USA Cricketers

‘Seeds Have Been Sown’: Could The USA Become A Future Cricket Powerhouse?

usa cricket team

By Aryan Bakshi
Cricket is a sport that has become synonymous with various cultures and diasporas worldwide. The sport identifies itself with the quaint aristocracy of an English summer, the tenacious yet larrikin Australian weekend warrior and not to mention the roaring passion of a billion Indian fans.

Since the dawn of the 21st century, cricket has seen a dramatic global expansion, with three new full member nations (Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Ireland) being inducted as well as the total number of member nations rising from 59 to 108. However, it is a nation with often overlooked historical ties with cricket that has recently taken the cricketing world by storm and captured the interest of millions worldwide—the United States of America.

Aaron Jones was the star in USA win against Canada in the recently held ICC Men’s T20 Cricket World Cup. Photo by Shiek Mohamed

June 1 2024: Co-hosts USA win the opening match of the 2024 T20 World Cup against Canada, the nation’s first World Cup victory.
June 6 2024: USA tie a match with Pakistan, the finalists of the 2022 T20 World Cup, winning the match in the super over.
June 14 2024: USA advances to the Super 8s of the tournament, surpassing heavyweights such as New Zealand, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

The US ultimately did not win a match in the Super 8s but this recent success has spurred fans, investors and cricketing gurus to ponder: could the US truly become a global cricketing superpower?

Cricket has a significant past in post-independence US history. Founding fathers George Washington and John Adams reportedly enjoyed cricket, with Adams even deriving the title of “president” for the leader of the US from the name given to governors of local cricket clubs. Notably, the first international sporting fixture was in fact a cricket match between the US and Canada in 1844 which attracted over 20,000 spectators to the site now known as Manhattan’s Broadway. In the early to mid-1800s cricket was well and truly an American pastime. However, by the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861, cricket was quickly losing popularity to the new kid on the block: baseball.

Baseball succeeded in several facets where cricket failed. The sport’s faster gameplay drew the eyes of fans away from the often-languorous, 19th-century cricket matches. Additionally, baseball’s ease of access surpassed that of cricket with the maintenance of pitches and fields not as necessary. Post-Civil War shifts in American cultural attitude further favored the nationalistic perpetuation of baseball as America’s own distinct national sport over the remnants of English colonialism embedded in cricket. With more fans and players, baseball began to professionalize whilst cricket was left behind as an amateur game for the elite. The final nail in the coffin in cricket’s own civil war against baseball was the ruling of the newly formed Imperial Cricket Conference (the precursor to the International Cricket Council (ICC)) that only Commonwealth nations could join the professional body. Although the US was inducted as an associate member of ICC in 1965, the damage had been done.

Nevertheless, the dawn of the 21st century sparked a revitalization of US cricket. With waves of cricket-loving Indian Subcontinental, West Indian and South African immigration to the US, cricket’s popularity among players and fans in the US has grown through these diasporas. Notably, the advent of T20 cricket, the much shorter and more exciting form of cricket in the early 2000s has given a chance for cricket to replicate how baseball managed to capture the hearts of Americans.

After multiple failed attempts at forming professional T20 leagues with the short-lived Pro Cricket and the materialized American Premier League, Major League Cricket (MLC) was announced in 2020 with a development league Minor League Cricket. With the first season in 2023 attracting reputable international cricketers such as Faf du Plessis, Trent Boult and Andre Russell, US cricketers have been exposed to better-quality competition which has undoubtedly spurred their performance in the recent T20 World Cup. The further signings of Glenn Maxwell and Anrich Nortje for the 2024 season as well as Pat Cummins on a multi-year deal will certainly catalyze the future sustained growth in US cricketing talent.

The USA cricket team celebrates after claiming the prized wicket of Virat Kohli in the ICC Men’s T20 Cricket World Cup. Photo by Shiek Mohamed

There is a tremendous economic potential in cricket existing in the US commercial landscape. US sports media rights for domestic leagues such as NFL and NBA generate billions of dollars yearly and cricket’s biggest stakeholders are eager to capitalize on this large sports market. Independent billionaire investors such as Satya Nadella and Ross Perot Jr participated in the $120 Million USD Series A funding round for Major League Cricket.

