Cricket Yatra – Any Takers?

Cricket is a cool sport that is fast gaining popularity as a mainstream sport in America

Cricket is a cool sport that is fast gaining popularity as a mainstream sport in America

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.

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League cricket is picking up fast in the US! Looks like cricket is back in the country!

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.

Sanjay Puri

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