Andy Pick hired as USACA High Performance Manager
The USA Cricket Association announced on Tuesday the appointment of former England Under-19 and Canada coach Andy Pick as USACA High Performance Manager in a move aimed at helping the USA form a more professional administrative cricket structure. Pick has been serving as the ICC Americas High Performance Manager since 2009 and will still be partially employed in that role as he splits his workload between the ICC Americas office in Toronto and USACA's headquarters in Florida.
"There is a lot of natural talent in the USA," Pick said in a USACA media release. "In the past, the pathway from talent discovery through to players becoming established international cricketers has not always been clear. Having been involved in high performance planning and delivery for the last 14 years, I hope I can make that pathway more accessible and transparent."
The official announcement of Pick's new role with USACA was hinted at through his more frequent appearances around USA teams and programmes in the past six months. In March, he was in Florida for USA's unofficial three-match 50-over series against Bermuda ahead of ICC WCL Division Three and was present as a sounding board during selection meetings to pick the squad that went to Bermuda a month later for the tournament.
In June, he organised and oversaw the inaugural USACA U-19 Selection Combine, which was designed as a new method to select USA's U-19 squad for the ICC Americas U-19 Division One tournament. In the past, USACA had used domestic tournaments as a selection mechanism. Pick was in constant contact with USACA chief executive Darren Beazley while at the ICC Americas U-19 tournament and at the conclusion of the July event, he drove from Toronto to Miami to work with Beazley on a plan for the USA senior team to prepare them for the 2013 ICC World Twenty20 Qualifier in November.
"USACA is extremely pleased to have the support of an experienced cricket administrator such as Andy Pick to provide a dedicated focus on establishing the correct structures and processes to ensure USACA identifies and develops talent, wherever talented men and women reside across the country," Beazley said in the release. "His intimate knowledge of cricket in the USA and of our playing lists will be very important, particularly as our men's team commences preparation for the ICC T20 Qualifer in Dubai in November."
Pick has been a regular source of guidance and assistance to the USA through his ICC Americas position. In the winter of 2011, he spent time in New York and New Jersey organising weekly training courses for the region's junior players and coaches. He also set up a coaching clinic in March 2011 for the New York Public Schools Athletic League, the only high school cricket league in USA.
In April 2011, he organised a month-long training stint with reigning English county champions Nottinghamshire - where Pick played from 1983 to 1997 and also served as bowling coach - for USA players Muhammad Ghous and Adrian Gordon. Four months later, Pick and ICC Americas colleague Wendell Coppin conducted a 10-day training camp in Barbados for the USA Women's team to aid their preparation for the 2011 ICC Women's World Cup Qualifier in Bangladesh.
In October 2010, Pick stated in an interview with ESPNcricinfo that he was impressed with the "abundance of natural talent" in the USA, but was worried that structures were not in place for proper development. "If I'm brutally honest, they have at the moment little framework beneath it to continue providing and developing their best players. That is part of my role, to try to work with the US to see if we can help rectify that situation." With his new role at USACA, Pick now has more control and authority to carry out that mission.
Peter Della Penna is a journalist based in New Jersey