May 23, 2010

Keep it short for the Yanks

If the game is ever to take off in America, Twenty20 is most likely the way to go
58

"I've been to two rodeos and three goat-ropings and I ain't seen nuthin' like this," was the reaction of an American baseball commentator when the Atlanta Braves recently mounted a freakish seven-run last-inning comeback. When Sri Lanka play New Zealand in Miami this weekend, the response from the Americans in the audience may be similar. On second thoughts, the bulk of the fans will probably be expats from the subcontinent or the Caribbean, so most of the comments will be well-informed.

However, if cricket is to become a viable sport in the USA, eventually the officials have to attract some genuine American fans. This is why the experiment this time, unlike those attempted in the past, is critical; the only way cricket is going to attract American fans in reasonable numbers is via the Twenty20 version of the game.

Past tours were all longer matches. In 1932 an Australian side toured America and Canada, and despite the presence of Don Bradman (who was on his honeymoon), the game failed to capture the imagination of the Yanks. There was a publicity shot involving Bradman and Babe Ruth, then a huge star with the Yankees, and the inevitable comparisons were made between the two kings of their sport but nothing came of it other than a nice memento for Bradman's mantelpiece.

There were also publicity shots taken at a film studio in Hollywood, but the British actors like Aubrey C Smith and Boris Karloff who figured in it were already cricket fans. I remember seeing photos from the tour, of stars like Jeanette McDonald and Jean Harlow. The photos were on my grandfather Vic Richardson's mantelpiece - he was the captain of the team.

Vic told a delightful story of a dinner party where Harlow kept referring to Margot Asquith (wife of British prime minister Herbert Asquith) as "Margot", pronouncing the "t". Margot finally had enough and said to her, "No, Jean, the 't' is silent, like in 'Harlow'".

Hopefully the crowd won't be quiet at Lauderhill, where the Twenty20 contests will take place. There were enough visitors from the USA during the World Twenty20 event just completed in the Caribbean to suggest there might be a reasonable crowd at Lauderhill. However, once again those tourists were mostly supporters of teams from the subcontinent.

There are American cricket fans but they are few and far between.

In 1973 the Australians were in the hotel bar in Kingston after the first day's play at Sabina Park when we heard this American drawl: "Rod Marsh and Ian Chappell. I never thought I'd meet you guys."

If cricket is to prosper and grow, the financial clout of India has to be diluted and forging a presence in the big-market regions is the only way that is going to happen

We asked the American what he was doing in Kingston and he replied: "My wife and I travel from Philadelphia every year to watch the Sabina Park Test.'' However, he said he wouldn't be attending the remainder of game because his wife felt threatened by the crowd. We asked if he'd change his mind if we could get him tickets for the members stand and he said yes. That's how there were two Americans in the Sabina Park crowd in 1973, barracking for Australia. That was a long time ago and since then I haven't met any American cricket fans.

Then there was the failed experiment in the 2004 Champions Trophy, when the USA was annihilated by New Zealand and Australia.

Twenty20 is the correct vehicle to promote the game and if they come up with the right formula, combining business and cricket administration in a franchise, they might just find a niche market. That's why the IPL needs to quickly sort out its problems so that the franchise model can eventually be exported to large markets like the USA, Europe and Japan. If cricket is to prosper and grow, the financial clout of India has to be diluted, and forging a presence in the big-market regions is the only way that is going to happen.

The last time I witnessed a cricket tournament in the USA, the contest between India A and Australia A was spoiled by a terrible pitch. Hopefully conditions this time will be more conducive to entertaining cricket. If the cricket isn't top-class, then in future Americans will be more likely to visit a rodeo or a goat-roping than attend another cricket match.

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell is now a cricket commentator and columnist

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sohrab_Hits on May 26, 2010, 17:54 GMT

    Humans learn from past mistakes. ICC learnt it earlier by playing Aussie A against India A. It learnt that full international teams must play to promote the game. The decision was good but not as fruitful as expected. Two reasons 1) Improper promotion 2) Bad pitch and poor lighting facility. ICC had enough time to review these. Having said that I am optimistic that with proper planning and a clear vision USA can become a neutral venue (at least) like Sharjah has been for long.

  • SuperGLS on May 25, 2010, 16:04 GMT

    I was there at the matches this weekend and the cricket was great. Americans like myself were few and far between, but I think it was a great start. Can't wait until next year.

  • adityap on May 24, 2010, 23:33 GMT

    @lucyferr, you poor deluded soul. The USA is a melting pot, that means both cricket and baseball can be played side by side. Who can tell, perhaps 20 years down the line, integrating into the native community might mean playing cricket! And lets not talk about sophistication, please. In cricket, the ball bounces while being bowled to the batsman. The element of sophistication that is introduced by that far surpasses 'ooh, i can throw the ball to one of four places'. I also didn't know that wearing gloves four times larger than your hands to catch the ball required a higher average standard of fielding. And as regards to uncertainty, the sheer number of last over/last ball wins in cricket make your comment a joke. Yes, your post was flamebait, so here are the flames. And while I'm all for kids integrating into the mainstream, there's no reason they can't play cricket and do it.

  • on May 24, 2010, 21:37 GMT

    I flew in from Kentucky where I play club cricket to watch the matches. I am a white American that gave up baseball to learn cricket and I had a blast rooting on the teams and being able to watch the match live to catch the nuances that are missed watching in on TV. The only thing that truly lacked at the match was the actual publicity of the match, I drove around all over the area for the weekend and there was nothing to even tell that there was even matches going on unless you read a small part in the newspaper. Had USACA actually promoted the matches better there would have been bigger crowds and more people traveling in to see the match, that was the only draw back from an outstanding showing of what cricket can achieve in America. If they truly want to make this a success they need to bring in a tri-series with the likes of West Indies, India, Pakistan, England, Australia, Sri Lanka that have the drawing power to pack the stadium every match.

