Cricket is primarily considered a colonial game because it was limited to countries that had once been part of the British empire.
During the past decade and a half, the International Cricket Council (ICC) took a significant strategic call to expand the game in Europe and America.
The ICC Board took a number of big decisions relating to the mega world events in the sport for the cycle between 2024 and 2031. Amongst these was the expansion of the flagship 50-over World Cup which will comprise of 14 teams in 2027 and 2031.
Considered very British, the Americans are new to the game and slowly but surely the sport is gaining fans on American shores. Getting the sport to be accepted by mainstream fans in the United States will be a tall order and a tough mountain to climb.
Cricket in states: A reality!
As immigrants from the subcontinent have poured into major American cities during the tech boom, they’ve brought the sport with them – slowly raising the profile of the sport in the US.
Areas such as New York City, California’s Silicon Valley, Washington, DC, Dallas and Chicago have become cricket hotbeds, fuelled by an influx of mostly Indian immigrants, some of whom arrived as part of the high-tech boom.
Growing up as part of an ethnically diverse and tech-savvy generation means teens in the US today can connect with their cultural heritage in new ways.
They can watch faraway matches on YouTube, and follow their favourite Indian or Pakistani players on Instagram, just as easily as their classmates might follow American baseball stars.
In the past five years, the number of teams in the region around the US capital has nearly doubled, coaches say. The demand mostly comes from immigrant adults and their US-born children.
USA being the associate nation in cricket, it has refurbished its strategy to develop the game among the Americans.
While the strategy means a new earning outlet for long-time overseas pros, it poses a potential obstacle for domestic talent to be able to work their way through a local pathway to the national team.
Historic day for USA cricket – they won their first ever match against a Test playing nation, beating Ireland by 26 runs.pic.twitter.com/VLG85W8lUu
— Johns. (@CricCrazyJohns) December 23, 2021
Cricket: Target LA Olympics
ICC has officially made its intentions clear to make the game a part of the Olympics in the year 2028. Los Angeles will host the Olympics in that year. It seems like the USA wants to continue its dominance in the Olympics and extend it to the sport of cricket as well.
In the last few years, quite a few cricketers of foreign countries have decided to move to the United States of America.
Not many Indian cricket fans would know that former RCB batsman Sunny Sohal has now moved to the United States. Opening the innings with Sohal will be the captain of the India U-19s that won the ICC U-19 World Cup in the year 2012, Unmukt Chand. Like Sohal, Chand played for multiple franchises in the IPL. However, he could not make his debut at the senior level.
To add to that, Liam Plunkett, who won the 2019 World Cup with the England team, was also in the headlines claiming that he could move to the United States of America soon.
Even though stadiums in the USA have played host to some of the West Indies team’s home matches, interest in the sport has been limited.
With USA Cricket aggressively pursuing foreign players, it will not be a surprise if more cricketers consider moving to the United States.