The 2010 USA Cricket Association AGM was held in Dallas on Saturday,
April 17 2010, with a strong message of merit based incentives to the
regions and greater funding for development.
The AGM was attended by roughly 30 leaders and administrators. The
proceedings were mostly official and extremely cordial, leaving aside
the usual trading of barbs, mostly in jest, between the New York and
non-New York administrators.
the attendees was a large contingent from the host league (North Texas
Cricket Association) and current and past administrators of the Central
West Region. The warm hospitality of the hosts, especially Mr. Ahmed
Jeddy and Ms. Anees Jeddy, was much appreciated.
Pic (Right): USA Cricket
Association President Gladstone Dainty delivers his opening address.
To the right are Ahmed Jeddy, Chik Masood, Nasir Javed, Tony Gilkes,
John Thickett and Krish Persaud
Dainty opened the proceedings hoping that he could address the audience
next year as “Ladies and Gentlemen” instead of “Gentlemen.” Mr. Dainty
regretted that there were no women in the hall and he urged all to make
women’s cricket an integral part of their plans going forward.
Mr. Dainty said that he was grateful for a board that was “thoughtful
and intense” and acknowledged the efforts of the board members and the
various sub-committees in bringing about incremental changes and
putting in place new policies and procedures.
Mr. Dainty admitted that a lot of work remained to be done and that the
success of USA Cricket rested on a combination of bottom-up and
top-down initiatives. Mr. Dainty said that the board and the CEO were
working very hard on revenue growth and they would increasinly rely on
the regions and leagues for deployment of the resulting funds at the
Answering a specific question on whether USACA would provide funds for
turf wicket development by a league, Mr. Dainty said that supplemental
resources from USACA would be available for all noteworthy regional
initiatives. But he emphasized that the leagues and regions should
take a business-like approach and prepare comprehensive and viable
business plans that relied on a combination of funding sources. He
also said USACA would not only provide monetary help, it would also
lend its weight in non-monetary areas such as issuing letters, official
endorsements and authorizations needed in order to secure grounds. In
a subsequent address, Don Lockerbie explained how he and his board were
already working with several cities to secure grounds (more on that
USA Cricket became a beneficiary of larger amount of funds from the
commercial deals and from ICC during 2010 and after, he said the more
resources would be allocated to regions and leagues that were found to
be most effective and proactive through the use of performance metrics.
Pic (Left): USA Cricket Association CEO Don Lockerbie, John Aaron and Manaf Mohammed at USACA AGM
The great disparity among the regions in terms of overall development,
alignment with the ICC and USA Cricket’s objectives, and the overall
governance and communication processes was a recurring theme at the AGM
- a topic that will be covered in a separate article.
Perhaps the most engrossing presentation was the one by the Treasurer,
John Thickett, whose job it was to summarize the financial state of
affairs of USA Cricket. The presentation lasted two hours and touched
on several themes - the most notable of which was the deployment of key
performance indicators (KPIs) and benchmarking within the regions in
line with ICC.
Mr. Thickett provided hope to the audience when he showed USA Cricket’s
upward trend in revenue from $88K for Full Year 2007 to $460K for Full
Year 2009. A large portion of that increase was owing to an ICC
Administrative Grant and other ICC grants (roughly $285K) -
demonstrating USACA’s successful compliance with ICC requirements.
Of course, the costs too increased substantially during 2009 - owing
mainly to increased administrative costs ($272K), and increased cost of
participating in domestic and international competitions ($388K). Only
$5K or less than 1% was spent on development of cricket.
Understandably, there was some consternation when this breakdown was
presented. But Mr. Dainty explained that the allocation for
development was expected to change drastically as new revenue flowed in
through the anticipated commercial deals. (Mr. Thickett explained
later that the amount allocated for development in 2010 was in the
$300K range and efforts were on to ramp up development spend to 7-digit
Thickett explained that the higher administrative costs were the
outcome of the hiring of CEO, the cost of maintaining an office for USA
Cricket and the cost of travel to meetings.
Pic (Right): Treasurer John Thickett presents to the AGM
Both Mr. Thickett and Mr. Dainty explained that the administrative
expenses were like start-up costs and ICC had given an administrative
grant of $160K relating to these costs. Mr. Thickett further
emphasized that hiring a CEO was mandated by the ICC, and was expected
to yield rich dividends once the commercial arrangements that were
currently being evaluated by the Commercial Opportunities Committee,
were consummated. In a bid to assuage the fears of any remaining
skeptics, Mr. Thickett explained that these efforts were already
starting to generate additional revenue and that the 2010 year-to-date
revenue was already in the $660K range.
