"Honestly what has happened over the last 2 years with the new constitution for USA Cricket and the new board that has been elected. I mean honestly it feels like a completely greenfield opportunity for us."
At a Cricket World Cup Trophy promotional event in New York city on Wednesday night, the atmosphere was thick with excitement about the potential for cricket in this country. The event was sponsored by Willow TV, and their CEO Vijay Srinivasan joined cricket legend and World Cup Ambassador Brian Lara, along with USA Cricket board member Avinash Gaje for a brief panel discussion.
Each of the panelists shared anecdotes from their cricketing history, including the often hilarious challenges they faced when trying to view cricket on TV when they were youngsters. But the real talk began when the conversation turned to the future of US Cricket.
Gaje set the tone for the night's aspirational and buoyant mood, suggesting that he and his newly elected board members were confident that the USA Men’s Cricket Team had a realistic chance of winning the 2026 Cricket World Cup, and the 2028 Olympic Gold Medal. This last one of course would only be possible should cricket be added as a new sport as hoped at the Los Angeles games.
Srinivasan echoed similar sentiments when he suggested that there is no reason why the U.S. shouldn’t compete at the 2024 World T20 given that the resources in New Jersey alone are greater than what a country like Afghanistan, who were recently granted full member status of the ICC, can call on.
He was asked what Willow TV hoped to contribute to the “new world order of cricket in this country”, he began by affirming his confidence in the new board.
“What we’ve never had is a governance in the U.S. that we felt was something we were comfortable working with and investing heavily into the sport.
Honestly what has happened over the last 2 years with the new constitution for USA Cricket and the new board that has been elected. I mean honestly it feels like a completely greenfield opportunity for us. We look forward, not just Willow but the wider Times Of India Group, to work closely with the new US board, and figure out what are areas we can contribute to.”
Willow has been involved with broadcasting cricket in the United States since 2002, but the 2016 World T20 was the first time cricket was available on a linear channel in this country. 1.4 million households tuned into the event on that occasion, but for next years ODI World Cup in England, Srinivasan hopes to more than double that number.
If the sentiments in the room are to be believed, then this might be one of the last major world cricket events that doesn’t feature the USA Men’s Cricket team.