  • HowZatbro on May 24, 2010, 19:43 GMT

    Flew in from Texas and there were quite a decent amount of other natural Americans there. Mr Chappell is a really nice and down to earth fellow, Im sure after this weekend he has met a lot more American cricket fans than the couple in Jamaica in the 70s.

  • jackatthekilns on May 24, 2010, 17:59 GMT

    I am an American from Georgia and I was at the match with two friends who had never seen a game of cricket played (it was my first live game). they are not rabid fans yet, I will probably be watching the Ashes alone again. I had a wonderful time. There needs to be a focused and intentional effort to teach Americans with the slightest interest how the game is played. Understanding a game automatically makes it more interesting. Someone in the Atlanta area taught the area P.E. teachers the basics so they could pass it on. More things like this need to become common to increase interest among Americans. I would also like to see those American companies that already sponsor cricket in other parts of the world step up and help expand an promote it in the U.S. an expat Indian will drink Coke and eat KFC as much as one who lives in India. I can't wait for the next match of this level. I plan on bringing more newbies!

  • lonestarj on May 24, 2010, 17:30 GMT

    I flew in from Texas on Saturday just to catch the first ICC sanctioned Twenty20 match in the US. Imagine my surprise when I bumped into two other Texans watching the match. And we weren't even the most distant visitor - we met another gentlemen who flew in from San Francisco to be a part of the festivities.

    It took living in England for one summer - 2005 Ashes - for this Yank to become addicted to cricket. I've since seen at least one test match a year in England (mainly at Lords) and visited the 2007 World Cup in St. Lucia.

    The Ft. Lauderdale match reminded me a lot of the 2007 World Cup. It seemed homespun and marketed towards the expat crowd. Hey - that was their best bet to sell tickets. I wasn't impressed by the timing of the match but can understand why it had to happen that way. Pre - World Cup would have conflicted with the IPL.

  • andyboy26 on May 24, 2010, 16:41 GMT

    @ Rooboy,

    I dont think vicky530x is in any doubt about Ian's point on taking the game to homegrown Americans. What he is referring to is the choice of words here- surely Ian means 'homegrown' or 'indigenous' and not 'genuine'? I can fully see such a choice of words making front page news here in the US and there's a reason. While it may only sound offensive to the pickyand insecure, it certainly doesnt resonate with the American spirit and America's own concept of a 'genuine' American...

  • on May 24, 2010, 13:22 GMT

    I attended the games this weekend and wish to congratulate the Sri Lankans on their turnout. We sat, sporting 'New Zealand' caps, in the middle of their stadium enclave, and were much impressed by the sportmanship. Many of the skills manifested by the players are so similar to baseball that Americans--true sportmen that we are--will have no difficulty loving this sport. How could any Yank not love the catch Nicol made yesterday, running to boundary, placing his feet perfectly, looking up into the sun, finding the ball, and, with outstretched limbs and great balance, saving the six...with bare hands! I feel we have a desperate need for cricket (and rugby) in the US, since all of our major sports have become over-specialized. Our football players train to run only in one direction! Our baseball pitchers are trained not to bat; certailnly not to stick out their precious hands to catch a 'liner' right back at them. I vote to give cricket a chance in the USA.

  • AdityaMookerjee on May 24, 2010, 9:01 GMT

    I do not see a very large and varied audience of cricket, in the United States. We must remember, that cricket has been tried before, in the United States. Perhaps, the immigrants from cricket playing nations to the United States, may introduce other Americans to the sport. The Caribbean Islands, are not that far from the mainland of the United States. Cricket has to be encouraged at the school level, to make a lasting impression.

  • Sohrab_Hits on May 26, 2010, 17:54 GMT

    Humans learn from past mistakes. ICC learnt it earlier by playing Aussie A against India A. It learnt that full international teams must play to promote the game. The decision was good but not as fruitful as expected. Two reasons 1) Improper promotion 2) Bad pitch and poor lighting facility. ICC had enough time to review these. Having said that I am optimistic that with proper planning and a clear vision USA can become a neutral venue (at least) like Sharjah has been for long.

  • SuperGLS on May 25, 2010, 16:04 GMT

    I was there at the matches this weekend and the cricket was great. Americans like myself were few and far between, but I think it was a great start. Can't wait until next year.

  • adityap on May 24, 2010, 23:33 GMT

    @lucyferr, you poor deluded soul. The USA is a melting pot, that means both cricket and baseball can be played side by side. Who can tell, perhaps 20 years down the line, integrating into the native community might mean playing cricket! And lets not talk about sophistication, please. In cricket, the ball bounces while being bowled to the batsman. The element of sophistication that is introduced by that far surpasses 'ooh, i can throw the ball to one of four places'. I also didn't know that wearing gloves four times larger than your hands to catch the ball required a higher average standard of fielding. And as regards to uncertainty, the sheer number of last over/last ball wins in cricket make your comment a joke. Yes, your post was flamebait, so here are the flames. And while I'm all for kids integrating into the mainstream, there's no reason they can't play cricket and do it.

