ICC Expels USA Cricket, Is Saini’s Cricket Canada Next?

The International Cricket Council (ICC), the sport’s global governing body recently expelled the USA’s Cricket Association (USACA). After 52 years as the ICC’s member governing body in the USA, the USACA was expelled following a unanimous vote at the ICC’s board meeting during its June 22 AGM in London. The expulsion ends a turbulent tenure that included three suspensions handed down by the ICC since 2005. While USACA was able to get its affairs in order to have
the first two suspensions lifted, there was no way back from its most recent reprimand in 2015.

Having learnt of the USACA’s expulsion, Canada’s cricketing fans must now be wondering whether this country’s governing body, the Ranji Saini led Cricket Canada, will be next on the ICC’s housecleaning list. While Cricket Canada’s woes may pale in direct comparison to those of its counterparts across the border, there is sufficient evident to suggest that under Saini’s leadership it may be just as dysfunctional.

For starters Saini’s own re-election to the Cricket Canada Presidency has been plagued with sufficient controversy to render its validity highly questionable. Procedural objections to his election at the Cricket Canada Board’s initial AGM last March, resulted in new elections being held in early May. Having, seemingly not learnt from the lessons of the previous fiasco, the May Election was again blemished by similar procedural inadequacies that prevented some Presidential
candidates, including CPLT20 President Roy Singh, from having their names appear on the ballot.

Singh is now reportedly in the process of pursuing a challenge to the legitimacy of the Election results, similar to that which had been issued after the March AGM. Saini’s hold on the Presidency could therefore be under threat yet again.

As if that was not enough, the Saini led Cricket Canada is also now embroiled in an ongoing legal battle with the Ontario Cricket Association in regard to the latter’s’ right to be recognized as the Province’s rightful representative in the governance of Canadian Cricket. As the country’s largest Province and the acknowledged bred basket of active players, Ontario’s importance to the sport’s current welfare, as well as its continued growth and development, is indisputable. It therefore speaks volumes of the apparent inadequacies of Saini’s leadership that Cricket Canada instead of having the same sort of harmonious relationship with the OCA that previous Presidents, notably Capt. Jim Siew and Dr Geoff Edwards, had enjoyed, should instead find itself embroiled in such a combative mess that can only be described as dysfunctional.

In his defence Saini’s supporters will perhaps hastily point to the Canadian Men’s Senior team’s recent successes in its attempts to qualify for the ICC’s 2019 World Cup, which will involve the sport’s top ten teams. His detractors will however suggest that the Team’s successes have very little to do with his actual leadership and are far more the result of the dedicated performances of the players and coaches themselves. Saini’s ever growing number of detractors will also hasten to point out that, under his leadership over the past two years, very little has actually been achieved towards the further advancement.

In contrast to the existence of any evidence of developmental progress, there have actually been a slew of missed opportunities and unfulfilled objectives. Foremost among these has been Saini’s reportedly stubborn resistance to the Caribbean Premier League’s interest in exploring the possibilities of staging matches in Canada, similar to those that have been successfully hosted in the US.

Saini’s Cricket Canada has also been steadfast in its refusal to entertain the overtures made by CPLT20 President Roy Singh, for the establishment of a Canadian T20 League. Singh’s admirably ambitious plans for the construction of a state of the art for Canadian cricket have also been incredibly completely ignored by the
Saini led Cricket Canada.

For all these reasons and more, now that it has embarked on its house cleaning endeavors south of the border, the ICC should perhaps also turn the same attention to Canada!