By Orville Hall
As I look at the state of affairs of cricket in the USA, I am both appalled and disillusioned with the United States of America Cricket Association’s handling of cricket in this country.
Appalled that after almost 50 years of affiliation with the ICC as its sole representative for cricket in the USA, we have taken a few steps backward. This is evidenced by an unprecedented two suspensions by the International Cricket Council, with a third suspension looming next June.
Disillusioned that some teams/leagues across this country, and by extension, their leaders appear to be blinded by some twisted ideology. I have sat on the sidelines and tried to observe the workings of not only USACA, but also the new alternative, the American Cricket Federation. After watching an observing for the past year, I have concluded that the future for cricket in this country is squarely in the camp of the ACF.
I have not made this decision lightly. I am not one who is willing to jump on an alternative “bandwagon” simply because I may have a few issues with its predecessor, but as I took a closer look at AFC’s mission statement, and the “best practices” that it has implemented, I have decided to fully and wholeheartedly support this new and innovative organization which, I believe, will eventually become the governing body for cricket in this country.
The USA’s senior team is off to Malaysia to compete in Division 3 competition; I wish them the best of luck. As a former manager of the senior team, and having managed several of the players that are currently on tour, I can tell you these players are committed and will do their best. However, one is only as good as one’s preparation, and this has been a missing element in US cricket for quite some time. A scheduled trip to Jamaica for practice games was cancelled due to lack of funds, according to one of the association’s directors. I can assure you that of the six teams in Malaysia, the USA will be the only team without prior match practice.
The next impediment to the team’s success is the lack of a coaching staff that is ready and able to work with the team. Two assistant coaches had a hurriedly-arranged practice session – if it could be qualified as such – with some of players a few days before departure, and the head coach – as usual – is missing in action, and will meet up with the team in Malaysia. He will be meeting several of the players for the first time when they rendezvous in Malaysia. Is this how coaching work? I was always of the opinion that coaches, unlike managers, needed to be “on the ground” with their players prior to a tour, so as to get acclimatized with players, helping to identify strengths and weaknesses so that they can be sure that the best team is on the field at all times.
How can we expect our players to perform are their peak, when we have such a shoddy coaching structure at the top? I think we all can agree that there are several qualified coaches here in the USA who could be of invaluable service to this team if only given a chance. This pool of talent has not gone unnoticed by the ACF, and these qualified individuals can rest assured that CEO Jamie Harrison will be taking a close look to see how best to utilize their skills.
The American Cricket Federation; an organization on the move.