Minor League Cricket

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Minor League Cricket
Minor League Cricket Logo.png
Official logo of Minor League Cricket (MiLC).
CountriesUnited States
AdministratorUSA Cricket
FormatT20
First edition2021
Latest edition2022
Next edition2023
Tournament formatDouble round-robin and Playoffs
Number of teams26
Current championSeattle Thunderbolts (1st title)
Most successful
Most runsUnmukt Chand (1305)
Most wicketsSarabjit Ladda (56)
TV
Websiteminorleaguecricket.com
Seasons

Minor League Cricket (branded as the Toyota Minor League Cricket Championship presented by Sling TV for sponsorship reasons,[1] and sometimes shortened to MiLC) is an American Twenty20 cricket developmental league for Major League Cricket which completed its first season in 2021,[2][3] after it was delayed from a mid-to-late 2020 start due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[4] It consists of 26 teams from four regions.[5] The league began its regional draft process in late-August 2020, and a series of exhibition games in September 2020.[4] The draft for the league began on June 4, 2021.[6] The Strikers won the inaugural finals against the New Jersey Stallions by 6 wickets, with the Thunderbolts winning the 2022 finals against the Atlanta Fire by 10 runs.

History[edit]

Talks of an American Twenty20 league started in November 2018 just before USA Cricket became the new governing body of cricket in the United States.[7][8] In May 2021, USA Cricket announced they had accepted a bid by American Cricket Enterprises (ACE) for a $1 billion investment covering the league and other investments benefitting the U.S. national teams.[9]

In an Annual General Meeting on February 21, 2020, it was announced that ACE was planning to launch its professional T20 league Major League Cricket in 2021, and a developmental league, Minor League Cricket that summer.[10] USA Cricket CEO Iain Higgins stated that ACE had "demonstrated an understanding of the importance of addressing various fundamental issues within the domestic game in the United States", and listed a number of metropolitan areas that the developmental league planned to target for franchises.[11]

Both leagues would be delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, with Minor League Cricket being delayed to 2021, and Major League Cricket provisionally postponed to 2022 (in May 2021, Major League Cricket would be further-delayed to 2023 due to both the pandemic, and the need to develop more facilities).[12][13] Minor League Cricket would still soft launch in 2020 with an exhibition league;[14][15] the draft for the exhibition league began on August 22, 2020,[16] with the teams releasing their squads on August 24.[17]

After the conclusion of the exhibition league, USA Cricket announced that they were planning to launch the inaugural season of Minor League Cricket in the spring of 2021.[18] The season launched on July 31, 2021,[19] and ran until October 3, 2021, where the Silicon Valley Strikers won the finals against the New Jersey Stallions by 6 wickets to win the inaugural season title.[20] The sanctioning body announced plans to establish women's leagues in the future.[21]

In February 2021, MLC announced plans for a youth version of Minor and Major League Cricket, as part of a pathway to give young cricketers the opportunity to play for official domestic teams and the national team.[22] In June 2022, MLC announced the inaugural season of the Minor League Cricket Youth Tournament (shortened to MiLC Youth), with UST tapped as title sponsor for the tournament.[23] The inaugural season of MiLC Youth was announced to be contested between 11 teams at the Prairie View Cricket Complex in Houston starting July 25, 2022.[24] The finals for the inaugural season took place on July 29 at between the Dallas Mustangs and the New Jersey Stallions,.[25] in which the Stallions beat the Mustangs by 2 wickets.[26]

In January 2022, USA Cricket announced that the 2022 Minor League Cricket season would start on June 25, and conclude with the final on August 28.[27] The 2022 finals were won by the Seattle Thunderbolts, who beat the Atlanta Fire by 10 runs to win their maiden MiLC title.[28][29] It was also announced in June 2022 that the budget for the 2022 season was more than $5 million.[30]

Current teams[edit]

Unlike Major League Cricket, Minor League Cricket uses privately owned franchises. American Cricket Enterprises (ACE) announced 24 teams and their owners on August 15, 2020.[31] On June 3, 2021, ACE added 3 more teams.[32] Additionally, the teams are part of 2 "conferences", which are each split into 2 "divisions". This consists of the Pacific Conference, split into the Western and Central divisions, and the Atlantic Conference, which is split into the Eastern and Southern divisions.[33]

For the 2022 season, the Chicago Catchers and the Atlanta Param Veers franchises were replaced by the Chicago Tigers and the Atlanta Lightning for the 2022 season, while the Austin Athletics and the Irving Mustangs were renamed the Lone Star Athletics and the Dallas Mustangs respectively.[34] It was also announced that the Florida Beamers were on hiatus for the 2022 season, and as such, would not return for the 2022 season.[35]

