By Sham Ali
Elections in any mode somehow seems to reveal the uncouth methods of men, one that often lays dormant and hidden somewhere in the human structure and suddenly springs to life at the sound of the word election. But for the United States of America Cricket Association, USACA, an organization that has done nothing to right its dark image of the past, that mode appeared to have become a norm when it comes to principle, and the deliverance of justice for United States cricket.

The organization’s stalemate at this juncture and playing with the election due date depends upon how good is your interpretation of their constitution, and on which side of the isle you stand. It is clearly a method that discharges a bad odor about the operation of a USACA, an administration that is numb to the disappointment they exhale, and their utter lack of regard for the United States cricket community.

This national body (USACA) has pushed the International cricket council (ICC) on two occasions in the past in a direction that has resulted in an absolute embarrassment for United States cricket, and is somehow bent on going down that road again. The November date for elections, from the time of the last election in March 2008, will give the administration an additional eight months to shape their ball of wax in office. Based on any argument, it is setting a bad precedence for an administration that has already been littered with woeful management.

The failure of the USACA to hold its constitution in any regard and to take shelter in constitutional articles that spoke in silence of the workings of the national association led the ICC to admonish USACA with clear  instructions – GET A WORKABLE CONSTITUTION IN PLACE BY A PRESCRIBED DATE OR ELSE! The ICC, who was perhaps totally fed-up with US cricket dealings by now and in an attempt at moving  US CRICKET in the right direction, it contravene its responsibility and  committed a grave error in judgment. They assigned the West Indies cricket board (WICB), of all people, to police the USACA for a short while – a cricket board that is tormented with the difficulty of managing its own affairs. To put a cricket board such as the WICB, to police the United States cricket for a period was in some way putting additional burden on a one-legged invalid to carry US CRICKET on their back – a Board that has already been bruised and blistered from constant pounding of its own internal troubles.

As such, the constitution was put together in short order to facilitate an election and incorporate the ICC’s mandate to avoid further penalty. It resulted in a document with gaping holes e.g. NO TERM LIMIT FOR THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT (eh, read that again!) with the opportunity for ratification at a later date. Ratifiwho?

That will be penciled as one of the most preposterous pill of all designed and distributed to choke US CRICKET for a long time. Why ratify the document later, get it right now when it was in your hand.

However, it may appear quite simplistic to lay blame solely at the doorsteps of the association’s leadership but the fact remained that after they were charged with responsibility for moving US CRICKET forward and subsequently delivered results that were not only very disappointing, but somehow engaged in methods that troubles a reasonable mind. MUM on a number of issues; the ouster of their CEO, appointment and firing of coaches, exit of vice presidents, cancellation of tournament, appointment to executive positions etc.

The opportunity to oust the current leadership in the last election, March 2008, was thwarted by the inner workings and perhaps phony promises from the leadership. That was compounded simply by gullible league presidents who represented the US CRICKET fraternity, and after witnessing the perpetual impotence of the USACA that lead to the demise of United States cricket in the previous years, they, the LEAGUE PRESIDENTS, turned a blind eye on the incompetence exhibited by the administration’s leadership and allowed it to escape unscathed.

It was a reprieve that tells a very different story about the true ‘actions’ by the league PRESIDENTS. One that not only endorsed the USACA wrongdoings, but really revealed the ineptitude showed by the LEAGUE PRESIDENTS who flout their authority in delivering justice for US CRICKET, and the cricket fraternity at large, when the opportunity was presented. That was a stark indictment that US CRICKET is conceivably fractured in more places than initially thought as was revealed by the league presidents who did not have the courage to vote their conscience. And was chicken to change, and was willing to plaster the fickle affairs of United States cricket to the world.

The association is at work again requiring that all games in the US require Approval-Disapproval by the administration. That may be a good thing for the US cricket, but given this administration’s past record to put such authority in their hands calls for pause. It may be very dangerous and opens the flood gates for corruption. Do organizers who bring money over or under the table, sideways or in some corners in large and small envelopes will be given approval over on organizer who the administration does not like and does not ply to their trade? Or for that matter gave approval to a region or a league in exchange for votes?
Take a DEEP breath, who knows.

The marriage now with the Holdings Company talks MONEY to the tune of $5,000,000. Here again, MUM’s the word. Without any communication from the USACA, no one knows for sure but it seems that the administration appointed themselves to be business partners [or some other facsimile thereof] with the holdings company.

By the way, for years we have been hearing that USACA benefitted to the tune of some $1,000,000 or so in the Disney project before the deal went south; and another $650,000 in the Mark Mascarenas deal that supposedly was in negotiations when Mascarenas was killed in a car accident.  Perhaps USACA can finally shed some light on these allegations. Are they true?
Is there any accountability available anywhere in the USACA archives?

It will be a disappointment for the United States cricket community if the few intellectuals in the USACA continue to succumb to the wheeling and dealings of their leadership come election time. The cricket community should be silent if they allow their league presidents to exhibit again the same degree of impotence that was paraded in the last election. If the league presidents’ eyes are not open by now, and if they fail once again to truly represent their constituents at the club level and open the door of opportunities for the younger generations of cricketers, then we can turn the switch OFF and leave the United States cricket in the dark.

Until then, hope for better days of the association is not lost though, if there is a belief in ‘CHANGE’ – a simple theme which swept United States politics into the history annals – that change is a permanence for progress, and United States cricket needs some of it to survive the turbulence of this volatile climate.

Then maybe, just maybe, US CRICKET can be wrapped in the star spangled banner in the land of the free and home of the brave, and fly proudly again. But until such time, the cricket community remains circumspect.

The views expressed here are those of the contributor, and do not necessarily reflect those of