This type of detail frequently gets lost in numbers discussions, but scale is thrown dramatically out of whack when it comes to the American population. For example, (Asian) Indian Americans comprise less than 1% of the population of the United States. That seems insignificant until you realize it means roughly three million people, which is a pretty decent base upon which to build, say, a collection of fans.
(Hey guys, while you’re over here…)
We bring this fact up because what seems to be a laughable decision with even laughabler (new word alert, adjust dictionaries accordingly) quotes may yet be a masterstroke. We’re referring to the USA Cricket Association’s announcement that they’re formally requesting proposals to start a professional cricket league here stateside.
While this type of situation doesn’t typically call for restraint and subdued expectations straight out of the gate from the association, we have the feeling their rhetoric may need to be toned down just a tad:
Cricket’s governing body in the United States is looking to create a Twenty20 Premier League similar to the Indian Premier League.
“We are confident that, with the right partners, the USA can host a world-class Premier League which will fill grounds and attract massive television and online audiences,” said the USACA’s commercial adviser Nigel Rushman.
As howlingly funny as Rushman’s direct quote is, the most insane part of that excerpt would probably be “similar to the Indian Premier League.” For obvious reasons, it’s not well-known in the USA, but cricket is utterly gigantic in India. Yes, we’ve got three million Indians here. They have over 1,100 million Indians in India.
But there’s one very simple reason why cricket won’t catch on with the American population at large: the scoring is far, far too complicated. I just googled “cricket results” and this was Google’s first response:
Australia vs. England, 2nd Test, Day 1
Strauss* 161, Broad 7
Match State is Stumps
Honest to God, that’s what came up before they even bothered with the search results themselves (that place where if you google an answerable question like 17th president, it says Andrew Johnson before it gets to any links).
For the typical American - or anybody from any country who didn’t grow up with any familiarity with the sport - the inability to look at a score and immediately know who won, by how much, or hell, if it’s still going on is a fatal error.
Yes, perhaps cricket can undertake a large campaign to educate Americans on how scoring works, but just a word of advice: it had better be able to fit onto one television screen or one PowerPoint slide. Anything more than that and you’re asking us to take notes. If we wanted to do work, we’d go to work and pretend our bosses were watching.