In a field in Bowie, Maryland, cricket—a game once foreign to many Americans—is rapidly captivating a new generation of players and fans.
Nationwide, cricket is experiencing a surge in popularity. According to USA Cricket, the sport’s governing body, over 400 leagues have emerged across US, with more than 200,000 players and counting.
“It’s truly a watershed moment for cricket in this country,” said cricket reporter Smit Patel.
He predicts even more aggressive growth for the sport in the US Last year, Major League Cricket debuted, and cricket will be featured at the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles. “It’s the second most played sport in the world,” Patel emphasized. “The potential is immense.”
Thirteen-year-old Jordyn Hinkle-Walker remembers the surprise from her mother when she first started playing cricket three years ago. “When I first started playing, my mom was like, ‘girl, what are you doing?'”
Hinkle-Walker had never even heard of the game until coach Sham Chotoo introduced it to her classroom. “I called up the principal and said, ‘Hey, I would like to come to the school and do a cricket demo,'” Chotoo shared with CBS News. The students’ reaction was immediate and enthusiastic. “It was crazy,” Chotoo said. “You’d see their faces light up with excitement.”
Chotoo, who grew up playing cricket in Trinidad and Tobago, has made it his mission to share the sport in the US since moving here 30 years ago. Initially, cricket was predominantly played by the immigrant population as a fun way to gather and connect. However, when Chotoo had children, he wanted to share this piece of his culture with them.
“And I said, well, why don’t I start a cricket program here,” he explained. This initiative became the first elementary school cricket league in the US Now, over a decade later, his program boasts 86 teams and more than 1,000 children playing cricket……
This month marks a significant milestone as the US co-hosts and competes in the International Cricket Council’s Men’s T20 World Cup for the first time. “I believe the World Cup will act as a catalyst, much like the FIFA World Cup did in 1994,” Patel remarked.
On Thursday, the US made headlines by pulling off a stunning upset against Pakistan. This Sunday, cricket fans can look forward to the highly anticipated India vs. Pakistan match at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in New York, a 34,000-seat, $30 million temporary stadium built for the T20 World Cup.
With the world watching and new opportunities arising, young cricketers in the US can now dream bigger than ever before. “Now I can say, you know what, you can be a professional cricket player, you can earn a living by playing in the Major League Cricket program here in the US,” Chotoo said.
The rise of cricket in the US is not just about increasing participation but also about creating a vibrant community that appreciates the sport. The USA Cricket Board has been actively working to promote cricket at all levels, aiming to establish a sustainable infrastructure that supports both amateur and professional play. With significant investments in facilities and the introduction of cricket into schools, the future of cricket in the US looks promising.
In addition to the growing domestic leagues, international cricket stars and events are helping to boost the sport’s profile. The inclusion of cricket in the Olympics will undoubtedly elevate its status, attracting new fans and participants. As cricket continues to gain traction, the US is poised to become a new frontier for the sport, offering exciting opportunities for players and fans alike.
For those eager to join this cricket revolution, various programs and leagues are available nationwide, catering to different age groups and skill levels. Whether you’re a seasoned player or new to the game, there’s never been a better time to get involved in cricket in the US.
The article originally appeared in CBS News

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