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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 July, 2004, 09:20 GMT 10:20 UK
Massiah on a mission
By Sarah Holt

MASSIAH FACTS
Steve Massiah
Born: 21/06/1979, Guyana
Batting style: Right-handed
Bowling style: Right arm off-spinner
Cricket idol: His father and Australian Steve Waugh
Did you know? Massiah was offered a contract by Nottinghamshire but he turned it down
Steve Massiah developed a passion for cricket growing up with his neighbour and friend Ramnaresh Sarwan in Guyana.

In March 2003 Sarwan was handed the vice-captaincy of the West Indies and Massiah - well, he became eligible to play for the United States.

The duo will both be in action at the ICC Champions Trophy in September but just how did Massiah end up taking such a different path to his childhood friend?

"When I left Guyana, all my cricketing dreams and aspirations stayed behind," Massiah told BBC Sport.

"I played with Sarwan, Chris Gayle, Marlon Samuels and Daren Ganga in the regional West Indies tournament and I had topped the batting averages.

"But I came to New York in 1998 because I wanted a better life.

"There is a cricket club in Long Island that is associated with the Demerara club in Guyana who I used to represent.

"When they knew I was coming to America they thought it would be exciting for me to be part of their set-up."

Massiah found work as an estate agent and, as cricket is an amateur sport in America, still continues to fit his cricket around his job.

He then had to wait five years before he could be classed as an American resident and try for a place in the USA team.

The 25-year-old had appeared for the A-team against Malayasia in 2001 but was not allowed to play in events sanctioned by the International Cricket Council.

We can only go to the ICC Champions Trophy and make a name for ourselves
Steve Massiah
When his chance came, Massiah quickly established himself batting at number three.

And he played a vital part as the USA qualified for the Champions Trophy with a shock win over Scotland in the Six Nations Challenge in March, contributing 46 runs and grabbing two wickets.

"To be able to go to that tournament as underdogs and come out on top was unbelievable," said Massiah.

"So when the Champions Trophy comes around I will fulfill my childhood dream to compete on the world stage."

But with the world's number one team Australia and New Zealand in the USA's group is Massiah afraid that dream could quickly turn into a bit of a nightmare?

"It's exciting and challenging but we don't have anything to lose," said the batsman.

"We can only go there and make a name for ourselves.

"I'm not worried about facing anyone. Whether it's Jason Gillespie or Shane Warne bowling, I'll take each delivery at a time.

American batsman Clayton Lambert in action for the West Indies in 1998
Former West Indies and now USA batsman Clayton Lambert has inspired Massiah
"Whatever happens the experience can only help me become a better player and the USA a better team."

The Champions Trophy will be a landmark occasion for the USA as it is the first time they will compete against the major Test-playing nations.

But can coach Faoud Bacchus's side eventually develop into a major force on the world stage?

"The only way forward for us is through performance," said Massiah.

"If we can give a good account of ourselves in the World Cup and get one-day status that will all help to make us stronger.

"There is a lot of amateur cricket played America but in terms of getting paid it's just not happening.

"And yes sometimes people on the street do find it confusing when I say I play cricket.

"But the USA is starting to put together some good performances and we're really making progress."




SEE ALSO
World Cup snubs USA
05 Jul 04  |  Cricket
TV boost for new US league
21 Jul 04  |  Cricket


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