Dallas, Texas. Home of the Cowboys, BBQ and now T20 cricket. Yep that’s right, cricket is heading Stateside this summer as Major League Cricket begins in July. But what do we know about the new competition and who is involved?
What is it?
Major League Cricket will be the first US professional T20 league and will feature teams from all over the United States of America. The competition will take place from July 13 to July 30, and due to the summer heat, games will be played at night.
What teams are involved?
Six teams will contest the inaugural competition, with the hope of expanding to eight teams in the future. Those involved this year are:
MI New York
San Francisco Unicorns
Los Angeles Knight Riders
It is planned that each team will have its own designated stadium in the future, but the first tournament will take place at the 7,000 capacity Grand Prairie Stadium in Texas.
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Which players are playing?
England World Cup winner Liam Plunkett and former Australia captain Aaron Finch have both signed up and will play for the San Francisco Unicorns. Finch is one of six overseas players along with former South Africa skipper Quinton de Kock, who will represent the Seattle Orcas.
Each of the six teams picked nine US-based players in Sunday's domestic player draft alongside six overseas signings, with more set to be announced in the next few weeks. Plunkett intriguingly is eligible as a domestic player as his wife is American. Meanwhile, Harmeet Singh made history as the first pick in the draft for the Seattle Orcas.
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What are the USA trying to achieve?
USA Cricket wants to raise the profile of the sport in the States and this tournament is a way to raise fan interest. They also want to become a full member of the ICC by 2030, having become an associate member back in 2019. A worldwide game, with the Americans on board, is also part of the plan from the ICC to get cricket included in the 2028 LA Olympic Games.
Are there any negatives?
It seems like a positive venture all round but it has created a stir in the cricketing world. The Hundred, England’s own white-ball cricket competition that has now been going for two years, fears that it could lose some stars to MLC. Finch, Marcus Stoinis and de Kock have all been part of The Hundred and if MLC takes off, it will provide a difficult decision for some players to make.
The ECB are also unhappy and set to decline to release centrally contracted players to appear in Major League Cricket. It coincides with the Ashes and while the limited-over specialists don’t have any games scheduled, aside from the Vitality Blast Finals Day, the ECB are unwilling to let them go and play.
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