Better late than never. The Toronto & District Cricket Association (TDCA) presented its 2009 hardware last Sunday just days before the new season starts this weekend.
Ugandan-born Kenneth Kamyuka became the first African player to capture the Senior Player of the Year award at last Sunday’s presentation ceremony in Mississauga.
The 28-year-old all-rounder scored 414 runs (av. 41.40) and took 16 wickets (av. 19.31) in 16 matches for Brampton Masters in the Elite division. Though satisfied with the individual accomplishment, he made it clear he would also have relished sharing the championship trophy with his teammates.
Brampton Masters were the losing finalist in the last two seasons.
“I definitely feel as if I have some unfinished business and the goal is certainly to help my team win that title this year,” said Kamyuka, who joined the club in 2008. “I enjoy playing in Canada, but it will be that much sweeter if we win the big one that has eluded us.”
The right-handed middle-order batsman and useful medium pacer, who scored an unbeaten 100 against Malaysia in the International Cricket Council (ICC) Trophy tournament in the Greater Toronto Area nine years ago, also wants to play for Canada.
“I don’t feel as if the Ugandan Cricket Association has been acting in the best interest of players like me who have contributed so much to the program and I have made the decision to settle in Canada and try to make the national side,” he said. “If even I was to return to Uganda, I would do something else rather than player cricket.”
Kamyuka, who last represented Uganda in the 2009 ICC World Cup qualifier in South Africa, could be eligible to represent Canada in 2012.
Lester Pearson Collegiate Institute Grade 12 student Hiral Patel won the Junior Player of the Year award.
“I am very happy with this honour,” said the Victoria Park all-rounder who spent most of last season and the first few months this year with the junior and senior national programs. “I had to juggle my school work with cricket, but I will graduate on time this year and then concentrate on the sport. My goal is to be a regular member of the senior team and I want to be a major contributor.
“Before I do that, I have to learn to adapt to batting conditions and occupy the crease for lengthy periods. I need to work to improve my overall game and I am prepared to do that to get to the next level.”
Ontario Cricket Academy’s 15-year-old right handed batsman/off-spinner Nikhil Dutta captured the Most Promising Player of the Year award. He was the league’s ninth leading scorer with 341 runs (av. 68.2) and the third top bowler with 30 wickets (av. 5.63).
Markham Cricket Academy’s Gerard Rajendram and Farouk Ali won the Junior Coach of the Year and Umpire of the Year awards.
Allan DeSouza of Ajax Cricket Club was the league’s top run scorer with 469 runs (av. 36.08) in 14 third division matches. Toronto Cricket Club and national player Shaheed Keshvani was second with 458 (av. 57.25) followed by Ontario Cricket Academy’s Darius D’Souza with 453 (av. 50.33), and Vikings’ players Krishna Deosaran with 436 (av. 87.2) and Krishna Arjune with 412 (av. 68.67). They were the only players to surpass the 400-run mark in the league last season.
St. Edmunds spinner Simranjeet Singh was the most productive bowler with 40 wickets (av. 5.11) off 84 overs.
The league winners were PCB Cricket Club (elite), Yorkshire (premier), Islanders (first division), Toronto Cricket Club (second), St. Edmunds (third), Toronto Cheetahs (fourth), Cavaliers (under-17), Ontario Cricket Academy (under-15) and Markham Cricket Academy (under-13).
The new season begins on Saturday with play in the second, third and fourth divisions. The premier and first division start on May 15 while play in the elite division kicks off on May 22.
The TDCA also honoured longtime administrators Austin Ward and Leroy Grey, who now resides in Jamaica, at the awards ceremony. Grey, who is vacationing in Canada, attended the event.