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Global T20 and the need to change the mindset in Canada

Posted: Mon Jul 22, 2019 3:04 pm
by mautan
Just returned from UK from the World Cup. This world cup changed the way I viewed the game, its fans and future of the game. It was well reported on various major sites, that there was a danger of stadiums being half empty for semi-finals and finals, without India featuring in them. Fortunately that did not happen and we had the best ever cricket game played in finals! Coming to my intention of writing this, the days where we all (I am Indian origin) thought it being imperative to have ‘mainstream’ interest in our game are over, or almost. I am a proud Canadian, however cricket does not need Canadian mainstream (whatever that means, if there is any such thing) population to be interested for the game to flourish. Indian populations, along with Bangladeshis, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans, Nepalese, Afghans have taken over the stadiums even in countries like UK, NZ, SA and Australia. In addition to these communities being present in large numbers here in Canada, there are also large number of West Indians, English (huge population), Australians, NZers and South Africans. There is no reason why cricket would not have sufficient interest, through only immigrant populations itself in US or Canada. US probably has even more of these demographics, with 10 times the population of Canada. Recently, I also read that the tide has changed, and the immigrants turned citizens of UK, US and Canada have started to be better off than the native population (and from a cricketing perspective, at least in terms of putting money to watch cricket). Very clearly seen when you see IT professionals in UK, US and to some extent in Canada making a lot more than the average income from that country. Asian origin population had bought tickets, sometimes at 10 times the original price of ticket, in UK for the World Cup! Which in turn kept off Britons from buying them. That was unthinkable 25 years back, especially with no IT sector in existence. Not to mention the 80,000 Asian origin people who traveled to UK from India, US and Canada just for the WC.

25 years back, it was very logical to say that unless the native Canadian population (born here) takes to the sport, it will not take root or expand. While sounding logically correct for any sport to thrive, the argument does not hold true anymore due to equally strong immigrant populace, and their increased financial power. In the India England game, 90% spectators were Indians, it was a sea of blue. The English spectators were out- numbered, out priced by Indians, such was the attraction of the Indian team. The populations here in GTA of all these communities will probably touch half a million to a million, and getting 10,000 to fill up a small stadium should almost never be an issue at all, provided the right event, right product is presented. This applies to the kids taking to sport as well. Will it happen immediately, probably not…but far sooner than the possibility of people born here, outside of these communities, taking to cricket!

I think the organizers of the GT20 are totally on the right track when they say they are targeting the immigrant population. As long as the game continues to have massive immigrant support, and that population will only be increasing, cricket will have a good chance to stay and flourish here...just don’t keep going and wasting time on the non-existent, non-forthcoming interest of born here Canadians, with non-cricketing backgrounds! The world has changed and we do not need to think the same way we did 25 years back. Cricket does not need native, non-cricketing background Canadians, to thrive here. If they want to join in, well and good. Just concentrate on people who actually love the sport...and we have a million of them just here in GTA!!

Re: Global T20 and the need to change the mindset in Canada

Posted: Mon Jul 22, 2019 4:42 pm
by timmyj51
This a dangerous and defeatist view! To say cricket will never become a mainstream sport and everyone should
be happy with that is sheer lunacy! The WC analogy is foolish. Anyone in their right mind believe cricket would be
where it is in England if it relied solely on expats! The WC is once every four years. Who watches, plays, cricket all
those other years? The expats may be gentrifying the game (the poor folks in the Windies better
accept that they're NEVER going to see an India-Windies T20 in the islands cause Windies can earn way more for playing those matches
in Lauderhill), but they themselves will never raise their sport beyond what it is now, and always has been, in North America:
an insignificant, minor, inconsequential, sport only played by an ethnic matter how large that minority.

