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Why is the T20 Cricket World Cup in the USA? DW 30-05-2024

Why is the T20 Cricket World Cup in the USA?  DW 30-05-2024

 


Why is the United States hosting a Cricket World Cup?

In 2021, the US was named as co-host of this edition of cricket's Twenty20 (T20) World Cup, the shortest format of the international competition. In total, 16 of the 55 matches at the 20-team tournament will take place in the US, across locations in Florida, New York and Texas. The home team will face Canada in the tournament opener on June 2. The rest of the matches, including the June 29 final, will be played at grounds in the West Indies, a more storied cricket nation.

The advent of T20 cricket has opened new commercial horizons for the sport, with the US seen as the latest frontier to conquer. Paraag Marathe, chairman of USA Cricket, said the International Cricket Council, the sport's global governing body, has “identified the US as a strategic growth market that will benefit cricket around the world” and enable progress in the domestic game to make.

That has already seen dramatic growth in recent times, thanks to Major League Cricket (MLC), a T20 franchise based on the hugely successful Indian Premier League (IPL). Investors in MLC include Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Adobe executive Shantanu Narayan, both of whom have Indian heritage, and the league has attracted major international players such as Jason Roy (England), Sunil Narine (West Indies), Trent Boult ( New Zealand) and Kagiso Rabada (South Africa). The new MLC season hopes to capitalize on the positive effect of the World Cup, with the 2024 season starting less than a week after the final.

Does the US have any history in cricket?

It is surprising to many that the US can claim to have been involved in the very first international match, against neighboring Canada in 1844. This was long before the clash between England and Australia, often cited as the first Test match (the most prestigious format of the contest). international sport) in 1882. As in the rest of the world, cricket was exported to America by British colonialists, but sometime around the time of the American Civil War of 1861-1865, baseball became the US's favorite baseball game.

The time between that and the past few years has been a story of missed opportunities, with poor governance and a lack of interest reducing participation and recognition. However, recently the US has achieved some good results, beating Bangladesh, an established T20 nation, 2-1 in a recent pre-tournament warm-up series. That said, it will be one of the outsiders at the tournament itself.

Are there any fans of cricket in the US?

Increasingly, yes. The country has the largest immigrant population in the world, with India being the second largest contributor (after Mexico), while many other people have British or Caribbean roots.

Still, a recent survey by pollster YouGov found that only 10% of Americans were aware of the MLC, and even fewer were aware of the upcoming World Cup (6%). However, they also found that one in five showed interest in the tournament, with interest being stronger among the youngest demographic (18-34). That only 62% of those interested in cricket will support the US is perhaps further evidence of the diaspora effect, which is also reflected in the US squad. Captain Monank Patel is one of a number of players born in India, Pakistan or other countries outside the US.

Who are the favorites for the tournament?

The large number of fans born in or with ties to India may help their already strong cause. India won the first T20 World Cup in 2007 but have not won it since, despite the huge talent pools boosted by the IPL. Experienced batting pair Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli will be key as always, while Suryakumar Yadav tops the ICC batting chart and Jasprit Bumrah is one of the greatest T20 bowlers of all time.

Rohit Sharma hits a cricket ball while playing for India
Rohit Sharma has played for India in every T20 World Cup tournament so farImage: Nigel French/empics/picture alliance

Australia and reigning champions England are right behind India on the list, while the West Indies have won the competition twice (in 2012 and 2016) and boast some explosive talent.

Who can cause unrest?

By joining the US as debutants, Canada and Uganda have only the slimmest chance of advancing through their groups, which include India and Pakistan, and New Zealand and the West Indies respectively. But emerging countries like these will all have a chance of a World Cup win, with the number of teams increasing from 16 to 20 this year.

The short format of the game delivers more shocks and has previously provided a platform for teams like Afghanistan, who memorably defeated the West Indies in 2016. With the brilliant spinner Rashid Khan and the experienced and destructive all-rounder Mohammad Nabi in the side, they at least have a chance to escape their group.

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Edited by: Jonathan Crane

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