Major League Cricket is an idea that has been years in the making. Cricket is a sport played in countries such as England, India, South Africa, and Australia. The USA is not usually associated with the sport.
With The USA and West Indies winning the bid to co-host the T20 Cricket World Cup in 2024, there is an idea to grow the sport within the country. A brand new global T20 league, held in the USA, receives the green light and the plan is set in motion. This is the birth of Major League Cricket.
What is Major League Cricket?
Like MLB and MLS, Major League Cricket is the official cricket league in the USA. The end-goal is to one day be as big as the major global T20 leagues such as the IPL (Indian Premier League), the KFC Big Bash, and the PSL (Pakistan Super League). The MLC is also created with the possibility of participating in the 2028 Olympics, hosted in Los Angeles.
The league is operated by ACE (American Cricket Enterprises) and is sanctioned by USA Cricket (the official cricket association in the country). There are six franchises with homes in major U.S. cities such as Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington D.C. The league uses a single-entity structure; all teams will be owned by ACE, and investors will be assigned to different franchises. The inaugural tournament will take place at Grand Prairie Stadium in Texas, with the goal of a stadium being built for each franchise in future editions.
Minor League Cricket (MiLC) is an active association, consisting of 26 teams from four regions. There are 100 U.S-based cricketers, who participate in Minor League Cricket, entering the draft for Major League Cricket.
The inaugural draft of The MLC took place on March 19, 2023, at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Four out of the six franchises have investments from teams in the IPL, one from the New South Wales Cricketing Board, and the remaining team is backed by Anand Rajaraman and Venky Harinarayan.
Rules of the draft
- The draft is held in “snake order” format. This means the teams that pick last in the first round, pick first in the second round.
- The draft is 9 rounds long.
- Picks are not allowed to be traded.
- Each team has a strict three-minute time limit to select their players during each of the first five rounds, and two minutes during each of the final four rounds.
- The final round will be a compulsory rookie player selection (Player under the age of 23).
- If a rookie player is drafted by a team during the first eight rounds, that team will have to draft another rookie in the final round.
- Once the first half of the Minor League Cricket season has concluded, there will be one additional and final round of the draft based on the performances of the players throughout the MiLC season.
- Each team is allowed to make overseas “Foreign Pro” signings. This will be done outside the draft.
The Major League Cricket rosters
Each franchise attempted to draft a team with a good balance between batsmen and bowlers. Cricket lovers watched with bated breath to see if their favorites would be drafted in the new tournament. Former Australian Captain, Aaron Finch, and current South African Wicket keeper, Quinton de Kock, are notable overseas selections that automatically make the tournament more attractive. They are among six overseas signings made thus far, with more to be announced over the next few weeks.
Check out all the MLC rosters below.
When is the MLC happening?
The inaugural Major League Cricket tournament is scheduled for July 13-30, 2023. If it takes off the way the owners and planners are hoping, the cricketing landscape in the USA will be changed forever. How excited are you for the MLC? Which team will you be supporting?