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USA vow to play 'fearless cricket' in World Cup debut

AFP |
Jun 01, 2024 02:00 AM IST

USA vow to play 'fearless cricket' in World Cup debut

The USA make their debut in the T20 World Cup against Canada on Saturday and vice-captain Aaron Jones says they are determined to play a 'fearless' brand of cricket.

USA vow to play 'fearless cricket' in World Cup debut
USA vow to play 'fearless cricket' in World Cup debut

Both teams are making their first appearances in the expanded 20-team competition but there is particular pressure on the USA, as tournament co-hosts, with the West Indies, to deliver a strong showing on home soil.

The explosive, short-format of the game, is seen by cricket's leaders as being the perfect version to capture the imagination of mainstream American sports fans and Jones says the team doesn't want to be afraid of going on the attack.

"Fearless cricket, positive cricket, smart cricket. I think that's what we're really and truly trying to do," Jones told a press conference.

"We don't want to regret anything. We want to leave everything out there on the park. And then, obviously, if we come out on top, it's great. If we don't come out on top, that's how cricket goes sometimes. But we don't want to regret anything," he added.

The two North American teams have been drawn in a tough group however with India and Pakistan the clear favourites to be the two teams who qualify for the Super Eight stage.

Ireland, who in many ways are a role model for the USA and Canada, having come from relative cricket obscurity to be a regular in major tournaments, will be looking to pull off an upset and sneak into the top two in Group A.

But however the results turn out, it is a landmark moment for the USA team to be in an elite competition after decades of being stuck in minor tournaments.

"We've been speaking over the last couple of years about playing in World Cups, about getting test status, about taking USA cricket to higher heights," said Jones.

"And obviously, we are playing a World Cup starting tomorrow. So that's probably the highest height ," he added.

Jones was born in New York but raised in Barbados, who he represented earlier in his career, before moving back to the USA to be part of the team.

He acknowledges that the team has the added responsibility of being ambassadors for the sport when they play games in Texas, Florida and New York.

"Obviously, what you do on the field is very important, but I also do think that off the field stuff is very important as well, especially being a country that don't really know much about cricket," he said.

"We want to get the fans up; we want to get a lot more support from the American born and raised people and I think we could only do that by playing good on the field and obviously interacting with the fans or the growing fans off the field as well," added Jones.

Curiously, the first ever international cricket match was played between the USA and Canada in 1844 in New York and there were a multitude of clubs, particularly in Philadelphia and New York.

But baseball soon replaced cricket as the favoured summer sport with cricket virtually disappearing apart from in a few hold-outs.

However in recent years, the growing communities from South Asia and the Caribbean have led a revival with competitive amateur leagues now well-established and last year a new T20 pro league, Major League Cricket was launched.

The Grand Prairie ground, a converted minor-league baseball park, was opened last year while the cricket venue in Lauderhill, near Fort Lauderdale in South Florida, has already hosted a number of international games.

The venue in Long Island, which will host the big India v Pakistan clash, is a 34,000 temporary stadium which will be dismantled after the tournament, although the cricket field itself will remain.

Jones, who made his debut for the USA in 2018, says the change in the past few years has been remarkable to be part of.

"I think that we are on the up right now as it relates to the amount of cricket we play, as it relates to the infrastructure, different fields, a lot more access to turf wickets which is very important for us.

"Definitely some quality players the country over the last couple of years which obviously improves the competition. So right now, I think that things are only up and we just want to keep growing from here," he said.

sev/rcw

This article was generated from an automated news agency feed without modifications to text.

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