By Orin Davidson
It is do or die for United States cricket.
Changes in administration are a must and the upcoming executive elections will determine whether the sport in this country has a future or not.
Under Gladstone Dainty’s Presidency of the United States of America Cricket Association (USACA), the sport’s fortunes have nosedived to such an extent, the world governing body, International Cricket Council, (ICC) has issued a dire warning of devastating consequences, if changes are not implemented.
However, Dainty will seek a fourth term to run the Association at the March 21 poll, but will face an unprecedented list of five challengers.
Prominent on that list is Dr. Vincent Adams.
He brings a staggering list of accomplishments to the table from on and off the cricket field and by far is the most sensible choice to replace Dainty as the nation’s top cricket administrator.
For the last 15 years Adams has worked in the upper echelons of the United States Government in the Department of Energy, as a Senior Executive Service employee – the department’s highest civilian appointment, as a top notch engineer.
Presently he oversees the discharge of a $15 billion budget as the Energy Department’s Director of its Decommissioning, Demolition and Dismantlement Project.
Putting it simply, Adams in is charge of the United States government’s division which produces its nuclear weapons for the Pentagon and responsible for disposing of the resulting nuclear waste materials.
His role being part of what Adams describes as the world’s largest corporation, doesn’t require anyone an engineering degree to appreciate the importance of his job or the tremendous skills required to perform a vital service for the planet’s most powerful country.
Adams though, thrives amidst the challenges and grows from strength to strength every day.
It is those qualities he wants to bring to rescue United States cricket from its acute state of administrative dysfunction.
And he backs up his administrative excellence with a solid cricketing background. At 19 years of age, Adams won national selection for his native Guyana and was destined as a future West Indies star batsman after a highly successful junior career. He competed with and against some of the best at the time including ex Test stars Alvin Kallicharan and Lawrence Rowe and earned rave reviews from even bigger names like Sir Everton Weekes and Wes Hall.
But a car accident left him with injuries serious enough to rule him out of competition for two years. It was during that time he developed a love for science and went on to rack up a succession of Engineering degrees in Petroleum, Geological and Water Hydrology , culminating with his doctorate in the Civil and Environmental discipline, from the University of Tennessee.
Under Dainty’s rule USACA has slumped from one catastrophe to the other, leaving the sport’s fraternity in a perpetual state of disgruntlement. His inability to source finance to develop the nation’s cricket development has been a constant bugbear, coupled with incompetence in almost every sphere of USACA’s management, due mainly to political appointments; the sport finds itself at the lowest ebb with almost non- existent national competitions. Add election malpractices, allegations of extreme corruption and empty promises, you have the worst recipe for disaster as Dainty seeks another as president after 11 years at the helm.
An embarrassing demotion of the national men’s team from Division Three to Division Four, following a poor display in the former playoff series, in the ICC’s classification of its Associate countries, capped USACA’s laundry list of debacles last year.
Ruling with an iron fist, Dainty has used every unsavory tactic in the book to manipulate the election process to remain in power over the years. His long tenure is characterized by botched deals with investors that produced zero benefits for the sport, from 2003 when he took office. The disenchantment among supporters reached a nadir when a rival body —the American Cricket Federation was formed two years ago.
Unable to stomach any more of the dysfunction, the ICC is now threatening to punish USACA with suspension, for a raft of defaults including misuse of a loan and general lack of development on and off the field. It means all American teams, national and clubs, would be barred from competitions and contacts with every cricket playing entity around the world.
In a bitingly critical letter, signed by ICC President Narayanaswami Srinivasan, the world body insists it will not hesitate to act, which could result in USACA’s third suspension under Dainty’s watch.
Of the four candidates challenging Dainty at the scheduled March 21 election, Adams seems best equipped to overcome the mammoth challenges and spearhead a renaissance. He has a major endorser in Clive Lloyd, the stellar former West Indies captain, and knows a lot about overcoming hurdles, having emerged from a downtrodden section of Linden town in Guyana’s interior to become a highly respected civil servant in the world’s lone superpower country.
Adams feels he has the leadership skills, stature and connections to drag the sport back to respectability and eventually make U.S. cricket a success story.
“At the Department of Energy, we are running a massive corporation which requires intense dedication and high degrees of success,” he explains. “It is even more challenging than heading the biggest private business around”, Adams added. “In high level Government operations you are rewarded in five areas – to lead people, lead change, business acumen, building relations and coalitions, prove results. This is what I have to focus on every day, it is in my DNA.”
As a result, top accolades have come his way including the 2012 Presidents Award in Ohio, where he is based, for significant contributions to the state. Also, Adams has led numerous United States delegations overseas in energy related conventions including the prestigious International Atomic Agency conference with representation from 50 countries, in Austria.
Having to constantly negotiate with private companies on behalf of the Department of Energy, Adams says he has the requirements to successfully sell United States cricket for desired sponsorship and general funding required to take the game forward.
“Credibility is the key and my track record is not difficult to investigate”, he said.
“Look who is sponsoring the World Cup (ICC 2015), you have Pepsi and other large American companies involved. It tells you they would not think twice to do the same at home, once they can be convinced”.
In his evaluation to kick start the sport’s revival, Adams points out that the customer has to be satisfied first –the players, fans, ICC and sponsors.
He feels the Regions have to be integrally involved. “Pilot programs have to be implemented to empower the Regions with set goals for each to complete, like acquiring turf pitches at a steady rate throughout the country”.
Adams has a vision to make United States cricket compete with the rest of the world, but first the country’s cricket has to united. He notes the emergence of the ACF, which for all its progress is not recognized by the ICC. USACA is the affiliate representing this country which we have to make better by getting everyone on board”.
It is a mammoth task to even set the wheels in motion to salvation for USACA, but Adams is ready to handle the challenge if elected. He thrives under pressure and has successfully undertaken controversial projects in lead capacities, involving sensitive nuclear related projects around the country when assigned by the Government.
“I am an honest, trustworthy person who had lots of help from other people in my early life, which I think helped me develop the qualities to relate to ordinary people,” Adams emphasized.
In Portsmouth, Ohio, he developed a tremendous relationship with the residents after complications with the town and the nuclear operations there, raged, before his appointment.
These days he is a much sought after speech giver at high schools, as the story of his fairytale rise from poverty to his exalted position, makes the rounds in Ohio.
“Cricket has to be introduced to schools, he stresses”, the kids have to be taught the benefits that can be derived from cricket. There is no easy way in making this a reality, given the vastness of this country, but where there is a will there is a way.” My personal experience is a good example. “I have three sons who all played sport in school and the experience earned, have made them success stories of their lives.
Adams says he doesn’t know Dainty and has no prior association with the cricket fraternity in America and thus will bring no bias to the sport as its top executive. “Whatever is being done is not working out. His (Dainty) approaches to problems are flawed, have not come close to meeting the needs of the customer and has not learnt lessons from the past”. Adams said he was appalled when Dainty stated it is better for the national team to compete in the lower Division Four after the demotion from Division Three, at a recent meeting.
He adds. “You can’t do the same things year to year and expect the same results. You have to stand up and do what is right and make changes for the good”. The ICC letter is clear, if you maintain the status quo, US cricket is dead”.
The voting league representatives thus have little choice than to elect Adams, who the dreamcricket.com website incidentally, also rates the best candidate to replace Dainty.