U.S. cricket is an enigma for most Americans. In general, they have either never heard of it or, if they have, have very little idea what it is.

      If you ask most Americans “What the most popular sport in the world”, they will almost certainly say baseball or American Football (Football to them). They are wrong on both accounts. Football (Soccer in the U.S.) is by far the most popular world sport, followed by cricket, with baseball and American football far distant also-rans.

      Cricket, however, is not completely unknown in the U.S. The “Gentlemen of Philadelphia” scored victories over several English counties on their U.K. tours of 1904 and 1908, when they beat the likes of Lancashire, Kent and Surrey. A private tour to North America organised by Arthur Malley in 1932, which included a honeymooning Don Bradman (an Australian icon of cricket), saw an Australian XI held to several draws by U.S. teams – Bradman was famously dismissed for a duck (a score of zero runs) in New York on the tour – maybe he was distracted by his honeymoon?.

      However, it is generally agreed by those interested in promoting cricket in the U.S. that, if cricket is to become more popular/understood, it needs drama, entertainment, high-quality skill, with a little bit of chaos and luck thrown in. So when the U.S., one of the co-hosts of the T20 World Cup in 2024, stunned former champions Pakistan in Texas, cricket had delivered those requirements.

      The United States played their first T20 international in 2019, and were playing Pakistan for the first time: The U.S. is ranked 18th in the world behind Nepal and the UAE. Pakistan reached the final of this competition the last time it was played in 2022 and won it in 2009.

      The U.S. win over Pakistan, therefore, was not supposed to happen. “Beating Pakistan is a big achievement,” said U.S. captain Monank Patel. “It’s a big day for Team USA, and for the U.S. cricket community.”

      Pakistan is one of 12 full member nations of the International Cricket Council while the USA is an associate member. This means, like 93 other countries, they are recognised by the sport’s governing body, but do not play Test matches (Test matches are five-day events and are followed, worldwide, by millions of fans).

      For Pakistan, their 2024 tournament is far from over after just one game, but after such a shambolic opening performance, things are looking bleak. “If you lose a match, you are always upset,” said Babar Azam, Pakistan’s Captain. “We are not playing well, in both fielding, bowling and batting. I am upset. As a professional, you have to step up against such a performance. This is not an excuse. They played well and we played badly.”

      Joe Lynn, the curator of the United States Cricket Museum at Haverford College, near Philadelphia, said the result was “huge” for cricket in the country. “This tournament could not have started better from the US perspective. To win the first game against Canada was one thing, but beating a full-member nation like Pakistan is something else,” Lynn said. “Perhaps it’s always been a misnomer to say cricket died in the U.S. at the hands of baseball. I think its been in hibernation more than anything else. Now that Major League Cricket has been established in the U.S., and this World Cup result, it is a reawakening of sorts.”

      Cricket in the U.S. is an enigma no longer, but it will take a great deal of effort and time for it to become a household sporting name. However, with the inbred, but dormant, enthusiasm and excitement of thousands of U.S. citizens with backgrounds in cricket-mad countries like India, Australia, Pakistan, the West Indies, New Zealand, and even England, the future rise of cricket in the United States may well be quicker than anyone would have expected.

      A world series of cricket would actually have real meaning unlike the baseball world series, which is only played in the U.S. and only U.S. teams compete – the latter is not quite true (Canada is the exception), but as close as makes no difference.

About The Author

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

For security, use of hCaptcha is required which is subject to their Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

I agree to these terms.

Scroll to Top