John Aaron, originally from the Caribbean was a right hand batsman and right arm off spinner. Currently John is serving as a Secretary of Atlantic Cricket Club, which is in New York and also secretary of the American Cricket Federation (ACF). In an interview with John, he told us about his cricket journey so far, and then thrown light on his achievements as an cricket administrator. He also told us about the challenges which are faced currently in U.S.A Cricket and his plans to overcome these challenges. It was indeed our pleasure to know Mr. Aaron whose efforts for cricket development are worth appreciating. Global Cricket Community wishes John and his team all the best for upbringing Cricket in U.S.A and working tirelessly to spread this game.
Excerpts from an Interview with Mr.John Aaron by Vishal Yadav
Full Name: John Aaron
Playing Role: Retired from active cricket
Batting Style: Right-hand middle order
Bowling Style: Right-hand off-spinner
Address: New York, USA
1. Currently where are you playing cricket? How long have been you playing cricket? What level of cricket have you played so far?
I am currently not playing any cricket. However, I am involved in the administration of cricket and I have found it to be equally as exciting as grabbing five wickets for 10 runs in a single innings, and equally frustrating as when being cleaned bowled without scoring.
2. Do you play for any club or a team? Mention their names? When was it founded? Where are you currently working?
As an administrator, I serve as Secretary of Atlantis Cricket Club – NY founded in 1966, and Secretary of the American Cricket Federation (ACF) founded in 2012. ACF is USA national cricket organizations dedicated to helping the sport grow in the USA, so that it becomes the premier bat and ball sport of all Americans. I currently work full-time as a college administrator.
I served as a club President for 10 years, a league Secretary and President, as well as a Regional Chairman and National Executive Secretary. In 2012, I was inducted into the Cricket Hall of Fame in Hartford, Connecticut in the USA. It’s an honour I cherish very much, and as recognition for helping to advance cricket in America.
3. Where do you and your team see yourself in the coming 5 years? Where do you want to focus in order to improve your cricket?
From the perspective of a cricket administrator, I see progress on the club and national levels. Atlantis Cricket Club – NY would have completed more than 50 years of cricket and community service in the New York metropolitan area, and would have no doubt expanded on its efforts to create a cricket environment conducive to growth, for both men and women cricketers.
Currently, Atlantis supports a nationwide women’s cricket team – the Atlantis Women’s XI with players drawn from the length and breadth of the USA, playing under the Atlantis banner.
As a member of the Board of Directors of the ACF, I envisage tremendous growth on the national level with the ACF fully supporting a National Men’s XI as well as a robust youth and women’s cricket program.
4. What are you and your team doing in order to promote cricket as a game and involve many people?
On the national level the ACF has an ongoing national domestic league – American Cricket Champions League with 17+ leagues participating and has already held three national league tournaments and two North American Cricket League championships, involving the top US league against the top Canadian league in Phoenix, Arizona. This year’s tournament is scheduled for February 13-15.
Cricket in the USA is largely the product of hundreds of volunteers working to sustain the sport. The ACF recognizes this and is committed to doing everything possible to sustain the growth of the sport, by promoting it at all levels from early childhood to senior men and women; involving camps, coaching clinics and coaching certification programs.
5. Any recent achievements/activities that you have had? (It could be organizing a small camp, or just playing a match or organizing a cricket camp)
In 2014 my club Atlantis won the Eastern American Cricket Association T20 men’s championship, while the Atlantis women won the Georgia Women Cricket Association Women’s T20 championship for the third straight year, in Atlanta, Georgia.
The ACF concluded its third national domestic 40-Overs Championship with Florida All-Stars emerging victorious, and earning the right to oppose the Toronto Cricket Club in the North American Cricket Championship in Phoenix, Arizona in February. Last year the Toronto league defeated the Midwest Cricket Conference in the inaugural tournament. Since then, the ACF domestic tournament has grown in stature with uniforms for all the teams being sponsored by Newbery, a UK cricket gear supplier and gear sponsorship of the outstanding players by Hammer Cricket.
6. Would you like to come to India for a tournament or a coaching camp?
India is a cricket destination on the minds and wish lists of all cricketers and administrators alike. So, yes I would like to experience cricket in India, but at the moment all of my energy is focused on helping develop the sport in the USA. Thank you very much for the invitation and I just may take you up on that one.
7. Or do you wish to travel to any other country (if Yes, please mention the name).
In addition to India, Australia and New Zealand are the other cricket destinations which are quite fascinating to the average cricketer, and that I would love to experience.
8. What are the challenges you face in your country's cricket, if any? How do you feel you can overcome those challenges?
The primary challenge facing cricket in the USA is the geographical distances between cricketing hubs, which are further hampered by a lack of significant funding to bridge those distances.
Because cricket is an emerging sport in the USA, the financial infrastructure to sustain the sport is also a challenge. However, the ACF is working with regional administrations to bridge those gaps, while actively pursuing sponsorship to defray the costs of training camps, adequate facilities, professional coaching and equipment, as well as traveling for support personnel.
9. What’s the one thing that you instantly need to boost the involvement of people in your country's cricket?
If I was forced to single out one thing that would help boost the involvement of people in the sport here in the USA, it would be corporate sponsors matching the passion and enthusiasm of so many volunteer administrators and other stakeholders. If more people were convinced that cricket is a viable sport on the sports-hungry landscape of America, the enthusiasm would attract greater sponsorship, and as a result help the sport to grow and develop further at the grassroots level.
10. Tell us in brief (one paragraph). Which country you are supporting this World Cup? And why?
It depends, whether it’s emotionally or realistically? Being originally from the Caribbean, I am emotionally inclined to back the West Indies team however, one must be realistic in concluding that the West Indies’ chances have slimmed down considerably over the past few weeks. Therefore, I intend to sit back and enjoy what’s shaping up to be a fantastic series of matches. If I were a betting man, my money would be on South Africa at the moment, but I also like England’s chances.