Ricardo Powell: ‘USA cricket will soon surpass West Indies’

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Tucked away in the remote area of Suwanee/John Creek area in Georgia, United States, former Jamaica and West Indies batsman Ricardo Powell, during the summer, trains more than 20 potential professional cricketers who are looking to take their careers to the next level.

During the winter, the high-performance clinic occupies the ATL Indoor Cricket Zone in Peachtree Corners in Georgia where the Ricardo Powell Cricket Academy (RPCA) operates.

It is safe to say that the US is taking cricket seriously, and this is a testament to Powell and his initiative which he started way back in 2012, first in Florida, then Houston and now Georgia, where he has been imparting his knowledge to the cricket-mad communities which are growing by the minute.

“When I moved to Houston back in 2013 there was no academy there and now you have several academies with more than 600 kids in academies in Houston, so that gives you an idea in terms of the growth over the last couple of years,” Powell said.

For Powell who represented the West Indies from 1999 to 2005, cricket in America will certainly surpass the West Indies due to the alarming rate of development and investment which is currently being undertaken.

“I really feel that in another couple of years, US cricket will go past the West Indies in terms of development and talent because of the professional way in which they are going about developing cricket here.”

The USA U-19 female side enjoyed success in the Caribbean in 2022 (Photo: USA Cricket/Twitter)

Rapid development

The evidence of that development which Powell speaks of is glaring on the field as last July, the USA Under-19 Women’s team, with coach Shivnarine Chanderpaul, came to the Caribbean and went undefeated in claiming the CWI Rising Stars Championship.

That victory also showed it wasn’t a fluke as the USA Under-19 women also defeated a West Indies Under-19 women’s team 4-1 in Florida last August.

“I believe the interest in America is more. The zeal and the love for the game is greater because of the Asian communities, so I think it is more love than money because the players here are more passionate and they are willing to learn and get the right level of development from a mental, educational and physical standpoint, compared to the Caribbean,” the former Windies player added.

Currently, Powell has employed former Jamaica and West Indies batsman Brenton Parchment as one of the coaches at the academy which has been overseeing the development of former Jamaica and USA batsman Steven Taylor, as well as USA players Sagar Patel and Jessica Willathgamuwa.

The game in America is also set to take off even further with the announcement that a T20 franchise tournament is set to bowl off in July.

“They will be starting this year with six franchises with teams in Dallas, DC, New York, Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco and based on that, I think franchise cricket will become even bigger than the USA National team because when you look at it, every sport in America is almost franchise.”

Some of the players expected to feature in the new Major League Cricket tournament are New Zealand all-rounder Corey Anderson (now based in Dallas), former Pakistan batter Sami Aslam (San Francisco), former South Africa spinner Dane Piedt (North Carolina), former England fast bowler Liam Plunkett (Philadelphia), and former India Under-19 World Cup-winning captain Unmukt Chand (San Francisco). (Jamaica Gleaner)

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