the podium and introduced the various speakers. The President, Shoaib Ahmed, was the first speaker. Shoaib congratulated all the winners and thanked all the attendees and declared the 2013 season a great success. Nikhil Deshpande was next and he too kept things short and simple . Then came the main speaker for the evening, Mr. Beasley, who spoke about his vision for USA Cricket over the next several years. He emphasized the need to grow the game in the elementary and middle schools. He also stated that next year, Indianapolis will host the National Championships and those playing in this event will be the only ones considered for the US team. He further stated that the Championship will be telecasted on TV. He was excited about the various tournaments that the US team will be participating in next year and reached out to the WCL for help and support in making US cricket stronger and more vibrant.  He further stated that he has had the opportunity to see, first hand, many cricket leagues around the country and he rated WCL as among the best. He requested that people from WCL volunteer their time  to help strengthen US cricket. He said, and I quote, “There are lots of people in a long line who complain about the problems with USA cricket. The line for those who wish to help make USA cricket better is very short. I hope you will get in the short line and help improve US cricket.” Mr. Beasley is a good speaker and the crowd reaction was very positive to what he had said. When he finished speaking, he received a standing ovation from a large section of the audience.

Mr. Shakeel  Yusuf called Tariq Qureshi, AJ Parikh and Shreyan Patel on the floor for a “Bollywood” vs “Hollywood” competition on songs from the 80s through the 2010s. Tariq Qureshi  had everyone laughing out of their seats with his hilarious dance moves. AJ and Shreyan were no competition for him. It was a no contest.

That said, TQ gets out of control and he did so this time as well. There were several times when he interrupted speakers with his antics. You could see a visibly uncomfortable Executive Committee members at his antics. Several of them stated to me after the presentation that “We had the CEO of USACA here. This type of behavior leaves a very bad impression about our league and its members.” I don’t know if there are any plans by the EC to address this issue.

Shakeel Yusuf did a very good job as the host of the show. He kept the crowd involved and entertained with his cricket jokes, one at my expense, and also asked a few trivia questions. So take a bow Mr. Yusuf for a job well done!

Next came the various individual trophy presentations followed by the team trophies. As the names were called out, the recipients of the awards excitedly went on stage and proudly received their awards. Ibrahim Ali was kept very busy with his picture taking duties. It was interesting to see the reaction of the teammates of individuals when their names were called out for the award. Several of them stood up and enthusiastically clapped and/or whistled loudly to show the support and appreciation for their teammate’s achievement.

I won’t delve into all the awards as they have already been published. The idea here is to present a flavor of how the evening went. But I would like to highlight a few awards that were not published before hand.

I was very happy to see Ammar Khan win the PD All-rounder award. He was truly the best all-rounder in the PD and a very deserving winner.  His teammates were extremely pleased at this honor. Vikings had another reason to cheer when Nail was declared the Captain of the year in the PD. Congratulations to Nail and to the Vikings Cricket Club for a successful and memorable year.

Rikin Parikh won the Captain of the year in D1 and his teammate, Shahid Hanif, winning All-rounder of the year honors. UMBC had a GREAT year and this was reflected in the number of team and individual honors for this team. Many congratulations to the team and all its members. Rikin is a great guy and I’m very happy for him. It was his leadership that transformed this team into a worthy champion. But UMBC’s special evening didn’t end here, Minhaj Shahid, along with Charan Singh, won the Player of the Year honors. This is the highest individual award in the WCL and it was fun to see all the UMBC players jumping with joy when the award was announced.

Many congratulations to Charan Singh for winning several individual awards, including the coveted Player of the Year. His consistent performance is testament to his hard work and dedication. Take a bow Charan for being the brightest star among so many bright stars in the WCL.

Division 2 Captain of the year honors was no surprise at all. It went to the very deserving Ajay Natrajan of Potomac winning. What Potomac did this year is unprecedented and deserves all the accolades. Rhodri McAlmont won the All-Rounder of the year in this division.

The umpire of the year honors went to Mr. Abdul Qadir.

Mr. Ram Raghu presented his own (personal) award to Vijay Malela who had secured the highest marks in North America and the Caribbean in the international umpiring exam. Many congratulations to Mr. Malela. Mr. Raghu also presented his Cricketer of the Year award to Imran Awan.

Srikanth Kucherlapati had announced, at the beginning of the year, that he would be giving an award to the “Most Promising Bowler” and that award went to Madhu Bylapudi of Falcons cricket club.

The WCL recognized players who represented the United States in international cricket this past year with a plaque. Mr. Beasley handed out these recognition plaques.

With all the awards given out, the 2013 season came to an official end. Overall, it was a fun evening that everyone enjoyed. It was a great opportunity for everyone to meet as league mates and not as competitors and congratulate those who had exceptional performances during the cricket season.

I want to end by wishing all WCL members happy and safe holidays and look forward to seeing you on the field next year. Till then, so long!

  

 


 

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