Expansion plans for Major League Cricket


Major League Cricket expansion plans Image: visitgrandprairietx.com

Major League Cricket (MLC) has announced ambitious new expansion plans for the sport in the United States.

The Guardian said the US league now has six franchises but plans to launch two more in the near future, and two more soon after that.

The announcement comes just after MLC has been fully legitimised by the news that its matches have been awarded List A status by the International Cricket Council.

The significant development marks yet another crucial milestone in the growth and status of Cognizant Major League Cricket, and cricket more broadly in the United States.

It recognizes Cognizant Major League Cricket as an official T20 league and America’s first world-class domestic tournament.

Now, every century, half-century, ‘five-for’, run-out, win, loss, and championship will be documented as official career statistics in an internationally recognized format of the game.

This will also provide local US players and upcoming stars of the game the opportunity for international recognition, furthering the development of domestic talent by the MLC.

The List-A Status comes after the MLC’s successful inaugural season and underscores its unwavering dedication to delivering premier cricket in the United States.

In addition to the official List-A status, MLC CEO, Vijay Srinivasan, recently announced aspirations to expand from what began as a 19-game season in 2023 to a 34-game season by 2025.

He said, “It was always intended to be a 10‑team league. Studies show that we are a big enough country, with a big enough demographic to support 10 teams, so that’s our plan. We had 19 games in our first season, will have 25 in our second. I think we want to get to 34 next year, and just gradually keep expanding.”

The Guardian further stated that the move will have significant implications for the landscape of the professional sport in England.

The second season, which starts at the end of the men’s T20 World Cup, runs for 23 days and overlaps with The Hundred.

The US tournament next year will be significantly longer and start earlier. Srinivasan said MLC is keen to play in June.

He said, “Ultimately for us our ideal calendar is to start much earlier, in the late spring or early summer. With the Indian Premier League ending in late May, I think our sweet spot would be to start in early June, which is when we have the school holidays in the US, and go into July. That’s how we would like to establish our window.”

That would clash with the T20 Blast season in England but leave The Hundred to run from late July through August.

MLC’s expansion plans will also increase pressure on the English game to decide whether or not to bring private investment into the Hundred.

The England and Wales Cricket Board, the 18 counties and Marylebone Cricket Club agreed that it was the “direction of travel” for the game on 10 May, but there is frustration about slow progress.

MLC has already established a series of academies and a minor league system to develop local players. It is now working on developing more List A venues. “We’re not here to play a league and go away every year,” Srinivasan said.

“We feel like it is our role is to build the infrastructure for cricket in the US. MLC is the means to an end, if you will. I think 10 years from now, I think you’ll see a very different landscape for cricket in the US. We’ll have a very robust set of venues around the country, we’ll have a home-and-away sort of format for MLC, and we’ll have a much larger pool of players as a result in the system. Hopefully that means we will also have a very strong sort of USA team. Those are all our ambitions.”

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