Notes from Outside the System for August 20

American Cricket Federation President, Jamie Harrison, has a go at USACA in his CricketEurope column: “The fiasco that unfolded this weekend at Lauderhill was the direct result of choices and systemic failures that have long come to typify the actions of the ICC-recognized body in the United States.” A great read that sums it all up nicely.

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If you are looking for information on the actual cricket that took place down in Florida this past weekend – such as it was - DreamCricket has you covered in “USACA National T20 Championship is a damp squib: “After the first two days of rain-affected play on Thursday and Friday, the USACA National T20 Championship quickly went from “a chance to shine” to ‘let’s get at least one day of sunshine.’   After only three games were completed by Friday, a decision was made to move six games to Saturday and reduce the overs to 10-overs per side. ” 10 overs. How very American.

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Nezam Hafiz – who died in the 09/11 attacks – was recently inducted into the US Cricket Hall of Fame. From CricketCountry: “In the USA, he started playing in the Commonwealth Cricket League, which happens to be the biggest cricket league in the US. Hafiz was then selected for the USA team that toured England where he excelled with the bat by scoring three half-centuries. He subsequently became the vice-captain for USA’s tour of Canada.”

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According to BoxScoreNews, congrats to the Ireland Women are in order: “Ireland Women clinched the European T20 Championships with two games to spare following a thumping nine wicket win over The Netherlands at Rugby today.”

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This means a clean sweep for Cricket Ireland this summer: “Ireland’s complete domination of European competition has seen tournament victories for the Women and Under 15 boys, which followed wins for both the Under 17 and 19 boys in the ICC Europe Challenge Series. In addition, the Under 17 girls beat Scotland in a three game T20 competition earlier this summer.” (Also via BoxScoreNews.)

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Spanish cricket news via The Leader: “Thursday the 25th July was a big day for the Spanish team. It was the final day of T20 and the team knew that they were second in the table behind their opponents today, SGS, the team that blew them away with the bat the day before. Reading the rules carefully the team knew that if they won today they would be on level points with the Dutch, however it is then decided by results against one another which would have the Spanish team crowned champions!” Not every day you see an exclamation point in a news article.

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A couple programming notesthe Scotland vs. New Zealand A ODIs are being streamed live on dailyrecord.co.uk, and the ECB’s YouTube channel will have the England Women vs. India Women ODIs.

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Finally, today, Women’s Cricket is slowly but surely become a professional game. Better late than never, but a shame it took the national boards this long to pay their cricketers a living wage. Here’s hoping the rest of the Test nations fall in line. Today’s contract story is from South Africa and the Daily Maverick: “In just a few weeks, the South African women’s team will make history. For the first time ever, a mostly professional squad will travel to the UK for their first tour as pro-cricketers. Earlier in the year, Cricket South Africa – thanks to some help from Momentum – announced that they would be expanding their list of centrally contracted women from six to 14. … For the laymen, this means that the women who needed to work while also trying to play international cricket can now focus just on playing cricket.”

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The Founders

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. 

– Margaret Mead

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Cricket. It gets in your blood. It gets under your skin. It sinks its teeth in you and doesn’t let go. It becomes a part of you. You fall in love it with every morning when you wake up, and you stand in slack jawed wonder at it every day as it finds a new way to thrill you.

Cricket. It’s your food, your drink, your lover, your brother in arms.

