Former USA batsman Srinivas Salver has replaced former national team fast bowler Usman Shuja as male player representative in the lone change in the USA Cricket board after results of the recent election were announced on Saturday night. Atlanta league administrator Venu Pisike won re-election in the other place up for grabs, securing a three-year term as an individual director on the board.
Shuja's loss is a stunning reversal from 2018 when he ran unopposed to win a unanimous vote for an initial one-year term. On this occasion, Salver, 35, won the vote by almost a 3 to 1 margin, claiming 34 votes from current or former players compared to Shuja's tally of 12. Nine players abstained from voting after having registered. Another 43 players who would have been eligible to vote in the election simply refused to renew their USA Cricket membership in order to be eligible to vote.
According to multiple sources, Salver was the preferred candidate among the majority of the current USA squad. Having last represented USA in 2018, Salver has built and maintained strong relationships with most of the current and recent players who have represented USA. Shuja, 41, played his last match for USA in 2014 and could not maintain enough support beyond the previous generation of players.
Shuja had been the head of the influential cricket committee when the USA Cricket board was formed in 2018. But in the middle of 2019, he was replaced in that role by Atul Rai. It was around this time that Pubudu Dassanayake resigned as USA head coach and was replaced initially by Kiran More, with strong backing from Rai, before More's assistant coach James Pamment took over from More in an interim capacity.
Pisike's re-election was expected thanks to a sizeable portion of the registered membership hailing from his Atlanta power-base. Of the 725 registered voters, 203 were tied to either the Atlanta Cricket League or the Atlanta Georgia Cricket Conference. That support went a long way to him claiming a total of 369 votes compared to just 31 votes to Texas candidate Ather Naqi. A total of 325 eligible voters abstained from voting.
The voting numbers are a drastic drop-off from the inaugural USA Cricket board elections in August 2018. Approximately 5500 members were eligible to vote for the previous election, but USA Cricket experienced an 87% drop in membership renewals ahead of this election. In 2018, USA Cricket had asked for a $35 annual membership fee before ultimately deciding to wave the fee ahead of the registration deadline to be able to vote in 2018.
USA Cricket then lowered the fee to $10 for renewal by July 31, 2019. After extending the renewal deadline until the end of August, the governing body still could not convince members to join or renew in the same numbers as 2018 and instead experienced an 87% drop in membership.
The USA board is expected to hold an annual general meeting in New York on February 21. There was no AGM held in 2019 after board elections were delayed six months, from August all the way until February 2020.