T20 World Cup to boost cricket’s US presence for Olympics debut

T20 World Cup to boost cricket’s US presence for Olympics debut

The ninth edition of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, which will be a 20-team event, will take place in the USA and West Indies from 1 to 29 June, 2024. (Photo: Getty Images)

By:
Vivek Mishra

The upcoming T20 World Cup is seen as a significant opportunity to boost cricket’s presence and popularity in the United States ahead of its inclusion in the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles, according to the sport’s global governing body.

Scheduled to be jointly hosted by the West Indies and the United States in June, with New York, Florida, and Dallas as the venues, the International Cricket Council (ICC) expressed optimism about the tournament’s potential impact in a country where baseball holds sway.

“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,” remarked Chris Tetley, the ICC’s head of events, during a media briefing 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 is set to debut as one of five new sports at the Los Angeles Olympics.

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

Nassau County’s Eisenhower Park, near New York, has undergone preparations, including the construction of a temporary 34,000-seater stadium with a drop-in cricket pitch.

“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 kilometers (1,250 miles) north through multiple climatic zones.

Tetley mentioned that 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.

The ninth edition of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, which will be a 20-team event, will take place in the USA and West Indies from 1 to 29 June, 2024.

(AFP)