And this love of the game is quite evident in six of the league presidents of the American
Cricket Federation:

Manas-Sahu- Manas Sahu of the Massachusetts State Cricket League, who has served as hisleague’s president for three consecutive terms, leading his league – a nonprofit organization of players, members and volunteers – with a simple mission in mind: to grow the game he loves;

 

Shahid- Shahid Ahmed of the Michigan Cricket Association, who fell in love with cricket whilegrowing up on the streets of Karachi, Pakistan, moved to the United States in 1990, formed the MCA in 2001 and grew it from six teams to 40 teams in just ten years;

 

 

Avinash- Avinash Varma of the Washington Metro Cricket Board, who has guided his organization since 2010 – an organization that boasts over 300 cricketers throughout the Washington DC area;

 

 

Lesly Lowe- Lesly Lowe of the Commonwealth Cricket League, who has played cricket in America since he was 13, and grew the CCL from just two teams in 2001 – his team and his dad’s team – into the largest cricket association in the United States;

 

leighton- Leighton Greenidge of the Southern Connecticut Cricket Association, whose league was one of the first associations in the country to implement a self-umpiring system, fostering a respect for game as well as its laws;

 

 

Rod2- Rod Gohil of the Arizona Cricket Association, who moved to the United States from India when he was only ten years old and founded his association – that he calls his family – in 2003 and which features one of the most picturesque grounds and well kept wickets in America.

 

But these six people share more in common than just their passion for the sport of cricket.

They also all understand that this great game does not belong to them. It belongs to their
children, and their children’s children, and as such it is their responsibility to treat the
game with the respect it deserves, to shepherd it safely into the future and to protect it
against forces that look to use it for their own selfish gains.

“Cricket runs in our blood; and we just want to see it thrive,” is how Ahmed eloquently puts it.

And because of this love for the game, and their respect for its legacy, these six leaders stood up to the United States of America Cricket Association (USACA) and said: “No more. We don’t like how you are treating us, but more than that: we don’t like how you are treating this game that we have played and cherished our entire lives.”

It was a decision that was uniquely American, both in its action and its motivation.

In action, for this country was founded by a similar group of brave, like-minded people who shared a passion for liberty, saw injustice and banded together to make it better not just for themselves, but for everyone, for centuries to come.

In motivation, for Sahu, Ahmed, Varma, Lowe, Greenidge and Gohil’s decision was a
response to USACA violating that most hallowed of all American rights: the right to vote.

In 2012, when USACA denied certain associations a voice in league elections, that was the
end. “They had hired a lawyer – that they paid for with our member dues – to figure out a
way to keep us from voting,” Sahu reflects.

“They knew we weren’t going to vote for continued corruption and fraud, so they took our vote away from us. That’s how we saw it,” added Ahmed.

That was the moment when this small band of like minded people stood up for cricket, for cricket’s future, and for their right to be involved in how the game is run in their country – a right that they had earned by spending decades growing the game with no assistance from the association now denying them a voice.

And so, out of a mutual love of cricket and justice, the American Cricket Federation was
born. A federation that was American not just in how it was formed, but also in how it
was governed. “ACF is democratic and open,“ describes Varma. “USACA is autocratic and
opaque.” And Lowe remembers, “Nothing could have stopped us from breaking away from USACA because we knew we were doing the right thing.”

It was the right thing to do for cricket in America, but the right thing is not always the
easiest thing.

The easy route would have been to be quiet, play politics and just let USACA run roughshod over the game in America. But that is not the route that these trailblazers chose. They chose the route that left them open to threats, once bribery had failed to turn their heads. All for the love of the game, and for the love of their associations, which they have nurtured since their inception.

Gohil was approached by representatives from USACA who asked him to rejoin, but the
offer was immediately rejected. “I was told I could be a member of USACA as well as ACF,” he recalls. “However I saw no reason for such a thing, as USACA has never offered anything of value to improve and grow cricket in Arizona or anywhere else.”

Lowe experienced an attack directly on the youth in his organization – the future of cricket in America. “There are about 400 cricketers in our league below the age of 22,” Lowe said. “And about 150 under 19 years old. We knew that if we joined ACF our players would be blacklisted and that is exactly what happened.” But he soldiered on, and his membership followed him, despite the risks, knowing ultimately that Lowe only had the best in mind for his organization and the young cricketers it was fostering.

And like many organizations, Varma’s was blatantly lied about. “Long after WMCB officially parted ways with USACA, USACA continued to claim that WMCB was part of USACA in order to boost its membership claims.”

