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Cricket is winning fans in the US thanks to the breakthrough Twenty20 World Cup

Cricket is winning fans in the US thanks to the breakthrough Twenty20 World Cup
Cricket is winning fans in the US thanks to the breakthrough Twenty20 World Cup


The New York Times published two cricket articles on Wednesday, with the headline of the main items reading: Improbable World Cup wins raise the profile of US cricket.

It featured Harmeet Singh, 31, one of five American players born in India. Only four players in the 15-man American squad were born in America, two of which are of Indian and two of Caribbean descent.

American players Saurabh Nethralvakar (left) and Harmeet Singh celebrate their triumph.

American players Saurabh Nethralvakar (left) and Harmeet Singh celebrate their triumph.Credit: AP

I had never seen cricket grow as fast as it is now, said the former Indian under-19 spinner. He moved to the US in 2020 to revive his cricket career.

A brief explanation below the main article offered a superficial explanation of why cricket is not baseball, and quoted Trinidadian Marxist thinker CLR James, who wrote in his 1963 cricket memoir Beyond a border: Cricket is primarily a dramatic spectacle. It belongs to theater, ballet, opera and dance.

A major disadvantage for cricket in the US is the lack of facilities, as the baseball fields are too small to host a proper match.

Tim May during his test playing days.

Tim May during his test playing days.

As a result, May said that although his hometown of Austin has 40 cricket teams, dominated by players of South Asian and Caribbean descent, most play with a taped tennis ball in any open space they can find.

Cricket was once the most popular sport in America. According to The Smithsonianthe first record of a match in america was in 1751, when the New York Gazette reported on a match played between a London XI and one from New York City. American founding father Benjamin Franklin took a copy of the 1744 cricket rules to the US in 1754.

The first international was played in 1844 between the US and Canada in Manhattan, which once had cricket pitches in Central Park. President Abraham Lincoln was a cricket fan who reportedly saw Chicago play Milwaukee in 1849.

The American Civil War changed all that when troops marching to battlefields found it easier to play an early version of baseball on rough terrain rather than trying to prepare fields.

But cricket endured, while Don Bradman took a private tour of the United States and Canada for his honeymoon in 1932.

Don Bradman is playing against a West Indian team in New York.

Don Bradman is playing against a West Indian team in New York.Credit: Getty Images

He met baseball superstar Babe Ruth at a baseball game in New York, with the World Telegram from New York reporting: The Babe was surprised by Bradman's lack of height and weight.

The Australians also played a Hollywood team led by former England Test cricketer and actor Sir Charles Aubrey Smith, including Boris Karloff of Frankenstein fame.

A major advance in American cricket came last year when Major League Cricket, backed by wealthy entrepreneurs of largely Indian descent, was launched. Four of the six teams are run by IPL franchises, while Washington Freedom is supported by Cricket NSW and the San Francisco Unicorns by Cricket Victoria.

NSW and Victoria officials were pleasantly surprised by the standard. Half of the players on each team must be US qualified.

A remarkable 47 players from all teams in the T20 World Cup have signed up to play in this year's Major League Cricket, the domestic US cricket competition, immediately after the T20 World Cup, including a number of Australians. Four have joined the Unicorns, led by Test captain Pat Cummins, as well as Jake Fraser-McGurk, Josh Inglis and Matt Short, a double BBL player of the year.

One of the lead investors in the San Francisco team, Anand Rajaraman, a successful Silicon Valley entrepreneur who moved from Chennai and earned a PhD in computer science from Stanford University, said he was over the moon with the success of the T20 World Cup in the U.S. .

When we started MLC our goal was clearly to advance the cause of American cricket by moving top quality players to the US, such as [former New Zealand all-rounder] Cory Anderson, for example, and allows American players to play against the best players in the world in Major League cricket.

And our belief was that this would pay off over the years; the quality of the American cricket team would increase. What is a pleasant surprise for us is how quickly that happened.

Former England World Cup winner Liam Plunkett, who now lives in the US, is part of Major League Cricket.

Former England World Cup winner Liam Plunkett, who now lives in the US, is part of Major League Cricket.Credit:

The International Cricket Council has been delighted with the response in the US, headlined by more than 200,000 people attending the matches, including three crowds of more than 30,000 people for the Indian matches at the now-demolished 34,000-seat pop-up stadium on Long Island in New York City.

There are no more ICC events scheduled for the US in the ICC's Future Tours Program, which runs until 2031. However, the ICC and Cricket USA will continue to promote the sport through schools and other grassroots campaigns leading up to the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, where cricket will return. It was part of the 1900 Olympic Games.

Although it is claimed that cricket participation has increased from 30,000 to 200,000 in the last decade, the tumultuous administration is a major problem with cricket cultivation in the US.

There is also the question of how many people will have access to the World Cup broadcast in the US. The rights to the T20 World Cup were sold to Willow TV, the successful niche cricket streaming service, which has developed a strong expat following in North America, connecting to around 4 million households.

India played Pakistan in front of more than 34,000 fans in New York.

India played Pakistan in front of more than 34,000 fans in New York.Credit: Getty

We would like to get the games on ESPN or other broadcast channels, Anand Rajaraman said. The challenge for this is that cricket is still a niche sport here in the US.

ESPN and all the major networks aren't quite ready to give us airtime yet. The sport must earn this right in the coming years by becoming more popular here.

Willow is willing to share the rights with ESPN if they request it.


After losing their first Super Eight match against unbeaten South Africa by 18 runs in Antigua early on Thursday morning (AEST), the USA's next match is against the West Indies in Barbados on Saturday morning (AEST).

There is a cricketing affinity between the US and the West Indies, best highlighted by Aaron Jones, the American batsman who hit 10 sixes in the opening match of the tournament against Canada to claim a high-scoring victory that put his team on the right track put. to more success.

Born in the US, Jones grew up in the Caribbean and played for Barbados, with some of the current West Indies players as teammates.

There will be no love lost on Saturday as the American team tries to give their new fans even more cheer.

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