In response to the leaking of details of a lawsuit filed by two USA Cricket directors (Venu Pisike and Srini Salver) against five other USA Cricket directors (including two of its independent directors) and its CEO, USA Cricket makes the following statement.

USA Cricket has just concluded a very successful membership recruitment drive that has led to huge numbers of individuals registering for membership, which will lead to an increase in its membership numbers from approximately 700 in December 2020 to nearly 20,000 by the time the process is completed within a few weeks.

As part of the recruitment drive, USA Cricket assured these new members that they would have the ability to vote in the upcoming elections of one Club Director, one Individual Director and one Female Player Director.

Making that assurance required a temporary waiver of provisions in the Constitution requiring membership for at least 12 months to vote in an election. This waiver was necessary, among other things, to ensure that the COVID-19 pandemic did not unduly affect the ability to drive increased membership, and was approved unanimously by USA Cricket’s Board of Directors in September 2020 and by a majority of USA Cricket’s members in December 2020.

On that basis, the USA Cricket Board confirmed new members should be recruited on the explicit understanding they would be able to vote in the upcoming election, and the membership brochure proposed by the Membership Committee and reviewed by the Board expressly referenced this important opportunity to have a say in the governance of the sport.

Efforts have been made across the entire cricket community over the past few weeks to generate new members on this basis, and those efforts have produced the incredibly high level of registration mentioned above. And Mr. Pisike himself has been publicly reminding people of the cut-off date set for eligibility to vote and encouraging people to sign up or log any difficulties they have encountered in the registration process.

Nevertheless, Mr. Pisike and Mr. Salver have now filed a lawsuit alleging that the waiver of the 12-month membership requirement was not valid on the basis that the waiver had to be agreed by a two-thirds majority of the original members, and only a simple majority voted for it. On that basis, they are now seeking an injunction preventing the newly eligible members from voting in the upcoming elections, so that, instead, only 700 or so individuals (a disproportionate number of which are from only one state) will be able to vote in those elections.

Before the Board of Directors gave its assurance that all new members would be able to vote in the upcoming election, it obtained the independent advice of the specialist legal counsel who drafted the USA Cricket Constitution that the temporary waiver of the 12-month requirement by the Board and a simple majority of members was legally valid and effective. The Board acted upon that advice in December, and reconsidered the matter again in March arriving at the same conclusion. The Board is extremely disappointed that Mr. Pisike and Mr. Salver are now seeking to renege on that assurance and deprive the new membership of their right to vote.

The Board will now fight the lawsuit and take whatever other steps are necessary to ensure that the assurance made to new members is honored, and the thousands of new members of USA Cricket are not disenfranchised, but instead are allowed to vote in the upcoming elections so that moving forward the Board has a clear mandate from the largest possible constituency.

The lawsuit also seeks to overturn the recent decision of the Board of Directors to endorse the recommendation of the independent Nominating & Governance Committee to re-appoint current chair Mr. Paraag Marathe as an Independent Director. That aspect of the lawsuit is also meritless, and will also be robustly defended by the Board.

In taking this action, Mr. Pisike and Mr. Salver have put in serious jeopardy the significant progress that has been made to develop the sport in the US over the past couple of years, and the full calendar of cricketing and developmental activities that has been planned for 2021.

Despite its recent achievements and the considerable scope of its ambition, USA Cricket remains a small organization with limited time, human and financial resources to devote to its core objective of making cricket a mainstream sport in the USA. If, as now appears likely, it is required to further divert some of those limited resources into defending the organization from meritless legal claims and protecting the rights of its new membership, the Board will have no choice but to consider cutting some of its planned cricketing and developmental activities for 2021 and is scheduled to meet early next week to consider which activities must be scaled back.