  • on May 24, 2010, 21:37 GMT

    I flew in from Kentucky where I play club cricket to watch the matches. I am a white American that gave up baseball to learn cricket and I had a blast rooting on the teams and being able to watch the match live to catch the nuances that are missed watching in on TV. The only thing that truly lacked at the match was the actual publicity of the match, I drove around all over the area for the weekend and there was nothing to even tell that there was even matches going on unless you read a small part in the newspaper. Had USACA actually promoted the matches better there would have been bigger crowds and more people traveling in to see the match, that was the only draw back from an outstanding showing of what cricket can achieve in America. If they truly want to make this a success they need to bring in a tri-series with the likes of West Indies, India, Pakistan, England, Australia, Sri Lanka that have the drawing power to pack the stadium every match.

  • HowZatbro on May 24, 2010, 19:43 GMT

    Flew in from Texas and there were quite a decent amount of other natural Americans there. Mr Chappell is a really nice and down to earth fellow, Im sure after this weekend he has met a lot more American cricket fans than the couple in Jamaica in the 70s.

  • jackatthekilns on May 24, 2010, 17:59 GMT

    I am an American from Georgia and I was at the match with two friends who had never seen a game of cricket played (it was my first live game). they are not rabid fans yet, I will probably be watching the Ashes alone again. I had a wonderful time. There needs to be a focused and intentional effort to teach Americans with the slightest interest how the game is played. Understanding a game automatically makes it more interesting. Someone in the Atlanta area taught the area P.E. teachers the basics so they could pass it on. More things like this need to become common to increase interest among Americans. I would also like to see those American companies that already sponsor cricket in other parts of the world step up and help expand an promote it in the U.S. an expat Indian will drink Coke and eat KFC as much as one who lives in India. I can't wait for the next match of this level. I plan on bringing more newbies!

  • lonestarj on May 24, 2010, 17:30 GMT

    I flew in from Texas on Saturday just to catch the first ICC sanctioned Twenty20 match in the US. Imagine my surprise when I bumped into two other Texans watching the match. And we weren't even the most distant visitor - we met another gentlemen who flew in from San Francisco to be a part of the festivities.

    It took living in England for one summer - 2005 Ashes - for this Yank to become addicted to cricket. I've since seen at least one test match a year in England (mainly at Lords) and visited the 2007 World Cup in St. Lucia.

    The Ft. Lauderdale match reminded me a lot of the 2007 World Cup. It seemed homespun and marketed towards the expat crowd. Hey - that was their best bet to sell tickets. I wasn't impressed by the timing of the match but can understand why it had to happen that way. Pre - World Cup would have conflicted with the IPL.

  • andyboy26 on May 24, 2010, 16:41 GMT

    @ Rooboy,

    I dont think vicky530x is in any doubt about Ian's point on taking the game to homegrown Americans. What he is referring to is the choice of words here- surely Ian means 'homegrown' or 'indigenous' and not 'genuine'? I can fully see such a choice of words making front page news here in the US and there's a reason. While it may only sound offensive to the pickyand insecure, it certainly doesnt resonate with the American spirit and America's own concept of a 'genuine' American...

  • on May 24, 2010, 13:22 GMT

    I attended the games this weekend and wish to congratulate the Sri Lankans on their turnout. We sat, sporting 'New Zealand' caps, in the middle of their stadium enclave, and were much impressed by the sportmanship. Many of the skills manifested by the players are so similar to baseball that Americans--true sportmen that we are--will have no difficulty loving this sport. How could any Yank not love the catch Nicol made yesterday, running to boundary, placing his feet perfectly, looking up into the sun, finding the ball, and, with outstretched limbs and great balance, saving the six...with bare hands! I feel we have a desperate need for cricket (and rugby) in the US, since all of our major sports have become over-specialized. Our football players train to run only in one direction! Our baseball pitchers are trained not to bat; certailnly not to stick out their precious hands to catch a 'liner' right back at them. I vote to give cricket a chance in the USA.

  • AdityaMookerjee on May 24, 2010, 9:01 GMT

    I do not see a very large and varied audience of cricket, in the United States. We must remember, that cricket has been tried before, in the United States. Perhaps, the immigrants from cricket playing nations to the United States, may introduce other Americans to the sport. The Caribbean Islands, are not that far from the mainland of the United States. Cricket has to be encouraged at the school level, to make a lasting impression.

  • Rooboy on May 24, 2010, 8:23 GMT

    @vicky530x, congratulations on totally and utterly missing the simple point Chappelli is making. It seems OBVIOUS to me that by the term 'genuine American', Chappelli is referring to born and bred Americans who mostly have had no exposure to the game, ie new audiences. vicky530x's point about expats being considered Americans has absolutely no relevance to the discussion ... the point is that getting Indian, English etc people living in America to follow cricket is not much of an achievement, the real achievement is to get 'genuine Americans' involved. Chappelli's other point about 'the financial clout of India having to be diluted' is also common sense in regard to not having power centralised in a small number of hands which may not have the game's best interests at heart, but typically, any comment by an Aus about india is met with much bleating. @Amit Bhatnagar - Ian Chappell is a famous and respected cricketer, u are a nobody whining on a website ... so who is the LOOSER(sic)!!!?

  • Looch on May 24, 2010, 7:28 GMT

    For vicky530x "An expatriate (in abbreviated form, expat) is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country and culture other than that of the person's upbringing or legal residence." That is what he was meaning. It is OBVIOUS to any actually reading and compprehending the article.

  • lucyferr on May 24, 2010, 5:32 GMT

    I'd like to see more children of immigrants in the USA from South Asia and the West Indies integrate into the native community by playing baseball and not hanging on to their parents' game of cricket. The USA is supposed to be a melting pot - the New World doesn't need these Old World games. Besides, baseball is a better sport - it's more sophisticated (more than just two places for fielders to throw), requires a higher average standard of fielding, and has a higher level of uncertainty as to who's gonna win even when the game is 75% of the way through. PS: While this post may seem like flamebait, my point about kids integrating is actually valid.

