Major League Cricket, America’s first T20 competition on the lines of India’s IPL, was launched in Dallas, Texas, Thursday with Texas Super Kings registering a 69-run victory over the Los Angeles Knight Riders in the inaugural match.
The league is being operated by American Cricket Enterprises (ACE) and has been sanctioned by USA Cricket, as well as the International Cricket Commission (ICC).
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Six teams — Los Angeles Knight Riders, MI New York, San Francisco Unicorns, Seattle Orcas, Texas Super Kings and Washington Freedom — comprising some of the major cricket players and local American talents would play 18 games, leading up to the championship final on July 30.
“I think, in my opinion, we’re late in bringing cricket — and Major League Cricket and T20 tournament — to the US, but I am very excited that it’s finally here,” Sanjay Govil, owner of Washington Freedom, told the American Bazaar in a recent interview.
Eleven matches will take place at Grand Prairie Stadium near Dallas in Texas, while seven games are scheduled to take place at Church Street Park in North Carolina.
MLC has announced a line-up of illustrious commentators from across the globe, including India’s legendary batsman Sunil Gavaskar bringing a rich range of international cricket experience to give color to broadcasts showcasing the historic season.
The commentary team includes former South Africa captain Graeme Smith, former New Zealand international Danny Morrison and former Zimbabwe international Mpumelelo Mbangwa.
Experienced announcers Natalie Germanos (South Africa) and Alan Wilkins (Wales) along with rising star Nikhil Uttamchandani (Barbados) complete the line-up.
MLC’s inaugural season will be broadcast live in the United States on Willow TV and across numerous major cricketing nations, including Australia (FOX Cricket), the Caribbean (SportsMax), India (Viacom18), New Zealand (Sky NZ), Pakistan (A Sports), South Africa (SuperSport) and the United Kingdom (BT Sport).
The broadcast partnerships will bring the transformative T20 franchise competition, featuring many of the world’s top players competing in the United States for the first time, to cricket fans around the world.
The broadcasts will feature a world-class production, with a 30-camera set-up for the matches at Grand Prairie Stadium in North Texas and Church Street Park in North Carolina.
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Superstar players set to take part in MLC include Afghanistan T20 captain Rashid Khan, Pakistan’s Shadab Khan and Haris Rauf, South African internationals Faf du Plessis and David Miller, West Indians Sunil Narine, Kieron Pollard and Andre Russell, Australians Marcus Stoinis and Aaron Finch, England’s Jason Roy and New Zealand’s Trent Boult.
Earlier, the MLC Championship Trophy was unveiled in Dallas with a photo shoot with the team captains at the newly-completed Grand Prairie Stadium, followed by a media conference at Hillwood Corporate Offices in Dallas.
MLC co-founders Sameer Mehta and Vijay Srinivasan and all six team captains came together to celebrate the future of cricket in the United States ahead of the sold-out inaugural match between the Texas Super Kings and Los Angeles Knight Riders.
Designed and produced in America by the renowned Bennett Awards, out of California, the trophy is a stunning embodiment of the modern era of cricket in the United States.
Its contemporary design in bronze metal pays homage to the sport’s rich heritage while emphasizing the forward-thinking vision of Major League Cricket, according to MLC. The Trophy’s dynamic shape captures the spirit of innovation and progress, symbolizing the growth and potential of cricket within the American landscape.
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Sameer Mehta, the co-founder of Major League Cricket, said, “Major League Cricket is bringing the world’s best cricketers to America, so it is fitting that the historic inaugural season will be “Powered by Betway,” who have become a renowned brand supporting global sports properties. We are thrilled by Betway’s commitment to growing cricket in America and we can’t wait for a memorable season to get underway soon.”
Govil, founder and chairman of the Washington area-based Infinite Computer Solutions, said, with the introduction of MLC, cricket is poised to transition to the next level in the United States.
“It’s been a journey [with] a lot of steps,” I think the future is really, really bright in terms of growing cricket in America… I give a lot of credit to the founders [of MLC]… I also want to be very thankful to the ICC [International Cricket Council] for having the right institution here, in terms of promoting Cricket.”
Sunil Narine, Los Angeles Knight Riders Captain, said, “Based on how much cricket has been played here, it will be high quality with all these international players feeding information to the youngsters – it will grow from strength to strength.”
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