By Sam Sooppersaud
The field of candidates contesting the USACA December General Elections for the top spot, swelled to four, and possibly five, (if the incumbent decides to seek reelection) with the announcement last week of Ram Varadarajan, a Cricket Holdings America director that he has decided to throw his hat into the race. You may remember that in the 2008 race Varadarajan opposed Glastone Dainty for the presidency and he lost the election by a whisker, a mere two votes. However, there were several irregularities in the voting. Three leagues who favored Varadarajan were inexplicably disqualified. The proxy of a fourth league’s vote in his favor was thrown out. He entered this year’s election with the resolve that this time around he will win the presidency of USACA.
Of the four who declared their candidacy, Kenwyn Williams is the least known in the cricket circles, more so at the national level. He came into the public’s eye earlier this year taking up his wife’s cause. Pauline Williams was suspended from playing cricket for one year by the USACA Board because it was claimed that she had left the USA squad during an ICC tournament in Canada. A few months ago Pauline received a letter allegedly authored by USACA President Glastone Dainty in which he (Dainty) agreed to lift Pauline’s suspension. There were further claims made in the letter. Dainty vehemently denied that he had written such a letter to Pauline Williams. Enter Kenwyn Williams.
Since coming into the eye of the public Kenwyn has been making statements that at times seem to contradict his own previous statements. When USACA’s Executive Secretary published an account of a meeting of the New York Region with President Dainty, Kenwyn was quick to call for a suspension of the Secretary by Dainty. In subsequent releases Kenwyn’s statement about the Secretary could be construed as offering support to the unconstitutionally suspended Secretary.
Again, once when Dainty announced that he was suspending the Secretary, and had announced a USACA Board meeting, Kenwyn made out an Agenda for a USACA Board meeting. His rationale was that as USACA is a not-for-profit organization, and the Secretary was on suspension, anyone can volunteer to do work for the charity (USACA) and he was doing just that when he prepared the Agenda for the announced USACA Board meeting.
In referring to the Secretary’s (unconstitutional) suspension, Kenwyn quoted, out of context, Clive Lloyd’s statements in the West Indies-Chris Gayle situation, and copied them in such a way as to give the readers the impression that Lloyd’s words were addressing the USACA Secretary’s suspension situation, and that the USACA Secretary should apologize to the USACA board in order to retain his position.
Kenwyn appears to be a supporter of the Dainty ideology. After the Board meeting in Florida (October 22) Williams was full of praise for Dainty and the Board for the actions (resolutions) taken, though the public outcry against the board’s actions was resounding. Kenwyn has said that he will make changes in the way things are done, without giving any specifics on the changes he is contemplating. I feel that the cricket stakeholders in this country need to hear a more substantial program that Mr. Williams intend to undertake as president of USACA. He needs to convince the public that he can make a difference.
Mahammad A. Qureshi
Another candidate in the December elections for the post of USACA President is Mahammad A. Qureshi. He is a self-made businessman who through his hard work has become very successful. He is the President and CEO of the MAQ Group of Companies which includes real estate, gas stations, and convenience stores all across Florida. A few months ago he resigned his post as CEO of Cricket Council USA, a sports event organization successful in staging T20 Tournaments across the USA. He gave up this high-powered position to concentrate on his campaign for USACA’s presidency.
Mr. Qureshi is passionate about the sports and has spent large amounts of his personal resources toward the elevation of the game in the USA. “I’m running for president in order to bring credibility to USACA,” he said at the announcement of his candidacy, adding that “credibility is only established when an organization demonstrates responsibility and integrity from within.” He believes in a transparent governance style and promises to work selflessly to earn the respect of USACA’s membership and the “millions of cricket enthusiasts in America.”
Mahammad Qureshi is a strong supporter of Women’s Cricket and has organized and sponsored the first Women’s US Cricket Open in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He believes that there are not enough tournaments for the ladies and has promised that as President of USACA he plans to correct the injustice.
Nabeel is a two time First Vice President of USACA, who was first elected to that post in 2004. However, he did not remain on the USACA Board to complete his second term which commenced in 2008. He resigned in disgust, over the stalemate and lackluster style in which the USACA Board functioned during his tenure.
