Two sides work together February 5, 2005

USACA signs deal with ProCricket

Gladstone Dainty: politically astute move © Getty Images
The USA Cricket Association is preparing to sign a historic agreement with US ProCricket, the semi-professional league which had its debut in 2004, which will end the year-long feud between the two organizations and set up arrangements for them to work together in the 2005 season.

The agreement is expected to open the way for US cricketers to play for pay in ProCricket teams without jeopardizing their status for USA selection. It will also pose an immediate challenge to the ICC, most of whose Test-playing members have to date refused to let their contracted players play for ProCricket. If the USACA now agrees to allow ProCricket to invite overseas first-class players to play in the USA - a cornerstone of ProCricket's approach - the ICC will either have to take a position opposing USACA, or look the other way if any overseas first-class players choose to defy their contract rules to play for ProCricket.

The move is seen as a politically astute one for Gladstone Dainty, the USACA president. By signing a memorandum of agreement with ICC at the same time as with ProCricket, he is signalling USACA's independence from outside (i.e. non-US) cricket authorities without openly defying ICC. At the same time, he is putting ICC very much on the spot. If USACA and ProCricket develop a good working relationship, their joint revenues could siphon off money that would otherwise be earned by Project USA, and this would put the ProCricket-USACA alliance, not Project USA, in control over US-generated cricket dollars. But if the ICC will now refuse to sign its memorandum of agreement because of USACA's deal with ProCricket, it can be accused of going back on its own word and of interfering with the internal affairs of an ICC-member country.

As an aside, a ProCricket-USACA alliance could also consolidate Dainty's position within USCA, and ensure his reappointment in 2006. Most of ProCricket's leadership is located in and around New Jersey, in USACA's Atlantic region. The Atlantic region director, Shelton Glasgow, considered a Dainty supporter, has been facing stiff opposition in the 2005 elections. In return for support of US ProCricket, its leadership has tacitly agreed to drop it criticisms of Glasgow and support his re-election. In an election where one or two USACA board members could make the difference, retaining Glasgow could be crucial to Dainty's plans and hopes for the future.