Professional cricket hits the USA
June 3, 2004
PLANS have been revealed for a professional cricket league in the USA.
Pro Cricket will feature eight teams based in New York, New Jersey, Washington DC, Florida, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Texas.
They will play 20-overs a side matches and each side can include up to five overseas players.
The organisers claim they have a number of international players from India, Pakistan, West Indies, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya already signed up.
Until now, cricket in the USA has been played on a regional basis.
Cricketers taking part in the new competition will benefit from lucrative contracts with salaries of up to $60,000 available for those playing an entire season.
The eight teams will be divided into two leagues, with the first match between NY Storm and Florida Thunder set to be played on June 18.
The top two teams in each league will go forward to the next phase, with the final scheduled for the Commerce Bank Park in Bridgewater, New Jersey on 4 September.
The level of interest in cricket is increasing in the USA after the International Cricket Council identified North America as one of its prime expansion areas.
The national side won the ICC Six Nations Challenge in the United Arab Emirates earlier this year and will compete in the Champions Trophy in England in September.
And the USA is also bidding to stage matches during the 2007 World Cup, which will primarily be based in the Caribbean.
Broward County officials last week approved the design for a new stadium to be built at Lauderhill in Florida. (BBC Sport).