Ponting anticipates ‘exciting times’ for cricket ahead of India-Pakistan T20 World Cup clash

Ricky Ponting is eagerly awaiting the match between India and Pakistan in New York at this year's ICC Men's T20 World Cup and expects to see cricket thrive in the United States in the ensuing years on the back of the tournament.

All eyes will be on the new Nassau County International Cricket Stadium in Long Island on June 9 when India take on arch-rival Pakistan in a contest that is sure to revive memories of the epic encounter that took place at the MCG during the most recent T20 World Cup in Australia in 2022.

It was India star Virat Kohli who stole the show on that occasion with a match-winning 82* and another sold-out crowd is likely when the two traditional rivals meet at this year's event co-hosted by the West Indies and USA.

Ponting was discussing the upcoming clash in New York with host Sanjana Ganesan on the latest episode of The ICC Review and the Australia great expects to see similar scenes in June that he saw up close in Melbourne almost two years ago.

“I've seen it firsthand here in Australia, in Melbourne last time around, where there were 95,000 people in the stadium and another 50,000 people outside the stadium," Ponting said.

"You can imagine what it's going to be like in New York. So, really exciting times for the world game."

While the USA have a rich history in the game and even featured in the first-ever international cricket match way back in 1844, Ponting feels the sport has only started to grow in popularity in recent years on the back of hosting fixtures between full-member sides and the rise of franchise cricket competitions like Major League Cricket that continues to attract a host of international stars.

Imagining the atmosphere of a full crowd at the Nassau County International Stadium in New York

Ponting, who recently signed as coach of Washington Freedom in Major League Cricket, wants to be on the ground floor of the sport emerging in the USA.

“I think there's a great opportunity to continue to grow and promote the game in that part of the world. And that's a big part of the reason that I took the coaching job at Washington Freedom, to be a part of that sort of movement to grow the game in the US," Ponting added.

“There's obviously so many expat Indians, West Indians, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans, and Afghans in that part of the world that we know that they will continue to promote the game. But what we have to do is get the Americans into loving and understanding the game of cricket.”

Ponting saw a strong possibility of quick growth in cricket in the USA. He backed the franchise model to take hold and help the game move forward in the region.

“I'd like to think it can become really big and as I said, actually become really big quite quickly,” Ponting opined.

In the latest edition of the ICC Review, Delhi Capitals coach and ICC Hall of Famer Ricky Ponting gives his insight on how wicket-keeper/batter Rishabh Pant will reintegrate into the IPL setup.

“What I'm hearing, I think part of the franchise model with the teams that were in last year was everyone has to sort of build their own stadium in the different cities that were playing the games.

“And I think when that happens in a few years, there'll be the potential to grow the tournament out, maybe add a couple more teams.

“And once you start playing in not just the six but in a lot of these big cities in the US, then I think there's an opportunity for great growth and quick growth.

“And we shouldn't sit back and just think in two years it's going to be a mini IPL, it probably won't be that. But I think that's what we should all be aiming for and doing our best to promote the game the best way that we can.”

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