  • redneck on May 24, 2010, 4:17 GMT

    @DKSinha agree with the jist of what your saying but the yanks turned on cricket in the 19th century mainly because they assosiated it with being all things british! sending in the windsors i doubt will do anything except keep the american perseption its all british! besides the sport of crickets not ready for export anyway, we have an inept governing body that cant agree on anything! we have a nation in ireland inquiring about how it can get test status with no one having the foggiest idea on the answer! a new format throwing its weight around enough to disgruntle established members on how they market and play the new version! and a full member country that cant host matches! cricket needs to sort its internal problems out before undertaking new external problems! and as someone else said china's got alot more going for it and a better chance of cricket having success than the land of apple pies anyway

  • Dubby49 on May 24, 2010, 4:08 GMT

    Loved the Margot Asquith story. I wonder, however, if the lady in question (Jean Harlow) got the message.

  • vicky530x on May 24, 2010, 1:06 GMT

    I was reading Ian Chappell's comment about how cricket had to catch on with the "genuine American" and not just the expat from the Caribbean or South Asia. Maybe Australia is different, but in the US, most expats are considered Americans if they are US citizens. While accusations of racism may fly around, there is no country like the US when it comes to genuine attempts to integrate its immigrant population and to make everyone feel that they are part of the country. Maybe Australia is different. I am surprised -- and disappointed -- to read this from Ian Chappell. Maybe he meant to say Anglo or white? Or maybe what he says applies more to Australia than to the US?? The USA is a land of immigrants! Give me a break, Mr. Chappell.

  • TinTinDaDa on May 24, 2010, 0:07 GMT

    Dear Ian and everyone else who would like to see cricket become an American pass time, let me tell you a little something.There is great potential and hope for cricket in the US as long as it is promoted in the right way. I have been working on this for a while now and am ever closer than before. It's only a matter of time before I launch my project. Let me assure you that this is definitely not with the ICC or USACA as I have approached them multiple times but they don't even have the decency to return a phone call, or reply to an e-mail. But I'm sure in the very near future they will be knocking on my door asking for a piece of the American Pie, which at that time I will not be willing to share. The way things are going right now it's not going to happen with the current approach. The reason being is that only the expat community is targeted. Until then remember this, you can say that it was a fan, a fan like you, that actually brought cricket to every American household. Cheers.

  • Sakib241 on May 23, 2010, 23:29 GMT

    Cricket needs to globalise to reduce the influence of a certain cricket board in world cricket. If countries with larger population like America and China get interested in cricket, that board wouldn't be able to run a monopoly as they are doing now and ICC would get to work more freely. They will no longer have to keep a domestic tournament in mind to fix their FTP.

  • ShankarV on May 23, 2010, 23:20 GMT

    "If cricket is to prosper and grow, the financial clout of India has to be diluted." Well, well, well. Cricket has prospered and grown, thanks to the financial clout of India. That must be a bitter pill to swallow. Particularly, the sight of the mighty Australians and the Englishmen waiting with hats in their hand to be auctioned off like cattle (I know I am mixing metaphors here, but who cares?) must be a trifle embarassing, at best, and absolutely outrageous, at worst, to the self-annointed pundits of the game. While we may not agree with *all* aspects of the growth, it is reasonable to say that game and certainly many of the players have prospered, in large part, due to the Indian financial clout. Ian's concern for cricket is touching, but his animus toward the "Indian clout" is so patently obvious - I wonder which of the two he cares more about. LOL.

  • knowledge_eater on May 23, 2010, 23:03 GMT

    Its going to be very hard to conquer Cricket over baseball/NBA/NHL/NFL. The reason: Simple if any of four giants I mentioned will start loosing business, by success of Cricket, then they will do anything to destroy fame of Cricket. Trust me, media and Internet are very dangerous weapons for any sports to survive. Can you believe country where occasionally highest amount of Gold medals are begged in each year, doesn't have lucrative soccer fame compare to Europe. Actually, from last 5 years Soccer is progressing (leagues) in US (also their Team is good this year). But why did it take so long for Soccer to stand still? Its because Americans need to be manipulated. Normal American sports fan hardly make decisions. Movies need to made about Cricket, movie stars (hollywood) need to be coming to stadium promoting Cricket (like IPL), media need to be moderated, Politicians need to be making statements, lot of manipulation need to do for Americans. Cancel W20/20, make WPLeage city wise

  • Evangelyst on May 23, 2010, 21:35 GMT

    how is this for a novel (or may be outlandish / crazy) idea?

    Have a Baseball All stars vs World Cricket Stars in a series of 3 T20 games and 3 baseball games.

    The baseball all stars can have 3-4 cricketers and the cricket stars can in turn have 3-4 baseball stars to learn the rules and nuances of the game and balance things out.

    Would love to see Sehwag, Gayle, Pietersen etc face upto baseball pitchers and Johnson, Steyn etc bowling / pitching to the baseball batters.

    This would be like an exhibition tournament with televison coverage. Any takers?

  • mayank125 on May 23, 2010, 21:01 GMT

    I want to know from baseball fans- which is better, baseball or cricket?

  • sam129 on May 23, 2010, 20:37 GMT

    Cricket will never catch on in America, not in anyone's lifetime. Neither as a participative sport nor as a spectator sport.

    There is nothing in cricket that is attractive to American male.

    To the extent it has to "catch on", the only people remotely interested in the game are the expats.

