Samir Chopra July 28, 2008

I have a dream

I dream that American fans might be exposed to a high-quality broadcast of a one-day international final between two high-quality teams
40

My post on the representation of cricket in the American media triggered a flurry of responses which has prompted me prompted me to clarify and elaborate. My thesis was that the depiction of a particular image of cricket was playing a not-insignificant part in the continued failure of cricket to make an impression on the American sporting scene.

In response to the comments let me say a few things. No, it is not necessary that cricket become popular in the US; it will probably survive without American interest. Still, wondering why it is not is an interesting exercise that might reveal something about the game and the US too; an examination of cricket's history in the US and its failure to flourish after a good start is a fascinating exercise in its own right.

No, Americans are not incapable of understanding the complexities of cricket. Millions of them take the time to understand baseball's many variations, pitchers' deliveries, the mechanics of baseball hitting or fielding set plays; the closing moments of a tight baseball game when managers change batters, pitchers and try and manufacture runs can be as complex as a good chess game. And the shortest version of the game, Twenty20, is roughly equal to the length of a baseball game; in fact, T20 is guaranteed to end in a definite time-span, while tied baseball games can carry on indefinitely!

The problem instead, is that due to its depiction in the media, cricket comes across as a game not worth playing because it is not athletic enough, is effeminate, is hopelessly complex, baroque, and ultimately pointless because of its failure to guarantee a result. No game can hope to make inroads into the national psyche and pick up both players and audience in the face of such depictions. That is the issue. And this depiction again, does not tell us anything very deep about American culture; it merely shows us that US sporting media can be just as lazy as any other. Attempts to paint baseball as an easy game, a tip-n-run fest where full tosses are served up as the main course are equally lazy; they do not do justice to the game.

Perhaps all this analysis is moot; cricket is unpopular in the US; its flourishing there is not necessary for the game to be profitable; and like soccer, even if it acquires a large playing population, it might not ever capture the national imagination the way the big three--football, baseball and basketball--do. But in the end, what is interesting about this exercise for me is to note how easy it is to mask something desirable, interesting and passion-inspiring as boring, archaic and insipid. More than anything else, it is yet another interesting demonstration to me of the persuasive power of the visual and print media. And as such it sparks fantasies in me of how it could be combated; perhaps via thoughtful comparisons and contrasts with baseball to make it palatable to that fan base.

I dream, for instance, that a good baseball writer might be taken to games and paired with a cricket writer, and introduced to cricket's rules and variations; I volunteer for this task. The baseball writer might be prompted to write a useful comparison of the two games. I dream that American fans might be exposed to a high-quality broadcast of a one-day international final between two high-quality teams. The athleticism and power on display would be seductive. Indeed, whenever I've managed to show some classic catches to my American friends, they are simply amazed, (as I frequently am by the accuracy of fielder's throws in baseball!).

I dream of a well-written description of a bowlers-pitchers summit where Glenn McGrath and Roger Clemens exchange notes on swing, pace, and intimidation. Or a batter's summit where Sachin Tendulkar and Derek Jeter exchange notes on timing, placement and power (and perhaps strategies for dealing with obsessive, nosy media types). These exercises could teach us more about cricket itself and about its place in the sporting world. And perhaps help us all learn a bit more about other sporting cultures. All in good time, I suppose.

Samir Chopra lives in Brooklyn and teaches Philosophy at the City University of New York. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Michael Meade on August 10, 2008, 18:27 GMT

    I was raised on NFL Football and Baseball. Now I play cricket. I invited my cricket team over to watch the SuperBowl. It was so hard to explain to the same guys who had spent so much time with me teaching the forward defensive, proper bolwing action and nuances of field placement, how there is just as much going in a football game where the running back gets stuffed at the line of scrimmage. ie 22 guys just hit each other the play is over...too much stop start. The same can be said of a maiden over. Both plays can be things of beauty.

    We’re all more comfortable with what we grew up with. It takes a lot of time a patience to learn a new sport and adopt a new culture. How many cricket fanatics have asked a baseball fan or a NFL football fan to explain their game... and then just tried to learn from them... instead of comparing it to cricket? You may be surpised what you learn.

  • Neil Bostock on August 4, 2008, 11:15 GMT

    In 1895 the game was introduced in the UK by a rich industrialist, and had a brief following as a novelty, but never "popular" in any real sense of the word, and certainly the statement, "England did follow Baseball" is just misleading.

