Regional Development Manager for the Americas region, Martin Viera, is excited about the possibility of top-class international matches taking place in North America and looks forward to USA and Canada's participation in major ICC tournaments in 2010.
What have been the main achievements of Associate and Affiliate Members in your region in the past year?
To name just our Member achievements, I would rate Canada qualifying for its third consecutive ICC Cricket World Cup in 2011 in the sub-continent as a major highlight. Also our U19 teams from Canada and the USA finding a place in the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup in New Zealand next month by competing well at the Global Qualifiers.
Do you think that cricket in your region is in a stronger position than it was 12 months ago?
Yes, definitely. We have made tremendous progress both in country development and administration. We now have improved staffing at the regional level with a stabilized cricket operations structure in the USA.
What do you think are the challenges facing the growth of cricket in your region?
The small population base of most of our island nations is a factor. Our major growth will depend on the efforts made by the big two Members - Canada and the USA - where the potential is unlimited.
What are your plans for junior and women's cricket for next year?
We are considering expanding both the U15 and U19 age groups with the Southern U15 Championships in February 2010 and the new U19 Division 2 also in the same month. In women's cricket, we will see 12 players from five countries visiting an ICC-sponsored camp in Trinidad in August. Also, a special three-game series to determine the participant in the ICC Women's World Cup Qualifier between Canada and the USA will be played in Toronto in July.
What has been your favourite Development cricket moment of the year?
In addition to the ICC CWC 2011 and U19 CWC 2010 qualification listed above, I would add development at the grass-roots level like the schools and youth projects in places such as Limon (Costa Rica), Mexico City (Mexico), Sao Paulo (Brazil), Santiago (Chile) and the Police and High School leagues of New York City, to name just a few. These are the efforts and rewards for the local volunteers who persisted to make it possible.
What are you most excited about in cricket in your region in 2010?
The possibility of top-class international matches taking place in the USA and Canada is a prospect which really excites me in the coming year. Canada has already been a successful host in the past and is continuing to have discussions for at least two events in 2010. The USA in partnership with New Zealand Cricket (NZC) and other parties also have plans to bring international cricket to the region.
Will USACA's partnership with New Zealand Cricket be beneficial to the country's development in cricket? Do you foresee more strategic alliances taking place?
It is my understanding that this agreement not only covers commercial opportunities but assistance in cricket education and grass-roots development. With a respected and well-established Full Member such as NZC offering its support, it is expected that only positives can result from such a partnership. The future of more strategic alliances will depend on the generosity of the Full Members, since not many other countries in the region has the potential USA offers. But the need for development exists in all of our 16 countries, with Canada most likely being the second choice for such an alliance.