The Indian team is currently preparing for the T20 matches against West Indies in Florida, Board secretary Anurag Thakur is convinced that the cricket market was waiting to be explored at nontraditional venues.
“From where I see it, neutral venues help in promoting the sport amongst a captivate fan base. In the past, cricket has been played at neutral venues such as Canada or the UAE and the response was overwhelming. Neutral venues present a win-win situation because on one hand it helps explore new markets and fans and on the other, it promotes the game, thereby contributing towards the growth of the sport,” Thakur told The Hindu.
Thakur said that he is confident of cricket becoming a global sport. “If we want cricket to be a global sport then these kinds of steps should be taken. Look at football clubs like Manchester United or Real Madrid. They travel across the world to increase their fan base.”
He was asked why BCCI wants cricket in the United States? “I firmly believe that fans are our biggest strength and need to be well taken care of. With the intent to cater to close to 3.8 million Indians and a significant number of Asians in the US, this step was taken.
“We are well aware of the excitement and craze these fans have for cricket and Team India and which has taken them to different parts of the world to cheer and support their favourite team. They connect to their roots through cricket; it is this fervour and excitement that led us to organise cricket matches in the United States. We are hoping to provide quality cricket to fans who are deprived of the same otherwise.”
India will play two matches on August 27 and 28 against West Indie. Meanwhile, ICC is also planning to host a World T20 in the United States in near future in a bid to make the sport popular in a baseball-loving country.