NFL, NBA executives named independent directors of USA Cricket board

Paraag Marathe addresses the audience during a leadership dinner Getty Images

San Francisco 49ers executive vice president of football operations Paraag Marathe, one of the highest-ranked Indian American officials in the big four American pro-sports leagues, has been named as one of the inaugural three independent directors to round out the ten-person board of directors for USA Cricket. Marathe was added to the board along with Catherine Carlson of the NBA's Orlando Magic and Rohan Sajdeh, a senior partner and managing director of Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

Marathe is the highest-profile appointee on the inaugural USA Cricket board, having been with the NFL's San Francisco franchise since 2001. He also serves on the board of directors for Leeds United, currently in the English football championship. He is a graduate of the University of California-Berkeley and obtained an MBA from Stanford University.

"I am looking forward to this unique and exciting challenge," Marathe said in a USA Cricket press release. "I believe the United States has the potential to be a major player in international cricket and we can inspire this country to fall in love with this great game. This is an incredibly talented and passionate board of directors and I am looking forward to working with them so that this major international sport can achieve its potential here in the United States."

Carlson, an Australian native, is a senior vice president of corporate partnerships with the NBA's Magic, where she has worked since 2009. Prior to her role with the Magic, Carlson worked from 1998 through 2009 at the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando.

Carlson's initial brush with the US cricket came in her time with Disney when she was involved in a proposal, called Project USA, between the ICC and the USA Cricket Association. The plan called for a cricket stadium to be built at the Wide World of Sports Complex where neutral site matches would be staged with the anticipated revenue funnelled to cricket developments in America. The proposal collapsed in 2005 amid administrative turmoil with USACA not long before the first of three suspensions leading to their eventual expulsion in 2017.

Sajdeh, an Australian of Indian origin, played first-class cricket for Cambridge University in the UK before moving on to Northwestern University in Chicago where he completed his MBA at the Kellogg School of Management. He is familiar to ICC administrators, having been involved in the design of the ICC Test Championship model in his work with BCG. Like Sajdeh, fellow USA Cricket board member Usman Shuja is a graduate of Northwestern's KSOM MBA program and was a former colleague of Sajdeh at BCG.

The three independent directors were confirmed following a process that included 61 applicants who were reviewed by the USA Cricket's nominating and governance committee. The four-person committee, which included the ICC chief executive David Richardson, narrowed down the field to six finalists who were interviewed in mid-August before the three independent directors were chosen.

"USA Cricket now has a governance structure and a high calibre board that we believe positions the organisation well to achieve its enormous potential," Richardson said. "A successful US cricket administration is great for world cricket and we are delighted with the quality of board candidates who have been selected from an incredibly impressive field and we think the global game will benefit from their expertise."

The three independent directors join the seven constituent directors who were elected in early August. The full ten-person board will have their inaugural meeting later in September where the chairman of the board will be chosen from one of the three independent directors. Once the role is finalised, USA Cricket will put forward their formal application to be recognised as the ICC's member governing body in the USA to fill the void left by the expelled USACA.