In an exclusive interview with DreamCricket.com, California businessman Ram Varadarajan announces his plan to run for president of USACA. "I have a bold new plan for governance and leadership. I will delineate, decentralize, and bring about transparency."
In an exclusive interview with DreamCricket.com, California businessman Ram Varadarajan announces his plan to run for president of USACA.
DreamCricket: Thanks for agreeing to speak to DreamCricket.com and for announcing your candidacy on our website. It has been an eventful three years for you personally. On the professional front, the company you founded in 1997, Arcot Systems, was sold to CA Technologies. Reportedly in an all cash transaction valued at $200 million. How do you feel about that?
RV: It is always good to have the fruits of one’s labor be rewarded. I am happy for myself and all the stakeholders - employees, partners, investors and customers. My team at Arcot and I had spent a decade building this business from the proverbial Silicon Valley startup on a napkin into one of the most respected security and anti-fraud solutions company in the world. Building a successful company is all about leadership, team building, fund raising, gaining confidence in your stock holders and meeting the expectations of your customers. Equally important are qualities such as – highest level of ethical conduct, transparency and communication. I am glad I could, with my team, achieve all of these.
Arcot has a great future, the business continues to do very well and my team is continuing our mission with renewed vigor. While I am still actively engaged with the business at Arcot, I no longer have the pressures that an entrepreneur CEO has. I have the freedom and bandwidth to pursue my interest in US cricket more vigorously. And I truly believe that the lessons and successes of my decade at Arcot can all be put to work once again to make USACA a world class sports institution.
DreamCricket: The perception within USACA circles is that you have stayed away from cricket since you lost the election to Gladstone Dainty. In fact, some think you completely disappeared from the scene until now. What do you tell critics who think you have reemerged around election time?
RV: As I said after the 2008 election, there is a time for politics, but when the political season ends, we need to work together and put cricket first. Because, as you know, cricket in USA has plenty of politics, what it really needs is development.
Gladstone Dainty and the newly elected team got their chance to provide leadership. Had I won that election, I would have expected the same opportunity.
DreamCricket: But since you were not front and center over the last three years, maybe that has led to the perception that you have left the cricketing scene.
RV: Nothing could be farther from the truth. I have not stayed away from cricket and will always serve cricket.
Since the last elections, I have remained active at various levels. I have continued my involvement at the grass roots level in NWR. Nationally, I have supported various cricket initiatives – especially youth activities. I advised sports marketing entities to bring professional cricket to the US. I advised USACA officials on fund raising – even arranging senior level meetings with a key potential sponsor.
I held the first of its kind national forum on youth cricket to stitch together the various youth activities – several good things came out of it including a national repository for cricket statistics – a key finding of that forum. This national statistical repository, which DreamCricket.com is hosting, is financed by my foundation. Additionally several institutions got valuable advice on incorporating as 501(c)3 organizations – increasing their ability to raise funds.
I could go on and on, but I guess the point is that I have been, and will continue to be involved in making USA cricket one of the most successful and vibrant cricket organizations in the world. I know it is a very long haul, but I am certain we will get there. So as I said, I have been in the thick of cricket. Probably, the right thing to say would be that I stayed away from the media and have certainly not been heavily involved politically since the last elections.
DreamCricket: Tell us more about your foundation. Why did you start the New Inning Foundation? What are its activities?
RV: There are plenty of small, individual, laudatory initiatives across America to help grow cricket. But there were none that dreamt big and followed up with execution. My vision is that the success and growth of cricket in USA lies in putting significant money, time, effort, and focus on youth cricket. New Inning Foundation has been created with that single objective in mind. There was certainly a need for a philanthropic foundation devoted to promoting, nourishing and celebrating youth cricket in America. New Inning Foundation achieves this by working symbiotically with community organizations whilst leveraging our financial and administrative resources. The funding is provided by me and a few private donors.
The New Inning Foundation has begun in earnest. Its initial focus is on highlighting and recognizing talent at the youth level. Towards that end we set up the national score repository for youth cricket statistics – it now contains scorecards for youth games at regional and national levels. Over time, this repository has been expanded to all inter-regional and ICC cricket. Now that all the scores are recorded, it also enhances transparency when it comes to selection.
The other thing it enables us to do as a community is to recognize and celebrate talent. The New Inning Foundation was also among the presenters of the USA Cricket Awards last year. In 2010, 10 cricketers were selected for their achievement including such assessments as performing under pressure and commitment. Awards comprised of a plaque and a cash reward.
