Home > Cricket Development > Question: Is mainstreaming cricket important?

Question: Is mainstreaming cricket important?

This is not a news item with my comments on it, neither is it an opinion piece…… rather its a question and I would like others to either agree or disagree with it giving their arguments…….

The question has popped up regarding countries like US, Canada, UAE and other Gulf States, Hong Kong and Singapore…… basically countries that have been members of the ICC since 1966 but still dont have their national cricket teams representing either their overall ethnic composition, and in most cases, not even born and bred players……..

My question is…… is it important for these countries to mainstream their game? Zimbabwe and South Africa went to great lengths to try and get their black populations to play the game…… Zimbabwe arguably fired their white players to make way for the black players, while South Africa was less radical, but still introduced quotas to incorporate the blacks………

Why is it in your opinion that mainstreaming of cricket (i.e. getting indegenous players to play the game), or any sport for that matter, important? Or so you think it is not important at all?

In March 2006, I gave my point of view on this subject specifically in the context of USA. It would also be good if someone agrees or disagrees with the arguments presented in the article.

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Categories: Cricket Development
  1. August 17, 2006 at 8:19 pm

    As long as a sport remains locked in an exclusive expat community, it will never develop, and it will never gain support. It will increasingly struggle in a community, as local authorities who don’t understand the game turn the playing fields into building sites. Without local support and funding, facilities will forever remain poor, which in turn will drive off the young and anyone else who doesn’t fancy copping a ball in the head. And when a team is made up exlcusively of one nationality, it sends out a racist signal. A few brave souls from other communities will turn up, be treated unfairly, and then give up the game for good.

  2. Ram
    August 18, 2006 at 12:29 am

    The importance of mainstreaming the game in expat-based cricketing countries is directly dependent on the proportion of expats to the mainstream population…It is important to note here that I meant ‘proportion’ of expats to the mainstream population and NOT the actual number of expats…that’s why despite having as many (if not more) people following the game than in UAE (which is also expat-based), cricket virtually gets no coverage in the US or Canada compared to good coverage in UAE…On the other hand, we’ve a Test nation in Australia where cricket is still an expat-based sport but there’s no need to mainstream the game there because the expats makeup more than 98% of the population!

    To cut it short, mainstreaming should be all about ensuring whether the majority of the population (indigenous or expats) follows the sport…For example, even if 10-20% of local Arabs start following cricket, it may become mainstreamed in UAE but in case of USA/Canada, atleast 40-50% locals should start following cricket to be considered to have mainstreamed while in case of Australia, even if there’s no indigenous cricket following, it doesn’t affect the game in anyway…

    P.S. By following, I don’t mean watching cricket on TV but rather getting to know the game and understanding its rules, and showing atleast a passing interest in it..

  3. Bruce Gaskell
    August 18, 2006 at 8:40 am

    It is important to try and mainstream Cricket if we are really interested in Associate nations being taken seriously. How many sports can be said to really flourish in a country where they are only played by a minority group?

    We can talk about Cricket in Southern Africa, but there as you say it was played by the dominant elite, and was more popular with Blacks during apartheid than people realise.

    There are plenty of countries were certain sports have a strong regional (rather than ethnic) base, so are considered important even if they are not popular nationwide. The examples I can think of are Rugby, ice hockey, aussie rules, rather than Cricket though.

    Rugby League in England is a very minor sport for most, though it has certain towns and cities where it flourishes. This is one way in which a new sport can grow, building up strong support in one region, to the extent that it becomes a major sport and then gradually spreads to the rest. The ‘ink blot strategy’. This is unlikely to happen in the US where South Asian immigrants are spread through out the country. Maybe in Toronto or British Columbia though?

    One thing on the USA. A lot of other Westerners like to sneer at how insular Americans are when it comes to sport. This is unfair, it was not just hispanic kids who fueled the boom in ‘soccer’, and middle class Americans are certainly not against letting their kids try out new sports, which is how lacrosse and rugby have made small inroads in the US. Rugby in particular has established itself as a ‘cult’ sport in US universities, and despite still being perceived as a foreign game has a growing player base which is probably majority native born American. This is the sort of thing Cricket needs to do, and given its strong expat base, if it fails to do so it will only have itself to blame.

  4. Cuen Lucas
    August 18, 2006 at 9:18 am

    Mainstreaming is vital is if any sport wants to succeed for a number of reasons;

    – You have a larger talent pool to draw from, which increases the level of competition at a domestic level and leads to a higher strength national team.

    – Companies are more willing to step forward and sponsor programs knowing that they have a larger audience.

    – It encourages more people to participate, (I.e. it presents itself as a sport for everyone, not just certain circles).

    Aside from the clear benefits, it’s also just plain wrong to reserve a sport just for a certain group, sports are meant to be shared and enjoyed by anyone, and cricket is no exception.

  5. August 24, 2006 at 10:41 am

    Rego….. please give your opinion on this post….. I would like to know your point of view………..

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