  • Joe Cooter on August 2, 2008, 20:07 GMT

    Posted by: S. Sen at July 31, 2008 12:59 AM

    Why SHOULD Americans follow cricket? Indians and Englishmen don't follow much baseball, do they? ----------------------------------------------- Actually England did follow Baseball, and it was indeed popular period of time before World War 2. Teams like Tottenham, Derby County, and Preston North End all had teams. In fact Derby Counties former home The Baseball Grounds started out as a ball park not a soccer stadium.

  • Lloyd on August 2, 2008, 18:03 GMT

    Golf, a very boring "sport", because of the high income participants, was marketed in the US until a mass appeal star (tiger Woods) came along.Soccer is played probably by more Americans(as kids) than any other sport but it has not caught on. Its all about marketing,Twenty20 should be in the 2012 Olympics and you'll see a Pro League in the US - as the group with the highest income in the US currently is people with a Cricketing background (Indian etc).Also The Canadian Govt is now officially funding Cricket and www.Cricket2012Games.com is working on getting cricket into the 2012 Olympics. Cricket is way more athletic and demanding than baseball, particularly in its short form .

  • Julio on July 31, 2008, 5:00 GMT

    Cricket does not need to be popular in America to be a global sport. Even if it becomes as "popular" as rugby, that will be enough. Growing in popularity in Africa, Australasia, and here in Argentina as well...cricket does not need America. Oh, and who was that ignoramus who said cricket was easy?

  • Adnan Haq on July 31, 2008, 3:53 GMT

    Why should soccer and cricket be popular in all countries? USA has its own sporting history and this uniqueness should be celebrated. Alas! we in South Asia are fast losing our own domestic sports (Desi Kushti, Kabaddi, etc.). In America, even college games can boast tens of thousands of paying spectators, sporting rivalries date back decades and major sporting events are celebrated like religious rituals. Let this part of the world be unfettered by the blandness and uniformity of the rest of the world.

  • Neil Bostock on July 31, 2008, 2:37 GMT

    Okay, if we can all accept that cricket and baseball are both great sports, and that Americans are more than intelligent enough to understand slow and cerebral sports, then let's try and understand how difficult it might be for cricket to break through in America. One aspect that stands out for me is that American sports culture is very sophisticated in terms of myriad sports talk shows, radio phone in shows, and print and media coverage. These shows concentrate 99.9 percent on the established sports scene, and even soccer cannot penetrate the daily debate. This culture is mirrored in the daily water cooler discussions of workers and students who watch sports. Soccer, lacrosse, athletics, horse racing, barely even Nascar, and certainly not cricket can penetrate this sporting culture. Uphill battle? Try Everest.

  • S. Sen on July 31, 2008, 0:59 GMT

    Why SHOULD Americans follow cricket? Indians and Englishmen don't follow much baseball, do they? If cricket was an option at the elementary school level in America, then people probably would play, at least in the half-serious way in which they play soccer. I've known a few native-born Americans who play cricket at the club level in California, and they (unlike lots of Indians and Pakistanis) even take an interest in Test cricket. I don't think there's anything in the American "mentality" that precludes cricket. By the way, anybody who thinks that cricket isn't physically demanding has obviously never played the game competitively. Try running hard between the wickets for 25 overs, or bowling a 10-over spell of seam. Then do it five days in a row.

  • Kartik on July 30, 2008, 15:42 GMT

    "Violence in any form is bad. Every playing field in America has this ‘hecklers’ who throw insult at the players. "

    Nonsense. Cricket players in Pakistan are burned in effigy. Does that happen in America?

    Soccer riots in Britain are par for the course. That never happens in America.

  • Sandeep on July 30, 2008, 13:24 GMT

    There is a Soccer violence. No doubt about that. That is because Soccer is played in 200 countries. More chances of negative things happening when you have 200+ countries playing a sport. In America, every year after a team wins some championship; we can witness cars getting burnt, glasses broken and people getting hurt. Players have gotten death threats from fans for performing poorly. Violence in any form is bad. Every playing field in America has this ‘hecklers’ who throw insult at the players. Even that is a form of violence.

  • Michael Meade on August 10, 2008, 18:27 GMT

    I was raised on NFL Football and Baseball. Now I play cricket. I invited my cricket team over to watch the SuperBowl. It was so hard to explain to the same guys who had spent so much time with me teaching the forward defensive, proper bolwing action and nuances of field placement, how there is just as much going in a football game where the running back gets stuffed at the line of scrimmage. ie 22 guys just hit each other the play is over...too much stop start. The same can be said of a maiden over. Both plays can be things of beauty.

