Cricket tournament in Indianapolis?



From the Indianapolis Star:

Mayor's vision: Chinatown and cricket

Once a person becomes mayor, something interesting happens. The smart ones begin to see opportunities for their city in all sorts of places.
They'll drive by an empty lot and think about projects that could transform it. They see a gritty part of town and dream up an idea that could make it more attractive. They constantly come up with ways to boost their city's image.
Some of the ideas are smart, some are quirky and some are perhaps best left locked deep inside one's mind.
Regardless, I've always appreciated the emotional connection many mayors have with the cities they run, and I've always enjoyed hearing them talk about the little ideas they have for adding spark to their cities.
So I was intrigued and a bit amused the other day when Mayor Greg Ballard mentioned something about a Chinatown to a local business leader, after a news conference on the city's 2012 Super Bowl bid.
A colleague and I quickly asked the new mayor about the Chinatown talk. Ballard smiled and told us -- perhaps to the horror of his press secretary -- about his desire to create a Chinatown somewhere on the Near Southside.
Huh?
"You go around the world -- San Francisco or London -- and Chinatowns are some of the best places," he said. "It's just fun and cultural, and it would make the Chinese community feel welcome in the city."
Hey, who knows? Perhaps it would send a message that the city is open to the economic powerhouse China has become.
"I'd like Indianapolis to be looked upon as a welcoming, international city," Ballard said.
But do cities create Chinatowns? Don't such areas pop up organically? And while Indianapolis is home to many Chinese scientists and others of Chinese heritage, would they support a designated Chinatown?
"It's a very good idea," Steve He, president of the Indianapolis Chinese Community Center, assured me when I phoned him Thursday. "A great idea."
For now Ballard is just developing the idea. And while he is hoping for a Chinatown, he plans to start smaller by backing a Chinese festival this summer and perhaps a trade mission to China at some point.
The mayor's musings, however, didn't stop with China. He also dropped this tidbit: "I want to establish the North American Cricket Tournament."
Excuse me?
The mayor, a retired Marine whose international travels color the global ideas he is coming up with, said the sport of cricket offers an untapped market to a clever American city.
"We could create it," he said of a cricket tournament. "It would be ours."
Ballard seemed genuinely excited as he talked about cricket's popularity in many countries. A tournament, he argued, would help establish Indianapolis' "international presence."
I asked him how the bat-and-ball sport is played.
"I don't know the rules," he said. "I just know it's huge around the world."
Well, it wouldn't be the Super Bowl. But the North American Cricket Tournament actually doesn't sound too bad.

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