New Inning Foundation has established scholarships for free indoor net-practice for deserving junior cricketers. The foundation has also supported the expansion of the USYCA and facilitated equipment donations to schools across USA, funded printing of instructional booklets and promotional material by USYCA for students and teachers.
Also, New Inning Foundation has campaigned very hard and been successful in influencing tournament organizations in US cities to take on youth players – by supporting tournament level awards that recognize youth achievement.
We have also supported college assistance programs for youth players.
I see New Inning Foundation becoming a significant contributor to youth cricket development across America, touching the lives of many aspiring cricketers in this country. It is a first of its kind institution in the US and perhaps worldwide.
DreamCricket: That is very impressive and the USA cricket community appreciates your support of the awards. Coming back to the election in 2008, are you still in touch with the three gentlemen who were on your slate who won that election - John Thickett, John Aaron and Manaf Mohamed. Do you think they delivered on the promises that were made last time around as part of the New Inning mandate?
RV: I am indeed in touch with them as I am with several key actors in US cricket – both in person and electronically. I brainstorm with them on several cricket topics including ways to get USACA on a sound financial footing. These are good friends that I can lean on for ideas. In fact, the successes (albeit few) of the last 3 years have been led or championed by these gentlemen – formation of Cricket Holdings America LLC, being one poignant example.
DreamCricket: How do you rate USACA’s performance over the last three years under the leadership of Mr. Gladstone Dainty?
RV: I contested the last election; I am contesting this one. The reasons are largely the same. I feel that USACA management has lacked structure, organizational leadership and transparency. Over the last three years, we have not really seen a common vision as a result of which problems big and small remain unsolved. A consequence of all of this is that there is factionalism, confusion and despair among the cricket lovers, players, volunteers and elected officials. US cricket could have been taken to greater heights and our youth given the opportunities they deserved. My campaign is therefore about addressing all of these. I am confident that I can remedy this.
In the midst of all this, we must not forget that a few bright spots did appear. Women’s cricket got a start. The Pearls Cup was a good one-off event. I like the revival of the KA Auty Cup. The establishment of Cricket Holdings America LLC was clearly a singular major achievement and I am proud to say that members on my 2008 slate were instrumental is bringing this about along with the President and the board. This did bring much needed funds allowing for many of the cricket tours that the U-19, men and women have made. But increased activity also leads to increased expectations - governance & execution need to keep up with that.
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, team and governance, and energize the participants to take things to the next level.
In my view, the leadership should serve the leagues and has to explain the benefit of the decisions to the membership. More efficient communications are naturally very important, which means the President and the board must seek and take input, be open to criticism. USACA must bring value to the leagues beyond just the right to play for the region or for the US team.
DreamCricket: How did you get involved with CHA, LLC? What is your role as a board member?
RV: As I mentioned earlier, I advised entities that wanted to bring professional cricket to US. I was, therefore, educated in the challenges and opportunities that the LLC presented. Here I was, sitting in the Silicon Valley, home to some of the greatest success stories in corporate America. My own story at Arcot Systems is akin to other Silicon Valley success stories. And I told myself that I must deploy that spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship to cricket administration. Cricket Holdings America LLC presented me with that opportunity. And I accepted. Since being part of Cricket Holdings America LLC, I have executed my duties with the same passion, commitment and leadership that I had for Arcot.
DreamCricket: What is your answer to critics that think that you have been 'silenced' by Mr. Dainty by hanging a CHA board position as a carrot? We have seen a lot of criticism lately centered on how the USACA board was not consulted in making board appointments.
RV: I contested “Dainty the President” in the last elections. I have nothing against “Dainty the person”. I talked to him then, and I talk to him now. I have never been afraid to be critical about the quality of his administration or about decisions made by the administration. So let that be on record. The fact that Dainty invited me to be part of CHA goes to show that I am issue-based and not personality-based.
Now, about the USACA board, the workings of the USACA board are outside my knowledge and influence. There could be several reasons for discord on the USACA board over such appointments including mine – speculating over them is not fruitful.
From my standpoint, I was invited by USACA to take a board seat on Cricket Holdings America LLC. I gave it thought and I accepted because I felt that I was fully qualified to join the board and I was confident that I could add value to the board. The USACA board approved.
I am positive that many of the board members that had misgivings about the process that USACA adopted actually have no issues with my candidature or selection - I am very confident of that. Let me also make it very clear – my services are pro bono – there is absolutely no compensation for my time and effort and I expect none.
