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    Nothing but crickets in America

    This piece of idiocy in the Guardian caught my eye:

    According to Giles Clarke, chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board, one of the principal purposes of last week's game in Antigua was to break America. (italics mine) "We have to see if we can develop that market," Clarke said, which suggests those involved in last week's events have learned nothing from the experience of the Pro Cricket League. Even worse, they have learned nothing from Stanford's experiment in Fort Collins, Colorado, earlier this year, when he spent 2m (250 per head) on trying to get the locals interested in the game. Its success can be judged by the opening paragraph of a recent story in the town's paper: "When it comes to cricket - at least as far as Fort Collins is concerned - it's nothing but crickets."
    Huh? Are these people really as daft as they sound?

    If the object was to break the game in America then shouldn't the first requirement be to hold a creditable tournament in the US with some TV coverage that's not buried on channel 9999.

    Even if breaking the game in America is half way feasible (which I think it's not), then wouldn't it be better to put on a 20/20 exhibition between say an Indian/Australian/West Indies All Stars of some sort. There's a sizable and growing Indian population here and there are a lot of West Indian immigrant families so conceivably there's an audience on which to build a fan base, but I think even that's a long shot.

    I dunno, how can somebody so rich be so dumb?

    What say you cricketing wallahs?

    #2
    Nothing but crickets in America

    Some of that Stanford All-Stars v. England match was on ESPN2 over the weekend. I watched some. It was pretty poor. The announcers weren't explaining the game at all, and it seemed like the broadcast inexplicably replayed the same segments of coverage more than once with no explanation.

    Also, it wasn't a very close contest.

    There's a piece in SI this week about the growth of cricket in the US due to the influx of immigrants from cricketing countries. I haven't read it yet.

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      #3
      Nothing but crickets in America

      Reed, if I wanted to illustrate to an unknowing American what was great about cricket, the very last place I'd start would be with last week's meaningless farce. India are about to beat Australia in a Test series; this is interesting in many ways, and should be on some of the Sky-linked channels, but ultimately cricket should stop bothering trying to infiltrate an already saturated market. People are either going to love it or hate it.

      Christ, Giles Clarke - the man who took cricket off terrestrial public broadcasting at the end of its most enthralling season in living memory - has been a spectacular disaster hasn't he?

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        #4
        Nothing but crickets in America

        There is a sizable Indian-American community near where I used to live--Pioneer Blvd. is known for its stores and Indian restaurants--and a local movie theater that shows nothing but Bollywood movies shows satellite coverage of big cricket events on their screens, and it's a big draw.

        Shocked to hear that ESPN2 actually showed cricket--you can find it on TV here, but it's usually on the PPV or Indian satellite channels.

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          #5
          Nothing but crickets in America

          I know enough about cricket to know that Stanford thing was dreadful (and yet the fans at the ground seemed to be into it for some reason).

          I don't know if anyone else in the US was watching. Probably not. It was competing with football.

          A few years ago, some channel showed a lot of the One Day World Cup. That was the first time I'd ever seen cricket. I enjoyed it and from what I gathered from an Indian friend I used to work with, a lot of Indians and Pakistanis in the US were riveted to it.

          So if they want to put cricket on in the US, they should show that. 20/20 is too gimmicky and test cricket is hard for newcomers to get into. But the one day game seemed about right.

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            #6
            Nothing but crickets in America

            There's only one way even 20-20 cricket will ever take off in the US, and that's if they change the rules so that three dot balls means you're out, and the batting team changes every five overs or so.

            Americans aren't used to watching a sport in which one side takes over an hour to amass a target which the other team then has to slowly chip away at. All their sports (football, baseball, basketball, even hockey to an extent) are specifically designed to ensure that both sides have equal - and frequent - opportunities to attack, even if they don't always take advantage of them. I think it's why the apparently random nature of soccer has never generally appealed over there, either.

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              #7
              Nothing but crickets in America

              Talking of all this, have any of you read Netherland by Joseph O'Neill? Have we done a thread on it on Books?

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                #8
                Nothing but crickets in America

                Firstly it's not only about Indians in America, there are 500,000 Brits in Souther California for instance. Then of course there is a very large Carribean community along the Eastern seaboard. There are now 10,000 kids playing organized cricket in New York schools alone.

                Nobody expects cricket to become a major sport again in the USA, but it is one of America's fastest growing team-sports.

                Secondly, America was one of the World's great cricketing powers up until WW1. In 1897 for instance, the full strength Austrlain Ashes team were beaten by a Philadelphia club team by an innings and 68 runs. Quite why cricket died out so quickly, and the mechanism by which baseball took over has never really been explained to the best of my knowledge

                Swing bowling was invented by an American with ideas he had borrowed from baseball. Statistically, Bart King was the greatest bowler of all time.

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bart_King

                [EDIT: Comma added, to appease the mierenneukers]

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                  #9
                  Nothing but crickets in America

                  Tell us more about Statistically Bart.

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                    #10
                    Nothing but crickets in America

                    Nice article in Sports Illustrated.

                    I don't know about y'all, but to me this sounds like heaven on earth:

                    In the warmth of the afternoon, as the game stretched from its third hour to its fourth and then its fifth, there might have been 200 or 300 spectators on hand, sitting in metal stands and beach chairs. You could smell chicken and ribs grilling in a giant pit, $5 for a heaping plate, no napkin. Young men drank Heinekens, and older men poured rum out of glass bottles covered by brown paper bags and into plastic Gatorade bottles. Pakistani fans drank cans of Orange Crush and Mountain Dew and smoked thin Gold Flake 84-mm cigarettes you don't see at most 7-Elevens. Indian fans drank Dunkin' Donuts coffee. Jamaican men played Rummy 500, gambling with crumpled U.S. dollars.

