|Whats New at USA Cricket?||
His name is Kumaran Thirunavukkarasu. He was born in India, and is currently the assistant coach for the USA National Cricket Team. It may take a while to recite such an extended name, so his friends, family, and the cricket fraternity affectionately call him "Kenny".
This 37 year-old unassuming young man, who currently resides with his wife in Austin, Texas, comes to USA cricket with quite a resume'. Kenny was called up to represent his country, India, after taking a 10-wicket haul, as a medium pacer, in the Irani trophy match against Karnataka in Bangalore in 1999. He made his ODI debut against New Zealand at Guwahati that same year, and went on to play in eight ODI's, with the final one against Pakistan at Dhaka in 2000. He is a product of the MRF Pace Foundation in Chennai, and had none other than the famous Dennis Lillee as a personal trainer. He also did some training at the Australian Cricket Academy. Recognizing that his playing days might be over, Kenny turned his attention to coaching, and has worked closely with his mentor, Robin Singh, as an understudy in India. Both gentlemen made their way across the Atlantic, and are currently employed by the United States of America Cricket Association. Kenny sat down with me to discuss his affection for the game and to lay out his goals for US cricket.
OH: Good afternoon Kenny and thank you for taking the time to discuss USA cricket with me.
Kenny: Thank you for having me.
OH: When did you arrive in the USA?
Kenny: I came over in 2010, and then I went back. My wife accepted a job here, and I returned in 2011.
OH: I understand you have played at the highest level in India. Tell me about that.
Kenny: I played some ODI's for India. I also represented the Chennai Superstars, ICL India X1 with Michael Bevan and Tamil Nadu.
OH: How long have you been coaching with USACA?
Kenny: My first assignment was with the National team in Malaysia last year. When I got the opportunity, I said yes, and from then I have been coaching the US team. OH: Where did you hone your coaching skills before joining USACA?
Kenny: I did some coaching under Robin Singh in India, and had some other coaching stints before coming over here.
OH: I understand that Head Coach Robin Singh has returned to India. Is he returning for the Bermuda tour, or will you be leading the coaching team on that assignment? Kenny: I think the Robin is back busy with the IPL, so I think I'll be coaching the team in Bermuda.
OH: Apart from the three practice games currently being played, what other match-ready preparations are you planning for the team prior to the start of the World Cricket League Division 3 tournament in Bermuda next month?
Kenny: At the end of this tour we will be giving the guys some instructions on what they need to do, as they will be back home playing for their respective teams, so they should be well prepared for Bermuda.
OH: I noticed that the selectors used a much younger team during the T 20 tournament and a more matured team in the 50-over practice match. Is this a format that you are anticipating going forward?
Kenny: It was more about player availability, and we figured that the Bermuda tournament is more critical so we had some players come in later so that they could get the time off to travel to Bermuda.
OH: I know you had an opportunity to take a look at some of the younger players this past week, who are some of the players, if any, that caught you eye in the T20 tournament that have the potential of cementing their places in the senior team?
Kenny: Steven Taylor. You have seen his performances, and he is playing brilliantly and has matured with the batting, getting two centuries, and just missing a third. If we put these young players in the right channels and give them a proper schedule it basically comes down to their desire and eagerness to practice as often as possible to secure their place in the team.
OH: Once the practice games are over, it's on to Bermuda for the Division Three competition. What are your expectations for the team as they take on such formidable opponents as Oman and Uganda?
Kenny: Right now, the way we are performing and the way the guys are reacting to whatever programs we are putting out, I think we are looking at the number one spot. We know we will have some tough competition against such teams as Oman and Uganda, but we are looking are the areas we are lacking, and we have a game plan in place. I believe after the recent performance, and the way the team is playing, that we have a very good chance of finishing in the number one spot in Bermuda. OH: The USA now has a new CEO, who is charged with the responsibility, among other things, of overseeing US cricket. How has your role changed, if any, since the new CEO has been hired?
Kenny: I think the CEO is concentrating more on trying to get more funds; I had a chance to speak with him recently. He wants us to have the funds which will allow us to practice more, so that we can be better prepared for the upcoming ICC tournaments.
OH: Well Kenny, I wish to thank you for taking the time from your busy schedule to speak with me this evening, and I wish you and the entire management team success as you move forward with US cricket
Kenny: Thank you so much.
Orange County Cricket Association (OCCA) Youth cricket program continues to introduce cricket to new elementary schools in 2013 with a successful cricket demonstration at Gauer Elementary School in the City of Anaheim.
Certified Level 2 cricket coach Priyanga De Siva has joined the volunteer team strengthening the core of the coaching team and allowing a more structured approach to this program.
Two 45 minute sessions took place for grade 5 & 6 students. After a brief introduction to cricket and watching a match for 5 minutes on a big screen, students were eager to get out play the game.
Students got the opportunity to enjoy a taste of the skills involved in cricket and the session was very well received. Principal of the school, Dr. Debbie J. Schroeder is very enthusiastic about this program as it opens an opportunity for students who may not play on other, more established sporting teams. Dr. Schroeder assured us that she appreciates the follow-up assistance to train her teachers and conduct more detail student coaching at regular PE sessions.
This event was conducted by Shantha Suraweera (President, OCCA and Level 1 Coach) and Priyanga De Silva (Level 2 Coach).
As part of The United States of America Cricket Association (USACA) continued development past the initial one hundred day plan submitted in 2012, the Governance Review Committee has submitted a final review partner and start date.
The members of the committee include representatives of the ICC (Jon Long), the CEO for USA Rugby (Nigel Melville), representation from a league perspective (Kevin Hussain from the Connecticut Cricket League) and current USACA Treasurer, (John Thickett). The group was led by the Central West Region representative (Brian Walters).
ICC Head of Strategic Management and Support Services Mr Jon Long commented from Dubai;
"The USACA Board identified a review of its governance structures as a priority objective, so it is good to see the process unfolding in a structured and transparent manner."
Responses to the global Request for Proposal (RFP) were received from a wide range of highly qualified potential partners who had worked on governance reviews for entities such as Cricket Ireland, Cricket Australia, and various other leading national sporting organizations.
After an extensive and measured process, the committee selected TSE Consulting to conduct the comprehensive review, and this process is due to be completed in spring 2013.
TSE Consulting will carry out the work that is involved in conducting the review. The product of this process will be a public report that will be available to the internal and external stakeholders of USACA, in order to assure a thorough, complete process.
"We envision that USACA will adopt best practices of leading cricket federations worldwide and high-performing sports governing bodies in the United States, enabling significant domestic development and new standards of international competitive success" said Dale Neuberger Director of client Services, TSE Consulting North America.
TSE Consulting will be charged with a fundamental review designed to re-focus national resources and incentives and infrastructure towards the development of the game at the grass roots level for American boys and girls as well as installing global best practices for developing internationally strong women's and senior men's cricket.
Nigel Melville said, "It has been a pleasure sharing with the panel the challenges that USA Rugby faced with their governance review process, a process that kick started us along the path to become America's fastest growing team sport. Good luck to USACA as they begin the process of reviewing their governance structures."
The key objective according to Brian Walters, the Central West Region Representative, is "…to present the sport of cricket as a viable alternative to the traditional American sporting options. We are especially passionate about growing the number of youth and women who participate in the sport on a regular basis."
TSE Consulting will commence the review from mid-March.