DreamCricket: Did you not file your nomination to run for the Regional Representative of the North West Region? Why did you withdraw, preferring instead to join the board of CHA, LLC?
RV: I believe USACA had an objective to expand the number of individuals involved in USACA activities. I was told they did not want one person holding two posts. I could continue to help the NWR region in many ways without having the Regional Representative post – and there were several outstanding individuals interested in the position.
The CHA board position was an entire new way to serve US cricket interests; I felt I was uniquely qualified and I am privileged to serve. I will serve US cricket at every opportunity that I have.
DreamCricket: Coming to the process or deficiency of processes at USACA, what would you have done differently? Do you feel that the USACA governance would have been more transparent had you been at the helm? With respect to the commercial deals and with respect to consensus building that has been lacking.
RV: Instead of indulging in hypotheses, let me tell you what I will do differently to immediately improve transparency and confidence. I have a bold new plan for governance and leadership. I will delineate, decentralize, and bring about transparency. Let me explain:
On “delineation”: First, I will separate executive management of USACA from cricket administration. The latter should be left to experts who should work without interference from the executive. The process of appointment of coaches, selectors, selection criteria, etc., these are administrative duties and these processes will be transparent and published.
Second, I will personally take up the job of mending our fences with the ICC and seek their active financial and governance help in putting USACA back on track. Third, I will introduce term limits: Presidents – max of two terms. Term limits are important for smart governance.
Coming to decentralization, USACA has become a large organization and it needs organizational acumen befitting its size. I will delegate more to the VPs and other board members. Everyone in my team will have a well-established portfolio of duties and responsibilities. I will let them perform their duties without interference but with a clear expectation of accountability and ethics. I will also move decision making and funds to the leagues and regions, as a rule. Decentralization also would mean that the administration would have to become more predictable – cricket calendars, board meetings and the like should be on a schedule. Once again, not rocket science; that is how successful companies operate.
Finally, I will bring about transparency. In my administration, all board meetings will have an open and closed session. Most of the cricket business can be discussed in open sessions. The open session will be open to all the league presidents. After all, the board is working on their behalf. This in itself will make the working of the board more civilized and productive –the league presidents can see for themselves what is going on. In the closed session, we will discuss any confidential aspects and personnel matters. The structure, conduct and governance of this board will be no different than how it is done in all successful companies globally. Also, in an effort to improve transparency, I will have town hall meetings every quarter so that the broader cricket community can come together, ask, criticize and learn.
This is a short list but this is how I think change can be ushered in. As President, my role will be to set the right tone at the top. Everything else follows from there.
DreamCricket: Let us talk about the brief and stuttering engagement with the international community.
RV: Having international exposure is critically important for advancing US cricket. That is one reason why our relationship with the ICC needs to be rock solid.
There are two types of international exposure – one where we get professional teams to play in the US – once again, The Pearls Cup is an example of this. Under the LLC agreement, such activity will be organized and managed by the Cricket Holdings America LLC.
The Pearls Cup was a watershed event. It validated that USA could be a destination for cricket and that we could conduct such an event. The event, ground and the financial results from the event clearly need to be improved – however, it provided a critical learning.
The second is where our cricket players play with teams from other nations. The bilateral matches against Jamaica, Canada are all very good for our players. We cannot improve as a team by just playing ICC tournaments.
I also applaud the resumption of the K.A. Auty Cup for another reason. It is a long overdue celebration of a truly historic series. I think USA vs. Canada tradition, with some good marketing, can recapture some of the past glory.
DreamCricket: Do we need a CEO? What are your thoughts on Don Lockerbie's departure?
RV: Absolutely, the role of the CEO is critical for any organization and USACA is no exception. If elected, one of my top priorities will be to fill that post with a competent, committed and respected individual.
I worked well with Mr. Lockerbie. Very soon after his appointment, I met with him and offered my assistance. We discussed various options and strategies – including ways of raising funds for USACA. I am not privy to the exact circumstances leading to his departure.
DreamCricket: What makes you want to contest again? How different is this election from the last one in 2008?
RV: I ran last time because I did not see any other candidate stepping in to lead or bringing change to US cricket. There was a leadership vacuum. There were plenty of folks critical of the then president’s performance – but nobody was willing to make the effort to challenge the status quo. So I stepped in to serve US cricket. I think it was a watershed event.
The campaign that I ran was exemplary. I was a virtual unknown and I invested time to meet league presidents and the cricket community, understanding issues and putting together a slate of candidates from across the country and more importantly I spelt out a platform – that platform is still visible at www.newinning.com.
