USA September 25, 2007

Speed excited by Twenty20 in USA

Is Twenty20 the catalyst to popularise cricket in the USA
29

Will Luke

Is Twenty20 the catalyst to popularise cricket in the USA? Malcolm Speed, the ICC chief executive, is excited at what the shortened format could do to cricket in the States.

Baseballs reigns supreme, of course, but cricket enjoys a thriving community in America. And the USA were once an Associate member of the ICC, before they were suspended in March (again) for failing to adopt a new constitution. But the current administration has done little to inspire confidence and the incumbent president, Gladstone Dainty, is blamed (not entirely fairly) for many of the problems.

Nevertheless, Twenty20 could provide a much-needed injection of enthusiasm to USA’s cricket community.

"I heard today about an article in one of the Washington papers that was talking about the phenomenon of Twenty20 cricket,” Speed said. "It has been televised in the USA and it's been televised in China, so it's the perfect vehicle for cricket to develop in new countries.

"We've said many times that we don't expect cricket to be a major sport in the USA, but it's already a niche sport in the USA in that there are already lots of Indians, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans and West Indians who are there and they play cricket - we can build on that and Twenty20 is a great opportunity."

What are your thoughts? Is Twenty20 an adequate vehicle to promote the sport to borderline fans? Leave your comments below

Will Luke is assistant editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Shawn Gilgore on October 8, 2007, 3:21 GMT

    I agree with Correct, there's definitely a grassroots movement in cricket here in the US, and it seems to be alive and well. But there also needs to be a bigger influx of general interest in the sport with casual fans and players alike. I was born and raised a baseball fan, and it's most likely the first sport I ever learned, but after I picked up on cricket about a year and a half ago, I've never looked at either sport the same again. And I don't like how people just pass off the sport as "that weird game that looks like baseball, but takes forever", but I feel that mostly, it just has todo with both misinformation, and lack of exposure. Both of which I feel have something to do with the fact that it is nearly impossible to find a free, televised match on TV anywhere here in the States, we have coverage of several tours a year on Dish Network, and we also had the World Cup covered, if you wanted to pay the $200 to watch the entire tournament. I'm trying to get a club started at my college, where I think there's always some room for people to get involved. But until the people of this country have both more exposure to, and the open-mindedness to give a new sport a try, it will be very difficult for it to reach a major sporting status.

  • Borat on September 28, 2007, 5:08 GMT

    I think ICC needs to keep in mind that USA can excel in cricket only if they come out with a new drink called "Borat's Energy Drink Which Brings Luck" for their players.

  • All Sports Fan on September 28, 2007, 3:56 GMT

    Amjad, your analysis is spot on, as is that of the Fan. Without any major telecast rights any cricket venture in the USA would be Dead On Arrival. I am an expat who is an ardent follower of cricket as well as American sports - baseball, football, basketball and even a bit of ice hockey. I am teaching both my kids to follow all the sports as well but, frankly, see no hope of their catching on cricket in the long haul without a local team to follow. As Fan mentioned, LA Open couldn't sell tickets if their life depended on it which, as a business, is unsustainable. I guess ProCricket found that out too within 1 season.

    What we really need is to have international tournaments at regular intervals to promote the game and then have the Beckhams of cricket play with well organized local clubs in the ProCricket style which are carried at least on ESPN2 or something to that extent. Why won't that happen? Because Speed and ICC, along with BCCI will never allow any other league to form and succeed, just like they are giving hell to Kapil in India. Anyone wondered where BCCI got the idea for their new 20/20 league with 8 franchised teams and TV rights etc.? Need go no further than read Amjad's analysis at the top and see the similarities for yourself.

  • misba on September 28, 2007, 3:26 GMT

    actually im not sure lauderhill is the right place, new york would be good in all fairness. find a spot in the us that we know we will thrive just due to the sheer fact that even if the us citizens dont come to watch, there are so many pakistanis, indians, west indians, british, and australian ppl in that area that an international matches would get the popularity they do in there home country. hosting matches is really the quickest way to get money other then finding investors which is not, well we can see as we are suspended from the icc right now. all u need is a full STADUIM and two top international teams, and espn and all the other god forsaken sport tv channels will show us what cricket is really about. in terms of getting the game out to ppl in the us we dont put the money in the right places. ahh im rambling, but anyway thats what i see, i see a sure way to get a foothold in the us and not look back. even if its one foot in the us for cricket, we can hold it till we get two, and so on and so forth. it sounds like a surefire way to me. ----my thoughts.

  • misba on September 28, 2007, 3:12 GMT

    i don't understand why we cant just build a real stadium, medium sized and start with international matches during to year to get money. Its really that simple to start out with, why are we talking about funding leagues when nobody in the us has seen the good players play? Build a real stadium in Lauderhill, post an office out there and move up into the united states. its that simple really. just a someone with a little ambition.

