The International Cricket Council(ICC) is banking on South Asian migrants in Germany and USA to fuel the rising popularity of cricket in its untapped markets like Europe and Americas.
Commercial General Manager of the game's world governing body, Campbell Jamieson has said that the intent & ambition is to spread the game as far as possible in Germany, which has a sizable Asian population.
“Cricket is expanding. A really good example of that is Germany where in the last five years we have gone from 50 cricket teams to 500 teams and we are struggling to keep up with the infrastructure and the governance of the sport in that country. We need to ensure that cricketers in that country always get to play the sport they love,” Jamieson affirmed on November 28.
Divided in status quo, the ICC has 104 members across the world. But only 12 full members play Test Cricket at the highest level.
Initially, economic migration from countries like India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka helped the sport’s growth in Germany but now even the rising number of Afghan refugees are taking the game beyond boundaries.
According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees statistics up to 2016, Germany had at least 46,292 registered Afghan refugees in the country.
"Migrant population from cricket playing countries is contributing to the growth of the game in Germany. And if you mix that with local players, you then have inclusive growth," Jamieson further said, "The migration of people from South Asia aids that growth and we are fortunate in that case."
Specifically on the interesting situation our sport in America, former West Indies batsman and now national selector for USA, Ricardo Powell acknowledged the immense potential that the market beholds.
"If you look at the current national team, 70 per cent of the team members are of Indian descent," Powell said, "There is a huge Indian population in the US and we have 250 clubs playing the game. That says a lot about cricket in the US."
Before, Jamieson added, “At the moment, there is no ICC recognised association in the USA but the country is on its way to regaining the membership. North America has also seen great expansion thanks to the migration of people from the Caribbean and India of course. We need to harness that opportunity to allow people to play the game they love."
Jamieson also sounded excited about ICC's recent Commonwealth Games bid for a women's competition to be played during the 2022 edition of the event in Birmingham, where he said, "Hopefully, the bid is successful and that will take the women’s game further forward."
"From a cricket and Commonwealth Games’ perspective both compliment each other really well. CWG can utilise the power, strength and support that cricket has throughout the world."
"There is a rich cricketing history in the UK, great facilities and infrastructure but as I said, it is just an application along with number of sports," he signed off.
(Inputs from PTI)