KARACHI: In a landmark development, six matches of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) will be played on the US soil from July 28 to 31. The matches, scheduled at the Central Broward Regional Park in Lauderhill, Florida, will be the first ever CPL games in the USA.
Describing the development as significant for the game’s progression in the region, the mayor of the host city, Fort Lauderhill, Richard Kaplan believes that international cricket, including the CPL, was very important for the development of cricket within the USA. “We live in an area which is ripe for development, with a large fan base to grow from. The CPL gives a very good start for further US expansion, and for worldwide enjoyment of the sport”, said Richard Kaplan, while talking to this correspondent from Fort Lauderhill.
Kaplan also touched upon the uncertainty regarding the governing body of the game in the USA and hoped that an amicable solution would be figured out by the international cricket council (ICC) in due course. “Stadiums need to be built and teams need to be developed within cities to play against each other nationally. It has to get into schools and colleges more on a varsity level, rather than a Club level. But it depends upon how the ICC decides who will be in charge in the USA. My hope is for the game to spread”, mentioned Kaplan.
“ICC should take whatever time it needs, I only ask that they chose wisely. I understand there are several groups out there that had interest and I have no problem if the ICC continues indefinitely. It already has been a boost to the sport since they did it”, said Kaplan.
Richard Kaplan has been an avid cricket follower for a long time and has been assisting the local organisers in their bids for the game’s development. Kaplan’s thesis about Cricket is pretty interesting as well. “When I became Mayor a group of individuals wanted to enlist my help developing the sport further. They taught me the game and with the expectation to have me play a little to draw attention but they didn’t know that I am somewhat athletically competitive and I liked the game”, Kaplan added
Kaplan said he learnt about the strategy after playing cricket himself, which, he thinks, is somewhat similar to baseball. “I found it to be a great cross between baseball, golf and tennis, which are the sports that I have been playing”, shared Kaplan
The writer is a sports journalist in Pakistan & tweets @mak_asif