USA September 25, 2007

Speed excited by Twenty20 in USA

Is Twenty20 the catalyst to popularise cricket in the USA

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