Gladstone Dainty speaks to Cricinfo February 23, 2007

Dainty: USA cricket will explode into life

Ahead of the ICC's March 1 deadline for the USACA to hold new elections under a new constituion, Gladstone Dainty, the president of the USA Cricket Association, speaks to Cricinfo

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'USA cricket will explode in the boys and girls club area' © Cricinfo

Are you on course to meet all the ICC requirements (elections and constitution) by the March 1 deadline?

Why do you think there has been such a level of opposition to the new constitution in recent weeks?
Richard Hooker prepared us for this type of nervousness when he said that "change is uncomfortable even from worse to better."

How would you respond to claims that you have in effect rigged the constitution so that the existing board remains in place?
It is an absurd charge.

Turning to the Centex deal, how will this benefit US cricket?
Centrex share our desire to build a solid foundation for sustained success. They are capable partners as we strive to reach non-traditional cricket centres.

What income will it bring in and how will this be used?
Youth and Female cricket programs are the priorities of USACA.

Is the main part of the deal hosting ODIs in the USA?
No. Centrex did not request nor did they receive an exclusive to ODIs in the USA. Centrex is committed to the grass roots programs, management and marketing programs on behalf of USACA.

Is this in effect Project USA under another name?

Did you find Centrex or did they find you? How long is the deal for?
There were some preliminary inquiries from both entities which culminated in an agreement. We were both looking and we found each other.

With hindsight, do you regret the actions your board took which led to the ICC scrapping Project USA?
The actions of the USACA Board have always been in the best interest of cricket in the USA.

The board, many of whom are still in place and of which you are still head, were famously described as "dysfunctional" by Malcolm Speed. Why did he use such strong language and what has changed between then and now?
I am not the spokesperson for Mr. Speed.

Have you spoken to Mr Speed or any other senior ICC official since then?
Yes. USACA officials communicate with officials of ICC on and ongoing basis. We do recognize the importance of the parent body.

While the stand-off with the ICC was one thing, do you regret it causing the USA to be thrown out of major ICC events?
USACA were the victim of some unfortunate circumstances.

Given the level of animosity, do you believe you are the right man to continue representing the USA within the ICC or would your cause be better served by someone new?
I have no animosity towards anyone or to any organisation.

Given that the amount of flack you have had to weather, what drives you (and your passion) and keeps you active within the USACA?
It hurts but the pain I feel will not compromise my strength. It is not about me, it is about the game of cricket and the necessity for progress. I have seen outstanding citizens driven away. I do not run.

Why has the board historically been so reluctant to disseminate information to the media or even stakeholders on its website? There was no mention of Project USA being scrapped, for example. Is this secrecy necessary and how do you respond to Centex's insistence that the new board is more "open"?
We have no secrets. We are in the process of having a professional organization run USACA's website.

How will you unite the various factions inside the USACA given that there seem to be high levels of distrust and loathing?
Our structure and culture are inviting those who are willing to serve the game cricket and obedience is not a prerequisite.

How do you propose mending the fences between the USACA and the Council of League Presidents (CLP) and Major League Cricket (MLC)
USACA and its officials are always available to work with all and sundry for the development of cricket in USA. We are always willing to sort out differences.

It hurts but the pain I feel will not compromise my strength. It is not about me, it is about the game of cricket and the necessity for progress. I have seen outstanding citizens driven away. I do not run.

Your critics claim that under your tenure, the USACA has lurched from crisis to crisis, culminating in your suspension from the ICC. How would you respond to those attacks?
The efforts of outstanding individuals have been undermined long before my time. Political forces in and out of the organization have made bad calculations about the financial rewards of cricket in the USA.There are those who believe that it takes a few dollars to make many millions. This belief has been around for many years; it has undermined the efforts of many and drained our limited resources.

What would you consider to be your achievements?
Over the last three-and-a-half years our achievements have been many .We have:

  • Introduced Under-19 regional and national tournaments
  • Licensed Under-11, Under-13 and Under-15 national tournaments
  • Won the ICC Americas regional Under-19 tournament
  • Qualified for the ICC's 2006 Under-19 World Cup
  • Won the recent ICC Americas Under-15 tournament
  • Placed 2nd at the ICC Americas WCLQ series
  • It should be noted that the ICC Americas WCLQ series included Canada and Bermuda and the average age of the team was reduced to 25.6 years.

    Turning to US cricket, how long do you think it will take the USA to regain a place in the top six Associates?
    I believe USA is equivalent or better than the Associates in the top six positions and our performance at the recently concluded ICC Americas tournament is evidence of the fact.

    Is the game predominantly the pastime of first-generation expats, or are second and third generation expats continuing to play?

    Do you think it is right or advantageous to fill the national side with expats born outside the country or is the long-term aim to field a genuine USA side from within the country?
    No .We are committed to fielding teams of USA nationals.

    How big can the game become in the USA? A senior administrator recently said that it will never grow outside the (admittedly large) Asian and Caribbean communities. Is that fair?
    Very big. We must focus on getting American kids to play and American adults to be involved as coaches. We must transition into an organization run by fulltime professionals, who would swiftly seize opportunities.

    How strong is the grass-root game in the USA?
    It is still in its infancy but is rapidly growing.

    Where do you see US cricket - and Gladstone Dainty - in five or ten years?
    USA cricket will explode in the boys and girls club area and shortly thereafter make noticeable appearance in the school system.

    What will be your legacy to the game?
    This journey is not about my legacy. It is about a change to develop and improve the quality of cricket in USA.

    Martin Williamson is managing editor and Will Luke is editorial assistant of Cricinfo