Kashif Abdul Razzaq – Karachi
The first-ever major Twenty20 cricket league in the United States is set to begin from July 13, featuring six franchises with players from various countries. Named the Major League Cricket (MLC), this American league is interesting because it includes players who had represented their home countries in the past but are now playing as American domestic players. Players like Ahsan Adil, Hammad Azam, Sami Aslam, Mukhtar Ahmed, and others who have played for Pakistan are now based in the US and will be playing as American domestic players, furthering their careers. In addition to these players, the squads of MLC will also feature former Indian Under-19 players Harmit Singh and Anmol Chandra, and former New Zealand all-rounder Corey Anderson.
“Pakistan’s best players want to come to America. They consider only playing in Pakistan financially stable. They want to come to America and be financially stable by playing cricket here,” says Sami Aslam, who had played 13 Test matches for Pakistan and now resides in Silicon Valley, Texas, to represent Texas Supers Kings in the Major League Cricket.
He mentioned that he was contacted by several Pakistani players to help them come to America, but it turned out to be a disappointment for them as playing cricket in Pakistan is only financially viable for players with powerful backing.
Sami Aslam has not made a decision about representing America yet, but he seems uninterested in returning to play for Pakistan due to the lack of excitement. “It’s unfortunate that I could have played for Pakistan for a long time,” he said.
Playing cricket in America may not be the same as playing in Pakistan, but Sami Aslam is content with his decision.
What is Major League Cricket (MLC)?
Major League Cricket is a new Twenty20 league in America, with its first season starting from July 13. The last time the US men’s national team qualified for an ICC Champions Trophy was in 2004. Since then, America has not been able to secure a place in any ICC tournament. However, now America is hosting the 2024 T20 World Cup alongside West Indies, and the American team will also participate in it.
In light of this, Sameer Mehta and VJ Srinivasan established Major League Cricket in January 2019, which is backed by some big names such as Steve Nadel, the CEO of technology firm CrickInfo, and Shantanu Narayen, the CEO of Adobe.
Four out of the six teams in the league are owned by IPL franchises, and they are participating with a vision to make American cricket strong. The matches will take place in Texas and North Carolina. The league aims to provide an opportunity for American domestic players to play at a higher level.
Sameer Mehta stated that Major League Cricket wants to build a strong American cricket team. They don’t want to organize the league just once a year; their vision is for American men, women, and Under-19 teams to play at places where the best players in the world compete. Apart from this, Major League Cricket has also expressed an interest in signing the best English players for their future additions. However, the league founders dismiss the notion of being a threat to English cricket and believe that it will only strengthen the sport globally. They want to create a calendar of global cricket so that it becomes easier for the best players to play in the league.