The ICC head of global development Tim Anderson announced on Wednesday that four national advisory groups have been formed to implement USA's future growth and development plans from a strategic framework outline, which was unveiled late last year. Thirty-two people have been chosen to be part of the four groups, including several former international players such as Ricardo Powell.
"If I'm gonna be here in the US, I want to be involved in cricket in some way and I want to be involved in a way in which I know I can help cricket move forward," Powell told ESPNcricinfo shortly after the announcement. Powell had moved to Florida in 2012 and frequently appeared at various T20 tournaments around the country over the last four years. He is now part of a seven-man group tasked with advising on player performance.
"I've interacted with so many of the players here in the US and I've seen the talent group here," he said. "I've played all over the US and seen the different talent and know what it takes to get to the next level and to be consistent at that level. For me it was ideal to look at the [performance] group because the players respect me as a player and as a person.
"I don't want to be involved in something where it's a back and forth, things are stagnant or you're going around in a circle so I wanted to be able to be clear on a direction in terms of what the group is doing or what position I'm going to be taking cricket-wise. Based on my discussion with [ICC Americas administrators] Tom Evans and Ben Kavenagh, I think they have a good idea of how they want to take cricket forward and I feel like I can contribute to that."
Former USA fast bowler Usman Shuja, who was part of the seven-man local advisory group formed last year by the ICC to help develop a strategic framework in the wake of USACA's suspension, was also named in the seven-man performance committee.
"I think the goal is to put a framework for a high performance programme for men, women and the youth team," Shuja said. "The goal is to give them the right platform in terms of the selection process, the training and support through training and playing ahead of time for tournaments. In an advisory capacity, I think we can advise things that went wrong in the past and things that worked to help guide that and hopefully make a long-term impact."
Besides Shuja and Powell, Dean Riddle - a former England and Yorkshire strength and conditioning coach who now works as an applied sports scientist for the NFL's Seattle Seahawks - will help USA hasten the process of improving high performance objectives. Former USA batsman Aditya Mishra, former USA captain Sushil Nadkarni, former England women's junior player Julie Abbott and USACA Central East administrator Mir Ali are also part of the group.
One of the goals outlined in the strategic framework document released by the ICC is for USA to qualify for both the 2019 World Cup and the 2020 World Twenty20. Those goals have been met outside the USA with a bit of skepticism, considering USA's current standing in Division Four of the World Cricket League. But Powell, who volunteered as one of the local coaches and talent evaluators assisting at the ICC Combine in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, last month, said they are entirely achievable.
"I strongly believe it's possible," he said. "I'm not disrespecting any of the teams who have qualified to make it to a World Cup but when you look at these teams and countries, the USA has far more talent than these places that are qualifying for T20 World Cups and also the 50-over World Cups. In a country that has 50 states, if you tap into even a quarter of that with a proper system and a properly run programme, we can definitely enhance the talent and get them to qualify.
"I've had several contacts with these guys, mostly with Usman Shuja and Sushil Nadkarni, who I know quite well and are pretty knowledgable players about the game. I'm looking forward to meeting everyone, getting to know everybody and their ideas and vision for cricket in the USA. With good brains coming together to make a way forward with no politics or favouritism involved and just sticking to the talent, I think this can be a very fruitful journey."
The three other advisory groups - participation, fan and market development, and creating a sustainable foundation - include a mix of long-time US cricket administrators. Two current USACA board members - Florida's Rizwan Mohammed and New York's Dr Linden Dodson - and former USACA board member Shelton Glasgow were included. Former American Cricket Federation (ACF) chief executive Jamie Harrison, current ACF board chairman Jagan Jagannathan as well as current ACF and former USACA executive secretary John Aaron were also chosen.
Jim Isch, former chief operating officer of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, was included as part of the sustainable foundation advisory group. According to Anderson's e-mail announcing the move, the sustainable foundation group "will have an important role to play in considering the development of a future constitution for US cricket." It's an indication that USACA in its current form may be expelled at June's ICC annual conference in Edinburgh after making no progress on 39 terms and conditions of reinstatement following last year's suspension.
Some of the other noteworthy names who were appointed by the ICC include Venu Palaparthi, Lorna Austin, Michael Voss, and Patricia Whittaker. Palaparthi is a former vice-president of global trading and market services for the NASDAQ stock exchange and is now a senior vice-president at high-frequency trading firm Virtu Financial in midtown Manhattan. Within the cricket community, he is known as the co-founder of DreamCricket.com and the DreamCricket Academy in New Jersey.
Austin has been an administrator with the NY Public Schools Athletic League for more than 20 years and also serves as the cricket coordinator for the PSAL cricket league, the only high school cricket league in America. Voss is a former South African domestic cricketer for Western Province and now works in real estate development in California while Whittaker is a former West Indies Women's Test cricketer who has spent more than 25 years as a lawyer in New York.
Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo's USA correspondent. @PeterDellaPenna