    We’re all more comfortable with what we grew up with. It takes a lot of time a patience to learn a new sport and adopt a new culture. How many cricket fanatics have asked a baseball fan or a NFL football fan to explain their game... and then just tried to learn from them... instead of comparing it to cricket? You may be surpised what you learn.

  • Neil Bostock on August 4, 2008, 11:15 GMT

    In 1895 the game was introduced in the UK by a rich industrialist, and had a brief following as a novelty, but never "popular" in any real sense of the word, and certainly the statement, "England did follow Baseball" is just misleading.

  • Joe Cooter on August 2, 2008, 20:07 GMT

    Posted by: S. Sen at July 31, 2008 12:59 AM

    Why SHOULD Americans follow cricket? Indians and Englishmen don't follow much baseball, do they? ----------------------------------------------- Actually England did follow Baseball, and it was indeed popular period of time before World War 2. Teams like Tottenham, Derby County, and Preston North End all had teams. In fact Derby Counties former home The Baseball Grounds started out as a ball park not a soccer stadium.

  • Lloyd on August 2, 2008, 18:03 GMT

    Golf, a very boring "sport", because of the high income participants, was marketed in the US until a mass appeal star (tiger Woods) came along.Soccer is played probably by more Americans(as kids) than any other sport but it has not caught on. Its all about marketing,Twenty20 should be in the 2012 Olympics and you'll see a Pro League in the US - as the group with the highest income in the US currently is people with a Cricketing background (Indian etc).Also The Canadian Govt is now officially funding Cricket and www.Cricket2012Games.com is working on getting cricket into the 2012 Olympics. Cricket is way more athletic and demanding than baseball, particularly in its short form .

  • Julio on July 31, 2008, 5:00 GMT

    Cricket does not need to be popular in America to be a global sport. Even if it becomes as "popular" as rugby, that will be enough. Growing in popularity in Africa, Australasia, and here in Argentina as well...cricket does not need America. Oh, and who was that ignoramus who said cricket was easy?

  • Adnan Haq on July 31, 2008, 3:53 GMT

    Why should soccer and cricket be popular in all countries? USA has its own sporting history and this uniqueness should be celebrated. Alas! we in South Asia are fast losing our own domestic sports (Desi Kushti, Kabaddi, etc.). In America, even college games can boast tens of thousands of paying spectators, sporting rivalries date back decades and major sporting events are celebrated like religious rituals. Let this part of the world be unfettered by the blandness and uniformity of the rest of the world.

  • Neil Bostock on July 31, 2008, 2:37 GMT

    Okay, if we can all accept that cricket and baseball are both great sports, and that Americans are more than intelligent enough to understand slow and cerebral sports, then let's try and understand how difficult it might be for cricket to break through in America. One aspect that stands out for me is that American sports culture is very sophisticated in terms of myriad sports talk shows, radio phone in shows, and print and media coverage. These shows concentrate 99.9 percent on the established sports scene, and even soccer cannot penetrate the daily debate. This culture is mirrored in the daily water cooler discussions of workers and students who watch sports. Soccer, lacrosse, athletics, horse racing, barely even Nascar, and certainly not cricket can penetrate this sporting culture. Uphill battle? Try Everest.

  • S. Sen on July 31, 2008, 0:59 GMT

    Why SHOULD Americans follow cricket? Indians and Englishmen don't follow much baseball, do they? If cricket was an option at the elementary school level in America, then people probably would play, at least in the half-serious way in which they play soccer. I've known a few native-born Americans who play cricket at the club level in California, and they (unlike lots of Indians and Pakistanis) even take an interest in Test cricket. I don't think there's anything in the American "mentality" that precludes cricket. By the way, anybody who thinks that cricket isn't physically demanding has obviously never played the game competitively. Try running hard between the wickets for 25 overs, or bowling a 10-over spell of seam. Then do it five days in a row.

  • Kartik on July 30, 2008, 15:42 GMT

    "Violence in any form is bad. Every playing field in America has this ‘hecklers’ who throw insult at the players. "

    Nonsense. Cricket players in Pakistan are burned in effigy. Does that happen in America?

    Soccer riots in Britain are par for the course. That never happens in America.

  • Sandeep on July 30, 2008, 13:24 GMT

    There is a Soccer violence. No doubt about that. That is because Soccer is played in 200 countries. More chances of negative things happening when you have 200+ countries playing a sport. In America, every year after a team wins some championship; we can witness cars getting burnt, glasses broken and people getting hurt. Players have gotten death threats from fans for performing poorly. Violence in any form is bad. Every playing field in America has this ‘hecklers’ who throw insult at the players. Even that is a form of violence.