Commenting on Gladstone Dainty’s leadership, Mr. Ahmed said that the president’s approach was “very casual.” He presided over a Board that lacked cohesiveness and cooperation. There was a “great divide” among the Board of Directors. This is how he put it, “the leader’s quality is to keep the board together and move it forward, but this has been clearly lacking.” He claims to have enjoyed the support of a “majority of the important members of the USACA who (have) assured him their all out support if he…contests the Presidential elections…” He believes that with the right people elected at every level there can be a transformation from how the organization is presently being governed.
Nabeel resigned as the First Vice President in November 2010, “out of protest that the lack of action by the important members of the board….” Mr. Ahmed said at the time of his resignation that he “…did whatever was in his control and power to get things moving, but as a 1st VP you can only do so much.” On December 2, 2010, he was quoted on Dreamcricket as saying: “Over the last two and a half years I am frustrated and confused by the actions or lack of actions of some important members of USACA under President Dainty’s leadership…” Eventually when he could no longer stand the indignity of belonging to a board that evidently was satisfied in doing nothing, he decided to get out, and tendered his resignation.
Mr. Ahmed believes firmly that anyone elected to an office is there to serve the needs of the people who put him there. He should represent their cause and they should be able to see, and to question, what their elected official is doing. This is the kind of president he wants to be. He believes that he has the experience to improve cricket in the USA. He confidently asserted that he has established a “track record over the years in dealing with the cricket community, nationally and internationally”. (Dreamcricket (12/2/2010). He promises to base his presidency on the democratic principles of transparency and fairness. “I want to change USACA from the way it has been run.”
Mr. Varadarajan is convinced that it is time for a change in the way USACA is being governed. To effect this change there must be a vibrant leadership. No longer must people sit and wait for things to happen. They have to “take things to the next level.”
Ram’s theme is – A TIME FOR CHANGE. He believes that the cricket stakeholders have a large say on where they would like to see cricket go. He has so far spoken to the elected representatives in numerous regions, and is continuing to do so among his fan base. He sees discord among the Board of Directors and is convinced that this is one of the underlying reasons that our cricket is not moving forward. This chaos among the BOD is due to a lack of communication among them and with the cricket stakeholders.
As a leader you have to listen to what the people are saying. You serve them and if you do not spend time to hear what they have to say then how would you be able to represent them! In his professional life Mr. Varadarajan has served in corporate America at the highest levels. He claims to have built a multi-million dollar technology company and served with distinction as its CEO. He did this by hard work, by listening to his clients, by motivating those working with and around him to be productive.
Since his defeat in the 2008 elections he has concentrated his energies at the local levels. He has organized tournaments and ran/advised several others. According to him, he has been consulted on numerous occasions by members of the present USACA administration and has offered sound and productive advice. He is much respected among his peers so much so that he was tapped by the USACA BOD to sit on the Board of Directors of Cricket Holdings America, LLC.
Ram is aware of how the Dainty administration is running things, but he does not want to “throw stones”. What he wants to do instead is to help to correct the problems that are dragging down our cricket. He is confident that he could. He asks that the people give him the chance. He can definitely make a change. This is what he told Dreamcricket: “I want to look forward. I know that the situation can be improved significantly. It starts with the top leadership bringing the cricket community together; that will establish the right priorities, formulate the right structure and governance, and energize the participants……”
The president has not yet officially announced as whether he will seek another term. He is a Board of Director of the CHA, LLC and may decide to concentrate his efforts to that assignment. Presently there is growing dissatisfaction among cricket stakeholders of the manner in which the president and the USACA BOD are governing. There is a clamor for change. Some have even advised the president to step aside and give another person the opportunity to effect changes. Would Mr. Dainty take this route, we’ll just have to wait and see.
One notable accomplishment during his present administration is the signing of the agreement to possibly bring professional T20 cricket to the United States. With the creation of CHA, LLC the ball has been set rolling. Will this be a reality, again, we’ll just have to wait and see!
The views expressed here are those of the contributor, and do not necessarily reflect those of www.newyorkcricket.com