But all the leaders stuck to their guns, and are already reaping the benefits of their bravery, foresight and leadership, for the league and its members are thriving.
A national domestic league started in 2014 – with a championship tournament to be held in October – is just the first of many such competitions to be held in the future. The federation is interested not in dollar signs or ODI status for the national team; it is interested in building the game in the schools and on the playgrounds, fostering its growth at the grassroots level. It is about infrastructure. It is about listening to its members, cooperating with them, facing challenges together and sharing common experiences despite different backgrounds. “The members place their personal interests aside and do what is best for the game,” says Sahu.

In other words: it is an American Cricket Federation.

These six people do not credit themselves for standing up to USACA and founding the ACF.
They give credit to the game, to the support of their league members. But it is about them in this case. They saw an injustice and they took a stand.

“In the end,” says Sahu, “it was a simple decision.”

A simple decision that took bravery, and that will grow the game and ensure that is
protected for generations of Americans to come.

Says Lowe: “I envision the day when cricketers from around the world will want to take
advantage of the cricketing opportunities in the US much as is the case now where baseball continues to attract the Central, South American and even the Japanese players. I believe that there will be a time when cricket in the US will change the game on the global stage and possibly rival the ICC.

“The current leadership of the ACF will contribute immensely to this vision, simply because they are so forward thinking. With proper funding, the world is the ACF’s cricket oyster,” says Lowe.

With leaders like Sahu, Ahmed, Varma, Lowe, Greenidge and Gohil at the helm of cricket in America, that is not a prediction, but a prophecy, and it is a promise of a new dawn and a bright future for cricket in America.

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Notes from Outside the System for August 13

In the world of Women’s Cricket, the big news this week is the upcoming India vs. England Test at the historic Wormsley Ground in England.

Worthwhile reads on the match can be found at The Telegraph, Wisden India and The Cordon. (That last one is from your friend and mine, Raf Nicholson.)

Unfortunately, the match will not be available to stream online. Which is a real shame. (All three England vs. India ODIs will be available, however.)

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You certainly haven’t missed this story, but just in case: Cricinfo has the scoop on Lendl Simmons’ now infamous “drug bat”: “Simmons was travelling through the country between games for Guyana Amazon Warriors in the Caribbean Premier League when his bat attracted the interest of customs officials. In a sure sign that cricket remains a mysterious and largely unknown sport in the USA, the officials feared that the bat could be used to transport illegal drugs so drilled several holes into it to enable closer inspection.”

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Congrats to the ladies from Nottinghamshire on clinching the T20 title. The Nottingham Post has it: “At the NatWest Women’s County T20 finals day at the RAF Sports Ground in London, Notts Ladies narrowly came out on top after bouncing back in fine style to losing their opening fixture to Kent.

With Middlesex having already beaten Kent by 45 runs in the first game of the day, it gave Notts a chance to make amends in the three-team event.

And they took the opportunity in fine style in a crushing victory over Middlesex in the final game to clinch the trophy on run-rate after each side won one and lost one.”

(As kind of an aside, the first sentence of that article is more than just a little sexist.)

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Speaking of sexism. From the Daily Maverick: “…for all the propaganda the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) likes to bang on about, there is still something curious about the way they treat the longest format of the women’s game. Starting next week, England and India will contest a Test match for the first time in eight years. It’s a great thing for women’s cricket and refreshing to see women’s teams other than England and Australia playing each other. But there is one small problem. The match is not easily accessible to the general public and, when it comes to putting women’s cricket on the map, accessibility is one of the biggest stumbling blocks.”

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Oh, USACA, you so crazy. Cricinfo: “Just three days out from the USA Cricket Association National Tournament, no arrangements have been made for USACA’s incumbent selection panel to come to the event in order to evaluate talent for the country’s next international assignment in October – the ICC WCL Division Three in Uganda.”

