Solson looking to pass the test of time with Team USA


Isaac Solson is on a mission to find the best cricketers to represent Team USA at the 20th Maccabiah Games as they return to the Open competition following 33 years in the wilderness.

A veteran of four Maccabiot, Karachi-born Solson is the driving force behind a project close to his heart. He fell in love with the spot after playing his first match aged seven and he has never looked back.

Born in 1949 to a Bene Israel, a historic community of Jews in India, family in Pakistan, Solson rememrecalls the difficulties of growing up Jewish in a country whose officially declared religion was Muslim.

“Thankfully, as I improved as a cricketer, people began to focus more on my athletic ability than the fact that I was Jewish,” said Isaac. He was admitted to the prestigious St. Patrick’s College of Karachi in 1969, where he maintained the highest batting average in the city of Karachi, which was then home to more than 10 million people.

In 1971, Solson was chosen to play first-class cricket for Karachi University. Not for the first or last time, he was the only Jew on his team. In October of the same year, Solson made Aliyah to Israel, where he quickly made an impression among the Israeli cricket community, being named the Most Promising player by the committee.

As captain of Petah Tikva, he scored four centuries in his first season including an unbeaten 102 for Central Israel against a touring Harrow team that included former Worcester and England star Basil D’Oliveira in Ashdod.

Solson made such an impression that D’Oliveira offered him a job as an overseas professional playing league cricket in England.

Solson would go on to serve as Israel’s vice-captain at the 1979 Cricket Mini World Cup, and was a member of Israel’s 1982 and 1986 cricket World Cup teams.

Prior to the World Maccabiah Games in 1973, Solson was approached to represent Israel, which he accepted. It was the first time he played on an all-Jewish team. “I went from always being the only Jew on my team to being on a team filled with Jews,” Solson recalls. “What a great experience that was for me."

He would go on to represent Israel at the next three Maccabiah Games in 1977, 1981 and 1985, winning two bronze medals along the way.

Solson moved to the United States in 1989 and now lives in Tampa, Florida with his wife Sheba, with whom he has four children. “Cricket has given my life so much, I feel the need to give back,” said Solson, who will chair the Maccabi USA cricket team.

"Moving to Israel and playing at the Maccabiah helped change and shape my life, and I can’t wait to give back to the next generation of Jewish American cricketers."

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