16 Oct

USA Cricket has unveiled an ambitious plan to establish cricket as a mainstream sport in the United States and for the governing body to become a full member of the International Cricket Council (ICC) by 2030.

The organization’s inaugural Foundational Plan outlines a series of actions to be taken and initiatives to be launched through until the end of 2023 to help reach its goal.

The initiative identifies five key strategic objectives:

  • growing engagement
  • increasing participation levels
  • improving the performance of the US national teams
  • operating sustainably
  • building trust across the local cricket community

“The scale of our ambition is very high but reflects the huge potential to grow the sport in this country,” USA Cricket chief executive Iain Higgins told The Daily Telegraph. “We really want to move cricket from that sort of niche tag into the mainstream sporting narrative in the USA. In parallel with that, we want USA Cricket to take its place at the forefront of international cricket. In cricketing parlance, that effectively means becoming a full member of the ICC, so we set ourselves a target of 2030 to do that.”

The growth of cricket in the States has been troubled in recent years. USA Cricket was officially sanctioned by the ICC in January 2019 and was established two years prior following the expulsion of its beleaguered predecessor, the USA Cricket Association (USACA).

USA Cricket chairman Paraag Marathe, a senior executive at the National Football League’s San Francisco 49ers and Premier League club Leeds United, was directly approached by the ICC to help the sport grow in the US and he has seized the opportunity.

“The reason I wanted to take on the role is because of a fundamental statement that really struck a chord with me, which was: here is the second biggest sport in the world with virtually no presence in the largest media market in the world. When you just say that sentence, you think to yourself, ‘There has to be an opportunity here’,” Marathe recently told SportBusiness.

“When you think about the expat population, the South Asian population that is here in the US watching ICC T20 World Cups in the middle of the night on pay per view and the number of millions of people that do that here in the US you know there is an opportunity here to build a sustainable league,” Marathe said.

Marathe’s long-term plans include the US potentially bidding to host the 2026 Twenty20 World Cup – possibly in partnership with the West Indies – and for cricket to become an Olympic sport once again at the 2028 Summer Games in Los Angeles. Cricket has featured at the Olympics just once, at Paris in 1900.

In the short term, USA Cricket unveiled plans to create a Minor League Cricket (MiLC)Twenty20 tournament this summer, with the intention of establishing a fully professional Major League Cricket (MLC) T20 competition in 2021. The tournaments are being developed in collaboration with the governing body’s commercial partner American Cricket Enterprises (ACE).

The debut of MiLC was delayed due to the coronavirus crisis and will now happen in 2021. MLC, meanwhile, is poised to be pushed back from 2021 until 2022.

“The launch of this Foundational Plan is the culmination of a lengthy, but important piece of work, which now sets the roadmap for the development of the sport in the United States over the next few years,” Marathe said in a statement.

John Stephenson


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