“Good Seats Still Available” – Words You’ll Hear Repeated Very Often When Twenty20 Cricket Comes Back To The U.S.
The New Zealand Herald reports a concern known as Cricket Holdings America has plans to start a 6-team, professional Twenty20 league in the United States next summer, with teams based in Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Toronto, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and New York. Though there’s no shortage of reasons why such an endeavor might be unsuccessful, organizers would be well advised to recall the summer of 2004, when blink-and-you-missed-it Pro Cricket attempted something very similar in a succession of American minor league baseball stadiums, college football fields, etc. From CricInfo’s Ranajit Sankar Dam (6/21/2004):
A little more than 150 people were at Staten Island’s Richmond County Bank Ballpark to watch the remnants of Ajay Jadeja’s cricketing career: around half that number comprised the organisers and stadium security. The rest gamely cheered the wickets and let out the obligatory “We want sixer!” bellows, but they didn’t exactly constitute the packed ground full of cricket-hungry expatriates that the organizers, America Pro Cricket LLC, were looking for.
With the ICC refusing to recognise the matches, and the Indian board denying its players permission to participate, the organisers were forced to hastily reschedule the tournament, turning the match into a “pre-season training game”.
As a possible result of the ensuing confusion, the organisation overall was distinctly shoddy: sub-par commentators provided painful ball-by-ball remarks over the PA system, the DJ played organ music every time a single was taken, and the local players were made to look like extras – bit-part characters playing second fiddle to the imported Indian discards.
In fact the commentator/DJ evidently could not get enough of Jadeja, incanting his name repeatedly even after he was out, to the point where he once even exulted: “That’s a great shot from the Indian captain.” Nikhil Chopra, Darren Ganga and Merv Dillon received their 15 seconds of fame as well, while poor Rahul Sanghvi went almost unnoticed.