The Indian cricket team is now back to the grind after facing an unexpected exit from the ICC Cricket World Cup. And now the Men in Blue are all set up for a tour against West Indies, starting with two T20Is in Florida, US from August 3. The focus and the idea to play and promote cricket in the United States was slated by the Cricket West Indies CEO Jonny Grave. The board has the plans to host cricket series in America for the next five years and this discussion took place back in 2018.
India has already played in the United States and that too against West Indies three years ago before a sell-out crowd. And now both the teams are going to be face to face at the same venue, Broward County Stadium in Lauderhill on August 3 and 4.
Cricket in the US
Looking at the current scenario then the cricket surely doesn't hold that much of popularity in the United States. A lot of other sports that the historical significance here and people have an emotional attachment with them from centuries. The sports fans are more interested in baseball, soccer, basketball, and ice-hockey and these games are always on the run of arranging numerous leagues to entertain the fans.
And that is why the Cricket West Indies took this decision to promote cricket in this country so that the game would get global recognition. Also, the purpose behind arranging these tournaments here is because of the immigrant crowd that the US has. Therefore, it is a good gesture that West Indies has shown to organize some of the matches in the US.
The West Indies Cricket Board is not just aiming to promote cricket in the United States, but it also wants to target Canada and other parts as they believe that these things are going to take a lot of time.
It has also been reported that New Zealand (2020), South Africa (2020) and Pakistan (2021) are also scheduled to tour the region while India will visit again in 2022. Bangladesh have already played in the region recently.
When considered any cricket tournament, most of the crowd comes from India, therefore, every time ICC has to make sure that the matches are held in accordance with the Indian fans. That is why, if any match is held in the USA, then it cannot be of 50 overs as there is a huge time difference. So the matches are of 20 overs which is feasible from both the sides. Also, the August season in Florida is tremendously humid and hot, thus, the matches will be held in the morning at 10:30 am. The reason behind keeping the match on Saturday and Sunday is to invite more crowd on the weekend.
There is a total of 15 cricket stadiums in the United States and the one in Florida has the capacity to accommodate 20,000 people at a time.
Why it is hard to create a place for cricket in America?
This question has a very simple answer, Baseball. The game has basically evolved from cricket and by 19th century, baseball got the recognition of the national sport of the United States. And in America, people compare cricket very closely with baseball, therefore, for an authority like ICC, it is a tough task to build support for another sport that involves a bat and a ball.
Also, it is extremely difficult for the Americans to understand the rules and regulations of cricket as they do not want to spend their time in learning about a new game as they are heavily engrossed in the existing games. Though baseball is similar to cricket, terminologies are different, for example, bowler instead of pitcher, wicket-keeper instead of catcher, and getting to know all these fact correctly is an unfathomable idea for them.
The United States of America Cricket Association has arranged tournaments like Pro Cricket, American T20 Championship, Major League Cricket, American Premier League to name a few. The United States cricket team is currently unranked in Test Cricket and One Day International cricket and also its effectiveness is below par because of the lack of funds and popularity for the sport. But it seems that with the joint efforts of ICC and CWI, the game will get a grip in the country. Though it will be slow, surely it is going steady.
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