Ever so often someone comes along to give a much-needed injection to sports the world over. Cricket's turn has arrived in the form of Mohammad Ahmed Qureshi. Recently on my trip to Fort Lauderdale to cover the exploits of T&T's T20 team against the Jamaicans, I met this very unassuming man sitting in the president's box, taking in the game. I was pointed out to him and with a warm smile he greeted me and told me he loved cricket and was a servant of the game.
I later got from him his past, current and future aspirations for the game, we all love. Qureshi, also known as "Maq," migrated to the United States in 1984 with little to no means-but he had big dreams. With a strong work ethic and limitless determination, he is now the president and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of a successful corporation, MAQ Group, Inc, one of the largest real estate investment and financial groups in the United States. MAQ Group has enjoyed great success by specialising in high-profile commercial real estate investments, financing, development, management and consulting.
MAQ Group also specialised in developing and maintaining fast food franchises and gas stations throughout the state of Florida. MAQ Group owns trademarked brands, such as PetroAmerica, Subco, SuperStop and Bizder. MAQ Group also maintains many significant, national-scale relationships with BP Oil, Shell Oil, Hess, Chevron, CITGO, Marathon and Sunoco, among others.Ten years ago, Maq's passion for cricket led him to personally create a private sports and entertainment company named "Cricket Council USA." With business and three kids whom he spends much of his time with, the "business" of cricket has become an integral part of both his professional and personal life. Maq has held countless cricket tournaments throughout the United States including Texas, Florida, New Jersey, Connecticut and New York known as the "MAQ T20 Tournaments." Maq has branded a T20 logo and tag line as well as a line of energy drinks and a clothing/gear line surrounding the hype for the short-action packed game. Maq has also been a long time supporter of the only ongoing T20 Night Cricket Tournament in the United States-the "City of Lauderhill Maq T20 International Night Cricket Tournament" in the City of Lauderhill, Florida (Cricket capital of the US). He wants the game to grow in his new home, just as it is in his land of birth Pakistan. MAQ is not afraid of pumping his funds into cricket development and has even managed the US cricket teams on occasions.
His love for the game is evident he is overjoyed that cricket is finally taking off in the US. As a matter of fact it was Qureshi who started the T20 format way back in 1998 in the US. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has been credited for bringing on stream the T20 format because their cricket is organised but Qureshi was one who started it. According to him: "There was this need to get the attention of the people here focussed on cricket. I could not tell them that you have to play the game for five days to get a result. "So I thought that three hours was a good time to get in a match and then worked backwards to settle on 20 overs per side. "This was great indeed and we started playing it here. Now I have the US?Open taking place and I am offering a top prize of US$100,000." The US?Open has 64 teams participating in the tournament and teams from all around the world has taken part in the series. This has captured the imagination of a number of Americans and the youths outside the Asian and West Indian disaporas are now carrying around bats-thanks to MAQ.