  • on May 23, 2010, 20:34 GMT

    Attended the two matches on Saturday. The crowd was great and so was the stadium. The game between USA and Jamaica was boring but the NZ vs SL was very entertaining. It was different from the games I have seen in India. There was ample booze going around and there were also cheerleaders! Overall a great experience that was easily accessible. I am of opinion that T20 in US may not need americans to flourish. The expats might be large enough to fill the grounds. I am sure the money in cricket is not made from stadiums but rather from TV rights. I think we will be seeing more cricket in US in times to come.

  • on May 23, 2010, 20:04 GMT

    when cricket gets into the olympics every country will put an effort , we have to wait till the year 2020 :)

  • DKSinha on May 23, 2010, 19:57 GMT

    Finally cricket has found a format that Americans may like - I mean T20 format. I think BCCI is the only body with resources to break the monopoly of baseball and football. Sports is B...I...G business in USA. Cricket would have to impress the business coomunity with prospect for profit. One can make money only if there are customers. So, cricket world would have to create a US fan base. Of course, TV coverage would bring money for its worldwide appeal. To get the ball rolling (literally) there is the need to create a massive media blitz. There should be coverage (advertisements) in all sorts of media. An ideal opening would be a T20 series between England and India. Get the Royal family involved in the series. Probably we should have Prince Charles deliver the first ball and the Queen distribute prizes. It may be wise to offer free admission for the first few games.

  • IndianMigrant on May 23, 2010, 19:38 GMT

    " If cricket is to prosper and grow, the financial clout of India has to be diluted". As usual subtle dig at indian cricket by Ian chapell and his jealousy against success of indian cricket comes out naturally everything he writes. For having lived in US for 12 years now and ran organized cricket clubs in Michigan and california. Only way cricket can become popular in US is to first sell it to the Indian and carribean immigrants and then use it as a platform to catch the imagination of the locals. Event after 30 years soccer doesn't have any strong presence in this country except for coining a new demogrpahic phrase called soccer mom. It is going to take atleast a decade to create a local interest in USA. until then the game has to be exposed to the locals thru the prism of Indian and Carribean immigrants with minimum participation from local folks

  • MLSfan22 on May 23, 2010, 18:33 GMT

    I agree. T-20 is the way to go. Other longer forms of the game have been tried quite a few times before and didn't work. One of the main criticism cricket gets here is that "the game takes forever". Not many Americans have the patience to watch an 8 hour long game and no TV broadcasters will ever have 8-hour slots open for just one game. Most sports games here last 2-4 hours and I'm glad the T-20 version of cricket was invented so the sport finally has a chance in this country.

  • dragqueen1 on May 23, 2010, 17:17 GMT

    does Cricket really, truly want to export itself to the world as a "Global Sport". i think the evidence overwhelmingly no. it doesn't matter which format you use because none of the "Others" will ever be allowed onto the top table at which point disenchantment sets in and intreast wanes, status quo restored. this sport really has a death wish

  • ShankarV on May 23, 2010, 15:41 GMT

    Any time Australia loses, Ian either forgets to post or the posts are delayed? Must be my imagination

  • ianChappellFan on May 23, 2010, 15:09 GMT

    some very interesting comments here and worth reading for cricket administrators, perhaps it will be a good idea for cricinfo to have a contest for suggestions from fans, how to introduce cricket in america, and 5 best suggestions will win prizes and serious considerations from administrators.

    i like snowsnake's comments.

  • csk01 on May 23, 2010, 14:50 GMT

    I'm one of those rare American cricket fans, and certainly don't have the magic answer to this question. As I've introduced friends to the game, I always find that there is a natural curiosity and interest. Most people here are at least familiar with it, and the most common comment I get is that they think it's really a complex sport. To me it's no more complex than Baseball or Football, but not growing up with it I had to put in the time and effort to learn it.

    In my experience, I found Twenty20 the most accessible form of cricket to get started. I eventually came to know it's limitations, and while I still enjoy it, I find Test much more engaging. More strategy; fascinating! I'm not sure, however that the average American would put in the effort that it takes to gain that appreciation for the longer form, sad to say.

  • ashaikh on May 23, 2010, 14:25 GMT

    posted by Fan Cric "Do writer of this "article"(?) know the value of Test Cricket? He is more interested in "playing" in US than Cricket."

    Buddy if you dont know him and think that Ian Chapell doesnt know the value if test cricket then you obviously dont know very much about cricket and shouldnt be watching it .

    And as a cricket fan who lives in the US i agree T20 is the way to go. And these people talking about golf dont understand that golf is a very small niche of relatively high income people. Cricket has to become popular with the masses which is why the young people need to be interested. If they can understand T20 we can move to ODIs and then maybe tests. People always ask me why is he (batsman) blocking the ball or not trying to hit if for a home run etc everytime or not running every time he hits it.......you get the picture.

  • crazy_canuck on May 23, 2010, 13:40 GMT

    I forgot to mention that baseball fans are sick and tired of overpaid players getting caught taking steroids...seriously! If cricket can show that their rules are important (Pakistan is not helping) then there is additional potential, but this is the time to get er done. Get er done!

  • crazy_canuck on May 23, 2010, 13:31 GMT

    I think the key point is that T20 has the potential to capture the attention of people with the colourful jerseys, big crowds, cheerleaders, plenty of wickets, 4's and 6's. Hopefully afterwards they will be drawn to the longer formats...maybe even test cricket. That's exactly what happened to me after a trip to India in 2008, which coincided with the IPL. Other than playoff hockey (ice hockey of course), Test cricket is the ultimate team sport but I really don't understand why people hate T20...go to a game! It's better than baseball, and I've played/watched baseball my entire life. Sport is about entertainment, and I was able to talk my wife into seeing 1 match of cricket during World Cup T20, at Kensington Oval (took some work), and guess what, we went for almost 8 matches over 4 days, AND she was disappointed when she missed a day because of a sunburn...that says a lot because she is a real baseball fan.

