© Peter Della Penna
Approximately 5500 individual members, along with 22 leagues and 151 clubs have been declared eligible to vote by USA Cricket in their inaugural elections, due to begin on May 18. Individual members, leagues and clubs will each vote to have representatives take up three individual director spots as well as one director each representing clubs and leagues on the new USA Cricket board of directors. The election results are expected to be announced on June 11.
However, USA Cricket’s voting lists doesn’t include the vast majority of players, clubs and leagues, who did not register in time to take part in the election process. The registration process was free, with the USD 35 fee for annual USA Cricket membership waived until 2019.
According to the report compiled by ICC chief executive David Richardson and then head of global development Tim Anderson, which laid out evidence leading to the ICC decision to suspend USACA in 2015, a key reason for reprimanding USACA was that they no longer represented the majority of stakeholders in the USA. During the 2012 elections, the board disenfranchised 32 of its 47 member leagues. By the time the 2015 ICC report was compiled, USACA claimed to have 35 hardball leagues as members. However, the ICC investigation documented a total of 94 hardball leagues as well as another 55 softball, women’s or youth leagues in a total of 149 leagues.
USACA’s constitutional guidelines stated that in order for a league to be considered eligible for voting, a hardball league needed to have eight teams. USA Cricket’s new guidelines state that a league only needs three clubs, with a minimum of 12 registered players per club to be voting eligible, yet only 22 such leagues met the threshold for the upcoming election.
Numerous leagues that were prominent members of USACA abstained entirely from registering for USA Cricket. The most glaring absence is representation from Washington, D.C., the stronghold of USACA president Gladstone Dainty. Other legacy leagues such as the Garden State Cricket League (NJ), Eastern American Cricket Association (NY), Houston Cricket League, South Florida Cricket Alliance, Northwest Cricket League, Southern Connecticut Cricket League and Georgia Supreme Cricket League also didn’t participate.
Among the leagues that did meet the criteria, there are still some glaring deficiencies. The Southern California Cricket Association has 45 teams across five divisions but only managed to successfully register four voting-eligible clubs. Reigning Division One champions Vijayta CC did not meet the threshold even though the club currently has five USA national squad players – Mrunal Patel, Timil Patel, Ravi Timbawala, Nisarg Patel, Saurabh Netravalkar – as well as national selector Michael Voss, who all registered as individual members. Hollywood Cricket Club, a founding member club of the SCCA and one that has produced several USA national players, did not meet voting criteria.
© Peter Della Penna
On the east coast, New York’s Commonwealth Cricket League – with more than 65 competing teams – only has five clubs registered to vote. The neighbouring Cricket League of New Jersey, which has 44 clubs across three divisions, only registered four clubs successfully to vote. On the flip side, the Midwest Cricket Conference, which is based primarily around Chicago, registered 25 clubs.
The American Cricket Academy of St. Louis managed to successfully register clubs in three categories to claim three votes in the USA Cricket election: one for a “Major Cricket League”, one for a “Major Tennis Cricket League” and a third for a “Major Women’s Cricket League”. The California Cricket Academy based in Cupertino, was a voting-eligible league despite rules stating that academies should not be considered a league with voting rights, particularly since the four clubs registered as a league under CCA are in four age groups – U10, U12, U15 and U18 – who would not compete against each other.
One of the major differences in USA Cricket’s constitution is that it calls for elite athlete representation on the board of directors, a move to get the board in compliance with the Ted Stevens Act to allow USA Cricket to be recognized by the US Olympic Committee. One male and one female who have played for USA in the last 10 years are eligible to be voted onto the board.
For male athletes, only 37 out of a possible 93 national team representative players registered. All USA squad members who recently played at the CWI Regional Super50 tournament registered to vote and are eligible take a spot on the new USA Cricket Board.
However, several prominent recent players have not registered, including former Jamaica Tallawahs allrounder Timroy Allen, who was one of USA’s leading players during their WCL Division Four title win in Los Angeles in 2016, former player and coach Charlie Javed and ex-captains Steve Massiah and Muhammad Ghous.
In all, USA Cricket has approximately 5500 individual members eligible to vote for the individual director position in the upcoming election, which is roughly a third of the number of senior hardball league players reported by USACA (15,225) in the most recent ICC data census, prior to USACA’s suspension in 2014. USA Cricket claims more than 8,000 members, including those not eligible to vote, have registered in all, including at least one individual member from 1,800 different clubs.
Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo’s USA correspondent @PeterDellaPenna
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