NFL executive Paraag Marathe named USA Cricket's chairman
His first task is to oversee USA Cricket's application for Associate Membership at the ICC, following the expulsion of USACA in 2017
Paraag Marathe, the executive vice-president of football operations for the San Francisco 49ers, has been elected as chairman of USA Cricket, pipping Catherine Carlson of the NBA's Orlando Magic and Rohan Sajdeh of the Boston Consulting Group to the post. With the position now finalised, Marathe's first task is to oversee USA Cricket's application for Associate Membership at the ICC, following the expulsion of USACA by unanimous vote at the ICC annual conference in 2017.
Marathe, who is also on the board of English football championship side Leeds United, has served as the 49ers franchise's chief contract negotiator while overseeing the construction of Levi's Stadium. The Bay Area native completed his undergraduate degree at the University of California-Berkeley before going on to get an MBA from Stanford University and has worked for the 49ers in various roles for 18 years.
"I feel privileged to have been elected the inaugural Chair of USA Cricket," Marathe said after his appointment. "As a board, we are very much looking forward to the challenge of building a strong and sustainable organization that can not only achieve cricket's extraordinary potential in the United States, but can also position USA Cricket as a leading member of the ICC.
"Crucial to achieving this success is engaging with, and uniting, the USA Cricket community. That message was made loud and clear at our inaugural meeting, and I am incredibly excited by the talent and passion that we have attracted to this Board. While there is a very big job ahead of us, I am very confident that this Board can deliver on our ultimate goal."
As the chairman of USA Cricket and its 10-person board, Marathe will also be scouting for commercial professional league opportunities for cricket in the USA. USACA had expressed its intention to form such a league as early as 2010 in a partnership with New Zealand Cricket, but a targeted 2012 launch never materialised. Other subsequent attempts, the most recent in 2016 with St Lucia Stars owner Jay Pandya, similarly never got off the ground. As a consequence, USA has watched other countries around the world saturate the T20 franchise market, including in their own North American region with the start of the Global T20 Canada this past summer. But the commercial appeal of the USA continues to remain high with Cricket West Indies announcing earlier this summer that they had committed to a five-year plan of staging a minimum of two T20Is per year in North America. USA Cricket's application for Associate Membership will be considered by an ICC Board-appointed Membership Committee that includes ICC chief executive David Richardson, chairman Shashank Manohar, independent director Indra Nooyi, cricket committee chairman Anil Kumble and president of Cricket West Indies Dave Cameron, among others. If this committee is satisfied that the new USA cricket board meets the requirements for ICC membership, then it will make a subsequent recommendation to the ICC at the earliest. If the recommendation is approved, then the ICC's Full Council will vote via circular resolution to accept USA Cricket as the ICC's 105th member. Also part of the USA cricket board - along with Marathe, Carlson and Sajdeh - are Avinash Gaje from New Jersey, Suraj Viswanathan from northern California, Venu Pisike from Atlanta, Ajith Bhaskar from the Commonwealth Cricket League of New York, southern California's Atul Rai - himself a former USACA president - and elite athlete representatives Nadia Gruny and Usman Shuja.
Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo's USA correspondent @PeterDellaPenna