Friday, July 08, 2005

US Cricket - A New Hope no more

The pronouncements have been quick. US cricket has reached it's nadir, they say. Of course, there never was a corresponding zenith, unless you count the narrow 23 run (and $1000) loss to Canada back in 1844. The funny thing is, I hope it gets worse. It is my considered opinion that the USA should be withdrawn from International competition for the time being.

When the USA qualified for the Champions Trophy last year, their efforts were lauded far and wide. Few paused to acknowledge the fact that it was a freak set of results that even made this possible, preferring instead to ponder the delusionary vision of American Dollars flowing freely into the game.

An aging US squad for the Champions Trophy was the first hint to the outside world that all was not right. But to those on the inside, there was little doubt that the malaise had set in a long time back. Those who think the BCCI is rife with politics and corruption need only investigate the activities of the USACA over the last several years to realise where the fun is really at.

It has been a steady downward spiral, and we've reached the point of multiple factions fighting over control of US cricket. Only one wonders how many of them are really fighting for cricket, as opposed to clamouring for the opportunity to stroke their own egos by being photographed with Clive Lloyd at an ICC meeting, or the like.

There aren't many people active in US cricket circles who have a genuine interest in furthering the game, as opposed to themselves. Self-aggrandization is where it's at. I would hope that the ICC's latest ultimatum goes into effect, and the US is temporarily barred from international competition under the governing body's auspices.

We need to take a step back and sort out our own backyard. An open-top carriage*, no matter how exquisite**, is not the right vehicle to carry us forward today. Regroup, get the right people in charge, and define the system and operating structure under which we can properly progress. Only then should we think about showing our faces on the International stage.

Will some talented U-19 and other players suffer for this? Perhaps. In fact, probably. But this is a time where we need to think about the long-term, and take our decisions with that in mind. Short-term sacrifice for long-term gain. Stop thinking about ourselves, and think about our future. I don't know if we can do it, but I hope against hope that there are a few people out there of that mentality.

* -- any resemblance between my metaphorical "open top carriage" and a Victorian Era "Gladstone" is purely co-incidental.

** -- I bear no responsibility for the fact that the word "exquisite" is a widely acknowledged synonym for the rather more esoteric "dainty"

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