  • simon on September 27, 2007, 23:32 GMT

    I think all you need to do, to begin with is focus on promoting the game at Ivy League Colleges of USA, get these colleges playing a 20/20 competition between one another and things will start to fall into place, these colleges have a lot of money and if a student cant make the baseball team they can go play for its evil step cousin 20/20. If 20/20 is to become an Olympic sport the students from these colleges maybe more enticed over baseball.

  • Asif Ahmad on September 27, 2007, 15:53 GMT

    I agree with you Fan , I did not have to spend my money to start a very unique cricket learning facility, if I would have seen any response from so called proper organizations. I took my kids to Woodley for two years when they were young looking for some one to teach them cricket, but there was no one, they told me we are starting a program at Cerritos, and they would call me, no body did. After many disappointments, I started Cricket academy through the city of La mirada and we have a very highly qualified coach and knows a " lot about Cricket" His credentials will beat any one's for current or past in SCCA. I do not want to play a blame game. I think I am very happy that we have achieved what we dreamed about. We have over 50 kids trained at our Academy and are playing cricket at a pretty decent skill level and you think we know nothing about cricket. They are all born here and love the game. Look at Citrus Valley Stats on SCCA website, you will get the answers. It is not the money my friend , it is the passion. It is financially very difficult to maintain a ground like Fontana Cricket Ground. I was , however, slightly disappointed by your comment that we should just fold our cricket program , because we are not an organization. I thought, any one who knows cricket and loves the sport, will tell us " more power to you". Your ignorance has astonished me. I love La Open, that is why we are always there, my concern is with out income it would be hard to continue it. You did not understand what I was trying to say. I hope that explains.

  • Ali on September 27, 2007, 7:37 GMT

    All this talk is nice, however I want to ask every one that what is the odds of success with Dainty, Masood, Selwyn, Pual and rest of the gang still running US cricket?

  • FreeTrav on September 27, 2007, 2:53 GMT

    The major problem with cricket in the USA has been marketing - as near as I can tell, there has been NO attempt, not by USACA, not by ProCricket, not by the ICC, not by anyone, to reach out beyond the expat community into mainstream America. Certainly, Twenty20 would be a good vehicle to do so with; a match can run a mere three hours or so, about the same as a baseball game, and can have the same advantages to the fan as a baseball game: no need to allocate an entire day to be at the match location, not too long for school-age children, not to long for school or summer day camp 'field trips', if games are scheduled for evenings/nights, it becomes possible for the average worker to decide to go watch a match on the spur of the moment (assuming that tickets aren't sold out) - all of the reasons that baseball has become a commercial success apply to a 'half-day cricket' format like Twenty20.

    Ultimately, USACA is going to be perceived as part of the problem. If ANY form of cricket is to succeed as a mainstream sport in the USA, it is going to take strong international backing and cooperation, from an organization that can and will tell USACA to go stuff and make it stick. It's clear that the ICC is, regrettably, not that organization; perhaps an independent coalition of cricket-based business organizations from countries where cricket is a national passion - for example, India, England, and Australia - could do it. It's not going to have immediate positive returns, however, and anyone who undertakes the project will need to have very deep pockets, and be willing to bleed red ink for a few years while they are building the market - not just advertising, but actually supporting and promoting development, e.g., in schools from primary to university, or in municipal leagues (similar to e.g., Little League Baseball).

    Contrary to the popular image in the USA, cricket is NOT a complicated, arcane game; in some respects, it's simpler than baseball - but it has never been PRESENTED as such. Marketing cricket in the USA needs everything from advertising to development programs to a book 'Cricket for Dummies' to the staging of international events on US soil, and NOT just in Florida, Texas, or Los Angeles - ALL regions of the country must be visited, and most of the major cities (NYC, Chicago, Seattle, Atlanta, St. Louis, Denver, etc.) as well.

    If an Australian can explain the game to me well enough that I can explain it to someone else (while at a game, so that there are examples of what I'm explaining), and very nearly create an instant fan in doing so, there's little doubt that the game can succeed in this country - but the first steps have to be MAKING the game accessible, and then SAYING so, loudly and often.

    (Why is it easier to find DOMINOS on ESPN than it is CRICKET?)

  • xxxCORRECTxxx on September 27, 2007, 1:44 GMT

    Twenty20 could be a big sport in the USA. I know that here in the New York area, 30% of residents were born in cricket-laying nations. The mistake is to try to make it "compete" with baseball. Baseball is, basically, nothing like cricket, unless you count their both being bat 'n ball games. Baseball is the spawn of rounders, not cricket. And who ever said the USA (pop. 400m+) isn't big enough to play and taken interest in both?

    The usual "stereotype" of (non-cricket aware) Americans is that cricket's slow, lasts five days and always ends in a draw/tie. This stereotype is mostly perpetuated by "cricket lovers" from other countries who, as perverse humor, explain only "Test" cricket in the most complex terms possible to Americans, and then harp on about how it's impossible to understand and add a few "silly mid-offs" and "deep mid-wickets" just to make sure any interest is still born.

