USA Cricket has released a foundational plan document presenting an outline for its target of becoming an ICC Full Member by 2030. As part of the document, USA Cricket has reaffirmed its intention to launch a domestic T20 professional league by 2022 – one which has been pushed back by the Covid-19 pandemic – and to submit joint bids with Cricket West Indies to host a major ICC tournament such as a T20 World Cup within the 2023-31 ICC commercial rights cycle.
In order to achieve some of these objectives, USA Cricket has stated it intends to have at least two more ICC ODI accredited venues by 2021. Currently, the only such venue in the USA is Broward County Stadium located in Lauderhill, Florida, which has hosted 10 T20Is since 2010 and hosted USA’s first ODI on home soil in September 2019.
USA Cricket has stated it will put specific emphasis on T20 cricket domestically over the next decade, spearheaded by the planned T20 league it has branded Major League Cricket. Compared to the pathway taken by Ireland and Afghanistan to achieve Full Membership, which utilized success in the four-day Intercontinental Cup competition and establishing a domestic first-class structure, USA’s plan would need the ICC to go ahead with proposals to decouple Test status with Full Member status.
Growing girl’s and women’s participation figures across the country is also a focus area laid out in the document. At present, there are roughly between 150 and 200 female players spread across the entire country compared to men’s players which are between 10,000 and 20,000 hardball cricket players if not more according to various registration data figures.
However, the document lacks specific measurable growth or performance targets within the plan’s framework. A previous document issued in 2015 by the ICC’s Project USA transition team stated specific goals for USA over the next five years which included qualifying for the 2019 Men’s Cricket World Cup, the 2020 Men’s and Women’s T20 World Cup and the 2020 U-19 World Cup. USA fell short of achieving all four targets, though they did secure ODI status in April 2019.
Though the new foundational plan document targets qualification for the 2022 U-19 World Cup, there is no similar performance goal laid out for the men’s or women’s national teams. Instead, the document states that “we will develop a clear and balanced long-term international playing calendar for our national teams that includes more content, played more frequently against competitive opposition.”
According to the ICC’s current criteria requirements for obtaining Full Membership, several of the measurable objectives that must be met include: qualifying for at least three 50-over or T20 World Cups in an eight-year span, registering at least one win over a Full Member in a World Cup or World Cup Qualifying event plus four wins over Full Members in bilateral matches, qualifying for at least one Women’s World Cup and two U-19 World Cups. The only one of these that USA has achieved at any point in history is qualifying for the U-19 World Cup, which was last done in 2010.
USA Cricket most recently announced plans to resume a national domestic championship, dependent on passing individual state health protocol during Covid-19, for the first time since 2015. This would be the first step of the domestic competition infrastructure framework requirements to satisfy Full Membership criteria.
USA is currently ranked second in the ICC Cricket World Cup League Two competition that has been stalled by the pandemic. USA has won six of its 12 ODIs in the tournament, putting them second behind table leaders Oman and three points ahead of Scotland. They failed to advance past regional qualifying in 2019 for the next edition of the Men’s T20 World Cup. The women’s team finished winless in group play at the women’s T20 World Cup Qualifier held in Scotland in August 2019 and the U-19 team finished as runner-up to Canada in the most recent U-19 World Cup regional qualifier in July 2019.