US game is back on track af­ter lat­est ex­pul­sion

The Cricket Paper - - FEATURE - By Richard Ed­wards

THE ICC and USA en­joyed an un­easy re­la­tion­ship in re­cent years – akin to a teacher know­ing a pupil could do much bet­ter, if they didn’t muck around so much.

That, though, could be about to change.

The ICC ex­pelled the USA Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion in June, end­ing a 52-year as­so­ci­a­tion with a coun­try with three sus­pen­sions from the world gov­ern­ing body since 2005. Enough was enough.

“The whole process, from sus­pend­ing USA CA to ex­pelling them, the whole ob­jec­tive was to unite the Amer­i­can cricket com­mu­nity be­hind a na­tional gov­ern­ing body that rep­re­sented ev­ery­body,” Dave Richard­son, the chief ex­ec­u­tive of the ICC, said at the time. “The first step will be cre­at­ing the gov­er­nance in­fra­struc­ture to fill that void and rep­re­sent the whole cricket com­mu­nity bear­ing in mind the coun­try’s size.”

Just four months on, peace ap­pears to have bro­ken out and the build­ing blocks out­lined by Richard­son have been put in place.

On Sun­day, with a launch de­signed to co­in­cide with the 173rd an­niver­sary of the first in­ter­na­tional cricket match be­tween the USA and Canada, USA cricket took its first steps into a brave new world, with the un­veil­ing of a new USA Cricket brand.

Al­though the ICC Amer­i­cas USA project team will con­tinue to run cricket in the coun­try, a new board to gov­ern the fed­er­a­tion looks set to be in place next April – pro­vid­ing a plat­form, the ICC hopes, to put cricket in the coun­try on its sound­est foot­ing in a gen­er­a­tion.

“It’s an ex­cit­ing day for US cricket as we cel­e­brate the past and look to the fu­ture,” says ICC Amer­i­cas USA project man­ager, Eric Parthen. “It is a fresh start and we’re hugely en­cour­aged by what we have been hear­ing from the cricket com­mu­nity. The con­ver­sa­tions and progress we have made are on track to uni­fy­ing as one body for cricket in the USA.

“The launch of the USA Cricket brand and the so­cial me­dia plat­forms are the first step in achiev­ing our goal and we’ve pro­duced an ex­cit­ing look for the fed­er­a­tion.”

The cre­ation of a new mem­ber­ship data­base is also seen as a cru­cial step for­ward in the coun­try’s bid to bring about the ‘trans­par­ent elec­tion process’ that the ICC has con­sis­tently de­manded.

USA Cricket, it seems, is on its way back. Al­though how long it takes for the sleep­ing gi­ant to open its eyes is any­one’s guess.

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