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Croft is Cricket Hall of Fame’s 100th inductee

By STAN WALKER

Collin E. H. CroftFormer star West Indies fast bowler Collin E. H. Croft became the 100th candidate to be inducted into the Cricket Hall of Fame in ceremonies held on Saturday, October 4, at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Hartford, Connecticut.

A part of the potent West Indian quartet of fast bowlers from the late 70s and early 80s, Croft who served a relatively brief career lasting just five years, in expressing his thanks and appreciation for his inclusion into the Hall of Fame said that to be nominated as the No. 100 inductee is indeed quite special. The weekend that I spent in Hartford was quite surprising, enjoyable and eye-opening, he said.

Now a well respected commentator of the game, Croft, who hails from Guyana, related some of his happy experiences while playing and the love that he has for the game. “Cricket has done a lot for me,” he said. “It has given me the opportunity to travel all over the world, meet a lot of people and to learn about their culture.”

Croft, who now lives in Florida, said cricket in the U.S. is at a crossroads. It is too parochial. Personalities and politics are holding back the game in this country. You can’t have progress if you do not get rid of personalities. “We need to mix more with the Americans at all levels whether they are our off-springs or not and teach them about the Caribbean and our way of life,” he said.

A former teacher, Croft said that sports are a good way to help youngsters get a good education. “If we want the game to become one of the top sports in this country, we must take it into the schools. The youngsters need help and we have to help with their development to let them get to understand where they are.”

Before concluding his remarks he praised Lauderhill, Florida mayor, Richard Kaplan, another inductee for what he has done for cricket in the U.S. Known as the evangelist for cricket in the U.S., Mayor Kaplan was directly involved in the creation of the first and only accredited International Cricket Council (ICC) field and stadium in the U.S.

In his response after his induction, Mayor Kaplan told the gathering about the challenges that he had to overcome to get the stadium built and the let down that he has experienced since then from the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and the United States of America Cricket Association (USACA) in their efforts to host international games at the stadium. “We need to develop the game at an international level here in this country in order to get it to move forward,” he said.

Former captain and assistant coach of the West Indies women’s cricket team Stephanie Power another inductee thanked the Hall for the honor and expressed the satisfaction and the enjoyment that she had when playing for the team. However, Power, a Trinidadian, who has ambitions of becoming a selector, said that there is need for some changes in the way in which the team is put together. “We need to have at least one woman involved at the administrative level of the team,” she said.

All the other inductees, former Pakistani all-rounder Mansoor Akhtar, Orville Hall, former manager of the U.S. senior team, Joyce Trotman-Harmon, first female president in the New York region, Paul Hensley, president of the CC Morris Cricket Library and 85-year-old Emmanuel Lewis, who is still playing the game, expressed how proud they were to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Two other individuals Lt. Michael S. Manson of the Hartford Police Department and Dr. Patrick Dallas of the Kingston College Old Boys Association were presented with appreciation certificates. Lt. Manson was recognized for the work that he has done with the cricketers who play in Keney Park and Dr. Dallas for his role in the recent installation of lights at one of the top cricket fields in the Caribbean, Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica.

Prior to the ceremonies the inductees were hosted by both Governor Dannel Malloy and Hartford’s mayor Pedro Segarra at the capital state building and city hall. They both expressed their satisfaction of being able to meet the inductees and congratulated them on their accomplishments.


Cricket Hall of Fame to induct its 100 candidate

The Cricket Hall of Fame will mark its 33rd anniversary with the induction of its 100th candidate at ceremonies which will be held on Saturday, October 4, at the Hilton Hotel downtown Hartford.

Eight individuals will be inducted at the ceremony. Topping the class is former West Indian fast bowler Colin E. H. Croft, former Pakistani all-rounder Mansoor Akhtar and former captain of the West Indian women’s team Stephanie Power. Joining them will be Lauderhill, Florida mayor Richard Kaplan, Emmanuel Lewis, Orville Hall, Paul Hensley, and Joyce Trotman-Harmon.

Guyanese-born Croft was part of the potent West Indian quartet of fast bowlers from the late 70s and early 80s. In a relatively brief career lasting just five years, he established a reputation as one of the most chilling of fast men, with no compunction whatsoever about inflicting pain.

Akhtar, who played in 19 Tests and 41 ODIs partnered Waheed Mirza in a world record opening stand of 561 in 1977, which is still recognized as the best first wicket stand in first class cricket.