This time, the situation is more acute and the stakes are higher. However, this time the electorate is more informed. The change that is required is more than just running tournaments and complaining. It is more fundamental. It is about restoring cricket to its glorious track in the US. It is about having the leadership, vision and the executive skills to manage a set of diverse interests. I am confident that I can deliver on all those grounds.
DreamCricket: Last time around, you lost by three votes. In fact, one vote in your favor was knocked out due to a technical disqualification. Much has been written about a handful of bogus leagues in 2008, especially in Central East region. Do you agree that things would have turned out differently if bogus leagues were not allowed to vote? What needs to change with respect to the voting process?
RV: The way I see it, I lost by three votes in spite of my message being spot on. There were structural reasons for the loss. First, as you pointed out, there were several fake leagues and they were obviously not voting for me. Second, some legitimate leagues were disqualified from voting on technicalities – if they were allowed to vote, they would have likely supported me. Third, I am a skeptic when it comes to proxy voting. This is pure evil.
What most readers don’t realize is that in the USACA elections proxy voting is allowed. That means a league president can sign over his ballot to another influential official, say a regional director. There is inherently a fear of reprisal. The regional director may retaliate against a league within the region if the league does not vote for the candidate supported by the regional director. This practice must stop. All voting must be by secret ballot. USACA must set aside funds for the league presidents to travel and vote in person. Or they must authenticate the vote through other means. Technology has evolved to facilitate that.
Of late, there is a drive to review the legitimacy of the leagues. I welcome this compliance drive. Had it been in place three years ago, I am confident that I would be the incumbent President.
DreamCricket: What is the way forward in the current situation? People want an election but it is an open secret that there are bogus leagues.
RV: We need a strict, fair and expeditious way to root out the egregious violators. People are skeptical of the current compliance process for a variety of reasons and some of the critics view it as a political tool to silence opponents. The skepticism also stems from timing - it is an election year. I can understand why people are frustrated. But as I have said, we must give this compliance process a chance.
If your question is should we have not initiated a compliance examination sooner, absolutely, I would say yes. USACA should have encouraged a compliance mindset all along, and the membership process should have been well thought through from the beginning.
But once again, we have no option but to look at the future and the changes we want to bring in. If elected, one of the top priorities of my administration will be to make sure that membership is handled in an even handed, transparent, consultative and fair manner.
DreamCricket: USACA published a revised election timeline after the board meeting this past weekend. Do you think the election will be held according to this new schedule?
RV: I am certain it will. The electorate wants an election this year. Remember, the league presidents are the boss – the constitution is the law - not the president or board.
DreamCricket: Of late, there has been a lot of unpleasantness. Elections voided; massive distrust on the board; the Secretary has been suspended. Central East’s regional representative is awaiting recognition despite being voted to this role by a majority of the Central East’s leagues. Atlantic Region’s fate hangs in balance. How will you deal with such a thing if it happens under your watch?
RV: Leadership is about bringing people together towards a common mission. Factions arise when there is no transparency or communication about goals and the process to achieve them. It is simple, but has to be practiced diligently. I will run an administration where the objectives are that it be transparent, accepting of criticism, and predictable.
DreamCricket: But what do you think of the leadership and their methods such as suspension and locking out opponents. How do you feel about that?
RV: Clearly organizational cohesiveness has eluded USACA, so the methods of old have not worked. The beliefs that have worked for me are being transparent, inclusive, fair, and process driven. It worked for me for 30 years of my professional life, and an even longer personal life. I don’t see those beliefs failing me when I am the President of USACA.
DreamCricket: On the field, in the last three years, starting off at Division 5, USA went to 2011 Division 3 but was relegated to 2012 Division 4. In the U-19 WCQ held in Ireland, USA finished seventh among the associates failing to qualify. What is your assessment?
RV: This is clearly a cause for worry. I have spoken personally to US coaches. The good news is that I have been assured that we have the requisite raw skill set in the US. What is not present is the supporting infrastructure to amplify it, polish it and turn it into a winning machine.
Let me explain – USACA has done nothing to improve playing conditions – there is no increase in turf wickets, the number of qualified coaches and umpires have not increased in any meaningful way. Even when assistance from the ICC is available – these are being frittered away in mismanagement. We have to increase the pool of qualified players and have a well understood selection process so that players understand that skills and performance will be rewarded. Umpiring too should be consistent and standards are urgently needed.
