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Danbury High School     43 Clapboard Ridge Road Danbury, CT 06811     (203) 797-4800

The Hatters' Herald

Danbury High School     43 Clapboard Ridge Road Danbury, CT 06811     (203) 797-4800

The Hatters' Herald

Danbury High School     43 Clapboard Ridge Road Danbury, CT 06811     (203) 797-4800

The Hatters' Herald

Cricket on the rise; the influence of South Asians on the growth of American cricket

Saeed Khan
via Getty Images Virat Kohli, a renowned Indian cricketer

Cricket: a sport with over one billion fans worldwide yet a nearly nonexistent following in the United States. With many Americans thinking of an insect rather than a sport when they hear the name, it is clear that cricket has not gained a fanbase in North America. This may all change as the South Asian diaspora as well as other immigrants from cricket-playing countries continue to import a love of cricket into the U.S.


What is Cricket?

Oversimplified, cricket is a sport much like baseball in that it involves a batsman scoring runs by hitting a ball. The Oxford Dictionary defines it as “an outdoor game played on a large grass field with ball, bats, and two wickets, between teams of eleven players, the object of the game being to score more runs than the opposition.”

Originally from England, cricket was spread by British colonizers to various parts of the world–the most notable being India, Pakistan, Australia, South Africa, and the West Indies. Yet it never seemed to take off in another former British colony: the United States. It seemed to be overshadowed by the similar sport of baseball, thus leading to a limited fanbase of only 12 main cricket-playing nations (Al-Jazeera).


South Asian Influence

American cricket is notably characterized by fans of South Asian origin. Local leagues like the Connecticut Cricket Academy (CCA) are almost entirely made up of Indian-American players according to Mohit Pharsiyawar, age 9, a CCA member. In addition, the USA National Cricket Team is also made up of primarily players with South Asian ancestry including the captain, Monank Patel (USA Cricket).

Some may also argue that the South Asian diaspora is also the primary reason for cricket starting to catch on amongst other Americans. Michael Moore, a new fan of cricket, explained that he learned more about cricket through his work in downtown Stamford, CT, as “many people of Indian and Pakistani heritage live within a short walking distance to downtown.” While cricket was initially introduced to him when reading an article in The Economist, he learned more about the sport when he “explored hosting a cricket demonstration…in order to engage those [South Asian] residents.” 

Moore added that not only did South Asians teach him about cricket, but cricket also allowed him to gain a “lens into other cultures, particularly those of former British colonies such as India, Pakistan, and South Africa.”

Shah Rukh Khan, Mukesh Ambani Teams at U.S. Major League Cricket
The Texas Super Kings, a Major League Cricket team that mirrors the Chennai Super Kings in the IPL (via Variety)

American Cricket

The US also has its own national cricket league, Major League Cricket. Modeled after the Indian Premier League (IPL), this cricket league was founded by South Asian Americans Vijay Srinivasan and Sameer Mehta (Major League Cricket). Each American team mirrors an IPL team, with teams like MI New York which parallels the IPL Mumbai Indians team. This league perfectly encapsulates the rise of cricket in the US: a sport with immense South Asian influence that is slowly gaining popularity amongst other Americans. This league has been important to the rise of cricket with Americans being able to attend cricket matches in local areas, not just watch a match held in England. Major League Cricket has held matches in North Carolina and Texas with new stadiums built for just this purpose. With cricket being a much more accessible sport with Major League Cricket, it has begun to gain in popularity with over 70,000 people attending these matches.

USA Cricket announce zonal captains, group amendment, and Covid-19 player bubble - Emerging Cricket
The U.S. National Cricket Team via Emerging Cricket

The newly built stadiums are also being used for the U.S. National Cricket team (yes, it does in fact have one). Although only ranked 17th out of 19, the United States cricket team will be present in the ICC Cricket World Cup in the summer of 2024 according to ESPN CricInfo. Being held in the United States as well as the West Indies, the 2024 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup is one of the largest moves to expand cricket into this new audience. The ever-awaited India vs Pakistan match will be held in a 34,000 temporary stadium built outside of Manhattan according to USA Today. 

Moore agreed that cricket “is certainly growing in popularity in the United States.” Rather than Major League Cricket and the World Cup, Moore noted the growth evident in local areas including “pick-up cricket matches at Rogers Park Middle School here in Danbury.”


The Future of Cricket

As cricket continues to expand into the United States, it is still evident that a vast majority of Americans are not fully aware of the sport. Despite being a fan, Moore admitted that his “knowledge [of the sport] is very much in its infancy.” When asked about her feelings regarding the rise of cricket, Chloe Bakalar, a DHS student-athlete, revealed that she had not even realized cricket was becoming more popular. Only time will tell whether American cricket will ever truly gain the same cult-like following found in South Asia and other former British colonies.

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About the Contributor
Riya Pharsiyawar
Riya Pharsiyawar, Staff Writer
Hey! This is my first year writing for the Hatters Herald and I am super excited to be learning about Journalism. I am currently a junior here at DHS. I love reading and writing and I am the Treasurer of the National English Honors Society as well as an editor for our school's literary magazine, the Nutmegger. Besides this, I am also very interested in international relations and hope to pursue a career in this field. For fun, I like to travel, bake, and learn new languages.

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    MikeMar 7, 2024 at 6:37 pm

    Great article!!