    Twenty20 is impossible to dismiss as anything other than exciting, fast-paced, athletic and highly skilful. If America was starting from scratch today, they'd love cricket. They're not, of course, there's an entrenched cultural sporting scene here, but it's a big country and there's no reason cricket couldn't be a very big, mass participation/viewing sport. Not a whole lot it needed with the advent of Twenty20 to whet the appetite.

    Certainly promoting cricket (to non-cricket playing nations) as a straightforward, attacking sport would be a start. Enough with needlessly complex introductions. At heart, the idea is still just to score more runs than your opponent whilst trying to get them out.

    A Twenty20 World Cup in the Caribbean with 2/3 matches in the USA would be fantastic.

    The 2 keys for the USA is to (1) focus on getting Twenty20 (NOT ODI's/Tests) onto regular, terrestrial TV in the USA - the bigger the network the better, and (2) getting Twenty20 into the Olympics. With over 2 billion people in playing countries, surely it's more of an Olympic draw than some of the dud sports they have?

  • Shawn Gilgore on October 8, 2007, 3:21 GMT

    I agree with Correct, there's definitely a grassroots movement in cricket here in the US, and it seems to be alive and well. But there also needs to be a bigger influx of general interest in the sport with casual fans and players alike. I was born and raised a baseball fan, and it's most likely the first sport I ever learned, but after I picked up on cricket about a year and a half ago, I've never looked at either sport the same again. And I don't like how people just pass off the sport as "that weird game that looks like baseball, but takes forever", but I feel that mostly, it just has todo with both misinformation, and lack of exposure. Both of which I feel have something to do with the fact that it is nearly impossible to find a free, televised match on TV anywhere here in the States, we have coverage of several tours a year on Dish Network, and we also had the World Cup covered, if you wanted to pay the $200 to watch the entire tournament. I'm trying to get a club started at my college, where I think there's always some room for people to get involved. But until the people of this country have both more exposure to, and the open-mindedness to give a new sport a try, it will be very difficult for it to reach a major sporting status.

  • Borat on September 28, 2007, 5:08 GMT

    I think ICC needs to keep in mind that USA can excel in cricket only if they come out with a new drink called "Borat's Energy Drink Which Brings Luck" for their players.

  • All Sports Fan on September 28, 2007, 3:56 GMT

    Amjad, your analysis is spot on, as is that of the Fan. Without any major telecast rights any cricket venture in the USA would be Dead On Arrival. I am an expat who is an ardent follower of cricket as well as American sports - baseball, football, basketball and even a bit of ice hockey. I am teaching both my kids to follow all the sports as well but, frankly, see no hope of their catching on cricket in the long haul without a local team to follow. As Fan mentioned, LA Open couldn't sell tickets if their life depended on it which, as a business, is unsustainable. I guess ProCricket found that out too within 1 season.

    What we really need is to have international tournaments at regular intervals to promote the game and then have the Beckhams of cricket play with well organized local clubs in the ProCricket style which are carried at least on ESPN2 or something to that extent. Why won't that happen? Because Speed and ICC, along with BCCI will never allow any other league to form and succeed, just like they are giving hell to Kapil in India. Anyone wondered where BCCI got the idea for their new 20/20 league with 8 franchised teams and TV rights etc.? Need go no further than read Amjad's analysis at the top and see the similarities for yourself.

  • misba on September 28, 2007, 3:26 GMT

    actually im not sure lauderhill is the right place, new york would be good in all fairness. find a spot in the us that we know we will thrive just due to the sheer fact that even if the us citizens dont come to watch, there are so many pakistanis, indians, west indians, british, and australian ppl in that area that an international matches would get the popularity they do in there home country. hosting matches is really the quickest way to get money other then finding investors which is not, well we can see as we are suspended from the icc right now. all u need is a full STADUIM and two top international teams, and espn and all the other god forsaken sport tv channels will show us what cricket is really about. in terms of getting the game out to ppl in the us we dont put the money in the right places. ahh im rambling, but anyway thats what i see, i see a sure way to get a foothold in the us and not look back. even if its one foot in the us for cricket, we can hold it till we get two, and so on and so forth. it sounds like a surefire way to me. ----my thoughts.

  • misba on September 28, 2007, 3:12 GMT

    i don't understand why we cant just build a real stadium, medium sized and start with international matches during to year to get money. Its really that simple to start out with, why are we talking about funding leagues when nobody in the us has seen the good players play? Build a real stadium in Lauderhill, post an office out there and move up into the united states. its that simple really. just a someone with a little ambition.

  • simon on September 27, 2007, 23:32 GMT

    I think all you need to do, to begin with is focus on promoting the game at Ivy League Colleges of USA, get these colleges playing a 20/20 competition between one another and things will start to fall into place, these colleges have a lot of money and if a student cant make the baseball team they can go play for its evil step cousin 20/20. If 20/20 is to become an Olympic sport the students from these colleges maybe more enticed over baseball.

