‘We must make cricket a sport for all Americans’
The new CEO of USA Cricket
February 14, 2013
Finally, some promising news out of USACA – the new CEO, Darren Beazley, began his tenure this month. Promising because, Mr. Beazley hails from Australia and has played the game at a competitive level.
As he tackles, arguably, one of the most difficult jobs in world cricket,
Beazley, fortuitously, finds himself in an advantageous position coming, as he is, from a country steeped in the traditions of the glorious game. Also, as an administrator who has played the game, Beazley is in the enviable position of being able to view the landscape both from beyond the boundary, as well as, from the field.
Beazley brings to the job a wealth of experience in sports and commercial management. According to the USACA web site, the new CEO worked for the Fremantle Dockers in the Australian Football League (AFL), and the
Western Australia Cricket Association (WACA). He was Chief Operating Officer for the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships, a London 2012 Olympic Games qualifying event.
Mr. Beazley is married with two children.
Ondrive spoke with the new CEO two days ago.
Congratulations Mr. Beazley, and welcome to the United States and US Cricket.
Thank you, Sham.
How are you and your family settling into your new home in America?
My family is still back in Australia. But we should all be here by March.
Coming from a country with such a rich tradition of cricket, what motivated you to seek this position?
I have been a sports administrator for 20 years. I have worked on both sides – commercial and organizational – so this seems a logical progression. Having spoken with the ICC, I am told that this is one of the best jobs around.
My wife, too, is American so this gives her a chance to come back home and be close to her family.
What do you see as your biggest challenge?
First, we must make cricket a sport for all Americans – boys and girls. It is also important to work together to make USACA a very professional organization. My hope is to make the United States a destination for cricket over the next 3 to 5 years.
Simultaneously, we must help grassroots cricket to evolve; we must be resourceful and committed to the growth of the game. I sense a great passion for the game here and this excites me enormously.
Currently, there are only 12 leagues in USACA. A year ago there were 47 leagues. Is this something that concerns you, Darren? If so, what are your plans to address it?
Sham, I want all leagues, everyone, to be a part of what we are doing. As CEO, it is also important to look at the governance model and the structure.
I must say that I have not been here long enough to know all the issues. My goal is to get out... be seen; to meet as many people involved in the game as I can. I strongly believe in keeping the lines of communication open.
At present, there is only one regulation turf wicket in the USA. Would this hurt the image of the American T20 initiative?
This is a good question. First, we need to get kids playing cricket. Whatever it is, we must get them playing. I saw a game at a high school using matting wicket…not ideal, but better than nothing.
Sham, it is all about net sessions. In Australia, kids play on any surface that is available. I have seen kids play on the street, on sand…any place that they can find to hit a ball. I would rather have them playing on any surface rather than not playing at all.
Utilizing whatever facility is available is definitely the way to go at the grassroots level but USACA is planning on hosting international games in the near future. Where will these games be played?
Sham, if there is one thing I can leave you with today, it is that my team and I are here to do whatever it takes to help US Cricket. I am committed to moving the agenda forward and make cricket a reality in America.
I believe that it is very important that USACA has a strategy for developing facilities. We need good strategy and financial backing.
Which leads to my next question. It is extremely important that USA Cricket is placed on a firm financial footing. In the past year, USACA has been plagued by numerous and still pending lawsuits that have taken a heavy toll on its meager financial resources. Are you aware of this? And is this a concern to you?
Sham, I am not long enough on the job to be able to speak on these issues. But I think it would be best for me to look beyond the past.
The last two CEO have enjoyed, at best, an uneasy relationship with the USACA Board. How much of a concern is this for you?
Over the years I have worked closely with Presidents and CEOs. I have also been in the role of President and had to work with a CEO. This is the first time that I will be holding the position of CEO, but I am confident that I can bring the same commitment and resourcefulness to the job.
I genuinely want to work for what is best for US Cricket and I am prepared to do whatever it takes to make it a success.
Cricket Holdings America (CHA) has already had several false starts. What will be your relationship with this organization?
I have a little bit of background but I haven’t been briefed as yet. In the next couple of weeks I plan to look at it. I know we are looking at a 2014 start.
Darren I do wish to thank you for taking time away from your obviously pressing schedule to talk with Ondrive. Good luck and God bless.
You’re very welcome, Sham…and thank you, too, for giving me this opportunity to speak to the American cricket stakeholders. I truly care about the game and I am confident that my team and I will succeed.
I want to reach out to everyone and ask them to be a part of this wonderful journey.
Dr. Samaroo is the Editor of Ondrive