Major League Cricket announced today the bookend dates for the 2022 rendition of the Minor League Cricket Championship.
The second season of the only coast-to-coast nationally supported T20 franchise cricket league in the USA is set to start on the June 25th weekend and run through August, with Finals Weekend set for August 26-27.
“Following the most extensive tournament in American cricket history taking place successfully in 2021, we can’t wait to bring back an even stronger Minor League Cricket Championship in 2022,” Justin Geale, Minor League Cricket’s Tournament Director was quoted in the announcement. “The commitment shown by our Minor League Cricket teams to growing the game in their communities and developing players will see the sport take further significant strides this year, with MiLC providing a critical pathway to the USA National Team.”
Evidence of that pathway is already apparent after MiLC’s first season, as many top performers earned debuts into the national T20 setup, most notably Ryan Scott of the Michigan Cricket Stars and Vatsal Vaghela of the Golden State Grizzlies. Scott and Vaghela finished the 2021 MiLC season as the highest rated domestic batter and bowler, respectively, and made their USA debuts against Ireland in the recently concluded historic T20 series in Florida.
After 27 teams competed in a regular season that spanned across four regional divisions, the 2021 MiLC season ended with the Silicon Valley Strikers defeating the New Jersey Stallions in front of a healthy crowd at Church Street Park in Morrisville, North Carolina. USA Cricket fast bowler Jessy Singh captained the Stallions to the inaugural final, and fell short of the title, which for now belongs to fellow USA Cricket teammates Saurabh Netravalkar, Abhishek Paradkar, and Rahul Jariwala of the Unmukt Chand captained Silicon Valley Strikers.
“Nobody had expectations besides us, looking at our squad. We had a young squad. We knew if we backed them up, these guys would fire good on a big stage,” Jessy Singh told Emerging Cricket. “Winning the championship was the goal, so that left a bitter taste. But leading the side was definitely a great experience for myself. It was a young bunch of guys, and bringing the best out of the players and leading the team to the finals was a big achievement for me and for the team, but credit goes to the entire team for backing each other up, and that just makes it easy for me as a captain.”
The Stallions were clearly fortunate that their decision to back youth paid off well in the short term, but with a full season of prime chances for young players like U19 opener Sai Mukkamalla and all rounder Ray Ramrattan behind them, the Stallions have no reason not to shoot for the stars in 2022.
“The hope for this season is to finish the job we left unfinished last year, the expectation doesn’t go below that,” Singh continued. “The expectation is to come back and finish as champions of the whole Minor League. If given the opportunity to lead the team again, I would be honored and accept the challenge to lead the Stallions to the championship. Backing the young guys would be very important to me, because they’re the ones who got us there, and they deserve it.”
Several announcements regarding the details of the 2022 season should follow shortly, including the retention rosters of the teams, “a variety of enhancement to broadcast plans,” the fleshed out 2022 MiLC schedule, and more. According to the announcement, the two conference/four division league structure will remain intact.
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