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CricketNext.com reported today that Cricket Holdings America's US T20 league will be launched in 2013 with six teams. The website reported that a number of high-profile cricketers had shown 'keen interest.'
Included in this list were Brett Lee, Shane Watson, David Warner, Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Shahid Afridi and Kumar Sangakkara. "My bags are packed," Brett Lee reportedly told the website. Lee said he would love to play in front of a packed house in New York.
Although exact venues were not named, New York and San Francisco were 'short-listed' as potential host cities for the first season. In an interview in 2010, CHA director Rajiv Podar admitted that creating suitable venues was a challenge. "The key challenge will be development of infrastructure of international acceptable standards for cricket," Podar said at the time.
Keith Wyness, the CEO of CHA, told ESPN CricInfo that he anticipated the use of cricket-specific facilities, such as the Lauderhill Stadium in Florida, or other venues which could be prepared for cricket with minimal work.
Even if baseball stadiums are small for the sport of cricket, the Richmond County Park Ballpark in Staten Island and the TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater, NJ were used by the now defunct Pro Cricket league to host cricket matches during the 2004 season. In San Francisco, the much larger Kezar Stadium (pictured above) has been used for high profile cricket matches.
Speaking about giving local cricketers an opportunity, Podar hinted that merit would play a role. "One of our objectives is to give a platform to young, talented cricketers of US," Podar said. However, he added that "we'll not compromise on the quality of cricket being exhibited in the league.” Podar told CricketNext.com that a player auction would 'most likely to take place towards the end of September.'
Podar was unfazed by the mushrooming of T20 leagues. Wyness, in his interview to ESPN CricInfo, had said that the US T20 'would be right up there among the one or two or three top T20 leagues.' Podar echoed Wyness' view and said that the US T20 would be played mid-June to mid-July, which is off-season for several cricket playing countries.