FAQs: All you need to know about MLC 2024

The teams, the format, the big names, and everything else you might have been wondering about

Abhimanyu Bose
The captains of the MLC teams - Sunil Narine (LA Knight Riders), Keiron Pollard (MI New York), Harmeet Singh (Seattle Orcas), Corey Anderson (San Francisco Unicorns), Faf du Plessis (Texas Super Kings) and Steve Smith (Washington Freedom) - in Dallas ahead of the second season of Major League Cricket, July 3, 2023

The captains of the MLC teams at the launch event of the second season in Dallas  •  MLC

Did you think the cricket fever would die in the USA after the T20 World Cup? Think again, because the second season of Major League Cricket (MLC) is upon us. The first edition had high scores and thrilling individual performances as some of the biggest names in T20 cricket showcased their talent in Texas and North Carolina. So what's in store for us this year? Find all your answers here.

First things first. When does it start?

The first match is on Friday, July 5, with MI New York taking on Seattle Orcas in Morrisville. The tournament will go on till July 28. There will be a total of 25 matches.

So who are the teams participating? And who won it the first time around?

The six teams are Los Angeles Knight Riders, MI New York, San Francisco Unicorns, Seattle Orcas, Texas Super Kings and Washington Freedom.
It was MI New York, inspired by a whirlwind Nicholas Pooran century, who beat Seattle Orcas in the final to win the inaugural title.

Are you sure it's the MLC and not the IPL? There seem to be a lot of familiar names...

That's because IPL franchises have invested in most of the teams in the tournament, as they have in other franchise leagues like SA20, ILT20 and the CPL. IPL franchises own four teams in the MLC. Apart from the three obvious ones, Seattle Orcas are owned by the GMR Group, who co-own Delhi Capitals.
Washington Freedom, owned by Indian-American entrepreneur Sanjay Govil, have Cricket New South Wales as their high-performance partner. San Francisco Unicorns, owned by Anand Rajaraman and Venky Harinarayan, have a partnership with Cricket Victoria.

We saw games in New York and Lauderhill in the T20 World Cup, apart from Dallas. Will the MLC also be played in those grounds?

No. This year's MLC, like in 2023, will only be played at the Grand Prairie Stadium in Dallas in Texas and Church Street Park in North Carolina's Morrisville.
Last season, the first eight league games were played in Dallas and the next seven in Morrisville, before the tournament shifted back to Dallas for the knockout rounds. This year, however, both stadiums will host games throughout the season.

So you said Pooran played the last season. Who are some other big names that were there last season and will play this year as well?

A total of 23 overseas players who turned out in the inaugural season will be in action in MLC 2024 as well. Among them, some of the big names include Rashid Khan, Trent Boult, Heinrich Klaasen and Kieron Pollard.
Afghanistan's left-arm wristspinner Noor Ahmad will replace Daryl Mitchell - who has been ruled out by an injury and is currently doing rehab in New Zealand - for Texas Super Kings. You can find the full list of retained overseas players here.

And any exciting new additions this year?

Yes indeed. Pat Cummins, Travis Head and Steven Smith are some high-profile Australian signings, while Daryl Mitchell, Shakib Al Hasan and Romario Shepherd are some of the other new signings. You can see the full squads here.

USA pulled off a surprise and made it to the Super Eight stage of the T20 World Cup. So who will their local heroes line up for?

USA did have an impressive showing at the T20 World Cup, with a Super Over win over Pakistan the highlight. Their captain Monank Patel, Noshthush Kenjige and Shayan Jahangir will be representing defending champions MI New York, while last year's runners-up Seattle Orcas have USA vice-captain Aaron Jones and Harmeet Singh in their ranks.
Milind Kumar, who took a blinder against Pakistan as a substitute fielder, will play for Texas Super Kings, while Andries Gous and Saurabh Netravalkar will play for Washington Freedom.

All this sounds good. So, what is the format of the league?

Like most franchise leagues, the MLC will first have a round-robin league stage. Last year, each team played the other once, but this time every team will play seven matches each in the league stage. This has contributed to the tournament growing from 19 games last year to 25 this season.
The top two teams will meet in the Qualifier, with the winners of that match advancing to the final.
The third and fourth-placed teams will meet in the Eliminator. The winner of the Eliminator will face the team that loses the Qualifier in the Challenger, where the second finalist will be decided.
You can see the full fixture list here.

But the MLC games don't count as official T20s, right?

That was the case last year, but the tournament has been given List A status by the ICC. It has become the second Associate-run franchise competition to acquire List A status from the ICC, following the UAE's ILT20 earlier this year.
This means MLC will now be recognised as an official T20 league, with tournament playing records now counted as official format statistics.

And with the packed cricket schedule, is it not clashing with any of the several other T20 leagues around the world?

The Lanka Premier League is on till July 21, so Matheesha Pathirana will remain unavailable till Colombo Strikers are knocked out.
There will also be a six-day clash with the Hundred , which means that 12 players who are part of the MLC could arrive late at the UK.

Abhimanyu Bose is a sub-editor with ESPNcricinfo