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By Peter Della Penna
After a banquet held by USACA at the 2010
Senior Nationals in Lauderhill, Fla., Gladstone Dainty sat down with
Peter Della Penna for 30 minutes to discuss some of the current topics
and issues relating to USA Cricket.
Here is Part 1 of the transcript of that interview from November 20. The final part will appear on Monday.
PDP: What can you tell us about what’s happened in the board meeting so far today?
I would say that it was a very productive meeting. We had some issues
like the commercial opportunities. We made a lot of strides on a lot of
PDP: What other issues would you say you made strides on?
Well, the commercial opportunity for one. We made a lot of strides on
that. The board approved or ratified the actions of the commercial
committee. I would say that was the key thing because it’s been
occupying many of us for a while now. We see it has something that is
key to the survival of United States cricket at that level, the high
that we’re trying to take it to.
PDP: I know all the
people here would have noticed that Don Lockerbie’s not here. Why is he
not here? He wasn’t at the stadium yesterday and he’s not here today
GD: Well I’m sure you got a press release from the secretary that Don and us have parted ways and we wish him well.
PDP: Why? Was this a mutual thing or why is he no longer part of the organization?
Well you know getting into details about personal issues, that’s not my
style and I don’t think that should be discussed of anybody that’s
professional. That was a personal issue and there’s a confidential
aspect of that that I won’t get into that. But we’re not together
anymore. He’s not together with USACA.
PDP: But what
I’m asking is was that a USACA decision or was it that he left on his
own. Was he fired, was he dismissed or was this mutual?
GD: We’re just not together anymore.
PDP: When did this take effect? When was this decision made?
GD: Well that, we parted ways on November 19, yesterday.
PDP: What does that mean then in terms of the CEO position? Is there now going to be a search to replace him with a new CEO?
Pic: A search will commence to replace Don Lockerbie (Right).
PDP: And what will you be expecting from the new CEO?
Well, we are expecting to have somebody who would lead the
organization. We’ve got a lot of developmental issues to address. We
have a lot of financial issues to address, creating a good revenue
stream, and to… those are the key because we are trying to get that
conveyor belt type of operation going where things are going so
development is very key. It costs a lot of money and administratively
with Don being there we realized that having a full-time person is very
important so we’re trying to get not only a CEO but hopefully we can
get resources to increase our professional staff.
PDP: And by how much would you be looking to increase your professional staff by?
Well it depends on the type of funding we are able to put together and
the convincing we are able to do to our stakeholders. The regions,
etc., are important in this that this should be a full-time job or a
part-time job for people rather than a volunteer some time situation.
The situation regarding the Western Region position. I know I’ve seen
emails that have been passed along and there have been reports put out
online in terms of who is the representative. We saw here tonight when
Manaf [Mohamed] got up and asked the board members to recognize
themselves, Raj [Padhi] got up and recognized himself as the board
member from the Western Region. Has that issue been resolved? Is he
official the board member from the Western Region? What is Gangaram
GD: Well Raj Padhi is the board
member for the Western Region. That is what was decided by the board.
What has also happened is that at this meeting we had planned to split
that region anyway. So effective tomorrow night, we will put into place
a mechanism to have the North West Region and the South West Region.
PDP: That’s official? There will be two?
There will be two regions, but in terms of the issue with Gangaram and
Raj, Raj Padhi is the director of the Western Region and he sat in the
meeting and represented the Western Region.
PDP: Did Gangaram Singh sit in the meeting?
PDP: He did not, at any point in time?
PDP: With the two new regions being created, when will there be… what is the process that’s going to take place?
There’s going to be within 60 days, USACA is going to have, these two
seats will be… we have a process with elections. It’s going to be 60
days before because we don’t want this to be a closed situation. It’s
going to be just what’s advertised. Everybody’ll know that there’s two
vacant seats that they have the opportunity.
PDP: Two vacant board seats?
PDP: And then the positions regional secretary, regional chairman, all those positions.
GD: Yeah, all of those are gonna be.
So does that mean then the positions in the current Western Region, all
of those people will have to run in the next election within those
regions. So there’s people currently in the Western Region from the
South West territory and there’s people on the Western Region board
currently from the North West section of the territory, those people
will all still have to run again within their own region territories?