  • YorkshirePudding on May 23, 2010, 13:10 GMT

    The americans have been playing Cricket for almost as long as the english, though not at the highest level. They also have the distinction of playing the first true International cricket match, predating the England vs Australia match by some 34 years. T20 would be a good way to get cricket the visibility it would need to survive in America, however introduction to the longer 50 over One day match, and 5 day game would soon follow. I also understand that there are a number of school boards in the inner cities that are promting cricket as a way to learn respect.

  • Mark00 on May 23, 2010, 13:05 GMT

    It's not about "capturing their imagination."

    People here don't play baseball, basketball, golf, or american football because there's something intrinsic to these sports that fits the american psyche.

    It's got everything to do with opportunity.

    The success of the UFC is a perfect example. Cricket in the USA has to start small if it is ever to succeed. Go directly for the biggest market, the middle class, and the sport will keep bouncing off the cultural walls.

    Not only is the middle-class, which aspires to stability rather than innovation, the most difficult market to crack, it's also the least culturally influential. The cultural trend-setters are usually the poor and the few filthy rich.

    The key is to understand that Americans are gamblers. Every American, for no particular reason, believes that he/she can win. Have an annual tournament with free basic training, small registration fee (Americans hate getting something for nothing) and big prize money.

  • SnowSnake on May 23, 2010, 12:49 GMT

    People who want to popularize cricket in US don't understand USA. Americans like freedom, which means if cricket were to get popular in the USA then it has to disengage itself from ICC so that it is free to get modified from the rules of ICC. Umpire decided LBW decisions have to go. A team should be allowed to have 11 batsmen and 11 bowlers with only 11 on the field at a time, which will be decided by the coach. Cricket players have to start living in the USA to interest American women into getting them into sex scandals to fill tabloides. Marketing professionals may even change the name of the game from cricket to someting else. So, unless people are ready for all of this, do not bet of making cricket popular in US. Any T20 games in US will only see immigrant audience in US from cricket playing nations.

  • Charindra on May 23, 2010, 12:30 GMT

    What's with all the pessimism?? I think cricket should go the way Blues and Reggae and even football have gone in the US. Blues was not American, and in the early days the only audience was african american. But now look where the Blues is. Therefore cricket should start by getting all the people from the subcontinent, Carribbean and other expats from cricket playing nations interested enough to come and watch the games in the US. The rest will take care of itself. Remember, Rome wasn't built in a day.

  • on May 23, 2010, 12:27 GMT

    While the common wisdom that only T20 would crack the market, the ironic fact of the matter is that all the Americans asking for cricket are fans of the long form of the game! FWIW, while there are a lot of expats of various cricketing nations, there is a solid corps of folks that only learned cricket on the BBC and are fans of the long form of the game.

    That's what's disturbing. From Pakistan to America it seems that the long form gets lip service and T20 gets the action and energy.

    Finally, have to agree with ianChappellFan about a different commish. Taking a country the ICC have called "dsyfunctional"- the US- and putting Windies management in charge, can't be the best solution!

  • Khongor on May 23, 2010, 11:22 GMT

    As an American cricket fan, I have several problems with this notion. One, Americans already have a bat-and-ball sport that lasts about three hours and that we like quite a lot, thanks. I have no time for anyone on either side of the baseball v cricket argument who says that one is definitely better than the other. I hope I won't sound too parochial, however, if I say that I find baseball much more subtle and strategic than twenty20. No, if we want to interest Americans in cricket, it's better to show them a version of the game that's more different to what we already know. Schedule a couple Tests and ODIs. Give us the real stuff. Does that mean cricket will "break" America? Not necessarily. But it doesn't really have to. It just has to find a niche. And with the changing demographics the US is now experiencing, cricket could find quite a nice niche.

  • on May 23, 2010, 10:43 GMT

    Wow, the closed-mindedness of the posters here (about T20 cricket, Americans, Chappelli, etc) is staggering. With these sorts of attitudes, what hope does cricket in general have, let alone in the USA!

  • boris6491 on May 23, 2010, 10:32 GMT

    I think Ian Chappell makes a point when he says that the appropriate vehicle to LAUNCH cricket in the US is T20. They certainly would have the tolerance for a 50 over international, their baseball matches being fairly long themselves. However, this would be a great way to promote cricket as a sport filled with colour, excitement, entertainment and enjoyment. However, attracting American locals rather than the existing cricketing fraternity (which would comprise of mostly Asian countries such as Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka) is the key factor. That to me is where the ICC will struggle. When promoting cricket in these nations oblivious to it, the greatest challenge is to attract locals. If the ICC can come up with a means to achieve this, they can organise matches of any form, limited or unlimited overs.

  • Sampdoria on May 23, 2010, 10:11 GMT

    T20 could actually become quite popular in the US amongst Americans. The reason is, in case people didnt notice, Baseball - 'MLB' has actually been quite negative in terms of the score lines. Americans love the huge scores and stats. MLB in the past few decades has gone a bit negative, not only in terms of score lines ie (1-0, 3-1, 7-1) but also the approach in the game. The best "Batters" who can hit out of the park, are generally given "walks" if the bases are loaded.

    This is where T20 can and aggressive marketing can through. However it needs to associate less with the expats in the actual Americans are to think about it. Also we have to make sure Mr.Gavaskar is not the commentator.

  • on May 23, 2010, 8:53 GMT

    Do writer of this "article"(?) know the value of Test Cricket? He is more interested in "playing" in US than Cricket.

