PAUL DaSilva, former president of the Nassau New York Cricket Assocition, believes the Hero Caribbean Premier League (CPL) could be break open the US market and make cricket a popular sport in that region. DaSilva, a Guyanese-born US citizen, was speaking to Newsday, on Saturday night, as he watched his native Guyana Amazon Warriors romp to victory against the previously unbeaten Jamaica Tallawahs at Central Broward Regional Park and Stadium, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
The ex-cricket administrator said he enjoyed the CPL action and believes more stadiums should be built in other areas where the West Indian community is high.
“I just brought my family out for a little entertainment. We love cricket and watch cricket all around the world... The interest is very high because of the expats from all over the world especially the hotbeds like Florida, New York, California, New Jersey, Chicago,” he said.
DaSilva added, “CPL, because of the Caribbean community, always attracts a good crowd, but for the future, teams like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh have many (fans) here too.”
He admitted though that outside of the Asian and West Indian community living in the US, cricket remains well behind the pecking order in US sports which is dominated by basketball, American football, baseball, soccer and hockey.
“It’s not where we want it to be but it’s growing. It’s sporadic but it’s growing.”
He thinks more facilities like the Central Broward Regional Park and Stadium can expand the game and elevate interest through visibility. “Certainly (Central Broward Park) it’s the best that we have right now in the US, but there are plans to build more especially in the north east,” he said.
He believes games like the CPL fit seamlessly in the average American’s daily schedule which is great.
“This is the dream, in America we’re busy but at the end of the day you get home five in the afternoon, have dinner and you can go out and watch a game after till midnight.”
DaSilva also weighed in on the regional team, and urged Cricket West Indies officials to invest further in the youths.
“The state of West Indies can be a whole lot better. West Indies cricket needs to go back to the basics and mold the players at the youngest level. Right now I’m not pleased with what I’m seeing at what supposed to be the highest level. Certainly there is room for improvement there.”