USA news May 8, 2014

WICB to partner USACA to develop game in America

ESPNcricinfo staff

The WICB and the USA Cricket Association (USACA) have announced a "long-term joint partnership" to help develop cricket in the USA. The plan includes bringing the best performing players in USACA leagues and clubs into WICB development programmes, and having a member of West Indies' board of directors sit on the USA board to prop up cricket administration in the country.

The focus will be on bettering player performance, administration and the financial state of the game in the USA, the joint statement from the two boards said. To facilitate the third point, USACA's chief executive "have a position" on the WICB's executive committee.

WICB president Whycliffe Cameron said the West Indies board was supporting the USACA's attempt to bring in governance changes. "We are going to be engaged on a day-to-day basis on the three core pillars for development," Cameron said. "We will rapidly build plans and open up infrastructure for bringing top US players into the West Indian development system, and we are supporting the finalisation of the current USACA governance changes."

Gladstone Dainty, the USACA president, said the "access to a very close geographic Full Member" was a great chance for his administration and the players. "Having the opportunity to work closely with another Full Member country offers exciting opportunities for US players looking to sharpen skills and experiences with world-class cricketers. The WICB will also, via their board member on the USACA board, support the governance change programme that the USACA board is currently managing. This is a long-term strategy to help build the three foundations for a highly successful US cricketing market: high performance development, models for economic growth and modern-day governance."

Prior to establishing a formal partnership, the WICB had invited USACA to send a USA national team to participate in the Nagico Super50 regional tournament this past January and February, according to a USACA source. USA would have joined Ireland as Associate nations in the event but USACA had to decline the invitation in part because of the costs USACA would have incurred in order to send a team to play three group stage games in Trinidad and Tobago. A Combined Campuses and Colleges team wound up participating instead.

In November 2009, USACA announced a "strategic partnership" with New Zealand Cricket which was intended to also facilitate the sharing of resources between the countries. Dipak Patel traveled to Florida to conduct a preparation camp for the USA U-19 squad ahead of their participation two months later in the 2010 U19 World Cup in New Zealand. Patel also served as a consultant coach for the USA senior team in February 2010 at that year's World T20 Qualifier in the UAE and ICC WCL Division Five in Nepal. Although there were initial plans to send USA players to New Zealand to develop and get experience in their professional setup, those plans eventually fell through.

New Zealand Cricket also signaled their intentions as part of the partnership to stage games in the USA, including the proposed launch of a professional T20 league. New Zealand played Sri Lanka in two T20Is at Central Broward Regional Park in Florida in May 2010 followed by two more T20Is against the West Indies in the summer of 2012. USACA sold the hosting rights for the pair of 2012 matches to the WICB for $1. However, the WICB and NZC chose not to stage any further matches at the Florida venue for the upcoming New Zealand tour to the West Indies this summer, which includes two T20Is to be held in Dominica and three Test matches.

This WICB partnership comes at a vital time for the USACA. The organistaion is on shaky ground, given it could be facing suspension from the ICC with its control over the sport in the country slipping. Under ICC rules, Associate membership is dependent upon a board proving it is "the sole recognised governing body for cricket in the country". But dissatisfaction with the USACA had meant around a third of the country's senior hard-ball leagues signed up with the rival organisation, the American Cricket Federation.

In another setback, apparent frustration at the USACA's failure to accept governance reform was said to be a contributing factor the board's chief executive, Darren Beazley, recently quitting - his yet-to-be-named replacement will sit on the WICB's executive committee. High performance manager Andy Pick also resigned, citing political interference in his selection and development plans. The board is believed to be around $3m in debt and if the ICC suspend it and withdraw funding - believed to be around $400,000 a year - it could spell the end for it.

The USACA had twice before been suspended by the ICC, both times with Dainty at the helm; in 2005 and 2007 the ICC took the action due to governance issues.