  • Neil Bostock on July 30, 2008, 11:44 GMT

    The comments above about idiocy, ignorance and nationalism are, again, so wrong. Americans are somewhat ignorant about cricket, but only because their exposure is severely limited. That hardly makes them idiots. "Rabid nationalism" is just wrong. Americans get far more excited about the Yankees, the Knicks and the Giants than they do about any national teams playing in the Olympics or international competitions like the World Baseball Classic. The kind of "rabid nationalism" that produces fan violence all over the world in international soccer just doesn't exist here. If it did no doubt you'd find a reason to criticise America about that too. It's sad to me to see this blog uncover so much idiocy, ignorance and rabid nationalism against Americans.

  • Sumi on July 30, 2008, 4:07 GMT

    Well to make more people attracted to this game a Bate has to be put. For a start including T20 for Commenwealth Games!! So more will get interested in the Game. Who knows maybe in to an Olympic & we will see those Medal Hungry countries running in to have Cricket Coaches... :)

  • SB on July 29, 2008, 23:04 GMT

    I was recently in America and tried watching baseball and it was intolerably dull. They are xenophobic people and are too stuck in their ways, it would take so much effort to advertise it to them. An American told me he'd watched a game but didn't see the point as the batsmen weren't forced to run- it is pure idiocy, ignorance and rabid nationalism which counters any attempt to bring the great game to Americans.

  • TVJ2900 on July 29, 2008, 5:43 GMT

    Funny...after travelling to India, Australia, NZ, and being subjected to Cricket, next thing I knew I could not get enough of it...the complexity, strategy, ebb and flow of the game were unlike anything I've experienced in sports. The level of skill of the players, the pitch and ball being a factor (totally a foreign concept to the US folks), and the real quality of a game just being different and intriguing from anything I have ever seen prior just captivated me. I've played sport at various levels, and now that I'm older and out of any form for anything whatsoever, I've thought often how I would have done in this sport.

    Brains, athletic ability, and a test of character are seldom found in anything- this sport has it.

    That said, I find myself watching foreign workers in my city playing on weekends and I am still seeing joy and beauty in the game even at the park level. Sadly, 20-20 is the only hope given the attention span for sport in this country. Lovely game.

  • Sunil Jain on July 29, 2008, 4:54 GMT

    Comparing with baseball, I think cricket has lot more variations, because of the fact that ball can do lot more after hitting the deck than just in the air. Similarly a batsman has lot more variations than in baseball because of broad bat. I think what has kept cricket away from US folks so far is the way it has been played. Until the advent of 20-20, from a spectator point of view, most of the teams play a boring cricket. Granted a solid defense from a player like Dravid might be perfect as per cricket books, but for an ordinary spectator, who is not aware of the finer nuances of cricket, there is nothing to feel excited about. I do not mean to say that only sixes in 20-20 can attract folks, but the cricket needs to be exciting, competitive and action-packed. Every ball does not need to be hit for a six, but every ball needs to be scored, or baller fooling the batsman, or a beautiful shot (which may not fetch run). But someone defending his wicket all day long, isn't going to impress

  • V-Man on July 29, 2008, 2:49 GMT

    I think everyone is forgetting about protectionism. American sports analysts either have played or learned about 3 sports: football, baseball and basketball. (Soccer and to a lesser degree ice hockey fall below the line of popular US-wide acceptance, with regional differences of course.) Analysts do NOT want other sports to enter the US lexicon, since (1) they don't understand it and therefore (2) they won't profit from it. Better to throw superficial comments to tamp down any potential interest. The good thing, I guess is that cricket isn't the only sport that suffers from such protectionism, so fans here should not feel singled out.

    As a baseball player and cricketer, I don't mind that both sports have their own "territories" across the world. Vive le difference. Cricket has plenty of support and more and more money is coming in. More money brings more marketing and attention. Not surprising that ESPN is cashing on both sports without "converting" anyone to the other sport.

  • ANTHONY on July 29, 2008, 2:06 GMT

    A population that can't see that the proliferation of guns only endemic in their country kills proportionately more people than anywhere else and don't realize the reality of this in other countries won't also know the sports of other countries;only they have three major sports that no one cares about in other countries.With that blinker mentality it'll be tough going.Don't get me wrong,without USA's help we'll all be living in mud huts with all types of incurable diseases not yet licked.