PDP: And Raj will have to run again if he wants to get the North West position?
What is being done in terms of the Under-19 tournament? What is the
status of that? Has that been discussed at all at the board meeting?
We’ll discuss that tomorrow but what is in place, we’re keeping that
date. You know Christmas… It’s in December, I think the 18th or the
11th, something like that, we’re having that tournament in December.
PDP: In terms of camps for the men’s team before Hong Kong, how…
We’re gonna have a camp. I don’t know the date, we haven’t set a date
yet. We’re gonna have a camp. We’re having some issues with cash. We
plan to solve that problem within the next day or two but it’s part of
it, we’re going to have a camp.
Pic (Right): File photo of Steve Massiah holding the Division IV trophy
When, you mentioned within the next 60 days the Western Region will
have a set of elections for the two new regions that are going to be
created, what about the broad USACA elections. Do you know when that
will be, the next set of elections?
possibly we’ll discuss that tomorrow. Our governance issues are going
to be discussed tomorrow. Quite possibly we’ll discuss it.
Is there anything else you didn’t get to today that is of major
relevance that is going to be brought up and discussed tomorrow.
Governance encompasses a lot of things. The board members might have
stuff. I try not to be judge or whatever, I chair the meeting and
that’s what I do. Everything we discuss is important and they might
have things but we have governance. We need to talk about the
constitution, the way it’s structured, etc. That’s the important,
that’s what it is.
PDP: Was anything resolved in terms of deciding if Nabeel [Ahmed]’s 1st Vice President’s position will be left vacant?
GD: We’ll deal with that tomorrow. We did read his letter of resignation. There was no objection to his resignation.
Are you concerned that because of Nabeel’s resignation and Don
Lockerbie no longer being a part of the organization, are you concerned
that that might present an image to the ICC and to other countries and
to other people involved in potential commercial opportunities and
future commercial opportunities, that that might present an image of
GD: Well, you’re always concerned
about your image, especially when people leave. But in any
organization, you have change and I mean to say that change for better
or for worse sometimes people are uncomfortable with it. But once you
know the facts surrounding these departures, then… you know it’s not
as… the organization will continue. We’re moving… a lot of decisions we
had today were unanimous decisions. The board is moving forward and the
departure of those two gentlemen certainly doesn’t put us in a position
of crisis. We wish both of them well and we will continue to function
and make great strides. We made great strides. We’ve made great strides
over the last few years and especially this year so we’ll continue to
make great strides.
PDP: How would you consider, how would you evaluate the
whole current status and the whole current state of affairs within
USACA both on and off the field? I know you mentioned talking in your
speech to everyone who was gathered here tonight that progress on the
field has been better than the progress off the field. How would you
assess the whole state of affairs within US cricket?
GD: I would say that we are a maturing organization. We are not
quite matured. I feel confident that maturity will come sooner rather
than later. I feel that for many of us this whole cricket thing and the
way we are doing it is that we are addicted. It’s certainly not about
the money, it’s not about the glory, it’s not about the power.
Sometimes when you have addiction, it’s like it makes you a little
irrational. Sometimes we can be very irrational. But with all of this,
we’ve been improving on the field in terms of our on field capability
and with additional administrative capability and financial capability,
it will provide the remedy for some of the immaturity.
PDP: When you said what you said earlier about on the field
has been ahead of off the field, what needs to happen for the off the
field administrative things and performance to catch up to the
performance of the team on the field.
GD: Well what needs to happen off the field, we need to have more
cricket. We need to improve our facilities and certainly we need to
create an organization that’s kinder and gentler to the volunteers who
are trying to do a job. I mean to say we should strive for perfection
but we know how difficult that is and especially with the sacrifice
people are making, we should be more appreciative of that rather than
trying to create an atmosphere or have a development mentality where
it’s the last man or the last woman standing rather than a lot of
people standing and holding hands and laying a foundation for things to
I would say last but not least, this is a United
States of America organization and you look around, we have a lot of
United States citizens but our foundation is still immigrants in
developing immigrant cricket. We’ve got to be more aggressive in terms
of getting Americans to participate and to share the joys of this great
PDP: For the youth level, you mentioned about trying to get
more Americans involved. We saw a lot more American-born talent for the
2010 U-19 World Cup. For the USA as part of that team, half that squad
was born in the US and the other half of the squad mostly was raised in
the US. Some of those players, even though they weren’t born here they
are citizens now.
