T20 World Cup ‘stepping stone’ to building US fanbase for Olympics – Sport

NEW DELHI: Next month’s T20 World Cup will help build cricket’s profile and popularity in the United States ahead of its appearance at the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles, the sport’s world body said.

The showpiece 20-over event will be co-hosted by the West Indies and the United States in June with New York, Florida and Dallas as venues.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) said it was confident the tournament would help the sport leave a mark in a land where baseball rules. “The fact that a World Cup has come to the US — the largest sports market in the world — that in itself has generated a lot of interest,” Chris Tetley, the ICC’s head of events, told reporters in a media roundtable on Tuesday.

“This is a key stepping stone for the promotion of the game towards 2028 and beyond in terms of providing world-class cricket for the massive existing fanbase that the sport already has in the US,” he added. “We are trying to give them something they haven’t had on their doorstep before and maybe pique the interest of the American sports community by telling them that cricket’s actually an older sport in the US than baseball.” T20 Cricket will feature as one of five new sports at the Los Angeles Olympics.

Cricket’s only previous appearance at an Olympics was in 1900 in Paris, where a team from Great Britain defeated France.


Nassau County’s Eisenhower Park, near New York, has seen a 34,000-seater temporary stadium, with a drop-in cricket pitch, constructed.

It will host the hotly-anticipated India-Pakistan clash on June 9 among its eight scheduled World Cup games.

“We are really happy with the pitch,” said stadium manager Damian Hough. “Everything that we have done has exceeded expectations. I can’t predict scores, that’s for the batters.

“We hope that we have got a typical T20 pitch where there is good bounce, good pace and value for shots. Obviously you want batters to play shots all around the ground.”

Hough and his team introduced drop-in pitches more than a decade ago at Adelaide Oval, where he is head curator.

But creating the stadium in Nassau County has seen different challenges, including growing the pitch in the sub-tropics of Florida before transporting it 2,000 kilometres (1,250 miles) north through multiple climatic zones.

Tetley said the stadium would be dismantled after the T20 extravaganza, but the “world-class facilities” would leave a lasting legacy for cricket in the United States.

Published in Dawn, May 2nd, 2024

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