Monday, July 15, 2024

ICC’s Big American Dream: Too many loose ends


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New Delhi, June 16: Under-prepared drop-in tracks, poor ground conditions, over dependence on Indian TV audience, not factoring in weather and steep ticket prices were only some of the problems that didn’t make America the most viable commercial destination for a global event like T20 World Cup, in first attempt.
However the only takeaway is United States’ national team’s stupendous show to beat Pakistan and give India a run for their money before entering the Super Eights on its debut at the world stage.
There are only few things that money can’t buy and the performances by Saurabh Netravalkar and Monank Patel were indeed priceless, something that would give the pin-striped suits of ICC sitting in Dubai, a chance to heave a sigh of relief despite lot of things that didn’t go right during the course of two-and-a-half weeks.
For any team sport to do well and get popularity in a particular geographical region, it is imperative that there is some sense of nationalism associated with it and the H1B visa holders and Green Card acquiring Indians have given them that opportunity.
Cricket in America has been ICC’s pet project for a long time and having T20 included in the 2028 Olympics programme for the Los Angeles edition is a big leap in that direction.
However the global body would be the first to admit that the teething problems associated with the logistics and organisational part did paint a sorry picture.
Let us take the example of the Nassau County Cricket ground in the Long Island, which is more than an hour’s drive from the CBD (Central Business District) of the New York City.
It was a makeshift facility and by the time this article reaches the readers, the 37,000 seater portable stands would have been dismantled and no one knows what kind of cricket matches would be played at that ground henceforth. The drop-in pitch will be plucked out for sure.
The mouth-watering proposition of India vs USA in New York state (not City) however needed a bit more than just hype and not testing the tracks was a juvenile mistake.
The pitch was pilloried for its uneven bounce during India’s opening match against Ireland when balls were flying from length after hitting the cracks.
The groundsmen then rolled the track to cover the cracks and so much that the pitch became slow and teams found it difficult to chase down any target which was in the range of 115-120.
The low scores made the matches enticing but also took away the fun element from the whole process of coming to watch a T20 match where they would want to see more sixes being hit. (PTI)


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