(Albany, NY) — Governor Kathy Hochul yesterday signed legislation (S.146/A.479) that recognizes the sport of cricket as an important part of the social and cultural fabric of New York State, and expands the State’s capacity to officially promote the sport. The legislation was sponsored by Senator Kevin Thomas (D-Levittown), the first Indian-American to serve in the New York State Legislature, and Assemblymember Nily Rozic (D,WF-Fresh Meadows).
Cricket is a bat and ball game played between two teams, 11 players each, on a field which has a rectangular 22-yard-long pitch in the center. The purpose of the game is to score more runs than the opposing team. Cricket is the second-most popular sport in the world, watched and played by billions. New York State has a special place in the sport’s history: the first recorded game of cricket in North America took place in New York in 1751. Today, cricket is rapidly gaining popularity across the United States and New York State in particular, thanks to the influence of immigrant communities from the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, and South Asia. In 2008, the New York State Department of Education created the country’s first competitive public school cricket program, which now has over 30 teams. For the first time in recent history, the USA is scheduled to host The International Cricket Council Men’s T20 World Cup in June 2024.
Senator Kevin Thomas said, “The sport of cricket goes hand-in-hand with the diversity and multiculturalism of our state, which is home to a number of thriving immigrant communities who grew up playing and watching cricket. As one of the most popular sports in the world, cricket represents a major opportunity for New York State - culturally, socially, and economically. In fact, I believe that New York has a unique opportunity to become the official Cricket Capital of the USA. I thank Governor Hochul for recognizing the legitimacy and value of cricket to our State, and for signing this legislation into law.”
Assemblywoman Nily Rozic said, “Cricket is already a bona fide American pastime that brings everyone together and should be celebrated for that. As the second most popular sport in the world, cricket brings with it a massive audience and economic development opportunities. With the growth of numerous leagues across New York, incentivizing Cricket activities through tourism would benefit the sport and recognize its place in New York.”
Ajith Bhaskar Shetty, USA Cricket Board Member, said, “Senator Thomas's bill not only promotes the game of cricket but also supports the thousands of players and fans here in New York. Thank you to Senator Kevin Thomas, Assemblywoman Nily Rozic, and Governor Hochul for your unwavering support of the cricket community.”
Ashok Adikoppula, Youth Coordinate for USA Cricket, said, “As one of the Youth Cricket Coordinators of USA Cricket, I am very excited for the youth, now they will have an opportunity to pick another global sport as their career option and excel with the right support system through both USA Cricket and New York State Athletics Commission. On behalf of the cricket community, I want to thank several people, to begin with Senator Kevin Thomas and Assemblywoman Nily Rozic for sponsoring this bill, all the cosponsors, Senators and Assembly Members who supported the bill, Senator James Sanders Jr. and Assemblymember Ron Kim for the original bill, Governor Hochul's executive team for meeting with us to listen to our request, understand the games popularity and demand, and honorable Governor Hochul for approving the bill.”
The law goes into effect immediately.