NY governor signs law sponsored by state’s Indian American senator Kevin Thomas to promote South Asians’ favorite sport.
South Asians’ favorite sport cricket is set to get a big boost in New York with Governor Kathy Hochul signing a law to officially promote the game recognizing it as an important part of the state’s social and cultural fabric.
On December 10, Hochul signed legislation (S.146/A.479) sponsored by Senator Kevin Thomas, the first Indian American to serve in the New York State Legislature, and Assembly member Nily Rozic, according to a press release from Thomas’ office.
New York State has a special place in the history of world’s second-most popular sport: the first recorded game of cricket in North America took place in New York in 1751.
Today, cricket is rapidly gaining popularity across the United States and New York State in particular, thanks to the influence of immigrant communities from the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, and South Asia, the release noted.
In 2008, the New York State Department of Education created America’s first competitive public school cricket program, which now has over 30 teams.
For the first time in recent history, the USA is scheduled to host The International Cricket Council Men’s T20 World Cup in June 2024.
“The sport of cricket goes hand-in-hand with the diversity and multiculturalism of our state, which is home to a number of thriving immigrant communities who grew up playing and watching cricket,” said Thomas who is of Malayalee descent.
“As one of the most popular sports in the world, cricket represents a major opportunity for New York State – culturally, socially, and economically.”
“In fact, I believe that New York has a unique opportunity to become the official Cricket Capital of the USA,” added Thomas thanking Hochul “for recognizing the legitimacy and value of cricket to our State, and for signing this legislation into law.”
“Cricket is already a bona fide American pastime that brings everyone together and should be celebrated for that,” said Rozic. “As the second most popular sport in the world, cricket brings with it a massive audience and economic development opportunities.
“With the growth of numerous leagues across New York, incentivizing Cricket activities through tourism would benefit the sport and recognize its place in New York,” she added.
Thanking Thomas, Rozic and Hochul for their “unwavering support of the cricket community,” Ajith Bhaskar Shetty, USA Cricket Board Member, said, “Senator Thomas’s bill not only promotes the game of cricket but also supports the thousands of players and fans here in New York.”
Ashok Adikoppula, Youth Coordinate for USA Cricket, said, “As one of the Youth Cricket Coordinators of USA Cricket, I am very excited for the youth, now they will have an opportunity to pick another global sport as their career option and excel with the right support system through both USA Cricket and New York State Athletics Commission.”