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State Senate Approves Legislation to Promote and Expand Cricket in New York

State Senate Approves Legislation to Promote and Expand Cricket in New York

  • Bill sponsored by Indian American legislator Kevin Thomas would include cricket in the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC).

Senator Kevin Thomas, the first Indian-American to be elected to the New York State Senate, has announced the passage of legislation (S.146/Thomas) to include the sport of cricket in the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC). The bill passed 61-2, said a tweet by the New York State Senate. 

Thomas along with Assemblywoman Nily Rozic first introduced the bill on Feb. 14, 2020, which would add cricket among the list of sports under the jurisdiction of NYSAC. In an interview with Desi Talk in 2020, Sen. Thomas said his office has been trying to push forward more bills that affect the fastest growing demographic group in New York State. “As the second-most popular sport in the world, cricket brings with it a massive audience and economic development opportunities, and many communities across New York are already embracing cricket,” Thomas noted.

Indian American N.Y. State Senator Kevin Thomas who sponsored the bill to promote and expand cricket in New York.

In a statement issued on May 25, Thomas said “cricket is the second-most popular sport in the world, watched and played by billions of people across the world. With the growth of numerous leagues across New York, the addition of cricket to the purview of NYSAC would benefit the sport and help it continue to flourish.”

He added that “the sport of cricket goes hand-in-hand with the diversity and multiculturalism of our state, which is home to a number of thriving immigrant communities who grew up playing and watching cricket. Thomas said in the statement he believes that “New York has a unique opportunity to become the official Cricket Capitol of the U.S.A,” one of the reasons he introduced this legislation “to recognize the legitimacy and value of cricket to our state.” He said that as the first Indian American to be elected to the New York State Senate, he is “thrilled to sponsor this legislation, especially because so many members of the South Asian community share a love and passion for this sport.” 

The bill has garnered support from local cricket leagues, cricket enthusiasts and community associations across the state who maintain that If cricket got the support it needs from the state, it would generate significant revenue. USA Cricket Director for New York Ajith Bhaskar said, “The passage of this bill is great news for the cricket community in New York State. New York already has a place in cricket history for having hosted the sport’s first international match in 1844. I am thankful to Senator Kevin Thomas for putting the spotlight on this exciting and popular sport, which will help us take the game to the next level here in New York State.” 

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 The bill was passed by the Assembly (A.479/Rozic) and will be delivered tothe desk of the governor. 

According to cricket history annals, cricket was first played in England in the 14th century, and by the 18th century, had become a national phenomenon, and the first game of cricket was played in  North America way back in 1751, when the New York Gazette reported a match between teams from London and New York City.

In 1844, the United States and Canada faced off in a cricket game that was the first international sporting event in the modern world. From a small start to now having billions of followers worldwide, cricket in the United States today boasts teams and leagues that compete on an annual basis around the country. And with the passing of this bill cricket enthusiasts in the diaspora can actually look forward to playing and watching cricket in their backyard.

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