Power, a former Trinidad & Tobago and West Indies women’s cricket captain and later assistant coach, will be the first-ever international female cricketer to be inducted. She is a well-recognized and respected coach in cricketing circles in the Americas, and in particular women’s cricket.

Better known as an evangelist for the sport of cricket in America, Mayor Kaplan was directly involved in the creation of the first and only accredited International Cricket Council (ICC) field and stadium in the U.S., which was part of a $70 million complex that contains a variety of other sports facilities.

Well known in New York and the Florida cricket circles, Lewis who is originally from Trinidad, at the tender age of 85, is still very active in playing the game that he so passionately loves. He is possibly the oldest person in the region still playing the game.

Hall, a former manager of the U.S. senior cricket team was instrumental in helping to draft the constitution of the U.S. Youth Cricket Association. When the first elections were called, he was elected as the first Public Relations Director, a position which he still holds.

Hensley, an American, who is the president of the CC Morris Cricket Library, which is located in Philadelphia, has provided leadership for the library to expand its role to support all aspects and forms of American cricket. Since he became president, the Philadelphia International Cricket Festival merged into the library. The festival continues to grow and has become one of the premiere cricket events in the United States.

Originally from Barbados, Ms. Trotman-Harmon is the first female president of the New York Cricket League. She has also served in many other administrative positions in a number of clubs and tournaments in the New York region.


Hall of Fame to honor KC Old Boys’ president

President Dr. Patrick DallasKingston College Old Boys’ President Dr. Patrick Dallas will be honored at this year’s Cricket Hall of Fame’s Induction Ceremony, on Saturday, October 4. Dr. Dallas, who paid a recent visit to the Hall of Fame’s facility on Main Street, Hartford, Connecticut and expressed how impressed he was with what he saw there, will be recognized for the role he played in the installation of lights at Sabina Park, Jamaica, one of the top cricket grounds in the Caribbean.

He was the consultant engineer of the project. The lights were being installed to fit into the plans set for the Caribbean Premier League.

Dr. Dallas, who has a great interest in helping with the development and improvement of the game in the Caribbean, held a lengthy discussion with the institution’s director Michael Chambers, who encouraged him to try to set up a professional competition in Jamaica. “This is what the region needs in order to get the West Indian team back as one of the top and well respected teams in the world again,” Chambers told him.

The installation of the lights means that the park could soon revert to its former status as a multi-purpose facility.

The historic ground was the regular venue for major football matches, prior to the opening of the National Stadium in 1962, and also hosted the National Boys and Girls Athletics Championships, as well as other sports such as hockey.

At the ceremony which was held to mark the turning on of the lights in the park, Natalie Neita Headley, Minister with responsibility for Sports, reportedly said, with the latest upgrade, the venue will not only be for cricket, and will not even be confined to sporting activities, but was now open for business with a wide range of organizations wishing to use the facility.

The Indian government provided a significant portion of the money that was spent on installing the lights and it is understood that a team from India could be invited to play a Jamaican team in the first cricket match to be played under lights at the park.


Hall of Famer to be inducted into another Hall of Fame

Dr. Constantine Campbell, who was inducted into the Cricket Hall of Fame in 2006 for his outstanding contributions to the sport of cricket both in his native Jamaica and Canada, has made it into another Hall of Fame.

The Cornwall College Old Boys 2014 “Homecoming” Planning Committee has selected him as one of the outstanding ‘Cornwallians’ to be honored during their 118th anniversary Homecoming Celebrations which is set for September 7-13.

Dr. Campbell, who spent his high school years at Cornwall College, which is located in Montego Bay, Jamaica, will receive the “Men of Might” Hall of Fame Award, which is given to Cornwallians who have served the school and country with distinction and have gained high international acclaim in their fields of endeavor.

The award is the fourth such given in this category. The inaugural award recipient was the late Professor Rex Nettleford in 2010, followed by Dr. Henry Vernon Wong in 2012 and Dr. Aggrey Brown in 2013. The award brings with it the honor of a permanent display in the proposed Cornwall College Museum.

Dr. Campbell, whose love for the game of cricket started as a young boy in Montego Bay, where he played for a lot of teams before migrating to Canada, is responsible for the establishment of a cricket team and the development of a first-class cricket ground in Swift Current, Canada.

Although described as a fanatic of the game, his love for the sport did not diminish his hectic study regime in pursuit of his PhD. On the completion of his PhD, he accepted a job with the Canada Federal Government Department of Agriculture Research Station in the small prairie city of Swift Current, Saskatchewan. There was no cricket team there so he decided to establish a team. Through his persuasion he got a number of British and West Indian residents in the area together and formed a club.

