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News

Major League Cricket gets official List A status from ICC ahead of second season

The league is also planning to expand from the current six teams to 10 in the coming seasons

MI New York won the inaugural Major League Cricket title, MI New York vs Seattle Orcas, MLC final, Dallas, July 30, 2023

MI New York won the inaugural Major League Cricket title  •  Sportzpics

Major League Cricket (MLC), the season-old T20 tournament in the USA, has become the second Associate-run franchise competition to acquire List A status from the ICC, following on from the UAE's ILT20 earlier this year.
The status means that MLC will now be recognised as an official T20 league, with tournament playing records now counted as official format statistics. "We are really excited for the news as it's a recognition of the standard and high quality of players taking part in the tournament," tournament director Justin Geale told ESPNcricinfo. "By awarding MLC List A status for the upcoming season, it assists to acknowledge the strength and growing stature of the tournament and ultimately will help to enhance the credibility of the sport in the USA on a global scale.
"The most important part for me though is it ensures the performances of some of the world's best players alongside their peers are adequately reflected in their career statistics.
"Really thankful to the ICC for taking the time to look at it as cricket in the USA doesn't always fit into a template. We are an Associate nation and proud of that, one with a unique opportunity in front of us. It's our hope that on the back of the upcoming World Cup and a successful season we can continue to build a platform for the sport to grow and ultimately succeed in the USA."
The 2024 edition of MLC will start on July 5, a week after the T20 World Cup ends on June 29 in Bridgetown. The T20 World Cup begins, however, in Dallas, USA on June 1, in what is an important season in the game's continuing efforts to crack the US market.
The Guardian, which reported on the awarding of List A status on Monday, also revealed MLC's plans to expand from the current six teams to 10 over the next few years, jumping from 19 games in 2023 to 34 by 2025. Twenty-five games have already been scheduled for this season.
"It was always intended to be a 10-team league," MLC's chief executive, Vijay Srinivasan, told the Guardian. "Studies show that we are a big enough country, with a big enough demographic to support 10 teams, so that's our plan. We had 19 games in our first season, will have 25 in our second. I think we want to get to 34 next year, and just gradually keep expanding."
Srinivasan said they wanted the league, which clashes with the Hundred in 2024, to start in early June in 2025.
"Ultimately for us, our ideal calendar is to start much earlier, in the late spring or early summer," Srinivasan said. "With the Indian Premier League ending in late May, I think our sweet spot would be to start in early June, which is when we have the school holidays in the US, and go into July. That's how we would like to establish our window."
An early June start avoids a clash with the Hundred's July-August window, but it could mean an overlap with the T20 Blast. This scheduling clash became a major talking point in the last English summer when Jason Roy opted out of his ECB contract to play in the MLC and went on to represent LA Knight Riders, who have the same owners as that of Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), who won their third IPL title on Sunday.
Last year, MLC ended two days before the start of the Hundred, though this time there will be an overlap of six days between the two leagues, with the MLC ending on July 28 and the Hundred starting on July 23. As a result, as many as half of the overseas players in the Hundred could arrive in the UK late after the MLC ends. Twelve out of the 24 overseas players under contract in the men's Hundred have already been announced as signings or retentions in MLC and more could follow before the tournament starts.
Four of the six teams in the MLC are owned by IPL team owners - Mumbai Indians, KKR, Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Capitals.
The first season ran from July 13 to 31 with 15 group-stage games followed by four playoff matches, and ended with MI New York lifting the trophy under the captaincy of Nicholas Pooran. The second season will be played across the same two grounds which hosted the first season - the Grand Prairie Stadium in Texas and the Church Street Park Stadium in Morrisville.