USA January 13, 2008

US board has to wipe the slate clean

Whatever people might think of the process, the USA Cricket Association finally has a democratically-approved new constitution

Whatever people might think of the process, the USA Cricket Association finally has a democratically-approved new constitution. For all the abuse he has had to endure, Chris Dehring has done all that he can to ensure this has been implemented fairly, and for that he should be given tremendous credit. Making sense of such a divided and acrimonious mess probably made his troubles running a World Cup seem tame by comparison.

Now the fun starts. Already there are rumblings of discontent with accusations that many of the clubs who were eligible to vote did not exist in any real form. The easy way round that is for the USACA executive to release a list of which clubs voted - not how they did, but just their names. That will enable people to scrutinise the ones that sent in ballots and establish their credentials, and for club members who did not to ask their committees why they sat by and did nothing.

Fresh elections for the USACA board should now take place within 30 days, and that's where things get interesting. It's too early for any candidates to be named, but for the sake of US cricket from the top down, it has to be hoped that none of the executive who have, through their own dysfunctionality, made US cricket the pariah of the international family and who have caused untold harm within the country, will stand.

In any other walk of life - business, politics, your local sports club - someone who had overseen such a mess as Gladstone Dainty, the current USACA president, would have walked away in shame. But, remarkably, Dainty seems impervious to all that is thrown his way, and the same applies to his utterly discredited executive.

They have operated in a manner which at times has seemed in direct opposition to the game's best interests, and have done so with an arrogant disregard for stakeholders. Almost everything has been done behind closed doors. It's a sign of how bad things had become that the ICC suspended the USA and, after two years of internal squabbling, asked Dehring to bang heads together. Not even Zimbabwe has had that kind of treatment. It's a sign of how desperately the ICC wants a stable and reliable US board.

But there is every indication that Dainty and his associates will offers themselves up again. The low poll on the approval of the constitution - barely 25% of clubs bothered to vote on what was a crucial issue - makes that more likely than ever. Many of those who did vote were probably allied to the current board. If the existing bunch can muster enough support from a core which stands to gain from their continuing incompetence while the rest sit by and watch, it will be easy.

Laks Sampath, a director of the North West region and an influential administrator, has decided not to seek re-election, and he thinks that others should do the same. "At the end of the day the constitution is but a small issue," he told Cricinfo. "It's the governance that needs to change. The level of inactivity within the current administration must be addressed. The organisation lacks people with corporate experience and hence do not have the skill set to administer it.

"It's clear that we need to have a fresh set of people that actually have experience running successful enterprises. There's this complete unfounded thinking that only people with cricket experience can run USACA. That is about the as rubbish an argument I have heard and the proof is in the pudding. Let us bring in people that have some exposure to cricket, but have not been tainted administering USACA. Let us give them a chance."

The real concern comes if Dainty and the others are re-elected on a low turnout. US cricket will, in effect, be back to square one. Officially, the ICC will again recognise the USACA and the national side will be readmitted to international competition. But such is the level of infighting even that simple process is likely to end up in a mess. Factions will continue to snipe and several major investors who have been sitting on the sidelines with grand designs for cricket in the country may well walk away.

What is needed is a fresh start. There is too much baggage and too much bitterness. For the good of the game the next generation of administrators have to step and the old guard move on. The alternative is more of the same. Only this time, the international community will turn away for good. They have enough problems of their own without this one. This really is US cricket's last chance.

To paraphrase a well-worn quote of Benjamin Disraeli. The difference between a misfortune and a calamity is this: If Gladstone sought re-election, it would be a misfortune. But if he was re-elected, that would be a calamity.

Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • testli5504537 on January 23, 2008, 11:52 GMT

    Has there been any news on the election? Candidates announced? Ballots sent out? Wasn't the new election supposed to take place within 30 days of the ratification of the new constitution?

