The championship kicks off on July 31 with over 200 Twenty20 matches scheduled in 21 cities. 27 teams will compete for $ 250,000 in cash prizes, the largest purse in American cricket.
The 2021 Toyota Minor League Cricket Championship will feature ten competitive cricket weekends, culminating in a finals weekend on October 2-3.
“We are honored to be a part of the Minor League’s first-ever season of cricket and to help support the growth of the sport as it embarks on its largest competition ever in the United States,” said Matt Ozawa, Director, Asset Management and Activation, Toyota Motor North America at launch. “We look forward to joining the league, its athletes, cricketers and Toyota fans across the country for a historic inaugural championship season. ”
Justin Geale, tournament director for Major League Cricket, said cricket is on an incredible growth path in the United States and expressed his joy at announcing a partnership with the global automaker giant.
“We are delighted to partner with Toyota, a global brand committed to supporting the growth of American cricket, a sport enjoyed by millions of supporters in the United States. The sport is on an incredible growth trajectory nationally as we prepare for the launch of Major. League Cricket and the addition of Toyota and SLING TV as Minor League Cricket partners show that there has never been a brighter future for cricket in this country, ”said Geale.
Online streaming provider Sling TV believes it is ready to introduce the game of cricket to the American public.
“SLING TV is delighted to partner with Minor League Cricket and help grow the national audience for the game. Because SLING TV offers streaming services for US and international channels, we are not only ready to present the American cricket to our existing cricket fan base, but also to the American public, ”said Liz Riemersma, International Vice President of SLING TV.
Team rosters have already been announced for the 27 MiLC teams. Each team consists of a selection of renowned players, priority national players and a required number of U21 and U19 players.
The main objective of the tournament is to give a platform and an opportunity for America’s best cricketers to show their abilities at the national level and to develop cricket in communities across the country.
“The scale and level of competition that Minor Cricket League will launch this summer will help pave the way for the development of talented young cricketers across the country into future national team stars. Minor Cricket League, with the support of Toyota and SLING TV, is providing a huge step forward in realizing the vision of making cricket a mainstream sport in the United States outlined in USA Cricket’s foundational plan, ”he said. said Iain Higgins, CEO of USA Cricket.
File photo: Corey Anderson (Getty Images)
We are creating a legacy here: Corey Anderson
Former New Zealand cricketer Corey Anderson believes a legacy is being created with the launch of the first minor league cricket championship.
“The level of cricket will be high. In last year’s exhibition matches I saw a lot of talent. I will be sharing my experience on and off the pitch with young local players. We are creating a legacy here.” Anderson said as he joined Pakistani cricketer Sami Aslam and others at the league’s online launch.
“I saw the youngsters in camps, the talent is there and they will have the opportunity to show it. This is an opportunity to strengthen American cricket and make the sport popular here in the United States. It will take time. time, but can be accelerated with the talent we have and the exposure the tournaments will provide, ”added Anderson, who has represented the Blackcaps in 13 tests, 49 ODIs and 31 T20Is.
Pakistani cricketer Sami Aslam, who has appeared in 13 tests and 4 ODIs for the national team, is excited about the local cricketers.
“Great enthusiasm among the players, especially the local players. This league will also raise the bar for the US national team. The players here can learn a lot from the international players because each team has 3-4,” Aslam said.
The captain of the United States national team, Saurabh Netravalkar, is also excited to be a part of the league and has said that the American cricket community has been waiting for such a tournament.
“The cricket community is looking forward to such a tournament. Local players will have the chance to promote themselves in the major league and the national team. Young people can learn and improve. It is a great and exciting time to be in. be a part, ”Saurabh said. “World-class cricketers will share time with local players. They will benefit greatly. We, the national players, can also learn from and from each other and raise the bar.”
Minor League Cricket and its 27 team owners have invested over US $ 4,000,000 in organizing the tournament, which will be the largest in American cricket history.