Champions Trophy questions remain unanswered January 12, 2005

USACA dawdles with investigation

Although nearly four months have passed since allegations surfaced on the web hinting at serious concerns regarding team selections for the Champions Trophy in England in 2004, the USA Cricket Association has yet to investigate the matter.

The stories concerned unsubstantiated allegations that a player had paid to be included in the Champions Trophy squad, and there was also confusion surrounding the withdrawal from the squad of another player for what were only described as extraordinary circumstances.

While the USACA had maintained (and still maintains) a public silence on the matter, USACA officers privately assured Cricinfo that it was taking the matter seriously, and would proceed to investigate with all speed.

Now, a series of e-mails has surfaced that casts some doubt on USACA's handling of the matter.

At the US National Tournament in Los Angeles in October, Mr. Sampath who is the Director of the USACA Northwest Region, summarized his discussion on the topic with Gladstone Dainty, the USACA's president, and placed it on record in an e-mail. It appears that Dainty had declared that he would find a retired judge to conduct an impartial investigation of the matter. Sampath affirmed his approval of the approach, and also suggested that the ICC be asked to provide guidance on how best to conduct such an investigation.

The next two e-mails from Sampath indicated his impatience with Dainty and the USACA, and the suggestion that the ICC be invited to look into the issue.

Sampath has been considered a gadfly in USACA circles, because he often brings up issues that the association would rather not discuss or deal with. He is also the only USACA board member who had actively championed the semi-professional cricket league, ProCricket, which was seen by the vehemently anti-ProCricket USACA leadership to be something of a betrayal.

However, it would be difficult to dismiss Sampath's e-mails as mere trouble making. The allegations surfaced well outside his jurisdiction, and it is clear that USACA leadership admitted to him there was something that required investigating.

What needs addressing is what the USACA will do about them.