If you were to hear that a brand new cricket ground was being constructed in India, you’d think nothing of it – but Indiana?
Unlikely as it sounds, the mayor of Indianapolis, the Midwestern state’s capital, has announced his city will spend $6million (£4m) to fit one of its parks with a cricket pitch, as well as venues for other non-American sports, such as Gaelic football, hurling and rugby. Greg Ballard claims the so-called “World Sports Park” will generate international interest.
Traditionally, Indianapolis has been best known to sports fans as the home of NBA basketball team the Indiana Pacers, and the annual “Indy 500” Nascar race. Though cricket has not been widely played in the US since before the Civil War in the 1860s, the city has signed a three-year agreement to host a US amateur cricket championship next year.
According to the United States of America Cricket Association, the US does have a base of cricket enthusiasts, with 1,100 teams playing in local leagues. “When people around the world think of cricket, I want them to think of Indianapolis,” Ballard said on a trade visit to – where else? – India.