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T20 World Cup: Confident USA vice-captain Jones looking to play ‘fearless and positive cricket’

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T20 World Cup: Confident USA vice-captain Jones looking to play ‘fearless and positive cricket’

Dallas, June 1 (IANS) In a historic moment for cricket in North America, the USA is set to make its debut in the T20 World Cup against Canada on Sunday at 10.30 AM AEST (6:00 AM IST). As both teams prepare to showcase their skills in the expanded 20-team competition, there is considerable pressure on the USA, the tournament co-hosts alongside the West Indies, to make a strong impression on home soil.

Vice-captain Aaron Jones emphasised the team’s commitment to playing a “fearless” and dynamic style of cricket. Speaking at a press conference on Saturday, Jones underscored the importance of attacking play, stating, “Fearless cricket, positive cricket, smart cricket. I think that’s what we’re really and truly trying to do.”

“We don’t want to regret anything. We want to leave everything out there in the park. And then, obviously, if we come out on top, it’s great. If we don’t come out on top, that’s how cricket goes sometimes. But we don’t want to regret anything,” he added.

This debut is not just about cricket but also about representing the sport to an American audience that is largely unfamiliar with it. The USA and Canada are in a challenging group alongside cricket powerhouses India and Pakistan, who are favourites to advance to the Super Eight stage. Ireland, another team with a remarkable rise in the cricket world, will also be competing, aiming to upset the odds and qualify from Group A.

For the USA, this World Cup appearance marks the culmination of years of effort and ambition. “We’ve been speaking over the last couple of years about playing in World Cups, about getting Test status, about taking USA cricket to higher heights,” said Jones.

“And obviously, we are playing a World Cup starting tomorrow. So that’s probably the highest height (so far),” he added.

The team’s journey from minor tournaments to the global stage symbolises a significant achievement and sets a new benchmark for the future.

Jones, born in New York but raised in Barbados, returned to the USA to be part of this historic team. He acknowledges the dual responsibility of performing well on the field and promoting the sport of it.

“Obviously, what you do on the field is very important, but I also do think that off-the-field stuff is very important as well, especially being a country that doesn’t really know much about cricket,” he said.

“We want to get the fans up; we want to get a lot more support from the American-born and raised people and I think we could only do that by playing good on the field and obviously interacting with the fans or the growing fans off the field as well,” added Jones.

This tournament also highlights the revival of cricket in the USA, a sport that once enjoyed popularity in the 19th century before baseball became the dominant summer pastime. The first-ever international cricket match was played between the USA and Canada in 1844 in New York and there were a multitude of clubs, particularly in Philadelphia and New York.

The increasing presence of South Asian and Caribbean communities has fueled a resurgence, leading to the establishment of competitive amateur leagues and the launch of Major League Cricket (MLC) last year.

Jones, who made his debut for the USA in 2018, says the change in the past few years has been remarkable to be part of.

“I think that we are on the up right now as it relates to the amount of cricket we play, as it relates to the infrastructure, different fields, a lot more access to turf wickets which is very important for us.

“Definitely, some quality players (have come into) the country over the last couple of years which obviously improves the competition. So right now, I think that things are only up and we just want to keep growing from here,” he said.

 

 

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