Bay Peninsula East Bay Los Angeles
Silicon Valley Strikers Bay Blazers Hollywood Master Blasters
Los Angeles Sacramento San Diego
SoCal Lashings Golden State Grizzlies San Diego Surf Riders
Seattle Austin Chicago
Seattle Thunderbolts Lone Star Athletics Chicago Blasters
Chicago Dallas Houston
Chicago Tigers Dallas Mustangs Houston Hurricanes
Michigan St. Louis Boston
Michigan Cricket Stars St. Louis Americans New England Eagles
Somerset Jersey City New York City
NJ Somerset Cavaliers New Jersey Stallions Empire State Titans
New York Philadelphia Washington DC
Manhattan Yorkers The Philadelphians DC Hawks
Atlanta Atlanta Fort Lauderdale
Atlanta Fire Atlanta Lightning Ft. Lauderdale Lions
Morrisville Orlando
Morrisville Raptors Orlando Galaxy

Venues[edit]

Chicago Blasters Chicago Tigers Houston Hurricanes
Hanover Park Hanover Park Prairie View Cricket Complex
Lone Star Athletics Dallas Mustangs Michigan Cricket Stars
Moosa Stadium Las Colinas Polo Ground Lyon Oaks Cricket Ground
St. Louis Americans DC Hawks Empire State Titans
ACAC Park Veterans Cricket Field Idlewild Park
New England Eagles New Jersey Somerset Cavaliers New Jersey Stallions
Keney Park Howe Athletic Complex Howe Athletic Complex
Philadelphians Manhattan Yorkers Atlanta Fire
Exton Park Mercer County Park Atlanta Cricket Field
Atlanta Lightning Ft. Lauderdale Lions Morrisville Raptors
Atlanta Cricket Field Broward County Stadium Church Street Park
Orlando Galaxy Bay Blazers Hollywood Master Blasters
Silverstar Recreation Park Morgan Hills Sports Complex Leo Magnus Cricket Complex
San Diego Surf Riders Golden State Grizzlies Silicon Valley Strikers
Canyonside Park Arroyo Park Morgan Hills Sports Complex
SoCal Lashings Seattle Thunderbolts
Leo Magnus Cricket Complex Tollgate Farm Park
Minor League Cricket is located in the United States
Morgan Hill
Morgan Hill
Arroyo Park
Arroyo Park
Canyonside Park
Canyonside Park
Tollgate Farm Park
Tollgate Farm Park
Prairie View
Prairie View
Lyon Oaks
Lyon Oaks
ACAC Park
ACAC Park
Las Colinas
Las Colinas
Keney Park
Keney Park
Howe
Howe
Idlewild
Idlewild
Exton Park
Exton Park
Veterans
Veterans
Silverstar
Silverstar
  • Orange pog.svg - Western Division (Pacific Conference)
  • DeepPink pog.svg - Central Division (Pacific Conference)
  • Lightgreen pog.svg - Eastern Division (Atlantic Conference)
  • Turquoise pog.svg - Southern Division (Atlantic Conference)

League structure[edit]

Teams in each division will play anywhere from 14 to 16 games in the league stage. Once the league stage is completed, the top two teams in each division will advance to the quarterfinals, wherein the top team in each division will face the 2nd-placed team in the other division of their conference for a best-of-three series. The remaining games will be regular knockout matches, with the semifinals sending one team from each conference to the final.[36] The official schedule and the venues of the playoffs was released on September 20, 2021, by Major League Cricket.[37]

The inaugural season of Minor League Cricket had a total prize pool of $250,000, the highest ever in American cricket.[38] This was increased to $350,000 for the 2022 season, $150,000 of which went to the tournament champions, the Seattle Thunderbolts.[39]

Media[edit]