                    Behind the stands were woods, and their edge was a public urinal for the menfolk, both fans and players. (Women used the portable toilet.) Ramadan was over, so you didn't see any cricketers bowing in prayer, heads to the turf, as you did in earlier rounds of the playoffs. Now and again you'd smell a lighted joint, and under the stands there was a spent package of Bambu rolling papers amid the chicken bones and discarded beer bottles. People argued plays, screamed at the officials, told stories and jokes. Nobody was in a rush.

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                      #11
                      Nothing but crickets in America

                      I imagine the shift away from cricket to baseball has something to do with the shift in immigration patterns. A lot of the people who came here in the late 19th and early 20th century weren't from cricketing countries.

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                        #12
                        Nothing but crickets in America

                        They weren't from baseball-playing countries either, though.

                        What I gather is that two things happened. One (which also happened in Canada, but not in Australia) is that cricket clubs became socially snobbish and reluctant to pick working-class players. The other is that there was a big fuck-off civil war, which created a need for a game that could be played on random bits of field next to where armies had camped, rather than beautifully smooth and manicured fine grass pitches prepared by expert groundsmen.

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                          #13
                          Nothing but crickets in America

                          They weren't from baseball-playing countries either, though.
                          Right, but they were a blank slate as far as their preference for bat and ball games.

                          But your answer is better.

                          There's also a hypothesis, that Americans rejected soccer and rugby in favor of our own version of football because they wanted to make a break from the "Old World." I suppose the same could be true of cricket.

                          That always seemed to me to be a rather woolly explanation. I've always figured that our football developed as it did for the same reason Australia has very different animals from ever other continent. Set apart, evolutionary paths will diverge.

                          So in America (and Australia) a new sort of football emerged, while variants of football developed in Britain didn't go very far (like that Wall Game) because there was nobody from the home office, as it were, to tell them "No, no, you're doing it wrong!"

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                            #14
                            Nothing but crickets in America

                            I don't know about y'all, but to me this sounds like heaven on earth
                            As I sit in an office staring out at London's cold November sunset I can honestly say that it does indeed.

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                              #15
                              Nothing but crickets in America

                              The Purple Cow wrote:
                              Firstly it's not only about Indians in America, there are 500,000 Brits in Souther California for instance.
                              True. But here in Santa Monica, which has 5,000 British expatriates (in a city of no more than 90,000 people), I don't detect all that much interest in cricket. I don't think the numerous British-style pubs make as big deal about cricket as they do about soccer. Then again, maybe I think that because I'm not looking for it.

                              There is a pretty big Southern California cricket league, though.

                              http://www.dreamcricket.com/scca/Points_Table.aspx

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                                #16
                                Nothing but crickets in America

                                Reed of the Valley People wrote:
                                So in America (and Australia) a new sort of football emerged, while variants of football developed in Britain didn't go very far (like that Wall Game) because there was nobody from the home office, as it were, to tell them "No, no, you're doing it wrong!"
                                Australian rules football came from Gaelic football. This could be a similar myth to Germany choosing green as their away shirt and Socrates playing in the Irish League.

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                                  #17
                                  Nothing but crickets in America

                                  DirecTV has a PPV channel solely devoted to cricket, mostly India's tests iirc. And I recall reading a quote the last time the US qualified for the gimmick world cup that with the Caribbean immigration, it was possile we could be playing tests in about 20 years. I'll believe it when I see it.

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                                    #18
                                    Nothing but crickets in America

                                    QUOTE:
                                    Firstly it's not only about Indians in America, there are 500,000 Brits in Souther California for instance.

                                    True. But here in Santa Monica, which has 5,000 British expatriates (in a city of no more than 90,000 people), I don't detect all that much interest in cricket. I don't think the numerous British-style pubs make as big deal about cricket as they do about soccer. Then again, maybe I think that because I'm not looking for it.
                                    That's my impression too, which is why I didn't mention the Brit contingent.

                                    A few years ago I read about a cricket team from Compton, It was kids from gang areas who were taught the game. Apparently they did a tour of England that was quite successful. I don't have a link, but I'd be curious to know if that program is still going.

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                                      #19
                                      Nothing but crickets in America

                                      I wonder if Setanta USA would ever carry cricket. I remember the Fox Sports World Report showing cricket highlights back when the network was Fox Sports World, and not Fox Soccer Channel.

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                                        #20
                                        Nothing but crickets in America

                                        " I don't have a link, but I'd be curious to know if that program is still going."

                                        It is. It's run by a guy I used to serve copious amounts of Ansell's Bitter to, at The Sportsman in Harbourne. A very talented drunk by the name of Paul Smith. He could have been an all-time great, but instead his Warwickshire career came to a halt when Bob Woolmer caught him bonking a stewardess on a flight to a training camp.

                                        His autobiography is called 'Wasted' - it's one of the more bizarre you will ever read, but nonetheless entertaining.

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                                          #21
                                          Nothing but crickets in America

                                          I think FSC still shows the general Sky Sports Tonight or whatever it's called, and that has cricket and rugby highlights.


                                          I found Wasted on Amazon.
                                          Looks appealing.

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                                            #22
                                            Nothing but crickets in America

                                            It's certainly that.

                                            It's not ghost written and it shows, but it's certainly informative and entertaining. He doesn't mention me, despite all the help I gave him in his project to destroy his liver.

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                                              #23
                                              Nothing but crickets in America

                                              What an egregious oversigh.

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