August 31, 2008

Italy

Coliseum of cricket

Will Luke

Cricket is gaining popularity in Italy, a football-mad nation, thanks to thousands of subcontinental immigrants flooding into the country.

With a few hundred thousand people from the Indian subcontinent now in Italy, there are real quality players moving up from the parks into the league and national side, said Simone Gambino, an Italian who caught the cricket bug while visiting England in the 1970s and who now heads the Italian Cricket Federation.

Local councils have begun to provide space for games, said Gambino. "There are around 100,000 people from the subcontinent in the province of Brescia, and they want to play cricket, so the council had to provide pitches to stop people being struck by cricket balls."

Tom Kington has the full story in The Guardian.

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Posted by Bob Neil on (September 1, 2008, 19:46 GMT)

If the growth of Italian locals playing rugby is anything to go by, it is likely to be slow progress to build cricket in Italy predominantly via expats. The ICC should invest in Spanish, Italian & other European language commentary teams to help broadcast key Twenty20 tournaments. Satelite tv coverage in the relevant local language is a good way to communicate & explain the game of cricket to new non-english speaking audiences. For cricket to expand to new markets, it needs more 'big-bang' impacts to capitalise on migration trends rather than 20 year gradual growth. Gradual, gradual growth via expats appears to be an very inefficient way of expanding the game.

Posted by Simon Butler on (September 1, 2008, 4:20 GMT)

This is great news for the game in Italy. Its good to see the game growing over there.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Will Luke
Assistant editor Will opted against a lifetime of head-bangingly dull administration in the NHS, where he had served for two years. In 2005 came a break at Cricinfo where he slotted right in as a ferociously enthusiastic tea drinker and maker, with a penchant for using "frankly" and "marvellous". He also runs The Corridor, a cricket blog where he can be found ranting and raving about all things - some even involving the sport. He is a great-great nephew of Sir Jack Newman, the former Wellingtonian bowler who took two wickets at 127 apiece for New Zealand.

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