ICC sets goal of making cricket a global game

ICC president Sharad Pawar said cricket must be an aspirational game where nations, and their cricket lovers, can dream of being on the biggest stages Getty Images

By CricketCountry Staff

Dubai: Sep 25, 2011

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has launched a ‘Bigger Better Global Game campaign for the next four years, which is designed to “achieve a truly global game with more players, more fans, and more competitive teams”.

Reports said that as a key part of the ICC s strategies to globalise the game, starting from 2012, the cricket governing body plans to extend the World Twenty20 competition from 12 teams to 16.

“Cricket must be an aspirational game where nations, and their cricket lovers, can dream of being on the biggest stages,” says ICC president Sharad Pawar.

The game has roots in some parts of the world, and faces and huge challenge to evolve in the new markets and seek new fans.

In India, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) organises a Twenty 20 cricket tournament Indian Premier League (IPL) every year in April-March.

The tournament is a perfect blend of Bollywood glamour and with huge advertising and TV deals, it is hugely popular.

In New Zealand, the cricket authorities have formed a “strategic partnership” with their counterparts in the US. The first step was an international series between New Zealand and Sri Lanka in Florida in May 2010.

There is a strong cricketing heritage in the USA. The first cricket match in the country was played between the US and Canada in 1844, in Bloomingdale Park, New York.

The first overseas cricket tour was by England in the USA, informs Mr Wynne-Thomas, but due to the outbreak of the Civil War, there were no subsequent tours to build on.

“At the same time, baseball got organised as a national sport and by the time the Civil War ended, baseball had taken off and cricket became more isolated, confined to the elite living in the Philadelphia and New York areas,” he said.

Mr Lee, of Vero Communications, opines that in countries like China, it is difficult to introduce and grow a sport unless it was part of the Olympics.

“I don t think that anyone doubts that Twenty 20 is the way to market cricket around the world,” says Mr Lee, who believes cricket missed an opportunity by failing to get the format into the 2020 Olympics.

“We have the perfect vehicle in Twenty 20 to take cricket around the world,” agrees New Zealand s Vaughan.