With the U-19 Americas
Tournament coming up that’s supposed to be in February, a lot of people
feel that, fans and players and some administrators, that there has not
been a lot of attention paid to help the Under-19 players and help
people at that level out and help that team out in order to improve on
the performance from the 2010 World Cup team to improve for the 2012
cycle. Do you feel that enough attention has been paid to the Under-19
squad especially considering that this tournament has been postponed?
GD: We’re paying attention, but we do not have the resources to give
full attention. A lot of attention, but we do not have the resources to
develop the talent and to do all of the things which are necessary.
We’re certainly very short in that because we don’t have the resources,
but we’re paying attention. I mean to say the tournaments, we’re still
having national tournaments. We’re still trying to encourage regions to
play the Under-19 talent and groom the young kids because it ties with
the regional tournaments. So hey, we’re paying a lot of attention so I
don’t know how people can say we’re not paying attention.
PDP: But are you concerned that because these resources that
you say have been holding the team and the development of the team
back, are you concerned that that might affect the performance of the
team should they qualify for 2012 or do you think that it would cause
them to not qualify for the 2012 Under-19 World Cup so that instead of
building on the progress of the team making it in 2010, do you think
they would be taking a step back?
GD: Well a couple of things, let’s get a couple of things straight
here. Now we’re not satisfied with the amount of resources we happen to
be giving to the team. But this year we have dedicated or we have spent
more, we have provided more resources than we’ve ever provided for
youth cricket, okay. So it’s all relative. Are we providing as much
resources as India and Australia and the West Indies? No. But we’ve
provided more than we’ve ever provided but still we need to provide
Pic (Right): Ryan Corns (pictured right) awaits his turn to play for USA. President Dainty said that USA had made 'significant progress in terms of having young people play with the seniors'. [Courtesy ICC]
PDP: What have you? What has been provided this year then compared to the past?
GD: Well first of all we had the Under-19 team go to New Zealand.
We’ve been very… we had our Under-19 tournament you understand. We’ve
fought and made significant progress in terms of having young people
play with the seniors, okay, so that in itself… And over the past year
we also had the qualification. The tournament is not like before when
you win and you automatically go. Remember we had the 10-nation
qualification and then we had to go to the World Cup. So we have been
PDP: But those are ICC events, the Americas and then the World Qualifier that was also in Canada.
GD: No, but although they are ICC events, they cost us money. With
the camps, you understand what I’m saying. The cost for camps, the ICC
when they provide resources they provide for instance they would say,
‘Hey, you get a ticket out of New York. You pick one place,’ and with a
country like a United States of America, we gotta get hotel rooms and
fly players to that. So although the ICC would say that they pick up
all the costs, it can still cost us $10,000-12,000 or more just for
that additional thing. So just like I said tonight, we’re not
complaining. The more you win, the more you have to put up, but then it
lifts the profile and we’ve got to take advantage of that and get more
resources. So we’ve been winning. Now the idea whether the team will
outperform or we build up on that, to me it’s like college sports.
Something like Under-19 because of the restrictive nature, it’s not
like you’re having the same players.
You have a period
where you recruit and not recruit. Now as you would notice, we only
maybe have about four kids, four or five kids from that team who are
eligible for this year. So we’ll be bringing new kids. Their level of
performance or whatever, we don’t know. But it will be certainly a very
young team in terms of experience we’ll be sending there. We will
prepare them to the best of our ability, or even beyond our ability,
but to say that… this is not like the Dallas Cowboys or the Redskins
where you can use the same people. We are restricted by who we play so
it’s not the same guys going back there to play.
saying you’ve spent a lot more on resources for last year’s team and
the money that’s been spent you’ve raised the bar, do you feel that
because the bar has now been raised, it’s difficult to get back up to
that level again?
