After fighting off legal action from a dismissed board member and contested election results in recent years, the USA Cricket Association may be on the road back to court, after a California sports lawyer has filed a request for arbitration on behalf of the family of a junior cricketer claiming "unfairness and lack of transparency in the USACA U-19 selection process" held from May 23-25 in Los Angeles.
Jeremy Evans, the lawyer representing Shyam Patnam whose son Aravind was not selected in the final 14-man squad due to travel to Bermuda next month for the ICC Americas U-19 Division One tournament, states that Mr. Patnam personally requested an arbitration hearing with USACA and filed the paperwork within the two-week deadline laid out in the USACA Constitution but that USACA's failure to respond is a violation of due process. Multiple USACA administrators who were contacted by ESPNcricinfo about Evans' legal notice declined to comment. Evans has requested an expedited hearing due to the USA U-19 team's scheduled departure for Bermuda on July 4 for a tournament whose winner will advance to the ICC U-19 World Cup next year in Bangladesh.
"Mr. Patnam does not wish to challenge whether his son is a bad or great cricket player," Evans wrote in his notice to USACA dated June 8. "He wishes that his son would have had a fair shot to make the team where, among other reasons, clearly several players did not try out yet made the team thus raising serious questions as to the selection process."
Mr. Patnam also sent a letter on June 1 to USACA to demand not just an arbitration hearing, but that a total of seven players included in the 14-man squad be removed for various reasons. Three players selected did not attend trials while Patnam claims the other four underperformed but benefited from nepotism by being the sons or close friends of current or former USACA administrators. Patnam requested that their spots in the USA U-19 squad be filled by his son Aravind, former USA U-15 player Anirudh Srinivas, and five other players "who performed well during the trials."
"The whole ordeal and the unfair process, which we think has been unethical, has caused our children severe agony and depression," Patnam wrote. "They have seen that it helps to be the child of a selector or a USACA official, or an ex-official, with no need for any talent of significance to be on the US team. The agony they are going through right now is severe and indescribable."
Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo's USA correspondent. @PeterDellaPenna
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