HomeCricketCricket World Cup reaches USA, but sport will take long to arrive

Cricket World Cup reaches USA, but sport will take long to arrive


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The complete mismatch between India and Ireland, finished within 29 of the allotted 40 overs, wasn’t an ideal commentary for the sport to go global.

India’s fans cheer during their team’s ICC Men’s T20 World Cup cricket match against Ireland at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in Westbury, New York, Wednesday, June 5, 2024. (Image: PTI)

New York: A World Cup alone might not suffice to grow and establish cricket ithe USA. It will have to be a lot of Indians, or Indian-origin Americans, Asians and India to develop a considerable interest in the sport among locals over a period of time.

Not much could be derived from around 17,500 ticketed spectators at India’s World Cup opener in the Nassau International Cricket Stadium, built within three months for the matches in New York. The complete mismatch between India and Ireland, finished within 29 of the allotted 40 overs, wasn’t an ideal commentary for the sport to go global.

Indian fans constituted over 97%, if not more, of the packed East and West stands. There were a few Irish sports lovers and a negligible number of locals. The premium ticket blocks in South and North, including the hospitality boxes, wore almost a deserted look, with some blue Team India merchandise jerseys breaking the monotony of the allays of grey chairs.

Although it will be a different scenario four days later when India play Pakistan at the same venue. That match is being dubbed as the “Super Bowl” for cricket to explain the importance and hype around the battle of two arch-foes.

The craze for the game can be gauged from the fact that some of those who failed to get the India-Pakistan match ticket via draw of lots are ready to shed several thousand dollars even for access to the general stands. There are no tickets available, and hotels within the five-mile radius of the stadium are sold out for Saturdays and Sundays, with rooms going at a premium.

Back to the India-Ireland match, the in-stadia public address system stayed busy educating fans about almost everything around cricket – right from explaining the powerplays to how the fans should conduct themselves during and before the game.

Fans left disappointed after drab affair in New York

There were advisories to not walk across or stand atop the sight screens. There were announcements about staying away from the line of the ball if it crosses the field of play and not to touch it.

The match for the fans, who loved and understood cricket, turned out to be a damp squib as Ireland batted first. After the first few wickets, the Team India supporters cheered in joy every time an Irish player hit a boundary, celebrating the fact that the bigger the Ireland total the more they will be able to watch Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant, Suryakumar Yadav and other Indian players bat.

number of Team India fans have travelled from far-flung States like Boston, Tennessee, and Maryland. Groups of people have driven in from New Jersey, more than 100 miles or 170 kilometres. India won but they didn’t find the worth of their money, time and effort.

If just the 97-run target for India wasn’t enough to dampen the spirits, Virat Kohli lasted just five deliveries for one run. The biggest ambassador of the game left the organisers, broadcaster and fans disappointed. Kohli is not just about runs, Kohli is entertainment, Kohli is business. This much even locals understood.

Many groups and families in Indian jerseys had 18 and Kohli printed on the backs of their shirts. Despite Kohli getting out for one, there was no love lost. As thousands of fans left the stadium on their way back home, chants of Kohli, Kohli echoed in the horizon of the Nassau County area.

The security personnel on duty, hospitality staff and volunteers were in awe of the atmosphere, although little did they know about the game, match and the result. They have started enjoying the atmosphere Indian fans create, but for them to enjoy the sport remains a long way to go.

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