The Economist: Why cricket and America are made for each other

From The Economist:

When the AirHogs stadium reopens in the spring it will be the first home of Major League Cricket (mlc).

All the men were of Indian descent. They and their partners, who include the ceos of Microsoft and Adobe, have put in $44m and committed another $76m to start the league. As owners of the first six franchises—in Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, dc—they are betting that conditions are right to turn cricket, long seen as a baffling foreign game, into an American pursuit. The first season will run from July 13th to 30th.

Most Americans may not take cricket seriously—and most of the cricketing world does not take America seriously—but in 2024 the country will co-host (with the West Indies) a cricket World Cup, qualifying the American team automatically. usa Cricket, the governing body in America, wants to include cricket at the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles. The world’s biggest sports market and second-most popular sport are about to discover what they really think of each other…

In 1971 England were touring Australia for a terrifically dull series of tests—the traditional, five-day version of the game. When the third test was washed out, the teams agreed to play a one-day match. Some 46,000 fans showed up, compared with 42,000 over five days of the first test. (Australia won.)

Cricket tours embraced “one-day internationals” (odis) as a regular feature. By 1975 the International Cricket Council had launched an odi World Cup. In the late 1970s a rogue American-inspired league, “World Series Cricket”, introduced yet more innovations, such as floodlights, colourful uniforms to replace white flannel, and white balls to replace red ones.

Comments at Steve Sailer:

* The popularity of sports has little to do with the “quality” of the sport (to the degree that can ever be defined.). It is memories and tradition. Why do I love the Eagles? Cuz I remember watching Wilbur Montgomery drive a dagger in the Cowboys with a 40 yard TD run in the 1980 NFC Championship with my grandpa. And I remember watching Deshawn Jackson run back a punt to beat the Giants in 2010 with my son. I can recall dozens of good and bad sports memories and they are always liked to male family members and friends.

Cricket is a fine sport, I am sure, but there are no memories and legends to recall for Americans. That is the challenge for it to overcome.

* Years ago, when I worked in the Middle East as an expat, TV programming came from the UK where cricket featured prominently. I was baffled by the game at first, but players’ skill and spectator enthusiasm made me take further notice. Once I understood the rules (Steve, they are not that hard to learn), my appreciation naturally increased. I now thoroughly enjoy the game of cricket.

For the curious who don’t yet appreciate game, try the Twenty20 game…a shortened version but the same rules of traditional test match cricket. Twenty20 lacks the endurance and some of the strategy of a test match, but you can usually finish these in an afternoon. Twenty20 cricket might have more appeal to American audiences.

* Not one in a hundred Americans can explain pretty much anything that isn’t shouted at them 24/7 by MSM and social media, so that isn’t saying much.

Speaking as a native-born American, the scoring system in cricket is extremely simple: one run when the batsmen switch places, four runs if the batsman hits the ball along the ground and it goes over the boundary, six runs if the batsman hits the ball over the boundary without it touching the ground.

Cricket was the most popular summer ball sport in colonial America. It isn’t going to be making a comeback anytime soon, but it really isn’t that difficult to understand. Like with any sport you didn’t grow up with, the vocabulary is going to be a barrier and you are unlikely to appreciate a sport as an adult if you didn’t grow up as a kid playing and watching the sport inside a culture that appreciates said sport.

But as a learning exercise, it isn’t that difficult to learn it just requires some effort; learning a new language or skill is harder (but also probably more worthwhile for most people).

* How do we work jumping chest bumps and 360 degree hop screams into cricket? Asking for the negroes.

Seriously though, the need to bring in cricket, and soccer, and pretty soon the game where you throw the dead goat into the circle from horseback, is simply more invade the world (NFL, NBA, MLB games in other continents), invite the world (soccer, cricket, the game where you throw the dead goat into the circle from horseback) philosophy.

* Where on earth is rugby working class? New Zealand, where it’s the only thing going? It sure isn’t prole in England, France, Argentina, South Africa…

* Most of the strange fielding terms were coined in the mid 18th Century, when the game first became organised. The term “silly” is used as a modifier to the names for certain fielding positions when the fielder is so close to the batsman that he is being imprudent, or silly.

* Gully
Leg Slip
Leg Gully
Short leg
Backward Square Leg
Fine Leg
Deep Fine Leg
Silly point
Silly mid-on
Silly mid-off

I can’t see what is complicated about these fielding positions.

First of all you have to understand the simple concept of leg and off. The legside is the side of the batsman’s legs, and the offside is the side of the batsman’s bat. So he can hit the ball to leg or to off.

“Silly” means very close to the batsman. The close fielder is hoping to make a catch if the ball pops up and falls close to the batter.

“Square” means level with the batsman. You can be square on the offside or the legside. You can be forward of square or backward of square. Hence backward square leg. Square on the offside is also called point. So silly point is square on the outside and close to the bat. (The actual location of these positions on the field will therefore depend on whether the batsman is right-handed or left-handed, because his legs will be on a different side.)

Even children know this.

Gully is slightly behind square on the offside. I don’t know the origin of the word, but it probably refers to some historical cricket field that had a gully.

* Surely what the article is saying is yes we know cricket won’t catch on among historical Americans but we don’t have to pretend to care any more because cricket is already the sport of tens of millions of Great Replacement Americans and of hundreds of millions just waiting for their visas. We don’t have to care about the identity or opinions of historical Americans, because that America, the existence and right to self-determination of that American people, are debunked myths, like the debunked myth of baseball being an purely American invention. The myth we don’t debunk, the myth we’re staking our future on, is of America being a nation of immigrants. Since we’re living by that myth a cricketer in flight from Bombay to JFK with a freshly printed visa is already as American, indeed more American, than anyone playing that dying sport of baseball.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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