I also believe that we need to redouble our efforts to attract a greater cross section of US society to cricket. I have been encouraging this by supporting Jamie Harrison’s efforts at USYCA - with schools across the country – for which I have been bestowed the “Patron of Youth Cricket” honor. Similarly, we need to redouble our efforts to attract girls to cricket and continue to nurture our nascent efforts with women players.
We also need to encourage and equip US teams to play the 20/20 format without taking away from other formats. This format will become an important avenue for professional cricket in the US and our players need every opportunity to make a mark and be noticed in this format.
DreamCricket: What needs to be done for the players? How will you change things at the age-group level and senior level?
RV: USA has shown that once it focuses on a sport, it can improve its rankings on merit. The best place to start this is at age-group level where disparity among talent is not so huge that it cannot be bridged through channeling resources. I will make such resources available both at national and league levels. By delineating executive management from cricket professionals – there will be a clear separation of duties. The cricket experts and the players themselves will guide us on the coaching, facilities, stipends, match practice and other needs of players. I will, along with the rest of the executive management, generate the funding to fulfill these needs.
In my view, there is nothing to prevent the US U-19 team from placing in the top four by 2020. That means we need to start in 2012 at the U11 level. Once we aim for that, the success in the adult tournaments will follow naturally.
Being on the board of the CHA LLC, I also see another advantage that we can bring to bear – we can provide a professional career path for US cricket players.
DreamCricket: There were some positive steps like bringing in Dipak Patel to coach the U-19 squad for the 2010 U-19 World Cup in New Zealand, Robin Singh was brought in to coach the U-19 team in Ireland, etc. Of course, a lot of money was borrowed or drawn down from CHA to accomplish some of these things.
RV: Both of these gentlemen are fine individuals and I have great respect for them. Every team out there has good coaches. The world of cricket is very competitive and there is no substitute for hard work and a goal-oriented approach.
We cannot have a haphazard process of selection and then throw the team together at the last minute. It is unfair on the players and the coaches. It is a miracle that we did as well as we did in some of the tournaments. Yes, with a little luck we would have qualified for the U-19 World Cup. But we need to give luck an opportunity to swing our way by assiduous preparation.
DreamCricket: You know Nabeel Ahmed, Kenvyn Williams, and Maq Qureshi have already announced their candidacy. Looks like there are others too waiting to declare their candidacy, what do you think is important for the voters as they figure out who to vote for?
RV: I am glad that there are contestants – that shows that the electorate cares. I am counting on the fact that the electorate is better informed. We are living in times where the world is rising up and demanding good governance and leadership. The time is now for the old ways to fall and new leadership and governance to take root. My resume and track record clearly set me apart from the other candidates – I will take my message to the league presidents – they know what is important and I am sure they will make a wise choice.
DreamCricket: What is your financial vision?
RV: Putting USACA on a firm financial footing will be one of my highest priorities as president. A financially stable USACA can then support a number of programs. I firmly believe that empowerment at the local level is essential for USACA. It is consistent with my philosophy to decentralize to the leagues and regions wherever possible.
USACA has two fundamental duties. First, it has to provide the framework, structure and governance for growing the sport, and fund the regions and leagues to execute at the local level. Second, it has to provide a forum for teams to play competitive cricket within the US and outside – with other nations and clubs.
I will put in place the following financial model to support this in an efficient way. USACA must set up funds for national tournaments and the duties that it has direct responsibility for. USACA must set the goal posts, provide the framework; appoint national level custodians for coaching, umpiring and the like; and spell out the standards that it expects leagues and regions to maintain. Then, USACA should get out of the way. USACA should become a medium for channeling funds to the regions and leagues to achieve the objectives. For example, USACA can specify that leagues start youth programs and women’s programs; meet the set standards for umpiring, coaching, facilities and the like – and provide funds to achieve these. Refresh grants would depend on the progress that the leagues make.
We have to get to a state where USACA is making meaningful contributions to the regions and leagues so that they can advance. My administration will accomplish all these - we will raise funds, set goals, incentives, and reward the right behavior.
DreamCricket: What is your organizational vision?
RV: Once elected, the USACA organization should understand that its job is to serve the cricket leagues in the US and not be the master. I will ensure that there is separation of administrative function from cricket management function. This is the delineation that I spoke about earlier. Among other appointments, there will be a national coach to orchestrate a national blueprint and support local activity. The president is the chief administrator not the chief selector. None of this is news for people who have been involved in professional, winning organizations. My goal would be to bring the same tried and tested models of success to cricket in the US.