Domestic franchises have also been invested in by large Indian Premier League franchises such as the Kolkata Knight Riders, Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings. Australian cricket associations NSW Cricket and Cricket Victoria have also entered strategic partnerships with MLC teams to share their technical expertise. Stakeholders are truly enticed by the potential of a global sport such as cricket becoming a large player in the US sports market. Not only do vast numbers of cricket-loving multicultural groups already exist in the US, but investors have been aided by how the country’s unprecedented success at the 2024 T20 World Cup has also managed to perk the curiosity of Caucasian and African Americans.

Despite the migration of cricket-loving diasporas and the significant economic potential of US cricket driving the recent success of the USA, several challenges hinder their ability to truly conquer cricket on a global level.

The US currently is not a full member nation as they have not achieved Test cricket status. Despite holding ODI status, they are yet to compete in the group stage of an ODI Cricket World Cup. Key reasons include the lack of domestic long format and List A competitions. Bilateral Test cricket and the ODI Cricket World Cup are the pinnacles of the sport, and despite the large investments in the MLC, further investments must be made to ensure the future success of USA in these formats. For the US to truly be respected on a global cricketing level, it must be able to compete on a Test and one-day level. This can only be achieved through investing in and establishing strong domestic long-format and List A competitions.

A young fan at the 2024 edition of Major League Cricket. Photo by Andy Mead/Sportzpics for MLC

Furthermore, the lack of professional cricketers developed by US pathways programs is alarming. All of the US cricketers who competed at the recent T20 World Cup had been developed through domestic structures and pathways programs in other nations. The US have made positive steps in this area through the establishment of the Minor and Major League Youth cricket tournaments to spur homegrown talent. However, further efforts must be made. The US must partner with high school associations and collegiate associations such as the NCAA to provide further inter-provincial cricket and further professionalize the game domestically.

Cricketing infrastructure is also lacking in the US. Despite recent construction in the US of temporary cricket stadiums and the redevelopment of baseball facilities, investments must be made to develop cricket-focused facilities. Through cricket-focused facilities, further academies and training programs could be implemented to grow the game domestically.

The US must also target the participation of Caucasian and African Americans through pathways programs to develop a large, strong and diverse talent pool for the future. The diverse blend of ethnicities and styles in US cricket has the potential to transfigure into a signature brand of US cricket that distinguishes itself in a global cricketing world.

Regulatory and corporate governance challenges have also plagued US cricket. The previous national body of US cricket (USACA) had been expelled by the ICC for failing to meet appropriate governing standards. Additionally, the Major League Cricket tournament was initially under threat through the new board USA Cricket failing to sanction the tournament until the last minute. USA Cricket also failed to accommodate for US-eligible cricketers such as Cameron Gannon, who was competing in the Sheffield Shield final, to vie for selection.

Major cricketing organizations such as Pakistan, West Indies, Sri Lanka and South Africa have all seen international success decline due to omnipresent corporate governance issues and inefficiencies. For US cricket to march into the future, the nation requires a resilient and integrity-focused governing board. US cricketers, especially in a phase of rapid sporting and commercial acceleration, require the unfailing organization support of their board to allow them to enter this new phase of US cricket.

Overall, the seeds have been sown for US cricket’s future dominance in world cricket, yet significant obstacles still lie in the nation’s path. Through leveraging the existing migrant fan-base and overseas developed cricketers, USA Cricket can further invest in domestic infrastructure, pathways and programs to develop the future of American cricket. With sustained success and financial prosperity, cricket can place itself in a strong position to challenge contemporary American sports.

Time will tell, but should USA Cricket successfully transition from an associate to a full-member cricketing nation, the USA truly can enter an era of dominance in global cricket.

The views expressed in this column are solely those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of

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