USA Cricket Chairman Venu Pisike is hopeful of spreading awareness of the game through T20 World Cup

T20 World Cup

The upcoming T20 World Cup 2024 is set to be a landmark event for cricket in the United States. USA Cricket chairman, Venu Pisike, anticipates that the tournament will significantly boost cricket awareness in the country. The USA, co-hosting the event with the West Indies, will make its World Cup debut against neighbours Canada on June 1.

US Team for the T20 World Cup

The US team, primarily composed of semi-professional cricketers of South Asian heritage, also includes former New Zealand star Corey Anderson, who has switched allegiance to his adopted homeland of the USA. Former Indian first-class cricketer Milind Kumar and former India U-19 player Harmeet Singh are also part of the squad.

Pisike acknowledges the challenge of taking cricket to the masses in the USA, where the sport is predominantly played by expats. However, he believes that the marketing and promotional activities during the World Cup will generate momentum and expand the game’s reach in the USA.

“So far, cricket is predominantly an expats’ game, but with the marketing and promotion activities during the World Cup, there is some momentum and the World Cup will definitely boost the opportunities to expand the game in the USA,” Pisike told PTI.

“Definitely, the World Cup is bringing a lot of awareness and then the opportunity for cricket to be in the Olympics, that will definitely attract the community because the US is a huge sports country,” he added.

The T20 World Cup 2024 will be played across three venues in the USA. The facility under close watch is in New York, where India and Pakistan will face off on June 9. India will also play Ireland and the USA in the 34,000-capacity makeshift stadium in Eisenhower Park. The drop-in pitches have been imported from Australia, and the stadium is expected to be ready in a week’s time.

“So, the new stadium that is being built in New York will be unveiled in a week’s time. It will become a wonder of cricketing infrastructure to put up in a very short time,” Pisike said, referring to the construction work that began only in January.

T20 World Cup’s impact on LA 28 Olympics

Beyond the World Cup, Pisike sees the potential of cricket’s inclusion in the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics to attract local Americans to the sport. The prospect of competing in the Olympics could provide more opportunities to expand the sport between the World Cup and the Olympics.

“The Olympics is the prime area where all the sports bodies are focusing on since cricket is going to the Olympics. That will actually give more opportunities to expand the sport between the World Cup and the Olympics,” Piske added.

The T20 World Cup 2024 presents a unique opportunity for cricket to gain traction in the USA. As the country prepares to co-host the event and make its debut, the anticipation and excitement are palpable. The tournament’s success could mark a significant turning point for cricket in America, paving the way for the sport’s growth and development in the years to come.

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