As the sport grows in popularity in the region and attracts investment from supporters working in the technology industry, cricket fans in the Seattle area now have a team to fall behind.
The newly organized Seattle Thunderbolt team is participating in the inauguration Toyota Minor League Cricket ChampionshipAmong them, 27 teams from 21 cities in the United States participated in more than 200 games in 10 weekends this summer.Soon, Thunderbolts may become a Major League Baseball team, as this effort is becoming more and more popular in the United States
The formation of the team is the result of years of dedication by players and families in the Seattle area, many of whom grew up with the sport in India and helped promote the development of the area after moving to the United States. Long-term technical workers are one of the most enthusiastic supporters, including three investors who supported the new team: Salman Mahal, An executive of Swedish Telecom Ericsson who runs an incubator in the Americas; Vijay Benivar, A 20-year veteran of Microsoft; and Pani Chitenini, UST Global’s senior customer partner.
“You can see the boom of technology companies pouring into Seattle-everyone is here now,” Taj said. “Similarly, the number of people playing cricket and paying attention to cricket is also exploding.”
GeekWire witnessed this two years ago, when we visited a park in Redmond, Washington, to learn about the passion for youth cricket and how many parents work for regional technology companies.
Chitneni started playing at the age of 5. After moving to the Pacific Northwest 21 years ago, he competed in India and persisted in the sport. He has the greatest influence off the court because he is committed to building a community and infrastructure to sustain the sport.
Beniwal has more than 20 years of regional and American cricket experience.
“It has been an amazing journey to see the development of this sport and its development today,” Benivar said.
The Taj Mahal said that interest will only grow, and there are about 250 children playing in the Seattle Youth Cricket League.
Thunderbolts and Minor League Cricket’s efforts are part of ongoing construction Major League Baseball Cricket The plan to bring the professional cricket league to the United States was initiated by the American and Canadian cricket broadcaster Willow and the founder of India’s largest media group India Times Group. The American professional cricket league has received a large number of technical support from celebrities, including the CEO of Microsoft. Satya Nadella and S. “Soma” Somasegar, Managing Director of Madrona Venture Group.
Nadella and Somasegar are also part of the Seattle Sounders FC ownership group.
Although Seattle and the rest of the Pacific Northwest are represented by Thunderbolts at the minor league level, it is hoped that the region will gain one of the six to eight positions that make up the Major League Baseball cricket team in the near future.
“Of course, to do this, as a Seattle minor league team, our team should do a good job. We should be able to show the local community and local people’s love for the sport,” Taj Mahal said. “This is our work for the next two years.”
Beniwal believes that Major League Baseball is the ticket to the mainstream success of this sport in the United States. He said that as the world’s second most watched sport, it entered the United States mainly because of the lack of any organization trying to develop the sport at all levels. Supporters say that Major League Baseball Cricket is doing this.
Jagan Nemani, A former resident entrepreneur of Madrona Venture Labs, he founded Puget Sound Cricket Academy He helped launch the Seattle Youth Cricket League and is now the head of MLC Academy. He manages cricket academies across the country, and also serves as the technical leader of the league, managing websites, apps, and other assets.
“A lot has happened in the context of developing and disseminating this sport,” Benivar said.
All 27 minor league cricket teams follow the same method in team composition: three foreign professional players live in the area where the team is located; three young players under 21 are from that area; from anywhere in the United States Two free agents; and eight other players who are residents of the team’s home court.
Taj said that at the main level, the team will “try to get some cannons” and bring internationally renowned cricket players to the United States to play.
Thunderbolts attracted sponsorship from digital technology company UST, Indian grocery chain Apna Bazar and education platform Skool of Code. The team opened three games in the Bay Area last weekend, losing all three games to the Silicon Valley Forwards, Golden State Grizzlies and East Bay Trail Blazers.
Willow played this action on his YouTube channel:
The minor league cricket team is in Twenty twenty Compared with some traditional 8-hour cricket matches, the form of this sport is shortened, and the match can last about three hours. The teams will compete in four regions-East, Central, South and West-the MiLC final weekend will be held in early October.
Our goal is to play all games or as many games as possible on natural turf. Just like the way international cricket matches, Thunderbolts will be played in Krahany Park in Issaquah, Washington, or Mary Moore Park in Redmond, Washington. Home game.New cricket grounds, one for youth and one for MiLC, are under construction Built at Tollgate Farm Park In North Bend, Washington—an effort led by Nemani.
The Taj Mahal said that the formation of alliances, team creation, investment and sponsorship, building areas and generating interest is a long way.But considering how avid fans participate in sports in the United States, this is an exciting thing.
He hopes cricket can do the same.
“This is definitely a dream come true,” he said. “We are all passionate, we have all played at different levels and so on, but it’s really, very amazing.”
View the roster of the Seattle Thunderbolt here And check the upcoming schedule here.