Cricket returned to America on Sunday as Cricket Council USA (CCUSA) began a Ten10 (T10) Tournament at Maq Cricket Ground in Delray Beach, Florida, USA.
CCUSA, which was the first cricket body to introduce Twenty20 (T20) cricket in America (back in 1999) and also T10 cricket in 2016, again is ahead of the rest in bringing the sport back after four months off for the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Sunday, there were two matches played with Pakistan Eagles coming up against Orlando Stars. After taking the first match by six wickets, the Eagles again were in top form in the afternoon taking the second match by seven wickets.
Before the match, all players were given safety kits by CCUSA as according to the chairman of CCUSA, Mahammad Qureshi, all safety protocols were observed.
"We took all the safety precautions. We were guided by the International Cricket Council (ICC) safety guidelines on COVID-19 and all went well, I must say," Qureshi said.
"We have been inundated with calls from cricketers around America during COVID-19 as to what is the future of the game here. We had to act quickly and this we did. He arranged safety kits for the players and had them distributed before the cricket. The players all exhibited responsible behaviour and the first round of matches went off well. We are all looking forward to next weekend for the continuation."
This Sunday, USA's Red Force with several T&T-nationals on it will be playing against New York All-Stars and Florida International.
Red Force skipper Timmy Surujbally, who has scored 47 centuries in various US Leagues, is happy to get the chance to play once again saying: "We are very grateful to CCUSA for thinking about us the cricketers and getting this tournament off the ground. It has been hard not being to do the thing we love but Maq Qureshi and CCUSA are again putting the smiles back on our faces."
Cricketers from T&T normally go across to play whenever CCUSA has tournaments but with the borders in T&T closed due to the pandemic, they cannot take part in the series.
Former T&T Red Force allrounder Navin Stewart, who has been a regular player in the leagues in America, said whilst it is frustrating that he cannot fly across to play, his health comes first.
"It has been frustrating being unable to go across and play in the leagues but health takes precedent at the moment. I love playing at tournaments like the US Open T20 and I see that CCUSA started back cricket on the weekend. I am looking forward to playing again in the States and looking to probably get out there in July.
"It is a slow process but one has to be patient through all this. I have just started back my net sessions. During the lockdown, I did a lot of physical training and also did a lot of cooking. It was also a good time to spend with the family. I am looking forward to going back to the US to play cricket soon."