Cricket in the United States
The fact that cricket has become one of the world’s biggest sports despite having made little impact in China and the United States is nothing short of astonishing. It speaks volumes for the obsession that the Indian subcontinent has for this game, because if it weren’t for hundreds of millions of fans in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, the number of global fans would be very small.
There is still a chance that it could become big in the US though, so with that in mind, just how is cricket played across the pond and how big is it?
Cricket in the US
As with all cricketing nations, there are many levels to the game over in the US. These include amateur, club, and international. Yes, we said international. Although it’s not quite to the level that is played in India or in England. In fact, it’s nowhere near.
The governing body is the United States of America Cricket Association and the game was first played here before 1700, although they owe that to the early British settlers who brought the game with them.
Back then, Philadelphia was the home of cricket in the US and that remains to be the case today. This is where it is played the most and where cricket fans will feel most at home. They played cricket here quite a lot throughout the 19th century, if not more so than they do today.
Club Cricket in the US
There have been a few attempts to get a cricket league going in the United States, the latest one now with Jay Pandaya. They have the investors to make it happen and they clearly have the desire, but unfortunately it still comes down to spectators and sponsors. If there are none of the former, then there will be nothing from the latter and if that remains to be the case then these leagues just won’t succeed.
The Pro Cricket league came the closest after being established with a Twenty20 format in 2004, but it just didn’t last and made virtually no impact on the cricket world.
One of the issues is the way that American sports are structured. They are played at high school level, then college and then professional, with drafts and scholarships taking the place of big money signings and grass roots play. This is why their popular sports are so rooted in the American system and why it has been hard for others to break through.
Soccer managed it, but only just.
International Cricket in the US
Believe it or not, there is a US national team, you just won’t see much of them on the international stage. They were a member of the ICC from 1965 to 2017, before being expelled over concerns with how they were handling finances.
They have appeared in 8 ODI World Cup Qualifiers and 4 Twenty20 World Cup Qualifiers, but their best appearances were only seventh and sixth respectively. They have made it to Division Three of the World Cricket league but haven’t really recorded any notable results.
They have been at it for a long time though, having played their first international match against Canada way back in 1844. They also recently won Division Four of the World Cricket League, beating Oman in the First-Place Playoff after finishing second to them in the Group Stage.