ICC to rule on governance issues in US cricket

From Donald Duff in Barbados

The International Cricket Council (ICC) will later this week make a decision on the governance of cricket in the United States of America based on a report of a task force it set up earlier this year.

The United States of America Cricket Association (USACA) is the governing body for the sport but their authority is being challenged by a rival organization, the American Cricket Federation (ACF).

The ICC’s Head of Global Development Tim Anderson told Stabroek Sport on Monday in an exclusive interview that a decision will be made later this week either at today’s annual conference or at the ICC Board meeting tomorrow.

“That’s one of the things that’s being discussed this week,” said Anderson.

“The ICC Board wrote to the USACA as the governing body back in January requesting information, trying to understand more about their role as the governing body and also the status of US Cricket generally,” he added.

“From that we had a review group that went into the USA and talked to a lot of stakeholders and that review group will be providing its report to our Executive Committee and the Board this week and from that the Board will decide what course of action it wants to take if any.

Anderson was part of that review group or task force which was headed by the ICC Chief Executive Dave Richards which was mandated to provide a comprehensive report on cricket in the USA.

There is no doubt that cricket in the USA has huge potential from a financial perspective and since the sports network ESPN acquired the Cricinfo news website, hopes are that cricket in the USA will finally explode.

There are huge grounds built for baseball but two former cricket greats-turned-entrepreneurs Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne are at the moment exploring the possibility of staging cricket matches in the USA. They are about to commence a T20 league at three of the more famous baseball grounds and have targeted a number of former international stars to participate in the tournament.

Additionally with cricket and other sports in mind a US$5m World Sports Park was recently built in Indianapolis.

On Monday the ICC disclosed that an Americas team will be involved in next year’s regional one day tournament known as the NAGICO Super50 competition. Anderson feels that the decision can benefit both Americas and West Indies cricket.

“The best players that end up representing the region in the NAGICO Super50 will then be (on) the radar of the CPL Franchises to see whether those players can get a tryout for the CPL which again is another step so were creating this pathway of how do you from Argentina, or USA, or Canada or Bermuda, how can you play in the CPL. So it’s quite a nice concept. It gives the best players in the region an opportunity to play against the best players in the West Indies. Obviously it’s part of the ICC’s qualification to major events, USA, Canada, Bermuda etc., play in qualifying tournaments for the World T20 competition which is good but this is an additional opportunity for the best players. As the premier T20 league in the region, for those players who have aspirations to become professional cricketers, this is the right path.

Two players from the Americas have already landed CPL contracts. The 21-year-old USA wicketkeeper Steve Taylor will be with the Barbados Tridents while Canada’s off spinner 20-year-old Nikhil Dutta was chosen to play for the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots following successful tryouts.

Despite the obvious potential, the game has not been well run which is why the ICC decided to send in the task force.

The USACA has been guilty of not staging elections in a timely manner which has led to it being penalized by the ICC via the withholding of funds.

Additionally, the USACA has failed to pay back a US$200,000 loan to the ICC while in 2012; there was a decision to debar some 32 of the 47 members from voting at the elections.

These are just some of the issues affecting the sport in the USA, issues which the ICC feel are not healthy for the sport and creates an environment which is not conducive for cricket development. However it is unlikely that the ICC which has in the past suspended the USACA will do so this time and Anderson hinted as much.

“USACA is the ICC’s member, the ICC recognizes it so that’s the current situation,” said Anderson.

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