Sydney: Cricket chiefs hope to stage a Twenty20 World Cup in the United States within a decade as the game ramps up efforts to crack the huge American sports market, a report said Tuesday.
The International Cricket Council's head of global development Tim Anderson said the world governing body had ambitions to further popularise the sport in a country more used to baseball, basketball and gridiron. While still alien to many Americans, thousands travelled from the United States to this year's 50-over one-day World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, while a lucrative broadcast deal with the United States is already worth big money to ICC.
"If we continue to make good progress, we would (hope to) see a World Twenty20 in the USA in the next rights cycle," Anderson told the Sydney Daily Telegraph, with the newspaper pointing to 2024 as the likely date. "We think that'd be a great concept. Other sports have done that, not just football, but rugby are doing that with major events as well so we see that as a medium-term goal."
India are scheduled to hold the next Twenty20 World Cup in 2016 with Australia hosting the event in 2020. Cricket greats Shane Warne and Sachin Tendulkar recently took a number of former international stars to the US for a three-match ICC-sanctioned T20 series, attracting large crowds.
Among the throng of big-name retirees playing were Brian Lara, Courtney Walsh, Curtly Ambrose, Muttiah Muralitharan, Wasim Akram, Jacques Kallis, Ricky Ponting, Matthew Hayden, Glenn McGrath and Brad Haddin. Some of the world's biggest active players could also be padding up in the United States soon.
"In the shorter term, our full members are keen to play some big cricket in the USA. I think that'd be a fantastic way to take cricket to a new heartland for the game," said Anderson. "There's already an ODI-accredited venue in Florida (and another potential site in Indianapolis) but, within the next 12-18 months, you could potentially have full members playing cricket (one-day internationals) in the USA."
To strengthen its bid to establish itself in the American market, the ICC is also looking at trying to enter the country's college sport programme to boost participation at a grass roots level, the report said. The ICC's full members are Australia, Bangladesh, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, West Indies and Zimbabwe.