Re: Global T20 and the need to change the mindset in Canada

Posted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 11:09 am
by mautan
@timmyj51 - Will try to explain my point once more, since you did not get it. You seem to be living in the old world and probably wants to be dependent on the 'mainstream' throwing you some crumbs, rather than trying to build something substantial that a big enough population can still enjoy and preserve. You can go on your way for next 50 years if you like, and keep begging the schools to start cricket or keep explaining that cricket is not necessarily played over 5 days to people who could care the meantime let these people like Mercuri, try and do something. It may work or may not. At least they are not barking up the wrong tree for 40 years like you have been doing. Get real, if it had to happen, we would have had at least a couple of Canadian boys (with non cricketing family backgrounds) playing for Canada by now. Especially after 4 World Cup appearances. It is like trying to spread ice hockey in India. Not sure which world you live in. All I have said is that with a significant population and increased overall interest now (look at the league numbers), cricket may not need mainstream Canadian population support to thrive. And it is true.
The WC example is not foolish, it was to show how things have changed from 40 years back. If you are not capable of seeing that or changing with times, there is not much anyone can do. I always look for positives, I like the fact that someone is bringing cricket here, putting in money and effort. If everyone was of your type who only cares on how to get 'mainstream' Canadians to flock to cricket, we probably won't have even cricket leagues here.
Keep dreaming and criticizing, but the fact is cricket is now big enough in this world to survive with people who currently love the game. Even the local Governments will start helping the Brampton mayor has for GT20, once they see the populace and their interests. And please, I am not sure where you are from, but do not bring in West Indies and their cricket here. Because that is a very bad example for any country to follow. The fact they even have a cricket team and a combined team even, we all should be happy. They may not matter in 10 years.
Look at India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka etc to be positive about cricket. Even NZ has a population of only 5 million (less than GTA) and cricket is at no.3, in that country and still easily survives and even performs on world stage. A very small population of cricket fanatics is good enough there too. All that is needed is Govt support, large number of players and good cricket management (which we do not have).

Re: Global T20 and the need to change the mindset in Canada

Posted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 12:39 pm
by timmyj51
This is the cricket you get with just expats:

1) Managerial mediocrity. With only expats involved will only get people
the quality of Dainty or Saini.

2) Non-competitive teams. With only expats to draw from national teams will
NEVER be competitive.

3) No sponosrs. Sponsors not interested in games only ethnic minorities play.

4) No gov. support. To get government help a sport must show it's played by
ALL Canucks: women, native populations, etc. If not, government won't have anything
to do with you.

THIS is the cricket world of only expats!!! :( :(

Re: Global T20 and the need to change the mindset in Canada

Posted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 12:47 pm
by LeScotsman
If there are so many fans and enough to support the game then why were there only 30-50 ticket holders in the crowd for almost all of the GT20 games last summer? The organisers spent 10.5$ million on some of the world’s best players and lost 10.2$ million in 21 days! Where were the millions of cricket fans that wouldn’t even shell our 5$? Why is cricket here - which is and always has been entirely expat-based - so crap? Why does it have zero fans, zero sponsors, no money and the absolute worst municipal facilities? How many doomed examples do people need to see? When it was only British expats, none of whose kids had access, it died. When it was only West Indian expats, none of whose kids had access, it died. Surprise, surprise, when it is only south Asian expats...

Cricket in the UK is the national summer sport. The England team have done wonderfully over the last 4 years, benefiting from a large cash windfall from Sky and attracting overseas players, but scratch the surface and you will see it is dying. Viewership collapsed by 90% after the Sky deal. No one knows what the game is any more outside of private schools. They have the Sky money for now, but if they don’t get it back on free to air TV, the viewership pool will become so small Sky will eventually pull the plug. If cricket became a sub-continent-expat-only game in the UK, it would suffer a rapid death, both playing and spectator.

The idea of somehow changing the player and fan base of broken Canadian cricket to being more Asian expat when it already is 100% Asian and Caribbean expat, based on World Cup final ticket holders in England (where cricket has been a mainstream sport for hundreds of years and when most ticket holders thought India would reach the final) is baffling.

Re: Global T20 and the need to change the mindset in Canada

Posted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 12:53 pm
by ray
Cricket supported entirely by immigrants and their descendants is not a new idea. It is how Canada has tried to operate for many decades. Immigrants to Canada are cricket - the players, the administrators, the fans. That has not changed in fifty years and shows no sign of changing.

