T20 World Cup Cricket in the US, A Game-Changer for the Sport

by Howard Campbell

LAUDERHILL – While it has a wider international following than baseball, cricket has never hit the proverbial home run in the United States. But with growing popularity of the T20 format, the sport may just win over its biggest market this year.

The International Cricket Council’s T20 World Cup takes place in the Caribbean and United States from June 1-29. Matches in the US will be played in Dallas, New York and at Central Broward Park & Broward County Stadium in Lauderhill (South Florida).

T20 World Cup Cricket in the US, A Game-Changer for the Sport
Pakistan Team warming up

Four matches will be played at the latter. They are Sri Lanka against Nepal on June 11, the US against Ireland on June 14, India versus Canada the following day, and Pakistan versus Ireland on June 16.

Chris Dehring
Chris Dehring

Chris Dehring, tournament advisor to Broward County, told South Florida Caribbean News that cricket is set to explode in the US.

“Cricket is spreading through the United States like wildfire. Major League Cricket launched last year and when you see the spread of Cricket World Cup here, it’s not a coincidence. It’s all being planned. We see cricket coming back into the Olympics in Los Angeles, the dominoes are being put in place,” he said.

Dehring was head of the organizing committee for the 2007 Cricket World Cup in the Caribbean. Those matches were played over 50 overs (in which a bowler is allowed six deliveries); since then, the frenetic T20 game has surpassed that format in terms of popularity.

Last year saw the debut of Major League Cricket with six teams, each attracting top players from countries who traditionally play the game. Six teams competed in that tournament which was won by MI New York over the Seattle Orcas in the final at Grand Prairie Stadium in Dallas.

For the Lauderhill matches, Dehring envisions enthusiastic crowds, given the area’s massive West Indian population.

“One of the great things that the West Indies gave the world, is we found a way to celebrate the game off the field when we introduced music and partying in the stands. We were always colorful crowds, but we took the game to another level with the celebration of the game off the field that the rest of the world has copied and packaged it as T20,” he said.

On February 13, ground was broken by city administrators for the Broward County Parks and Recreation Division to start a $8.4 million renovation of the Central Broward Park & Broward County Stadium which officially opened in 2007.

England are defending ICC T20 Cricket World Cup champions. There are 18 teams in the tournament which opens at Grand Prairie Stadium with the US playing Canada.