Dr. Campbell, who makes frequent visits to his home land, was also instrumental in reviving the cricket program at his alma mater, Cornwall College. On one of his visits home to watch a Test match, he became very disappointed when he learned that the cricket program at the school was no longer operating. Learning from the headmaster that it was due to lack of resources, he contacted some of his old schoolmates and was able to acquire sufficient funds to get the program restarted.


Former WI fast bowler Croft tops list of nominees

Guyanese born Colin E. H. Croft part of the potent West Indian quartet of fast bowlers from the Colin E. H. Croftlate 70s and early 80s is among this year’s list that has been nominatedfor induction into the Cricket Hall of Fame.

In a relatively brief career lasting just five years, Croft established a reputation as one of the most chilling of fast men, with no compunction whatsoever about inflicting pain.

With his height (6'5"), Croft bowled bouncers, was very aggressive and renowned for bowling wide of the crease over the wicket and angling the ball in to right-handers. Croft's figures of 8/29 against Pakistan in 1977 are still the best Test innings figures by a fast bowler from the West Indies.

From 27 Tests he took 125 wickets at 23.30 and a strike-rate of 49.3; in the shorter version, Croft took 30 wickets from 19 One-Day International (ODIs) at an average of 20.66, a strike-rate of 35.6, and an economy of 3.47. These are phenomenal numbers by any standards, and for any era. To put things into perspective, if we put a 100-wicket cut-off, Croft’s Test average is next to only Malcolm Marshall, Joel Garner and Curtly Ambrose — all champions of the sport — among West Indians. If we apply the same criterion, his Test strike-rate is next to only Marshall’s 46.7.

In 1982 Croft accepted a place on the rebel tour of apartheid-divided South Africa, in violation of an international ban on sports tours of the country. The rebel players were granted "honorary whites" status by the South African government to allow them access to all-white cricket playing areas. All the players who took part in the tour were banned for life from international cricket, thus marking the end of his cricket playing career. That ban, however, was effectively lifted in 1989, by both the West Indies Cricket Board (WICB) and the UN. Croft moved to the United States to avoid recriminations at home.

Croft also taught mathematics at Lambrook school in Winkfield Row, Berkshire, UK from 2007-2008 for one and a half terms. He never coached cricket at the school but frequently gave autographs to parents of pupils at the school.

Since 1994, he has been doing cricket coverage part-time, as a commentator/analyst, and was one of the first writers for CricInfo, contributing over 500 articles so far to that entity. He has continued his sports journalism career everywhere that cricket is played, covering West Indies tours since 1994.

Croft's first overseas sports journalism sojourn was to the United Kingdom in 1995. During the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup Croft provided analysis for the BBC's Test Match Special radio coverage on all the Guyana based matches. He continued his analyst's role during the West Indies tour of England the same year.

In his private life, having been an Air Traffic Controller from 1973 to 1981, while also playing cricket for the West Indies, he has also obtained a Commercial Airline Pilot's license in the USA, with endorsements for the UK, and worked as a Commercial Pilot in the Caribbean.

He also regularly appears as a studio guest on Sky Sports when West Indies are playing.


Cricket Library president to be inducted into Hall of Fame

Paul Hensley

Paul Hensley, the president of the CC Morris Cricket Library, which is located in Philadelphia has been nominated to be one of this year’s inductee into the Cricket Hall of Fame.

An American, Paul was introduced to the sport of cricket at Haverford College where he played all four years as an undergraduate. His senior year he was captain and was primarily known for his bowling – medium pace with a swing.

After college he played intermittently and a few years later when he moved to New Hampshire, rarely.

In 1986, he moved back to the Philadelphia area and soon joined the Executive Committee of the library. About 10 years later, he became the Library President. Paul has provided leadership for the library to expand its role to support all aspects and forms of American cricket.

Since he became president, the Philadelphia International Cricket Festival merged into the library. The festival continues to grow and has become one of the premiere cricket events in the United States. During this time, the Library helped to support the Philadelphia Cricket Club reestablish their playing of cricket.

The collection of the Cricket Library has gained international stature since the Swinging Away Exhibit was on display in 2010 at Lords and 2011 at the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The exhibit traced back the roots of baseball and cricket. Many of the great cricketers of the 1880 to 1910 period, like Bart King, started in baseball and converted to cricket.