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For great stories on what’s happening at the farthest reaches of the cricketing world, be sure to “like” the nonprofit Cricket Without Boundaries on Facebook. Stories like this one via the New Times on Rwanda’s impressive showing so far in the U-19 ICC Africa Division Two tournament in Lusaka, Zambia.

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I would be remiss if I did not mention the Caribbean Premier League knockout stages start this afternoon. The matches will be live on ESPN3 here in the States. In other programming news, the Scotland vs. New Zealand A ODIs will be streamed live on dailyrecord.co.uk.

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Cricinfo has the news that India are buying Afghanistan a new stadium in the suburbs of Kandahar. Whether or not this means they will be able to host international matches down the road is not mentioned in the article.

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Absolute bonkers stuff out of the Netherlands. Story via the good people at CricketEurope: “Last Sunday’s match at Thurlede between Excelsior and Hermes was never likely to be a cozy affair, with potential escape from a four-way relegation battle on the line as well as the usual pressure of a Scheidam Derby. But few expected things to get as ugly as they did, with consistent over-appealing and rising tempers eventually culminating in Luuk van Troost finding himself on his back in the middle of the pitch courtesy of a body check from Borg Lenstra, prompting Excelsior players to storm onto the pitch to remonstrate – the most egregious of several regrettable scenes in a game which saw no less than three players written up by umpires Jansen and Hilhorst.” The whole article is worth your time.

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Tips to limitedovers (at) gmail (dot) com. 

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ACF Champions League – Weekend Update – August 9 & 10

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Massachusetts State Cricket League vs Southern Connecticut Cricket Association

Massachusetts won by five wickets

Scorecard
Recap via Terry Coffey

“As Southern Connecticut Cricket Association played host to Massachusetts State Cricket League Saturday, each team was looking for a boost. Massachusetts was hoping to get closer to New England Division leaders Commonwealth, while Southern Connecticut was simply hoping for a first win in the American Cricket Champions League.”

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Cricket League of New Jersey vs. Washington Metro Cricket Board

New Jersey forfeited

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Florida Cricket Conference vs. Florida Southeast Cricket League

FCC won by four wickets

Scorecard (not live)
Recap via Jon Marthaler

“Former USA international Bhim George scored 63 not out from just 55 balls, leading Florida Cricket Conference to a comfortable four-wicket win over Florida Southeast Cricket League. George also took 2 for 21 in eight overs – but the bowling story was Rahul Desai, who sent down four maidens in his eight overs and conceded a miserly ten runs, all while taking two wickets.”

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Midwest Cricket Tournament vs. Pittsburgh Cricket Association

MCT won by two wickets

Scorecard (not up yet)
Recap via yours truly

“In the title-deciding rematch between Midwest Cricket Tournament (MCT) and Pittsburgh Cricket Association (PCA), MCT won by two wickets to claim the Ohio Valley Division championship and advance to the national championship tournament this October in Florida.”

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Notes from Outside the System for August 6

Your friend and mine, Peter Della Penna from Cricinfo, has the latest from the USA: “The West Indies Cricket Board and the ICC have teamed up to recruit former USA Cricket Association member leagues in an effort to get them to leave the rival American Cricket Federation and rejoin USACA.

ESPNcricinfo understands that the ICC Americas Regional Development Manager Ben Kavenagh and WICB President Dave Cameron have contacted at least five leagues to convince them to return to USACA.

(Asked about the phone calls, ACF President Jamie Harrison responded): ‘When I heard that the West Indies Cricket Board would be helping USACA with its massive governance issues, I assumed that Cameron would be giving them the benefit of wisdom in how to run a highly effective cricket governing body. I thought that maybe he’d be flying Gladstone Dainty to Jamaica so that he could personally mentor him. I never expected him to become a phone solicitor, making cold calls on Americans.'” Go home, USACA, you’re drunk.