Mr. Thickett also cited the progress made in repaying creditors - some
dating back to 2003 - even as overall payables grew during 2009,
largely due to the drawdown of a Line of Credit from ICC.
The Treasurer explained that in line with ICC’s expectations, USA
Cricket had prepared a goal-oriented 2010 budget driven by key
performance indicators (KPIs) such as junior players and competitions,
senior men’s and women’s participation, educated and accredited umpires
and coaches, cricket education, and facilities such as grounds with
turf pitches and designated practice facilities.
Mr. Thickett stated that ICC’s funding was driven by these metrics and
urged the regions to be prompt in turning around the survey responses
and budgetary reports. Mr. Hemant Buch noted that the ICC budgetary
process was a tremendous planning tool and had helped his region
greatly in the development of its strategic plan. Mr. Thickett later
presented some noteworthy metrics (to be covered in a separate article).
One of the low-points of the AGM was the revelation that only two
regions (Central West and Western) submitted their 2010 budgets in
response to a USACA request. Even those budgets were handed past the
deadline that ICC had imposed on USACA. While this did not adversely
impact USACA’s compliance with the ICC, the Treasurer hoped that the
regions would embrace the fiscal and budgetary discipline that was
expected of USACA. Mr. Thickett said that each of the USACA regions
were bigger than most affiliate and indeed some associate members of
ICC and that they should develop processes in line with their stature.
The Treasurer noted that considerable progress had been made in the
areas of transparency and that USACA had posted its prior tax returns
from 2002 to 2008 and certain other financial information on the USACA
website. He also held conference calls with Regional Treasurer that
covered topics such as opening regional bank accounts, budgeting,
fundraising ideas, use of Quickbooks (for which he had negotiated a
preferential rate for the regions), etc.
Perhaps most significantly, he announced that USACA had gained charitable status in New York.
The Treasurer’s presentation also touched on other topics such as
membership fees, 2010 goals and benchmarking and was followed by
reports by the CEO and the Regional Representatives - all of which will
be covered in Part 2 of this report.
[Part 2 of DreamCricket.com’s coverage of the USA Cricket Association AGM.]
Increase in Membership Fees
A considerable debate ensued when the Treasurer, John Thickett, touched
upon the work of the sub-committee that worked to develop new
membership fees and insurance coverage.
The new club member fees of $100 per club without liability insurance and $200 with liability insurance, constitute a substantive increase from the previous year when clubs paid $30.
Pic (Right): John Thickett, USACA Treasurer, presents to the AGM.
Certain members (including this author) expressed reservations on the lack of communication on the rationale for the increase, while some others questioned the quantum of the increase.
In response, members of the USACA board offered their thoughts on the question of the quantum of the increase.
Firstly, Raj Padhi of the Western Region, who was part of the
sub-committee that reviewed the membership fees along with Krish
Persaud and John Thickett, explained that prior to the increase, a
club was paying $30 in membership fees and (on average) about $125 for
liability insurance (i.e. a total of $155). Mr. Padhi said that he
had negotiated a lower cost insurance plan and the present total cost
per club inclusive of insurance came to $200, which was only $45 more
on average. In addition, the new plan offered an early payment rebate
of 25% or $50 to the region. After considering the rebate, this was a
win for the clubs and regions, Mr. Padhi explained.
Certain members offered a counterpoint stating that the aforementioned logic could not be applied to leagues that had opted out of
USACA negotiated insurance coverage. They said that they had good
reasons to opt out - they had better or cheaper insurance coverage than
what USACA had negotiated or found the insurance cover to be excessive
when compared to their needs.
In this context, Sankar Renganathan of Great Lakes Cricket
Conference suggested a per-player insurance plan instead of a per-club
plan as a way of realizing further savings.
In an attempt to bring things to a closure, Mr. Dainty took to the
podium and said that the sub-committee would remain open to
constructive inputs on achieving additional savings on insurance
premiums. Mr. Dainty was emphatic in saying that USACA was not going to
sugarcoat the issue of the fee increase. He said that the intent of
the sub-committee was to adjust and increase the club membership fee.
The fee, which was pegged at $30 for over a decade, had remained very
low for too long - a point that many board members agreed with. For
a club which had 15 players, the new $100 fee was still affordable at
less than $7 per annum per player. Mr. Dainty said that clubs may
petition for additional time but there was no question of a rollback.