As mentioned earlier, I will appoint a CEO at the earliest possible. Also, every officer on the board will have a portfolio and the ability and responsibility to execute competently and ethically. The task on hand is very large and requires more specialized skills than the board will possess. This is where volunteers can come in. We are blessed to be in a country where there is phenomenal skill and a spirit of volunteerism. I will broaden the management team by bringing on a 20 person national team of volunteer-leaders for special tasks like event organization, PR, NCAA relations, local government liaison, sponsorship generation, high school outreach, etc. We can also amplify our youth and women's cricket development with specialized help.
I will increase professionalism in cricket operations by appointing a paid national coach and converting most of the cricketing positions to be paid ones. We have for far too long counted on volunteers to go above and beyond. Volunteerism is of course very welcome; however, it cannot be a substitute for professional attention. We need a scalable option that will bring in the skill levels that we need to improve the quality of our game. So in my administration, all officials – coaches, managers, and umpires – will be compensated for their time and effort.
DreamCricket: Where do you see USACA in three years under your leadership?
RV: I see USACA as a harmonious, well-functioning organization. It will have an excellent relationship with the ICC – be a model. It will function predictably. It will be decentralized – we need to push the benefits and much of the decision making down to the leagues. The leagues are the building blocks of cricket in the US. I expect the number of leagues to have increased. USACA will have plenty of funds to carry out its normal cricketing activities – the majority of funds reaching the regions and leagues. USACA will also be working in close cooperation with the Cricket Holdings America LLC thereby giving a path for our cricket players to play professionally. I expect we would have improved cricketing conditions -- built turf wickets, have a fully functioning coaching and umpiring infrastructure and so on. I would also predict that all our cricketing teams will fare better – men, women and youth.
DreamCricket: Maq Qureshi has been spending a lot of his own money in promoting cricket - thereby filling a vast gap at the grassroots level. He has also run a successful tournament in Florida. Nabeel’s generosity over the years has also been written about on DreamCricket.com and elsewhere. You too have been donating through your organization but with longer-term goals. And all of you are running in an election. You are putting leagues in a tough situation, especially since the leagues have benefited from the generosity of all of you.
RV: Any one working to expand the cricket action is doing the game a service. It is all very welcome. There are many others who are also writing large checks but are not getting nor seeking recognition. But this election is about vision, leadership, integrity and governance. It is not about “cricket philanthropy” it is about “cricket leadership”.
DreamCricket: Your claim to fame is your network, integrity, executive management, and corporate track record. But in this economy, do you think you can raise the kind of money and build the kind of support that USACA needs?
RV: Absolutely yes. There is always business going on in every economy. A good idea and a good team will always be successful. It is all about the value that we bring. There is plenty of money available for cricket – spent by American sponsors on foreign soil. We need to sell the value of being associated with an upcoming US sport – I know how to sell concepts and value. I have raised over $100 million doing exactly that – in some instances on the basis of an idea on a PowerPoint slide. Even in the worst economic climate there is a dearth of good ideas and always a shortage of capable, committed and proven talent.
Not to forget, another source of funding for USACA is through Cricket Holdings America LLC. I will ensure that we do our part to enable success of the LLC. That will guarantee us a significant stream of revenue every year. I already serve on the LLC board – so it will be easier to work to common benefit.
DreamCricket: Nabeel Ahmed has been talking of changing the way USACA is run. How do you feel about his decision to resign and his candidacy for the election?
RV: I respect Nabeel as a gentleman and a sincere patron of cricket. But here is someone who has played two innings as VP and USACA has not improved much. If you have a seat at the table, you must do your very best to change the ways of the organization.
Escaping is not leadership – the ability to stand up and steer the organization to a righteous path is what is wanted today. I welcome Nabeel as a well wisher and patron of cricket – but not at the helm of this organization.
DreamCricket: Aren’t you late to the election? I mean, others have announced months ago and the leagues may have committed themselves to them.
RV: I saw no advantage in making a press announcement when the election itself was not announced. My own campaign is ongoing and it is progressing very well. I have already begun conversations with the league presidents. I am glad to report that they are very engaged – tough but fair. Most importantly, I am very pleased and energized with the response and support that I am getting.
I will run a professional campaign, just like I did last time around. My election website is www.USAcricketVision.com and I encourage everyone to visit. My contact information is posted there as well.
DreamCricket: Thanks for your time.
RV: You are very welcome. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak to the US cricket community.