March 25, 2009

USA

College tournament in the USA

Will Luke

The USA rarely receives much publicity in the papers' sport sections. Every now and then, however, it makes an appearance, often owing to the plucky efforts of a group of fans. Or, in this case, a group of college students attempting to create their own tournament.

With only a few weeks’ notice, the five teams did what many college students do this time of year: they packed their sunscreen and headed to Florida. Nearly 60 players drove or flew at their own expense to the lush cricket pitches of Central Broward Regional Park. They played Twenty20, a version of cricket in which many stuffy traditions are left behind and matches are completed in about three hours instead of taking up to five days. The only custom-built cricket stadium in the United States stands in this park, but securing the 5,000-seat facility was far too rich a luxury for the tournament’s shoestring budget. Competing on the park’s manicured fields was already an upgrade over the converted soccer fields and tennis courts the players were used to.

“I wanted them to see the stadium to know what they are playing for,” said Lloyd Jodah, the founder and president of American College Cricket. “That is where we want to be next year.”

The idea for the college tournament came to him last year as he campaigned to have cricket included in the Olympics. Standing on Wall Street with a cricket bat in one hand and petitions in the other, Jodah, 50, an immigrant from Guyana who works selling health club memberships, met Kalpesh Patel, a Jamaican business student from the University of Miami.

Once Jodah heard how difficult it was for college cricketers to find regular games, he began toying with the idea of a nationwide organization for collegiate clubs and founded American College Cricket. He made a group on Facebook as a way to reach out to players.

“We always had the desire to play, but there was no real framework for us to get involved,” Patel said. “So this idea gave us the push to get involved with the most competitive form of the game.”

The New York Times has the full story.

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Posted by Waqqas on (April 2, 2009, 2:55 GMT)

How much would I want cricket to be included in the NCAA Championships and made a varsity sport in the colleges and schools all around in USA

Posted by lloyd Hobson on (March 27, 2009, 7:51 GMT)

The idea of college cricket in the USA is great. I am currently playing cricket in South Africa and have just completed my studies at the University of Stellenbosch in the Western Cape South Africa. I would love to assist the cricket development in the USA in this sphere as I believe cricket can be and is a ticket to the world. I am curently a provincial player in South Africa and cricket is my passion, aspecially developing this fine game. USA has the power and finances to become a power house in the cricket world. All you need is structure, committment and ambition and the rest will follow. Keep up the good work and hope to see a college or two touring South African University's in the near future.....

Posted by Sachin on (March 27, 2009, 4:20 GMT)

Brilliant,and the fact that they got mainstream coverage -from the NY Times! Amazing!

Posted by Peter Della Penna on (March 25, 2009, 19:42 GMT)

I wrote about this in my blog too, thecrickettier.com. Basically, cricket needs to be introduced at the grass roots level if it wants a chance to succeed in America. There needs to be a cultivation of the sport from a young age by introducing it in gym classes, which would also require a gym teacher who knows the basic rules of the game. But currently, there are only expats and their kids who play it in America. Once families from India have fully immigrated into America, their first generation children know nothing about the game. Kids must be raised on the game in this country, American-born kids, regardless of ethnic roots and background. Plenty of Indian-American kids no nothing about cricket, but are immersed into college basketball and the NCAA tournament, just like all the Irish-American, Italian-American, and African-American kids they go to school with. If it were introduced at youth level like soccer, the popularity would be thriving.

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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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