  • daniel_fishman on May 23, 2010, 8:35 GMT

    I dislike the way many people, IChappell included, claim 'Americans don't have the attention span for longer forms of the game'. Well, in my experience, neither does your average Englishman. I am sure that there exist plenty of Americans who, if they had the longer forms of the game introduced and explained to them, would enjoy it. After all, a golf major lasts four days, just one less than a Test match, does it not? And the Americans turn out in great numbers to support these.

  • on May 23, 2010, 8:16 GMT

    It's a bit too risky to be honest. While Twenty20 may be the way forward in countries where the faster-paced version of the game could do it justice, I'm not holding much hope for this. For America at least, until they have a solid proposal like their own domestic tournaments (whether it's similar to the IPL or their own way similar to how the NFL seasons progress), it won't take off. The USACA has some high hopes considering what they want to do (APL and hosting an ICC event), but until the game gains a notable popularity out there, they'll just remain as dreams eluding them.

  • on May 23, 2010, 8:12 GMT

    Why bother? The Yanks have their own unique sports (that no-one else plays to any serious level at all) and have "World Series" events where only one country takes part (talk about parochial !!).

    China is the obvious step for cricket. Let the Americans play their own games. Besides, as an economy and world power China is massivley bigger in terms of population - and a growing world force, while America has a far smaller population in comparison and a rapidly dwindling influence in the world.

    Don't bother pushing stuff on the Yanks, they closed their doors to all outisde influences in just about every aspect of their society many many years ago. Leave them to slowly decay on their own - it is what they seem to want after all.

  • popcorn on May 23, 2010, 8:11 GMT

    I do not agree with you, Ian. It is wrong to think that the Yanks are only fond of short games.On the PGA Tour,every tournament is played for four days, morning to evening, and draws huge crowds, television audiences all over the world, and huge sponsorships. Twenty20 is not cricket - it a slam bang entertainment show,that will not stand the test of time. Test Cricket is the way to go,where there is skill,endurance, strategy,all in a 5 day game. If you think the US will take to Cricket through the Twenty20 mode,it is dead before it started.

  • ianChappellFan on May 23, 2010, 7:52 GMT

    also lalit modi should be introduced as the comissioner of cricket in america, this is an almost impossible task to make cricket popular in america, and a proven guy like lalit modi is required to give it any realistic chance.

    i think ian chappell should also be used, since his knowledge of baseball and american sports is quite good, and his passion about both cricket and baseball can be a bridge required for american audiences. He could easily give parallels to help american audiences ease into cricket, knuckle baller = spinner, curve ball = reverse swing (I know IC hates the word reverse), slow ball = changeup, [itcher = bowler, homer = sixer etc and his anectodes like the one in the article will help.

    baseball is going through a tough time and it might be a good opportunity to score some fans, ofcourse its the great american past-time and its impossible to take its place.

  • ianChappellFan on May 23, 2010, 7:41 GMT

    funny story about harlow with a silent t.

    cric administrators need to think out of the box if they want cricket to be a main-stream sport in north america. since america already has 4 major team sports, nascar, and golf, tennis etc. its already saturated. even soccer has not cut it, even with MLS and a lots of money poured into it.

    i think the most important question is, what will be the target audience for cricket in america? Expats? Urban yuppy type crowd in cities like NY, Chicago, LA? Teens, tweens? Old people?

    Secondly they have to make cricket even more simpler, its still too complicated i feel. For example simpler LBW law, no leg byes (some good suggestion in a recent article in cricinfo). Bowling in general and reverse swing in particular has to be made easier, by allowing ball-tampering (without external objects) and using SG balls (I think). I feel the most compelling part of baseball is pitching, curve balls, fast balls, change-ups, knuckle baller....contd

  • loggerfloodles on May 23, 2010, 7:03 GMT

    A question has just struck me... Why are we so hell bent on growing the game into places that obviously don't want it, and forcing ourselves to compromise said game to do it? Cricket has survived 200 odd years without the Yanks, why is it vital that we now bring them into the fold? Cricket is already a religion in India, why does it have to compete with evening soap operas? I have nothing against the expansion of the game in places like Afghanistan, Ireland etc. Where it has grown through talent and interest, or competing in places like the West Indies and New Zealand, where it is slowly being marginalised by other sports, but why this headlong dive into seeking"growth of the game" at all costs? And all those whose answer is "without growth, the game will die" need not apply. Without growth, a game stays just as big...

  • Test_Match_Fan on May 23, 2010, 6:40 GMT

    T20 is not cricket. Please don;t tarnish cricket's name with T20. Why T20 will never catch up in US? very simple: American children will never prefer it to basketball, baseball or football, where there is real money.

  • on May 23, 2010, 6:11 GMT

    Mr. Chappell, you need to meet me...I am an American lady cricket fan. Having lived in Kuwait for 6 years w so many Indians, I had no choice but to get on board, now I am worse than they are. Now I am living in South Korea and really missing my cricket. I have been to IPL 2008 in India and 2009 in SA but I have yet to see an ODI or Test match in person. I plan to do so. Also, now I don't even like watching baseball, basketball, NFL or anything but cricket on tv or net. Wish I could help w bringing it to USA.

  • on May 23, 2010, 5:57 GMT

    I think it is fitting that T20 is introduced to America as the Americans attention span is too short for 50 over cricket.

  • on May 23, 2010, 5:19 GMT

    1. How is Ian Chappell so sure that the two american fans he met in 1973 were not Australian-Americans? 2. Why does India's financial clout in cricket need to be diluted? Why did Ian Chappell not elaborate on this point? 3. What good did the Aussies and Poms do for cricket when they had all the financial clout. LOOSER!!! 4. Why do such articles get through the editorial desk of ESPN Cricinfo? AMAZING!

