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Page last updated at 12:50 GMT, Wednesday, 6 October 2010 13:50 UK
USA cricket chief on Gloucestershire fact finding mission

John L. Aaron
John L. Aaron hopes to learn from Frocester Cricket Club

One of the men in charge of cricket in the USA has arrived in Gloucestershire on a fact finding mission.

John L. Aaron, secretary of the United States of America Cricket Association, has flown over to spend some time with Frocester Cricket Club near Stroud.

He is hoping to pick up tips to help develop the game on the 'other side of the pond'.

But just how big is the sport in the land you'd normally associate with American football, baseball, basketball and ice hockey?

"Cricket is relatively big in the USA compared to some of the other sports," said John.

"It is not of course as big as baseball is, but it is certainly growing in numbers, mostly because of the expatriate population coming over from cricket-playing countries.

'Number one'

"My family is originally from Guyana in South America, formerly British Guyana, and of course cricket is the number one sport there, as it still is in most former British Colonies."

Frocester has a fantastic youth programme... and we are hoping to learn from them.
John L. Aaron

Cricket did exist in the USA at a grass roots level before John got involved, but his task now is to take the game to the next level.

"We want to make people more aware of it within the American sport psyche, and offer people the opportunity of representing the United States at a sport which is not traditionally an American sport."

With the introduction of Twenty20 cricket, the modern short-form of the game, the opportunity has now been created to give the game a boost in the States.

"Because of the quick pace of the culture [in the USA] people have got a short time frame in which to be entertained," said John.

"We figured three hours, in and out, the kids can get back home in time for sleeping at night and get to school the next morning.

"The Twenty20 format is the way to go."

'Youth interest'

John was invited by Frocester Cricket Club to be the guest speaker at their annual awards dinner.

While he's here he's hoping to pick up some tips about how to run a youth programme:

"In order for to sustain the sport in the USA we have to get the youths interested.

"If American cricket is to grow you have to have a base and broaden that base.

"Frocester has a fantastic youth programme with kids as young as seven years old in camps and we are hoping to learn from them," he said.

John aims to return to Gloucestershire in 2011 with a team to play a number of matches locally.

The USA men's cricket team is currently ranked at 26 in the world.

In 2004 the team qualified for the ICC Champions Trophy (a sort of mini-World Cup, played in England). However, they lost both matches heavily - to New Zealand by 210 runs, and to Australia by 9 wickets.

John's aim is for the USA to break into the top 15 of the world rankings by 2015 in time for the next Cricket World Cup.

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