The people have spoken and they want change as USA Cricket announced its election results this weekend. Although former members of both the USA Cricket Association and the American Cricket Federation were vying for the director’s post in the country’s new governing body, they received very little support from the voters, signalling the end of an era in American cricket administration.
Avinash Gaje from New Jersey, Suraj Viswanathan from northern California and Venu Pisike from Atlanta claimed the three individual director slots. Voting was open to the more than 5000 registered members, with USA cricket approximating a turnout of 46 percent. The results reflected concentrations of the largest voting blocs, highlighting the success or failure to get players to register in their respective territories.
Gaje received the most votes – 584 – out of all the candidates in the election and will get a three-year term as a result. He is president of the New Jersey Softball Cricket League, from which 15 full clubs and more than 200 members had registered to vote. That is second only to the Midwest Cricket Conference in Chicago, which had 25 clubs and just short of 400 individuals register, but none of its members ran in the election.
Viswanathan claimed 557 votes and will be in office for two years, according to the staggered term limits put in place in the new USA Cricket constitution. Pisike had 548 votes and will serve for one year before going up for re-election.
Brian Walters, from Austin, Texas, was the most high profile candidate in the individual director category. A former member of the Gladstone Dainty-led USACA board, he suffered from voter apathy in his region with just two clubs registering to vote in the Houston Cricket League.
John Aaron, the former USACA executive secretary who went on to serve on the board of the ACF, also had the same problem. He ran in the club director category and touted endorsements from high profile names including former West Indies great Clive Lloyd, but lacked support on the ground. Only three clubs in his league, the New York Metropolitan & District Cricket Association, registered to vote.
That meant Ajith Bhaskar, from the Commonwealth Cricket League of New York, enjoyed victory, snaring 66 of the 120 votes from registered clubs – defined as a team with at least 12 players registered. Bhaskar will serve a two-year term as club director.
Atul Rai, the former USACA president who led the governing body from 2001-2003, finished in a dead-heat with former USA captain Sushil Nadkarni, who was taking part in the election for the first time. Both men were part of a four-man race for the post of league director and received 12 votes each, with the voters asked to rank candidates from first to last. A run-off election will take place from August 5 to August 12 to break the tie. In case there is a tie again, a coin toss will decide the winner.
In the elite female athlete category, Nadia Gruny beat Erica Rendler by taking 16 of the 23 votes and will serve a two-year term on the board. Usman Shuja ran uncontested in the elite male athlete category and will serve a one-year term.
When the run-off election between Rai and Nadkarni is decided, the final members of the board – three independent directors – will be announced by the nominating and governance committee. The full 10-member board should be finalised by the time USA hosts the 2020 World T20 Regional Americas Qualifier in September.