The Heavy Ball

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America to go crazy for Crickball

The 498th time's the charm. USA, you've been warned

Alan Tyers

Comments: 13 | Text size: A | A
Anil Kumble rang the NASDAQ closing bell on August 17, New York, August 21 2012
And if any newbies ask annoying questions about the rules of the game, Crickball USA have signed up Anil Kumble to glare at them as if they've dropped catches off his bowling © Getty Images
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Upon the news that an American business consortium plans to set up a US T20 League during next summer's Ashes, England cricket chiefs have acted swiftly. Relatively swiftly. Swiftly for them.

With the US league promising "baseball on steroids" in a bid to interest American viewers in T20 cricket, England will hit back by marketing Test cricket as "baseball on barbiturates, washed down with a nice cup of milky tea".

"We're fully confident that a nation raised on the frenetic, bombastic hyperactivity of basketball, baseball, NASCAR and competitive hotdog-eating is going to embrace the prospect of a gritty Jonathan Trott rearguard like it was a delicious stuffed-crust pizza-burger dipped in buttermilk," said an English cricket spokesman.

"The previous 497 attempts to market cricket in the USA have failed dreadfully, so we are absolutely confident that this time we're all going to get very rich indeed."

Although the average man in the street in America is clamouring for cricket, US broadcasters may force some changes to the sport due to the requirements of regular advert breaks. A spokesman for broadcaster CNBS, which has expressed interest in televising Crickball (as it will be known), said:

"There's certainly appetite to show Crickball on one of our channels. We'd obviously have to remove those bits where the one guy pitches and that other guy hits, and replace them with adverts. The real money shot for us is watching that Jonathan Trott guy scratching on the ground with his stick. Racket? Pole? Whatever. That thing. You can take that to the sporting-advertainment bank, I'll tell you what."

Televised Crickball would run for five hours in prime time. Four hours 45 minutes of this would be advertorial, with perhaps 15 minutes of red-hot sporting action, where Trott marked out his guard or stared balefully into the middle distance.

"Hold onto your hats, America, we're about to go ground-scratching Crickball-crazy," added the spokesman.

Initially Crickball USA would feature six franchises, possibly expanding to ten depending on how many of the West Indies Test team could be persuaded to turn their back on the famous maroon cap in exchange for US$500 and a bunga-bunga weekend in the Florida Keys.

Senior West Indies and English cricket figures were keen to stress that due diligence would have to be done on any proposed partnership arrangement with Crickball USA.

"We in English cricket would never under any circumstance enter into a commercial agreement with any American partner without thoroughly checking that he was giving us a lot of money, no questions asked," said an English cricket spokesman. "Not after last time."

"As long as none of the bloody players get hold of any of the cash," added his West Indian counterpart. "Can't stand those guys."

As always, the fact that there are immigrant populations from South Asia and the Caribbean living in Queens and California is providing cricket bosses with the mindless blind optimism to believe they can crack the US sporting establishment.

"Apparently they have cricket games in Brooklyn on Sundays," said a senior Crickball figure. "My wife read about it in that Neverland novel. So there's no reason to suppose that we cannot make cricket the biggest spectator sport in the USA within two years.

"Look out, Super Bowl," he added. "Crickball is coming for you. And we've got tea intervals."

RSS FeedAlan has ghost-written a book for Premier League legend Ronnie Matthews. It is called I Kick Therefore I Am.
All quotes and "facts" in this article are made up, but you knew that already, didn't you?

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Comments: 13 
Posted by Selassie-I on (September 6, 2012, 12:47 GMT)

The IPL has managed to get a lot of adverts into a match, so the media in the USA should like it, the fans are a different story. Although putting in slam in the middle of the English summer probably isn't the best idea, firstly no english or Aussie contracted players would think about not playing Ashes for a foregin t20 league, they'd quickly become the most hated player in their country if they did. If players did join as it's the off season pretty much everywhere else in the world, I would think they would opt out to play internationals in England as most players want to play at Lords etc. I also think this could be an ideal time to re-schedule our own t20 league and directly compete!

Posted by PureTom on (September 6, 2012, 10:46 GMT)

They call it a "Paddle bat", just by the way :)

Posted by reality_check on (September 6, 2012, 9:09 GMT)

Selling cricket to an average American and that too with tea intervals is like selling baseball to an average English fan. It ain't going to happen.

Posted by PKDaruwalla on (September 6, 2012, 7:52 GMT)

America will never catch up with cricket, there is too much geography to learn like Mid Wicket, covers, Deep Mid Off, Deep , Mid on, Square leg and the most difficult boundary. Too much brain like math Naah no money here for that

Posted by   on (September 6, 2012, 6:05 GMT)

@derpherp ; Funny and Surprising you say that baseball, football are home grown.FYI baseball came from cricket and cricket is father of baseball and American Football came from Rugby. these sports are not home grown these are grown because of Americans being adamant of doing something different each and everything, they do not want to accept that we copied this or that they have to be different. for example the whole world drive on the left side of road but american drives on right, Switches to turn on the lights are upside down etc etc, there are hundreds of examples. we play cricket every sunday in a small town and always have people watching but never ever someone came to play... People in US only talks about test cricket which moves them away. Anyway i hope cricket prospers in this country. Cheeerss...

Posted by cricketing on (September 5, 2012, 19:12 GMT)

Amusing last line. Cracked me up!!

Posted by ATC1810 on (September 5, 2012, 17:44 GMT)

@derpherp Whilst I take your your point, to be strictly accurate, of those sports you listed, only basketball was actually invented in America! Of course there is a difference between where a sport was invented and where it grows to greatest popularity.

Posted by derpherp on (September 5, 2012, 12:15 GMT)

america is very patriotic, its part of their culture. Baseball, American Football and Basketball all have one thing in common;they're all homegrown american sports, that's why they're so popular.

Posted by   on (September 5, 2012, 9:13 GMT)

@gavin finlay There's no money in afghanistan and kenya, and they are also massively unstable due to political situations (in comparison to all the other cricketing nations). With holland there isn't nearly enough interest, as cricket is a minority sport in the extreme, in a country with a relatively small population.

Posted by YorkshirePudding on (September 5, 2012, 8:46 GMT)

Great article....@Richard-munir, agree T20 is the right format for the ADHD americans, however they are a long way off competing at the top levels of the sport as they rely on Ex-pat club cricketers. The other obstacle is the lack of decent facilities, artifical pitches that constantly give true bounce are not a substitute for the vagaries of Soil pitches where the bounce can be variable, as well as the effect of seem movement, swing, spin etc, which are difficult to achive on artifical pitches,

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Alan Tyers
Alan Tyers writes about sport for the Daily Telegraph and others. He is the author of six books published by Bloomsbury, all of them with pictures by the brilliant illustrator Beach. The most recent is Tutenkhamen's Tracksuit: The History of Sport in 100ish Objects. Alan is one of many weak links in the world's worst cricket team, the Twenty Minuters.

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Alan Tyers Alan Tyers writes about sport for the Daily Telegraph and others. He is the author of six books published by Bloomsbury, all of them with pictures by the brilliant illustrator Beach. The most recent is Tutenkhamen's Tracksuit: The History of Sport in 100ish Objects. Alan is one of many weak links in the world's worst cricket team, the Twenty Minuters.
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