He said that the rebate of $25 or $50 to the region, as applicable, was
a welcome outcome, but really was incidental to the entire exercise.
Talking about the impact on USACA's finances, Mr. Thickett said that
roughly $30K or less than 7% of USACA revenue in 2009 was from
membership fees, a very low percentage when compared to other
associates and affiliates. The present increase would certainly help
to increase USACA's financial capacity. Mr. Thickett noted that one
of the things on his list was the development of individual membership
options and a way for members to use credit cards to pay fees.
As the discussion shifted from the tactical to the strategic, Mr.
Lockerbie offered comparative analysis of member fees for various
sports. The point he tried to make was that a healthy level of
internal funding was a factor whenever external funding bodies were
approached. He said that USOC was potentially a funding source now
that cricket was a recognized as an olympic sport.
Mr. Lockerbie said that cricket should study what the other sports are
doing and create a masterplan for membership fees and benefits that was
in line with other olympic sports in USA. As an example, he said that
membership cost for badminton was in the range of $25 per player. For
team sports, such as soccer, the fee was much higher.
In response to Mr. Renganathan's suggestion that any plan to imitate
other sports' member fee structure should be carefully studied and any
migration should be carefully thought out, Mr. Lockerbie said that he
was not advocating for an immediate change to a radically different
model but was expressing his views in favor of an effective long-range
When presented in this manner by the Treasurer, the CEO, the President
and others, there was broader support for the increase from those
assembled despite the general dissatisfaction about lack of
On this last point, the Treasurer noted that the regional
representatives were informed of the increase and asked the leagues to
be more demanding of their regional representatives and their
directors. Mr. Dainty too acknowledged that there were weak links in
communication, and that this was was one of the biggest challenges for
Speaking on the topic of commercial opportunities, Mr. Thickett said
that Mr. Lockerbie would provide more details shortly, but said that as
a member of the committee that was vetting and developing
opportunities, it was his hope that USACA would soon have stable
long-term cash flow which would allow it to thrive.
Even though Mr. Lockerbie and several other speakers hinted that the
signing of a deal was imminent, there was no indication of what, with
whom, or what kind of deal USACA was signing. One speaker said that
a deal was in legal review and felt that USACA could potentially make
an announcement within days. But on the details of the deal, his lips
Mr. Thickett spent the last part of his presentation canvassing support
for KPIs and benchmarking. "To improve ourselves, we have to measure
where we are today as a nation and within each region," Mr. Thickett
As an example, he showed a slide which illustrated that New York
Region had roughly 3.5 clubs per cricket ground (implying
crowding) whereas Atlantic Region had the best ratio of all regions at
just over 1 team per ground. He said this type of data could prove
useful for each region in prioritizing where they spend their human and
Talking about junior involvement, Mr. Thickett said USA as a whole was
weaker when compared to other associate countries in regards to the
ratio of number of juniors playing cricket to the number of seniors.
Likewise, when looking at the regions, he said that 2008 data showed
NYR, South East and the West were leading in junior cricket
initiatives. The remaining regions should act fast to improve their
metric in this area in order to close the gap and correct the
imbalance, Mr. Thickett noted. Otherwise, he cautioned, it would prove
harder for the national team to be representative of the country.
Mr. Dainty said that other associates were particularly focused on the
number of local-born players in the national team - an area that
received 3% weightage in ICC’s grants. He brought up the fact that
none of the senior US players were actually US-born.
Manaf Mohammed said that all but three members of the U-19 team were
US-born and that was an encouraging sign. However, it is imperative
that these cricketers continue on to the senior team, he noted.
Following that observation, once again, the discussion gravitated
towards how seriously the regions were taking these kinds of metrics
and benchmarking measures. As an independent observer, I sensed some
dissonance within the regions. It was a fact that some regions had not
been diligent in submitting all of the information that was requested.
In hind sight, not submitting complete information may have resulted in
USACA losing out on an additional $100K in ICC funding.
In this context, it is equally important for USACA to do more to build
bridges and invite all the non-affiliate leagues and clubs into USACA
fold. There are entire cities and leagues missing from USACA’s list
of member leagues. This leads me to believe that several of these
metrics could benefit from the inclusion of non-affiliate leagues. In
fact, the non-affiliated leagues in Philadelphia and NY/NJ alone could
lead to a substantial increase in each of the metrics.
