By Sam Sooppersaud
The United States of America Cricket Association’s general elections would be held sometime between now and the end of the current year. No definite date has been fixed as the USACA Board is still working on the Compliance Review process. Information received from Attorney Robert Chance who is overseeing the Process, is that he has received documentations from all but six leagues. However, some pertinent information required, has not been included on the papers received so far from leagues. He has asked the USACA Board to extend the process for yet another week.
However, there is no shortage of candidates who will be contesting the elections for the Presidency of USACA. At this time there are five declared candidates: Kenwyn Williams, Nabeel Ahmed, Mahammad Qureshi, Atul Ahuja, and Ram Varadarajan. At the announcement of their candidacies they all made promises of how they would move US cricket to a higher plateau. They voiced opposition to the “closed door” type of governance practiced by the lame duck President Mr. Gladstone Dainty. They questioned the financing, rather lack of financing of the Regions’ cricket programs and tournaments, and numerous other issues.
The same dissatisfactions were voiced by the cricket fraternity: players, fans, sponsors. After speaking to numerous stakeholders I fired off ten questions to the five candidates, about eleven days ago. I felt the questions were a representative sample of the concerns to which the stakeholders need answers. I immediately got replies from two candidates (they would remain unnamed) seeking “my reasons” for looking for answers. One of them even accused me of being biased. To date two candidates have responded with their programs as to how they plan to govern should they be elected. They are Mr. Mahammad A. Qureshi and Mr. Ram Varadarajan.
In this article I would give you, the readers, the unedited answers I received from Mr. Qureshi. In a later article I would do the same with Mr. Varadarajan’s responses. If by then I receive responses from the other candidates I will certainly give you the details of their programs. In the absence of a debate among the candidates I feel this medium is the next best thing in having the candidates tell the stakeholders what to expect from their respective administrations.
Mr. Mahammad Qureshi’s responses to my questions follow:
1. What if any, is your major complaint of Gladstone Dainty as President of USACA?
Answer: A national organization must first and foremost represent the interest of those it governs, it is important that it does so in an open and transparent manner. USACA has failed it stakeholders. The Dainty’s led administration has failed to demonstrate an ability to represent USACA in the international arena, by its own failure to represent the interests of its members, and have lost the supports of its membership due to a lack of integrity, responsibility, accountability and transparency.
2. If elected President of USACA, what would you do differently, to what Gladstone Dainty has done, good or bad?
Answer: My main objective is to re-establish the credibility of USA Cricket in order to demonstrate responsibility and integrity to our members, our community, to potential sponsors and partners and to the rest of the cricketing world. Only then can the sport of cricket be grown in the United States and it is ultimately our objective to see American cricket grow, because growth will ensure our vision and objectives are realized. To be successful, our conception of growth must encompass: grassroots growth, league growth, regional growth and international growth in terms of both increased participation and increased revenue.
3. Which ONE thing do you believe USACA needs to do to connect with all of the cricketers in the USA?
4. How far are you prepared to go to show you are the leader of a transparent USACA?
Answer: Transparency goes hand in hand with accountability. Members and partners need not only know about the finances, they should also be easily able to discern the what’s, where’s and why’s of the organization to which they belong.
5. Like Church and State, can the USACA board be separate from the selection of players to represent the USA?
Answer: Yes. Selection committee with the assistance a “National Coach” and ‘National Manager” will be given full mandate for the selection of all teams without any interference from Board Members.
6. Upon becoming President of USACA, what ONE thing would you do within the first three months of office, to show that a “New and Improved” USACA is here?
Answer: Establish Financial Accountability for USA Cricket. Without financial accountability there can be no improvement in credibility
7. Now that you have declared your candidacy for president, do you have a slate in mind, if not, which two of the other four Executive positions do you see as being most important and which current stakeholders would you like to see in those two positions?
Answer: Secretary and Treasurer
8. What immediate plans would you and your board have for women and youth cricket?
Answer: In order to achieve our vision, clear and achievable objectives must be established and met. Starting from the Grassroots level and building to Regional then National organizations, attracting new players and supporting existing players will be the main objective in achieving the growth of US Cricket. Working with existing leagues to help further establish and grow youth and women’s leagues will be crucial. Tournaments for youth and women will be one of the first key steps of my presidency.
9. What role do you see USACA playing as part of an ever-improving Americas Region?
Answer: USACA is an integral part of the Americas Region. With the ICC Certified cricket stadium in Lauderhill, USACA in conjunction with the ICC Americas must develop a long term plan for the usage of the stadium and expansion of cricket in the USA
10. Do you have at least a three year plan for USACA for the next term of office and would you be willing to engage the leagues in the further development of such a plan, with the aim of having them ‘buy in” and take ownership of such a plan?
Answer: Absolutely, the leagues are the true stakeholders of the USACA and must be an integral part of any development for cricket in the USA. The leagues will have a vital role in my administration and by further extension, the League’s Representative to the USACA Executive Board. Constitutional reform, such as but not limited to Term Limits and an ethical Re-Organization of USACA, will be the cornerstone in building a new and maintaining an accountable and credible organization with total involvement of the leagues.