USA cricket October 12, 2011

New York officials lead calls to stand up to Dainty

Two high ranking New York Region cricket officials sent letters out on Tuesday to US cricket stakeholders, urging them to band together and bring positive changes to the way the sport is run in the country. New York regional chairman Lester Hooper and Eastern American Cricket Association league president Rudy Persaud are some of the first people from outside the USA Cricket Association board to speak up against the recent actions of the USACA president Gladstone Dainty.

"I am not one to get involved in USACA politics but folks how do you sit by as the game that you love is being destroyed on a national level and by extension a regional level?," Hooper wrote in a letter to league presidents around America. "President Dainty's unilateral decisions will eventually cost us a price that we cannot afford." Hooper also wrote a separate letter directly to Dainty to protest the suspension of USACA secretary John Aaron.

USACA issued a brief statement on its web site stating that former India allrounder Robin Singh will coach the USA women's team for the ICC Women's World Cup Qualifier next month in Bangladesh. Robin replaces Linden Fraser, who had been working with the majority of the USA Women's squad from his base in New York since January. USACA Cricket Committee chairman Krish Prasad said he played no part in the decision to remove Fraser, and that it was another example of Dainty making a unilateral decision. Fraser's dismissal appears to have been the last straw for Hooper and Persaud, who each issued their letters within 24 hours of the news.

"As President of the Eastern American Cricket Association - one of the oldest member leagues of the New York Cricket Region, I am painfully aware of the embarrassment being caused by our national body - USACA," Persaud wrote. "It hurts me to be associated with such a body that is led by Mr. Gladstone Dainty, who, in my opinion is acting in a crude and dictatorial manner.

"As league presidents we are the ones electing our national and regional members to the USACA board, and at this time I have no confidence in Mr. Dainty's ability to lead USACA or to represent my league to the ICC. I am not afraid to stand up and speak out on the bad things which have been affecting USACA during this year, and therefore I ask you to stand up and speak out, because, as the saying goes, if you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything. Let's us stand together, so that we may not fall for what Mr. Dainty is doing to the sport of cricket in this country."

Hooper, who is the brother of former West Indies captain Carl Hooper, was critical of the decision to hire Robin at short notice, saying that Fraser was cast aside for asking questions about the finances of the administration, which is threatening to exclude more than a dozen USA squad members from the Bangladesh tour for refusing to accept a tour stipend that is significantly less than what the men's team receives. Hooper also said that Robin will have to earn his money "by aiding in the development of US cricket", and not by "coming in a day or two before the tournament and not knowing the players". Robin coached the USA U-19 team at this summer's ICC Under-19 World Cup Qualifier in Ireland where the team finished seventh, failing to qualify for next year's U-19 World Cup in Australia.

"Will Robin be doing any work with them in the near future? Will Robin be instructing our local coaches? Will he be conducting open sessions in the various regions? The only time I hear the name Robin Singh is just before a US team goes on tour. Folks this is unacceptable," Hooper wrote. He urged the league presidents to speak up, else a second string USA Women's team will become "the biggest joke at the World Cup Qualifiers".

"I urge the regional directors and league presidents not to facilitate the actions of President Dainty," Hooper wrote. "Send a message to him that we will all hold one front in the defence of cricket in the USA and the USACA organization. If not, I promise you that individuals outside of the US will make the decision for you."

Peter Della Penna is a journalist based in New Jersey