By Frederick HalleyONKAR Singh is a cricket commentator with a difference. He’s not heard on radio or television but his on-the-spot coverage of both hard and softball cricket has caught the attention of many over the past 16 years or so, prompting him to describe himself as “the pioneer of on-field coverage.”It all started as a fun when his team, New York X1, were booted out of the 2000 World Cup softball tournament in Florida. According to the Guyana-born Singh, who now resides in Albany, New York, for the fun of it, he picked up a mike on the sidelines and started to describe the action on the field of play.Singh explained that after a few minutes, he ceased the commentary but upon doing so was accosted by former Guyana and West Indies player Faoud Bacchus as to why he had stopped. This, according to Singh, inspired and prompted him to continue, signalling the start of what is still a rewarding part-time career.To date, Singh, who told Chronicle Sports that he idolizes fellow Guyanese Joseph “Reds” Perreira, has been a constant performer mostly at international softball games in New York and Florida and has also featured at two Guyana Softball Cup in his homeland. He’s also likely to be a part of the upcoming Guyana Floodlights Softball Cricket Association (GFSCA) sixth tournament, set for November 4-6 next.Singh is however not confined to softball and has also done some hard ball matches in North America, including the West Indies Legends versus New York Legends which featured former players like Alvin Kallicharran, Gordon Greenidge, Gus Logie, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Pedro Collins and Bacchus.Pointing out why he’s an ardent fan of Perreira and patterns himself after the legendary Guyanese commentator, Singh pointed out that his (Perreira) description of on-field plays is unmatched.Prior to migrating to New York in 1996, Singh was no slouch in the cricket arena in Guyana, having represented Georgetown and subsequently Demerara in the Inter-county Under-19 tournament, playing alongside the likes of former West indies player Carl Hooper, former Guyana wicker-keeper Sheik Mohamed, fast bowler Linden Fraser, Shivnauth Seeram and Anil Solomon,among others. His role in the team was that of an off-spinning all-rounder.Singh also spent three years in Trinidad and Tobago, representing Crampton Cricket Club in the first division competition where his teammates included former West indies players Ian Bishop and Phil Simmons.In 1989, Singh turned his attention fully to softball cricket, playing exclusively for Durban Cricket Club alongside Wayne Jones and the late Benegal Singh, two players he opined as the most complete batsmen in softball cricket. He rates a nine-wicket haul and an innings of 49 not out among his best performances for Durban.Work commitments have severely curtailed his ability to play softball cricket in New York but Singh nevertheless still competes in the Over-40 division occasionally. He previously played for Lords Cricket Club in Queens, New York,and he is credited with slamming two centuries and several half-centuries.He also skippered the Demerara (New York) Inter-county team to three consecutive championships.Born and raised in Campbellville, Greater Georgetown, Singh attended Redeemer Lutheran School and Indian Education Trust College,which was subsequently renamed Richard Ishmael Secondary School.
The Trojan track and field teams will be heading to Seattle, Washington, this weekend to compete in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Indoor Track and Field Championships. The women’s team will seek to hold onto their title for the third year in a row, while the men’s team will attempt to dethrone Oregon, who narrowly beat them last year.The MPSF ITFC is a competition created in 1992 and designed for Division I West Coast schools. This year, 14 men’s teams and 19 women’s teams will be in attendance. Though the Trojan men’s team is looking solid, as they are currently ranked ninth in the nation by the USTFCCA NCAA Division I National Team Computer Rankings, they will have to be wary of strong competition from Oregon’s squad, which is ranked second on that list, and Washington’s, which is ranked twelfth. Meanwhile, the No. 10 Women of Troy will have to battle Oregon’s first-ranked roster and Washington’s seventeenth-ranked team.Though the women of Troy aren’t number one in the nation, junor sprinter Destinee Brown is still convinced that she and her teammates have targets on their backs. Brown said she is willing to do whatever it takes to earn the victory.“I feel like we’re definitely the team to beat,” Brown said. “[Personal records] are great, but I would rather win than PR. But if I have to PR to win, then that’s what we’re trying to do.”Coach Caryl Smith Gilbert echoes the sentiment. Though most teams facing SC this weekend are not ranked, she acknowledges that competition will still be tough.“At the end of the day, the ranking doesn’t matter,” Gilbert said. “It’s about what you do on the day. There are a lot great teams and a lot of great competitors in the conference that want to make sure to give us a run for our money.”The men’s squad will make their second-ever appearance at the indoor event, and their good performances so far this season suggest that it will be a strong one. Most notably, two weeks ago, in the Tyson Invitational men’s triple jump event, junior Eric Sloan set a personal record (55ft, 10.50in) to win the competition and claim the farthest jump by a college athlete this season. Sophomore Randall Cunningham placed fourth in the high jump (7ft, 3.25in) at the Tyson long jump event.The women’s lineup is also looking very competitive. USC currently holds the MPSF ITFC women’s 1600m relay record (3:33.58), which was set last year. It may be beaten, as the quartet of sophomore Kendall Ellis, junior Amalie Iuel, senior Jaide Stepter and Brown set a school record (3:28.82) at the 2016 Tyson invitational in the women’s 1600m relay. Also at the 2016 Tyson invitational, Iuel set personal records in the women’s 400m (52.52) and in the women’s 60m HH (8.504). The same day, Katerina Berdousi placed second overall with a PR of 4:57:43 in the women’s 1600m, and Rebekah Ent posted a PR of 2:12:91 in the women’s 800m to place seventh overall.Following the MPSF ITFC, the Trojan track and field athletes can look forward to closing out the indoor season with the NCAA Indoor Championships in Birmingham, Alabama, in early March.