Can you hear the cricket? No, not crickets, the insects. Cricket, the sport. I know, I know. Some of you are thinking, “do you mean that game where they wear white suits and it drags on for days?”. Well, yes and no. That is cricket, but there’s more to the game than the American stereotype of stuffy Englishmen on the cricket pitch, while their elegantly dressed wives politely sip tea on the sidelines. Worldwide, cricket is a big sport (really big) and guess what? Most of the world’s players and fans aren’t from England. It’s an international sport and has been for ages.
While it’s true that traditional cricket matches are a bit lengthy, there has been a faster paced, more abbreviated form of the sport being played for some time now. This version of cricket is a bit more compact and action packed and is known as Twenty20. Although traditional test cricket remains popular, the newer Twenty20 style of play has gained a massive international following and, if cricket ever gains popularity in North America, I imagine it will be Twenty20 cricket that does the trick. It’s better suited to the immediate gratification, marketing driven, consumer approach that is the hallmark of North American sports and entertainment.
Among the large number of Twenty20 cricket leagues around the globe is the Caribbean Premier League (CPL T20). This lively, six team has been around since 2013, billing itself as The Biggest Party in Sport. Their motto is “Cricket Played Louder”. So, can you hear the cricket? If not, you may soon have a chance. The 2017 CPL T20 season is upon us with the first match (or fixture) set to take place on Friday, August 4th in St. Lucia.
Attending local events is a great way to mingle with locals and absorb some local culture when you’re traveling. In the case of CPL cricket, its international level, professional sports in an exciting, fast paced environment. With teams in Barbados, Jamaica, Guyana, St. Kitts & Nevis, Trinidad and St. Lucia, there are opportunities all over the Caribbean for the savvy traveler looking for something a little different in the way of vacation entertainment. If you’re unsure about venturing off to a crowded sports stadium in a new country, or unsure about your interest in cricket at all, there is a chance to watch live CPL T20 action in the U.S., as the teams all play a series of fixtures in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida for the second season in a row. You can check out the full season schedule on the league’s official webpage. It bears noting that, by professional sports standards, these T20 seasons are short, lasting barely more than a month.
Okay, so it sounds interesting, right? Maybe even a little exciting. There’s no way your cruise ship traveling friends have been to a professional cricket match, so here’s your chance to one-up them on your summer travels. Oh, but wait, wouldn’t it be nice to actually understand a little bit about the game? While it may be easy to get caught up in the excitement at a live event, you probably get more out of it if you brush up on the basics beforehand. I’ve been a to a few hockey games and, even though it was always a good time, I have to confess that I have practically no clue as to the rules of the game. So, I’m going to do you a favor and point you towards a handy explanation of cricket, designed from a specifically American point of view. You can find it HERE, courtesy of ESPN Cricket. I know, I know. Someone is thinking, “What?!? ESPN has a cricket website?”. Yes, they do. Like I said, cricket is a big sport and it’s getting bigger. Bigger and louder. Can you hear the cricket?