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USACA eyes Associates in scaled-down league

Martin Williamson

December 3, 2012

Comments: 12 | Text size: A | A

The men who made the USA - NZC deal happen (from L to R): Neil Maxwell, John Thickett, Gladstone Dainty, Justin Vaughan, Rajiv Podar (managing director of Podar Enterprises), USA, December 19, 2010
Gladstone Dainty (centre) is still hopeful about the proposed Twenty20 league © USACA
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Months after plans were outlined for a professional Twenty20 competition in the USA that was going to be so impressive there was talk of it impacting on the English season, it seems the reality of finances and availability has led to a marked downscaling of the scheme.

Rather than the big-name international stars originally suggested, USA Cricket Association president Gladstone Dainty has said that organisers will be looking for the best players from Associate and Affiliate countries to form the core of the competition. But that approach could also have major pitfalls by bringing USACA into conflict with other boards.

The competition is due to start in July 2013 and while Dainty admitted there had been unforeseen problems, he insisted it was still very much on course. "It will be a truly global set-up and emerging players - from the likes of Afghanistan, Ireland, Scotland, Kenya, wherever - will be given plenty of opportunity," Dainty told ESPNcricinfo. "In the USA we don't have this big pool of players so we will tap into the Associate and Affiliates and we also have New Zealanders to draw on. It's in this way we hope the cricketing world will support our efforts.

"It'll be a showcase and a stage where their players can be playing against the best. There will be financial incentives for their players and I don't think there will be a problem. It's not a long season and flying a player from Ireland or Scotland every week is certainly not a very expensive proposition."

Asked if availability of players in the middle of the European season would be an issue, Dainty said: "We would want them released … just as if an England player is released from their county to play for England. We don't want to stop the Irish and Scottish boards from doing things, we're just trying to put a quality product together and we will work with them to ensure we have access and can share them."

But Dainty's view on availability seems to be based on the requirements of boards to release players for international competitions - and the USA league would not class as that.

Cricket Scotland chief executive Roddy Smith, who said that he had not had any contact from USACA, told ESPNcricinfo: "The scheduling will obviously be problematic for Scottish players as it clashes directly with our home season. The primacy of international cricket is paramount as is the high priority CS places on its home non international and regional cricket.

"Contracted players will not be released if it means them missing cricket for Scotland. If there is a window where players are free, and our performance staff believe it is beneficial for all parties that they take part in a sanctioned ICC T20 event then their participation may be a possibility."

Those views were echoed by Cricket Ireland boss Warren Deutrom. "As in anything, our first thought is to be reasonable and provide an opportunity to our players if the schedule permits. As you know, a few of our non-county players have occasionally spent stints in county cricket for specific competitions - for example the ECB T20 - when we have no international commitments.

"Of course, the schedule is key here. Once we know the exact dates for the USA event, we'll be in a better position to know whether it conflicts with our existing commitments which obviously take precedence. USACA would need to seek permission of the counties to release those players during that period."

Martin Williamson is managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

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Posted by   on (December 4, 2012, 20:08 GMT)

Just who are these people who fail to see the big money in a US Premier League? Atlanta alone has its own league. One needs to imagine the kind of hit it would be for teams in LA, Chicago, New York, Houston. If it follow the pattern of NBA and NHL, then Canadian cities Toronto and Vancouver can also be a big hit.

Posted by tkbutt on (December 4, 2012, 19:22 GMT)

As long as Dainty represents USACA, nothing good will ever happen for USA cricket. We need to put some competent professionals in USACA structure before we can have a tournament of this magnitude or else it will never happen!!

Posted by just_Test_lover on (December 4, 2012, 9:36 GMT)

How awesome would it be for cricket if India played Pakistan in New York. I know there are thousands of Indian and Pakistans in USA that would come out and support. USACA should work with the BCCI and PCB to get big cash games to the states. Even if England vs Australia could get a big turn out.

You need to work with novalties and play them up. USA is about the hype, the colour and the buzz. Needs a big sponsor to come on board. Maybe AT&T or Nike which are USA brands

Posted by landl47 on (December 4, 2012, 4:02 GMT)

Gladstone Dainty, assuming he was quoted correctly, appears to have no idea how the contractual arrangements in test and associate countries work. The idea that players would be 'released' to play in a US T20 competition is ridiculous and to compare it with county players being released to play for England is simply farcical. I guess he's never heard of central contracts! The fact is that without advertising revenue the league will fail, and to get advertising revenue American players will have to be involved. American TV might carry one game as a novelty, but Americans don't watch sports involving non-Americans and the number of immigrants from cricket-playing countries isn't large enough. Take it from a cricket-lover who lives in Illinois, where the average resident has no idea what cricket is other than an insect which chirps at night.

Posted by   on (December 4, 2012, 2:50 GMT)

I have seen the kind of tournaments USACA brings to the people. Mostly sub-standard and unorganized due to the lack of available funds. They cut corners everywhere they can to compensate for the lack of funds and then blame the other person when something goes wrong. USACA needs to learn how to set up and organization first then attempt large scale tournaments. There is a difference between getting people to play a tournament versus organizing a large commercial one like this. Like all the other previous smaller USACA tournaments this too will be a fiasco. I suggest that we should let USACA learn from the moms and dads at CCA in Northern California....

Posted by anton1234 on (December 4, 2012, 1:35 GMT)

Its okay to have a few have top players from associate nations to play alongside those from the big cricketing nations, but no way should associate players make up core. Rather than advance the game there, it will set it further back.

Posted by anton1234 on (December 4, 2012, 1:32 GMT)

Don't bother. If you are going to show cricket to the US, show it good light, or don't bother. Honestly, if its not going to be played by major stars from WI, Australia, NZ, SA, ENG, and to a lesser extent, other test nations, then don't bother.

Posted by InsideHedge on (December 4, 2012, 0:44 GMT)

I hope they play some games in SoCal. There's opportunities here but the USACA must be realistic, just get something going first and then aim to expand. The truth is that outside of expats, there is little or no interest. However, I have no doubt that Americans have the ability to become a force in cricket, the challenge is to get them started at grass roots - and in this regard, what have the USACA done for the last 20 or so yrs? All the leagues feature expats who all seem to think they could have been Test players had they not been "persecuted" in their home countries. They'd all make good stand up comedians tho.

Posted by roboh on (December 4, 2012, 0:23 GMT)

"Of course, the schedule is key here. Once we know the exact dates for the USA event, we'll be in a better position to know whether it conflicts with our existing commitments which obviously take precedence."

What is the bet they will still be waiting for the schedule on 1 June 2013?

Posted by splites on (December 3, 2012, 23:50 GMT)

While I am a bit dodgy about the issue of this tournament, I applaud the USACA for bringing the idea of having players from Associate and Affiliate nations playing in a pro tournament. However, the prospect of releasing players for such a tournament can hit a snag, as Irish, Scottish and Dutch players will see more benefit in playing in the English season, and of course, as the "elite" outside the Full members, boars would not want their best players who are more or less centrally contracted to be too far away from domestic or international duty. This tournament though can be a good spring for emerging West Indian players from a developmental stand.

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