  • Tony on July 28, 2008, 22:49 GMT

    Here's something to think about. Why do people so much what Americans think about cricket? Who cares what they think!! There is no doubt in my mind that cricket will much better off without ANY involvement from the US. Just my opinion:)

    Cheers Tony

  • Andrew on July 28, 2008, 22:23 GMT

    I have been to the US a number of times and love it over there. What i have noticed is that they struggle to embrace things which aren't theres. NFL, basketball and baseball are there sports and they are the best in the world so they like it. They don't like sports where they don't win. Cricket is also not flashy and showy enough. T20 would be a good introduction but they would not embrace the 50 over and no way would they accept tests as they just go for too long and Americans need a result and the quicker the better. If football struggles in the US cricket will always fare far worse due to the limited wordwide interest in the sport as opposed to football played by all countries and not just former colonies.

  • Josh on July 28, 2008, 22:03 GMT

    I'm a rarity in that I'm American born and love both cricket and baseball (in fairness, my family are originally from Lancashire so I did have some reason to become interested in cricket). I think my knowledge of each game makes the other more enjoyable. There are a huge number of similiarities. Ed Smith's book does a reasonable job comparing and contrasting the two sports.

    American football and baseball dominate the American sports scene, that's all there is to it. I don't see why anyone is bothered about American's interest in cricket, Major League Baseball isn't trying to export baseball to India.

    As in cricket, there are maybe a dozen or so countries where baseball is a major sport. It makes more sense for the "higher powers" of both sports to focus on the countries where their sport is already popular and assure its long-term health there.

  • NNS on July 28, 2008, 21:58 GMT

    I love cricket but I'm surprised that baseball isn't more popular in India. It can be with 3 bags and a plate on any kind of playing field. Cricket isn't more popular in the US because there is no organization. (I know, there's one in name.) Media depiction is simply not a factor. I do agree that T20 is the most accessible form of cricket for the non-cricketing world.

    Unrelated to this posting, it is worth exploring why Indians (in India or elsewhere) are below par at any sport, Kabaddi excluded.

  • Vick Flick on July 28, 2008, 21:32 GMT

    If Americans would take the time to watch cricket, they might just be able to modify the game of baseball where the batter fails to hit the ball most of the time. And when he does hit it, he can not place the ball where he wants

  • Kartik on July 28, 2008, 19:20 GMT

    This is a superb and very fair article by Samir.

    One note - 2006 was the first time the Soccer World Cup final was shown on one of the 3 major US TV networks (as opposed to cable). Bob Costas was a commentator. This could lead to at least the T20 World Cup Final also being shown on US TV.

    More interaction between the sports would be beneficial to all. Wasim and Waqar perfected reverse-swing by learning about baseball.

    Keep in mind the marketing angle. One of the reasons Yao Ming got a huge push in US basketball was because the NBA wanted to get Chinese viewers. This is the same reason Aishwarya Rai is getting a push in the US TV/Film industry. The same can be done between cricket and baseball.

  • Faisal M on July 28, 2008, 18:27 GMT

    Well i think well said their, show them a good ODI final, or T20 final with 2 high quality teams and show them the amount of power and athleticism that is being put into the game and have some good timers of the ball play some delightful shorts then would be understanding the game. Without exposure to competitive cricket, it will be impossible to attract Americans.

  • neil bostock on July 28, 2008, 17:56 GMT

    great follow up article. If I'm a skeptic as to its becoming a mainstream American sport, I share your wish that it be accorded some respect as a major international sport. Unfortunately even with the strides that Soccer has made here, I still hear inane and condescending comments from ESPN sports personalities who obviously cannot take soccer seriously. To the writer who thinks grass growing is more enjoyable than a Yankee-Red Sox game, I can't really help him out. It takes time to appreciate baseball (for me about 5 years) as it does cricket. I finally learned not to compare the two sports, and to enjoy both.

  • Sunder Iyer on July 28, 2008, 17:51 GMT

    "I dream of a well-written description of a bowlers-pitchers summit where Glenn McGrath and Roger Clemens exchange notes on swing, pace, and intimidation. Or a batter's summit where Sachin Tendulkar and Derek Jeter exchange notes on timing, placement and power "

    DREAM ON!

  • Dave Arlington on July 28, 2008, 17:51 GMT

    First off, it's not that cricket is "unpopular" in the US, the more correct statement is that it is "not popular". I don't think Americans actively dislike cricket, they're just not really aware of it at all. Contrast that to soccer in the US where, for a long time, until everyone's kids were playing it, soccer WAS actively disliked by quite a few Americans.

