USA Cricket and Major League Cricket have announced a Memorandum of Understanding with the founders of Atlanta Cricket Fields which will see the 56 acre facility become Major League Cricket’s second MLC National Cricket Center.
Located in Cumming, about 47 miles north of downtown Atlanta, the Atlanta Cricket Fields feature seven grounds, one of the largest cricket facilities in North America. The partnership will further develop the facility to include turf practice nets and wickets, an indoor practice facility, and “significant upgrades to the existing cricket facilities on the main oval to meet the ICC One Day International (ODI) requirements.”
‘Today’s announcement is another important step to establishing world-class training and playing facilities that will accelerate the rapid development of cricket across all levels in the United States,’ Sameer Mehta, Co-Founder of Major League Cricket, was quoted in the announcement. ‘Once complete, Atlanta Cricket Fields is going to positively impact all cricketers for the United States national teams preparing for international competition, who will enjoy access to elite cricketing facilities at MLC National Cricket Centers in multiple locations.’
Already in regular use by the community, the facility will also become the official home of Minor League Cricket’s Atlanta Fire franchise. Area youth coach and Atlanta Fire standout Rishi Bhardwaj welcomes the news. ‘For Atlanta community this is the huge step taken by MLC and Atlanta Fire,’ the Best Batter award winner for the South in the 2020 MiLC exhibition season told Emerging Cricket. ‘Finally a turf wicket will be here, which will boost the confidence and bring a proper cricket culture and raise the standard of cricket and skills in Atlanta. Atlanta has a lot of talent and it will only get better, and the youngsters in coming time will reap all the benefits and will grow immensely.’
USA Cricket CEO, Iain Higgins, spoke about the governing body’s plans for the facility in the announcement. ‘USA Cricket will use the ACF as a training hub in the South Zone, and for other tournaments once the developments are complete. We also plan to work closely with our partners at MLC as the developments take place to help ensure that it will have the best chance of being accredited by the ICC to host ODI matches in the future.’
The news is one of several venue related announcements by MLC and USA over the past year. In November 2020, USA Cricket and MLC announced the 15 year ground lease and economic development agreement for the multimillion dollar minor league baseball venue, Airhogs Stadium, in the Dallas suburb of Grand Prairie, Texas. The venue will be renovated and become the home of a Major League Cricket franchise, as well as a training center for USA’s national teams.
In March 2021, Major League Cricket announced a site for potential stadium development in the “DMV” DC Metro area. In April it was announced that Prairie View Cricket Complex, host of many recent nationally supported events, including the 2021 Men’s U19 National Championships, would become the first MLC National Cricket Center.
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