How Team USA Crashed the Biggest Party in Cricket

The best way to grow the game is clearly by quality performances from national teams, as evidenced by the spike in interest after the Pakistan win. But the administrators don’t seem committed to that, either: According to Della Penna, the board spent the months before the World Cup feuding with players over their pay.

New fans looking to scratch the cricket itch can tune into season two of Major League Cricket, a well-funded pro league that starts next week at two venues, in Grand Prairie, Texas, and Morrisville, North Carolina. Most of the players from Team USA—as well as stars from teams like South Africa and Australia—will be involved, and they want you to come to the games. “If you like baseball, think of going to watch Aaron Judge hit home run after home run after home run and staying at the plate and being able to keep doing it,” said Anderson.

I can confirm that’s how cricket works—unfortunately, because I watched players from England and the West Indies do it to Team USA. Neither game was competitive, ending the American dream run with a harsh reminder of the work to be done. England’s Jos Buttler smacked seven cricket homers, including five on a stretch of six balls. One flew so far that it left a ball-shaped hole in the solar paneling on top of Kensington Oval. Barbados’s own Shai Hope did even better, with eight cricket homers. Watching a player for their team in their sport blast ball after ball into the Bajan night, the island crowd went full jet engine. When Hope ended the game with a massive shot into the section where I was standing, all the trumpets and drums and voices and vuvuzelas and loudspeakers exploded in a supernova of joyful noise.

I enjoyed my time in a country consumed by cricket. Every game was on seemingly every TV and radio. There were Bajans at the bar celebrating Afghanistan’s unexpected win over Australia, even though they were distinctly not from Afghanistan. On my last day, I played some beach cricket with locals, who didn’t seem to mind that I had no idea how to legally throw a cricket ball. One of them got me out with a one-handed diving catch into the ocean, the single most athletic play I’ve ever seen in any pickup game I’ve ever played. It was all so friendly and fun that I half-believe it was an ICC psyop preplanned to ensure the American writer went back with positive vibes.

Cricket will never achieve that level of omnipresence in America. We already have the hegemonic NFL, the most popular basketball, baseball, and hockey leagues on earth, a massive college sports ecosystem, a World Cup–winning soccer team (and, allegedly, a men’s team as well), and the all-time lead in Olympic medals.

But there’s clearly room for an infectiously fun sport—one that already means so much to so many Americans. Team USA’s play qualified it for the 2026 World Cup. As hosts, they will automatically qualify for the cricket competition in the 2028 Olympics. And whether their players honed their skills in Ohio or on the other side of the world, they’re Americans now, and they’re not going anywhere.

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