Leaders of local sports franchises and national organizations weigh in on the ICC Americas Combine and its impact on the Circle City
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Over the last two weeks, representatives of the International Cricket Council (ICC) have met with various sports officials from Indianapolis, including leaders within the soccer, auto racing, and collegiate sports worlds. Indianapolis has had a first-hand look at the ICC Americas Combine, and as cricket continues to grow in the Americas, these sporting figures are taking notice.
Mayor Greg Ballard has been very supportive of cricket throughout his tenure in office, spearheading the World Sports Park, a city-run facility that played host to the ICC Americas Division One tournament in May 2015 and the first-ever ICC Americas Combine.
"I just want everyone to understand just how important this is globally for the city of Indianapolis," said Mayor Greg Ballard. "We have been doing this for awhile now and I just think it’s very, very special that people are now talking about us globally because of this sport and we want them to continue to do that."
Earlier this week, the mayor welcomed ICC officials and ICC Americas Combine participants at the world-famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) along with representatives of the IMS.
"One of the great things about Indianapolis is its sports community and how much we embrace sports whether they were grown here or whether they have been imported from somewhere else," said IMS President Doug Boles. "We are most known for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but with the Indy 500 here, we really enjoy the fact that the city is more than just racing, it is really about all kinds of sports."
Additionally, representatives from the ICC and several cricket players were able to attend an Indy Eleven soccer game. Soccer and cricket are the two most popular sports in the world, thus make the partnership an easy one.
"In a lot of ways, cricket makes sense for Indianapolis," said Peter Wilt, General Manager of the Indy Eleven soccer team. "This is a great sports city that embraces athletic competition. These are very much the formative stages of the sport [in the Americas], but globalization, the fact that the world is becoming a much smaller place, will benefit cricket."
Several national sports associations are headquartered in Indianapolis; among them are USA Track and Field, USA Gymnastics, USA Swimming and Diving, and the National Collegiate Athletics Association, or the NCAA. The NCAA oversees 23 different collegiate sports at over 1,100 colleges and universities in the United States. Not only is Indianapolis the home of the NCAA, it also plays host to numerous collegiate championships each year.
"I have an Olympic background, so I’ve seen sport internationally, and I think there are a lot of people here excited to have cricket," said the NCAA’s Executive Vice President for Championships, Mark Lewis. "The mayor set out a vision that I think is very clear and it’s one the community stands behind."
The Americas are at the forefront of world cricketing news this week as the ICC Americas Combine is in full swing at the World Sports Park in Indianapolis. The best 15 players from the combine will comprise the ICC Americas team at the West Indies Cricket Board’s Nagico Super 50 Tournament in January 2016.
For updates from the ICC Americas Combine, please follow @iccamericas and @ICC on Twitter and Instagram.
For media inquiries, contact Lauren Schregardus (Lauren@barcommunications.com or +1-317-416-7246) or Brad Rateike (Brad@barcommunications.com or +1-317-508-8419).