2009 and 2010 ICC Capital & Development Grant Scorecard Factors
Playing standard (senior men’s International ranking) - 40% importance
Senior playing numbers (men’s & women’s competition teams) - 15%
Junior playing numbers (teams) - 10%
Cricket grounds (4% turf, 4% permanent, 2% total) - 10%
Junior involvement participants - 6%
Coaches (3% qualified/education courses, 3% active) - 6%
Umpires (2% qualified/education courses, 2% active) - 4%
Employees (2 part-time = 1 full-time) - 3%
Junior/local development over time (i.e. number of senior playing team
through national junior programs/competition or lived 75%
of lifetime in-country) - 3%
Non-ICC income generated - 3%
Total - 100%
Part 3 of DreamCricket.com’s coverage of the USA Cricket Association AGM - USA Cricket Association President's Report
the President’s Annual Report that was circulated at the AGM, Mr.
Gladstone Dainty observed that USACA is communicating better, is
becoming more purposeful and is moving rapidly in a positive
direction. He noted that this was possible “by empowering more
“USACA still has pressing need for more administrative, technical, and
financial resources to carry out the mandate of the organization. The
vastness of the USACA territory, the high operating costs, and lack of
suitable dedicated cricket facilities are highlighted due to these
deficiencies,” Mr. Dainty wrote.
On a positive note, he wrote: “We have succesfully overcoming some of
our obstacles by improving our cash flow problems.” [sic] and "we are
exploring new revenue generating avenues and the future seems very
Just as he had said in his speech, Mr. Dainty reaffirmed his confidence
in his board in the annual report: “The USACA Board is evolving into a
thoughtful, skillful and deliberate team and I feel confident that
their actions and directions given to the CEO will result into a solid
foundation for progress of USA cricket.”
Progress since 2008
Expressing satisfaction with the progress made since the elections in
March 2008, Mr. Dainty listed the various accomplishments in his report:
- All Regional Boards have been established and partially functional;
- USACA Executive Board meetings are being held per schedule;
- An office has been established in Miami Beach, Florida;
- A CEO has been appointed and he has enhanced our capabilities;
- Several committees have been commissioned and some are functional; and
- A five year developmental plan has been completed with some phase being implemented.
Describing the status of USACA's relationship with the ICC Americas,
Mr. Dainty noted: “Regional Manager Martin Vieira and his staff are
valuable resources for USACA. Mr. Andy Pick and Wendell Copping have
made themselves available for a range of service including high
performance coaching methods, techniques and education.”
Talking about the growth of the New York City Public Schools cricket
program, he wrote that “it is imperative that USACA allocate more
attention and other resources to this program.” Separately, when New
York Region’s Selwyn Ceasar spoke of PSAL and Newcomers High School,
Mr. Dainty commended the effort and asked if the cricketers were
playing age-group cricket as well. Echoing the same theme elsewhere, NewYorkCricket.com reported on April
19th that Mr. Dainty was ‘disappointed that so far no players from
those programs have yet won places in the national Under-15 and
In his Annual Report, Mr. Dainty listed the many accomplishments of
USA Cricket on the field including the success of the senior team in
progressing to Division 4 and of the U-19 team progressing to the World
What should we expect in 2010
Mr. Dainty wrote in his annual report that he was working with the WICB
President on “a proposal to host regional and international
competitions in the USA for the benefit of the Americas Region.”
Adding “I am hopeful that real soon we will reward them [Lauderhill
stadium] with cricket at the highest level.”
Speaking about the much talked about New Zealand versus Sri Lanka
T20 series at the AGM, Mr. Dainty sounded positive and said that
negotiations were in progress on that as well as several commercial
Although he did not elaborate on this subject further at the AGM, Mr.
Dainty was more forthcoming about the negotiations in the article that
appeared yesterday on NewYorkCricket.com where he was quoted as saying:
“If you ask me I will be more inclined to say the chances are greater
for it [the NZ vs SL series] to be staged than not.”
The website provided more pointers on the commercial deals: ‘USACA
and Cricket New Zealand, the ruling body for the sport in that country,
which has a partnership arrangement with the former, are collaborating
to stage the ODI series which would be complimented by matches between
the United States national team and one from the West Indies
‘An investor is providing some of the funding and television rights are
shopped around for the games,’ Mr. Dainty told the website. He also
spoke of a separate deal for T20 cricket. 'CEO Don Lockerbie is working on a number projects outside of the Cricket New Zealand arrangement. One includes a deal with
the NACL group to stage all Twenty20 games involving the national team in the United States.’