Monday, May 24, 2010

Cricket USA

So, the next big thing on the cricket agenda, after getting China involved, is to get the Americans to love the game. The main problem of course is that cricket games are five days long, the very concept of which will cause the average Yank head to explode, so obviously 20-20 is the way to go.

The 'masterstroke' by the cricketing authorities was to to set up a short series between New Zealand and Sri Lanks, which for most fans of cricket would be a good game to watch, the game itself though was desperate. When I tell you that Sri Lanka's winning score was 86, yes not 186 but 86, I think that tells you just how exciting a match it was.

"That's one of the subtleties of cricket, that a low-scoring game can be exciting if you analyse it properly," Sangakkara said. There is the rub though, new fans are not there to analyse the game properly, they want thrills and excitement and batsman banging big sixes into the crowd.

Why should we even want or need the USA to take up an interest in the finest sport in the world ? Part of it, a large part of it, is the desire to shift the financial imbalance in the game away from the money pots of India, and some small part is just the desire to expand the game.

People often say that cricket won't appeal to Americans because of their supposed short attention span, but I've been to a live American football match and I can tell you, it drags on for hours and bloody hours. 20-20 is much more exciting than American football, so is the one day game, and at least at test cricket there is something to watch all the time as opposed to the endless team changes and standing around whilst the adverts are on tv which makes up the majority of the time at their version of football.

Cricket's problem in breaking the USA is that it is trying to enter into a market already saturated with Football, baseball, ice hockey and basketball, and a culture which because it has not grown up with the sport, simply isn't interested in it. Look at the failed attempt to set up an American Football league in Europe which was populated almost entirely by USA players not good enough to make it into a squad on home turf. Any cricket league in the USA is likely to be the same thing, second rate and just past retirement age players from around the world playing a game that nobody would be really interested in.

Rather than trying to foist our game on an indifferent audience, why not spend more time, and money, on encouraging those nations who are interested in taking part. The likes of Kenya, Afghanistan, Netherlands and Ireland want to play but are suffocated by the lack of time and interest from the major test playing nations. Taking the game to the USA is all about the money, and nothing to do with skill, determination or the love of the game.

1 comment:

  1. The Lurker8:48 am

    It always tickles me how the only team sports the Yanks are 'World Champions' at, are the very sports no-one else is interested in (Basketball, Baseball and American Football)! We'll keep cricket this side of the pond thank you very much!