  • Asif Ahmad on September 27, 2007, 15:53 GMT

    I agree with you Fan , I did not have to spend my money to start a very unique cricket learning facility, if I would have seen any response from so called proper organizations. I took my kids to Woodley for two years when they were young looking for some one to teach them cricket, but there was no one, they told me we are starting a program at Cerritos, and they would call me, no body did. After many disappointments, I started Cricket academy through the city of La mirada and we have a very highly qualified coach and knows a " lot about Cricket" His credentials will beat any one's for current or past in SCCA. I do not want to play a blame game. I think I am very happy that we have achieved what we dreamed about. We have over 50 kids trained at our Academy and are playing cricket at a pretty decent skill level and you think we know nothing about cricket. They are all born here and love the game. Look at Citrus Valley Stats on SCCA website, you will get the answers. It is not the money my friend , it is the passion. It is financially very difficult to maintain a ground like Fontana Cricket Ground. I was , however, slightly disappointed by your comment that we should just fold our cricket program , because we are not an organization. I thought, any one who knows cricket and loves the sport, will tell us " more power to you". Your ignorance has astonished me. I love La Open, that is why we are always there, my concern is with out income it would be hard to continue it. You did not understand what I was trying to say. I hope that explains.

  • Ali on September 27, 2007, 7:37 GMT

    All this talk is nice, however I want to ask every one that what is the odds of success with Dainty, Masood, Selwyn, Pual and rest of the gang still running US cricket?

  • FreeTrav on September 27, 2007, 2:53 GMT

    The major problem with cricket in the USA has been marketing - as near as I can tell, there has been NO attempt, not by USACA, not by ProCricket, not by the ICC, not by anyone, to reach out beyond the expat community into mainstream America. Certainly, Twenty20 would be a good vehicle to do so with; a match can run a mere three hours or so, about the same as a baseball game, and can have the same advantages to the fan as a baseball game: no need to allocate an entire day to be at the match location, not too long for school-age children, not to long for school or summer day camp 'field trips', if games are scheduled for evenings/nights, it becomes possible for the average worker to decide to go watch a match on the spur of the moment (assuming that tickets aren't sold out) - all of the reasons that baseball has become a commercial success apply to a 'half-day cricket' format like Twenty20.

    Ultimately, USACA is going to be perceived as part of the problem. If ANY form of cricket is to succeed as a mainstream sport in the USA, it is going to take strong international backing and cooperation, from an organization that can and will tell USACA to go stuff and make it stick. It's clear that the ICC is, regrettably, not that organization; perhaps an independent coalition of cricket-based business organizations from countries where cricket is a national passion - for example, India, England, and Australia - could do it. It's not going to have immediate positive returns, however, and anyone who undertakes the project will need to have very deep pockets, and be willing to bleed red ink for a few years while they are building the market - not just advertising, but actually supporting and promoting development, e.g., in schools from primary to university, or in municipal leagues (similar to e.g., Little League Baseball).

    Contrary to the popular image in the USA, cricket is NOT a complicated, arcane game; in some respects, it's simpler than baseball - but it has never been PRESENTED as such. Marketing cricket in the USA needs everything from advertising to development programs to a book 'Cricket for Dummies' to the staging of international events on US soil, and NOT just in Florida, Texas, or Los Angeles - ALL regions of the country must be visited, and most of the major cities (NYC, Chicago, Seattle, Atlanta, St. Louis, Denver, etc.) as well.

    If an Australian can explain the game to me well enough that I can explain it to someone else (while at a game, so that there are examples of what I'm explaining), and very nearly create an instant fan in doing so, there's little doubt that the game can succeed in this country - but the first steps have to be MAKING the game accessible, and then SAYING so, loudly and often.

    (Why is it easier to find DOMINOS on ESPN than it is CRICKET?)

  • xxxCORRECTxxx on September 27, 2007, 1:44 GMT

    Twenty20 could be a big sport in the USA. I know that here in the New York area, 30% of residents were born in cricket-laying nations. The mistake is to try to make it "compete" with baseball. Baseball is, basically, nothing like cricket, unless you count their both being bat 'n ball games. Baseball is the spawn of rounders, not cricket. And who ever said the USA (pop. 400m+) isn't big enough to play and taken interest in both?

    The usual "stereotype" of (non-cricket aware) Americans is that cricket's slow, lasts five days and always ends in a draw/tie. This stereotype is mostly perpetuated by "cricket lovers" from other countries who, as perverse humor, explain only "Test" cricket in the most complex terms possible to Americans, and then harp on about how it's impossible to understand and add a few "silly mid-offs" and "deep mid-wickets" just to make sure any interest is still born.

    Twenty20 is impossible to dismiss as anything other than exciting, fast-paced, athletic and highly skilful. If America was starting from scratch today, they'd love cricket. They're not, of course, there's an entrenched cultural sporting scene here, but it's a big country and there's no reason cricket couldn't be a very big, mass participation/viewing sport. Not a whole lot it needed with the advent of Twenty20 to whet the appetite.

    Certainly promoting cricket (to non-cricket playing nations) as a straightforward, attacking sport would be a start. Enough with needlessly complex introductions. At heart, the idea is still just to score more runs than your opponent whilst trying to get them out.

