USA take-over

by | Jun 26, 2024 | Journalism Scholarship, News | 0 comments

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Please refer to above image for event details. Gideon Haigh is an independent journalist, in the trade for forty years; born in London, raised in [...]
Events on July 19, 2024
Winter Lunch - Gideon Haigh
19 Jul 24

By Liam McCullagh, incoming ACS Journalism Scholar (mentored by The Footy Almanac‘s John Harms).

The year is 2048 and chants of ‘USA’ bellow around the MCG, but this time it isn’t for a lanky-yankee playing for Collingwood, it’s for the United States of America’s international cricket team. Many cricket fans would be surprised that the USA was announced as a location for this year’s Twenty-20 World Cup, but even more would be surprised that USA has qualified for the second round of the World Cup, in the final eight teams. But the US’s cricket success has been brewing underneath the surface of international cricket for years and is about to explode.

Gaining ICC T20 international status in 2019, USA’s first ever recognised international match was against the United Arab Emirates. However, the USA actually has a long-connected history to cricket, with the first ever international match recorded played between USA and Canada in 1844. Cricket’s history in the US dates back to the early 1700s, reported in New York newspapers, while also being played on Virginian slave plantations. However, it was USA’s east which most notably played the sport in the major cities of Philadelphia, New York and Boston. Philadelphia was recognised as the cricket center of the US, with the Philadelphia Cricket Club (est.1854) said to be the oldest country club in the US.

Multiple factors played a part in crickets’ downfall in the US; classism, baseball’s popularity in poverty-stricken areas, oversaturation of sport, the slow nature of the game and time taken in pitch curation are all reasons cricket has struggled to maintain its place as a major stakeholder in the hearts of Americans. The US’s desire for a home grown sport and to breakaway to be independent from the United Kingdom was one of the turning points shifting the tide to the easily accessible baseball from the class-centric cricket.

But there has been a resurgence.

One reason is the introduction of franchise cricket which was established in 2023 through Major Cricket League. In MCL’s first season it hosted many of world’s premier cricket talent including Adam Zampa, Aaron Finch, Quinton de Kock, and Andre Russell. Another key reason for crickets’ resurgence in USA is really due to large amounts of South Asian migration. According to a 2024 article from South Asian Americans Leading Together more than 5.4 million former South Asians reside in the US.

No example is truer than the hero of USA’s thrilling super over win against Pakistan, Saurabh Netravalkar. Netravalkar was a member of India’s Under 19 World Cup team in 2010 and featured in a team with future Indian national team members in KL Rahul and Mayank Agarwal. Netravalkar was India’s leading wicket-taker at the tournament with 9 wickets at an average of 17.22. At the time Netravalkar sacrificed his academic studies to represent India in the Under 19 World Cup missing exams for the first semester of his Computer Engineering degree, but the roles were reversed when Netravalkar gave up on his dream of playing for India, in 2015, at 23-years-of-age moving to USA to further his studies in software engineering.

In 2016, Netravalkar returned to cricket playing in Southern California, and it wasn’t long until his talents took him to USA’s national team, first playing for USA in January 2018. Netravalkar has since played 48 One Day Internationals taking 73 wickets, and 30 T20 internationals taking 29 wickets. It was against Pakistan where Netravalkar was thrust into world crickets’ spotlight, taking 2/18 off 4 overs and successfully defending 18 in the super over to ensure a historic win for the US.

But USA’s team has a unique makeup. On one hand there is Corey Anderson – a born-and-raised Kiwi who represented New Zealand 93 times at international level, who last played for New Zealand in 2018. Anderson has been living in the US since 2020, and gained citizenship through his wife, which allowed him to qualify and represent the US at an international level. There’s the captain, Indian-born wicketkeeper, Monank Patel, who represented Indian first-class cricket club Gujuarat at under16 and under18 levels. Patel received a green card in 2010 and moved to the US permanently in 2016 to open a restaurant in New Jersey.

Another who has impressed with scores of 65 in USA’s opener against Canada, and 35 against Pakistan is South African-born Andries Gous. Gous moved to the US in 2021 signing a three-year deal to play cricket in the States. There are so many more – Ali Khan, a Pakistani sales representative for Cricket Wireless who works in Ohio, ex-Canadian international cricketer Nitish Kumar, and USA’s very own in Queens duo Aaron Jones and Jessy Singh. The journeys to represent the USA are extraordinary and the players are actively living ‘The American Dream.’

There is no reason cricket won’t continue to succeed in America, and its current trajectory indicates that USA will be a force to be reckoned with in coming years. Making the second round of this year’s T20 World Cup is a start – particularly with an amalgamation of nationalities intertwined. A brashness and overconfidence may be welcomed for the time being as the US enters the international stage but the US might just have found another sport they can conquer which is a scary proposition for fans of opposing countries.

Australian Cricket Society’s literary scholar Liam McCullagh is mentored by writer John Harms. His pieces are also published at .