Cricket Barons Fight for Control of Sport in America
Ask your average American Joe about cricket, and he'll picture noblemen, dressed in white livery, sipping cups of tea while a sickly servant polishes their finely carved bats. But a new lawsuit claims the state of cricket in the U.S. is anything but aristocratic. A Silicon Valley millionaire is now suing the United States of America Cricket Association — bizarrely based in Miami Beach — over accusations it tried to rig elections and illegally hold onto power.
"We cannot tolerate this in America," plaintiff Ram Varadarajan says. "It might be OK in some banana republic, but this is a land of the rule of law."
Cricket, for the uninitiated, is basically baseball, only classier, with tea breaks instead of chewing tobacco. There are an estimated 200,000 U.S. cricket players. As for how the national association came to be headquartered in Miami Beach, no one seems to know.
What's undeniable is that the battle to control American cricket has become downright spicy. Varadarajan, a Mumbai native who made a fortune in California with a software company, wants to end what he calls "illegal" actions by this country's cricket leaders. His accusations land like wicked googlies at the feet of the incumbent USACA president, a genial Guyana native with the grand name of Gladstone Dainty.
Varadarajan blames Dainty for the organization's decline, saying he's violating the group's constitution by violating cricket leagues run by people who oppose Dainty and delaying officer elections.
Dainty, who speaks in obscure cricket analogies, denies that he or anyone else at USACA has done anything wrong. The lawsuit is a "short ball," he adds (later clarifying that the metaphor means he expects to easily dispatch it.)
"Elections weren't delayed for any sinister reason," Dainty claims.
A professional league is slated to start next year, he notes, with games played at a soon-to-be-completed field in Fort Lauderdale. As for Varadarajan, Dainty calls him "an unknown quantity," adding, "I have not known Ram to articulate a cricket vision."
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