    A Twenty20 World Cup in the Caribbean with 2/3 matches in the USA would be fantastic.

    The 2 keys for the USA is to (1) focus on getting Twenty20 (NOT ODI's/Tests) onto regular, terrestrial TV in the USA - the bigger the network the better, and (2) getting Twenty20 into the Olympics. With over 2 billion people in playing countries, surely it's more of an Olympic draw than some of the dud sports they have?

  • Fan on September 26, 2007, 21:04 GMT

    Cricket in USA is not going anywhere with the current constitution and corrupt individuals that are running it. Nevertheless the better Cricket is played on the West Coast. Yes La Open 20/20 started much before Pro Cricket and I agree with Farhan. This is the best tournament in North America period in terms of Players, Games and Spectators. I don't know which game Asif was watching. Last I saw he was always there at every La Open ever presented every day. I am a big fan of La Open 20/20 & SCCA and one of these days it will be the biggest tournament in North America. Cricket Academies in US should be run by proper organizations with credentials and not by Rich parents who know nothing about Cricket.

  • Asif Ahmad on September 26, 2007, 17:28 GMT

    Before world cup Twenty20 we were all very optimistic regarding cricket 's shorter version format and its popularity among the cricket fans. It has however, proved that it was exciting beyond any one ;s expectations. Many of us who still love the original and longer version of cricket, we need to realize that times are changing and not only in US, but other countries spectators have less time on their hands to watch the longer version. This Twenty20 world cup has changed the landscape of future cricket. You will be unable to stop the momentum of this form of game and if you tried , you may turn the fans away for this lovely sport altogether. This is a double edge sword, you play more 20/20 cricket, it would be more popular, but there is a danger of changing cricket in to another monster such as baseball. If you put restrictions on 20/20, you may end up loosing young spectators. I have spoken with many in USA and they can not believe that cricket game can be finished in less than 3 hours. They are very willing to watch and participate in this form of game.This will not happen overnight though. I am not sure that this is advantage or a disadvantage. As per Farhan's comments, LA Open is a good tournament, but look at the crowd, hardly any body comes. Can you put a ticket price. No one will even pay $5 to watch LA Open. This can not be sustained with out income. We have to involve local schools and cities to make the sport more popular and 20/20 format is sellable. SCCA has done nothing in last 4 years and have not trained one US born child who can play cricket at minimal level. How many kids were at LA Open , not more than 10 and those kdis are always there. How many Ladies, only three, and they were the mothers of those kids. I have been told that Carribian and Ventura game was seen by more people than all three days combined of LA Open spectators. Coming back to 20/20 I however, very strongly suggest that all cricket games in US should be 20 or 25 overs format, you can play two games in one day. More teams can play on better grounds. You are done in half day and can spend more time with family. You can also do some net practice before or after the games. For national and international competitions, there should be selected teams who can play 50 over games. We need to make a change towards future and grab the opportunity to make this sport more popular in countries where Cricket is in developing stages. This can not be achieved with out the openess of current cricket " controlling " individuals in US. ICC also has to step up to the plate and recognize the youth academies in US and help them developing the game. In US, the bureaucratic and colonial control of cricket will not work. This is open society, every one who has the skills should be able to play at the highest level and not selected in the national teams because you know someone in the selection committee.

  • Joel on September 26, 2007, 6:08 GMT

    If 20/20 is going to become a true international affair and the only real world cup other than soccer, there must be some changes. Here are some ideas I would like to flag to the ICC: each team consists of 15 players. Any 11 players can be on the field at one time (whilst fielding) and the team can select any 11 out of the 15 to bat. This will provide much greater batting depth without having to sacrifice on bowling depth. Each bowler should be able to bowl a maximum of 6 overs. This would help make the game a true smash and bash and give real excitment even giving the teams the flexibility to select specialst fielders that don't need to bat or bowl. In a way it is a similar format to American football.

  • Marcus on September 26, 2007, 3:58 GMT

    I agree wholeheartedly with Kamran Sekha. There's no point promoting a game to a bunch of ex-pats who play the game anyway! As he says, the ICC should be trying to get regular, white or Afro Americans interested in the game, because apart from anything else, how can the average American relate to a game played exclusively by brown people from obscure countries?

    I also agree with whoever said that they could try to get Stanford involved in the game. Just picture it-USA playing Cuba in the Stanford Stadium in Antigua-definitely do-able.

    Until then, set up an alternative, national league. Invite international teams to play in the States. Televise the matches, and have Bernard Cameron promote the game on the Colbert Report, or any other show with a high profile. Get a USA team involved in Stanford. It can be done.

  • khanay on September 26, 2007, 3:57 GMT

    why is the ICC so after the U.S market? The Americans would rather watch some dumb racing games as NASCAR and wouldn't care about cricket. As for the subcontinental community in the U.S i think they are already crazy about cricket no matter where they are. As long as we don't see any white Americans playing cricket or a Canadian for that matter its pretty much a lost cause to go after the North American market.