  • RaghuramanR on May 23, 2010, 3:48 GMT

    What we want is to popularize the sport with spectators like the Americans from Philadelphia. There is no point having 'expats' recycling as fans. Sure, Americans may try to draw a parallel to baseball, which is more popular. I think it should be worked out as an advantage as it could be a starting point for attracting them to cricket.

  • Wisdom_of_Cricket on May 23, 2010, 2:59 GMT

    I think T20 Cricket has a chance in the US because it is a land of many sports. For example, Golf, Motorsport, Gymnastics, Ice Hockey, Soccer etc. I think T20 has a great chance at becoming popular.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Wisdom_of_Cricket on May 23, 2010, 2:59 GMT

    I think T20 Cricket has a chance in the US because it is a land of many sports. For example, Golf, Motorsport, Gymnastics, Ice Hockey, Soccer etc. I think T20 has a great chance at becoming popular.

  • RaghuramanR on May 23, 2010, 3:48 GMT

    What we want is to popularize the sport with spectators like the Americans from Philadelphia. There is no point having 'expats' recycling as fans. Sure, Americans may try to draw a parallel to baseball, which is more popular. I think it should be worked out as an advantage as it could be a starting point for attracting them to cricket.

  • on May 23, 2010, 5:19 GMT

    1. How is Ian Chappell so sure that the two american fans he met in 1973 were not Australian-Americans? 2. Why does India's financial clout in cricket need to be diluted? Why did Ian Chappell not elaborate on this point? 3. What good did the Aussies and Poms do for cricket when they had all the financial clout. LOOSER!!! 4. Why do such articles get through the editorial desk of ESPN Cricinfo? AMAZING!

  • on May 23, 2010, 5:57 GMT

    I think it is fitting that T20 is introduced to America as the Americans attention span is too short for 50 over cricket.

  • on May 23, 2010, 6:11 GMT

    Mr. Chappell, you need to meet me...I am an American lady cricket fan. Having lived in Kuwait for 6 years w so many Indians, I had no choice but to get on board, now I am worse than they are. Now I am living in South Korea and really missing my cricket. I have been to IPL 2008 in India and 2009 in SA but I have yet to see an ODI or Test match in person. I plan to do so. Also, now I don't even like watching baseball, basketball, NFL or anything but cricket on tv or net. Wish I could help w bringing it to USA.

  • Test_Match_Fan on May 23, 2010, 6:40 GMT

    T20 is not cricket. Please don;t tarnish cricket's name with T20. Why T20 will never catch up in US? very simple: American children will never prefer it to basketball, baseball or football, where there is real money.

  • loggerfloodles on May 23, 2010, 7:03 GMT

    A question has just struck me... Why are we so hell bent on growing the game into places that obviously don't want it, and forcing ourselves to compromise said game to do it? Cricket has survived 200 odd years without the Yanks, why is it vital that we now bring them into the fold? Cricket is already a religion in India, why does it have to compete with evening soap operas? I have nothing against the expansion of the game in places like Afghanistan, Ireland etc. Where it has grown through talent and interest, or competing in places like the West Indies and New Zealand, where it is slowly being marginalised by other sports, but why this headlong dive into seeking"growth of the game" at all costs? And all those whose answer is "without growth, the game will die" need not apply. Without growth, a game stays just as big...

  • ianChappellFan on May 23, 2010, 7:41 GMT

    funny story about harlow with a silent t.

    cric administrators need to think out of the box if they want cricket to be a main-stream sport in north america. since america already has 4 major team sports, nascar, and golf, tennis etc. its already saturated. even soccer has not cut it, even with MLS and a lots of money poured into it.

    i think the most important question is, what will be the target audience for cricket in america? Expats? Urban yuppy type crowd in cities like NY, Chicago, LA? Teens, tweens? Old people?

    Secondly they have to make cricket even more simpler, its still too complicated i feel. For example simpler LBW law, no leg byes (some good suggestion in a recent article in cricinfo). Bowling in general and reverse swing in particular has to be made easier, by allowing ball-tampering (without external objects) and using SG balls (I think). I feel the most compelling part of baseball is pitching, curve balls, fast balls, change-ups, knuckle baller....contd

  • ianChappellFan on May 23, 2010, 7:52 GMT

    also lalit modi should be introduced as the comissioner of cricket in america, this is an almost impossible task to make cricket popular in america, and a proven guy like lalit modi is required to give it any realistic chance.

    i think ian chappell should also be used, since his knowledge of baseball and american sports is quite good, and his passion about both cricket and baseball can be a bridge required for american audiences. He could easily give parallels to help american audiences ease into cricket, knuckle baller = spinner, curve ball = reverse swing (I know IC hates the word reverse), slow ball = changeup, [itcher = bowler, homer = sixer etc and his anectodes like the one in the article will help.

    baseball is going through a tough time and it might be a good opportunity to score some fans, ofcourse its the great american past-time and its impossible to take its place.

  • popcorn on May 23, 2010, 8:11 GMT

    I do not agree with you, Ian. It is wrong to think that the Yanks are only fond of short games.On the PGA Tour,every tournament is played for four days, morning to evening, and draws huge crowds, television audiences all over the world, and huge sponsorships. Twenty20 is not cricket - it a slam bang entertainment show,that will not stand the test of time. Test Cricket is the way to go,where there is skill,endurance, strategy,all in a 5 day game. If you think the US will take to Cricket through the Twenty20 mode,it is dead before it started.