Last year NYPD Sergeant Mahaan Chandu asked American College Cricket President Lloyd Jodah to assist in organizing two friendly cricket matches, to facilitate the creation of a NYPD Cricket team. The result was NYPD Cricket’s first games vs an informal team called the 'Jodah American College Cricket XI'.
Both teams had a lot of fun that day, and the result was the establishment of a NYPD Cricket Team which this year played in the Commonwealth Cricket League.
Top desi channel TV Asia was there to cover the historic event, and Sgt Chandu explained how he took a giant leap and got cricket made an exhibition sport in the World Police and Fire Games . Assisted by Sargeant Rana the first cricket match was scheduled as part of those Games, against the Pakistan Consulate Security Force.
Sixty-nine sports are played at the World Police and Fire Games every two years since 1985, so it is astounding that cricket has not been one of those before. Unfortunately however this is typical of cricket’s governing hierarchies’ “head in the sand” approach to promoting the game.
So on a beautiful sunny day,in Cunningham Park, Queens, with the aroma of barbeque grills, and desi food like Chicken tikka masala the two teams lined up for the Opening Ceremony, in front of the many family members who had come to watch the game.The National Anthems of the USA and Pakistan were sung, and bagpipes were played.
Sargeant Chandu thanked NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly for his support, his fellow officers, and Lloyd Jodah for assisting with organizing the event.
The Pakistan Consulate team was captained by the NY Consul General of Pakistan, Faqir Hussein and might have been the favorites before the game. Batting first, however they managed to make only 112 despite a good start by Akram 15, and Col 17. Zahid down the order made 17.
Police Officer Owais was top bowler for the NYPD, getting at least 2 wickets (if we cannot give you all the numbers its not because the scorecard was incomplete, but because its “classified “information ).
NYPD got off to a blazing start, with PO Habeeb collaring the bowling whilst PO Dev kept things under surveillance. Habeeb cover drove through gaps square of cover, flicked over square leg, drove straight down the ground and over midoff, for 4s and 6s in an arresting display of strokeplay.
After 4 overs NYPD was 46 for 1 and the Consulate bowlers seemed handcuffed and unable to stop Habeeb who breached the cordon for boundaries, whilst PO Ahmed patrolled the other end.
By the time PO Habeeb was out for 62 his team was set for victory with POs Shiba 2* and Owais 18* cruising to victory. Owais ended the game with a huge 6 over cover .
Both PO Habeeb and PO Owais were named MVPs, and then, in an unusual twist Habeeb was named Man of the Match ! His fellow police officers also urged him to show up for more games !
Faqir Hussein,the Pakistan Consul General, praised the event as “demonstrating the goodwill sports can help develop.” and looked forward to more such cricket matches.
Next year Sgt Chandu plans to have a tournament involving other NYC law enforcement organisations, and in 2013 the NYPD Cricket team will hopefully play in the World Police and Fire Games in Belfast, Ireland. Later this month NYPD cricket might play an American College Cricket team.
American College Cricket President Lloyd Jodah said, “In 1844 the first international sporting event of ANY kind, a cricket match between Canada and the USA took place in New York – so I’m happy to see every step NY makes, such as this event, to be a leader once again in the cricket world.”