It is difficult to see how new Canadians can grow/sustain cricket without continued immigration. In terms of sheer numbers, cricket has never been stronger. However, this strength is shallow and somewhat deceptive.

Continued reliance on immigration: Immigrants are like anyone else. Changing priorities means players move away from the game, kids grow up with interests other than cricket and sport. For a couple of decades, West Indians dominated the sport in Canada yet where are all their kids and grandkids? Not playing cricket. Immigrants from South Asia show no sign of being different. Once the 2nd generation comes of age, the numbers with interest in cricket, let alone playing will only be a fraction. For the 3rd generation, forget it. This model has not worked and will not work going forward.

Administration: We have two examples in North America of immigrant-led governing bodies at the national and sub-national level for several decades. Yet, there is apathy toward Canadian cricket even within the cricket community. We often see infighting, flawed elections, lack of transparency, lack of communication. Cricket’s growth is entirely due to immigration levels, not good leadership. That this happened in two countries over a considerable period and multiple administrations suggests the Canadian experience is not an anomaly.

Allegiance: The example of Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Afghan (, etcetera) fans in England shows the passion that exists for cricket in those communities. Or rather, it shows the passion for their cricket team. How does this help England? How do all the passionate fans in Canada help Cricket Canada when they have no interest in, and sometimes look mockingly at Canadian cricket?

We’ll have to see how the Global T20 Canada is received in 2019. However, the inaugural event showed no hint of acceptance by Canadian cricket fans (immigrants). It is fair to say the half-hearted efforts to attract mainstream Canadians have failed. It will take something external to Canadian cricket to change this. It is also fair to say immigration can only keep Canadian cricket going. It cannot make the sport grow and thrive as we’ve seen and continue to see.

Re: Global T20 and the need to change the mindset in Canada

Posted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 5:09 pm
by Victorian
It seems to me last summer was a market test by the West Indies to see if a CPL team might be viable in Toronto. No one from the diaspora went to the games so this year no Windies B team.

Re: Global T20 and the need to change the mindset in Canada

Posted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 7:45 am
by JSMunn
I think this is a really interesting discussion. The relative disappearance of Canadian cricketers of West Indies heritage does seem to be due to the fact the sport is not passed down to the Canadian born 2nd generation. There are many reasons for this, including the choices that were available to these kids- if you were a talented athlete, there were strong role models in other sports- Donavan Bailey for instance, plus the promotion and support for "mainstream" sports.
I do have the impression that the sport is more resilient in immigrant families from Asia. A high proportion of U19 cricketers are Canadian born. However the transition from elite Under 19 to national level cricketers is poor and retention of club cricketers is not great.
The challenge is to provide the support and opportunity to encourage and develop the 2nd generation- give them clubs to play for, good cricket grounds, good development programmes for players, coaches, officials and administrators, strong infrastructure, and good governance. Cricket falls far behind other sports here, and players drift away from the game.
Cricket can build from its immigrant base if you can transmit the love of the game into the next generation. Canada claims to be multi-cultural, and other aspects of immigrant culture do seem to be resilient- food, religion, arts etc.

Re: Global T20 and the need to change the mindset in Canada

Posted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 8:15 am
by ray
JSMunn wrote:
Wed Jul 24, 2019 7:45 am
I think this is a really interesting discussion.
Yes, it must be. Mautan's premise has gotten more different individuals to respond than anything since the original GT20 thread. :D

Re: Global T20 and the need to change the mindset in Canada

Posted: Wed Jul 24, 2019 2:19 pm
by timmyj51
Agreed, south Asian immigrants integrate themselves into the mainstream much
slower (and with more resistance) than other immigrant groups. This is certainly
the case in the states. But trying to keep cricket alive with the next generation of
expats is no solution, just a perpetuation of the problem. Cold, hard, fact remains:
no matter what you do to build up the game in the expat community cricket in North
America remains a weak, stunted, plant unless the mainstream populace can be
engaged...and the cricket community simply has not found a way to do this. That's
the Holy Grail we seek.