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A mammoth task awaits America’s first cricket CEO

By Orin Davidson
Feb. 6th, 2009
It rolls on inexorably, like the suspense that emanates from a roller coaster.

The wait for the first ever Chief Executive Officer for United States cricket is taking too long for comfort, which is why the country’s ruling body almost got into trouble with the International Cricket Council (ICC) for the umpteenth time.

Yes, there is a long list of applicants, but had the process been given the urgent treatment necessary, United States cricket would’ve been in a better place by now.

Many important benefits hinge on the CEO position becoming operational. Real money for development from the International Cricket Council (ICC) could only be obtained as a result, not to mention the early streamlining of development programs.

The job comes with good perks, but the CEO would have an un-envious occupation, given the effort needed to take this country’s game to the next level.

The criteria required reads like something akin to the needs of the person going up for the Treasurer Secretary’s position in the administration of Barack Obama, which has to fix as ravaged a United States economy as ever in its history.

If you are a lover of cricket and merely want to contribute to the upliftment of United States cricket, forget about trying to become the CEO.

The credentials are exhaustingly detailed.

For one thing you are required to have the brain of Tim Geithner along with the love for and knowledge of the nuances of United States cricket circumstances like Selwyn Caesar does. You must have a post graduate degree in business law, business administration, international business, business administration or in a related field or 10 years experience along with demonstrated success in senior level management.

Those make up only the first few lines on the first page of requirements, which follows up with stuff like having conflict resolution and political management skills.

Outside of all the official requirements, no doubt put together by the International Cricket Council (ICC), becoming the Chief Executive Officer of cricket in a unique country like the United States, requires lots of tolerance, patience and a thick skin.

For starters, the country is so huge, it requires enormous amounts of travel to get even the most mundane of tasks completed, even though you can count the number of cities that organizes serious cricket, on the fingers of both hands.

Then there are the officials who run the clubs, Leagues and Regions over a wide swath of country from as far west as California to outer reaches of eastern New York. You will find an assortment of cricket fanatics, some of whom masquerade as administrators, but are opportunists, others who are genuinely keen on development and others who are rank incompetents.
Most act as though cricket is still a past time activity, even as much as they try to think otherwise. Because for so long they have been subjected to a persuasive cricket culture of non importance.

Nevertheless, the biggest task that faces the CEO would be raising money of the magnitude the ICC expects to be had for running an operation, like you will only find in the context of Major League Baseball, the National Football League or the National Basketball Association. This is not about seeking donations from friends contacts or associates for minor projects that the current volunteer administrators are accustomed to. The United States of America Cricket Association’s (USACA) CEO has to be good enough to sell cricket to corporate America and come back with six-figure and higher investments.
This type of management is unheard of , yet it is the only way forward for a sport here with needs that range from paid coaches to 40,000 seater stadiums.

More than 40 applicants were received and you would be ‘nuts’ to expect them all to originate from America. The majority are from overseas but the question is whether they all are appreciative of the magnitude of the task that awaits them. It calls for someone special to deal with volunteer officials of the type existing here, and raise money unprecedented in the history of United States cricket.

In effect, the CEO would be the lone professional working among others who cannot give cricket their undivided attention. From the lowly club officials to those elected to the USACA executive, the CEO would have to deal with officials who are not paid full-time employees like he or she would be.
That person would have to put up with the laid back nature of cricket officialdom in America, yet work as hard as Lalit Modi, the de facto CEO of India’s cricket, or England’s managing Director David Collier or Australia’s CEO James Sutherland or the longstanding top South African official Gerald Majola.

And if you did not know, coming close to or even emulating the accomplishments of the likes of Modi, is all but impossible here in America..He has helped build India’s cricket into the most lucrative of all the world’s franchises, to the extent that the BCCI is almost 10 times richer than the next in line - the England and Wales Cricket Board.

And when you look around, the evidence of the work of the other mentioned gentlemen who are overseeing successful run professional outfits, is very clear.

America has a long, long way to go, but nothing is impossible as there might well be someone among the applicants good enough to at least turn this country’s cricket around.
A bit of snooping around might well unearth the man or woman best suited to become America’s first CEO.

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