No, it’s not the plot of X-Men III. It was the sporting event of the summer and it happened two weeks ago when professional cricket arrived in the United States: the New York Fire was extinguished by the New Jersey Storm in the 20-over pre-season match.
Alas, the crowds were sparse at this historic event. Just over 150 fans attended, despite free admission. Add to that the lack of recognition from the ICC, the excessive organ music, and the loss of right-hand batsman Darren Ganga and it’s apparent that America Pro Cricket, LLC didn’t bat a sixer here.
Yet with the pitch cleared, the final wicket fallen, and the trombley officially jogged, I can’t help but feel that the event was not, as they say, “an utter croft.” After all, we did get to see star Indian one-dayer Ajay Jadeja before he puts down his bat, pads, flannels, and droms for the last time. And watching Nikhil Chopra step back from the crease to score eighteen was a treat even for the uninitiated.
While I am happy that this great sport is finally making its way into the U. S., as a purist I’m a bit worried about some of the alterations (no, corruptions!) the APC has made to render the game acceptable to American tastes. Twenty overs limits matches to a mere three hours, while a change equivalent to baseball’s designated hitter provision lets one bowler from each side avoid going to bat. What next, eliminating leg-before-wicket, the off-corners rule, and flying the binge? What would Henry Blofeld say to that?
So I guess one can’t have everything. At least my city has its own team, the D. C. Forward, so I may be able to catch a few matches in person.
Thanks to Tim Boyd (of course!) for sending me the update. If you, too, would like to become a learned cricket devotee, check out Tim’s lucid guide from The Slant. You’ll be out of the corridor of uncertainty faster than a whistling seamer. Heck, you may even be able to write about the sport as if you had some idea what it was about, without having to make up half the words like I just did.