Is the US Ready for Cricket, Lovely Cricket?

Low angle shot of man playing cricket. Photo by Yogendra Singh:

USA to co-host the 2024 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup alongside The West Indies for the first time in history

By Yousaf K

The International Cricket Council (ICC), in its November 2021 deliberations, selected the United States and the West Indies as co-hosts for the 2024 Men’s T20 World Cup.  Extending its reach beyond its borders, the United States will host a cricket World Cup for the first time in its history, a move the ICC hopes will be the spark that puts the US on the global cricket map.  

The ICC has always anticipated the US to be a productive market for cricket, as there are thousands of talented young cricketers across its States.  The vast majority of such players belong to the commonwealth diaspora, with whom cricket enjoys continued and expansive popularity.  The local US population, however, has very little awareness of the sport.

During host selection, questions lingered surrounding the preparedness and lack of cricket facilities for the spectators in the US.  The uncertainty caused a delay in the venue selection process, but they have since been finalized after much deliberation.

Paraag Marathe, chairman of the board of USA Cricket, said he hoped the 2024 World Cup would modify the current structure of cricket.  He also noted that the ICC has acknowledged the United States as a potential market for growth, which could benefit the sport around the globe.  He believes the upcoming event will be a catalyst to expand facilities, develop a fan base, grow a professional league, and stimulate corporate and public patronage in the US.

The Cup, scheduled for June 2 through June 29 this year, features a total of 55 matches across nine venues in the two hosting countries, with six stadiums hosting the matches in West Indies.  Two-thirds of the fixtures will be played in the Caribbean Basin while the remainder will be played in different venues across the US.  Super Eight and Knockout contests will be played in the West Indies.  The council has also released the schedule of all men’s white ball tournaments through 2031.

For the first time in the history of a T20 World Cup, 20 teams will compete in a month-long tournament.  The teams are split into four groups.  To qualify for the Super Eight round, the top two teams from each group will be pitted against each other.  ICC chief executive Geoff Allardice said, “it’s exciting to expand cricket with more teams joining in to compete in this event.”  He also credited the tournament for bringing together 20 teams from five different continents across the world.

Cricket arch-rivals India and Pakistan will play their inaugural match in New York cricket stadium.  The last time the two countries locked horns, more than 110,000 spectators observed the game.  With a capacity of 34,000, New York cricket stadium will host the high-profile fixture on June 9.

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