GD: Oh no. The bar has been raised. I’m not trying to put
unnecessary pressure on these kids because at that age, we would like
to win and win everything. But we are also very committed to is
producing well balanced young people. We’re not going to play a kid
only to win, you understand. Part of it is a teaching process. So the
expectation, we’re going there to qualify for the World Cup. So is
Canada, so is Bermuda, so is Cayman or whoever else and I feel sure
that we will qualify but hey we’re not putting pressure and say we’ll
this is the only thing. That’s win at all costs. We’re committed to
winning and that’s it but we don’t expect not to be among the top two.
The last two Under-19 World Cup elimination tournaments we participated
in, we actually went to the World Cup, the last two. We missed one of
them because of the issue there with the ICC, but we’ve done well. The
last time was not the first time we went to the World Cup. We went to
the World Cup before.
PDP: Last time I talked to you, you mentioned the women’s
team too. You’re trying to prepare them by potentially getting
Pakistan. How realistic is that?
GD: Well, Pakistan are now apparently not going to the West Indies
until August or September so we’d have to do something before. We’re
working on that. We’d certainly still like to get them, but we’re not
going to have [the USA women’s team] waiting until August or September.
We’re gonna have our tournament and we’re talking about having them
have a tour. We want them to be active.
PDP: In terms of the partnership and having New Zealand come
here in May and talking with John Thickett in the article that I had
his quotes where he said there’s potentially this commercial
partnership that will involve New Zealand, you just mentioned the West
Indies. Canada got to participate in the West Indies domestic Twenty20
competition this past summer and not the US. What is being done, or is
anything being done, to improve the relationship with West Indies which
is the Test playing team within the Americas region? What is being done?
GD: We have a great relationship with the West Indies.
Pic (Right): Dainty
said that his board would work more 'aggressively' with organizations
such as USYCA which was approved as an affiliate member of USACA. In the picture, Dainty visits the Cardinal Gibbons cricket program [Picture Courtesy USYCA]
PDP: Why is Canada then getting opportunities and the USA not?
GD: I speak with the President of the West Indies board very
frequently and the CEO of the West Indies board, a great man. That
thing with Canada and the T20 or whatever, once again we were preparing
to go to Italy at the same time so it made the West Indies board
easier, made the decision easier to invite Canada rather than the
United States. At the time, we were contacted and we didn’t necessarily
decline, but they knew that it would present a financial hardship
because you gotta remember the players we have, they’ve got jobs.
PDP: Next year, they’re talking about inviting teams from
England and also inviting Canada back again. Is USA potentially, has
USA been approached to be included?
GD: Potentially they are discussing.
PDP: How realistic would that be?
GD: I don’t know. I know they’ve already announced those teams that
are coming. That tournament is in January. You know what we’re doing in
January so once again it’s going to be difficult.
PDP: I know [USA] had the matches against Jamaica in May.
Are there any other things potentially in the future in terms of
playing with West Indies domestic teams, Barbados, or Jamaica or
Trinidad & Tobago?
GD: Well from time to time if only because of proximity, we can play
any teams from the Caribbean. But do we have something definitely? Do
we know who we are playing next year? No, but we definitely we’re
PDP: What about, one last thing, the teams within the
Americas Region, I know I remember reading stuff in the last year or
two about trying to build a better relationship in terms of playing
more consistently against Canada or Bermuda in 50-over matches,
scheduling 50-over matches and scheduling an annual series outside of
the Americas competition. Is any progress being made with that or is
that a possibility?
GD: Well, like I said, we’ve been playing a lot of cricket and
playing a lot of cricket with guys who are not professional cricketers,
a lot of these guys got jobs and you know that in this country it’s one
or two weeks vacation. In one tournament they can use that up. Until we
maybe have the resources where we put people there professionally and
we know that they’re there and we can play every week or every day, but
at this particular time we’ve got just like the full Test playing
countries, their future tours tournament or whatever, they’re
complaining about their schedule, etc. So I would say our first
obligation is to meet the ICC mandated participation tournaments which
also gives us the opportunity to raise our standing, and then of course
we have to be very selective with what else we participate in if only
because we don’t have the resources to make these guys professional.
one of the major decisions we made today is that a couple of youth
organizations, one of them in Atlanta led by Lada Bedi, also Jamie
Harrison’s group, they made an application for affiliate membership. We
approved it and we will be working very aggressively.
we need to do if only because of the numbers they’re claiming, we will
work aggressively with them to convert that into more active
participation in mainstream US cricket.