Report: ICC Grants List A Status to Major League Cricket

Major League Cricket Gains List A Status from ICC

Major League Cricket (MLC) in the United States has taken a significant step forward by acquiring List A status from the International Cricket Council (ICC) ahead of its second season. This recognition places MLC alongside other official T20 leagues, affirming the quality and competitiveness of the tournament.

Enhancing the Credibility of American Cricket

Justin Geale, the tournament director, expressed his excitement about this development, noting that it acknowledges the high standard of players participating in the league. “By awarding MLC List A status for the upcoming season, it assists to acknowledge the strength and growing stature of the tournament and ultimately will help to enhance the credibility of the sport in the USA on a global scale,” Geale told ESPNcricinfo.

Geale emphasised the importance of this status for the players’ career statistics, ensuring their performances are officially recorded. This milestone is crucial for cricket’s growth in the US, an Associate nation with a unique opportunity to build a robust cricketing culture. Geale added, “It’s our hope that on the back of the upcoming World Cup and a successful season we can continue to build a platform for the sport to grow and ultimately succeed in the USA.”

Upcoming Season and Expansion Plans

The 2024 edition of MLC is scheduled to begin on July 5, shortly after the T20 World Cup concludes on June 29 in Bridgetown. The T20 World Cup itself starts in Dallas, USA, on June 1, marking a pivotal season in efforts to popularise cricket in the US market.

MLC’s plans for expansion are ambitious, with a vision to grow from the current six teams to 10 over the next few years. The number of games will also increase significantly, jumping from 19 matches in 2023 to 34 by 2025. Vijay Srinivasan, MLC’s chief executive, outlined this growth strategy to The Guardian, stating, “Studies show that we are a big enough country, with a big enough demographic to support 10 teams, so that’s our plan.”

Scheduling and Global Cricket Calendar

The league’s scheduling is strategic, aiming to find an optimal window in the crowded global cricket calendar. Srinivasan explained that the ideal start would be in early June, aligning with the end of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the start of school holidays in the US. This timing would avoid clashes with other major leagues like the Hundred and the T20 Blast.

This year, MLC will overlap with the Hundred by six days, with MLC concluding on July 28 and the Hundred starting on July 23. This overlap means that several overseas players contracted to the Hundred might join their teams late. Currently, 12 out of the 24 overseas players in the Hundred have commitments in MLC, indicating a significant crossover of talent.

Ownership and Infrastructure

Four of the six teams in MLC are owned by IPL franchises – Mumbai Indians, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), Chennai Super Kings, and Delhi Capitals. This association with established IPL teams has helped MLC attract high-calibre players and gain credibility.

The inaugural season of MLC ran from July 13 to 31, featuring 15 group-stage matches followed by four playoff games. MI New York emerged victorious, led by captain Nicholas Pooran. The second season will be hosted at the same venues as the first: Grand Prairie Stadium in Texas and Church Street Park Stadium in Morrisville.

Future Prospects for MLC

The official List A status and the planned expansion underscore the growing importance of MLC in the global cricket landscape. The league’s success could play a pivotal role in embedding cricket into the American sporting culture. With strategic planning and support from major cricketing bodies and franchises, MLC has the potential to become a significant player on the international stage.

As the league prepares for its second season, the anticipation is high. The players, teams, and fans are eager to see how MLC will continue to evolve and impact the sport globally. The future looks promising for Major League Cricket, and its journey will be closely watched by cricket enthusiasts around the world.

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