Matches are streamed by Willow on its YouTube channel and the streaming platform Sling TV.[40]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Toyota to Sponsor Inaugural Minor League Cricket Championship Presented by Sling TV - USA Cricket". USA Cricket. 7 July 2021. Retrieved 7 July 2021.
  2. ^ "Minor League 2021 Draft to Take Place on Friday". Minor League Cricket. 3 June 2021. Retrieved 19 June 2021.
  3. ^ "2021 Minor League Cricket". Minor League Cricket. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  4. ^ a b "Minor League Cricket Draft Announcement and Latest Update on Plans for 2020". USA Cricket. 2020-08-06. Retrieved 2020-10-17.
  5. ^ Shea, Bill. "Baseball vanquished cricket in the U.S. once, but a new skirmish is afoot". The Athletic. Retrieved 2022-06-10.
  6. ^ Hays, Nate (4 June 2021). "Americans ready for Minor League Cricket Draft". Emerging Cricket. Retrieved 4 June 2021.
  7. ^ Penna, Peter Della (8 January 2019). "USA formally approved to rejoin ICC as Associate Member under USA Cricket". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 24 October 2021.
  8. ^ Penna, Peter Della (27 November 2018). "USA plan to launch their T20 League in 2021". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 24 October 2021.
  9. ^ "USA Cricket Chooses Partner to Fund and Develop U.S.-Based Professional T20 Cricket League". USA Cricket. 23 May 2019. Retrieved 24 October 2021.
  10. ^ "USA Cricket Board Meeting February 2020". USA Cricket. 27 February 2020. Retrieved 24 October 2021.
  11. ^ Penna, Peter Della (27 February 2020). "New York, Boston, Chicago, LA among 22 targeted launch cities for USA T20 competition". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 24 October 2021.
  12. ^ Penna, Peter Della (21 May 2021). "USA's MLC T20 tournament pushed back to 2023 at AGM". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 24 October 2021.
  13. ^ "USA Cricket re-evaluating Major League Cricket debut timing due to Covid-19 concerns". SportBusiness. 2 August 2021. Retrieved 24 October 2021.
  14. ^ "Minor League Cricket Announces Franchise Owners and Draft Update". USA Cricket. 15 August 2020. Retrieved 24 October 2021.
  15. ^ "Minor League Cricket Announces Player Registration Opening". USA Cricket. 7 July 2020. Retrieved 24 October 2021.
  16. ^ "Inaugural Minor League Cricket Draft to Take Place Today". USA Cricket. 22 August 2020. Retrieved 24 October 2021.
  17. ^ "Minor League Cricket Draft results with 15 Squads Selected". USA Cricket. 24 August 2020. Retrieved 17 September 2021.
  18. ^ "USA Cricket Launches Foundational Plan". USA Cricket. 15 October 2020. Retrieved 24 October 2021.
  19. ^ "American Cricket History to be Made on Minor League Cricket Opening Weekend". Major League Cricket. USA Cricket. 29 July 2021. Retrieved 24 October 2021.
  20. ^ "Unmukt Chand creates history, helped Silicon Valley Strikers to clinch Minor League Cricket title". Mena Report. 4 October 2021. Retrieved 24 October 2021.
  21. ^ "USA Cricket Launches Plan to Shape the Future for Women and Girls in American Cricket". USA Cricket. 16 October 2021. Retrieved 27 October 2021.
  22. ^ Dunmore, Tom (16 February 2021). "Youth Cricketers to benefit from the new pathways created by MLC". Major League Cricket. Retrieved 28 July 2022.
  23. ^ "2022 UST Minor League Cricket Youth Tournament Announced". Minor League Cricket. 10 June 2022. Retrieved 28 July 2022.
  24. ^ "Inaugural UST Minor League Cricket Youth Tournament Underway in Houston, TX". MLC Academies. Major League Cricket. 26 July 2022. Retrieved 28 July 2022.
  25. ^ Minor League Cricket [@milcusa] (July 29, 2022). "Watch as the New Jersey Stallions take on the Dallas Mustangs in the @USTglobal MiLC Youth 2022 Finals tomorrow at 9:30am CT in Houston, TX!!!" (Tweet). Retrieved 29 July 2022 – via Twitter.
  26. ^ "UST Emerging Cricketer Scholarships Awared to Support Next Generation of American Cricket Talent". MLC Academies. Major League Cricket. 29 July 2022. Retrieved 20 July 2022.
  27. ^ "Minor League Cricket 2022 Season Opening and Championship Dates Released". USA Cricket. 12 January 2022. Retrieved 14 January 2022.
  28. ^ "Seattle Thunderbolts win 2022 Minor League Cricket Championship". The Woodinville Weekly. 1 September 2022. Retrieved 6 September 2022.
  29. ^ Sharma, Premkumar (2 September 2022). "Seattle Thunderbolts Victorious in 2022 Minor League Cricket Championship". News India Times. The Times of India. Retrieved 6 September 2022.
  30. ^ "USA's Minor League Cricket Season 2 to start from June 25 | Cricbuzz.com". Cricbuzz. Retrieved 2022-06-25.
  31. ^ "Minor League Cricket Announces Franchise Owners and Draft Update". USA Cricket. 2020-08-15. Retrieved 2020-10-17.
  32. ^ "3 New Teams Confirmed For Minor League Cricket Ahead Of Draft Day Friday June 4". Minor League Cricket. USA Cricket. 3 June 2021. Retrieved 4 June 2021.
  33. ^ "Minor League Cricket 2021 Teams". Major League Cricket. Retrieved 27 July 2021.
  34. ^ "Title and Presenting Partners Announced for 2022 Minor League Cricket Championship". Minor League Cricket. Major League Cricket. 5 May 2022. Retrieved 7 May 2022.
  35. ^ "Minor League Cricket lands Toyota, Sunoco deals". SportBusiness. 6 May 2021. Retrieved 7 May 2022.
  36. ^ "Minor League Cricket: T20 league in USA kicks off with Sami Aslam, Corey Anderson in the mix". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 5 August 2021.
  37. ^ "Teams and Venues Set for Inaugural Minor League Cricket Playoffs". Major League Cricket. 20 September 2021. Retrieved 23 September 2021.
  38. ^ Raju-Singh, Hijam (8 July 2021). "Minor League Cricket unveils Toyota as sponsors of inaugural Championship; 27 teams will vie for $250,000 in prize money". Times of India. Retrieved 21 July 2021.
  39. ^ "ENHANCED STREAMING PLANS AND PRIZE MONEY ANNOUNCED FOR 2022 MILC SEASON". Major League Cricket. Retrieved 2022-06-25.
  40. ^ Maqsood, Zofeen (20 September 2021). "Cricket is on a fast track in America: Tom Dunmore". American Bazaar. Retrieved 24 October 2021.