It’s Christmas morning.
I am up early with the dog and the coffee to watch India play Pakistan in a Twenty20.
I get asked a lot of if cricket – specifically Twenty20 cricket – will ever take hold here in the states.
Nevermind the fact that the question is mildly, albeit unintentionally, insulting – as in, Americans could never like something as nuanced as Test cricket because they are boisterous and loud and lacking in attention spans – my answer has always been a qualified “maybe.”
The question, and my answer, invariably revolve around a US-based, T20 league.
A league featuring a smattering of US players and a bunch of international one day mercenaries in cities where there are large ex-pat communities like San Francisco.
But I am watching India vs Pakistan this morning, and it is loud and swashbuckling and entertaining without being annoying (like the IPL; no dancers, no pop music), and I cannot help but retract what I said earlier about insulting and think to myself: Americans would watch this.
If this match was on ESPN, in HD, Americans would watch it.
It would be a novelty at first, like how we all watched Australian rules football in the 80s, but after 10, maybe 15, overs, a good majority of them would be hooked, and would tune in again.
The key here is the rivalry, and the crowd, and the general atmosphere, and the entertaining cricket.
They would not watch the sub-par mercenary club cricket that a US league would produce, they would not watch England v New Zealand in a half empty Oval, but they would watch India v Pakistan, and other entertaining sides with a well defined rivalry, play Twenty20 cricket.
And so now I have two answers to the question above: a US league? Maybe. But they would definitely watch big-time T20 internationals.
Merry Christmas to all my readers.