Further expending the Library’s role, it was the founding sponsor of the United States Youth Cricket Association (USYCA), providing critical early financial support of the program. Many of the library’s members joined and continue to be active in the USYCA programs that bring cricket into grade schools across the US. Well over 100,000 American children play cricket in public schools because of the USYCA’s program.

In 2013, the library merged the Greater Philadelphia Cricket League in the organization. And earlier this summer, the library announced it would establish a second cricket festival. The first American Youth Cricket Festival will be held Labor Day Weekend 2015.


KC Old Boys president impressed with Cricket Hall of Fame

Dr. Patrick Dallas, president of the Kingston College’s Old Boys Association, paid a visit at the Patrick DallasCricket Hall of Fame on Thursday, May 20, and expressed how surprised he was to see such a collection of information in one place.

Dallas was so impressed with what he saw, that he not only commended the members for the wonderful work that they are doing but promised that he will be back, keep in touch and go out his way to promote the Hall of Fame wherever he goes.

The institution reminded him of a room, Hardy House, that they had at the school (KC) when he was a student there which was equipped with a number of artifacts, pictures, books and other memorabilia that would give one a true history of the early days at the school and of some of its students who turned out to be successful members of their communities. “It is something that I would like to see revived at the school,” he said.

One of the individuals who is involved in the installation of lights at Jamaica’s famous cricket ground, Sabina Park, to accommodate the Caribbean Premier League, Dallas who has a great interest in helping with the development and improvement of the game in the Caribbean, held a lengthy discussion with the institution’s director Michael Chambers, who encouraged him to try to set up a professional competition in Jamaica. “This is what the region needs in order to get the West Indian team back to being one of the top and well respected teams in the world again,” Chambers told him.


Cricket Hall of Fame’s secretary laid to rest

Vernon C. TennantMembers of the Cricket Hall of Fame are mourning the loss of its secretary Vernon C. Tennant, who passed away on Tuesday, May 13, at the St. Francis Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut. He was 75.

An individual who possessed a good knowledge of the history of the game particularly when it came to the West Indies became associated with the institution during its reorganization in 1997.

Shortly after his arrival in Hartford from Jamaica in the early 1980s, Tennant, who was a good schoolboy cricketer, continued to pursue his passion for the sport by becoming an umpire in the Connecticut Cricket League in 1985, a service which he performed for several years before quitting after becoming disillusioned with the indiscipline of the players and the lack of support by the then officers of the league.

Tennant said that he liked the discussions held at the Hall of Fame and as one of the first persons to meet and interact with the inductees when they arrive on these shores, that he liked the one and one contact that he got from the former cricket stars and the opportunity to exchange dialogue with them on some of their past experiences.

When people learn that we meet every Wednesday night throughout the year to plan for our annual induction ceremony, they find it difficult to understand our dedication to the organization and the sport. “It was simply because of our love for the game which most of us played during our younger years,” he explained. “That’s what keeps us going,” he had said.

Known for his quiet demeanor and easy going spirit, Tennant who was one of the hardest workers at the Hall of Fame will be sadly missed.


Cricket Hall of Fame’s team did well in US Open

Cricket Hall of Fame’s team did well in US OpenBy STAN WALKER

The Northeast regional team which participated in last year’s annual US Super Cricket Open that was staged in Florida did not win the competition. However, the fact that they finished in ninth position in the tournament in which 40 teams participated is a clear indication that the efforts put out by the Cricket Hall of Fame (CHOF) to get the team together was a success.

The Northeast team made up of players from the Connecticut and Massachusetts cricket leagues and an Under 25 team, won three out of five matches.

Although the organizers failed to recognize two of their players who turned in outstanding performances in the bowling department, one taking five wickets for 10 runs and the other having a hat-trick, CHOF director Michael Chambers, who feels that this will not happen again, said that because of the excellent performance of the team, we are planning to take part in the tournament again this year. The bowling awards were reportedly given to two other players who did not produce statistics any way near to what those two did.

“We have already begun putting plans in place to try and raise funds or to find someone to sponsor the team,” Mr. Chambers, said. “We have sufficient talents in the northeast leagues that with proper approach and management our team could easily come away from the tournament as the winners” he added. Mr. Chambers also expressed his gratitude to the CCUSA for their assistance in the sponsorship of the team at last year’s tournament.

Founded in 2001, CCUSA is a professional sports and entertainment management organization that has been at the leading edge of the promotion, development and expansion of cricket in the U.S.


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