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On Twitter, fellow cricket blogger Devanshu asked President Cameron some rather pointed questions. To his credit, Cameron responded. Unfortunately, his answers made little sense and simply served to show his misunderstanding of all things hashtag:

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Elsewhere, India promised its women’s captain a house, and then didn’t deliver. From The Hindu: “‘It is a pity that women cricketers are not a respected lot in this country. Fed up with the treatment on the house site subject, I have stopped thinking about it,’ sighs 31-year-old Mithali, all geared up for the England tour next month. The only cash incentive she received was Rs.5 lakh, more than 12 years ago when N. Chandrababu Naidu was the Chief Minister. A mainstay of Indian women’s cricket including a world record for the highest individual score of 214 in a Test match, Mithali is hoping for a clear cut sports policy by the Telangana Government with proper guidelines to reward top sports performances.”

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Trent Johnson, the former Ireland captain and current women’s team coach, will be heading back to Australia as an assistant coach with domestic side New South Wales. Cricinfo quotes Johnson as saying: “It’s a wonderful opportunity for myself and my family and one that I simply can’t pass up. I didn’t go looking for the switch but now that’s it’s happened, I’m relishing the challenge and looking forward to what I suppose is a homecoming for me, having started my cricket career at NSW what seems like a lifetime ago.” So you can go home again.

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Johnson’s last three games in charge of the Ireland Women will be against South Africa this September. (via Cricket Country.)

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The Hindustan Times has the story of two cricketing brothers who put down the pads to go serve in the Isreali army. “In this dance of death, there is an Indian connect, a tale of two young men, who insist duty to their adopted nation comes first but hope things will calm down soon so that they can swap the army gear for cricket attire.

The Waskar brothers, Shifron and elder sibling Ronen, were preparing for Israel’s domestic cricket league when fighting erupted. Their father, Raymond, who migrated with his family from Mumbai in the 1990s, is a cricket umpire.

Shifron, 20, is a pace bowler in the national team, but swing and seam will have to wait. Right now, he is stationed deep inside Gaza. Ronen too is in the army — he is a sergeant — and plays for Israel, but has also been called up by the army.”

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ACF Champions League – Weekend Update – August 2 & 3

Editor’s note: Along with several other USA based cricket bloggers, I have been writing match recaps for the brand new ACF (American Cricket Federation) Champions League. Going forward, I will be providing score updates on the matches from the previous weekend as well as links to the match reports, scorecards and short excerpts from the reports. This should publish every Tuesday. 

For more updates throughout the week, be sure to follow ACF and ACF Champions League on Twitter. 

Greater Philadelphia Cricket League (GPCL) vs. Washington Metropolitan Cricket Board (WMCB) 

WMCB won by one wicket with one ball remaining.

Scorecard
Recap via Jon Marthaler

“The Washington Metropolitan Cricket Board handed the Greater Philadelphia Cricket League its first loss of the year on Saturday, in a match that went down to the final over and the penultimate ball of the match.”

Florida Cricket Conference (FCC) vs. North Florida Cricket League (NFCL)

FCC won by 113 runs.

Scorecard
Recap via yours truly.

“Saturday in Orlando, the Florida Cricket Conference (FCC) played its first match of the ACF Champions League season against the North Florida Cricket League (NFCL) at Silver Star Park – and they must have been spending their extended pre-season in the nets, as they would go on to score the most runs in an innings thus far in the tournament.”

Florida Cricket Conference (FCC) vs. Florida Southeast Cricket League (FSCL)

Match abandoned without a ball bowled

Orange County Cricket Association vs. Arizona Cricket Association 

ACA won by eight wickets.

More to follow…

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On time zones and the 2015 World Cup

I love the Australian summer. Every cricket follower based in the USA does. The matches are brilliantly timed and we all get to enjoy cricket during the prime time viewing hours.

Test cricket especially is a joy. You can watch two full sessions and still get to bed at a decent hour.

And so I was looking forward to the upcoming World Cup for a lot of reasons, but mostly because of the friendly time zones.

