On Friday 22 November the USA Cricket Board met in person in Santa Clara for the first time since the appointment of new Chief Executive, Iain Higgins. Among the highlights from a packed agenda included the following:
National team matters
The Board noted the steady improvement in performance of the men’s national team throughout the Super50 Cup tournament in the Caribbean under interim Head Coach, James Pamment. It was satisfied that, following a number of hard-fought matches against competitive opposition, and some much-needed time together as a playing group, the team is now well prepared for the upcoming One Day Internationals in the UAE.
The Board agreed to commence a process to find a full-time coach for the men’s national team. More information about that process will be announced next week.
Following the expiry of the initial term for the Selection Panel, the Board agreed that a comprehensive review of its roles and responsibilities should be carried out. As part of that review, an announcement will be made next week in which those with relevant expertise and experience within the US cricket community will be invited to put themselves forward for consideration as members of future Selection Panels.
Chairman of the Cricket Committee, Atul Rai, stated “We are grateful to the existing members of the Selection Panel for their commitment and efforts over the past few years. Matters of team selection can often be challenging, especially in a country with the size and diversity of the United States, but the Panel has always operated with skill and expertise to make the best possible selection decisions. In order to ensure that we continue to comply with best sporting practice in this space, we will be carrying out a review of the processes by which national teams are selected and inviting any individual who may be interested in performing these roles (including the existing selectors) to put themselves forward for consideration.”
“In respect of the men’s head coach, it has always been part of our plan to commence a recruitment process at this time, and we are confident that there will be lots of interest in the role. James Pamment has done a tremendous job over the past few months with the team, and we eagerly look forward to the upcoming ODI series in the UAE under his stewardship. The process will commence imminently.”
The Board also approved a plan to bring the women’s national playing squad together at the end of the year for a high performance training camp with team coach, Julia Price, so that the individual and collective team plans and objectives that support the team’s preparation for the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier event in Sri Lanka in July 2020 can be presented.
Domestic cricket commitments
The Board spent time considering the overall cricketing landscape and pathway for players across the country and discussed various plans and proposals for supporting and engaging with each part. It was noted that there remained a lot of work that needed to be done, working closely with the existing clubs, leagues and volunteers across the country. However, in the meantime, the Board approved:
- The staging of official national tournaments for men, women and youth during 2020 – this will be the first time that such official tournaments have been staged in the United States for a number of years. Further details of these important tournaments are in the process of being developed and will be announced in due course.
- The establishment in 2020 of entry-level programs for targeted schools and communities using the USA Cricket ‘Rookie League’ materials which have previously been developed.
- The development of a framework under which effective support can be provided to existing social cricket structures and college/university cricket structures in 2020.
USA Cricket Board Director, Avinash Gaje, acknowledged that it was important for USA Cricket to provide cricketing pathways and other tangible benefits to all individuals, clubs and leagues that play and organize cricket across the country, irrespective of the form or type of cricket. “USA Cricket must adopt an all-inclusive approach and engage with and embrace in its policy making different points of view from the entire cricketing community. USA Cricket supports the development of entry level programs, coaching and umpiring programs, pathways and competitions to sustain greater levels of engagement across the country. This is a long-term objective, but we are excited by the commitments that we made in our meeting for 2020 and look forward to finalizing those plans and announcing more details about them and others in due course.”
The Board also received its first progress report from its commercial partner, ACE, and is thrilled to be able to announce that a semi-professional city-based Twenty20 Minor League will commence in 2020. USA Cricket Chief Executive Iain Higgins confirmed that the Minor League will be a critical pathway to the flagship competition (the Major League) which will commence in 2021. He highlighted that, “although the eyes of the global cricket community will be focused on the development of the Major League in coming years, the construction of an underpinning Minor League is a ground-breaking achievement on the domestic front and an important addition to the overall cricketing architecture in the country. It provides a genuine opportunity for high quality junior, domestic and national team players to play consistently competitive cricket on turf wickets throughout a full season.” A shortened first edition of the Minor League will commence next year, starting in late summer to allow for the development of more quality infrastructure. However, by 2022, it is anticipated that the Minor League will involve as many as 22 teams across the country playing in 120 live streamed and/or broadcast matches, including play-offs and a final series.
The Board noted the composition of the Nominating & Governance Committee which has been established to oversee various Board election and appointment processes under the USA Cricket constitution. The appointed NGC comprises of the following four individuals: Jim Isch, Sara Farooq, Amy Perko and Jagan Jagannanthan. It will now meet at the earliest opportunity to establish the timeline/process by which it will undertake its work. Further announcements about how members of USA Cricket can get involved in both the election and the inaugural AGM will be made very soon.
Reflecting on a successful Board meeting, USA Cricket Chairman, Paraag Marathe, noted that it had been an extremely worthwhile meeting which had set USA Cricket up well for 2020. “In addition to considering our operational objectives and staffing structure for 2020 and the overarching cricketing pathway in this country, we made some positive commitments to run programs and tournaments for the benefit of the entire community next year. From ‘grass-roots’ entry-level programs to national tournaments and the staging of a semi-professional Minor League, there is much to look forward to for domestic cricketers in the United States during 2020 as we seek to build on the foundation that was established this year.”