USA Cricket Appoint Three Independent Directors ahead of delayed 2021 election

Foundational Plan

USA Cricket have appointed three new Independent Directors, per recommendations from their Nominating and Governance Committee.

“USA Cricket now has a leadership structure and a distinguished Board that we believe positions the organization well to foster growth of cricket in the US. A competent USA Cricket administration is the key to the success of USA Cricket and to the consequent growth of the game in this country,” Interim Chairman Atul Rai said in the announcement.

“I am confident that the global game will benefit from their expertise and their incredibly impressive backgrounds. This is an immensely talented Board, and I am looking forward to working with them so that Cricket can achieve its potential here in the United States.”

Former West Indian All Rounder and veteran of 11 tests, Patricia Whittaker, who was a member of the USA Women’s National Selection Committee as recently as 2021, will serve a term of three years. Patricia’s long time service to USA Cricket predates the formation of the NGB in 2018. 

David Haubert, District One Supervisor for Alameda County, California will serve a term of two years. Haubert once served as the mayor of Dublin, California, a city currently within his District. This past fall, Dublin opened a new public youth cricket ground at Fallon Sports Park. 

Pintoo Shah, CFO and SVP and NBCUniversal Media, LLC, will serve a term of one year. 

Independent Directors have been at the center of controversy in recent years. Srini Salver and Vinu Pisike filed suit against several board members in 2021 when the board voted to retain Paraag Marathe as an Independent Director and Chairman, arguing that the vote deprived a potentially new board configuration of the chance to vote on the position, as intended in the Constitution. At the time, the 2020 elections were several months overdue.

The legitimacy of Paraag’s position as the Chairman was a hot talking point for challengers leading up to the 2020 board elections, finally held this past summer. 

The long delayed 2020 elections, 17 months overdue, resulted in a loss for both incumbents, with Atul Rai and Kuljit Singh replacing Suraj Viswanathan and Ajith Bhaskar. Shortly after, Rai was named interim Chairman. 

On September 30, interim chairman Atul Rai wrote to USA Cricket members, stating that the delayed 2021 elections would take place “at the end of the year”.  On November 19, USA Cricket released a list of eligible voters, and claimed that the 2021 election would be “held in the December 2022-January 2023 time frame.” 

This means that the selection of three new Independent Directors comes, presumably, just a few weeks before the delayed 2021 elections, USA Cricket’s second since the selection of the first group of three Independent Directors, each serving staggered terms.

The cascade of election delays has created a murky timeline, undermining the efficacy of the Constitution. Further complicating things, the selection of Whittaker contradicts the constitutional eligibility requirement which states that in order to be eligible for election as an Independent Director, an individual must not “…have held an elected position in, served as an employee, officer, or director of, or held any governance position (whether as an administrator, appointee, or otherwise) in, USA Cricket, the ICC or any national, local or regional governing or administrative body established for cricketing purposes in the United States within three (3) years of the date of applicable election.” Whittaker served as a member of USA Cricket Women’s National Selection Panel until her resignation in 2021. 

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