Cricket in the USA June 1, 2010

'US a significant market and big opportunity' - Lorgat

Cricinfo staff

Haroon Lorgat, the ICC chief executive, has backed the United States as a prime venue for international cricket and added it is very much in the ICC's interests to have more locals picking up the sport by taking cricket to the schools. The US, in terms of its massive fan base of immigrants from the subcontinent and West Indies, Lorgat said, had an advantage over other Associate nations as a staging venue. Lorgat also acknowledged it was not possible to get the American audience "excited" through the game's longer formats, and that Twenty20 was the best medium to draw their attention.

"Sometime back there was recognition that the United States was a significant market and a big opportunity to spread the game," Lorgat said on Cricinfo's audio show Time Out. "There are a lot of people who have got cricket heritage living out in the US. It is a big market. So it is important that we play cricket in the US. I think the size of the market is surely an advantage. The expats who follow the game so richly; it's an advantage."

Lorgat, however, emphasised the US would not merely be a staging centre. "In the last couple of years in particular, we have been very conscious to get cricket played in the schools," he said. "We were quite excited when we learnt that the New York police department was playing cricket with people of Indian and Pakistani origin. So it's very much in our sights to make sure that people within the United States play cricket, and not just [see it as] a staging centre."

The US national team, though, has struggled when taking on the Test teams and Lorgat admitted it could be better. However, he disagreed over complaints that the globalisation of cricket had an adverse effect on the game's quality at the international level. "Established nations continue to compete against each other. If anything, some of our established nations should be picking up their level of performance," Lorgat said. "So it's less about the developing world and their competitiveness. I think it's about our established nations being competitive themselves.

"I think introducing cricket to any nation presupposes that ultimately they would be competitive. It's fair to say that by now they [USA] should have been a lot more competitive than they presently are. But we have said that they should be making a lot more progress. They have appointed a chief executive, if you recall, just about a year ago. The signs are quite positive, and I am quite optimistic."

Don Lockerbie, the chief executive of the USA Cricket Association, had admitted Twenty20 remained the preferred format for increasing the following for cricket in the country but also believed there lay a potential for the longer formats, too, to take off. Lorgat, though, was skeptical of the prospects for Tests and ODIs in the US. "For the people in the US who are accustomed to fast and short time spans, introducing Test or one-day cricket would simply be not possible to get them excited," he said. "Twenty20 is a format, that without doubt in my mind, you would get people in the United States excited with."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • P on June 1, 2010, 21:29 GMT

    I did not play cricket in USA for one reason: I did not wanted to get sued for causing injury to someone with a cricket ball. Injury lawyers are always looking for clients. For all the people playing cricket in USA, if you hurt a player with the cricket ball, you are taking chances of getting sued. So you better carry insurance, otherwise you will be taken to cleaners. Also, if you damage someones property then be prepared to pay for that as well. Playing cricket is too risky in USA.

  • Tim on June 1, 2010, 18:11 GMT

    Here's a perfect example of how the cricket world is being hustled into believing the game's about to take off with the Yanks. Logart thinks the New York polic are playing cricket. Nothing of the sort. They started a cricket program for area ex-pat kids purely as a public relations gimmick. They have nothing to do with the game themselves and could care less about it. Same with this PSAL school cricket in New York. Just for the ex-pat kids. American kids couldn't care less.

  • Ajay on June 1, 2010, 15:50 GMT

    Don't forget that Cricket here will be competing not just with other sports, but with the overall entertainment landscape...and that is a tall order given the options available. In India people lapped up IPL only because they are starved of good quality entertainment alternatives. Everyone knows that the quality of cricket in IPL sucks, and even the entertainment aspect of it is mediocre at best. As I said in my earlier comment, American women would be a good target if approached strategically. I have done some grassroots efforts in this regard with girls, and can say that it has potential. But pls put up only top notch athletic players in front of the cameras here. Unless you bring in top quality cricket, I don't think the subcontinent expats would be interested either. (Just look at the fate of Ranji cricket in India)

  • Ajay on June 1, 2010, 15:45 GMT

    Read "Star Spangled Soccer" - talks about the birth, growth and troubles that MLS had to go through to establish Soccer in the US. They started out thinking what a big market US is, and quickly realized that it wasn't as rosy as it appeared. After all, sports is a huge part of the cultural identity of any nation. If the most global of sports had such a tough time establishing itself in the US, despite the US having a pretty decent national team, cricket administrators shouldn't be naive in assuming that people here will lap up cricket. I'm not doubting the potential of a sizable market though. Here again, Mr.Lorgat needs to get his priorities right. Soccer is by far one of the biggest sport in the US in terms of participation at the school level. But those kids don't turn out to be ardent fans when they become adults. My bold suggestion is this - target American women - they would probably love the pace, action and athleticism of it compared to baseball.

  • Ryo on June 1, 2010, 14:26 GMT

    Sorry Haroon you missed the USA boat. That's long since set sail, current economic dynamics and socio-economic realities in the US point to a non-starter with cricket. Concentrate on markets where the indigenous people actually want to take up the sport, especially ones who are receptive to allowing it to be played at school level.

  • C on June 1, 2010, 14:18 GMT

    Different ICC president, but same old story.... The ICC will never change, will it? Once again, the ICC just seems focused on making as much money as they can out of the ex-pats from test playing nations. Don't get me wrong, the US presents many good opportunities for cricket,especially in playing numbers as the US is a strong sporting country , but it seems all the ICC really is after is short term financial gain from milking the expats for all they can.

  • Dummy4 on June 1, 2010, 13:51 GMT

    Just one year before Obama became President people used predict that a person of color is hundread years away from becoming President of USA. Guess who is President now. Do not under estimate what US can do especially the millions of cricket lovers all ready in this country.

    Cricket has arrived in US.

  • P Subramani on June 1, 2010, 13:03 GMT

    I am afraid I do not agree with Mr Lorgat that cricket will grow exponentially in the US. The Americans are of a different mindset and are pretty loyal to what they really cherish that is baseball.If we imagine that 20/20 will bring about the same level national passion, I think we are horribly of the mark. The Americans can never sit through a Test match or even a ODI because the nuances of the game of cricket have their foundation in Ole Blighty. That itself will ensure that the game is a non starter there.The Americans like to do everything that is anti British possibly because of their own history. So one gets to see them wearing caps with the peaks at the back and eating with forks held in the right hand. These are only two small instances of a tacit 'up yours' to the British. That is what it is. Their mindset is such that they will never accept what is metaphorical of their erstwhile masters. Individually or as a nation.

  • P on June 1, 2010, 12:39 GMT

    I am an Indian-American and I will eat a cricket ball if USA ever embrace any form of cricket. Team sports with international teams rarely ever become popular in the USA. I watch cricket primarily as an international sport. I disregard commentrators ending sentences with "this," such as "Nice bouncer this." Seriously, there are things and language that commentrators and players use that most Americans will find offensive. Also, cricket rules need to be taught to Americans who don't want to learn anything new. Try explaining LBW and then explain why an umpire did not give an LBW when Hawkeye shows that ball was hitting the stumps. American response would be "sue the umpire"-- which I would tend to agree with. There is a lot of unfairness in cricket, which I tolerate as an international sport. However, don't expect Americans to tolerate the unfairness and like the sport. This simply is not an American way of life.

  • Charindra on June 1, 2010, 8:46 GMT

    I'm not going to rule out tests and ODIs in the USA, but boy, it is a LONG shot. So start with T20, and establish it there. Then maybe, MAYBE in about another 20 years US might be ready for one day cricket :D

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