Unfortunately, the thought struck me the other day that while I watch a lot of Test cricket in Australia (and New Zealand, of course) I rarely watch the one-dayers – because when it comes to limited overs cricket, the time zones are not nearly as friendly.

For in ODI cricket, the chase is what you want to watch, while in Test cricket you are just happy to catch a full session or two – no matter the time in the match.

And so, in the interest of planning ahead, here are the start times (subject to change) for the 2015 World Cup, and a little bit about the sacrifices we will all have to make in order to watch as much as of the tournament as possible. (I chose Minneapolis because that’s where I am, apologies to my American friends on the coasts and in the mountains. I also picked London and Mumbai, just for fun.)

Day matches in the Sydney time zone

(that’s the zone that most of the Australian and Kiwi grounds are in, I will get to Perth in second)

First ball at 10:30am local time

Minneapolis: 5:30pm
London: 11:30pm
Mumbai: 4:30am

Chase begins at 2:00pm local time

Minneapolis: 9:00pm
London: 3:00am
Mumbai: 8:30am

In Minneapolis, the first innings will be in prime time, but that chase might go late into the night. Week nights will be tough. Do you stay up and drink coffee to see if England can chase down 300 against Scotland in Match 14? Or do you let logic and reason and good decisions take over? Surely the latter until the knockout stages at least.

In Mumbai the match is at a pleasant time of day and early risers will even get to see every ball, but games will take place in the middle of the work day. That said, the last few overs will be over the lunch hour, which is convenient.

England? Yeah. Start resetting your circadian rhythms now, otherwise you aren’t going to be watching many day/day ODIs in 2015.

Day/Night matches in the Sydney Time Zone

First ball at 2:00pm local time

Minneapolis: 9:00pm
London: 3:00am
Mumbai: 08:30am

Chase starts at 5:30pm local time

Minneapolis: 12:30am
London: 6:30am
Mumbai: Noon

Sorry, Minneapolis, but those day/night matches are going to be nearly impossible. No bars open for the chase, and you will need either a very understanding boss, a case of Five Hour Energy, or superhuman stamina. Or you are going to have to quit your job. I guess it all depends on how much you love the cricket.

Meanwhile, in London, bars might be open for the chase if the pubs get special dispensation for England matches like they did for the recent World Cup, and even if they’re not, all it will take is a couple of hours of sick time to see the full chase.

Mumbai? Yeah, you won’t be sleep deprived, but you won’t be getting a lot of work done either.

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Of course, everything changes when matches head three hours west to Perth.

Day matches in the Perth time zone

First ball at 10:30am local time

Minneapolis: 8:30pm
London: 2:30am
Mumbai: 8:00am

Chase starts at 2:00pm local time

Minneapolis: midnight
London: 5:30am
Mumbai: 11:00am

Basically, more or less the same time as a day/night match on the east coast of Australia. See above.

Day/night matches in the Perth time zone

First ball at 2:oopm local time

Minneapolis: midnight
London: 6:00am
Mumbai: 11:30am

Chase begins at 5:30pm local time

Minneapolis: 3:30am
London: 9:30am
Mumbai: 3:00pm

It gets interesting here. Minneapolis? Yeah, just set that alarm early and watch the last 10 overs with coffee and breakfast. London? Watch those overs on your lunch break. While in Mumbai, it’s happy hour.

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Cricket is a different game. It’s one thing to wake up for two hours to watch a football match in the middle night, like Americans all did when the World Cup was in Asia. But it’s something else entirely when the matches run for hours. Sure, you can wake up for the chase, but you miss the flow of the game, the vibe, the plot-lines. It’s like coming in during the middle of a movie. A seven hour movie.

And so watching a lot of the cricket world cup, not just the chases – like most dedicated cricket followers will want to do – will require some sacrifices. But it’s only once every four years, and so those sacrifices will surely be worth it.

For the knockout stages anyway.

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