Dreamcricket USA News

USA Cricket faces the Covid-19 googly

2020 May 09 by DreamCricket USA

Like all sports major and minor, USA Cricket too has been affected by Covid-19.   USA Cricket CEO, Iain Higgins, issued a thoughtul and detailed assessment of the impact of Covid-19 on the sport's roadmap for 2020.  

Like all sports major and minor, USA Cricket too has been affected by Covid-19.   USA Cricket CEO, Iain Higgins, issued a thoughtul and detailed assessment of the impact of Covid-19 on the sport's roadmap for 2020.  

Covid-19 hit just as USA Cricket was beginning to embark on an ambitious plan that the organization set for itself for 2020.  That plan included hiring staff focused on development of the Men's team with an eye on one of the three qualification spots in the CWC Qualifier 2022, appointment of a new Head Coach, nurturing next generation of girl and women cricketers, prepare the women's national team for the Women's WCQ in Sri Lanka during the third quarter of 2020, implementation of the entry level "rookie league" program, appointment of the newly created Development Manager, and the launch of the updated membership plan.  Separately, the American Cricket Enterprises had set its 2020 plan in motion, which included development of infrastructure and a foundation on which it planned to introduce a Minor League this year.

Domestic Pathway Events

In his Straight Bat blog piece, Higgins wrote: "We are working with our colleagues across the country and around the world to try and figure out how and when cricket can safely return and we will be ready with our revised plans, calendars and protocols when that moment arrives."

The Board announced in March that all domestic cricket events and programs, including Men's zonal competitions and National Final, Women’s and Girls' Talent Identification events, U17 Boy’s zonal competition/trials have been postponed.  That includes the final four talent ID events in North Carolina, Dallas, San Francisco and Seattle, which had to be postponed.

International Cricket

The CWC League 2 Tri-Series that was originally scheduled for April between USA, Scotland and UAE has been postponed.   Likewise, the June Quadrangular series for the Men’s team in Holland, involving Holland, Oman, Namibia and the USA has also been postponed.  "We are now awaiting decisions from the ICC on whether the ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier (July in Sri Lanka) and the Men’s T20 World Cup Regional Final – Americas (August in Canada) will be going ahead as planned. At the time of writing, those events remain scheduled but under careful review but we should prepare ourselves for the prospect that they might also suffer a similar fate,"  Higgins wrote.

Minor League Cricket

Plans for the league are continuing but given that the easing of the Covid restrictions may not occur until at least mid-summer, it is likely that these plans will be adjusted to reflect the situation on the ground.

National Squad

Following the dismal performance of the team in Nepal at the beginning of the year, USA Cricket held a camp in Houston in March with a view to develop a "better knowledge of the playing talent available so that the selectors had more options and combinations available for consideration in the selection of future Men’s National Teams."

Towards an improved administration

USA Cricket has continued to appoint staff and selectors so that the administrative machinery is ready when cricket activities resume.  To that end, USA Cricket announced Women's and Men's national team selectors in March.  

Women's National Team Selectors:  Joan Alexander-Serrano – Chair (PA, 2 years), Patricia Whittaker (NY, 2 years), Ritesh Kadu (CA, 3 years), Jyotsa Patel (FL, 3 years) and Deepali Rokade (NJ, 3 years).

Men's National Team Selectors: Michael Voss – Chair (2 years), Amer Afzaluddin (2 years), Orlando Baker (3 years), Clayton Lambert (3 years) and Niraj Patel (3 years).

Cricket Operations Director:  USA Cricket announced that it had hired Richard Done as USA Cricket’s full-time Cricket Operations Director. Done was previously the High Performance Manager at ICC for fifteen years and served as the Head Coach at Queensland Academy of Sport before that.  "For us to achieve our objective of improving the performances of our national teams, we need to put in place better cricketing structures, support systems and staff, and Richard’s experience and expertise in exactly these areas is vast.  He has been instrumental in the development (both on and off-the-field) of ICC’s leading Associate Member nations for many years, including working closely with Ireland and Afghanistan on their respective journeys towards Full Membership of the ICC, and we hope that he can bring some of that learning to the United States as we forge our own path towards competitive national teams and attaining Full Member status," Higgins wrote regarding Done's appointment.

Development Manager:  Jamie Lloyd, well known to the grassroots as a blogger, broadcaster and moderator of a Facebook community for cricket, who has also served as USA Men's Performance and Video Analyst, was appointed Development Manager.  Higgins noted that Jamie had played a huge role in developing the USA Cricket ‘Rookie League’ cricket resources for USA Cricket.  "The role brings him back closer to where his cricket career began, as a Director of Sport at a High School in New Zealand and then, for more than three years, with Auckland Cricket as the manager of a team delivering cricket development programs and clinics across schools and communities."

Men's Coach:  As has been widely reported in the Indian media, J Arun Kumar (Jak) has been identified as the coach for USA Men's team.  USA Cricket noted that the COVID-19 crisis presented some challenges and that Jak would take the role once his visa has been obtained.  "[W]e look forward to completing all of the arrangements and to welcoming him more formally in due course," Higgins wrote.

Source: USA Cricket; Picture Credit: Peter Della Penna for DreamCricket (altered to fit the article)