New York is gearing up for the T20 cricket World Cup. GETTY IMAGES

Amidst New York's towering skyscrapers, a new field of dreams is unfolding. Unlike the usual baseball diamond, this one is for cricket, a bat-and-ball sport that supporters hope will finally capture the American imagination.

The timeless English game boasts a fervent global following, yet the United States, with its enduring love for American football, basketball, and baseball, has remained a steadfast holdout. However, this may change as the U.S. co-hosts the Twenty20 World Cup next month, the premier tournament for the abridged format of cricket.

A temporary stadium, fully funded by the International Cricket Council (ICC), will host eight tournament matches, including the 9 June showdown between cricket giants India and Pakistan. Positioned approximately 16 kilometers east of New York, a cluster of metal beams supporting 34,000 bleacher seats emerges from Long Island’s Eisenhower Park, chosen by the ICC after initial plans in the Bronx faltered.

Although not as grandiose as London's Lord’s cricket ground, the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium will soon take the spotlight, thanks to swift approval from local authorities. “The world is coming right here to Nassau County. You're going to have kings and princes and big dignitaries,” expressed Michael D'Ambrosio, the county's deputy commissioner of parks, to AFP. “A lot of people are very envious and jealous that we got this,” he added, noting the tournament's massive global viewership.

The ICC is making significant investments in cricket’s US future, especially in New York, a hub for people from cricket-loving nations like India and Pakistan. The India-Pakistan match has already sold out, with online ticket prices surpassing €930 each. However, once the temporary stadium is dismantled in July, local cricket faces renewed challenges, despite boasting around 10,000 players, as New York lacks a dedicated cricket stadium.

Cricket will head stateside with the T20 World Cup set to take place from 3 until 12 June. GETTY IMAGES
Cricket will head stateside with the T20 World Cup set to take place from 3 until 12 June. GETTY IMAGES

"Cricket's Growth Depends on Infrastructure," says Ajith Shetty, President of the Commonwealth Cricket League (CCL). New York's Major League Cricket (MLC) team plays in Texas and North Carolina to save costs. MI New York spokesperson: "We're exploring permanent venue options." 

CCL players carry a 225-kilogram mat between parks for pitches. Shetty laments, "Only cricket in New York requires such effort." He adds, "New York was once a cricket Mecca," but Texas has improved. Recently, USA beat Bangladesh in Houston, boosting morale ahead of the World Cup.

Local entrepreneurs support CCL clubs, but players still need day jobs. Waqas Ashiq of Long Island United CC remains optimistic. "With the World Cup, interest might rise," he says.

Shetty highlights ICC's focus on US youth development, especially with cricket returning to the Olympics in 2028. Schools show interest too. Ashiq agrees, emphasising the importance of involving the next generation of cricket-loving immigrants’ children for the sport's future.