Mar 21, 2023 - Sports

Texas' Major League Cricket team announces name, coach

Men in nice suits sit around a table, looking thoughtful. Some have computers, some have papers.

The destiny of American cricket, decided last weekend in Houston. Photo: Courtesy of MLC

Major League Cricket's Texas team finally has a name, coach and roster ahead of the league's launch this summer.

  • The team's name is … the Texas Super Kings!

Driving the news: Coaches and investors in the Texas team, which will be based in Grand Prairie, drafted players over the weekend.

  • League executives and the Texas players arrived in Dallas on Monday to introduce the coach, share their new name and announce a partnership with a popular team in India.

Why it matters: While cricket has been played in the U.S. for centuries, Major League Cricket is the latest and largest attempt to popularize the sport in the U.S.

  • MLC's epicenter will be in Grand Prairie, where a former minor league baseball ballpark is being converted into a cricket ground and training academy.

The intrigue: The Grand Prairie team will partner with the Chennai Super Kings, an Indian franchise that's won four championships since the immensely popular Indian Premier League started play in 2008.

  • The partnership means they'll share coaches and support staff while playing in two different leagues in two countries.
  • Stephen Fleming, a former New Zealand national team captain, will coach both the Chennai Super Kings and the Texas Super Kings.

State of play: Major League Cricket will start with six franchises representing Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Washington, D.C., and Texas.

  • Investors are funding the teams and their players right now, but the goal is to eventually sustain the teams through sponsorships and revenue from cricket matches.
  • "There's been a lot of talk about international cricket coming to America. It's coming together at the right time," Fleming said at the Texas team's introductory event Monday.

Zoom in: The Texas Super Kings drafted nine U.S.-based players whose home countries include India, South Africa, Pakistan and Australia.

  • "Our coach overperformed. We got almost everybody we wanted and, I think we have a fantastic team set up for a good season," said Anurag Jain, one of the team's owners.
  • Calvin Savage, who moved to Chicago from South Africa 18 months ago to pursue a cricket career, said his wife called him in tears after hearing that the Super Kings had drafted him.
  • "She gave up her job and her family in South Africa to move here with me with this exact goal in mind. For everything to work out as well as it did, I'm so thankful," Savage tells Axios.
A man in a cowboy hat slaps hands with a surprised man in a white shirt.
There were references to Ted Lasso. Photo: Courtesy of MLC

Of note: Corey Anderson of the Dallas Mustangs was drafted to the San Francisco Unicorns.

Between the lines: Investors acknowledge that it will take time and patience to expand cricket's U.S. fan base, but they say other sports like ice hockey and soccer have shown that it can work.

  • "When I look at the last 25-30 years of Texas sports history, nobody thought ice hockey would work in Texas. If ice hockey can work in Texas, cricket can work in Texas, too," said Hill Perot, Ross Perot's grandson, one of the investors in the Texas Super Kings.

What's next: The Texas Super Kings are in the process of signing international players to complete their roster.

  • Team merch will go on sale by June, and the MLC season starts July 13.

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