Cricket fans usually need a magnifying glass to find something on their favorite sport in the newspaper. That may be particularly galling with the coming of the World Cup of Cricket, which is sometimes billed as the third largest sporting event on earth, just behind World Cup Soccer and the Summer Olympic Games. The tournament is now being played in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and the Netherlands. The inaugural match took place May 14 in London, and the final match will be played June 20 at the same site.
Twelve countries are competing in this year's contest, including former British colonies Australia, New Zealand, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and the favorite, South Africa. While this link may give teams an extra incentive when playing England, other rivalries are often more interesting. The contest between India and Pakistan is expected to generate a lot of excitement, and Indian businessman Parag Ghandi is determined to bring the game to expatriates living in Chicago.
Beginning this Friday, cricket fans will be able to see live telecasts of World Cup matches at Ghandi's Adelphi Theater, 7074 N. Clark. The nine-hour broadcast will run almost every day for the next two and a half weeks from 5 AM to 2 PM. Matches can last anywhere from six hours to a couple of days.
Though the matches will begin when most people are sleeping, Ghandi says he won't have any trouble filling his 895-seat theater, particularly when Pakistan and India go head-to-head. "No one will go to work the day India and Pakistan play," says Ghandi, who also carried telecasts of the 1996 World Cup. Pakistan last won the tournament in 1992. India has Sachin Tenulkar, who is considered the world's finest batsman.
Ghandi isn't the only one who believes that cricket has a large untapped audience here. The Adelphi is receiving its live satellite feed from Kelly Broadcasting Systems, a sports broadcasting company in West Orange, New Jersey. CEO Michael Kelly estimates there are 14 million cricket fans in the United States and Canada. And because of growing interest in cricket throughout North America, he says, his company is carrying matches involving all of the teams in the tournament.
Tickets at the Aldephi will cost $10 for quarterfinal matches, $15 for the semifinals, and $20 for the final. Tickets to 12 matches--quarterfinals, semifinals, and final--can be purchased for $30. For more information, call 773-262-3462 or 773-262-3456.
--Frederick H. Lowe
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Carl Kock.