Growth of cricket in United States August 6, 2008

Time for USA to expand horizons

When CricketAmerica appeared on the scene a few months ago, it was an answer to many prayers in the US cricket world. It had a paid professional staff, a major sponsor with the proverbial deep pockets who also happened to be its Pesident, and a format (the Twenty20) that was calculated to appeal to the short attention spans of US sports watchers. This was to be a major revolution in US cricket, with an eagerly anticipated outcome.

It has not worked out that way. At least, not quite.

For one thing, all the players at its signature event were from the local area where CricketAmerica's headquarters were based. There was talk of a squad from New York, but no-one knows if they made it. For another, the entertainment and fireworks displays seemed a distraction to jaundiced observers - was this just a party to end all parties, with a little cricket (just three matches, probably no more than four hours' worth) thrown in as an afterthought?

Also, the previously announced clinic for young cricketers must have turned out to be something of a fizzle, since nothing has been said about it after the original announcement. Perhaps the California Cricket Acadeny might have something to teach, as would the dozen or so academies dotting the US cricket landscape. It certainly would not hurt to ask.

Of course, there was video coverage of the games, available to all who could access CricketAmerica's web site. But clearly not enough to promote CricketAmerica's main mission, it has to have a more tangible presence in other areas of the country, or the promise of CricketAmerica will stay unfulfilled.

However, there is no need for undue pessimism - not yet. The 2008 US cricket season is just getting into its stride, and there is plenty of cricket to come. But it is time for CricketAmerica to do some targeted investing, picking up local co-sponsors with funds to match their local resource commitment.

Well, CricketAmerica certainly has the cash to invest as seed money - and the professional skjlls to make efficient use of it. So, go to it, CricketAmerica. You have nothing to lose - and US cricket has a great deal to gain.

Deb K Das is Cricinfo's correspondent in the USA