    I think cricket just needs more exposure in the US. Americans WILL pick up sports of ANY kind, trust me. They just need to start playing it. Lacrosse is showing an increase in the US. Rugby is showing an increase in the US. Soccer as well. All previously thought to be impossible to market to people in the US.

    The thing is all these sports are played by kids. Lacrosse in high schools, Rugby in universities, soccer everywhere from tykes on up.

    You won't get Americans to embrace cricket by taking baseball writers to matches. Americans will embrace cricket when their kids are playing it and bugging them for gear and kit!

    Dave

  • Sushanth on July 28, 2008, 17:40 GMT

    Cricket is a least athletic game ever.What did you expect? This game was designed from the start to play for people having a sip of tea in the afternoon. Infact, I never get physically tired playing cricket but I do get mentally bogged down. Now soccer for example is the kind of game where even if your body gives in the mind is fresh. Thats why it is more appealing in the US. So are baksetball etc. The very look at the players involved in cricket is that they are neither huge nor athletic. Even the most puny person stands a chance of becoming a player in this game. Fitness and cricket don't go together. So there is no adrenaline rush for the spectators either.I think its time to re-design this game. The fact that people who watch tests and support tests are sucha minority tells me that this game needs a major overhaul.

  • jalps on July 28, 2008, 17:34 GMT

    To be fair to the ICC, my understanding is that they have tried to pump money into cricket in the USA. Most of this seems to have been stymied by infighting within the USACA, have a search for Project USA in CricInfo and you should get the gory details. Maybe Allen Stanford could get a US team involved in his T20 tournament, from there players may be able to break in to the IPL. On the subject of media coverage, why would the US media be interested in promoting foreign sports. With US sports they collectively control the whole pie, as long as they provide enough sports to keep the public satisfied all that advertising revenue will go straight to them. With sports like cricket and football they'll have to pay some external company for the rights to carry the broadcast. They have less control and get less money. NS talks about the Americans liking things more physical. It seems to be that American sports concentrate more on power and speed rather than stamina and concentration.

  • Greg on July 28, 2008, 17:31 GMT

    Tom Melville wrote in "The Tented Field", his study of 19th century American cricket, that cricket would never be successful in the US until it achieved an "American identity." I think this is true. Look at soccer--even though literally millions of kids play soccer in the US, most adults see it as a "foreign game". So it's still a marginal game in America. Cricket doesn't even have that.

    But, as I said to the last column, cricket in the US is still an extremely insular game. (Actually, cricket worldwide is still insular: look at how players from the established countries complain when they have to play "the minnows" in the World Cup. In soccer, they're happy to spread the sport.) If you're in the US and you want to learn how to play cricket you are totally out of luck; the best you'll ever get is maybe to watch a game in person and not get surly looks from the players. Why would anybody follow a game when the players don't want them there?

  • D.S. Henry on July 28, 2008, 17:30 GMT

    It's a worthy dream, Samir, but don't forget that a big part of the reason why cricket is presented in such anachronistic, semi-comical terms is because that is the image cricket itself conveys a lot of the time. I mean, can you explain to me (or any typical American who knows nothing about cricket) why both Test teams are dressed in white? Utterly ridiculous "tradition", and yet no one questions it.

  • Dhananjay on July 28, 2008, 17:13 GMT

    As far as Americans are concerned, they do not take too well to a game which is played by the world. All their games are ones in which they play among themselves(with the exception of Tennis). So cricket does not stand that much of a chance when supremely popular sports like Soccer and any tennis, other than the US open, fail to trigger the kind of mass hysteria, a NFL or NBA generates..

  • Dan B on July 28, 2008, 16:58 GMT

    I don't know that Clemens and McGrath would be a good pairing. Clemens and Asif, however, could discuss their favorite performance-enhancers or, perhaps, their favorite ways to deny using performance-enhancers.

    All jokes aside, good piece and a nice follow-up to your last post on the topic. As an American cricket tragic, I appreciate the clarification that we are unable to comprehend cricket and, rather, are just generally disinterested in the game.