  • Alex on September 25, 2007, 22:21 GMT

    Please, please stop wasting your energy hoping to popularize cricket in the US amongst Americans. It will not happen - ever. Never. Do you think any amount of money would convince Indians or Pakistanis to take up baseball or American football?

    Consolidate the ex-pat community, and pick up a stray American here and there. Forget TV - forget it now. Professional soccer is fighting tooth and nail to get the attention of the average sports fan here, and they don't have it, and may never get it.

    Cricket is a wonderful game, but it's not meant to be played in all countries, by all people. That being said, I like cricket.

  • Sandeep on September 25, 2007, 21:31 GMT

    Cricket on TV? what TV Mr. Speed is talking about? Cricket has been on pay-per-view TV for more than 10 years. Cricket is not shown on regular channels. Because of USACA situation, cricket is going no where in the US. Please stop dreaming of cricket becoming popular in the US unless USACA is cleaned out and proper structure and plans are put in action

  • Kamran Sekha on September 25, 2007, 20:09 GMT

    Will Twenty20 be successful in USA is a completely vague question. There are two answers:

    1. Yes it will be a major success.

    2. No, Twenty20 will completely fail.

    The above answers completely contradict each other because the fault lies in the question itself!

    Cricket's success in USA should be measured in terms of whether the native US population will be interested in the game AND not whether Indians, Pakistanis and other immigrants from cricket playing countries will be interested.

    So who is being targeted in terms of cricket's viability in USA and ICCs goal of cricket globalisation.

    As long as cricket in any form is being targeted towards the Indian and Pakistani communities in USA, then there is no hope for it to succeed because it will always be confined to Pay Per View channels. Americans: White and Afro-Americans will never ever pay to watch something they know nothing about.

    Americans could argue that their NFL football is the greatest sport in the world, but would anyone in India or Pakistan want to pay to watch an American Football match on TV?

    As long as Indians and Pakistani cricket fans are targeted in USA, cricket will not succeed over there - even if it is in the baseball resembling Twenty20 format.

    Today's Twenty20 matches include baseball style style coloured clothing, white balls, 3 hour games, cheerleaders, music played on the grounds, and even players' dug outs! Everything is baseball style. The only thing that needs to change is the shape of the cricket bat and to have four batsmen with four sets of stumps on a diamond shaped field but believe me cricket will still not succeed in USA as long as Indians and Pakistanis are targeted and as long as it is shown on Pay Per View TV.

    Introducing cricket to US based Indians and Pakistanis is like trying to get the Chinese to like Chop Suey which they already do!

    The ICC should forget about introducing Twenty20 cricket in USA unless it can get ESPN or NBC or ABC to show it for free. Perhaps cricket rights should be sold to US TV companies for free or the ICC should even pay US TV companies in order to promote cricket. After all, one has to pay for advertising.

    Since the last 20 years or so, the ICC have been desperate for cricket to become popular in USA, why? What is there any point in popularising this sport amongst a handful of Indians and Pakistanis? Is this globalisation?

  • Yogesh Patel on September 25, 2007, 18:23 GMT

    Yes it can be successful but ICC needs to weed out the people who has destroyed the cricket in this country.

    At local level in Texas we have some wonderful and dedicated organizers who put great efforts to promote cricket. I have been involved in Texas cricket for 30 years and from one team in Houston it has spread to three leagues in Houston, Dallas and Austin with more then 70 teams. Yes we can do better to attract others with 20/20 format but not thru the USACA.

    Houston Indian Cricket Club organized the First Day-Night Cricket Extraveganza in Houston during Labor Day weekend with lights, colored clothing and an atmosphere like you are watching a professional game in a big stadium. All these was done by the volunteers from one club, HICC.

    So, yes, there are people who will come forward and do a great job. Yes Houston/Dallas was part of Pro cricket and if its done with right people and right support from ICC and TV exposure, then it will succeed. We are ready in Houston just call us and let us show you what we can do.

  • Henish Patel on September 25, 2007, 18:03 GMT

    I agree will all of you, in order to popularise cricket in US, it must be done through mainstream sport channel and not ppv. Heck man get ESPN involved, cricinfo was bought out by ESPN. Why would ESPN show poker, and some other stupid games to fill their spots, why not fill those with cricket match or replays.

    T20 cricket is the only way it will be popular in US. No one has time to sit at the stadium for whole day to watch the matches in US. All shorts of league are popping up all over US, ICC should capitalize on it. Even Jonesoro, Arkansas has two teams, and this town is pretty small compare to other big cities.

  • Chris G on September 25, 2007, 17:16 GMT

    Thank you Amjad Bhai, for your wonderful optimism for US cricket. Our great sport needs more like you in America. Good job!

  • Farhan (California) on September 25, 2007, 16:59 GMT

    Actually, the first instance of a national 20/20 tournament dates back to a few years before Pro Cricket started to the LA Open. The organizers of the LA Open have evolved this tournament to the highest prize money cricket tournament in America. Teams from India, and the West Indies, regularly participate, and in 2007, a team of former Australian test cricketers made it to the semi-finals. Why has this tournament been so successful? Well, each member of the organizing committee is in it, not to make money, but passionate about promoting cricket. Their heart is in the right place.

