US professionalism to start in 2010
Don Lockerbie, the chief executive of the USA Cricket Association, has said that plans for the professionalisation of the game in the United States was on track to begin later this year.
“We’re fast approaching the ability to feel comfortable with some of the initiatives that we’ve put in place and some of the financial planning that we’re putting in place and can soon announce,” he told dreamcricket.com. “We’re adding staff to my office which would include hiring a national director of coaching, an assistant coaching staff, kind of retooling the way we select players throughout the country. We’d be looking at a regional coaching staff around the country that we’d want to incentivise with paid positions.
“I think that a lot of people know that my strategy all along has been to start at the national team level and work our way down because I believe that club cricket and regional cricket is healthy. Certainly, they can always use more funding and more facilities and more initiatives and we’ll get that to them in the near future, but the first thing to do in my opinion is to meet the mandate of the ICC and the mandate of the ICC is to make sure that we’re developing professional cricket teams that can make it to World Cups.”
The perennial problem for USACA has been money as the funding it receives from the ICC is no bigger because of the size of the country. “I think the stakeholders of US cricket will soon find that there will be funding for all areas of US cricket,” Lockerbie insisted, without going into specifics. “The goal is to make noise and noteworthy headlines at the national and international level so that the funding can come in so that there are broadcasters and sponsors and investors who want to be part of US cricket and so that it then makes its way throughout all spectres and spectrums of US cricket.”
Sceptics will again flag that Lockerbie’s ambitious plans are big on confidence and promises but sketchy when it comes to details on where the cash will come from.
Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa