The defacto emotion unifying India can be traced to the game of cricket—the IPL and T20s have popularized the game more than any Indian sport over the last decade or so! Stretching over this emotion in America, you will find weekend cricket leagues in the US are connecting people in a language that needs no introduction to the Indian American community, as also other ethnic communities from countries (in Asia/Africa etc.) that were part of the Commonwealth. The Indian Diaspora gets very nostalgic over the game, having played some form of gully (street) cricket as also having played cricket on kaccha pitch (local/weak version of a pitch) during their formative years
Cricket is now picking up as a sport in the US. The eight-team Des Moines Cricket League now in its third season is all pumped up for some great post-season competitions this September. Interestingly, cricket is not entirely new to America. The United States and Canada teams played each other at Bloomingdale Park in Manhattan in September 1844. It was the mid-19th century that cricket was overshadowed by Baseball. Shorter matches (3+ hours) could be one of the reasons Baseball picked up so fast in the US.
Times are changing for cricket and the game and its popularity has grown many folds. One of the reasons for the game’s popularity is also owing to the change in demographics of the country which now has a huge cricket- followership. Also, they have a version of T-20 for the new generation and I believe there are some leagues like the Des Moines that play an even shorter version of cricket i.e. short 3-hour matches inspired by the baseball and football matches played in the US.
The Ministry of Tourism in India should promote cricket to the second generation of the Indian Diaspora. They should consider a Cricket Yatra package which would be similar to tourism packages like the Chardham Yatras, Royal Rajasthan tours, Backwaters (in Kerala) etc. potentially to attract the Indian diaspora that is passionate about cricket. These packages can include visiting historic stadiums like the Wankhede & Kotla; watching actual matches, and meeting cricket stars and coaches (from the glorious past to the present-day heroes). It will drive tourism and also increase interest in cricket.
Given that watching and playing cricket is also a family activity, I see it as a great chance for the Gen-x to connect with Indian roots.
Your thoughts are welcome.