  • Imran Haque on September 25, 2007, 16:26 GMT

    You have to have key cricket stars in the US to start the momentum. I say that we have a four-nation type tournament in the US. Perhaps an Asian one (Pak, India, SL and Bangla)?

  • Barhos on September 25, 2007, 16:09 GMT

    Raj is right that until you have viewers cricket may not be popular. There is hardly any new about cricket in US magazines, papers or web sites and no cricket on most watched TV channels.

  • Jamie Dowling on September 25, 2007, 15:46 GMT

    Who cares what Malcolm Speed thinks? This is a man who, by his own admission, does not read cricket books. This is a man who is determined to screw paying customers (that's you, me and anyone who goes to an international match) out of their hard earned money through inflated ticket prices and ludicrous restrictions on what paying customers can and can't bring into the ground as refreshment. The alternatives being ludicrously overpriced offerings from within the ground.

    The man is obsessed with making money above everything else, especially the punter on the street. I noticed how he was at the final of the World Twenty20. Why not Steve Elworthy? It was Cricket South Africa's show, not the ICC's.

    US cricket has problems of its own which really should have been sorted out but, just like the Zimbabwe issue, Speed and the ICC have been considerably less than impressive.

    The World Twenty20 has shown with good organisation, sensible pricing and local knowledge a successful product and tournament can be put together.

    Ask Steve Elworthy for his input, not Malcolm Speed.

  • Nandu on September 25, 2007, 15:40 GMT

    T20 is the only way to promote Cricket in the US. Playing 40 or 50 over Cricket in the US means the whole day is gone. In addition, everyone has to drive on an average 30-40 miles to the ground to play and arrive early to prepare wickets makes it more difficult. Many people have dropped out just because of the time it takes to play a match. Tennis Ball leagues are getting popular these days. It is easier to find a ground and shorter duration makes it really easier.

  • Raj on September 25, 2007, 15:34 GMT

    ICC needs to make sure that these cricket matches are broadcast on basic network on the USA Televisions. What speed is referring to is overcharged PPV...which not many people watch. Until cricket can reach main stream viewers...Cricket will not get popular in USA. Only few will play. If ICC is gloating for this.....nothing else is to say

  • Chadders on September 25, 2007, 15:32 GMT

    The stumbling block football & cricket face in the US must be securing network TV rights. As Amjad Khan has said, it will have a bright following among people with roots in the Test-playing nations, who will fork-out for pay-per-view money. But alas, pay-TV carries less exposure: this is a huge problem in England in attracting fans, let alone the US!

    Perhaps the ICC should be a bit more proactive in recruiting a certain Mr. Stanford into the mix: he already has a functioning successful Twenty20 tournament going on in the backyard? I am not in the loop here, but surely a USA team at Lauderhill (perhaps others) would be a good possibility to service the die-hard fans in the US. Do you feel this could be the more efficient way to re-introduce cricket to the American market, Amjad?

  • Amjad Khan, USA on September 25, 2007, 14:44 GMT

    The concept of 20/20 was introduced in the US via ProCricket back in 2005. It was played against 8 franchised teams such as Nwe York Storm, Florida Thunder, etc. It was a hit as far as the majority ethnic fans were concerned. The games were shown live on pay-per-view TV as well. Each team had 9 local players and 2 international players. Some of the international players who participated included Marlon Samuels, Wavell Hinds, Mervyn Dillon, Franklin Rose, Robin Singh, etc. Ajay Jadeja and Nikhil Chopra also came over but had to watch from the side lines as BCCI did not give them permission to play. Unfortunately, the season lasted just one year and the organizers backed out having lost quite a bit of money. However it was a great concept and something we should all pursue to revive with the blessings of ICC.

    I captained the NY Storm in the competition and had a very good experience due to the exciting nature of the games, with a few games being decided off the last ball. I would invite and encourage ICC to step forward and look into starting a league on similar lines. However, given the draconian leadership of the US Cricket Association, led by the dictatorial Dainty, I wouuld imagine that ICC would have to directly manage the event or get some locals who are more interested in the game and leverage their help.

    Check out http://content.cricinfo.com/ci/content/story/144403.html for my report on CricInfo about the tournament and the format. I'll be glad to give my 2 cents in case anyone is interested.

    - Amjad Khan New York, USA

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  • Amjad Khan, USA on September 25, 2007, 14:44 GMT

    The concept of 20/20 was introduced in the US via ProCricket back in 2005. It was played against 8 franchised teams such as Nwe York Storm, Florida Thunder, etc. It was a hit as far as the majority ethnic fans were concerned. The games were shown live on pay-per-view TV as well. Each team had 9 local players and 2 international players. Some of the international players who participated included Marlon Samuels, Wavell Hinds, Mervyn Dillon, Franklin Rose, Robin Singh, etc. Ajay Jadeja and Nikhil Chopra also came over but had to watch from the side lines as BCCI did not give them permission to play. Unfortunately, the season lasted just one year and the organizers backed out having lost quite a bit of money. However it was a great concept and something we should all pursue to revive with the blessings of ICC.

