Updated June 2nd, 2024 at 14:33 IST

Locals will have to play the game and explore it: Yuvraj on cricket's future in America

Former India star Yuvraj Singh is amazed at the Americans' penchant for packaging their sports and for cricket to make strides in the USA, he says the "locals" will have to "play the game and explore it".

Indian Cricket legend Yuvraj Singh made his presence felt at the 2024 Miami GP at the Miami International Autodrome | Image:Instagram/@yuvisofficial
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Former India star Yuvraj Singh is amazed at the Americans' penchant for packaging their sports and for cricket to make strides in the USA, he says the "locals" will have to "play the game and explore it".

The USA and the West Indies are jointly hosting the ongoing edition of the T20 World Cup with matches being scheduled in New York, Dallas and Fort Lauderdale in Florida.

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"To all the (Indian American) fans who come here for cricket, who I know want India to win, but I think you should encourage your American friends and all the people around the world to come and watch every game and encourage the sport of cricket in America," Yuvraj said.

An ICC Ambassador for the T20 World Cup, Yuvraj was present at the opening of Fan Park at the Oculus Trade Centre in New York.

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"I'm sure this is a place where all the best sports in the world are played. America is a place where all sports are popular.

"In our country, I know cricket is very popular amongst other sports, but I think it will be amazing to watch cricket grow in America because I feel the way the Americans package sports, I don't see as much happening around the world," he added.

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A member of the International Cricket Council (ICC), USA is hosting a cricket tournament of this magnitude for the first time, and it has generated some interest in this part of the world that is obsessed with baseball, the NBA and American football (NFL).

"Definitely, the interest is growing in America. The major league (cricket) has come and done really well, cricket is really growing. I think the way Americans package sports is amazing, and if they can package cricket like that, like their sports, it will be great to watch.

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"But, along the way, the locals will have to play the game and explore it. It's going to take time. But, as I said, Americans, the way they package sports, is amazing, and if they can do it with cricket, it will be good to watch," Yuvraj said.

The marquee India-Pakistan match is scheduled for June 9 in New York and Yuvraj, a veteran of many epic battles between the neighbours, is looking forward to the game as it will be the first time he will be watching it from the venue.

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"Well, it's a game of emotion. If we win, we'll go crazy. If we lose, we'll go crazy. But the thing is, if we win, they will go crazy with us. If we lose, they will go crazy with us. That's the difference.

"But I think, whether it's India, Pakistan, or any other game, I'm sure the guys are going 100%. It's just that I always feel that the team who control their emotion on that day better and focus on the match situation, they will win the game.

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"In the last couple of years, we've had a better record than Pakistan. And hopefully, we can continue that." The stylish left-handed batter added, "I think I would not be that nervous going into India-Pakistan game watching it. I've watched on TV, but never been to the ground watching an India-Pakistan match. This will be first time." Yuvraj is delighted to see Americans hosting a top global cricket tournament and also playing in it for the first time. The USA started their campaign with a convincing seven-wicket victory over rivals Canada in Dallas.

"All the best to you and the American team, but India is far ahead in cricket right now. Part of you, which is also Indian, so I know inside you want India to win as well.

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"But to say a few words about this iconic place, we all know the history over here and we all know what happened and people's lives do matter.

"And to the World Cup teams, I wish them all the best and may the best team win, and I hope you guys really enjoy the tournament and cheer all teams. I know you want to back India, but if India is not playing, cheer other teams as well," Yuvraj said. 

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Published June 2nd, 2024 at 14:33 IST