  • Greg on July 28, 2008, 16:55 GMT

    As an expat I share your frustration, but suggest the issue is not how cricket is represented by the US media but the fact that it, well, isn't - and understandably so. As most editors and producers will tell you, they can't devote enough time/space to 'pro' sports they already play, let alone give space and resources to cover a game that is in administrative disarray in this country and, relatively speaking, doesn't matter (commercially) too much anywhere else either. There's a host of brilliant sports - we know cricket is one of them - but that's an irrelevance here for the mainstream. That's not to say the sport could (and should) have a future in the US. But it should aim for a niche. Unquestionably, intelligent packaging of 20/20 for the American market is a step forward. Also, forget trying to 'crack' mainstream media. Embrace alternatives. Launch 'viral' campaigns ('bare handed catches, big hitters')- work at 'creating' interest. The US is a clean slate. Show 'em, don't tell 'em

  • Amit Chopra on July 28, 2008, 16:25 GMT

    I'd like to see cricket spread to every nook and corner of the world.

    The governors of cricket aren't helping the cause of cricket by banning clips from youtube. In fact, they should themselves make high quality clips available. I don't understand why most sporting organizations (this includes all of tennis, soccer, NFL, NBA, MLB, and college sports) ban even video clips! It is almost draconian.

    My advice to the governors of cricket: don't follow the others. Embrace the new age. Let the game advertise itself.

  • Riverlime on July 28, 2008, 15:57 GMT

    Don't forget that money drives all sport. Stanford has already experimented with exposing one American city to 20/20 cricket (West Indian style) and without doubt will do so for the upcoming extravanganza in Antigua. Anyone playing there will be the average American's first look at a top-level cricketer. The IPL is available in the US, but it is only watched by expats. Stanford is exposing AMERICANS to cricket. THAT is the way to go. Imagine being well-known for cricket in the U.S.! David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo regularly make E!News, even though only a small proportion of Americans know much about football. Wait till Americans get a look at Pietersen!

  • NS on July 28, 2008, 15:53 GMT

    I think Hemant hit it straight right off the middle. T20 might be the way to start. Lets train an 'American' team. With lot of West Indians in US there should be no dearth of talent atleast for T20. That can trigger interest. Mere media cannot hype it up. Investing in players is the best way to capture the imagination. But that is no guarantee, though. I think Americans will love things far more physical. Most of them love 'their' football (though it stays in hand for 99% of the time) over their base ball. Cricket is not at all physical. After all the time we spend investing in cricket in US, maybe a few thousands may get interested and maybe that's why BCCI has still not 'spread' the game here.

  • Hemant Gandhi on July 28, 2008, 15:16 GMT

    Samir,

    In the US, anything which becomes popular has a very strong marketings strategy behind it. So far, cricket was played for 'National' interests (till the invent of IPL)by former British Raj. A professional league like IPL would now make cricket 'qualify' to be considered for a prime time entertainment in the US. It still does not mean it will attract Americans to the game. Unless offcourse few Americans start playing at that level. Just think about it. If an Indian start playing in American League or National league in the US with Giants of White Sox, will there be interest in India to watch baseball games? I think baseball has scored over cricket in that regard. To the best of my knowledge, 3 Indians (directly from India), are being trained in LA and should show up in some games next year.

    ICC as the governing body of cricket has failed. They forgot that they need to invest in Cricket to promot the game.

    Check out www.milliondollararm.com.

  • D on July 28, 2008, 15:02 GMT

    Most of the time only the cricket fans would be trying to do this comparison whereas most of the Americans look at Cricket in a condescending manner. Its the attitude wherein lies the problem here. Mcgrath and Clemens exchanging notes ... are you kidding me !

  • Rahul Oak on July 28, 2008, 14:44 GMT

    True, perception IS reality. However, this is changing quickly post-T20. It is not only for cricket's good to make the US a market, but I thikn it is in this country's best interests too. I've been to a Yankees-Sox game at the Fenway and I must say it's more exciting watching the grass grow. They don't know what they don't know. Neither what they are missing.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Rahul Oak on July 28, 2008, 14:44 GMT

    True, perception IS reality. However, this is changing quickly post-T20. It is not only for cricket's good to make the US a market, but I thikn it is in this country's best interests too. I've been to a Yankees-Sox game at the Fenway and I must say it's more exciting watching the grass grow. They don't know what they don't know. Neither what they are missing.

  • D on July 28, 2008, 15:02 GMT

    Most of the time only the cricket fans would be trying to do this comparison whereas most of the Americans look at Cricket in a condescending manner. Its the attitude wherein lies the problem here. Mcgrath and Clemens exchanging notes ... are you kidding me !

