New York gets ready to embrace cricket at T20 World Cup 2024

Newly-built Nassau County stadium will host the highly-anticipated India v Pakistan clash next month

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The US is gearing up to host one of the biggest sporting events of the year with the newly-built Nassau County International Cricket Stadium, near New York, unveiled by the International Cricket Council ahead of the T20 World Cup that begins early next month.

New York is one of the three venues in the US that will host matches during the showpiece event, including the highly-anticipated India v Pakistan clash. A total of 16 matches will take place at centres in Lauderhill [Florida], Dallas and New York. The rest of the tournament will be held in the Caribbean.

But all eyes will be on the purpose built 34,000 seater stadium that is almost complete and ready to host its first match of the tournament between Sri Lanka and South Africa on June 3.

The main event, however, will be the the match between neighbours India and Pakistan – a match that has traditionally been the biggest money spinner for major tournaments – on June 9.

The venue at Eisenhower Park has undergone a huge transformation over the last four months with the installation of temporary stands from the Las Vegas Formula One circuit that have been repurposed for the World Cup, and drop-in pitches that were prepared in Florida.

The ICC is happy with the preparations for hosting the high-profile India v Pakistan match that will help raise the profile of cricket in the US to a new level.

"Yeah, absolutely! We can run that game anywhere and the interest in the fixture would be immense," Chris Tetley, the ICC's head of events, told reporters.

"The news stories that we have seen and the media coverage in the US itself as well as among the cricket media around the world. I have not seen that before around an ICC event.

"We are really excited to bring the T20 World Cup cricket to the US and the opportunity that it presents to the sport and from what I can see there is an audience really waiting for us to come."

On Wednesday, retired Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt, who is an honorary ambassador of the T20 World Cup, visited the nearly complete Nassau stadium, along with USA cricketers Corey Anderson and Monank Patel, cricket legend Sir Curtly Ambrose, Shoaib Malik from Pakistan and England all-rounder Liam Plunkett.

The plan is to use the T20 World Cup as a vehicle to fuel the growth of cricket in the North American market, especially with cricket announced as one of five new sports at the 2028 Games in Los Angeles.

Parmanand Sarju, founder of the Long Island Youth Cricket Academy, is extremely happy to see a new stadium at a field where his youth academy started.

“When we started more than a decade ago, there was no understanding of cricket, at least at the youth level,” Sarju was quoted as saying by the Associated Press. “Now they’re building a stadium here.”

Venu Pisike, chairman of USA Cricket, said the T20 World Cup will mark a turning point for the sport.

“Cricket is predominantly viewed as an expat sport, but things will look very different in the next 10, 20 years,” said Pisike. “Americans will definitely change their mindset and approach in terms of developing cricket.”

The T20 World Cup has been expanded with a total of 20 teams set to compete, with sides split into four groups of five. From there, the top two teams in each group will advance to the Super 8 round, and then to the semi-finals and final.

The T20 World Cup begins on June 1 with the final on June 29 in Barbados.

Updated: May 16, 2024, 11:22 AM