Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo's USA correspondent @PeterDellaPenna
USA Cricket's application to join the ICC as the 105th member and 93rd Associate has been formally approved by the ICC, paving the way for a transition back to autonomous governance following more than three years of oversight from an ICC Americas caretaker administration.
"This is the culmination of a great deal of hard work and I would like to congratulate the Chair of USA Cricket, Paraag Marathe, and the Board, on this important milestone and wish them all the very best for the future," ICC chief executive David Richardson said.
Along with Fiji, USA was one of the first two Associate members of the ICC after joining under the auspices of the USA Cricket Association. But USACA was suspended for the third and final time in 2015 for a litany of governance issues before finally being expelled once and for all in June 2017.
A new governing body, USA Cricket, was formed later in 2017 and their inaugural elections took place in the summer of 2018. Their board of directors was fully installed last September following the appointment of three independent directors. The ICC stated in a press release that a transition plan has been approved for the USA Cricket board to take back full control of administrative affairs from the ICC Americas caretaker administration within the next month under the leadership of board chairman Paraag Marathe.
"USA Cricket was established to bring together the cricket community in the United States, develop the game and unlock the sport's undoubted potential for growth," Marathe said. "Today's confirmation that it is the ICC's newest Member is a significant staging post on that journey.
"As David mentioned, this recognition is not just the work of our Board but is a result of thousands of volunteer hours over the last 18 months and USA Cricket appreciates the time, effort and sacrifice of all those involved."
USA Cricket is now eligible to receive funding in accordance with the ICC development funding policy like other Associates. However, they had received exceptional funding support - approximately $1.5 million per year according to sources - over the last several years via the ICC Americas caretaker administration.
Separately, USA Cricket now has the authority to sanction domestic and international cricket in the United States, which is expected to be a reliable revenue source. Cricket West Indies chief executive Johnny Grave said in August that as part of a commitment to play at least two T20Is per year in North America through 2023, they had paid a sanctioning fee of approximately $100,000 per match to use Florida as a neutral venue.
USA Cricket will also receive revenue for continued sanctioning of Caribbean Premier League matches should the CPL continue to stage games in Florida in 2018 as they have for the past three summers. ICC had overtaken authority to sanction events in the USA - such as the Cricket All-Stars tour, CPL matches and India's T20I series in Florida against West Indies in 2016 - in the time-frame that USACA was suspended and expelled, though all sanctioning fee funds acquired were channeled back to America to fund initiatives such as the USA Cricket combines.
USA Cricket recently announced job openings for Under-19 and Women's head coach positions and a search is also underway for a chief executive as part of efforts to expand administrative staff. It follows a commercial tender put out in December to solicit proposals for the creation of a domestic T20 franchise competition with a target launch date by the summer of 2021.