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April 1, 2008
The United States of America Cricket Association (USACA) has been re-recognised as an Associate member of the ICC following their suspension in March 2007.
The USACA held their elections at the weekend when Gladstone Dainty - despite facing strong criticism over the past few years - was re-elected president, beating off the favourite, Ram Varadarajan, who was widely tipped for the post. The elections were a last-gasp effort for American cricket; without a formal constitution in place, the ICC would have had no other choice than to continue their suspension. With that particular condition met, the ICC's president, Ray Mali, was pleased to welcome the board back as an Associate member.
"We congratulate all elected representatives to the USACA Executive, Board and Regional Administrations and hope that this newly elected group of people, with a new constitution to operate within, can now truly represent a fresh start for cricket in the United States," Mali said. "We are grateful to the West Indies Cricket Board and its representatives, especially past and current presidents Ken Gordon and Dr Julian Hunte, for all their work on this matter, together with USA cricket's stakeholders, over the past 12 months."
Following USACA's suspension in March 2007 the WICB - headed by its president, Ken Gordon - was asked to intervene between the two fractious parties: Dainty's association and the regional league presidents who opposed him. For now at least, the infighting has quietened down.
"And we are also grateful for the work of Chris Dehring, who played a significant role in finding a solution to the process as an independent third party," Mali added. "Everyone at the ICC now trusts that, following these processes, those now charged with the important responsibility to govern for the good of the game in the USA will be able to do so with distinction as a team.
"The ICC now looks forward to the USA's involvement in all our international cricket activities and also playing a role in supporting the further development of the game there alongside our ICC Development Program and its Americas Regional office."
This development, however encouraging on the surface, is only the start. Opposition to Dainty remains fierce, with US cricketers and leagues threatening to break away from the USACA and form their own tournaments.
Nevertheless, it is welcome news for American cricket - regardless of the infighting which will doubtless persist - as it provides the USA with much-needed money from the ICC. And now that they are recognised, it paves the way for their national side to participate in Division 5 of the World Cricket League which begins in Jersey in May (they were relegated from Division 3 last year) and begin the long road to qualify for the 2011 World Cup.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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