I recently conducted an interview with Martin Vieira, the ICC Development Manager for the Americas region.
1. How many registered players are there in the Americas region?
In 2010 there were 34,420 senior and junior registered players in the Americas. In addition there were 96,777 participants in other involvement activities (school curriculum, introduction displays)
2. What is the percentage increase in players since 2007?
The Increase in total registered playing (in competitions) numbers of Seniors and Juniors since 2007 is 15%.
3. What is the ICC Americas doing to increase levels of participation?
It is part of our daily operation to work closely with our 17 members to develop pathways from school involvement to Senior national squads. Many countries now have self sustaining programmes designed to increase participation numbers.
4. What has been done by ICC Americas to reduce reliance on ex-pats among member teams in the region?
It is a given that all developing amateur cricket countries use ex-pats to get started. We must distinguish between having too many and just the right number to maintain survival. Allowing for the fact that 10 of our members joined the ICC less than 10 years ago it is to be expected that ex-pats still play a major role in their cricket. Our job is to encourage and monitor the transfer to locals and to ensure that pathway is in place.
5. Are there incentives for members to develop and select more home-grown players, in the form of development funding for instance?
We provide credit systems which rewards countries that use native born players in their squads. Teams are given a credit towards their participation fees. We also gave priority to requests for regional development grants which favour increasing local participation.
6. To what extent has the advent of the T20 format been a successful development tool in the region?
Most countries play domestic competitions of less than 50 overs so they are more comfortable with the T20 format. From a commercial standpoint it is really the only format that can be sold to a North American audience not familiar with the finer points of the game. It also suits their busy schedule. It opens up more opportunities for the game to be accepted by a non cricket culture.
7. Americas teams have, on the whole, been disappointing in the World Cricket league since it was founded and lost ground to other regions. What is being done to address this decline?
We are well aware of this record and have addressed the problem by hiring a full time Performance Officer, Andy Pick. His job is to work with 8 countries to bring their standards up to International standards. Lack of financing to hire full time coaches and to self sustain a proper National High Performance system has been a major contributing factor of the standard of play in most of these countries.
8. Canada and the USA have a greater percentage of progression from their Under 19 teams to full international honours. Was this trend supported by ICC Americas?
We have always and will continue to support youth programmes in our region including tournaments, camps and in-country educational systems.
9. How many potential members are currently working on their applications in the ICC Americas region and is there a target for regional membership by 2020?
No there is no target, the only country with some potential of becoming an affiliate in the future is El Salvador but they are still a long way off.
10. Do ICC Americas negotiate with the West Indies Cricket Board to give their leading associates more fixtures against a full member?
We have regular meetings with the WICB. This year we will be entering an U19 Americas Development Team in the WICB U19 Domestic championship. In the past Canada, USA, Bermuda and even the Cayman Islands have all been allowed to play in some domestic competitions. Again finances and strength of the Associate countries are of a concern. Early this year Canada played in the WICB T20.
11. Do ICC Americas support inclusion of the HPP Associates in an enhanced Future Tours Programme?
The Development Department supports all activity that would exposed all of our countries to International cricket.
12. How much funding have ICC Americas given to the USA since 2000, including direct funding and development grants?
There was no exceptional funding to the USACA during this period of time. They received the Associate member entitlement. For 2012 that was approximately $ 285,000 plus some regional development grants. Approximately $ 300,000 in total.
13. What role did ICC Americas have in the strategic partnership between the USACA and the New Zealand Cricket Board and does it support this arrangement?
ICC Americas is the Development Department of the ICC in the Americas we do not normally get involved in matters such as this but would offer support and assistance if asked.
14. Have there been any discussions with any member nations in the region about setting up domestic first class or List A fixtures?