  • Hemant Gandhi on July 28, 2008, 15:16 GMT

    Samir,

    In the US, anything which becomes popular has a very strong marketings strategy behind it. So far, cricket was played for 'National' interests (till the invent of IPL)by former British Raj. A professional league like IPL would now make cricket 'qualify' to be considered for a prime time entertainment in the US. It still does not mean it will attract Americans to the game. Unless offcourse few Americans start playing at that level. Just think about it. If an Indian start playing in American League or National league in the US with Giants of White Sox, will there be interest in India to watch baseball games? I think baseball has scored over cricket in that regard. To the best of my knowledge, 3 Indians (directly from India), are being trained in LA and should show up in some games next year.

    ICC as the governing body of cricket has failed. They forgot that they need to invest in Cricket to promot the game.

    Check out www.milliondollararm.com.

  • NS on July 28, 2008, 15:53 GMT

    I think Hemant hit it straight right off the middle. T20 might be the way to start. Lets train an 'American' team. With lot of West Indians in US there should be no dearth of talent atleast for T20. That can trigger interest. Mere media cannot hype it up. Investing in players is the best way to capture the imagination. But that is no guarantee, though. I think Americans will love things far more physical. Most of them love 'their' football (though it stays in hand for 99% of the time) over their base ball. Cricket is not at all physical. After all the time we spend investing in cricket in US, maybe a few thousands may get interested and maybe that's why BCCI has still not 'spread' the game here.

  • Riverlime on July 28, 2008, 15:57 GMT

    Don't forget that money drives all sport. Stanford has already experimented with exposing one American city to 20/20 cricket (West Indian style) and without doubt will do so for the upcoming extravanganza in Antigua. Anyone playing there will be the average American's first look at a top-level cricketer. The IPL is available in the US, but it is only watched by expats. Stanford is exposing AMERICANS to cricket. THAT is the way to go. Imagine being well-known for cricket in the U.S.! David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo regularly make E!News, even though only a small proportion of Americans know much about football. Wait till Americans get a look at Pietersen!

  • Amit Chopra on July 28, 2008, 16:25 GMT

    I'd like to see cricket spread to every nook and corner of the world.

    The governors of cricket aren't helping the cause of cricket by banning clips from youtube. In fact, they should themselves make high quality clips available. I don't understand why most sporting organizations (this includes all of tennis, soccer, NFL, NBA, MLB, and college sports) ban even video clips! It is almost draconian.

    My advice to the governors of cricket: don't follow the others. Embrace the new age. Let the game advertise itself.

  • Greg on July 28, 2008, 16:55 GMT

    As an expat I share your frustration, but suggest the issue is not how cricket is represented by the US media but the fact that it, well, isn't - and understandably so. As most editors and producers will tell you, they can't devote enough time/space to 'pro' sports they already play, let alone give space and resources to cover a game that is in administrative disarray in this country and, relatively speaking, doesn't matter (commercially) too much anywhere else either. There's a host of brilliant sports - we know cricket is one of them - but that's an irrelevance here for the mainstream. That's not to say the sport could (and should) have a future in the US. But it should aim for a niche. Unquestionably, intelligent packaging of 20/20 for the American market is a step forward. Also, forget trying to 'crack' mainstream media. Embrace alternatives. Launch 'viral' campaigns ('bare handed catches, big hitters')- work at 'creating' interest. The US is a clean slate. Show 'em, don't tell 'em

  • Dan B on July 28, 2008, 16:58 GMT

    I don't know that Clemens and McGrath would be a good pairing. Clemens and Asif, however, could discuss their favorite performance-enhancers or, perhaps, their favorite ways to deny using performance-enhancers.

    All jokes aside, good piece and a nice follow-up to your last post on the topic. As an American cricket tragic, I appreciate the clarification that we are unable to comprehend cricket and, rather, are just generally disinterested in the game.

  • Dhananjay on July 28, 2008, 17:13 GMT

    As far as Americans are concerned, they do not take too well to a game which is played by the world. All their games are ones in which they play among themselves(with the exception of Tennis). So cricket does not stand that much of a chance when supremely popular sports like Soccer and any tennis, other than the US open, fail to trigger the kind of mass hysteria, a NFL or NBA generates..

  • D.S. Henry on July 28, 2008, 17:30 GMT

    It's a worthy dream, Samir, but don't forget that a big part of the reason why cricket is presented in such anachronistic, semi-comical terms is because that is the image cricket itself conveys a lot of the time. I mean, can you explain to me (or any typical American who knows nothing about cricket) why both Test teams are dressed in white? Utterly ridiculous "tradition", and yet no one questions it.