By Peter Simunovich
Don Lockerbie, the CEO of USA Cricket Association, said the board is in the planning stages with the influential Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) for an all-star team tour of the US next year. The team is also expected to hold player clinics and coaching seminars.
Lockerbie has been keen to have international teams and players visit the US to help promote the game and bring a high level of competition here to help the game improve and expand at grassroots level.
“The MCC, of course, (is) known to all the cricket world as the caretakers of the game and, of course, the Lord's Cricket Ground,” he told DreamCricket.com in a wide ranging interview. He said he anticipated several matches with the US national team.
Lockerbie also met with Steve Elworthy, the former tournament director of both the World T20 2007 in South Africa and this year in England, to talk about cooperation between the USACA and the England County Board. Elworthy is also a member of management of the ECB.
Lockerbie said his meeting with Elworthy was “vital in our quest to become a significant member of the International Cricket Committee.” He added: “Of course, we will be inviting the English teams to come to the USA and play against other full members as part of our Destination USA program.”
At the recent USACA board meeting in Indianapolis, Lockerbie met with the city’s local government about the development of an international sports park, which will include cricket. He said: “Mayor Gregory Ballard has made the development of an international sports park a major initiative for his Parks Department, with the likelihood of the main iconic feature of the park, an ICC recognized cricket stadium and ground.
“The mayor fully understands the importance of the sport of cricket as a good ambassador whereby sport can positively affect cultural and business growth in the communities where it thrives.
“Indianapolis calls itself the ‘sports capital of the USA,’ with events like the Indy 500, NASCAR, Formula One, and the Super Bowl … (and is the home of) the Indianapolis Colts and the Indiana Pacers, the city is well prepared to put on the biggest sporting events imaginable.
“There are also major sports housing their headquarters in Indianapolis like the NCAA, USA Track and Field, USA Swimming and Diving etc. The city recently hosted the USACA Board of Directors meeting and was able to show us the site that it would like to build an international cricket ground. We were definitely impressed and certainly support this great initiative.”
USACA is considering switching the national tournament to the Lauderhill Stadium in Florida later this year so the players can compete on turf pitches. Lockerbie said a decision had not yet been made.
“USACA will make its final decision in a matter of days, but one thing is for sure, we feel it is necessary to play our national championships on turf wickets when we can, especially as our teams are preparing for (the U-19) World Cup and ICC T20 Qualifying tournaments,” he said.
While in London, Lockerbie also had meetings with Rushmans, USACA’s commercial advisor, which has been managing the worldwide commercial program tender and request for proposals it is now reviewing.
“In fact, we received 102 expressions of interest and eventually 42 proposals that the Rushman team is now assisting us during the review process,” he said. And Lockerbie said USACA was “getting closer and closer” about having Test playing countries competing in the US. He said: “We hope to have some great news on this for USA cricket fans and supporters by November of this year.”