MAJOR LEAGUE CRICKET 2024

MLC 2024: All you need to know about the second season

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MI New York were the inaugural champions
MI New York were the inaugural champions © MLC

Cricket in America again?

Yes. The new kid on the block in world cricket is back again albeit for a private bash this time. Major League Cricket (MLC) is returning for its second season, kicking off with a finale rematch from the inaugural season between MI New York and Seattle Orcas on July 5 at 2pm local time in Morrisville, North Carolina.

Errm, I am new to this MLC thing. American cricket only caught my attention after the World Cup. Who are the teams? How long will the tournament last?

MLC is currently a six-team tournament with an intention to grow into 10. The IPL teams like going global and they did not need an invite to invest in the biggest sports media market in the world. MI New York, Texas Super Kings and Los Angeles Knight Riders are the American offshoots of the respective IPL franchises. GMR, the part owners of Delhi Capitals also own some stake in the Seattle Orcas, co-owned by a consortium led by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. The Washington Freedom and San Francisco Unicorns are owned by tech tycoon Sanjay Govil and a consortium led by Venky Harinarayan and Anand Rajaraman, founders of Junglee respectively. The MLC is a $120m startup with added investments of other Silicon Valley bigwigs.

Season 1 was a single round-robin followed by the knockouts. Season 2 will see 7 league games followed by the knockouts with the final on July 28 with games in Morrisville and Dallas.

Who all are playing? The tournament starts within a week's time of the World Cup final in Barbados. Surely, your A-list stars are putting their feet up somewhere after a gruelling IPL and world cup odyssey.

Who doesn't like coming to America for a quick round of bat and ball and endless amounts of golf! That's right, some of them hit more golf balls than cricket balls last year with a myriad of spectacular golf courses to choose from. And this is what Pat Cummins had to say after his signing with the Unicorns: "While cricket is integral to my involvement, the global network and long-term possibilities offered by the owners specifically, and Silicon Valley more broadly presented a unique opportunity for me and my life beyond cricket."

Seven members from the Australian T20 World Cup team headed stateside including Pat Cummins, Glenn Maxwell, Travis Head, Tim David and Marcus Stoinis. World cricket's newest sensation Jake Fraser-McGurk will turn up to live up to his hype in the IPL. Some of the South African World Cup contingent namely David Miller, Kagiso Rabada, Aiden Markram, Heinrich Klaasen and Anrich Nortje too will scamper to America after Hurricane Beryl disrupted travel schedules. Nicholas Pooran, Sunil Narine and Andre Russel will bring the Caribbean flavour. Trent Boult and Lockie Ferguson represent the cream of Kiwi talent in the competition.

What about the locals? Is Saurabh Netravalkar playing? Does he have enough leaves now?

Fortunately he does. And he will be back on the park for Washington Freedom. USA captain Monank Patel has recuperated from his dreaded shoulder injury and will turn out for MI New York. Steven Taylor, Nosthush Kenjige and Shayan Jahangir are the other USA players on MINY roster. Unmukt Chand was seen refining his wicketkeeping skills and will be buzzing to prove a point after his World Cup snub. Chand has been retained by LAKR along with Nitish Kumar and Ali Khan.

How's the crowd buzz with no Indian players in the offing?

Last year, Texas Super Kings played all of home night games in front of packed crowds and so did teams like LAKR and MINY. Super Kings fan made a spectacle out of any home game and things weren't that different at the Morrisville. By the end of the season, TSK ran out of whistles and teams like MINY ran short on merchandise despite playing at away venues in Dallas and Morrisville. The league has had a soaring fanbase right from its inception, cashing in on the already established support base of the IPL franchises among cricket watchers in America.

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