By Orin Davidson
Out of the blue United States cricket seems headed for prosperity with the much needed financial shot-in- the- arm required to take its game to the next level.
The sealing of the historic deal incorporating the United States of America Cricket Association (USACA) into the Cricket Holdings America company which comprises three foreign entities, will give America’s cricket the springboard to finance programs that have stunted real development over the years.
USACA will have five million dollars at its disposal immediately to spend, with more expected by September 2011 as the company starts to generate revenue.
Two million of the five is for licensing fees for the first year of a three- year initial agreement with the remaining three acquired from guaranteed share sales.
The windfall could not have been acquired at a more opportune time as the United States national team is about to continue its quest up the ladder of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Associates rankings, by taking on the best from Division Three within three weeks in Hong Kong. And almost immediately the national Under-19 squad will begin its campaign for World Cup qualification at the Americas Championship in February to be followed by the qualifiers in Ireland in the summer. Also next year, the women’s team will contest the Women’s World Cup qualifying series for the first time. At present none of the national teams have contracted officials and players.
USACA president Gladstone Dainty disclosed in an exclusive interview that having on board Australian marketing company Insite, and Indian entity Top Bloom Podar International along with Cricket New Zealand, which had an existing development arrangement with the national body, which all make up Cricket Holdings America, is a blessing. He said the deal would allow them to develop its base structure, grassroots programs and also start a professional Twenty20 League in America, adding that USACA will have the majority of directors on the Board and they will meet soon to chart plans for the way forward.
In his view, Dainty said the Regions should be a priority for fund disbursement as they have a significant role to play in developing the sport by attracting mainstream players, providing training for programs and infrastructure development.
“You cannot have hope to utilize the commercial potential without American input, in the form of players,” the president related, referring to the need to have more American-born players participating.”It means those regions would have to have full time staff”. Another necessity was the building of turf pitches by the Regions and Leagues, Dainty pointed.
Queried on the need to provide national players with retainer contracts, given the problems many have in acquiring time for the growing number of tournaments required for the national teams, Dainty said it would be a priority too along with having full time coaches.
Cricket Holdings America has the exclusive rights to stage competitions in America involving the American and New Zealand national teams and to exploit all commercial opportunities.
Dainty was reluctant to claim personal credit for the benefits coming USACA’s way from the formation of Cricket Holdings America, pointing out that it was a USACA Board effort.
But he was the lone USACA official pictured among the representatives from the investors that closed the deal in Los Angeles California late last week, which included Neil Maxwell of Insite, Rajiv Podar of Top Bloom and Justin Vaughn of Cricket New Zealand.
Dainty said that the technical assistance for USACA teams will continue to be provided by Cricket Zealand which will stage its second set of limited overs matches next year in the U.S.
The New Zealand team kick- started its international itinerary here with two T20 games against Sri Lanka last summer at the Broward County stadium in Florida.
Among its plans, Cricket Holdings America intends to bring the best teams and players to play in America and the challenge will be on the various municipalities to develop stadia in conjunction with the company, Dainty feels.