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MARGATE/FL – USA: Many people come around cricket in the United States but when the heat is on, the boys get separated from the men. The belief of chairman of Cricket Council USA (CCUSA) Mahammad Qureshi who has been plugging along for over a decade in trying to bring cricket in America into relevance.
The Fort Lauderdale businessman who has spent millions in promoting the sport says that what America needs is cricket administrators who are willing to show belly and fight a good fight, to bring the sport to where it needs to be. Qureshi has been hosting the most popular T20 tournament in North America, the US Open T20 for 10 years and says many people have come to his tournament and went away looking to do similar things. “They come and look at what is going on and go away thinking that it is easy. Look, if many other tournaments can be held, we are happy because we want to see players get more and more opportunities to play the game. Some people come and see what we are doing and go away with the idea that it is easy. They form their tournament and then all os a sudden they disappear. As soon as they realize it will take serious investment and time, they pack up and you never hear of them anymore.
“These people are not the ones to run cricket in America. In order to build the game, you must have genuine people, who are willing to put in the hard work and money to see the sport go forward.” CCUSA has been assisting in the development of cricket in the USA through their cricket academy, their outreach programmes and their tournaments. Every year, Qureshi spends money in getting the best talent to come into the country, so that the local players can rub shoulders with them and develop their game. Even more importantly is the fact that the US Open platform has created a stage, whereby the US Players can be spotted and taken out to other world leagues.
“Point in case is Muhammad Ali Khan, the fast bowler has been playing in the US Open for many years and when I decided to invest by bringing in Dwayne Bravo, it worked wonders for him. Both of them was playing for the US All Stars and Bravo took a liking to Khan after seeing him bowl. He then got him into the CPL, where he was the star of the show. Now Ali Khan is a household name in cricket and all because of the opportunities he got at the US Open T20. We are happy to be providing this for cricketers in America but far too often others try but leave and run away when things get tough.”