By Sham Ali
The United States of America – A land that has written some of cricket richest history has now found itself lost in a field of wilderness grasping at an occasional whiff of air in the vast expanse to keep the game alive. Hoping to arrive at the land of lords perhaps by the stroke of a magician’s wand and awake suddenly one day to find US cricket sitting at the top of the mountain with other sports in America. And every so often the curiosity of young inquiring minds wonder into the unknown about the origin of cricket and the role, if any, the United States played in the early process. The period between then and the later part of the twentieth century the United States cricket history have become insignificant as the major US sports dominated the arena and taking center stage.
The revival of cricket in the US may be in the imagination of the United States of America Cricket Association, USACA, and an administration that has incessantly managed to suffocate the game in the United States for too long. Every initiative that holds prospect for the sport and an opportunity to light the road ahead has been darkened over the last three decades and compound even more at the turn of the century as the USACA somehow managed to fix a noose and gradually increased the tension with time and eventually destroy it.
Sports need role models and the USACA’s failure to capitalize on their national team bout in the 2003 world cup was the beginning of the freefall. In that 2005 mini world cup in England (ICC Champions Trophy) the USACA insulted the US cricket community. they blatantly displayed their utter disregard of US cricket then when they parade weary legs on the team, and cricketer(s) whose talent has expired almost a decade ago, move that was even mocked by the international press and commentators, and rightly so.
Such a policy has embittered the cricket public and resulted in a major uproar that ultimately led to a gradual decline of the game in United States cricket. The USACA was again blatant enough to implement such selection policy recently. The leadership of the national team has failed miserably in giving the youths any form of encouragement or setting any platform for the future.
And forget about the national team selection that has been a comedy of errors at every level. It no wonder the US found themselves taking big strides backwards, and now they have been demoted to fourth division in the ICC ranking, unfortunately that comes as no surprise to anyone in the cricket community except the USACA.
The U19 players were treated with scant regard. Their exclusion from the team were attached with more colloquial / pasture-like theories and reasons than one can imagine like those which had played out in the recently concluded senior tournament in Hong Kong. Those U19 players who appeared in the U19 world cup in 2010 are yet to play a role in the senior team or even considered. The U15 players – they are viewed as just kids so they don’t have a voice but are being jerked around for their services whenever the USACA string in pulled. Their ‘development’ at the national level is surrounded with more hiring and firing of coaches imaginable. As for the women’s team, well, it appeared as though a seamstress has stitched the lips of the administration together and accidentally pierced a hole in the administration’s brain. Until now, the administration has remained MUM about recent exit of the CEO, Don Lockerbie; the fiasco surrounded the splitting of the West Coast region and the resignation of first vice president Nabeel Khan. And oh, how can we forget about the administration of the local cricket, it has been a total failure where rival entities are successful in hosting more tournaments in the United States than the USACA.
As a result of the rapid globalization of the game, the United States after two suspensions by the ICC was given opportunity to right its administrative fallacies, but fell into the dungeon again. Failure to follow the constitution and the election mandate were the main issues of contention that resulted in the USACA’s suspension. This USACA administration just doesn’t get it or they cannot count pass TWO. Election is due after three years and March 2011 is the election due date. Take one guess; is the AGM of the USACA scheduled for March? NO! How could the administration of cricket in the United States go so wrong? We may need take a serious look at ourselves and then take a peek at the Good Old Boys Club of the USACA. A national organization that has been peripheral at best in its undertakings, they have failed miserably in their moral judgment, administrative responsibilities, and vision to move the game forward.
The prevalent impotence and lack of vision may be attributed to an obsession to trample with power to fulfill an egotistical appetite and nothing to do with the promotion or development of cricket in the United States of America. Was there any progress, of course, that is if you are willing to ride the merry go-round returning to starting point on every cycle, that’s USACA’s progress for you!
And now that the glamour of the world cup is on show and the whole world is absorbed in it, our neighbors, remember them Canada man, Canada! – The team the US ‘used’ to beat. Well they will be on show in their bright red colors enjoying and soaking up the limelight at cricket brightest stage and congratulations to them. While the USACA will strike their familiar pose leaning forward steering at the television with jaw in hands wondering what ever happened. Well, this is what happened according to the ‘man-in-the-street’, you are blind to the truth and too damned corrupted and as a result you managed to sexed-up the cricket in the United States.