A novel experience for many Americans watching cricket in the US

The writer and his peers in T20 World Cup

Supriyo Chatterjee in New York

On a nice sunny Wednesday afternoon, a local 4th generation American named Fred seemed to be quite disappointed in front of a food truck stationed outside the playing area of the Nassau International Cricket Stadium to not get a handle on the much craved Indian chicken tikka masala. It was one of the primary reasons for him to come to a cricket match, apart from quenching his curiosity. Yes, he wanted to get a view of some of the Indian cricket team players who he had heard make more than some of the star NFL players at home (USA).

Yes, it is quite true that the excitement of watching a live cricket match was more predominant among the South Asian diaspora and more prevalent among the 1st and 2nd generation Indian Americans. However, there was a subtle interest about the game that penetrated down to the local residents as well. It was miniscule in nature, especially amongst the school/college going population.

Following are some excerpts of my experience with a handful of homegrown population:

1. I heard a kid going to an upper Elementary School searching for a “Cricket 101 Course” in Udemy as he found this game to be a fun affair more than what baseball has to offer him.

2. A college goer studying in Rutgers University was very curious to know the history and meaning of the different fielding positions we have in cricket, like, why we call a square as a leg, a point as a point, a long on as a long on etc.


3. A group of office goers working in different Fintech, Health Insurance and Pharma companies came to watch the India – Pakistan match along with some of their fellow Indian origin friends, because they wanted to understand the nuances of why there is so much of cricketing icon worship culture that exists in South Asia, particularly in India. They danced to the tunes of Punjabi Bhangra and jumped in enthusiasm whenever there was a Mexican wave rippling along the stadium.

4. An elderly couple who had their origin based out of the UK, came to see a match because they were craving to watch a live international cricket match in the US after they immigrated 30 years back. I heard the gentleman stating how he still tries to preach the beauty of this ‘gentleman’s game’ in his neighbourhood community in upstate New York.

So, in a nutshell yes, cricket still has a long way to go to enter the heart and soul of local Americans, but I certainly opine that the work to sow the seeds is done to a small extent — may be in a passive way. And now, we need to look forward on how this can be cultivated productively in the coming days.