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USA Cricket : A step in the right direction – Dr. Nilesh D. Mehta
Annual General Meeting
Transparency is what the new administration of USA Cricket has worked for and it was quite obvious during the 35 minutes of the 2020 Annual General Meeting hosted by Chairman and the CEO of USA Cricket on February 21.
Overall vision of the future of cricket in USA was brought to light and some ambitious projects were outlined.
In January 2019, USA Cricket was approved as ICC’s 105th (Associate) member and while there were some forgettable moments in the calendar year, it appears that the stage is set for big things to come to USA Cricket. In its first Annual General Meeting, Board Chairman Paraag Marathe laid out his vision for the success of this sport in a country where cricket viewership and the potential for financial success is massive. In his address to the members, Marathe said, “ We have an opportunity to make history. We have a latent fan base that has an appetite for global cricket” He also acknowledged that other nations who were playing cricket do realize the massive potential USA has to offer. Being an integral part of the National Football League’s San Fransiciso 49ers, Marathe brings leadership qualities to his new job. He further mentioned, “I chose to do this and have realized the massive embedded fan base”.
While highlighting his four points in his address, he was particularly proud of the USA Men’s National Team achieving ODI status. He also mentioned the strategic partnership with American Cricket Enterprises to not only launch a domestic T20 league of international appeal but also drive forward the overall development of cricket at various levels including minor leagues.
With regards to Women’s cricket initiatives, Marathe added, “ In 2020 we’ll be targeting large growth in the women’s game across the country, as well as trying to uncover and nurture the next generation of women cricketers around which appropriate pathways and programs can be built.”
In January 2019, USA Cricket partnered with global leader Creative Artists Agency and screened several candidates to ultimately select and appoint Iain Higgins as the first CEO of USA Cricket in August 2019.
After having spent five months in USA, Higgins has been very active in pursuing the betterment of cricket in this country. During his address to the members of USA Cricket, he described his assignment as “greatest role in world cricket”. Through unified goodwill, Higgins was confident of moving forward in international space for this sport.
While the interim term for USA coach James Pamment has come to an end, search is on for a permanent coach for team USA. Unfortunately, towards the end of his interim career, there were unpleasant situations that were created which he had to handle and now Pamment will be focusing on the IPL team from Mumbai.
Higgins was also appreciative of the contribution of several individual players including Hayden Walsh, Aaron Jones, and Saurabh Netravalkar. Debacle in Nepal will unfortunately remain in the minds of the players and it will be the joint effort of administration and coaching that will be needed to pull up the straps and move forward in a positive direction.
Every team has their low moments, but, the ability to get out of those moments will eventually define a team. There is a core group of individual cricketers in the team that will continue to contribute to the betterment of this sport, however, unearthing new talent and providing the right infrastructure is what USA cricket is looking into.
The new CEO also spoke about the potential of staging a global ICC event in USA. He also has his eyes set on the Los Angeles 2028 olympics and getting cricket to become a more recognized internationa
A few of the questions were addressed by Higgins during this meeting which were largely related to the cricket academy, school curriculum and the growth of cricket in USA.
Based on the mood set during this meeting, it would seem that USA cricket has bright prospects and the core group of administrators have a deep sense of commitment