  • testli5504537 on January 21, 2008, 4:44 GMT

    Guys you have cost us our playing opportunities. Thanks largely to money hungry and power hungry individuals (current administration - if there is any). My game has suffered due to lack of playing time. The only good competitons is on West Coast. You guys have ruined it for all of us and still want to run this association. Leave it and go and let good people run it. You have been in power for long time. I am a Player and I am frustrated. I urge all other players to write on this blog. It is time we tell our own leagues what to do. Most of our leagues are run by peoples who never played cricket. No knowledge whatsoever how game should be handled. We don't need ICC help. We function for last 2 years without their monies. If they want to fund okay otherwise we will support ourself. USACA we don't need you. You can run it anyway you want. I will tell my league not to support USACA. We will survive somehow and bounce back and comeback stronger than ever. Dehring is a joker.

  • testli5504537 on January 20, 2008, 5:42 GMT

    I personally do not know Mr.Dainty, but he seems like a smart man. He obviously knows you guys very well and keeping you on a short leash. Let us not try to divide the cricket and find a way to work with the people who have the experience. United we stand , divided we fall.

  • testli5504537 on January 19, 2008, 2:42 GMT

    Looks like all the readers want a new organization. So let's move on and Dainty can be President with his cronies and can have his national tournament in his beloved state of Florida where he gets all the hotel rooms and transportation comped and then go on to the ICC tournaments and have all the players pay for meals and cab rides.

    All the good people have walked away from USACA. So 2 new organizations - East & West and they will have their own tournaments and competitions. Done, this is it. All clubs don't send in your ballots and don't pay 2008 dues to USACA.

    Boycott USACA. This is the way to go.

  • testli5504537 on January 17, 2008, 23:08 GMT

    Coach55, I am sure you are close to Dainty and get the part of the bread that ICC throws, Apart to US cricket kicked out of division B, there has not been one national tournament which has been organized nicely, why, coz. the funds had been chewed up, funds that were suppose to be used to develop has been used for personal investments, u know that, small leagues clubs trying to encourage cricket have not been given attention, culprit is who,"DAINTY", we have never had any president who is done so severe damage, again its not the fight with Dainty, its with his execution of leadership.

  • testli5504537 on January 17, 2008, 22:22 GMT

    Coach55 says that nobody could have done better than Dainty in the last ten years. WHAT has Dainty done other than cause the US to be chucked out of world cricket, caused bitter infighting and utterly screwed up the whole thing. He and his cohorts are a national disgrace.

  • testli5504537 on January 17, 2008, 20:13 GMT

    I think there are many of us to blame for not taking the cricket towards right directions. I do not know why so many are against Dainty. I do not see any one in the last 10 years who could do a better job. We need to move beyond personalities and try to work towards making progress. One person should not be able to block the way. I do not think Mr. Dainty has done any thing different than what every one else in cricket is doing.

  • testli5504537 on January 17, 2008, 17:35 GMT

    I think it will, all these cries will be heard, just as King's rule ended and democracy prevailed, Dainty will be done and anyways he is halfway in grave, CRICKET LOVERS keep your fingers cross he doesnt get elected again, if he does you might aswell start concentrating on a different career and we will all wait until finally he gives up, i just hope he doesnt anymore damage than what he has already done to cricket in US, so people a day will come when you will all love to play cricket, you will love to play nationals and you will love to see USA team going places

  • testli5504537 on January 17, 2008, 15:52 GMT

    "Mith for Dainty" - you forgot one thing, the free trip each year to the ICC board meeting in Dubai / London or wherever it may be. Suppose you can not blame people as such not to want to lose these free perks that others would get with a good job. But!, one difference, others who have a good job actually work for it! It reads like people such as Dainty and Sehgal just sit on their thrones and do nothing!.... It just goes on and will not change hey.

  • testli5504537 on January 17, 2008, 14:19 GMT

    Why don't member clubs just dissolve and form their own cricket associations recognized as national associations? The ICC need to get their heads out of their a**es and accept reality. The USA could win the Cricket World Cup in 2011 and no one would give a rat's tail. So just try and develop the game regionally. It can setup leagues on a smaller geographic scale that would significantly help level of play and number of games played.

    California can have their own association. Cascadia (Oregon/Washington) can have their own association. The Northeast can have their own. So on and so forth. Have each attempt to qualify for international tournaments on their own accord. If the West Indies, a conglomerate of somewhere around 10-15 countries, are allowed to be treated as one country, what's wrong with taking 1 country and dividing it into 15 "countries"?

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