|Cricket in the United States|
Cricket in the United States is a sport played at the amateur, club, intercollegiate, and international competition levels. There have also been several recent attempts to form professional cricket leagues in the United States.
Cricket was played by British colonists in North America by the start of the 18th century. Archived references to cricket played in America date from 1709. A New York newspaper from 1739 contains an advertisement for cricket players and the first documented competition occurred in 1751 in Manhattan. According to William Byrd II's diary, cricket was played on the slave plantations of Virginia, including on his Westover estate among neighbors and slaves. By 1793, Dartmouth College students were playing cricket on the Green.
Philadelphia was the crucible of North American cricket and remains so today.Haverford College formed a cricket team in 1833, generally accepted as the first cricket club exclusively for Americans. Haverford and the University of Pennsylvania formed a strong rivalry, with the first match played in 1864, believed to be the third-oldest intercollegiate sporting contest in America, after the 1852 Harvard-Yale crew and 1859 Amherst-Williams baseball matches. An Intercollegiate Cricket Association existed from 1881-1924.
The eleven-person team cricket familiar with Americans today took root most effectively at the St. George's Cricket Club, founded in 1838. Clubs from the United States (St. George's CC) and Canada participated in one of the first international cricket matches on record in 1844 in Bloomingdale Park in Manhattan. Cricket received a significant amount of media coverage at the time. In the mid-19th century, the sport was played in approximately 125 cities in 22 states. Roughly 500 officially established clubs existed and it is probable that in 1860 there were 10,000 boys and men in America who had actively played the sport for at least a season.
St. George's CC employed Sheffield native Samuel Wright as its professional cricket playing groundsman. Wright's two sons, Harry and George, played for the United States XXII against the All England XI in 1859 in New York and Philadelphia. Both Wright brothers became renowned in baseball circles after they played for the Cincinnati Red Stockings, America's first professional baseball team. English cricket teams toured American regularly. Richard Daft's England side visited in 1869, when they played in New York and Philadelphia. Then with the spread of cricket to Boston, Lord Hawke's England XI played George Wright's New England Cricket XI at the Longwood Country Club in Boston. On the same tour in 1891 Lord Hawke's XI defeated a Germantown CC XI in Philadelphia, which included George Patterson, regarded as America's best batsman, with several centuries to his credit. George Patterson -- referred to as America's W.G. Grace -- was an American-born cricketer and lawyer by profession, described as brilliant under pressure when facing first-class English sides.
In 2004 Pro Cricket was organized as a professional Twenty20 format league with eight teams in two divisions. However, the league closed at the end of its first season in 2004. The Pro Cricket league was independent of the USACA and not recognized or sanctioned by it. Among post-secondary institutions, in recent years Haverford College is one of the few to field a cricket team at the varsity level.
International Cricket in America was virtually nonexistent until recently when the United States national cricket team started playing in the World Cricket League. Cricket in the United States is run by the United States of America Cricket Association, whose effectiveness is lessened by limited funds due to cricket's lack of popularity compared to other sports. The United States cricket team is currently unranked in Test Cricket and One Day International cricket.
New England Cricket Association Inc. (NECA) is a "not for profit" sports organization dedicated to promote Hard Tennis Ball T20 Cricket in Boston's Metro West area. NECA provides the framework for teams interested in playing friendly and organized Hard Tennis Ball Cricket. NECA has operated as a friendly social organization of Cricket lovers since 2003 and was officially incorporated in 2018 in the Common Wealth of Massachusetts. NECA is run on a purely volunteer basis and is governed by the board of elected senior members.
Since its inception in 2003, NECA has grown from just a few teams to 32 teams across three divisions in 2017, and continues to grow in size with the interest for Cricket in the rise in New England.
There are only a few purpose-built cricket grounds in the United States, they include the Germantown Cricket Club Ground and the Philadelphia Cricket Club Ground in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Randolph St. George Walker Park on Staten Island, New York; the Central Broward Regional Park in Lauderhill, Florida; and the Leo Magnus Cricket Complex in Van Nuys, California.
The game is also played on a number of shared purpose venues, they include Van Cortlandt Stadium in Bronx, New York and others.
The main cricket grounds in the USA include:
The United States of America Cricket Association (USACA) is the governing body for International Cricket Council (ICC) sanctioned cricket in the United States. The ICC recognized the USACA as an associate member starting in 1965. In 2005 the USACA was suspended from an ICC sponsored annual conference due to problems with USACA elections, but that suspension was lifted in March 2006. In 2007 the USACA was again suspended by the ICC because of problems with its administration and constitution, but was again recognized beginning on April 1, 2008. It was again suspended in 2015.
The national association organizes play within and between seven regional conferences, which may contain several leagues. A league is a group of 8 or more teams that play according to a schedule. Competition is held at various age levels including under-19, under-15, senior, etc. The USACA holds a National Senior Tournament as well as national and international competitions for other age groups.
USACA was expelled in late 2017 and replaced by USA Cricket, which is preparing for elections. At the moment, ICC Americas is running cricket in the United States.
In 2006 it was estimated that 30,000 people in the United States play or watch cricket annually. By 2017, this figure had risen to 200,000 people playing cricket in 6,000 teams. Cricket in the United States is not as popular as baseball and is not as popular among as large a fraction of the population as it is within either the Commonwealth nations or the other ICC full member (or Test cricket) nations. There are at least two historical reasons for the relative obscurity of cricket within the United States. One reason was the 19th-century-rise of the summer time bat and ball sport now called baseball, which seems to have displaced cricket as a popular pastime. Another reason was that in 1909 when the ICC was originally organized as the Imperial Cricket Conference it was open only to Commonwealth nations and thereby excluded the US from participating in the sport at the highest level.
Nevertheless, in 1965 the US was admitted to the renamed ICC as an associate member and the sport grew in popularity in the second half of the 20th century. An oft mentioned reason for the growing popularity of cricket is the growing population of immigrants to the US who come from cricket playing nations.
With the launching of the United States Youth Cricket Association in 2010, a more focused effort to bring the game to American schools was begun, with the intention of broadening cricket's fan base beyond expatriates and their children.
ESPN has been stepping up its coverage of cricket in recent years, buying the cricket website Cricinfo in 2007, and broadcasting the final of the 2014 ICC World Twenty20 competition, the 2014 Indian Premier League, English County Championship games, and international Test cricket.