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Sunday, March 29, 2009

American Premier League (APL): Twenty20 Craze Now in USA?

From the title, you can guess that I am going to talk about Twenty20 cricket tournament on American soil. Twenty20 cricket has already emerged as the new tool to spread cricket over the world in what would make it a global sport. Indian Cricket League (ICL) and Indian Premier League (IPL) have already caught up the attention of India’s cricket crazy fans. Now, the glitz and glamour of Twenty20 cricket seems to be entertaining cricket fans living in USA. Jay Mir, the CEO of American Sports And Entertainment Group Inc, has taken an initiative to organize a tournament titled American Premier League (APL) in the frame of IPL. The tournament is reportedly expected to be held on a converted baseball field situated in Staten Island, New York in October.

Jay Mir said that there could be six international teams in the tournament: Premium Pakistan, Premium Indians, Premium West Indies, Premium World and Premium America. Mr. Mir hopes that the tournament would stir up a cricket revolution in the country where cricket is mainly popular among the South Asian community. Mir has already deployed an agent in England to form a squad for World XI. Moreover, negotiation is going on with Richie Richardson, former captain of West Indies, who is expected to be recruiter as well as coach of West Indies team.

However, USACA secretary, John Aaron, thinks that October is not a right time to play cricket in New York. Besides the excitement of Twenty20 cricket, American cricket fans can also enjoy the state-of-the-art facilities of the stadium located in Staten Island, New York which has 10,000 spectators. Cricket fans can see the Manhattan skyline, the Statue of Liberty and the Hudson River from the stadium.

Jay Mir has already been in talks with some of ICL’s Pakistani players including Inzamam-ul-Haq and there is a possibility that a number of Pakistani players who have contracts with ICL could also appear in American Premier League. However, they would first see if their ICL contracts allow them to join APL. It has been hinted from ICL that if there is no clash with ICL schedule, ICL players can take part in any tournament.

Cricket may not be a popular game in America, but a big South Asian community ensures a big lucrative market for cricket in the country. So, the idea of American Premier League (APL) could be a success story for the organizers and it could be conducive for the development of cricket in the country.  

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