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Cricket returns to America

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Cricket in London

"I don’t know what these fellows are doing, but whatever they are doing, they sure are doing it well." American Pete Sampras

In 1751, a cricket match was played on a New York green between Londoners and New Yorkers. The game, which featured bats, a ball, and wickets and two teams of the customary 11 players, proceeded according to London rules, there being, as usual, more than one set of rules from which to choose.

The New World tumbled the Old by 87 runs. Nevertheless, despite the frisson produced by firing a ball at ferocious speeds, the Americans were never bowled over by cricket. Perhaps it was the distraction of a revolution. Perhaps the game with its maidens, bails, and famous crease lacked the subtlety of baseball. Whatever the reason, byes and leg byes had Americans saying bye-bye to cricket's grassy green oval and its beguiling evocation of an English summer afternoon.

American indifference notwithstanding, hundreds of millions of people around the globe are passionate about the game, and some of them have brought cricket back to New York.

"Impressed by numbers of white-clad young players in the city's parks at weekends, New York's Department of Education has set up a league, with about 600 state secondary school students playing. Announcing its decision, the department said New York was the first and only state school system in America to offer competitive cricket."

In other news, the first cricket stadium in the US - in Fort Lauderdale, Florida - will open with an international match next month.

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