Despite their one-off participation in the 2004 Champions Trophy, to say the ‘United States of America’, ‘cricket’ and ‘winners’ in the same breath is more than a little odd. But, earlier this month, a US embassy club team not only won the first edition of the Four-Nation Inter-Embassy cricket tournament, they also beat Canada, Australia and Great Britain to get that crown.
The Americans emerging cricketing champions has been the subject of much banter on the Capital’s diplomatic circuit — not for the Aussies or English though.
And given that even the Americans’ northern neighbours have far better cricketing credentials than them, this was really unexpected.
So how did the US embassy triumph (incidentally, they beat Australia by six wickets in the final)? Simple: with a little Indo-American cooperation.
The team’s vice-captain, Anurag Masson, who works in the US embassy’s security office, is Indian.
In fact, of the squad of 21, there are 15 “Indian Indians”, one American of Indian origin, four Americans without any Indian background and one Pakistani.
So how did this tournament begin? “Eric Saulters and I gathered contact details from other embassies and Eric Saulters (the team skipper and a colleague in the US embassy),” said Masson. They then got hold of a venue (Salwan Public School) and held the two-day event over the weekend before Diwali (October 10 and 11). ‘League’ matches were on Saturday and the third-place play-off and the finals on Sunday.
And whatever the winners and losers, everyone had fun.
Though they supported all the teams, the crowd at the Salwan ground reserved the loudest cheers for Masson’s men.
“The feeling, the support of the local crowd was nice, and I must say that this will be an ongoing tournament and the next edition will much bigger,” said Masson.