    I captained the NY Storm in the competition and had a very good experience due to the exciting nature of the games, with a few games being decided off the last ball. I would invite and encourage ICC to step forward and look into starting a league on similar lines. However, given the draconian leadership of the US Cricket Association, led by the dictatorial Dainty, I wouuld imagine that ICC would have to directly manage the event or get some locals who are more interested in the game and leverage their help.

    Check out http://content.cricinfo.com/ci/content/story/144403.html for my report on CricInfo about the tournament and the format. I'll be glad to give my 2 cents in case anyone is interested.

    - Amjad Khan New York, USA

  • Chadders on September 25, 2007, 15:32 GMT

    The stumbling block football & cricket face in the US must be securing network TV rights. As Amjad Khan has said, it will have a bright following among people with roots in the Test-playing nations, who will fork-out for pay-per-view money. But alas, pay-TV carries less exposure: this is a huge problem in England in attracting fans, let alone the US!

    Perhaps the ICC should be a bit more proactive in recruiting a certain Mr. Stanford into the mix: he already has a functioning successful Twenty20 tournament going on in the backyard? I am not in the loop here, but surely a USA team at Lauderhill (perhaps others) would be a good possibility to service the die-hard fans in the US. Do you feel this could be the more efficient way to re-introduce cricket to the American market, Amjad?

  • Raj on September 25, 2007, 15:34 GMT

    ICC needs to make sure that these cricket matches are broadcast on basic network on the USA Televisions. What speed is referring to is overcharged PPV...which not many people watch. Until cricket can reach main stream viewers...Cricket will not get popular in USA. Only few will play. If ICC is gloating for this.....nothing else is to say

  • Nandu on September 25, 2007, 15:40 GMT

    T20 is the only way to promote Cricket in the US. Playing 40 or 50 over Cricket in the US means the whole day is gone. In addition, everyone has to drive on an average 30-40 miles to the ground to play and arrive early to prepare wickets makes it more difficult. Many people have dropped out just because of the time it takes to play a match. Tennis Ball leagues are getting popular these days. It is easier to find a ground and shorter duration makes it really easier.

  • Jamie Dowling on September 25, 2007, 15:46 GMT

    Who cares what Malcolm Speed thinks? This is a man who, by his own admission, does not read cricket books. This is a man who is determined to screw paying customers (that's you, me and anyone who goes to an international match) out of their hard earned money through inflated ticket prices and ludicrous restrictions on what paying customers can and can't bring into the ground as refreshment. The alternatives being ludicrously overpriced offerings from within the ground.

    The man is obsessed with making money above everything else, especially the punter on the street. I noticed how he was at the final of the World Twenty20. Why not Steve Elworthy? It was Cricket South Africa's show, not the ICC's.

    US cricket has problems of its own which really should have been sorted out but, just like the Zimbabwe issue, Speed and the ICC have been considerably less than impressive.

    The World Twenty20 has shown with good organisation, sensible pricing and local knowledge a successful product and tournament can be put together.

    Ask Steve Elworthy for his input, not Malcolm Speed.

  • Barhos on September 25, 2007, 16:09 GMT

    Raj is right that until you have viewers cricket may not be popular. There is hardly any new about cricket in US magazines, papers or web sites and no cricket on most watched TV channels.

  • Imran Haque on September 25, 2007, 16:26 GMT

    You have to have key cricket stars in the US to start the momentum. I say that we have a four-nation type tournament in the US. Perhaps an Asian one (Pak, India, SL and Bangla)?

  • Farhan (California) on September 25, 2007, 16:59 GMT

    Actually, the first instance of a national 20/20 tournament dates back to a few years before Pro Cricket started to the LA Open. The organizers of the LA Open have evolved this tournament to the highest prize money cricket tournament in America. Teams from India, and the West Indies, regularly participate, and in 2007, a team of former Australian test cricketers made it to the semi-finals. Why has this tournament been so successful? Well, each member of the organizing committee is in it, not to make money, but passionate about promoting cricket. Their heart is in the right place.

  • Chris G on September 25, 2007, 17:16 GMT

    Thank you Amjad Bhai, for your wonderful optimism for US cricket. Our great sport needs more like you in America. Good job!

  • Henish Patel on September 25, 2007, 18:03 GMT

    I agree will all of you, in order to popularise cricket in US, it must be done through mainstream sport channel and not ppv. Heck man get ESPN involved, cricinfo was bought out by ESPN. Why would ESPN show poker, and some other stupid games to fill their spots, why not fill those with cricket match or replays.

    T20 cricket is the only way it will be popular in US. No one has time to sit at the stadium for whole day to watch the matches in US. All shorts of league are popping up all over US, ICC should capitalize on it. Even Jonesoro, Arkansas has two teams, and this town is pretty small compare to other big cities.