Maryland Youth Cricket Association honors 75 cricketers

Champions and players in four divisions and categories were honored at MYCA’s second annual banquet and award ceremony.

(This post has been updated.)

Roughly 75 youth cricketers in various age groups were honored at the second annual banquet and award ceremony hosted by the Maryland Youth Cricket Association in College Park, MD, on December 15.

Champions and top performers at the MYCA annual tournament held between April and June were honored at the sold-out event, which was packed with cricket enthusiasts.

In the Under-16 category, the winners, the Future Stars School of Cricket (FSSC), received the Frank Islam Trophy, named after Maryland entrepreneur and philanthropist Frank Islam, who presented the trophy. Joint winners in Under-11, Bowie and Washington Cricket Academy, champions in Under-13 Germantown Kids and Rockville Rockstars and Girls champions Bowie were also honored at the event.

Individual awards were presented to cricketers in four age categories: Boys Under-11, Under-13 and Under-16, and the Girls category.

Among them were Under-16 standout performers Ritwik Behera of FSSC, who received the MVP award; Hallaj Rana of LTC, who won the Best Batsman award; and Jaspreet Singh of LTC, winner of the Best Bowler award.

Other top performers included:

In the Under-13 category, Adithya Kidambi of GKRR (Best Batsman), Dev F. Patel of Ellicott City (Best Bowler) and Rish Kajale of Ellicott City (MVP);

In the Under-11 category, Amit Damaraju of WCA (Best Batsman), Aaryan Boddupally of WCA (Best Bowler), and Tanush Apte of FSSC (MVP); and

In the Girls category, Sana Sanwal of Ellicott City (Best Batsman), Stephie Janey of Bowie 1 (Best Bowler), and Jenna Knight of Bowie 1 (MVP).

In addition to these 12, MVP, Best Batsman and Best Bowler awards were presented to players on every team in every division. (See the winners’ list below.)

Elkridge, MD,-based SuperoverSports presented cricket kits, bats and vouchers for division leaders. The first ever state teams for the Under-16 and Under-13 divisions were also recognized along with coach of the year for every division. Arna Gumgol from Bowie was given a special award for scalping 7 wickets against an-all boys FSSC team.

Besides Islam, United States Men’s National Cricket Team member Sunny Sohal, Maryland Sports Executive Director Terry Hasseltine and MYCA President Jamie Harrison spoke at the event.

Hasseltine pointed out that cricket was growing in the state and he wants to play its part in taking it to the next level. He pledged $2,500 from the 2019 state budget to support cricket in Maryland, which was welcomed by the audience with a thunderous applause.

Hasseltine also promised to work with MYCA, which has been a pioneer in growing youth cricket in the state, to improve infrastructure for youth cricket.

India-born Sohal, who has represented India Under-19 team, Punjab state and the IPL teams Deccan Chargers and Kings XI Punjab, urged the cricketers to take the game seriously. He said he will work with them to develop at least two international class players from Maryland.

Harrison spoke about the progress of cricket in the state during 2018. One of the major accomplishments of the year was the creation of the first-ever girls division, which saw four teams fight it out for the championship. The first-ever Maryland state youth team traveled to California to play in the National Youth Cricket league (NYCL) tournament. The team participated in the Capital Youth Cricket Championships (CYCC) in Washington, DC. Four state teams competed in the tournament in the Under-16 and Under-13 divisions. Harrison said the upcoming 2019 season, which begins in April, will be even bigger.

Islam lauded the “hard work and accomplishments” of MYCA. “This organization is truly one of a kind,” he said. “Hosting an elementary cricket league, a middle school cricket league, and initiating the only statewide cricket championship in America is a remarkable achievement.”

He urged the players to focus on “the team, the game and grit.”

“Grit is the power and the passion to persevere,” he said. “Grit is the key to success in life.”

Reminiscing his formative years growing up in India, he said even though he “was not very good at” in cricket, it “played a role in shaping” his path and journey. “What I learned about the team, the game, and grit helped make a difference for me. I am certain cricket will make a difference for you young people.”

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